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RX300 Cheap Chinese Reversing Camera

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So, when I bought my RX300 a couple of weeks ago, one of the things not working on it was the reversing camera. Something I now find pretty essential!

Last weekend the plan was to see if my cheap £5 Chinese reversing camera could either produce a signal the sat nav unit could use, or even better replace the Lexus original.

Well, I can report I've got the camera working and displaying pictures on the sat nav unit. It wasn't all smooth sailing, as the sat nav unit refused to display the signal from the reversing camera on it's own. There seems to be some feedback from the Lexus camera that lets the sat nav unit know it's connected. Without it the sat nav shows a blank screen.

However, I'm not one to be beaten, so by keeping the rear PCB of the Lexus camera connected and just tapping the Chinese camera into the video line, I've now got a working reversing camera. The Chinese camera even clips into the original Lexus camera housing without modification. All I had to do was remove the guts of the old camera to make space. The Chinese camera requires 12v and the sat nav unit supplies 6v so I tapped into the 12v supply for the passenger side reversing light. That way power is only supplied when reversing.

The wiring ended up like this. The yellow video wire from the old camera is cut and the new camera connected between the black and the yellow wires to the sat nav. The black, red and white wires stay connected in order to keep the sat nav displaying the video signal.

IMG_20180527_170555.thumb.jpg.a47b78984b5617b2bf7cc15b3ce912a0.jpg

As you can see the power leads off to the reversing light and the rear PCB of the original camera is still in place to provide the feedback signal. The PCB ended up wrapped in tape and tucked into the rear hatch. Once I'd proved the camera could work, I fitted it into the original housing, then the housing was screwed back onto the mounting bracket by the two screws and then bolted back in place in the hatch.

IMG_20180527_154547.thumb.jpg.323e58d1865d4485f25dee07fe1c2870.jpg

It ended up looking ok:

IMG_20180527_154603.thumb.jpg.e1523a4a24e18d95151a36d6e23a5d2e.jpg

On the left is the old camera unit. It simply plugs onto the circuit board that stays connected, so I just unplugged it.

Finally here's the result on the screen. It has the guide lines, but you can buy cameras without these and also with or without image mirroring. You just need to specify when ordering. This is one I already had so I wasn't fussy. The other thing to specify is it must be the American NTSC video standard to work with the sat nav, not the European PAL system. I haven't tried the fancy stuff like park assist yet as it hasn't been necessary. I'm just happy to be able to have working video. If the guide lines affect parking assist I might have to bite the bullet and fork out for a genuine camera, but we'll see.

IMG_20180528_172209.thumb.jpg.5aae0113a83590798c9623432fbcc118.jpg

I hope this helps anyone with camera problems in future.

 

 

 

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Excellent, a job well done Mark. Thanks for posting the write-up.

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congratulations and well done 😊 

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As above. A great job done there. It'll help others in the future. 

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Thanks Guys, I just thought it might help someone in future to either diagnose a camera problem or to actually replace a faulty camera.

You can specify any number of variations of the things so it should be pretty easy to get an NTSC camera without the guide lines.

It just shows how far technology has progressed in 15 years, when you see the complexity of the Lexus camera with lots of chips, to the Chinese one with virtually everything built into a single chip and on a single PCB.

Reversing is great now. It's a shame there's no provision for a front facing camera, I could do with one because I can't see the front of the car over the bonnet.

 

 

 

 

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Okay, here's an update: I actually shelled out £9 (including delivery: how do they do that??) for a Chinese camera that has the ability to switch between normal and mirror views and also gives you the option to have the guide lines or not, just by making or breaking wire links. For reference it's mirror image, without the guide lines: they muck up the parking assist system.

I fitted it at the weekend and it seems to be working fine at the moment. No system failure messages so far. The green box for the parking assist does it's thing and floats across the screen as I turn the steering wheel.

