Reversing Cameras - & the rest

Discussion in 'Tech/Mech General' started by TheCaller, Nov 9, 2013.

  1. TheCaller

    TheCaller Funster

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    I have a 6.4m long Fiat Ducato based PVC. No internal rear view mirror. The outside mirrors give a pretty good view of the road behind, but you can't see the rear corners of the van - anything behind the rear wheels is a bit of a guessing game & as it's the Maxi body, that leaves quite a bit of guessing.

    Parking at home involves a very narrow alleyway with an angled approach to the entrance and/or straight forward (!) parallel parking into a gap in a row of parked cars. If someone has parked a small hatchback badly (i.e. 6" off the curb), it completely disappears from view.

    So - I need a reversing camera. But where to put the monitor?

    The Fiat dashboard doesn't have a flat surface anywhere. In addition to the difficulty of mounting something on it, aesthetically it's going to look pretty terrible. I'm not sure windscreen suction mounts are suitable for anything bigger than the very small SatNav screens - not sure how long a decent size monitor would stay on. Also, I really don't want to have to dismantle everything & hide it away every time I park - I use the van more like a car, so it's not just parked for camping on site.

    Where the '& the rest' of the title comes in is that I'm also considering a better SatNav. While I had my VW T4 camper, I managed pretty well with one or other of the free navigation tools on my smartphone. Google & Waze both work pretty well, but I wouldn't mind something a bit more sophisticated & with a bigger screen. Anyway, at the moment, I'm still trying to work out how & where to mount my phone - there isn't anywhere very obvious.

    Finally the radio. The van has what is I imagine is a standard Fiat fitting. Basic FM with presets, a single CD slot & that's about it. To be honest, I haven't investigated it very closely because listening to the radio is pretty low on my list of priorities. But DAB would be nice - when I do have the radio on, it's often one of the digital only stations.

    Two solutions spring to mind. I could fit a reversing camera monitor where the internal rear view mirror would be. That still leaves the SatNav as a separate screen. I haven't seen anyone suggest sending the SatNav output to a mirror mounted monitor.

    The other option would be to replace the existing radio with one of these all-in-one integrated systems, combining camera monitor, SatNav & DAB radio all in one. Not cheap, but no more expensive than buying a quality monitor, SatNav & DAB radio separately. Not that I would bother buying a new radio at the moment if I went for separates. As an example, VanBitz do a nice Pioneer console mounted system.

    So I'm keen to hear of your experiences.

    1. Are the all-in-one solutions too much of a compromise, not doing any single job as well as a good quality stand alone item would?

    2. Is a centre console mounted unit too far out of sight lines? Presumably no more so than a normal rear view mirror, but are those of you with centrally mounted SatNavs happy with them? The Fiat mounting point is towards the top of the console.

    3. Is a twin camera set-up worthwhile, one camera showing an always-on view of the road behind, with the other one kicking in for reversing & showing the area immediatly behind the bumper?

    4. Anyone got the Ventura Pro, in one of it's various guises (Caravan Club etc)? Is it much better than other systems? It is now available with built in DAB radio, doubles as a TV if you really want it to & I assume will accept reversing camera input.

    It will have to be stuck on the dash somehow, so won't look as nice as something integrated into the console, but will it do a better job?

    Any advice you can give or experience you can share will be gratefully received.
     
  2. GJH

    GJH Funster Life Member

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    We had a system fitted by Dave Newell in August, Camos automatic tilting camera plus a 7" widescreen monitor. The monitor (which can be removed so that scroats don't think it is a sat nav and break in to pinch it) is mounted at the RHS of the dash. It isn't in the way, is easy to use to check behind and we are very pleased with it. See extra notes Here.

    We use a TomTom Go 820 Sat Nav and a Trucker's Atlas rather than a Snooper system. See Here to see how it is mounted (photo actually shows a mount for a previous device).
     
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  3. peterc10

    peterc10 Funster

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    My 7" screen on my new camera system is mounted on the right of the steering wheel just above and partly in front of the vent. It uses the mount from the screen from my old system which seems to be bolted onto the vent in some way. But it came with a mount with flexible feet that can be glued to a curved surface - if I had of used it I would have put it just behind the vent again on the right of the steering wheel.

    You can get systems where the screen fits over your existing rear view mirror (if you still have one). Have a look at this site where I got my system from.

