Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Looking Back


Recently I became a proud owner of 2008 Ford Ranger (regular cab, 7 feet bed, v6 4.0 engine, automatic). The car obviously seen a lot.  Could I  prolong his life for a while? For the beginning I decided to equip it with back-up camera. On e-bay I bought Type-S solar powered kit. Kit consists of two parts:
  •  License plate frame integrating back-up wireless camera, solar panels,  and battery.
  • LCD monitor.

Installation of the camera was easy: first I charged its battery via phone USB charger and then installed it in a regular way in place of license plate frame. Further charge supposed to be provided by sun light.

But installing the monitor required some job. Kit had the  holder with suction cup, but that was a jock. It could not hold monitor for more than five minutes. So I needed to invent some other way.

As you can see there is some opening beneath climate control panel. Could it get some use? 

On the photo above on the left you can see supplied holder and on the right some metal part which I found at the local Ace hardware store. I have no idea for what it was made for but its size more or less matched the opening  under dashboard. I cut it a little and treat with file to make it fit.

Form the holder I removed suction cup, cut the plywood rectangle, drill in hole  under the angle ~60 degree and inserted handle rod through it. On the picture above you can see rear view of assembled construction. On the picture below  there is the side view.

Then I just pushed it into the opening under climate control panel. Metal shape is rigid enough to keep construction in place. Size of the  monitor is a good match to car dashboard. As soon as I inserted power cord into the car 12 V socket, monitor turned on and paired with camera. Done.

What can I say about the kit? So far I like it. Ability to install camera without messing up with car electrical wires is a plus. How well solar charger will work and how long battery will keep the ability to get charge? Only time will tell. Monitor screen itself is good: right size and good enough image quality. There are one small problem: Ford Ranger power socket does not turn off when ignition key is taken out. According to camera manual I should not keep monitor powered up while not driving to avoid car battery discharge. I believe that discharge should be minimal but as of now to play it safe I will remove power plug when car is parked.


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