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Old 04-13-2016, 02:58 PM   #1
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Installing a backup camera in an X23B

I recently finished installing a backup camera on my 2015 X23B. It was my most labor intensive mod to date and I wanted to share with the group the products I used and the methods required to run wires through an X23B. Iíll also show the monitor and wiring I added to the TV even though itís somewhat specific to Ram trucks.

I decided early on I was not going to go with a wireless solution. I know many people are happy with them but once I saw the wired quick disconnect kit I decided to go with that. I figure the extra cost is worth it to eliminate any chance of interference or lost signal. These are the products I went with:

Camera:
Robot Check

Quick Disconnect Kit:
Robot Check

Monitor:
Robot Check

The camera is one of those things that you pick up and youíre surprised at how heavy it is. It seems very solidly built and comes with a mounting bracket, small sun shade, and enough cable (66í) to stretch from the back of my TT to the tongue and then to the back again. If you have a larger trailer you should have no problem making the cable reach. If you somehow run out of cable there are extensions available on Amazon. The camera and the quick disconnect kit use a 5-pin cable Iíve never seen on anything else before but the camera comes with an adapter to convert it to a standard RCA video plug which allows the use of any monitor (the adapter also includes the bare wire leads for the camera power connection). The adapter also allows the option of being installed right at the camera, connecting the power wires there, and running an RCA video cord to the monitor or the option of the quick disconnect kit. When you use the kit like I did you install the adapter on the vehicle side of the kit and connect the camera power to the TV wiring. Itís all very self-explanatory once itís out of the box sitting in front of you. One last thing about the camera; it allows you to select between regular and mirrored view (mirrored view required for using as a backup camera) and also has grid lines that can be turned on or off depending on your preference (more on the grid lines later…). These features are selected on or off by either leaving intact or cutting one of two small wires on the camera cord. The instructions explain it perfectly, itís very easy to do.

The quick disconnect kit is exceedingly well built. When you first take it out of the box it seems almost too heavy duty. The coiled cord is very thick rubber that appears like it could take a lot of abuse. The receptacle plugs are very well sealed from the elements and have nice spring loaded covers on them much like a standard 7-pin plug. The receptacles are larger than a standard 7-pin connector and require a large hole in the back of the TV if not using the included mounting brackets (there are two aluminum brackets included, one for the TT and one for the TV). I canít recall the hole saw size I used since I think I just held the connector up to some until I found the one that would work without ever actually checking the size. Once everything is solidly mounted the pigtail and plugs are very nice quality and look like they will last the life of the trailer. The kit assumes you have a camera with the included 66í cord and as such has very little cable length on the TT side. The TV side of the kit has a 26í cable. I had no problems making it reach from my back bumper to the glove box on my short bed, crew cab Ram. There were several feet left over; if you have an 8í foot bed and a longer wheelbase I wouldnít image it being an issue. Again, extensions are available on Amazon. Last note about the kit; it does not come with any hardware. I used stainless steel 1/4-20 bolts with locknuts and washers on my brackets.

The monitor is actually pretty nice for the price. It comes with two mounts, one a suction cup and one with a flat base with some adhesive on it. I canít speak for the suction cup since I never tried it but it does seem flimsy. The flat base that I used is also on the flimsy side (it vibrates a little when going over rough roads) but again for the cost itís good enough. The picture quality is decent but not great (Iím actually not positive the picture quality is the fault of the monitor since I never hooked the camera up to anything else. If I can ever find a long enough length of RCA video cable Iíll hook it to the television in the TT someday and see how it looks). The monitor has dual RCA video inputs and a power plug with bare wire leads.

The quick disconnect kit and the camera are expensive but I wanted a nice quality unit if I was going to go through all this hassle. The monitor I went cheap on because itís easy to replace and I felt Iíd be happy with the 5Ē monitor versus the larger, more expensive, 7Ē monitors. Overall Iím extremely happy with the quality of the products I bought.

Now on to the installation which needless to say is specific to a X23B. I started by investigating the best way to run the wire. I figured out it was very easy to get from the tongue to below the sink in the bathroom but the really difficult part was going to be getting from that sink cabinet, past the shower, and up to the shelf above the rear bunk. On the right hand side of that shelf is a square piece of wood covering a void between the back wall of the bathroom and the back of the TT. It was in the area of this void that I wanted to drill through from the outside and mount the camera. I carefully pulled that piece of wood off and it looked like this (in this photo I already have the camera cable run) Ė


Next I went in the bathroom and figured out that the angled section of wall behind the toilet was only nailed on and was already hiding several wires and the black tank vent. I carefully pulled that section of wall off and drilled a hole next to the tank vent at ceiling level. I now had a wire run from the shelf above the rear bunk to the floor of the bathroom. It looked like this -


At floor level in the bathroom I was able to pass the cable through an existing hole so it was again behind the back wall of the bathroom. Now for the hard part which was feeding it past the tub and around to the sink cabinet. I took off the small cover at the base of the shower tub and looked around inside.


