Hiding The Front-Facing Camera
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Integration of a mobile DVR in a conversion van or RV can be quite complicated, with many parts that have to work together.
From DVR, display, cameras, wires and a multitude of connectors, sometimes it is overwhelming. Today I started with the front camera, a process that is fairly simple on its own.
The vehicle will be equipped with a DVR system that will substitute the common dash cam and add cameras to both sides of the van and a second camera at the rear. I searched for an affordable 1080p system but the HD cameras are still too big or expensive and I ended up with a 720p system (700tvl cameras).
I see multiple uses for such a system:
- Rear camera: improved overview while backing up in addition to the backup camera; better ability to watch the traffic behind the vehicle while driving.
- Side cameras: A single and wider view of the traffic lane to the left or right when changing lanes.
- Front camera: Dash cam replacement. Accident recording.
- Recording of activities that are happening around the vehicle. Criminal activity, unknown visitors or just ordinary wildlife.
- GPS function records route information.
My main purpose for it as a single person, traveling in a van, is the added security it provides. Hearing unsettling noises outside the RV and being able to remain inside and still observe what’s happening. Being woken up in the middle of the night by a person knocking on your door and verifying that it is law enforcement.
Today I worked on the front camera. The easy way out would be placing the camera behind the rearview mirror for an unobstructed forward view. Another solution would be to incorporate the tiny device inside the exterior grille. I chose to hide it out-of-view inside the window box, located behind the rearview mirror of my Ford Transit cargo van. When you take the two panels apart, it reveals a removable insert, that can be modified to accommodate the small camera. I can probably find a 12V power source for the camera from the rearview mirror harness, but I likely connect it directly to the DVR, which will be placed in a small upper-cabinet behind the driver’s seat. The wire(s) will be guided behind the canopy and above the door to the wall cavity behind it.
At a later stage, the cabin headliner will be removed for a permanent installation of the wires and addition of insulation to make the van more airtight.