Software & Hardware Reviews

Educational, Business and Entertainment Software Reviews

January 2016 . Vol. 22 No. 1

Recent Software Reviews

April 2015--TurboTax® Personal & Small Business 2014 Federal & State Returns plus Federal E-File
March 2015--Vipre® Internet Security 2015 from ThreatTrack Security
February 2015--Presence: A Fee Free Home Security System with Video Monitoring from People Power
January 2015--The Incredible Foldscope(TM)--an Orgami-based Optical Microscope from Prakash Lab, Stanford University
December 2014---The Best Paranormal Apps for Your Apple or Android Device
November 2014--Royalty Free Stock Photos and Images from US Government Sources
October 2014--Best Free Streaming Music/Audio/Video Apps for iPhone and Android Devices
September 2014--Some of the Latest and Greatest iPad/iPhone/Android/iPod Touch Apps

Installing and Testing Your Car Rear View Backup Camera

By Howard Berenbon

In December 2015, I covered the rear view backup camera market listing several inexpensive systems I found listed on eBay and Amazon.  After reviewing the various options, and installation procedures relating to my cars, I decided to order two backup camera kits with night vision (camera and monitor with remote) from the seller himalayan8848 (see photo below), just $39 with free shipping.  Since I often have difficulty seeing when backing up, especially at night, I picked a system with a night vision LEDs and a 7” video display for viewing.  The camera is water proof with a resolution of 648x488 pixels and 420 TV lines.  The video display is a TFT LCD color monitor with a resolution of 480 x 234 pixels and two video inputs.  The camera has a combination power (12 VDC) and video out cable.  It also includes a 16 ft. video cable with RCA plugs.  I had to supply my own power cable (two wires) that I routed from the rear through the side molding, then under the driver’s seat to the center console, just behind the dashboard. 


If you wanted to go with a wireless system, for around $56, visit the eBay store usaokeba.

Camera Mounted Inside the Rear Hatch

Then I mounted the camera on the ceiling with Velcro and two screws about 6 inches from the rear hatch window (see photo). 


I wired the video display and camera, plus and minus wires (red and black) to a cigarette lighter power connector plug for testing. I did not plan to wire the camera power to the rear backup lights (to power on the camera when the car is in reverse). I decided I would switch on the system from a cigarette lighter plug with a power switch at the dashboard (I ordered the switchable plug on eBay).  My setup allowed power to the camera without putting my car in reverse, and eliminated messing with the tail light wiring.  I then powered up the system, and low and behold, the camera worked!  In the 7” display I could see out my back window, driveway and the rest of the world (okay, just the house across the street--see photo 2).


It was daytime, and everything looked right.  You can see the backup guide lines, red, yellow, and green, down my driveway, built into the camera optics. A few hours later I powered up the system at night, but it wasn’t as good as expected (see photo 3).


I guessed that the night vision LEDs didn’t work too well within the car, and you could see a reflection off my rear window.

Camera Mounted on the Outside

So, I went to plan B, that is mounting the camera outside the car, but that was not an easy task, if you installed the camera behind the car license plate as recommended.  It’s just not easy to mount in that spot, and it’s even harder to run the wires from back to front.  But I had a plan C for simplicity (okay plan S). First I removed the metal bracket (4 tiny screws) and I mounted the camera on top of the bumper just in front of the rear hatch with duck tape and Velcro. Then I ran the wire through the hatch and under the spare tire compartment.  A quick test proved that the trunk/hatch could close over the cable safely, without compressing or damaging the insulated wires.  No drilling, cutting or disassembling the hatch/trunk.  Success! See photos: camera on the bumper, rear view day and a very clear night view.




For more information on backup cameras visit Amazon or eBay and search for Car Reverse Backup Camera System.  You’ll find a ton of systems with video display and camera, or pick your camera and video display separately.  After installing the 7” monitor in my car, I found it didn’t fit the way I wanted, so I ordered a slightly smaller 4.3” LCD display.  Cost from China, a mere $12 US.  Before installing my system, I called my favorite Pontiac/Buick dealer for an installation estimate (I own a Pontiac Vibe, AKA Toyota Matrix—the Vibe was built in the Toyota factory).  They estimated 3 hours minimum for the installation at $100 an hour, so I opted to do it myself.

Various systems from a number of suppliers are available on or, starting at around $29 and up to $220 (or more) and include LCD color monitors from 4.3" to 7" and high resolution cameras with or without night vision capability. The video signal can be either hard wired through your vehicle to the monitor on your dashboard, or transmitted using a wireless module and received at the LCD display. The wireless feature makes the installation easier, and adds only about $10 or $20 to the cost of the system. However, a wireless system can have reception problems while hard wiring the video is more reliable.

Below is short list of the various backup camera systems available via Amazon and eBay

Click to Visit eBay

Backup Camera and Monitor Kit For Car,Universal Waterproof Rear-view License Plate Car Rear Backup Camera + 4.3 LCD Rear View Monitor--$29.99

Product Details

Pyle PLCM7500 Car Vehicle Backup Camera & Monitor Parking Assistance System, Waterproof, Night Vision, 7'' Display--$76.80

Product Details

4.3" TFT LCD Car Rear View Backup Parking Monitor + Reverse Camera Night Vision--$28.87. Click to Visit eBay

4.3' TFT LCD Car Rear View Backup Parking Monitor + Reverse Camera Night Vision

7" TFT LCD Car Rear View Backup Monitor+Reverse Parking Night Vision Camera Kit--$39.99. Click to Visit eBay

7' TFT LCD Car Rear View Backup Monitor+Reverse Parking Night Vision Camera Kit

AGPtek Night Vision CMOS Wide Angle Rear View Camera with 4.3-Inch TFT LCD Screen and Back up License Plate--$39.99

Product Details


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