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Car Electronics – Part I

electronic gadgets

With an imminent purchase of a new cargo van, it’s time to start thinking about how I start the conversion. Actual changes to the van, have to begin with electrical and/or electronic devices. Wiring must be done while floors, walls and ceiling are still accessible.


Some of these devices could have been acquired as an factory-installed option, but this way I save some money and get a more complete system.

Following up on 7 Gadgets to Super-Charge Your Cargo Van, I look at the required specifications and availability of these electronic gadgets, which will make life and driving a bit easier. Some are for fun, yet others are needed, such as Back Up Assist, which will be mandated for new cars within the next few years. You can spend thousands on all of these devices, but with a little effort I should stay within my limited budget.

GPS Tracker

A small tracking device that logs the location of the van. In combination with a phone, you could even locate your van, when stolen.


Dash Cam or Car DVR

Automatically records while the van is in motion. It starts and stops when you start your car and looping will continuously record video and in combination with a built-in GPS tracker, it records the journey and speed.


The video and power cable can be pulled through behind the ceiling and be connected directly to your car’s fuse box or internal wiring.

Incorporating all these features will lead to prices over $100.00, which I want to avoid. Main problem is finding a small unit without a LCD screen, to preclude multiple screens around the van.

Reverse Sensing System

When the vehicle backs up and comes close to an object, these sensors will make a beeping sound or use a visual display to indicate the distance to the object.

Parking sensors are found in two categories:

Ultrasonic System.

Electromagnetic System.

Comprises of an adhesive antenna tape, an electronic unit, acoustic speaker and simple wiring kit.

The standard configuration is at the rear bumper, but you have a choice to install front bumper sensors as an option.


I’ll explore additional car electronics, that will assist the driver, yet be integrated in the van and largely hidden from view. To complete the list, I look at needed specifications for a Backup Camera, side & front cameras, GPS and a display screen that unifies the system.

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