    As for a mount for your phone you can't do any better than a Brodit mount in my opinion. I have used them in my last 4 cars and they do three for the for Ducato depending upon where you want to put it. I use a paid for sat nav app on my phone called Sygic - it is very good.
     
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  4. Minxy Girl

    Minxy Girl Funster Life Member

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    Hi Caller, I'll try to offer my experience/advice where I can!

     
  5. TheCaller

    TheCaller Funster

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    Many thanks to all three of you - some really good ideas there.

    Graham - that clipboard in the dashboard clip idea produced a real 'now why didn't I think of that' moment! Mine doesn't sit level like yours does, but suction mounts all have adjustable mounts, so no problem. Suction mounts don't work on modern dashboards - all fancy textured plastics now, but clip a piece of smooth plastic board in the clip & hopefully all sorted. Easy to remove as well.

    I'll work my way through all the other ideas & suggestions in detail & have a think how they will work for me. One of the reasons I need a good system is that I don't have anyone else who can leap out & have a look for me - or read a map reliably.

    If anyone else has any thoughts, please do chip in.
     
  6. Chipster

    Chipster Funster Life Member

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    Watching this post with interest as it's something I've been thinking about as well.
    At the moment I,m favouring this all in one unit-

    http://www.carcommunications.co.uk/...av-navigation-cd-dvd-bluetooth-6.2-lcd-stereo

    It's switchable for a 2 way camera, has dab options and a custom fit for the fiat dash. Not yet sussed if it will be possible to upload different poi's (like the French aires for example) but I think it may be with the additional software available on the zenec site. I know snooper is not flexible with additional poi files, you have to get them to do it for you.
     
  7. TheBig1

    TheBig1 Funster Life Member

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    one point to remember with built in satnav systems is the lack of use POIs such as campsites etc on most systems.

    we have a screen that clips over the rear view mirror with dual camera inputs. only cost about £40 - £50. the cables are hidden in the headlining with power and video ending in one plug so no unsightly cables if i take the screen out for security

    again another tomtom user. we have the 825 live which gives updates on traffic as well as lane guidance and fast rerouting. this is either mounted right of the steering wheel or in the centre clipboard if i need a second pair of eyes to confirm turns when in foreign cities.

    my phone is thrown in the dashboard pocket but connected to the hands free on the radio by bluetooth. I find that mounting the phone in a clip can be distracting if i get a text or the phone flashes etc
     
  8. GJH

    GJH Funster Life Member

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    I wish I'd come up with it but - as said on my web site I got the tip from elsewhere :BigGrin:
     
  9. TheCaller

    TheCaller Funster

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    Thanks. I'll have a look at that one.

    From the Ventura manual:

    3.11 User POI
    The DB8500 comes pre loaded with a number of ‘User POI’s’. You can add additional POI(Points Of Interest) by downloading them to the device via a PC. The User POI Updaterprogram can be downloaded from: https://www.snooperneo.co.uk/Software.cfm. Once the program is installed it will be possible to select additional POI lists for the DB8500

    I read that as allowing bulk upload of user POI files. Maybe it's a recently introduced feature.
     
  10. TheCaller

    TheCaller Funster

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    I think I'm right in saying that they have an offer on at the moment where the map updates are bundled in for free. I'll need to check that carefully. £499 for what it delivers isn't a bad price; at £638 it's starting to sound expensive.

    Their web site & the DB8500 manual are both very vague on the subject of adding a reversing camera, although they do offer them as add-ons. I think one would drop the idea of the dual or tilt cam & just have a single camera for reversing duties only - which is the essential part of what I need. The rear view mirror aspect would be a bonus, but isn't really essential. If the Ventura ticks all the other boxes, I'll settle for that.
     
  11. GJH

    GJH Funster Life Member

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    Snooper have a number of PoI files which they have converted into their format and which can be downloaded from their web site for bulk upload. I don't know what their policy is now but at one time they didn't bother to check accuracy/copyright fully before making them available.

    If you have your own PoI set you have to send it to Snooper to be converted into a format which can be loaded to their devices.
     
  12. TheCaller

    TheCaller Funster

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    Ah - I see. So, 'select additional POI lists' means select from a list on their web site, not from any you might have yourself.

    Not so good. Thanks for that. I am going to email their support service for more info about connecting reversing cameras, so I'll ask for clarification on POI sets too.

    Will report back.
     
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