Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Wireless Camera/GPS

Meet Frank, our wireless backup camera/GPS system with a few other goodies. We purchased it from http://www.4ucam.com after searching for a system with this dual functionality. The install is not entirely done as there is still an additional component I have left out for now. It came with a 4 sensor parking system that detects objects behind the rear bumper and shows their distance on screen up to 4' away. I will install that part of the system soon, but for now, Frank spends most of his time in GPS mode occasionally being asked to show me what's behind us.

Frank is a small little guy, but quite adequate. His 4.3" screen has an amazingly clear color picture and the speaker is definitely loud enough and adjustable. He doesn't seem to have an option to change which voice he uses (A French Lady) but it is decent and pretty entertaining. The mount in the picture above is one I made quickly out of oak combined with the hardware from the suction cup windshield mount Frank came with. The suction cup mount would have had Frank sitting right in the middle of my field of vision and not worked well at all.

Using the parts from the suction cup mount makes it so I can easily adjust the display angle and has turned out to be a good move. The Oak mount is angled toward the drivers seat a bit as well. I still have to do some sanding and stain it but it works well for now.

This isn't the camera that comes with the standard unit. I decided to upgrade so I could use the same mounting location and holes from our old hard wired camera. The only wires that had to be run for this install were to supply 12V power. The power to the camera is activated by a switch on my dash so I can turn it on while driving down the road and see who is behind me. It also could have been run to the reverse light circuit to turn on only when backing up. The camera transmits immediately upon recieving power which causes Frank to display that image instead of GPS or any other function he may be in. When the power to the camera stops, Frank goes back to what he was doing.

We were really impressed with the GPS function of this system. It displayed every little farm road and detail of our route with extreme accuracy. When a destination is entered, it tracks miles and time left, warns you far in advance when you have to turn and seems to know every shortcut. We had fun trying to confuse him in a parking lot, but most of the time left his voice off. The automatic switch to a night driving mode with the more appropriate dark screen was a nice surprise. Another nice surprise was the accurate MPH display which confirmed our speedometer is in fact off by 4 MPH. There is an option also to warn you when you are over the posted limit which it seems to know for every possible road. I turned that option off quickly!

There is one strange but entertaining anomaly that we experienced on the trip out here to MN. Since Frank recieves signals from wireless cameras, we had a few images on our screen that didn't exactly belong to us! In our 1700 mile trip, we had video security cameras display on the screen 3 times and another backup camera on a passing truck shared it's view. Not a defect, but interesting anyway.

I really think for the money invested, about $540 total after shipping, Frank has turned out to be a really excellent deal. This price includes the parking sensor system and original round camera not yet installed. There is also some additional functionality I probably will never use which includes an MP3 player(our stereo already handles that) and the ability to show images/video which our netbooks do much better already. I will show details of the parking sensor installation when it is done as well.

Exact model information is here:
http://www.4ucam.com/GPS-Wireless-Backup-Camera-Radar-Monitor-8907PCr-Rearview-IR.html

The upgraded camera is model #9901T found here:
http://www.4ucam.com/GPS-Wireless-Backup-Camera-Radar-Monitor-8907PCr-Rearview-IR.html#accessories

15 comments:

  1. Not at all. We are always in Taj and when we aren't we can usually see her. The rare occasion when we aren't, we make sure we are parked in a safe location. One of our next projects is an alarm system with proximity sensors so they wouldn't be able to get the camera or anything else without tripping them. More concerned about the two mountain bikes locked on the back. I can also tell ya that the camera isn't as easily removed as it may look.

    All that said, if someone did steal it, not too expensive to replace it. Have you guys had a problem with theft? We tend to be pretty careful, but things do happen.

    -Mike

    ReplyDelete
  2. The only time you have to worry about things getting stolen is when I'm around :)

    You feeling better? Tell Heidi I'd like to hear her view on things too. Otherwise, we just hear about 12V Power, GPS, and MPH.

