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Backup Camera Help

2957 Views 19 Replies 2 Participants Last post by  Luc
Hello everyone,
I’ve had my Pioneer deck now for about 5 months and really love it. Just I want to add a backup camera to it. My Highlander is an 08 Base so no camera came with it stock. I found a good reverse cam on Amazon, but was curious to know how I would go about the process of wiring everything together. I’ve looked at previous threads but they don’t seem to cover what I am looking for. What wires would I be exactly running from the cam to the HU? RCA and a sort of power cable I would assume? Would I need an adapter for it. If it helps my HU is a Pioneer AVH-2550NEX and the manual and far as I have read says very little on wiring a camera up. Also does anyone happen to have pictures of connecting up to the reverse lights? And lastly what would the wire route be to get from the tailgate to the HU. Could I just pull it all the way thru the headliner with a stiff wire and run it down the A pillar? Any ideas would be greatly appreciated!
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My daily driver ('06 RAV4) never had a backup camera as well and I bought this camera to work with the same Pioneer HU. I had to make a new hole by the license plate to mount it, route the cable through the back door grommet, and connect the 12V reverse and ground wires at the taillight. The included cable was long enough to run down the door edges to behind the dash where the RCA connector plugged into back of the HU, there was also a red wire that carried the 12V reverse signal that gets tied to the violet/white wire of the Pioneer harness. I took out the back door and lower passenger quarter panels to run all the cable and tap the taillight wires.

For your '08, it will be similar where you will need to remove the lift gate panel, mount the camera, and route the cable through one of the grommets. If you want to tap the 12V reverse and ground wires at the taillight, it will be more involved to take the taillight out (dropping the rear bumper enough to remove one bolt), but you can run the cable down the door edges to the dash. Otherwise, you could run the cable through the headliner and down the a-pillar, but you'll need to find the 12V reverse signal in the front somewhere. It may depend on the 12V/GND wire tap lengths since they're typically not long enough to reach the front of the vehicle unless you extend them. The Natika was that way, so I had tapped it at the taillight.
318636
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
My daily driver ('06 RAV4) never had a backup camera as well and I bought this camera to work with the same Pioneer HU. I had to make a new hole by the license plate to mount it, route the cable through the back door grommet, and connect the 12V reverse and ground wires at the taillight. The included cable was long enough to run down the door edges to behind the dash where the RCA connector plugged into back of the HU, there was also a red wire that carried the 12V reverse signal that gets tied to the violet/white wire of the Pioneer harness. I took out the back door and lower passenger quarter panels to run all the cable and tap the taillight wires.

For your '08, it will be similar where you will need to remove the lift gate panel, mount the camera, and route the cable through one of the grommets. If you want to tap the 12V reverse and ground wires at the taillight, it will be more involved to take the taillight out (dropping the rear bumper enough to remove one bolt), but you can run the cable down the door edges to the dash. Otherwise, you could run the cable through the headliner and down the a-pillar, but you'll need to find the 12V reverse signal in the front somewhere. It may depend on the 12V/GND wire tap lengths since they're typically not long enough to reach the front of the vehicle unless you extend them. The Natika was that way, so I had tapped it at the taillight.
View attachment 318636
Thanks Luc! About the taillight wiring, would I need to remove the full taillight or is there a wiring panel that I could get access to run the electric and ground? Don’t really feel like taking the light assembly out. Also once wired in, how’d you run the radio wires from the camera to the HU?
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
My daily driver ('06 RAV4) never had a backup camera as well and I bought this camera to work with the same Pioneer HU. I had to make a new hole by the license plate to mount it, route the cable through the back door grommet, and connect the 12V reverse and ground wires at the taillight. The included cable was long enough to run down the door edges to behind the dash where the RCA connector plugged into back of the HU, there was also a red wire that carried the 12V reverse signal that gets tied to the violet/white wire of the Pioneer harness. I took out the back door and lower passenger quarter panels to run all the cable and tap the taillight wires.

For your '08, it will be similar where you will need to remove the lift gate panel, mount the camera, and route the cable through one of the grommets. If you want to tap the 12V reverse and ground wires at the taillight, it will be more involved to take the taillight out (dropping the rear bumper enough to remove one bolt), but you can run the cable down the door edges to the dash. Otherwise, you could run the cable through the headliner and down the a-pillar, but you'll need to find the 12V reverse signal in the front somewhere. It may depend on the 12V/GND wire tap lengths since they're typically not long enough to reach the front of the vehicle unless you extend them. The Natika was that way, so I had tapped it at the taillight.
View attachment 318636
Also that is the same camera that I’m looking at right now. Does it have good quality on the Pioneer HU. Of course I don’t expect it to be 4K or anything but it’s up to standard?
 

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See attached on accessing the taillight. There is an accessible panel to change out the light bulbs, but I'm not sure if you can get your hands in there to tap the wires.