I was able to see where the heater duct and other wiring went back behind the tub so I knew it was possible but I just couldnít get my arms in there to reach. I got my electrical fish tape and fed it through the existing hole next to the vent pipe at floor level. It proved to be too difficult so I took off the heater duct and worked through there instead. In the photo you can see where the existing wires go through next to the vent pipe and you can also see the fish tape curving around behind the toilet towards the open vent hole.


I was able to feed it all the way over to the outer wall of the trailer, I could even see it, but I still just couldnít reach it. I went back to the toolbox and grabbed my mechanical fingers. I was able to get them in there far enough to grab the end of the fish tape and pull it towards me. Once out I tied a piece of string to the fish tape and pulled it and the string back out behind the toilet. I was then able to tie the string to the camera cable and pull it through. It was difficult but the hard part was now done.


While laying on my side, wedged in the door of the bathroom, struggling to catch the fish tape with the mechanical fingers, my helper decided to jump on and see what daddy was doing.


Once the cable was under the bathroom sink itís easy to route it all the way to the front of the trailer where the TV wiring pigtail comes through the floor. I went from the sink cabinet, to under the refrigerator, past the water pump, and underneath the couch. From the couch I fed it up through the water heater compartment and then finally to the forward compartment below the table seating. I didnít need to drill any holes and this part of the project only took a couple minutes.








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Old 04-13-2016, 02:58 PM   #2
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Once fed through the hole alongside the TV pigtail I used plastic wire ties to run it up to the mounting bracket I mounted below the propane tank tray.








With that part all done I located and drilled the holes for the camera itself. I wanted it to be higher, above the marker lights, but that would have meant penetrating the rear wall of the trailer above the level of the ceiling. I couldnít see up there and didnít want to take anything else apart so I settled on mounting the camera just below the center marker light. I taped off the hole before drilling.


I then fabricated a block to back up the camera bolts but still allow the cable to pass through.




Instead of nuts and washers I used these little threaded inserts in the block. This allowed me to tighten the camera screws by myself without the need for someone to hold a wrench in the trailer.


The camera mounted.



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Old 04-13-2016, 02:59 PM   #3
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As mentioned earlier the camera has options for mirrored/standard image and grid lines on or off. I knew I needed the mirrored image function but I was unsure about the grid lines. I plan to have this on at all times while driving and not just while in reverse and I thought the grid lines might be distracting. After thinking about it for a bit I realized I donít have to choose a permanent solution. To turn the grid lines on you cut a small wire on the camera cable. I took that wire and installed a switch instead so if I ever change my mind I can easily turn the grid lines on or off.




With the camera mounted and the TT side all done I moved my attention to the TV. I decided I didnít want to use the included mounting bracket but instead wanted to mount to camera connector in the bumper similar to the trailer wiring plug. I located and drilled a hole then mounted the plug.


The finished product looks pretty decent although I might paint the plug cover black someday so it doesnít stand out so much.


This is what it looks like when itís all hooked up.




I ran the wires along the frame being careful not to come too close to the exhaust or any of the suspension components. In my Ram there was a plastic plug in the body structure below the passenger seat foot well area (sorry, no pictures). I was able to drill through this plug and feed the cable through after pulling up some carpeting. Once through the hole I removed the kick panel and fed the wires up behind the glove box. I tied into the power wiring for the 12v outlet in the center console for both the camera and the monitor. This circuit is already fused so no need for that and I opted not to install an on/off switch. The monitor and camera will normally be unplugged anyway. Once done making all the connections I drilled a hole in the back of the upper glove box assembly, installed a rubber grommet, and pulled my wires through.

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Old 04-13-2016, 02:59 PM   #4
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To mount the monitor I went to my Ram dealer and bought a second rubber mat for the otherwise useless compartment above the radio.


I glued the base of the monitor mount to this mat. Since the mat fit in the space perfectly it doesnít allow any movement fore or aft or side to side. The monitor does shake a bit but I left it in place over a week of driving and it didnít fall out even during hard braking, acceleration, or sharp turns.




When weíre done with it we simply throw it in the glove box and install the original rubber mat.


I know this got really long but I hope it helps someone do the project themselves. If you do take it on feel free to ask me any questions. Iím very happy with how it turned out and I definitely recommend the products I used. Thanks for reading.
Ryan
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Old 04-13-2016, 05:17 PM   #5
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Very nice write up. Thank you for taking the time to share the details.
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Old 04-14-2016, 08:55 PM   #6
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One great writeup and one great project.
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Old 04-20-2016, 05:36 PM   #7
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I have a 23B also, so this intrigued me to read. I was just wondering if there was some reason why you chose to to the interior cable run through the trailer. Wouldn't it have been much easier to run it along the frame/chassis, externally? I'm sure there's some logic to it that I'm missing, but I figured I'd ask.
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