How to Wire a Backup Camera

Written by tony breedlove
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How to Wire a Backup Camera
Backup camera (car image by Byron Moore from

According to "The New York Times," the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that 221 people were killed and more than 14,000 injured in backup accidents in 2007. Because of this risk, many people have installed backup cameras on their vehicles. With the advent of wireless backup cameras it is now easier and more cost-effective to do it yourself. The process can be broken down into two segments: installing the camera and installing the monitor.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Flathead screwdriver
  • Pliers
  • Small socket set

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  1. 1

    Decide how you will route the wires from the camera, which will be at the base of your number plate, to the tail light. You may be able to route the power wires to your tail light assembly without drilling a hole. If you cannot route the wires from the rear of your car to the tail light, you may need to drill a small hole to route the wires through. This can usually be done in an area that is out of sight and will not alter the appearance of your vehicle. Each vehicle type will be different; consult the installation guide which came with your camera. If you do need to drill a hole, install a rubber grommet so the wire will not be damaged by the ruff edge of the hole.

  2. 2

    Obtain access to the backup lamp wires. You may need to remove the tail light or you may be able to reach them by removing an access panel in your boot. The backup lamp is the clear lamp which illuminates when you place your car in reverse. The colours of the wires will be different in each vehicle model, but you should be able to find the backup lamp because it is the only rear tail light with a clear lens.

  3. 3

    Remove the number plate and route the camera power wire from the tail light assembly to the number plate area. Connect the power wire to the camera. There may be a hole to route the wires through or you may have to drill one as described in Step 1.

  4. 4

    Reattach the number plate and attach the camera to the bottom of the plate with the mounting screws which came with your camera. Retract the slack wire going to the camera and coil it up inside the tail light recess.

  5. 5

    Connect the red wire from the camera to the reversing light positive wire with the Scotch lock splicer which came with your camera. Connect the black wire from the camera to the negative reversing light wire, and reattach the tail light or replace the panel cover.

  1. 1

    Choose a location for the monitor on the dash or the windshield which does not obstruct your view. Clean the area with a glass cleaner. Choose the location carefully; it is difficult to remove the monitor once it has been installed.

  2. 2

    Remove the protective film from the base of the monitor, seat the monitor in place and press down firmly.

  3. 3

    Attach the power supply wire to the monitor and the other end to the cigarette lighter.

Tips and warnings

  • Read the instruction manual before installing your camera. Watch the video listed in the References section to obtain a visual understanding of the process. Because the camera connects to the reversing light, it will turn on only when you shift into reverse. If you would like to permanently wire your monitor to the car's power, consult the instruction manual that came with your camera. See the Resources section for examples of wireless backup cameras.

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