If you look at my diagram above, there's a red wire that runs along the with the RCA jack that goes to the back of the Pioneer, that red wire would attach to the violet/white wire of the Pioneer harness.

Yes, it's pretty good. It does have guidelines by default (shown below), but can be disabled by cutting a wire loop, and use the Pioneer's instead.
318645
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
See attached on accessing the taillight. There is an accessible panel to change out the light bulbs, but I'm not sure if you can get your hands in there to tap the wires.

If you look at my diagram above, there's a red wire that runs along the with the RCA jack that goes to the back of the Pioneer, that red wire would attach to the violet/white wire of the Pioneer harness.

Yes, it's pretty good. It does have guidelines by default (shown below), but can be disabled by cutting a wire loop, and use the Pioneer's instead.
View attachment 318645
Thanks! Would you recommend the cameras built in guidelines or using Pioneers?
 

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The default Pioneer lines weren't lined up properly, so I used the Natika's as a guide to adjust them. I just use Natika's since it's on by default, otherwise, you'd have to touch the top left corner to enable/disable the Pioneer lines.
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
The default Pioneer lines weren't lined up properly, so I used the Natika's as a guide to adjust them. I just use Natika's since it's on by default, otherwise, you'd have to touch the top left corner to enable/disable the Pioneer lines.
View attachment 319020
Hey again luc. I was wondering why I need to remove the taillight completely, couldn’t I just tap into the wires running along the car to the taillight?
 

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The Natika pwr/gnd wires were only long enough to reach the taillight in my RAV4, thus, that's where I had made the connection. You can connect them to the reverse/gnd wires anywhere really, but will likely need to extend the wiring.

Sent from my moto g(6) plus using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
The Natika pwr/gnd wires were only long enough to reach the taillight in my RAV4, thus, that's where I had made the connection. You can connect them to the reverse/gnd wires anywhere really, but will likely need to extend the wiring.

Sent from my moto g(6) plus using Tapatalk
Ok thank! I’ll just strip the wire crip it and extend it. I think that’ll be a bit easier than unbolting the taillight. The wires around 18 gauge I’d guess.
 

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The 18-gauge wire will be more than enough. I actually used 22-gauge and it was fine. I had used t-taps and wire-to-wire contact before, but they would become loose over time from all the vibration, so I ended up soldering. The RCA shield around the center conductor at the video end is composed of rather thin metal, so it doesn't grab onto the radio's RCAM input tightly, you'll need to compress a bit so that it makes good contact, otherwise, you'll see the video seemingly drop out when going over bumps, pot holes, edges, etc. Ultimately, I want to replace it and solder on a better connector if it aggravates me again. 😬
331486
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
The 18-gauge wire will be more than enough. I actually used 22-gauge and it was fine. I had used t-taps and wire-to-wire contact before, but they would become loose over time from all the vibration, so I ended up soldering. The RCA shield around the center conductor at the video end is composed of rather thin metal, so it doesn't grab onto the radio's RCAM input tightly, you'll need to compress a bit so that it makes good contact, otherwise, you'll see the video seemingly drop out when going over bumps, pot holes, edges, etc. Ultimately, I want to replace it and solder on a better connector if it aggravates me again. 😬
View attachment 331486
Thanks for the pictures! I think I'll use some of my high quality crimp caps. They seem to have held together well with the radio harness, just gotta squeeze em tight with some pliers. I haven't had the time to dig through the rear wires for the taillight but I assume ground and 12V will be color coded in some way. Nevertheless I'll take out my multimeter just to check. Also I will look to see if there's enough room behind the taillight for me to just tap the wires there. That may be much quicker.
 

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Here is a video showing how to access the right rear taillight, though it's from an '11, but should be same for your '08. If you remove the access and pry out the lower panels, perhaps that will give you enough room to crimp the wires. Ground wire has almost been white/black, and from the video, it looks like the reverse has its own pigtail, so that should be easy to identify.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Here is a video showing how to access the right rear taillight, though it's from an '11, but should be same for your '08. If you remove the access and pry out the lower panels, perhaps that will give you enough room to crimp the wires. Ground wire has almost been white/black, and from the video, it looks like the reverse has its own pigtail, so that should be easy to identify.
Sweet! I’ll definitely check that out. I’m planning on doing this project this weekend when I have some free time so we’ll see how it goes. Hopefully it’ll be a quick project. Then I’ll figure out how to remove the rear hatch plastic trim, how to remove the HIGHLANDER plastic badge, wiring, etc. All of that good stuff.

Cheers!
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Let me know if these work. It's positioned between the door release handle and driver's side license plate light bulb.


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Well the installation was a complete success! Love the camera, great quality, works like a charm. Broke a clip on the HIGHLANDER badge but I bought a new one for $1 from the local dealership. I’m quite happy with how everything is. Now my base Highlander is more of a limited trim. In fact I would go as far as to say it is 2021 standard. :LOL:
 
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