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Author Topic: Cameras instead of rear view mirrors?  (Read 3453 times)
pipopak
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« on: March 30, 2011, 10:21:48 AM »

Last night, being high on diesel I had this crazy idea: What about replacing the side rear view mirrors with cameras?. On the plus side:
1) Bus will be able to slip through narrower places.
2) The blind area on each side currently created by the mirrors will almost entirely dissapear.
3) No need to move head to the sides to check, monitors would be right in front of you.
4) Greater view area away from the sides and down.
5) Many types of cameras available ( color, infrared, hi def, etc).
6) Cameras can be placed almost anywhere.

Down side:
1) Legal?.
2) MORE electronics!.

Let the fireworks start!.
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« Reply #1 on: March 30, 2011, 10:26:35 AM »

Great idea, except illegal in 50 states. Maybe add the cameras to your mirrors.
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Tim Strommen
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« Reply #2 on: March 30, 2011, 10:40:37 AM »

...illegal in 50 states. Maybe add the cameras to your mirrors...


Agreed.  Federal motor vehicle standards require a mirror on the driver's side and a second mirror either looking through the rear window or on the passenger side of the vehicle (for now...).

That said, there are some cool things happening with cameras on OEM vehicles:




The new 360degree vision systems would be very usefull on a vehicle as large as ours...

-Tim
« Last Edit: March 30, 2011, 10:43:40 AM by Tim Strommen » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: March 30, 2011, 10:52:19 AM »

I like the idea of adding them to the mirrors, but I would be concerned of some failure and not having the backup of the mirrors when needed.....
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« Reply #4 on: March 30, 2011, 12:15:25 PM »

Ramco and Velvac make rv mirrors with camera's built in to them, but very expensive. About $1500.00 each some even more if chromed. Once in a while they are on Ebay for sale under Velvac.
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« Reply #5 on: March 30, 2011, 01:25:25 PM »

I'm going to try and run a web cam to the back of the bus.  I've got a netbook to use up front to view the camera.  Netbook also has streets and trips installed.  It looks good on paper. JM
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« Reply #6 on: March 30, 2011, 08:32:43 PM »

Regarding points #1 and #2 and #3

#1) - You are going to put the coach through a space so narrow that the mirrors are what is holding you back? I doubt that, most paid drivers can't get it through a space as wide as the mirrors, never mind narrower, and why would you want to?

#2) The cameras are going to have a hard time showing a field of vision any more than a good old fashioned round convex mirror, which already does the job.

#3) And then you run over pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists, small autos, fixed objects or whatever else is under/ahead and beside your camera's field of view, because YOU AREN'T LOOKING IN THE DIRECTION YOU ARE GOING.

Now, if you want to add some cameras to see around the coach and attach them to a recording device in order to protect your a$$et$ in the case of some screw up, that's a growing practice in the commercial world in litigious crazy jurisdictions like the USA.

A flat and a round convex on both sides are hard to equal.

Using them properly, that takes a high degree of commitment and self discipline.

happy coaching!
buswarrior

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pipopak
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« Reply #7 on: March 31, 2011, 05:21:56 AM »

Regarding points #1 and #2 and #3

#1) - You are going to put the coach through a space so narrow that the mirrors are what is holding you back? I doubt that, most paid drivers can't get it through a space as wide as the mirrors, never mind narrower, and why would you want to?

Not that I am looking to put the bus in that situation, but it happens. Sometimes you reach a point where folding the mirrors is the only way to go thru due to a sign, post or something.

#2) The cameras are going to have a hard time showing a field of vision any more than a good old fashioned round convex mirror, which already does the job.

Cameras will show exactly the same as mirrors, just protrude less from the sides.

#3) And then you run over pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists, small autos, fixed objects or whatever else is under/ahead and beside your camera's field of view, because YOU AREN'T LOOKING IN THE DIRECTION YOU ARE GOING.

If you ARE NOT LOOKING THE DIRECTION YOU ARE GOING no amount of cameras or mirrors will help you.

Now, if you want to add some cameras to see around the coach and attach them to a recording device in order to protect your a$$et$ in the case of some screw up, that's a growing practice in the commercial world in litigious crazy jurisdictions like the USA.

Did not think about it, great bonus!.


Using them properly, that takes a high degree of commitment and self discipline.

