Back up Camera…

Backup video intermittent…Sept. 2004

I found after driving the rig around Gresham and Portland, Oregon (my home town) the first 4 months after I bought it and before I really started driving off around the country, that the backup monitor would sometimes not give me a picture. Makes it kinda hard to back into a space by yourself. It was intermittant too, usually it would work fine and then when I actually needed it, I’d have a blank screen on the monitor. I posted a question about the problem on a RV forum I frequent and the only answer I received that made sense and described the symptoms accurately, was one that suggested that a large automotive type relay that supplied power to the house had bad…meaning pitted, burned or corroded…contacts and the low current of the camera system wasn’t enough to overcome the poor connection (called a dry circuit failure). With a large load (lots of current), the relay would work fine. So the next time the failure occurred, in the rain, at dusk, I ran out and opened the ‘Intellitec’ power center in the battery compartment and whacked the suspect relay with a rubber mallet. Ran back in the rig, and sure enough, the backup picture was there. Usually, it wouldn’t fix itself that quickly when the problem occured just sitting in a parking lot, I’d have to drive over a bump or something. Now I knew that I had a ‘dry circuit’ problem with a relay (looks just like a typical automotive type starting relay), it was a simple and inexpensive repair using a standard starting relay from an automotive parts house for around $9. Here’s a pic of the battery compartment and cover to the Intellitek controller:                                                                         100_1240.jpg

The installed relay is the silver device near the center: 100_1239.jpg

Thing is about this repair? It was easy to get the new relay installed and all cinched down but I forgot (really) to disconnect the batteries. During the messing around, I dropped a wire to the wrong place and it shorted out to a battery terminal, welding itself in place. Things started melting, smoke started pouring out of the Intellitec and insulation on several wires began melting, adding to the smoke. I have a degree and many years experience with electronics so after I pulled the shorting wire off the battery, I took everything apart, repaired the open traces on the board, replaced the melted wires, and got it all working again. My advice is, if you must work on the Intellitec, to disconnect the batteries. Then cover them with a piece of wood before removing any wires…I learned my lesson.

Update: Dec. 2015. 

The backup camera has been working fine all these years. I leave it pretty much on all the time in towns and occasionally turn it off on long lonely stretches of road when I rarely need to see directly behind the RV. And in addition to the camera, I have side mirrors.