How to install a Back Up Camera Cheaply
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Thread: How to install a Back Up Camera Cheaply

  1. #1
    Bobw is offline [OP]
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    How to install a Back Up Camera Cheaply

    I have a 2013 Cruze LT with the stock AM/FM/CD player so adding a back up camera and a in dash monitor was out of the question. I was Not about to spend $1000 just for this option.

    Things you will need:
    A Camera: If you search Ebay, you will come up with many options. On the license plate through a hole, bolt on etc. chevy cruze back up camera | eBayThis is the one I chose:

    ActualCamera.jpg

    It replaces on of the existing license plate light with a mount for the camera and the light. It has a LUX rating of 1.5, Grid or Guide lines, and a 170° field of view, and has the imaged mirrored.Chose a camera with a LUX rating of 1.5 or less. The lower the number the better it will see in the dark. Also get a 170° field of view if you want to see off to the sides better. Without mirrored image what you see in the monitor will be on the wrong side of the car. We want it to show just like looking into the rear view mirror.


    A Monitor:
    This can be anywhere from 1 inch to as big as you dare. I chose a 3.5 inch monitor

    .Actual Monitor.jpg

    It fits nicely on the right side of my rear view mirror and does NOT obstruct the mirror.
    TOOLS REQUIRED:
    Solder and soldering iron
    Trim removal tool set 5 Piece Auto Trim and Molding Tool Set
    Flat blade and Phillips screw driver
    Socket set
    Xacto knife
    Electrical tape
    Electrician fish tape
    Small jewelers screw driver or a nail
    Drill with 1/4" and 1/2" bits (OMG I have to drill a hole)
    Small file
    Aquarium or marine grade sealant, DO NOT USE CAULK YOU DON'T WANT IT TO LEAK OR RUST

    WARNING
    Do not hold me, this forum or any forum members responsible if "YOU" mess up your Cruze. No one MADE YOU DO IT !!!
    Ok, maybe someone double dog dared you

    You may want to read tecollins1 post on how to remove the head liner. https://www.cruzetalk.com/forum/57-ho...headliner.html
    He did an excellent job of explaining how to do it with pictures. I am not going to duplicate his work here.You will be removing the passenger side rear interior quarter panel and front passenger grab bar.

    Ok lets get started:
    I will assume you have already chosen a camera and a monitor to use.
    Open your trunk!!
    Disconnect the negative battery cable and make sure it will not jump back onto the battery. I wrapped mine up in an old rag to be sure. Short circuits are prone to sparks flying and lots of swearing.

    You did open the trunk first right? If not lower one of the rear seats and pull the emergency trunk release.Remove the inner trunk lid liner. about 12 clips in all.

    Liner.jpg

    The cover around the latch pops off, use one of your trim removal tools to help.

    LatchCover.JPG

    The grip handle is held in by 2 bolts.

    Handle.jpg

    CAUTION: The inner trunk lid liner is very flimsy and easy to crack. Take your time.
    Put all the clips and 2 bolts in a safe place where they will not get kicked around or lost.

    Remove one of the license plate lights, I chose the passenger side. 2 Phillips head screws

    Lamp Assy.jpg


    Pull the light assembly out and remove the bulb by twisting counter clock wise Insert the bulb into the new camera lamp assembly.

    New Lamp.jpg

    Holding the wires for the bulb out of the way, drill a 1/4" pilot hole in the middle of the open area where the light assembly goes. Be careful not to scratch the chrome molding in the area.Next enlarge the hole with you 1/2" drill bit and slightly elongate the hole.Slip the power and video wire through the hole. It should now look like this:

    Drilled Hole.jpg

    Continued:
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    Last edited by Bobw; 01-20-2013 at 06:49 PM.

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  3. #2
    Bobw is offline [OP]
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    Continuation 1

    The wires will come out on the other side in this location:

    CamWireHole2.jpg

    Use electrical tape and tape the camera wire to the license plate bulb wiring.
    Use your sealant and generously apply sealant to the hole you drilled. Make sure some oozes out the other side of the hole. this will prevent water seepage and prevent rust in the area.
    Replace the assembly and tighten the 2 mount screws. DO NOT SUPERMAN THE SCREWS

    Route the wires towards the hinge on the passenger side and secure to other wiring in the area with cable ties or electrical tape.

    WireRoute.jpg Route3.jpg

    I used electrical tape to secure the wires to the hinge arm.
    Make sure to leave enough slack in things so that the trunk lid can open and close.

    Next we are going to remove the tail light assembly so that we can tap into the REVERSE LAMP wiring.

    See Chuv's write up about how to remove the tail light assemblies. https://www.cruzetalk.com/forum/57-ho...il-lights.html
    Wish I had read it first.
    Remove two screws from the light assembly. The little covers pop down just use a small screw driver.

    TailLight.jpg

    It will take some tugging, but the assembly will pull straight back.

    Housing.jpg

    We are after the reverse lamp.

    Careful that you do not pop out the grommet, but it is very easy to re-install.

    Grommet.jpg

    Gain access to the other side of the grommet (inside the trunk) by removing the cover.

    WireAccess.jpg

    Use a nail or other means and poke a small hole into the grommet, run the power wire for the camera through the grommet.

    I could have traced out the wires inside the trunk, but then you have to remove the cloth sheath GM puts their wires in. Much easier to go through the grommet and connect near the bulb.
    No trying to find a good working position inside the trunk.


    Using your Xacto knife, strip the insulation from the center of one of the wires for the reverse lamps. (DO NOT CUT THE WIRE)

    THE BLACK WIRE WITH WHITE STRIPE IS GROUND OR NEGATIVE
    THE WHITE WIRE IS POSITIVE

    Strip.jpg

    Use your soldering iron and tin both power leads for the camera.