So all is good at the moment. Better than the £500 at a Lexus dealer and £120 from a breaker I was quoted for a genuine replacement.

 

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Don't suppose you've got a link to the item have you Mark?

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Yep,

Here's the link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Reversing-Mirrored-Non-mirrored-Guideline-Waterproof/dp/B0725ZTLWP/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1528360825&sr=8-2&keywords=car+rover+reversing+camera

They are currently £9.99, I got what they advertised as a used camera a quid cheaper but it turned up basically brand new. The ability to switch the gude lines on and off by making/breaking the wire links and have a mirrored/non-mirrored view makes it a handy camera for any application really. Arrived next day because I have Prime membership.

 

 

 

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Thanks Mark, you're a star :thumbsup:

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Just trying this myself with the same camera.

I am completely clueless with electrics.  Just got some basic questions:

1.) when you say you tapped into the reversing light do you mean you connected the wires to the reversing light wires.  If so did you soldier and is it a case of connecting the same colour wires to each other.

2.)  did you cut the original wire (4 colours)  that attaches to the circuit board?  You speak about keeping the curcuit board but then where do you attach the wires from the new camera?

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Hi, the power wire (red & black) for the camera goes to the reversing light. The black lead for the video connects to the black wire coming from the original camera. Don't cut the black wire, just tap the black wire from the new camera into it as the black, red  and white wires from the camera stay as before. 

The only wire you cut is the yellow wire. 

Connect the yellow wire from the new camera to the yellow wire that goes back to the car.

When you select reverse, power gets applied to the reversing lights and the camera  so it's not on all the time.

 

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Hi, just stumbled upon this thread trying to figure out my camera woes. I have a 2001 estima which uses the same camera as the earlier rx300. I'm hoping I can reference this and fix the old one in the same way as its basically the same wires etc but you have a slightly different camera housing (dont know what Lexus you have). Been quoted silly figures for even a second hand unit and was going to try a cheap Chinese camera but modify it to fit. The bit I was stuck on was the wiring as I believe they use either 12v or 6v, or both and I was a little confused. For a tenner I'm going to try this. Thanks for doing the write up it all seems to make sense! Lol

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36 minutes ago, Tarrman said:

Hi, just stumbled upon this thread trying to figure out my camera woes. I have a 2001 estima which uses the same camera as the earlier rx300. I'm hoping I can reference this and fix the old one in the same way as its basically the same wires etc but you have a slightly different camera housing (dont know what Lexus you have). Been quoted silly figures for even a second hand unit and was going to try a cheap Chinese camera but modify it to fit. The bit I was stuck on was the wiring as I believe they use either 12v or 6v, or both and I was a little confused. For a tenner I'm going to try this. Thanks for doing the write up it all seems to make sense! Lol

I did mine last year but, unlike this write up, completely removed the old unit including PCB.  . I tapped into the reverse light for 12v feed.  

Took a bit of trial and error, but you wouldn't know it wasn't OE now.

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So you tapped into the reverse wire for power, then connected the black to the black on the original wire, and the yellow to the yellow on the original wire? And the white you left alone? I think the PCB in my old camera is way past it anyway, seems to have completely corroded (unit was full of white dust).

20190709_120102.jpg

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21 hours ago, Tarrman said:

So you tapped into the reverse wire for power, then connected the black to the black on the original wire, and the yellow to the yellow on the original wire? And the white you left alone? I think the PCB in my old camera is way past it anyway, seems to have completely corroded (unit was full of white dust).

20190709_120102.jpg

 

Pretty much.  The white is isolated and unconnected

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Cool thanks for that. Camera should be here Saturday so will try it when I get round to it next week.  

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On 7/10/2019 at 8:13 PM, engine said:

 

Pretty much.  The white is isolated and unconnected

Quick question, on the power wire of the camera theres the red and black, red is the power obviously, where do I put the black wire? 

