Do you need a motorhome reversing camera? How do they work and how do you choose the right one for your motorhome? We’ll answer all those questions in our comprehensive guide and help you find the best motorhome reversing camera for your needs.
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Do I Need a Rear View Camera For My Motorhome?
As with any large vehicle, manoeuvring a motorhome can be a challenge. Reversing is particularly tricky as you have no visibility at the rear. Although your side mirrors offer some visibility behind, they don’t give you a direct view of the back of the motorhome. If you’re reversing into a tight driveway, parking space or pitch you will be hampered by this blind spot. This blind spot is exacerbated if you tow a car or trailer behind your motorhome. If you’re anything like us, your motorhome is your pride and joy, and you really won’t want to damage it.
On a recent trip, our motorhome rear view camera (which was ancient) died and although I was able to hop out and give directions, it was fraught with stress. We had a new camera fitted as soon as we found a motorhome repair garage!
So, in answer to the original question, we would say a reversing camera is a motorhome essential. For a relatively small amount of money you will have complete peace of mind when manoeuvring and reversing your motorhome.
What Are the Types of Motorhome Reversing Camera?
Wired or Wireless?
Pick a wired camera if you;
- want longevity
- need great image quality and reliability
- have a large motorhome or tow a trailer or car
- travel frequently and move around a lot
- could fit it yourself or are happy to pay a specialist to do so
If you are planning on buying an off-the-shelf wired reversing camera and fitting it yourself, the standard cable supplied with these kits is usually 6-7m long. If you are in a vehicle much longer than 5m, you won’t have enough cable to reach from the rear to the dash by the time you account for cable routing. Check the cable length with the manufacturer if you’re unsure and look for a reversing camera set-up where you can buy a cable extension.
Pick a wireless camera if you;
- are budget conscious
- have a smaller motorhome
- don’t mind the odd glitch or interference affecting image quality
- can’t fit a wired camera yourself and don’t want to pay someone
- tend to stay in one place in your motorhome so don’t need to reverse very often
Motorhome wireless reversing cameras use two types of technology to transmit the signal – analogue and digital. Analogue systems are usually the cheapest option but they are prone to interference and poor picture quality. Digital systems with a long operating range are a far better option and can minimise signal interference from external sources.
Brake Light Reversing Cameras
Model specific brake light reversing cameras (designed to replicate a third brake light) are unlikely to work on motorhomes as the back is coach built and if fitted with a third brake light, this will be bespoke to the motorhome manufacturer rather than the base vehicle.
The same can also be said of mirror monitors as the vast majority of motorhomes do not have a review view mirror and these monitors are designed to fit over or replace an existing rear view mirror.
How to Fit a Reversing Camera to a Motorhome
If you’re not keen on DIY or nervous about making holes in your motorhome for wiring, then have your camera fitted by a specialist. Just search for ‘motorhome reversing camera fitting near me’ on the internet or talk to your usual motorhome repair garage.
If you are a confident DIY’er then fitting a reversing camera to a motorhome is not a difficult job. Things to consider before starting;
- How will you route the cables? Are there already cable runs through your motorhome you could use or will you take the cable under the van or over the top, perhaps using the same inlet as a solar panel cable?
- How will you affix the camera and ensure any holes for cables are watertight and there is absolutely no risk of water ingress?
- Can you manage the electrics? Can you find and connect to a 12v power source for both camera and monitor and to the reverse light to trigger the camera coming on?
- Is your motorhome still in its warranty period? Any DIY work such as making holes may well invalidate the warranty and any insurance claims for future water damage.
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Important Key Features of Motorhome Reversing Cameras UK
A wide angle view is essential to assist with distances and the width of your motorhome, so that you can see both corners. Look for a viewing angle of at least 120 degrees or a combined horizontal and diagonal angle, the wider you go the better your field of vision will be. At 170 degrees for example, you would be able to see obstacles sooner when reversing around a corner and therefore take quicker action to avoid them.
If you want to place your camera high up on your vehicle ( a must for most motorhomes) you will need the camera to tilt downwards to at least a 30 degree angle so you can see what’s on the ground behind you and have the ability to judge distances. A tilting reversing camera is also vital if you are towing a trailer or car.
Screens & Monitors
There are a number of ways of viewing the image from your campervan reversing camera;
- A complete stand-alone system with a separate screen on the dash.
- Wired into a GPS or multimedia system.
- Use a wireless camera which is compatible with a smartphone or tablet, perfect if you already use this option with an app for satellite navigation.
If you are looking to wire into an existing sat nav or multimedia system, be aware of the following;
- If you have an existing reversing camera fitted in the last ten years or so, then the connections (which happen at the dash end) are likely to be compatible.
- If your reversing camera was factory fitted or fitted on a EU (not UK) manufactured vehicle then you may find that a universal jack connection has not been used and you will not be able to link the two.
- Some sat navs will only be compatible with their own brands reversing camera. If you’re intending to wire into an existing system, check your sat nav system manual to see if your set-up will accept video input from an external source.
Look for a reversing camera with a resolution of at least 720 pixels, which is the minimum resolution required for viewing tv images. The higher the resolution, the better the image quality which will help when reversing into tighter spots. Less than 720 pixels will still give you a good image but it may be harder to distinguish small details.
Your reversing camera needs to be protected from water and often you’ll see the manufacturer state that the camera is waterproof. Ideally, it should be IP (ingress protection) rated.
The first digit of an IP rating shows the level of protection from intrusion, so dust or sand. IP6 means your camera is totally dust tight and is the highest rating that can be achieved.
The second digit shows the level of moisture protection as follows;
- A number 6 means the camera is protected from direct high pressure jets.
- A number 7 indicates protection against full immersion for up to 30 minutes at depths between 15 cm and 1 metre.
- An number 8 means protection against extended immersion under higher pressure.
An IP67 rating means your reversing camera will not be affected by high winds, dusty or sandy conditions or prolonged rain. An IP68 rating means that truly torrential downpours will not affect your reversing camera.
Unless you have upgraded your motorhome reversing lights, you may find that they do not give enough illumination for you to see the reversing camera image clearly. If you often arrive at your destination after dark or you find reading in dim light difficult, an illuminated reversing camera may be helpful.
Dual Lens & Twin Camera
If you choose the reversing camera option on a new motorhome, it will likely have a dual lens. Waeco reversing cameras for motorhomes are the most popular factory fitted option and many motorhomes are pre-wired for this brand.
Dual lenses enables one lens to be angled to 45 degrees for reversing and the other to be angled directly backwards for a continuous view, like a rear view mirror. Another option for a twin reversing camera for a motorhome is a system which comes with two (or even four) individual camera units which can be wired to a single monitor.
The Best Reversing Cameras for Motorhomes
Best Reversing Camera Kit - Wireless
Best Reversing Cameras Kit - Wired
Best Twin Lens Reversing Camera
Best Reversing Camera for a Smartphone
Best Reversing Camera Without Monitor
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