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Old 06-19-2015, 08:03 AM   #1
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wifi backup camera for smartphone

I installed a simple backup camera on my X17Z travel trailer last night that works through an app (GoVue) on my smartphone. It was $87 in parts plus generic wiring stuff I keep on hand. All I had to buy was the camera and a 2.4GHz transmitter with built in hotspot.

180*? CCD CAMERA with LIGHTS ~$40

Transmitter with hotspot ~$47

These same parts are sold with some other features for a lot more money elsewhere:

Same transmitter, lesser camera $120

Same camera, different transmitter $150

The camera and transmitter I bought both have compatible RCA video connectors and 2.5mm barrel power connectors. You can provide power to the transmitter through a red black power input wire and then plug the camera directly into the video and power out plugs of the transmitter. This works great for a backup camera on a car or truck where the transmitter is just inside the trunk or bumper near the camera.

I installed my camera 18 feet away from my transmitter on my travel trailer. I installed the transmitter in the battery box on the front where it's closer to the cab and my smartphone. The camera is of course on the rear bumper of the trailer about a 18" off the ground.

The camera included a 19 feet long male-male RCA cable, so I had to install a female-female coupler between the transmitter and the end of the cable. I did not use the power out of the transmitter to power the camera. Instead I tied both through a 3A fuse holder directly to the battery power. This way I can pull the fuse to kill power to the whole system. I plan to use the camera for backing but also for seeing behind the trailer while driving down the road. Many wire the transmitter and camera power to the reverse lights on vehicles, but that may require some boot and broadcast time before you can get the image up on your smartphone.

The picture:

My phone connected to the wifi hotspot and the GoVue app worked right away for me, even in the presence of my internet connected home wifi. If you read reviews on these wifihotspot transmitters, most of the problems are folks who can't get their phones to stay connected to the WIFI_AVIN hotspot of the transmitter when an internet connected wifi spot is also available. I have had the "smart network switch" turned off on my phone for sometime, so maybe that's why mine works well so far.

2010 X17Z behind 2010 F150 supercab
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Old 06-19-2015, 08:15 AM   #2
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I forgot to mention that my smartphone is held to the windshield by a RAM mount x-grip and suction cup. I use google maps for traffic while driving. It allowed me to totally eliminate having a standalone GPS. In areas like the mountains where there is no cell network coverage, I just download and save the maps before I head into them. On a trip your entire route should be available as long as you're not using satellite images instead of map views.


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Old 06-19-2015, 08:37 AM   #3
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That is pretty cool. Let us know how it does in your travels. Interested to hear of the longevity.
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Old 06-19-2015, 08:57 AM   #4
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Very cool!
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Old 06-19-2015, 01:17 PM   #5
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Following this to see how it works in actual use too.
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Old 06-19-2015, 07:11 PM   #6
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Sounds like a great solution. Let us know how it works on your trip.
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Old 06-22-2015, 11:17 AM   #7
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I towed the camper around for about 10 hours this weekend on a trip to the KY Horse Park Campgrounds just north of Lexington on I-75. There weren't any issues, and it was really nice to be able to see behind the camper when backing into spots and while merging on the interstate. I just left the wifi transmitter and camera powered the whole time I was hooked to the camper and towing. At anytime I could turn on my phone's wifi and run the GoVue app to see what was going on behind the trailer.

The view at night was pretty decent. I didn't think to take any shots of that last night. There was some light scattering from dirt on the fish eye lense on either side, but I could still see directly behind the trailer. Auxiliary backup lights away from the camera would take care of that.

Below is a link to a picture from the dump station as well as a short video of what 45-65 mph looks like from the rear of the travel trailer.

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Old 06-22-2015, 11:30 AM   #8
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So does this camera have night vision. Do you know if the camera can be replaced by a different type. I assume the wireless transmitter is more important to the iPhone getting the signal than the camera is but you never know. Also wanted to know where you license plate is mounted. My plate is more to the drivers side
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Old 06-22-2015, 01:44 PM   #9
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I believe you can use about any camera as the link between the camera and wifi transmitter is analog. I assume NTSC and PAL format difference is important. Some can accept either format. The camera is mounted to the center of my rear bumper. I did not mount it on the license plate of my camper. It's black so it blends in nicely on the black bumper.

Also, the wifi transmitter works for any phone or device (tablet) that can connect to a wifi hotspot. Like I mentioned earlier, reviews on amazon noted some smart devices can be "too smart" when in the presence of a wifi source with an internet connection.

The camera I linked to does not switch over to an IR mode or use IR LEDs. It just has two white LEDs that are on any time the camera has power. They are bright enough to illuminate behind the trailer for the camera to see several feet, but they can cause some scattering on the sides when the lense is dirty. On a trailer with backup lights, you could add lights that turn on, or even IR LED lights if you buy an IR night camera.
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Old 06-22-2015, 02:13 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by wjfawb0 View Post
On a trailer with backup lights, you could add lights that turn on, or even IR LED lights if you buy an IR night camera.
I wired our Wi-Fi camera to get its power from the TT's running lights. We only use the camera when we are traveling anyway and we always drive with the lights on. I needed to get a 5VDC power regulator to drop the voltage from 12VDC to the camera's 5VDC power plug. The AirSight XC38A camera has 24 IR LED's which automatically come on when it is dark and supply plenty of light at night for backing up. It connects to our TT's Wi-Fi modem that runs 24/7 even when towing (monitor Rear View camera, interior camera, SOLAR voltage/amps, battery status, fridge temp...). I just purchased a Toshiba Windows tablet (the Android underpowered one died) which works great and a real nice picture.

If I get really bored while driving, I can switch to the camera that sits on the counter inside the TT and watch everything bounce around while traveling. Amazing how that thing stays together, thinking of adding shocks to the TT.


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