Mobile DVR Installation

mobile dvr camera

Hiding The Front-Facing Camera

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Integration of a mobile DVR in a conversion van or RV can be quite complicated, with many parts that have to work together.

From DVR, display, cameras, wires and a multitude of connectors, sometimes it is overwhelming. Today I started with the front camera, a process that is fairly simple on its own.

The vehicle will be equipped with a DVR system that will substitute the common dash cam and add cameras to both sides of the van and a second camera at the rear. I searched for an affordable 1080p system but the HD cameras are still too big or expensive and I ended up with a 720p system (700tvl cameras).
I see multiple uses for such a system:

  • Rear camera: improved overview while backing up in addition to the backup camera; better ability to watch the traffic behind the vehicle while driving.
  • Side cameras: A single and wider view of the traffic lane to the left or right when changing lanes.
  • Front camera: Dash cam replacement. Accident recording.
  • Recording of activities that are happening around the vehicle. Criminal activity, unknown visitors or just ordinary wildlife.
  • GPS function records route information.

mdvr front cameraMy main purpose for it as a single person, traveling in a van, is the added security it provides. Hearing unsettling noises outside the RV and being able to remain inside and still observe what’s happening. Being woken up in the middle of the night by a person knocking on your door and verifying that it is law enforcement.

Today I worked on the front camera. The easy way out would be placing the camera behind the rearview mirror for an unobstructed forward view. Another solution would be to incorporate the tiny device inside the exterior grille. I chose to hide it out-of-view inside the window box, located behind the rearview mirror of my Ford Transit cargo van. When you take the two panels apart, it reveals a removable insert, that can be modified to accommodate the small camera. I can probably find a 12V power source for the camera from the rearview mirror harness, but I likely connect it directly to the DVR, which will be placed in a small upper-cabinet behind the driver’s seat. The wire(s) will be guided behind the canopy and above the door to the wall cavity behind it.
At a later stage, the cabin headliner will be removed for a permanent installation of the wires and addition of insulation to make the van more airtight.

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  1. I enjoy reading all your posts as I own a 2015 Transit 350 high roof extended length. I have not done as much as you but have many similar ideas in the works. I am going to make my murphy bed a bi-fold and mount it 36 in. from the floor so when folded out it can rest on my countertop. We will be using measurements for a full bed (54x75x6) so 2 -27″ panels folded out to 54″ resting on the flat surface cabinets will allow for a seating area below the bed. Folded up it will only extend 12″ from the wall and leave plenty of room. Just wanted to share some different ideas. Will send photos when completed.

    1. Thanks for your interest. That makes it all worthwhile.

      You have a few more options, as the higher roof and extended length offer better opportunities for a bathroom and more storage.
      I can’t recall having seen a ‘bifold Murphy Bed’, but that only makes it more interesting. From what I understand, it seems like a well-thought out solution. Have you thought about having it do double-duty as a sofa by hinging it at the top?
      I would very much appreciate your offer to submit photos of your project; with your permission I would publish them as a service to my readers.
      Keep up the good work!

      Van Williams

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