Power, Electrical, Lighting Safety and Security

Is This The Worst Backup Camera Ever (Or Are They All Like This)

When you know something is bad for you, but you can't give it up. A wireless backup camera tale of woe...

When the van was new (to me), I purchased this Whistler Digital Backup Camera. This was not the greatest idea I’ve ever had.

DSC05775 (2) resizedWhistler Digital Backup Camera Model WBU-900

The why was simple. Here was a low cost, low fuss way of having a backup camera without the bother of a proper installation. And on paper, I still like the idea of a wireless backup camera.

But, perhaps, this one ain’t it.

How It Should Work

You attach your license plate to the camera and to two tiny solar panels, about the size of two middle fingers (my first clue). Constantly charged, some wizardry connects the camera to this screen here:

DSC05768 resizedNext to a Romulan Warbird…um for scale…

The 12-volt powered screen comes on when the unit is first turned on – in other words, whenever you turn on the car. It does not, however, tap into the REVERSE light wiring system. If you need to use the camera without restarting the car, selecting one of the buttons on the screen will turn the camera back on.

The Good

  • You can turn on the camera without turning on the car by plugging it into any 12-volt. If you’re camping and something goes bump in the night, you can spy on them (whoever/whatever they are) without them knowing.
  • The picture is clear, even in low light.
  • It ALWAYS powers on. No matter how little sunlight I get, the thing’s good.

The Bad

  • Like I said, it always powers on. That doesn’t mean the camera always connects to the monitor. Sometimes the camera struggles to find the view screen. It works great 85% of the time. But like that’s kinda the point…so…it should work 99.9999% of the time. Right? I can’t figure out what causes the interference.
  • I should have colored reverse guidelines, as shown on the box and instructions. Never once have I managed to pull up the red, yellow, and green lines. Not one single time.

So what to do (and a cry for help)

I got this when the van was new to me…and scared me, to be honest. But I’m a master back-er-upper now. I’ll never parallel park this thing, but I can 3-point turn like a motherfreaker. I’m GOOD. And the backup camera I swore that I needed? I don’t. I almost never use this thing (it’s been months).

DSC05773 (2) resized

And yet, I feel like I should have a backup camera. So I’ll start using it again…I guess. But, if anyone knows of a better wireless backup camera, tell me about it in the comments. I’m willing to pop on another one.

Also, if the answer is “screw wireless,” and get one installed, tell me that too. But one of the things I love about this van is that, as rudimentary as it is, I’ve done the work myself. I don’t know anything about wiring up a real camera, so I’d love to stick with the wireless ones. C’mon, y’all. Help me out. What should I do?

4 comments on “Is This The Worst Backup Camera Ever (Or Are They All Like This)

  1. I whip my van around (including a LOT of parallel parking) and I don’t have a camera. Totally not needed!

    Liked by 1 person

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