Damn right for both systems!.

happy coaching!
buswarrior


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« Reply #8 on: March 31, 2011, 06:19:14 AM »

I'm going to try and run a web cam to the back of the bus.  I've got a netbook to use up front to view the camera.  Netbook also has streets and trips installed.  It looks good on paper. JM

That's the exact system I want to build.  I was thinking about security camera systems mounting aft, right side, Left side, and fwd just in case.  All would be displayed with a tablet PC in the dash. GPS and Trucking software installed.  Any design ideas???

Brice
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« Reply #9 on: March 31, 2011, 08:00:39 AM »

Brice, I haven’t gotten to the installation point yet.  Still in the concept stages.   One thing to watch out for is that usb 2 cables are only able to transmit data for 15 feet or so.  So I bought usb cables that boost the signal.   Don’t know how it works but I’ve hooked 45 feet of boost usb cables to my web cam and it works.  Got the cables at newegg.  jm
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« Reply #10 on: March 31, 2011, 09:49:18 AM »

When I replied to a post earlier today, I did so with fear and trepidation and made the following comment:

Quote
Well folks, after being called a “blathering know-it-all” after my last post, I said that I would refrain from posting.  However, this thread is pretty close to home for me, as I sold alarm systems for RVs at one time.  So I will try posting again and see if the reaction is again negative.

In the foreseeable future I will limit my posts to subjects where I have DIRECT information.

I have used side cameras for several years with mixed results.  I started off with some inexpensive cameras and the results were not good.  They were of no benefit at night and even the slightest exposure to direct sunlight would wipe out the image.

About two years ago, I switched to Weldex infrared cameras from a Monaco motorhome.  They are a big improvement.  At night I can see perhaps 10-20 feet behind the bus.  They still wash out in direct sunlight, but not as bad as the cheap cameras.

I have them hooked up to a Weldex BW monitor.  I am sure they would be better in color, but I can't find the cable I need for my color LCD monitor.  I have them hooked up to the turn signals so that the camera on that side is displayed on the screen.  All in all, a pretty good system.

I started down the side camera path because of issues with snow covering the mirrors at times.  I have since installed heated mirrors and no longer have to deal with the snow issue.

That said, I find it “un-natural” to use the camera system.  I have tried learning to use it as my primary rear view system, and it just does not “feel” comfortable.  Part of the issue is that the cameras are wide angle (have to be by definition) and that seems to throw my senses off.  I now use it mostly to check my blind right side when I turn in that direction.

So, bottom line, don't go cheap and plan to use your mirrors as your primary rear view system.

BTW, they make great surveillance cameras when parking in a public area.  I leave the system on until we go to bed and can quickly scan the screen for both sides and rear if I hear noises outside.

Jim
« Last Edit: March 31, 2011, 09:54:51 AM by rv_safetyman » Logged

Jim Shepherd
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pipopak
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« Reply #11 on: March 31, 2011, 03:34:02 PM »

Brice, I haven’t gotten to the installation point yet.  Still in the concept stages.   One thing to watch out for is that usb 2 cables are only able to transmit data for 15 feet or so.  So I bought usb cables that boost the signal.   Don’t know how it works but I’ve hooked 45 feet of boost usb cables to my web cam and it works.  Got the cables at newegg.  jm

The setup I was thinking about would have one camera on each side roughly where the mirrors are, but lower, maybe at the driver's and passenger's windows bottom edge, so USB cable would be less than 15'. This location chosen because would be more or less where we are used to see the reflection from the mirror to minimize "brain farts" and minimize blind spots. Monitor would be on top of dash so you can check it just by lowering your line of sight, like checking the rest of the instruments. A third camera would be at the rear, no surprises here. Useful to keep an eye on the toad.
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pipopak
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« Reply #12 on: March 31, 2011, 03:50:37 PM »

I have used side cameras for several years with mixed results.  I started off with some inexpensive cameras and the results were not good.  They were of no benefit at night and even the slightest exposure to direct sunlight would wipe out the image.
About two years ago, I switched to Weldex infrared cameras from a Monaco motorhome.  They are a big improvement.  At night I can see perhaps 10-20 feet behind the bus.  They still wash out in direct sunlight, but not as bad as the cheap cameras.

Same thing with mirrors.

I have them hooked up to a Weldex BW monitor.  I am sure they would be better in color, but I can't find the cable I need for my color LCD monitor.  

Here is a $$ matter, the better stuff just costs more.

I have them hooked up to the turn signals so that the camera on that side is displayed on the screen.  All in all, a pretty good system.

Neat idea!.

