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Old 08-11-2007, 05:15 PM   #1
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Has anyone tried to cobble together a cheap bumper camera to aid alignment of the hitch coupler and ball? Seems to me it wouldn't take too much money or hacking to produce a camera and dash screen combo.
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Old 08-11-2007, 05:15 PM   #2
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Has anyone tried to cobble together a cheap bumper camera to aid alignment of the hitch coupler and ball? Seems to me it wouldn't take too much money or hacking to produce a camera and dash screen combo.
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Old 08-12-2007, 12:07 PM   #3
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When I had my bumper pull trailer, i place a piece of Black electricle tape on the tail gate and another on the front of the trailer, when two lined up I then knew I was straight in line, the other thing I would do is mark where the rear tire of my tow vehicle was when I unhooked, this would give me a point of reference for stopping.
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Old 08-12-2007, 06:23 PM   #4
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Buy a "hitch-mate" from rvupgrades.com It works amazingly well. The tennis balls are luminescent at night too.
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Old 08-13-2007, 04:16 PM   #5
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Thanks for these suggestions! For years I have used a homemade mirror device that sits on my tailgate. It works almost flawlessly. But I was thinking that an old digital camera could be dismantled and used for the eye as well as the display. I would think it could be done on the cheap too. I was hoping to avoid mistakes by learning from someone else's project.
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Old 08-25-2007, 07:10 AM   #6
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If you want to use a video camera, check out http://www.supercircuits.com/
They have some amazingly cheap video cameras. All you need is that and some kind of small monitor and you can watch what you want.
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Old 09-01-2007, 09:30 PM   #7
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I have seen at Wal-Mart in the automotive area on the display for car radios a remote video camera with monitor for $100.00. Have not decided if I want to add it to help hitch the fifth wheel (crew cab and tool box) or to the back of the trailer for backing, O heck for $200.00 get both.
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Old 09-02-2007, 10:10 AM   #8
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The VR3 type wireless systems for under a $100 at Walmart or Costco are a low cost way to experiment. Some folks have problems with the wireless and interference or bad signal but many do OK. These also have a very small monitor.

You can find wired systems on E-Bay etc for $150 and up. The cameras run about $30-$50 and a 7" LCD monitor about $150.

Bigger monitors are better for older eyesight, I think! ;-) - the 7" seems to be very common for backup cameras. You can also find some that do double duty as a backup mirror. These run about 8W power draw and are widescreen with something like 480x234 resolution or better.

Often the cameras take power off the backup lights lead and the monitor has a signal lead that will turn it on with the backup lights, too. That is probably to meet legal requirements in some places that forbid monitors in the driver's view while on the road. Put the vehicle in reverse and the system lights up for you automatically.

Cameras are usually 350-400 lines resolution. NTSC (old style TV) composite signal is usually the method used to send the signal to the monitor. Many monitors accept multiple inputs and have menu selections for switching the view left to right or top to bottom so you can adjust for your camera positioning or for mirror or straight view.

For a hitch cam, you can use the cigarette lighter to power things up. The video is a 75 ohm RCA jack cable that can run up to 60' or more if needed. Camera power is usually under 200 mA so its not much of a problem.

You could also use a camera to supplement your mirrors to help eliminate blind spots or to assist in backing up the rig.

There are cameras with mounts that work as license plate frames, mounts so they can be put on the side of the rig looking towards the rear, and pinhole mounts. Monitors will often have a standard tripod screw so they can be attached to a pedestal or otherwise mounted securely.

have fun!
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Old 09-05-2007, 06:21 PM   #9
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Actually, I tried this back in the spring. Bought a cheap video cam for the laptop, extra long USB cable & mounted it temp to the PU bumper.
DW had her doubts, but I pulled the ball right under the hitch w/a couple tries.
Worst part for me, the glare off the screen on the laptop made me switch my self-induced plan to the "mirror-mode"
I'll be perfecting that idea soon (I hope).
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Old 09-10-2007, 08:28 AM   #10
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I like a piece of electronics as much as anyone but there is a cheaper and easier way. You can get a convex mirror which mounts on the back glass(SUV)or tailgate(truck) for around $30. I can hit the ball every time with this little gimmick and recommend it highly.
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Old 09-20-2007, 05:22 PM   #11
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BryanL thanks for the info, I knew there had to be a reason the where only $100.00.

Thanks Paul
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Old 10-10-2007, 06:20 AM   #12
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I too purchased 2 of the el cheapo vid cammeras from Wally

I use the old rear view monitor from my last MH
has two vidio inputs.

One cam is mounted high on the rear roof of the TT,
this assists me in pulling into the turtle lane and watching for
"sneakers" - people who sit on your bummer getting a "tow".

The other is on my tail gate handle, looking down it see's my hitch ball.
I used two spring type hand clamps and small piece of plex for the mount.
I remove it when parked.

We use a laptop for our GPS so we already had the inverter to power the units.
Very handy.
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Old 11-10-2008, 02:10 PM   #13
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I just ran across a back-up camera and decided to purchase it for use in hitch alignment. It $69 in my area with a $10 mail-in rebate. I haven't had time to install it but I will soon. I plan to mount the camera on my truck for now. It's designed to be mounted on the license plate. Later (spring) I will most likely put the camera on my TT tank cover so that the view is more vertical. Then I can put the sending unit inside the cover and use a toggle switch to power it up. It is designed to power on via the vehicle reverse light wiring. The store display was in color and was surprisingly clear. I have read some positive reviews and only a very few, minor negative points. The price was right! Look here to see it http://www.partsamerica.com/productdetail.aspx?MfrCode=...MfrPartNumber=PKC0RA
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Old 11-12-2008, 12:31 AM   #14
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I bought an inexpensive $40 wireless camera a few years ago to use as a back up camera. It was color with IR LEDs for night-vision. I mounted the camera on a HD magnet, with a thin piece of felt to protect the paint on the tail gate. While the camera was designed for 12V power, a 9V transistor battery ran it fine. I mounted the receiver on the rear window of the truck and connected it to the I/O box for my hard-wired Pioneer GPS. The Pioneer had a button on the front of the display to toggle between the navigation display and the backup camera. It worked great and the picture was excellent, even at night.

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