How to hardwire a reverse camera

 

I don’t know how common this is, but if you have a reverse camera that comes with a cig socket as the intended power supply, or a USB-A port or similar, then you might want to know how to hardwire a reverse camera.

Knowing how to hardwire a reverse camera means that you can run the cable to your desired power source and not be dictated by needing to find a USB socket or cig socket to plug into, maybe those sockets could be better used elsewhere?

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Affiliate links are present on this page. Through partnerships with, but not limited to: Amazon, eBay and Commission Factory, I will make a small commission through qualifying purchases. This comes at no extra cost to you and is just a way for me to try and support myself and the blog.  Thank you.

The problem

 

I purchased the Gator GRV90MKT reverse camera (ebay) to help me see behind the car, as part of the 4WD build I had stuck a canopy on the car and therefore couldn’t see a thing.

I even had to buy the extension cable (ebay) because the included cable was about 400mm too short.

Then there was the issue of the Mazda BT-50 not having power outlets that were switched off with the ignition, which made this cig socket power adaptor that the reverse camera came with useless for me.

I had to figure out how to hardwire a reverse camera, luckily it was not too hard at all.

Firstly, I needed to find out where to pick up an ignition feed, which is covered in this post here. This is so the camera turns off with the car.

Then I needed to get the camera working, the problem here is that I didn’t want to just change a cig socket to come on with accessories, it looks ugly having this reverse camera plugged in all the time. I wanted all the wiring to be hidden.

What you need to hardwire a Gator reverse camera

 

Depending on the reverse camera that you want to hardwire this may be a little bit different, but for the Gator GRV90MKT camera, it is supplied via that charging adaptor above, this drops the voltage from 12 volts down to 5 volts.

The reason for this is that USB uses 5 volt power. After this it supplies the camera with the mini USB connector.

So how to hardwire a reverse camera? Do the same thing and drop the voltage to 5 volts.

You can still use the reverse camera without that stupid cig socket design, you just need to copy what they have done.

Power source

 

Run your power source up into the roof space near where the camera will mount over the existing rear view mirror. We can make a join here.

Have the power source connect to an ignition powered relay so that the camera doesn’t drain your battery.

You can power this off a secondary battery, but usually a starter battery will be easier and closer.

The power draw of this camera is 2 amps at 5 volts, which is about 1 amp at 12 volts.

You can get away with quite small cables here, depending on the overall circuit length of course, a fuse size of 3-5 amps would be sufficient for this reverse camera if it is on its own circuit.

*Affiliates Disclosure

Affiliate links are present on this page. Through partnerships with, but not limited to: Amazon, eBay and Commission Factory, I will make a small commission through qualifying purchases. This comes at no extra cost to you and is just a way for me to try and support myself and the blog.  Thank you.

Voltage correction

 

As you can see we need 5 volts.

This can be achieved with a simple 12 volt to 5 volt step down adaptor like this one, or if in Australia you could head to Jaycar and buy an adaptor like this.

All we need to do is connect the 12 volt power supply to one end of this adaptor (make sure it’s the correct end) and then we chop the included cig socket to USB mini adaptor that is included so we can use that USB mini connection into the camera.

The other end, now chopped, connects to the 5 volt output of the adaptor that we have purchased.

This dropping down of voltage is all you really need to know about how to hardwire a reverse camera, a lot of people try hook them up to 12 volts, but that is camera dependant, some need a 5 volt supply.

12 volt power coming in split tubing, two joins at adaptor, from adaptor to mini usb camera port.

The install

 

That’s all there is to know about how to hardwire a reverse camera, now just fit the camera and try to make the cables neat. If your mirror has a casing, I suggest notching the side of it so the camera cables are partially hidden.

As seen below, there are two cables to the camera: the camera visual feed and the power source.

Both can fit through a notch in your rear view mirror plastics and be tied in nicely, from the front on view you can barely see the cords at all.

Alternative way to hardwire gator reverse camera

 

If you don’t want to buy a step down transformer, you can always buy the Gator hardwiring kit (ebay), check your camera’s compatibility before buying, but this does the same thing and costs more money.

It does come with tap-a-fuse style connectors (again, cheaper when not in the kit), but I much prefer running cables from my Blue Sea Safety Hub 150 and powering things via a hardwired ignition relay.

I also prefer paying about $20 for the step down transformer (ebay) than $70-80 for the hardwiring kit.

Now you know how to hardwire a reverse camera!

 

Easy right?

This job isn’t hard, I just wanted to highlight the fact that you may need to purchase a small voltage step down convertor if your camera is powered by a USB connection.

The rest of it, choosing where and how to power that feed is entirely up to you, but now you know how to hardwire a reverse camera and can see the benefits, aesthetically it looks so much better.

This whole cig socket power source concept is ugly and it doesn’t look factory or professional at all in my opinion.

Anyway, hope this helped, thanks for reading!

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