    Tin.jpg

    Tightly wrap the wire around the lamp wire where you have stripped off the insulation and solder.

    Solder.jpg


    Continued:
    Last edited by Bobw; 01-21-2013 at 11:11 AM.
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  4. #3
    Bobw is offline [OP]
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    Continuation 2

    Stagger your joints so they can not touch.

    Your wires should now look like this:

    SolderX2.jpg

    Tape them up individually then tape them up together. Reassemble the tail light assembly back into the car.

    You have now successfully completed the power connection for the camera. Now to get the video wire up to the mirror area.

    Remove the right rear inside quarter panel from the car. There is a screw under the cap. https://www.cruzetalk.com/forum/57-ho...headliner.html

    If you look down and towards the rear of the car you will see a large opening into the trunk area, feed the video wire up through this opening towards the front of the car.
    Using your fingers and one of the trim removal tools, start to work the wire under the head liner towards the top of the rear passenger window. It is semi tedious but you can pull back the seal and let the wire slip under the head liner. Continue working it under the head liner towards the front passenger window. You will have to loosen, but not remove the trim around the seat belt area.

    Now for the fun part:

    Remove the Front passenger grab bar
    Remove the Front dome/map light assembly (2 screws)
    Remove the trim around the mirror.

    I used an electrician's fish tape to feed from the holes where the map light goes towards the mount holes for the front passenger grab bar. It took several tries but I got it there.
    Hook the video wire to the fish tape and pull the wire through.
    At this point your video wire should be hanging out one of the holes in the dome/map light assembly. Leaving a few inches of wire to reach to the front windshield, fold up the slack neatly, and tape it up. I hid all my slack wire in the big void above the map light area.

    Monitor Electrical connections:

    For me it was easier to gain access to 12 volts from the power to the map lights, It is there all the time and plenty of room to work. On the Monitor I have, It will only 100% power up when a video signal is present. Having it powered all the time will not matter. (YOURS COULD BE DIFFERENT)

    The power connector for the dome/map light looks like this:

    DomConn2.JPG

    Now I cheated and traced out the copper traces and soldered my power wire to them. I didn't want to have to cut any wires.
    This is the Positive wire, the negative ended up right next to it.

    Dompower.JPG

    I put some electrical tape over the top of the solder connections and routed the end of the power connector out towards the rear view mirror.
    Again fold up any excess wire and hide it in the dome/map light area.

    At this point, connect your monitor, replace the negative battery connector, and start the car.
    Hold your foot on the brake and put it into reverse. On my screen, with in 2 seconds the image appears.

    Yeee Ha.... it worked !!!!

    OK: Reassemble the passenger grab bar, quarter panel, trunk liner, and anything else you may have removed.

    Now where to mount this thing??
    For me it ended up right next to the rear view mirror.

    Monitor2.jpg

    This picture is deceiving, the is plenty of room behind the monitor and the mirror. The distance lines are measured as follows:

    GREEN = 2 FEET
    YELLOW =12 INCHES
    RED = 8 Inches from the bumper
    Remeasured on flat ground

    When it gets day light tomorrow I will post some better pictures of the screen.
    So far I love it, The resolution is terrific, you can clearly see 20 feet behind you and even better up close. I can see a car beside me even though it is in the blind spots of my mirrors.
    Best part of all, this only cost me $50 and 2 hours of my time.

    Cam2.jpg view1.jpg view2.jpg

    Hope you all enjoy:

    Bob






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    Last edited by Bobw; 01-21-2013 at 11:06 AM.
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  6. #4
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    Great write-up! Very informative.

    (i deleted my original post to keep your posts together!)
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  7. #5
    1st Gear kylevh21's Avatar
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    Sweet write up
    i already have an aftermarket double din just need to buy the camera
    2012 Chevy Cruze LT

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    Well done! Thanks for writing this up and posting it for everyone. I may just give this a try.
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  9. #7
    Learning about my Cruze JediSamReye's Avatar
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    Yeah thank you, I have been deciding between this route or an aftermarket deck, this was good to see which way I might want to go
    2012 "Summit White" Chevy Cruze
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  10. #8
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    Very cool write up, definitely a nice option to spending a G on the factory equipment.

    Word of note though - I did not see if you put the bulb back in for the other plate light. I'm assuming that you did not. If you live in NYS, you need to be careful with this, consider mounting the camera in a different spot. New York State inspection guidelines state that for however many lights there are for plate bulbs, they all need to be operating to pass inspection. If you remove or modify them so that only 1 works, you can potentially fail a NYS inspection.

    As for taping the wires once you have done a nice job soldering them, don't. If you're gonna go that far, shrink wrap them. It's cleaner and less of a tacky/hack install.

    Other than that, great job.
    - Matt
    I used to work on cars for a living, then
    found that it was easier to live if I didn't work on cars


    • 2012 Cruze 6MT
    • 2011 Equinox LT AWD
    • 1998 Subaru Legacy Outback
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  11. #9
    Bobw is offline [OP]
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    You remove the existing bulb from the OLD license plate reflector and instal it in the new camera/license plate lamp holder.

    New LampCam.jpg




    Could not use shrink wrap because I did not cut the wire, no way to slip the heat shrink over the wire. I did slather mine in sealant before taping them
    Last edited by Bobw; 01-25-2013 at 08:58 AM.

  12. #10
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    Ahhh ok. Missed that somehow, even though I looked right at it, lol. Well done
    - Matt
    I used to work on cars for a living, then
    found that it was easier to live if I didn't work on cars


    • 2012 Cruze 6MT
    • 2011 Equinox LT AWD
    • 1998 Subaru Legacy Outback
    • 1991 MR2 Turbo - sold Hidden Content


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