I started down the side camera path because of issues with snow covering the mirrors at times.  I have since installed heated mirrors and no longer have to deal with the snow issue.

That said, I find it “un-natural” to use the camera system.  I have tried learning to use it as my primary rear view system, and it just does not “feel” comfortable.  Part of the issue is that the cameras are wide angle (have to be by definition) and that seems to throw my senses off.  I now use it mostly to check my blind right side when I turn in that direction.

Un-natural for one person would be just great for another, is just a matter of being comfortable with. Personally I never use sunglasses, sunlight does not bother me at all, even from the front. I know I am the screwball, so what?. I have a rear view camera on all the time and feel great with it.

So, bottom line, don't go cheap and plan to use your mirrors as your primary rear view system.

To quote a 70's cartoon: "if it feels good do it".

BTW, they make great surveillance cameras when parking in a public area.  I leave the system on until we go to bed and can quickly scan the screen for both sides and rear if I hear noises outside.

Bonus!!

Jim

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« Reply #13 on: April 02, 2011, 05:22:12 AM »

I had another twist on this idea.  Mirrors are great for normal driving, but when backing out of the driveway, I was thinking about cameras. I found some neat little guys at the Advanced auto store.  They are actually made to go on the license plate holder, but I figured with a ittle modification, they could go about anywhere.  I thought about 1 pointing in each direction to the sides and back(at the back of the bus).  They have a little color lcd screen about 2-1/2" diagonal.  They only run about $100 each.  FWIW
Ed
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« Reply #14 on: April 02, 2011, 05:50:10 AM »

Brice, I haven’t gotten to the installation point yet.  Still in the concept stages. 

  Got the cables at newegg.  jm

jm, My entire bus is in the Concept stage.   newegg has supplied my last 4 computers via parts.

Brice
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« Reply #15 on: April 02, 2011, 01:10:25 PM »

I had another twist on this idea.  Mirrors are great for normal driving, but when backing out of the driveway, I was thinking about cameras. I found some neat little guys at the Advanced auto store.  They are actually made to go on the license plate holder, but I figured with a ittle modification, they could go about anywhere.  I thought about 1 pointing in each direction to the sides and back(at the back of the bus).  They have a little color lcd screen about 2-1/2" diagonal.  They only run about $100 each.  FWIW
Ed
I have one of those currently, image is excellent even at night.
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« Reply #16 on: April 02, 2011, 01:22:37 PM »

i have the $59 one from advance, not bad but it wipes out the wi-fi signal if transmitter is left on.
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« Reply #17 on: April 02, 2011, 01:36:30 PM »

i have the $59 one from advance, not bad but it wipes out the wi-fi signal if transmitter is left on.

Happens everywhere I work at Advance Auto Parts and the display for the backup camera would wipe out our inventory RF gun when it was plugged in.

Brice
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« Reply #18 on: April 02, 2011, 05:32:00 PM »

Regarding points #1 and #2 and #3

#1) - You are going to put the coach through a space so narrow that the mirrors are what is holding you back? I doubt that, most paid drivers can't get it through a space as wide as the mirrors, never mind narrower, and why would you want to?



Not that I'd install cameras just for this, but I worked at a diesel driveline shop in Austin Tx and the door to my work area had about 3/4 inch clearance on the mirrors on some of the larger cab-over trucks. It was a tight squeeze, and going from the bright Texas summer sun to the inside of the much darker shop made it very hard to see.

Cameras would have been nice a few times, but I think a ground guide or three is much more useful (and safe) way to maneuvering large vehicles in tight spaces.

That said - I'm planning on installing side and rearview low-light cameras when I finally get a bus. My night vision isn't what it used to be, and I'd rather be safe than blind.
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« Reply #19 on: April 03, 2011, 02:09:34 AM »

  I use my backup camera all the time. Da Bus will definetly have one. Or two? I was somewhere a while back, cant recall, they had a small color monitor with four cameras feeding it and it was not a great deal of money, $100 some? You could watch all four, or scan all four, or deselect the ones you didnt care about and scan the ones you wanted.

  But I couldnt see replacing the mirrors. Mirrors still work after the electric goes away. But you could suplement them, and you certainly could swing them in when in tight quarters and observe through cameras.
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« Reply #20 on: April 03, 2011, 06:12:27 AM »

Had the $59 from Advance also before. It lasted about 4-5 months before the camera got toasted. Current one $100 from Pep is vastly superior.
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