Also with the yellow plugged cable, do I slice the end of the plug off and wire that to the black on the car or would you just run the new cable down to the back of the head unit? Worth noting that theres one of these yellow plugged cables plugged into the back of the head unit (aftermarket head unit came with the car) which is marked up 'camera'.

Im confused lol. I know the red wire on the yellow plugged cable is to trigger the cam input on some head units. 

20190713_120209.jpg

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4 hours ago, Tarrman said:

Quick question, on the power wire of the camera theres the red and black, red is the power obviously, where do I put the black wire? 

Also with the yellow plugged cable, do I slice the end of the plug off and wire that to the black on the car or would you just run the new cable down to the back of the head unit? Worth noting that theres one of these yellow plugged cables plugged into the back of the head unit (aftermarket head unit came with the car) which is marked up 'camera'.

Im confused lol. I know the red wire on the yellow plugged cable is to trigger the cam input on some head units. 

20190713_120209.jpg

 

 

Assuming you are simply replacing the standard camera and still displaying it on the standard screen (with the computer)...

 

OvQRPHG.jpg

 

- The 'new' Camera is wired to the yellow output wire from the 'old' Camera multiplug (on the right)
- The 'new' Camera live (red) is wired to the +12v from the rear reverse lamp
- The 'new' Camera earth (black) is wired to the earth on the boot loom.
- The 'old' Camera earth, +6v live are , and white PCB wire are cut and isolated

 

I did have good intentions to tidy all the above up and solder it correctly, but I forgot about doing it.  It's been working as shown for quite some time now.

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Erm, not quite lol. When we got the car a couple of years ago it had an aftermarket head unit in, an old Xtrons unit (all works fine, sat nav etc) although the camera has never worked. At the loom in the dash theres the usual wiring adapter, also the aerial, ipod connector, GPS antenna connector and a yellow camera plug marked up camera which plugs into the head unit. The camera at the back is the original item with original wiring but the head unit end seems to of been rewired. I think I'll have to go back to square one with it. I had a look at it the radio wiring today but need to look at the loom in the boot to see if theres any different wiring been done. Worst case scenario im just going to have to wire in the new camera with new wiring to the head unit. The camera is kaput so I get the impression that it did work as otherwise why would they do the wiring at the head unit end. More investigation is needed!

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On 7/13/2019 at 5:18 PM, Tarrman said:

Erm, not quite lol. When we got the car a couple of years ago it had an aftermarket head unit in, an old Xtrons unit (all works fine, sat nav etc) although the camera has never worked. At the loom in the dash theres the usual wiring adapter, also the aerial, ipod connector, GPS antenna connector and a yellow camera plug marked up camera which plugs into the head unit. The camera at the back is the original item with original wiring but the head unit end seems to of been rewired. I think I'll have to go back to square one with it. I had a look at it the radio wiring today but need to look at the loom in the boot to see if theres any different wiring been done. Worst case scenario im just going to have to wire in the new camera with new wiring to the head unit. The camera is kaput so I get the impression that it did work as otherwise why would they do the wiring at the head unit end. More investigation is needed!

With the Xtrons unit, you need a reverse signal to switch the unit over to reversing camera mode. Without it the head unit won't display the reversing camera. Does your head unit switch to video input when you select reverse?  If the head unit switches to a blank video signal on reverse, you need to get the camera video signal to the head unit, or the camera isn't being supplied 12v . The camera yellow lead runs to whichever socket on the xtrons is for reversing camera input. The positive of the camera goes to the reversing light positive and the camera negative goes to earth, so the camera is activated when the reversing light is on and the xtrons unit switches over when it gets a reversing signal as well.

 

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Hello

i have rx400h 2006 with Mark Levinson radio system and i put "chinese" camera .

switch to the car's own connectors directly, ground, power, and image signal, and its ground, 4 pins,

and working fine. 

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32854188567.html?spm=a2g0s.9042311.0.0.29fd4c4ddBQHt2

 

 

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