Garmin Backup reversing camera wireless

Fitting a Garmin Backup reversing camera

There’s obvious advantages of fitting a reversing camera to your motorhome. However, the thought of running cables the entire length of your vehicle may put you off. Let me introduce you to the Garmin BackUp camera. This is a clever bit of kit that wirelessly transmits live images from reversing camera to your corresponding Garmin Sat Nav screen.

I first looked into fitting a reversing camera after my insurer told me I could reduce my motorhome premium by approximately £60 per year if I had one. This won’t be the case for all insurers but it is worth asking. After I found the most competitive premium I asked what else could be done to reduce it. With all the normal security upgrades fulfilled, the next biggest saving was made by installing a reversing camera.

Traditional Wired Reversing Camera

Lets face it campervans are small spaces jam packed with fittings and fixtures. Finding a sensible cable run throughout the entire length of your motorhome could potentially be a very involved and time consuming job. It also usually means fitting another screen on the dashboard. Most of us use sat-nav units, so the idea of this screen doubling as my reversing display instantly appealed.

The Garmin BackUp Camera

The Garmin ‘BackUp’ reversing camera is sold in two different kit forms. Be careful, a lot of merchants don’t make the difference clear between either kit. There’s an ‘additional camera’ kit available which includes the camera, transmitter and the mount, fittings and wiring. The other is the ‘full Kit’ with all of the aforementioned plus the BC30 receiver lead.

If you already have a Garmin Sat Nav, check to see if it has a ‘Back Up’ camera function. Garmins website shows 67 compatible units. Next, check if the 12v power lead is the BC30 power lead with the integrated camera receiver. If you already have the BC30 power/receiver lead then you’ll only need to purchase the ‘additional Back Up camera kit’. If not, buy the ‘full kit’ as the receiver lead separately costs an eye-watering £63!

Fitting the Garmin BackUp camera kit

The official advice from Garmin is as follows

  • Test potential camera and transmitter positions before fixing
  • Installing the camera higher provides a better viewing angle
  • Some vehicles don’t provide a constant minimum voltage, in this case fit a relay.

Positioning the Garmin BackUp transmitter

Garmin say that the transmitter will successfully provide signal to the receiver up to 13.5 meters away. I’ve even heard of completely reliable performance through timber bulkheads. However it is worth given some thought to the transmitters position. I opted for installing just below window level on one of my Transits rear doors where I could make use of a pre-drilled hole. Garmin also recommend that the flat face of transmitter face towards the sat-nav and receiver

  1. Remove door panel
  2. Feed transmitter cable through wiring sleeve into rear pillar
  3. Leave transmitter loose
  4. Leave door panel off

 

Power supply to your Garmin BackUp camera

You can wire your camera two ways. If you want your camera display only when you put your vehicle in reverse then you’ll need to take power from your reverse lights. You can also power your camera with a constant power feed, this will then need you to manually select your camera from your sat-nav screen when you want rear view to be displayed. I chose to wire into my reverse light feed, just in case having to select the camera manually didn’t satisfy my insurers conditions.

  1. Remove the rear light assembly on the side you plan to mount your camera
  2. Locate reversing bulb and trace the wires from it.
  3. You can test the wiring with a multimeter, when reverse is selected you should have over 12 volts
  4. Make connection, I found snap lock connectors ideal for this
  5. Leave light assembly loose

Test Garmin BackUp camera connectivity

For the time being use the cameras number plate mount to position it and temporarily plug the camera cable into the transmitter around the door. This will allow you to test the whole system.

  1. Plug in the BC30 receiver cable to your 12v dashboard outlet
  2. Turn on ignition (some vehicles require this to power 12v socket & reverse lights)
  3. Power your Garmin sat-nav
  4. Select reverse gear
  5. Your sat-nav should quickly switch to rear view display
Installing a rear view camera and other safety devices to your motorhome can reduce the cost of your campervan insurance policy
View displayed from number plate mounted cam

Fixing off & finishing up

Once your happy the transmitter has power and it’s signal is being received and displayed you’re ready to start drilling holes!

  1. Drill hole behind number plate and run cable for camera.
  2. Wrap wire connectors with insulating tape and tidy wiring within rear light void and replace light assembly
  3. Tidy excess transmitter/camera wire within rear door void and replace panel
  4. Position transmitter (self adhesive pad) and camera (number plate clip)
  5. When happy with positions fix off with self tapping screws.

Fitting Tips

  1. Form a downward loop in the camera cable behind the number plate so water drips off
  2. Seal cable holes with clear silicone
  3. A cable grommet cut in half makes a good packer for the number plate screws to allow for the cable behind.

Setting up your Garmin BackUp Camera

With your ignition on and in reverse the camera can be adjusted and checked. The camera bracket allows a good degree of adjustment, once happy with your displays view, tighten the two side bolts.

From your satnav you can decide whether your display shows parameter guide lines or not. If so, the guides can be adjusted so they are parallel. Simply park tight to a straight road curb and set your guide lines parallel to it.

Summary

I installed my Garmin BackUp camera almost five months ago (at time of writing) and it’s performed perfectly. I’ve had no issues with it, the image has been crystal clear at all times and the display switches from satnav to reverse view quickly. Installation is as easy as a wireless system should be, the camera is discreet and no need for a dedicated monitor is a real plus for me. Highly recommended all round.

garmin backup camera on a campervan

 

3 thoughts on “Fitting a Garmin Backup reversing camera

  1. Thanks for the really clear article. Based on this I have just added a Garmin SatNav plus reversing camera to our AutoCruise Select. I had been considering a wired system – but disadvantages were: Trying to route and connect through the entire length of the van; Having only Reversing camera when, for a bit more money, could add a SatNav system (there isn’t one on the Autocruise).

    Camera attached to high level brake light meant only drilling needed was through the plastic “lens” of the light. All cable routing after that was internal. Even the Transmitter is hidden behind an upper internal ply panel – it has a clear “line of site” to receiver on front dash. The van is 6.4m long so transmission distance is approx 5.5 m. Image is good. RESULT!

    • Sounds perfect. It has been completely reliable for us. I have heard of reversing aids being effected by towbar electrics but I’ve just installed one and seem to have got away with it. Another positive for the Garmin backup system?
      Glad the article was of use.
      Happy travelling!

  2. Thanks for the original article Pete and for James’ advice about just drilling the rear light.

    Have recently fitted a Garmin BC30 to an x290 Fiat Ducato.
    Works with my existing simple Garmin DriveSmart 50 satnav.
    Chose to have have permanent power so can switch to rear view at any time.
    Also nice that satnav goes to rear view each time ignition is turned on.

    Removed the 3rd brake light by unscrewing the 2 screws from outside the vehicle and disconnecting the wiring.
    This exposed the x290 factory fitted 3 pin camera power connector.
    Solder tinned the two BC30 transmitter power wires, pushed into the connector and taped up. (Black to black and red to red. Ignored white)
    Fixed the transmitter in the correct orientation through the rear light hole using duct tape rather than the supplied 3M VHB pad.

    In the warm, drilled a 9mm hole through the red lens and silver reflector.
    (If the drilling goes wrong, a new light would only be £30)
    Fed the camera cable through the hole.
    Fixed the camera bracket to the light lens using 3M VHB pad (not supplied).
    Sealed round camera cable with an offcut of 3M VHB.

    Refitted the light with the camera connected to the transmitter.

    All working. Tidy solution. Adequate picture.

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