    Huh? LOL!

    Nellie
    http://midlifecruiser.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  3. Glad you're feeling well enough to continue climbing the to-do list mountain!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Oh No! It's Nellie, the one woman crime spree! LOL! That was one of my favorite blog posts ever BTW! Yeah, if we meet up with you on the road some time, I will be adding extra security to everything :)

    So what are ya saying? You think Heidi's viewpoints would be more entertaining? (they would be of course)...I am encouraging her to write more for the blog, she has lots of great stuff to say! I better apologize for some of my upcoming posts now too, a couple of them are all about wiring and such things, I will try to make it interesting but it could be a futile effort. There are some coming that you will enjoy more though I promise! I hope too :) Thanks for your comments as always!

    Diane, I am feeling a lot better! Thank You! Every time I get a step up that mountain another goofy idea comes into my head and the top of it gets further away from me...Entertains me though!

    -Mike

    ReplyDelete
  5. Nice to finally see the backup cam/GPS. So, let me get this straight, the voice is a French lady but it's name is Frank!? Identity issues? LOL

    ReplyDelete
  6. I was wondering if anyone was going to catch that! LOL!
    You have it straight! :)

    I left something out of the review that I am finding rather handy too: Frank has a recharging battery system in it so you can move it alone to another vehicle or just carry him around on foot(there is a specific mode/setting for that) for up to 8 hours. Pretty cool feature! I will maybe have to add that to the post for those who miss the comments.

    Hope you are enjoying your 4th Mark!

    -Mike

    ReplyDelete
  7. Glad I found this! I love multipurpose stuff. Just wondering if the GPS provides all the same functionality of standalone GPS units? Like, can you add custom points-of-interest?

    ReplyDelete
  8. There are so many of these cameras out there on the market. Make sure you do some research as the prices really do vary. I came across this website as I was researching: Backup Cameras with GPS Reviews

    ReplyDelete
  9. I love that you named your camera. :) Cameras for vehicles are an amazing thing to have, whether it's for backing up or for surveillance or whatever you are using it for, they're worth the price and very useful!

    ReplyDelete
  10. I stumbled upon your blog and have fully enjoyed all the tips. Looking to semi-retire in about a month, my wife and I bought a (not yet seen in person) 2000 Roadtrek 190 to be picked up in Texas and kept in the lower 48 (we live in Alaska). I look forward to all the Roadtrek projects, and just purchased the same backup system as yours (albeit without the parking sensor). Due to eyesight, I decided to go with the 7" monitor -- which they didn't seem to offer with a sensor. I like the idea of having a switch for the camera rather than linking to the reverse wire. How much of a pain was it to run the switch wire to the front?

    I look forward to keeping up with your posts. Upgrading the inverter and adding a storage battery will probably be the next chore.

    Dave (and Patty)

    ReplyDelete
  11. I stumbled upon your blog and have fully enjoyed all the tips. Looking to semi-retire in about a month, my wife and I bought a (not yet seen in person) 2000 Roadtrek 190 to be picked up in Texas and kept in the lower 48 (we live in Alaska). I look forward to all the Roadtrek projects, and just purchased the same backup system as yours (albeit without the parking sensor). Due to eyesight, I decided to go with the 7" monitor -- which they didn't seem to offer with a sensor. I like the idea of having a switch for the camera rather than linking to the reverse wire. How much of a pain was it to run the switch wire to the front?

    I look forward to keeping up with your posts. Upgrading the inverter and adding a storage battery will probably be the next chore.

    Dave (and Patty)

    ReplyDelete
  12. I love the camera. I do reviews of these cameras on http://backupcamerareviews.net and I hadn't seen this one. I especially like the way you mounted.

    ReplyDelete
  13. How hard is the installation of the sensors going to be?

    ReplyDelete
  14. This is really cool. My brother is pretty tech savvy and I am going to see if he can do this to my winnebago ! Thanks for sharing!!

    ReplyDelete