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Reversing camera: An indispensable aid when parking and reversing

The reversing camera is one of the modern reversing functions in motor vehicles. This type of reversing camera is designed to help you as the driver when reversing and parking. With a surveillance camera, you can keep an eye on obstacles, people or animals at the rear of your vehicle. In this article, you will learn everything you need to know about reversing cameras, how they work, different models and what you should look out for when buying one.

What is a reversing camera?

A reversing camera is a small video camera that is installed at the rear of a vehicle and gives the driver a better view to the rear. It is specially designed to minimize the vehicle's blind spot, making parking and reversing safer and easier.

Reversing cameras are usually sold on the market as a set. The set usually consists of a weatherproof video camera, a flat screen, the necessary cables and surge protection. However, numerous sets are also available with a Bluetooth or WLAN camera.

Main components of a reversing camera

A reversing camera essentially consists of the following main components:

Camera: The camera is the heart of the system and is installed at the rear of the vehicle. It can either be mounted in a separate license plate holder or under the bumper. Most manufacturers use a CCD video camera with a resolution of 720 x 540 pixels. The lenses of the glass lenses are usually designed to provide a wide-angle range of 120 degrees. White LEDs are often integrated around the lens to improve visibility in the dark.

Monitor: The monitor is used to display the camera image and is installed in the interior of the vehicle. The screen of the reversing camera is not always a separate TFT monitor. Depending on the monitor connection, you can also use the monitors already in the car's multimedia equipment. Here too, the data is transmitted either wirelessly or by cable.

Legal requirements

Nowadays, a reversing camera is even a legal requirement in certain vehicles. EU Directive 2003/97/EC and Section 56 (2) Nos. 1 and 2 of the Road Traffic Licensing Regulations stipulate that since 2007, every passenger car with a gross vehicle weight of more than 3.5 tons must have a technical system that gives the driver a direct view to the rear. There was a further change in July 2022: since then, all new cars must be equipped with certain driver assistance systems. TÜV-NORD provides information on this on its website.

How does a reversing camera work?

The functionality of a reversing camera is based on the interaction of several components. The monitor is mounted in the interior of the vehicle so that the driver can see the camera image clearly. The camera itself is attached to the rear of the vehicle and is used to keep the blind spot on the vehicle as small as possible.

Camera positioning

The positioning of the camera is crucial for an optimum view to the rear. In motorhomes, the high rear wall of the vehicle is used for mounting, while the license plate holder is used for passenger cars. Occasionally, this parking aid can also be mounted below the bumper.

Activating the camera

High-quality models only switch on when you shift the vehicle into reverse gear. Most low-cost models transmit a continuous video signal or have to be activated manually.

Guide lines and night vision

With many reversing cameras, you can also switch on grid and driving lines to get an even better feel for navigating your vehicle. With these aids, you will easily notice smaller obstacles. The guide lines are often designed in such a way that even the driver's steering movements are taken into account. On some devices, this process is also displayed in color. Depending on the manufacturer and model, an integrated night light also switches on automatically. There is a choice between white LEDs and infrared LEDs.

Areas of application, advantages and disadvantages of the reversing camera

Reversing cameras are mainly installed in buses, trucks, motorhomes, rescue and fire department vehicles, agricultural and construction machinery, but of course also in cars. Compared to earlier parking aids, which still worked with radar or ultrasound, a modern reversing camera allows you to detect very small objects behind your car at an early stage. Such cameras are also a practical aid if you want to hitch up a trailer.

Advantages

Good visibility to the rear

Even the lowest obstacles are clearly visible

Unobtrusive design

Wide angle of view

Often with built-in LED lighting

Many cost-effective models

Disadvantages

Installation is often difficult

The image is somewhat distorted by the wide-angle lens

What types of reversing cameras are there?

It is important that you find out about the different types of reversing cameras before you purchase a particular device. We would like to provide you with the most important information in the following section.

Variants of reversing cameras

Reversing cameras with license plate holder

Rear view cameras for individual mounting

Reversing cameras for the rear-view mirror

Connection types

Wired

Wireless

Reversing cameras for the license plate holder

Some of the reversing cameras on offer are mounted via the license plate holder. This type of mounting offers the advantage that the camera has a good hold and is reliably protected from external influences. Power is usually supplied via one of the two rear lights. The use of the reversing lights is usually recommended. Some models rely on solar energy.

Such cameras are activated whenever you engage reverse gear. The video signals can be sent to your monitor in various ways - for example via cable, WLAN, Bluetooth or radio. Many of the reversing cameras installed on the license plate have a very wide viewing angle of 120 degrees or even more. In contrast to earlier versions, today's models also generally offer a color image display.

Reversing cameras for individual installation

There are also special reversing cameras that are housed in a weatherproof device and can be installed individually at the rear of your vehicle. Most of these models are operated by cable and are best installed under the bumper or above the tailgate of your vehicle.

Such reversing cameras are usually somewhat bulkier than the devices for the license plate holder, but have additional LED lighting. In some cases, infrared LEDs are even installed, which gives you a good view even at night.

Reversing cameras with rear-view mirror screen

With all types of reversing cameras, there are also special reversing systems that use the rear-view mirror as a screen. The image with the reversing lines is displayed directly on the rear-view mirror, which can make parking much easier. Depending on the type of equipment, the entire rear-view mirror can also be controlled electronically. This allows you to permanently check a rear-facing video image with a wide viewing angle. You can install the reversing camera either on the license plate holder or under the bumper. The images are transmitted wirelessly or by cable.

Wired reversing cameras

Another distinguishing feature of reversing cameras is the technology used to transfer the data from the camera to the screen. Many sets are connected by cable, which ensures stable transmission of the images. Only damaged cables can cause interference. The advantages of this type of connection are, above all, the error-free and interference-free transmission of images, the often lower price and the usually better image quality.

Wireless reversing cameras

Wireless cameras that can transmit images by radio are very popular. However, these require their own power supply, which is usually realized via the rear lights. The reversing camera acts as a transmitter, while the data receiver is located directly on the screen or separately in a small box.

The advantage is the convenient installation and the option of using different screens as receivers. However, wireless reversing cameras are also somewhat more expensive and more susceptible to image interference.

What you should look out for when buying a new reversing camera

To find a suitable reversing camera for your vehicle, you need to pay attention to a few points. However, to make your purchase decision a little easier, we would like to provide you with the most important criteria to consider when buying a reversing camera in the following section.

Which camera system do I prefer?

First of all, you need to be sure which type of camera you want to install in your car. The installation of reversing cameras for the license plate holder is generally the easiest. They are also usually sold in a set with a matching screen.

If you want to install the reversing camera system in your rear-view mirror, you will need a device that can be connected wirelessly. This means you will have to dig a little deeper into your pockets. The bottom line is that choosing the right reversing camera system is a matter of taste and also depends to a certain extent on your vehicle. Not every reversing camera is suitable for every car. Be sure to pay attention to the manufacturer's specifications.

Reversing camera alone or as a set?

If a monitor is already installed in your vehicle, it is usually worth buying a single reversing camera. Otherwise, you can also buy your system as a set. You can be sure that the monitor and camera are compatible with each other.

The effort involved in installation

The installation effort is also an important criterion when buying a reversing camera that you should not neglect under any circumstances. Many devices can be very time-consuming to install. If you do not want to install the device yourself, you will of course have to factor the cost of installation in the workshop into the purchase price.

We will be happy to inform you personally on 0049 4552 990 9 770.