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Old 01-04-2008, 06:16 PM   #1
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Like many others with the Weldex system I have been plagued with intermittent operation of the rear camera. Both the rear camera and monitor have been replaced and still the problems persisted. Even when working the rear camera performance was not as good as the left or right camera. Several weeks ago I noticed that the image was much better with the engine not running and that shook the cobwebs from my brain. After several weeks of diving deeply into the Weldex monitor, cameras, cabling and power I have determined that, at best, the rear view camera is operating on the ragged edge and is only working marginally. What I have found is:

1. The 12v power delivered to the camera is VERY noisy and has a 2v drop. I dusted off my oscilloscope and verified the noise and voltage drop.

2. The composite video is also very noisy. The cable has very little shielding and the cable routing is horrible. Every RF and broadcast engineering rule was broken in terms of RF cabling.

Like others, I was seriously considering replacing the system with something else but always felt the resolution, color saturation and general image quality was really pretty good on the left/right system (they also suffer from noise on the power and RF cabling). So, I decided to see if I could improve the environmental issues (power, induced noise and cabling routing and noise shielding).

What I did:
1. Bought some new connectors.
2. Supplied 12v power from the rear of the coach through a relay that was controlled by the Weldex.
3. Filtered the 12v power supplied to camera
4. Improved the quality of 12v supplied to Weldex through filtering.
5. Before I spent considerable time in installing video cable I ran a temporary quad shielded RG6 cable from the Weldex monitor to the rear camera. DW really twisted off tripping over 60 ft of cable.

Results:
1. Image quality vastly improved and better than the right/left video.
2. Little if any difference in video quality whether the engine is on or off.
3. 12v noise is gone and voltage drop is nil
4. Virtually no noise on RG6
5. No image drops or distortion but have not really done enough testing to say the problem is solved.

Conclusion:
Both Monaco and Weldex did a crappy job of Engineering. Excess cable is simply gathered or shoved under other wiring. The Weldex cabling is crap and should have been much better shielded and heavier. I think properly engineered for the harsh environment of a MH the Weldex system would perform very well. The monitor and cameras are really pretty good quality but the lack of engineering and installation discipline in addition to very poor quality cabling cripples it.

mark
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Old 01-04-2008, 06:16 PM   #2
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Like many others with the Weldex system I have been plagued with intermittent operation of the rear camera. Both the rear camera and monitor have been replaced and still the problems persisted. Even when working the rear camera performance was not as good as the left or right camera. Several weeks ago I noticed that the image was much better with the engine not running and that shook the cobwebs from my brain. After several weeks of diving deeply into the Weldex monitor, cameras, cabling and power I have determined that, at best, the rear view camera is operating on the ragged edge and is only working marginally. What I have found is:

1. The 12v power delivered to the camera is VERY noisy and has a 2v drop. I dusted off my oscilloscope and verified the noise and voltage drop.

2. The composite video is also very noisy. The cable has very little shielding and the cable routing is horrible. Every RF and broadcast engineering rule was broken in terms of RF cabling.

Like others, I was seriously considering replacing the system with something else but always felt the resolution, color saturation and general image quality was really pretty good on the left/right system (they also suffer from noise on the power and RF cabling). So, I decided to see if I could improve the environmental issues (power, induced noise and cabling routing and noise shielding).

What I did:
1. Bought some new connectors.
2. Supplied 12v power from the rear of the coach through a relay that was controlled by the Weldex.
3. Filtered the 12v power supplied to camera
4. Improved the quality of 12v supplied to Weldex through filtering.
5. Before I spent considerable time in installing video cable I ran a temporary quad shielded RG6 cable from the Weldex monitor to the rear camera. DW really twisted off tripping over 60 ft of cable.

Results:
1. Image quality vastly improved and better than the right/left video.
2. Little if any difference in video quality whether the engine is on or off.
3. 12v noise is gone and voltage drop is nil
4. Virtually no noise on RG6
5. No image drops or distortion but have not really done enough testing to say the problem is solved.

Conclusion:
Both Monaco and Weldex did a crappy job of Engineering. Excess cable is simply gathered or shoved under other wiring. The Weldex cabling is crap and should have been much better shielded and heavier. I think properly engineered for the harsh environment of a MH the Weldex system would perform very well. The monitor and cameras are really pretty good quality but the lack of engineering and installation discipline in addition to very poor quality cabling cripples it.

mark
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Old 01-05-2008, 03:11 AM   #3
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Thanks for the info Mark, I have noticed the poor quality also but have not had a chance to look into things. I am an electrical engineer so I follow what you have done. The only bear here is running new cable from the camera to the dash. Did you try things with and without the new cable to get a feel for how much difference the cable makes? The other items you mentioned are very doable.

Bob
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Old 01-05-2008, 04:54 AM   #4
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Mark,

You went above and beyond what a typical owner would do to resolve that problem, but it sounds like it really paid off.

