How to Move a Camera Feed From a Rear View Mirror
Do you have a camera feed that displays an image in your rear view mirror that you don’t want?
In this post I will explain how to move a camera feed from a rear view mirror, this process can be done on any car but wire colours and exact locations will differ.
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How to move the camera feed video
For those who prefer to see everything step by step, this video covers what we cover in this post as well.
Why move it?
There are a number of reasons you might want to know how to move a camera feed from a rear view mirror.
The most common one would be that people want to view the image on a larger screen such as the one in the central media console (head unit).
For me, I installed a reverse camera with a permanent rear view mirror replacement image (eBay), therefor the original image is blocked and I can’t view it.
So although this rear view mirror replacement gives me backwards vision, that camera is mounted up high to mimic a rear view mirror, the low down angle from the original reverse parking camera is still there but inaccessible.
I can no longer see this low down angle as I have a screen placed over the OEM mirror.
Is it a difficult job?
No it is not, but you will need to know a tiny bit about removing the head liner of your car as well as how to make basic electrical connections.
This whole job can be completed in 1-3 hours depending on your experience and your vehicle.
Tools & materials needed
There really isn’t too much required to do this job but some basic hand tools will help.
Socket & spanner set
A good socket and spanner set like this one from Bahco (eBay) will be helpful in removing trim, as you will more than likely need to undo the head liner of the car to access the camera feed cables for testing and joining.
This kit also comes with Torx attachments, but if you prefer you can also just buy a set of Torx bit wrenches (Amazon) and cheap screwdrivers (Amazon) instead. Each car will have different requirements for removing trim.
Cable strippers (Amazon) are handy for stripping the cable without damaging it for those who are not experienced enough to strip by other means. They are idiot proof basically and don’t damage the copper.
Crimpers / Soldering iron
Get a pair of crimpers like this (eBay) with interchangeable heads so that you can use it to join the cables with crimp lugs. Alternatively use a soldering iron and wrap your joints up with tape afterwards.
Alternatively if you prefer you can make your joins with a soldering iron and solder, this butane soldering iron kit (Amazon) comes with enough solder to do the job and has quite good reviews.
RCA extension lead
Get a pack of two RCA extension leads that are about 3 metres long (Amazon).
Buying two is good for those who aren’t confident in case you somehow stuff this up (you shouldn’t though), they are cheap to purchase.
We want a male and female extension, this will get plugged into your head unit while the other end gets chopped.
Get some electrical screw terminal connectors (eBay), this will allow you to securely test the cables with power on for those who don’t own a workshop manual and need to figure out the wire colours.
Also you will need some crimp terminals (Amazon) for the final terminations.
If you want you can get a cheap multimeter (Amazon), this is handy to have in general but I wouldn’t consider it necessary for this job.
Doing The Job
The job is going to be easier for those who own a workshop manual, the only reason for this is that it gives you an idea on the core colours you are looking for, giving you greater confidence before you chop the cables.
But we will go over the process here for those without a workshop manual as it really isn’t that different.
Firstly, make sure that the RCA plug that you have connects to the back of your head unit.
Once we know that it will fit properly we can go ahead with the rest of the job, there’s no point cutting the cables if the RCA cord we have doesn’t match up to the head unit.
Most head units will have a reverse camera feed plug at the rear of the unit that will be labelled as such, so it will be quite easy to identify.
By plugging the RCA plug in we ensure that we don’t chop off the wrong end by accident.
Rear view mirror
Remove the plastics from the rear view mirror to find the plug and cables at the back that feed the rear view camera and get the rear view camera image.
In the example above we have the plug at the top and another plug lower down (this is for rain sensing on this car), if you’re unsure just disconnect both plugs.
We need to disconnect them to get extra length on the cable so that we can do some testing and make our joins at a more comfortable height, especially if using solder.
If you have a workshop manual you can identify the core colours from the manual as shown below. This is vehicle specific and is only shown as an example of how it might help you.
Identifying the cable
Without the workshop manual you can still find the correct wire to cut. You will need to remove things like your visors, grab handles and other trim clips to lower the roof lining (partially to drop it, not to take it all out).
The cable loom is probably taped to the roof lining, rip it off and get some excess length. Amongst the factory loom will be two cores that are wrapped again separately to the rest of the loom, possibly with alfoil tape like seen here.
You don’t need a workshop manual to know that the two cores that are shielded here and twisted together are your video feed from the camera, these are the only cables we want to cut!
They may or may not have this alfoil tape, but they will be segregated in some way and twisted together, but most of the time they will be shielded like this.
We will be cutting these cables and connecting them to the end of the RCA plug that isn’t connected to the head unit. Strip back your RCA cable and you will have something like this.
One of these is the “positive” and the other the “negative” although they are not actually a 12 volt supply or anything, the polarity needs to be right for the image to appear.
Using the electrical connections we bought before, we can touch the exposed ends of the RCA cable on the wire colours using the connectors screw as a test point.
With the car on (and in reverse) one way will provide an image to the head unit, the other will not.
I was able to try out both variations without blowing any fuses or damaging the head unit as this is just a video feed.
If you’re happy with this you can make your join using your preferred method, then make everything electrically sound and put the roof lining back up.
That is it, nice and easy to move.
Now you know how to move a camera feed from a rear view mirror to a larger display.
Things to note
So you know how to move a camera feed from a rear view mirror but there are some other things to note here or to be wary of.
Splitting an image
When you split an image it will lose quality the more it is split, so you have the option to redirect the cable exclusively down to the new display in your head unit, or to do a T-joint where the image shows on both the original screen and the new head unit display.
Both options are fine and serve different purposes. For me I split it to go to both screens, because it is easier to revert back to normal if I ever get rid of my rear view mirror replacement camera.
Poor image problem
You may think that the image is poor because you made a bad joint or that you shouldn’t have split the feed, but a lot of the time this comes down to the rear view camera.
These cameras might look sharp on a tiny display in your rear view mirror but when enlarged to a 10″ display for example, they can look pixelated and poor.
This is often to do with the poor camera quality and not the splitting of the feed or the head unit display.
Make sure the plugs go back for the rear view mirror as these cables still need to send the actual power out to the mirror, without the other cables maintaining their original circuit the camera won’t work at all.
This job is easily done within a day even for those without experience. Make sure to make good electrical connections and to test that it works before putting everything back together.
Hope this has helped somewhat and good luck!