Introduction: Third Brake Light Backup Camera (Wireless)
In today’s project, I will be installing a rear view camera inside my 3rd brake light.
For this project, I will be using my own car which is a 2010 Mitsubishi lancer GTS.
This technique will work with any Mitsubishi Lancer / Lancer Evolution /Lancer EX from 2008-2016
If you don't own a lancer, the wiring portion of this project should be helpful.
Although there are similar products that are available for purchase, I found this setup to be less expensive.
Step 1: Parts
In order to get started, you’ll need the following items.
There are four major parts needed for this project, the rest are just various tools.
A small back up camera that can fit inside your third brake light: CDN$ 19.99
A replica of your car’s third brake light (just to be safe): US $21.99
A small monitor (4-7 inches): CDN$ 20.96
Wireless transmitter/receiver or long av cables: CDN$ 17.99
Step 2: Disassemble
Camera - The camera that I purchased came inside an enclosure that was mounted on a universal license plate cover.
Since I only need the camera, I had to disassemble it.
I used a Compact Screwdriver Kit for this process.
Monitor - As for the monitor, I needed the back of it to be flat in order to mount it on a magnetic car vent mount.
I used a rotary tool to sand it off before covering it with a magnetic plate.
This step is completely optional because the monitor already comes with a stand with 3m tape.
Lastly, the replica of the third brake light was being held together using super glue so it was easy to remove.
I didn't want to use my original brake light from the car because I didn't want to risk breaking it.
Step 3: Brake Light + Camera
In order to fit the camera inside the brake light, I had to replace 2 front facing LEDs with 2 long, side facing LEDs.
By replacing the LEDs, I might lose some light output from the brakes but that was expected when I decided to place the camera in the middle.
As long as the tail lights are fully functional, this shouldn't be a problem.
Next, I used a combination of large shrink tube, electrical tape and hot glue to separate the camera from the light strip.
After drilling a hole through the back, I was able to fit the video & power cables.
By drilling a hole through the front of the light assembly, I was able to fit the camera lens.
Once I sealed the enclosure with super glue, I left the brake light and the camera on for few hours to monitor the temperature.
Overall,the lights and the camera worked well when I supplied it with 12v of electricity.
Unfortunately, once the super glue dried, it left a yellow stain inside the plastic cover.
For this step, I would recommend using some type of clear super glue instead of gorilla glue.
Step 4: Wiring (monitor)
As for the wiring aspect of the project, It was very simple
On a previous project, I was able to draw 12v from the car's fuse box
In order to power the video monitor, we need to find a power source that is active when the car is running.
This power source should turn off when the car is turned off.
The best way to find the power source & the fuse box is to look through your car's owner manual.
For the 2010 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS, the fuse block is located below the steering wheel, above the knee airbags.
In order to gain unrestricted access to the fuse block, I removed the large piece of plastic around the knee airbags. (please use caution when removing this piece of plastic because it is located next to the knee airbags).
According to my car's owner manual, the fuse slot #13 is used for the Accessory socket and it has 15A capacity.
This power source is perfect for the monitor. Using the Fuse tap wire, I inserted two 15A Fuses into the 13th slot.
This will connect to the positive (+) wire of the monitor.
The ground wire can be connected to any metallic surface inside the car.
As a result, the ground wire originating from any unpainted, metallic surface inside the car must be connected to the Black (-) wire on monitor.
The wireless video receiver must also be powered using the same way.
Lastly, connecting the monitor to the receiver is easy!
Just connect the yellow video cable from the receiver to the yellow cable on the monitor.
(The white wire on the monitor is for the 2nd video channel)
Step 5: Wiring (Camera)
Since I used a replica of the original brake light, I had to replace it with the pre installed brake light.
I did this by removing the two nuts that were holding up the previous brake light.
The power connectors for the brake lights are the same but the camera has to be powered using the wireless video transmitter.
The red cable from the transmitter connects to the red cable originating from the camera
The yellow cable from the transmitter connects to the yellow cable originating from the camera
The power cables on the transmitter are connected to the reverse lights using the Lockitt POSI-TAP wire connectors
These wire connectors are able to draw current from an existing power source by piercing through the wire.
The white wire from the reverse light connects to the red wire of the video transmitter.
The black wire from the reverse light connects to the black wire of the video transmitter.
Using this method, I can use the back up camera when the vehicle is on reverse.
If the vehicle is on any other position, the camera will be turned off.
Step 6: Finished
The final result is a fast and reliable back up camera that works in various lighting conditions.
Although I primarily use the rear view mirrors to back up, this is still a nice feature to have in the car.
Compared to the wifi video transmitters that i've used before, this wireless video Transmitter and Receiver kit offers uninterrupted video with virtually no delay.
The price of this setup is fairly inexpensive compared to most 3rd brake light cameras out there.
This camera is mounted higher than ordinary back up cameras so I might use a wide angle lens to see more detail.
As always, you can make your own version of this project and upload it!
If you want to see this project in action, please visit the youtube channel by clicking here:
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