I hope you share your results with Monaco. It sounds like a less expensive fix than replacing the entire system with the Voyager system. (Yeah, I know, their engineers should be smart enough to figure it out on their own, but....)
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Old 01-05-2008, 05:57 AM   #5
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Bob,
Looking back I should have been a little more methodical to fully characterize the video cables impact. That said, I think the very poor shielding stops very little induced noise from the coaches electrical system, especially the inverter, alternator and the fluorescent lights which was confirmed by the o'scope. I could not figure out a way to effectively measure video loss in the center conductor but judging from the very small size and length of the center conductor I feel it attenuates the signal a lot. I think I have found a pretty simple route on the road side from the front to the cap and I think routing up the cap will be the real challenge. If the DW lets me keep the current cable route the field test will be our 4 week SE US trip toward the first of Feb.
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Old 01-05-2008, 06:01 AM   #6
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Rob,
I'm sure the MCC engineers are smart enough but I doubt they would spend the engineering $$ to fix the problem. It's probably cheaper to throw another system at it.
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Old 01-05-2008, 03:42 PM   #7
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My hat's off to you, Mark, for a terrific job well-done, in addition to a great write-up. Looks like it's already inspired a few others to follow in your footsteps (and that's a lot of what we're all about here).
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Old 01-05-2008, 05:45 PM   #8
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Ronboc,

glad to hear you are alive and well. good to hear from you. Want to talk to you sometime about adding a projector. 32" is ok for the weather but not for movies.
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Old 01-06-2008, 02:45 AM   #9
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Mark,
Great job on fixing the problem. On mine they replaced the system which is good and bad. Based on the troubleshooting that was done prior to replacing the system I think the main problem is the cable from the rear camera.

Monaco had run new grounds to all components and that cleared up the static and the backup camera quit fadding but would still go black at times. So the only major thing left was the cable.

When they ran the new cable for the Voyager system they came down the back cap in the area of the oil dip stick. The cable was then routed down the center of the chassis to a 4 " tube that runs over the storage bay on the curb side. To get into the front cap they came over to the street side and into the area under the dash by going through the same hole as the old video cables.

Hope the routing info helps
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Old 01-06-2008, 05:37 AM   #10
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Dave,
Yes, the routing information helps a bunch. I had not looked at the cap and this will save me a lot of time.
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Old 01-06-2008, 11:57 AM   #11
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Mark,

I never put a scope on it, but the cable plugging and unplugging debug on my Weldex pointed to the cable being the problem with my rear-view camera too.

Lazydays actually went to the effort of replacing the cable to try and fix the problem. It made a difference but it was only a marginal fix. At the time it never occured to me to ask them to use something better than the replacement cable they got from Monaco, or to suggest how they should route it.

If a major portion of the degradation is due to crummy power, I wonder if the addition of a small 12VDC regulator (isolator?) would help if it were located near the camera housing? It might be possible to make one as an inline plug-in.

It sounded like you did everything possible, but was there a 90% solution that might be most easily implemented?

Dave
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Old 01-06-2008, 12:27 PM   #12
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Dave,
Everything I did was cumulative but filtering the power helped quite a bit. It reduced the jitter and tearing that sometimes happens. It is warm and if I get a chance I may reconnect the original video but leave the 12v fix and see how it does. Should not be too hard to do since everything I did was temporary. The 12v needs to be cleaned up on both ends but needs it the most on the camera end. The 12v to the cameras is provided by the Weldex monitor which has a little filtering in the little box on the 12v wire. That box has the fuse and a simple filter to clean up the 12v. The problem is while the 12v is cleaned up by the monitor by the time it reaches the rear camera it is degraded. The roughly 60 ft of cable has a very small guage 12v and drops about 2v over the 60 ft and has all kinds of noise added. I installed a little relay (actually a Bosch headlight relay) and provided 12v to the rear camera derived from the toad connector.
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Old 01-12-2008, 02:37 AM   #13
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Hey Mark -

Where are you now with the camera/monitor job? Have you come to any conclusions as to what may (or may not) be the issue(s)? I know there's been quite a bit of discussion of late by several other folks on the same subject and I was wondering if it has brought to light any clearer (no puns intended) paths or ideas.

I'd lived with the flickering on mine since new (a replacement monitor did nothing), and had been blaming it all on noise on the 12v or video lines but never got around to scoping 'em out (thanks for doing my work for me ). (BTW, my KVH satellite done couldn't track satellites until I used a separate 110-12v filter supply, the KVH factory said they'd had lots of issues with noisy bus-wiring). I wanted to fix the camera, but it was always sorta down on the joblist.

However, your experimentation got me fired up again, right about the time the rear-camera went out on the way home this week. It'd go out for maybe 1-3 minutes then come back, then repeat. Never though to check the side ones (I never use 'em anyways, they're just bug-catchers), so I don't know if it is a system problem or more isolated.

I'm coming in late to the fray, but very willing to trade ideas/experiments/solutions/frustration with anyone.

Ron



Oh - and let's not get started with the projector project yet, ok? I was in BestBuy yesterday (I love that place, and they just opened one less than 2 minutes from home!!!) and saw the latest plasma with a Blu-Ray player. The image was over-the-top incredible. I've never seen such clarity anywhere.
We were in a Marathon (I know, I'm bad) at a recent RV Show and it had a large plasma mounted in a slide-down slot along the curbside wall. It was turned off, but I'm sure it had a Blu-Ray compatible input. Drop in a set of Magnapans and I'd be in heaven.... until the first payment came due. The coach was over $2.5mil.
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Old 01-12-2008, 04:23 AM   #14
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Ron,
Not any chance to play with it this week. I was closing (selling) on a house and boat we own on Padre Island by Corpus Christi.
I am in the midst of moving the monitor to the left of the steering wheel. Something that has my interest is the connector on the monitor. It is held on by a spring clip that looks like it works itself loose. Mine worked itself loose and the slightest jiggle caused the video to disappear. I found a way to better secure it. Not sure if this is a root cause for malfunction but certainly contributes to some malfunctions.
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