#VanLife: Blog #007 Failing at Fault Checking

August 02, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

When you're buying anything second hand, you're trying your best to remember everything that the seller is telling you about your purchase, the good bits, and especially the bad bits. You're trying to catalogue items that either you're gonna need someone to help you with, or simple things you could probably do yourself. You don't always retain the bad bits, cause you're caught up in the exciting buying experience, but one thing I did manage to remember that was faulty, and that was the reversing cameras at the back of the van.

With a vehicle of this length, I'm gonna need some help parking in tight spaces. Lorry drivers tend not to have to worry about on-street parking, cause they're either driving or parked up in a dedicated bay suitable to their needs. But when your van is over 7 meters long and takes up two parking spaces, knowing what's going on at the arse end is invaluable, especially if you don't want to be going about the place cracking front number plates for other car owners.

I'm fortunate, I've two cameras mounted to the back roof. One points directly down to the rear step plate and tow bar, giving you an accurate guide as to how close you are to something, the second (when operational) should be pointing to the traffic behind me, providing me with information about whether or not it's safe to overtake, so I'm not surprised by something sneaking up behind me in the blindspots, of which there's a gaping one in the side mirrors, as it's nearly caught me out twice so far.

As you've gathered, it's the second camera that's not working. So the hunt was on for a replacement on Amazon.

There are a number of cameras of this model shape out there, however mine has a four pin connector which allows for the powering of the camera from the main 12v source at the other end of the connecting cable. Much less hassle than those other composite types, which need you to provide a separate power input. It took some finding, and really focussing on the connections in the sellers pictures, just as much as the camera, but I found one, and they're cheap enough new, around the £20 mark.

CMOS Car Parking Camera, Rear View Backup Reversing Camera with 18 IR LED lights Night Vision Waterproof for Caravans DC 9V-36VCMOS Car Parking Camera, Rear View Backup Reversing Camera with 18 IR LED lights Night Vision Waterproof for Caravans DC 9V-36VThe right camera for the job! Now I just have to wait patiently for the order to make its way to me, a whole 24 hours!

When it did get here (within 24 hours) I kept it in the van for when I'd get some time to actually fit it to the roof. I was going to be visiting my kids at their Mum's that weekend, so I thought I'd get to it while they were sleeping through their Saturday mornings.

Up bright and early I got a lend of some step ladders to get me up top. Thankfully my ex-wife had a bit of a tool set which meant I could start getting the self tapping screws out of the camera mount, cause forgot to bring anything with me to help in this planned tasked, typical of me. I was going to leave the bracket and just swap out the main camera, but the screw heads were so rusted that it just wasn't going to happen, so the whole thing had to come off. The hole in the roof is shielded with a plastic screw 'thing' that was filled with silicone sealant, which I had to tear out so that I could feed the cables through to push the new one through.

The new camera was fitted perfectly, and the camera aligned and the cables that feed the signal through to the dashboard monitor were secured. A quick run through to the cab and the activation switch flicked to see what this new camera would look like.

Nothing..! Feck all could be seen other than the 'No Signal' display on the screen. A flicked it to camera One, and that was fine, but camera Two wasn't working.

A dash back to the rear, up the steps, I switched the leads around, down the ladders, back to the front, and boom! Camera Two is working, now camera One isn't..?

Back to the rear, up the ladders, old camera Two on to the working lead, back to the front and well feck me! It's working fine! There's nothing wrong with these cameras, it's the sodding connecting lead from the rear to the front! Why the hell didn't I just test this first?

I've probably described this little task like it was a quick swap out, it wasn't, it took at least an hour, and it had also started to rain just to add the to the bliss.

I decided there and then that dashboard console needs to come out so I can see what's going on here behind the scenes with these damn cameras, just to properly fault check it this time.

Unscrewing all the various nuts and bolts just revealed the years worth of dust and grim that has accumulated over it's lifetime as a builder's van. The fuse box panel and the kick panel were taken to the sink for a good wash, and a whole packet of car wipes were used to make it clean and presentable around the floor joins and air vents. The cables for the camera system were found, and again, just for shits and giggles, I swapped them to confirm that the fault lay with the font to rear connectors, which it did. I thought the while I was at it that I would try and remove the tachometer that I don't need, and the old battered Parrot Hands Free Car Kit that was now redundant. I failed to even get close to removing the tachometer, cause that need some serious skills, the Parrot however, was out in no time, clearing up the clutter on the dashboard.

As for the camera cable, well, that's going to have to wait until the refurbishment kicks off, cause it's currently fed through the rear panels of the interior. I might as well just deal with it as part of the wiring fit out.

Nothing ever seems easy with this motor. I'll get there though, cause I'm determined to make this van awesome!

But if anyone has any handy links on how to remove a tachometer, or knows someone in the NW who can deal with it, let me know. Next job, source some rear seats that have seatbelt already fitted. This is a whole other handling session, but I'll tell you about that, next time.


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