Rear view camera

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Description

Installing a rear view camera is a nice feature, especially if the rear window is tinted. This section covers rear view camera installation on a W220 and various rear view cameras.

To see the picture on COMAND screen a multimedia interface must be installed. Alternatively, a cheap (~15 USD) LCD monitor can be used to see the picture.

W220 rear view camera on COMAND screen.jpg

Wiring

The simplest path from the front panel to the rear under seat is to follow the thick, red positive wire. Then the wire can follow wires that go from rear SAM to trunk cover.

W220 wiring front to rear front.jpg W220 wiring front to rear rear.jpg


W220 rear camera trunk wire.jpg W220 rear camera trunk second wire.jpg

The wires in the trunk cover wiring shield seem to be glued, therefore it seems that extra wire for camera cannot be pulled through.

W220 rear camera trunk wire 1.jpg W220 rear camera trunk wire 2.jpg

Relatively elegant solution is to run camera wire in parallel with trunk wiring shield.

W220 rear camera trunk wire 3.jpg W220 rear camera trunk wire 4.jpg

To activate rear view camera when the reverse is engaged the activation cable (the blue wire in the picture) can be connected to reverse cable of tail lights.

W220 rear lights reverse light cable.jpg

Mounting Locations

W220 do not have rear view camera as an OE option. It can be difficult to find a workable and convenient location for installing an aftermarket camera. Possibilities include:

  • A special number plate housing with a camera built in.
  • A camera mounted on a bar which is fitted on the top of the rear number plate using the existing screws.
  • A camera in a purposefully designed handle which can replace the existing trunk handle.
  • A camera in a purposefully designed licence plate light fitting to replace one of the existing lights.
  • A universal style stand-alone camera which can be fitted on either vertical or horizontal surfaces but does require a hole to be drilled in the car body.

Cameras

There are several rear view cameras available on eBay.

CAMERA1 (eBay)

Typical Price: 35 USD

This one is marketed on eBay as a W220 rear view camera, however, there is no place where it could be possibly mounted.

Rear view camera supposedly for w220.jpg

CAMERA2 (licence plate light module)

Price: 50 USD

The camera comes with built-in LED which is powered by a separate wire. Note, that the LED is not CANBUS "error free", which means that if connected to licence plate light wire the LED will blink and errors will appear on the instrument cluster. To make it work an additional resistance - load resistor of 150 ohm must be added (you can also use 100 ohm load resistor, but in that case if the LED malfunctions you will not receive error message on the instrument cluster). To mount it in place of original licence plate light module you will have to sacrifice the original module by breaking off the connector (or alternatively drilling two holes). Breaking it is easy since if the original licence plate module has been used for a while the plastic becomes very fragile (see license plate lights page).

Dimensions of the camera. Fits well into the original licence plate light bulb module.
Camera dissected. Although 4 screws on the camera plastic can be unscrewed, the camera module cannot be opened - plastic has been melted together.
Camera screwed in the original licence plate light module housing.
Original licence plate light module with two holes drilled (alternative to breaking the connector off).
Load resistor and camera connector soldered to licence plate light module bulb contacts.
Ready for use. One connector must be plugged in the licence plate light connector, other to composite video plug that comes with the camera.
Camera mounted in the trunk cover.

CAMERA2 Advantages:

  • Discrete mounting (hardly visible from distance).

CAMERA2 Disadvantages:

  • The small LED provides less light onto the licence plate than aftermarket LED modules (see license plate lights page).
  • Has relatively small view angle (see comparison below).
  • Since mounted 20cm away from center, makes rear view biased (see comparison below).
Licence plate light cover removed exposing the socket.

Front and back views of licence plate light cover. The part number is A2208200066.

2208200066 Number Plate Light Front View.JPG 2208200066 Number Plate Light Rear View.JPG

Dimensions of licence plate light module.

CAMERA3 (generic)

Price: 15 USD

This is generic rear view camera that has to be mounted to ceiling. Trunk lid handle is a good place where to mount it.

A good place to mount generic camera is on the trunk lid handle. However, for facelift vehicles with retractable trunk grip (RTG) handle, finding a place where to mount the camera can be challenging.

Camera available in two colors.
Camera dissected.
Trunk handle with drilled hole for camera (pre-facelift).
Trunk handle with camera fitted (pre-facelift).
Camera mounted (pre-facelift).
Camera mounted (view from distance).
Trunk handle with drilled hole for camera (facelift).
Trunk handle with drilled hole (facelift).
Camera mounted (facelift).
Camera mounted (view from distance).

CAMERA3 - Advantages:

  • Can be mounted very close to the center of car (in case of pre-facelift trunk lid handle).
  • Has large view angle (see comparison below).

CAMERA3 - Disadvantages:

  • Not very discrete (visible from distance).

CAMERA4

Other rear view camera mounted (CAMERA4).

CAMERA5 (license plate light lens)

Price: 25 USD

Licence plate light lens camera.
Dimensions.

Feedback from eBay: "Received this camera today after a three week wait and it is not a direct replacement of the license plate light lens. The brackets that hold the lamp are too long and the lens itself does not bubble out and accommodate the lens like the original does. There's no way to adjust the camera left or right. The camera is made of two pieces and both pieces were put together by some sort of RTV that does not cover all the electronic pieces. Mine came apart. Great concept, but the execution was poor."

CAMERA6

Rear view camera mounted in bumper molding.

Comparison

Here we provide a comparison of two rear view cameras. The rear view camera in the licence plate light module (CAMERA2) and the generic rear view camera (CAMERA3).

Vehicle with the two cameras mounted.
Actual CAMERA2 CAMERA3
Rear view camera exp1.jpg Rear view camera2 exp1.jpg Rear view camera1 exp1.jpg
Rear view camera exp2.jpg Rear view camera2 exp2.jpg Rear view camera1 exp2.jpg
Rear view camera exp3.jpg Rear view camera2 exp3.jpg Rear view camera1 exp3.jpg
Rear view camera exp4.jpg Rear view camera2 exp4.jpg Rear view camera1 exp4.jpg
Rear view camera exp8.jpg Rear view camera2 exp8.jpg Rear view camera1 exp8.jpg
Rear view camera exp7.jpg Rear view camera2 exp7.jpg Rear view camera1 exp7.jpg
Rear view camera exp9.jpg Rear view camera2 exp9.jpg Rear view camera1 exp9.jpg
Rear view camera exp5.jpg Rear view camera2 exp5.jpg Rear view camera1 exp5.jpg
Rear view camera exp6.jpg Rear view camera2 exp6.jpg Rear view camera1 exp6.jpg
Rear view camera exp10.jpg Rear view camera2 exp10.jpg Rear view camera1 exp10.jpg
Rear view camera exp11.jpg Rear view camera2 exp11.jpg Rear view camera1 exp11.jpg
Rear view camera exp12.jpg Rear view camera2 exp12.jpg Rear view camera1 exp12.jpg