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Discussion Starter #1
This is intended as a Frequently Asked Questions for the non-technical owner of a 2008-2011+ North American (NA) Subaru Impreza WRX or STI with OEM navigation, who wants to install a backup camera. As a non-technical person myself, I found information on this subject to be confusing and scattered. This write up is based on my personal experience (2011 STI hatchback with Nav), reports from the Subaru Forester forum, NASIOC, and these two threads on IWSTI:
http://www.iwsti.com/forums/gr-i-c-e-security/159710-factory-nav-backup-cam-figured-out.html
http://www.iwsti.com/forums/gr-i-c-e-security/167223-how-install-rear-view-camera-09-sti.html

1. Is there an officially endorsed Subaru backup camera for North American Imprezas?
Sort of. Subaru advertises an OEM backup (rearview) camera accessory in Japan and Europe, but not in North America. Want proof? Just look at this general Subaru WRX/STI accessories brochure for model year 2011:

http://www.subaru.ky/Downloads/2011MYWRXSTIAcc.pdf

Here is a photo of page 9, the Safety section.


But North American Subaru dealerships know nothing about this option. They have never heard of the part number. The North American WRX/STI accessories brochure does not mention this at all. The only officially endorsed OEM navigation backup cameras are for the Legacy and Outback. I have no explanation why they would omit this option for NA Imprezas and Foresters, since the NA consumer is as safety conscious as anyone else.

2. Does the OEM navigation interface with a backup camera?
Definitely yes. If your navigation looks like the one pictured in this write up (2008-2011+) then it has a built-in backup camera function. The navigation will switch to the backup camera video source whenever the car is shifted in reverse. A special harness or plug is required. The harness can be fabricated with parts from RadioShack, or it can be purchased from Tim-M or SVXdc for $20 (+ shipping).

The harness from Tim-M looks like this.

The yellow plug is a standard RCA composite plug to accept the backup camera video. The black wire is a ground which when properly connected, alerts the navigation to the presence of a backup camera. The ground is depicted in some photographs connected to a screw on the left side of the head unit (driver's side). In the above photo, it would be right side since we are looking at the rear of the head unit.

3. What camera have people used?
You must buy a camera that is of sufficiently high signal and build quality that you won't have trouble with line noise, image flickering, image ghosting, or worse. For NA Imprezas, people have reported problems using PAL cameras. Here is a breakdown of what some people have used:

RaiteiX Kenwood CCD-2000 successful.
lupohki Boyo VTL351 successful.
PGT Boyo VTK200 but reported some trouble.
asukadc Kenwood CCD-2000 successful.
baneonrt eBay sourced camera made for license plate light housing. Not a direct fit. Made his own bracket.
rxbytran Kenwood CCD-2000, made his own harness, successful.
phylbint Boyo VTL300C successful.

4. What camera did I buy?
I chose a Kenwood camera because I thought the installation would look the most OEM. I wanted an angle adjustment to guarantee that I could see my own bumper. The Kenwood CCD-2000 is no longer available. It is replaced by the Kenwood CMOS-200 which I got from Amazon for $150. The camera is high quality, small, waterproof, and definitely works. Kenwood is the OEM supplier of the navigation head unit, but I don't think this matters since the signal input is a standard RCA.

The installation manual is available from Kenwood USA.
http://manual.kenwood.com/files/4d099201eeebc.pdf

5. How is the camera powered?
This was the most puzzling question for me as a non-technical person but the installation diagram from Kenwood is very helpful. The camera comes with a power supply box that is located near the head unit. The box is powered by a connection to the "ON-OFF switchable power supply" which is apparently what car stereo accessories are normally connected to. This means the camera will be powered when the ignition is turned on, and the camera will not be powered when the ignition is turned off. If the camera were powered continuously even when the ignition was off, it would drain the car battery. Note: When installed with the OEM navigation, the camera should receive power independent of the reverse gear (or reverse lights), otherwise the camera may not behave as expected.

Here is a photo of page 6 from the installation manual.


6. How is the camera mounted and how is the wiring routed?
The Kenwood power supply box also connects to a single long cable (carrying video and power) that goes all the way back to the rear of the car. The cable follows all the other power cords that supply the tail lights. They are generally routed along the passenger side of the car. At the hatch, they go through a rubber tube at the top right corner, and travel inside the hatch until it gets to the camera.

The camera is mounted externally on the plastic trim which also houses the license plate lights, the hatch release button, and the Subaru logo badge. The camera is screwed to a metal frame which is affixed to the underside of this plastic trim using the included industrial strength double sided tape. There is also a single small screw to more securely fix the metal frame to the trim. I mounted my camera on the passenger side. asukadc has a nice photo of a driver side mount.

Here is a photo of my camera placement.


7. How does the camera cable get back into the hatch?
My installer chose to trap the cable with the plastic trim. This is possible because there is weather stripping around the perimeter of the trim which can accommodate a thin cable. I'm not sure I like this as much because it has a "pinched cable" look to it, but it does hold the cable securely. I think I would have preferred if a small cut-out or notch was made where the cable and trim meet, but I am okay with this. Alternatively, the cut outs for the license plate lights are enormous and could easily accommodate a cable. lupohki has a photo of the cable entering the plastic trim through these openings.

Here is a photo of my cable-trim interface.


8. What is the normal behavior of a properly installed backup camera?
The camera is fully powered when the car ignition is turned on. The camera is not powered when the ignition is turned off. When the navigation has finished its startup sequence, it will display the backup camera video the instant the car is shifted into reverse. Note that hitting the "Agree" button is not required for the display to switch on reverse. When the car is shifted out of reverse, the display changes back to whatever was there before. I do not hear any extra clicks or sounds during gear changes or display toggling.

Here is a photo reversing during the daytime.


Here is a photo reversing into my garage at night time. Note that the reverse lights are more than adequate to illuminate the entire garage including the hazard cone that tells me when to stop.


9. What does the "Dealer Diag Menu" show?
This is like a diagnostic mode the OEM navigation can enter. You (or your installer) can verify the function of the backup camera here. To enter "Dealer Diag Menu" mode, you must hit "Agree" when your navigation finishes its startup sequence.


You must turn off the Audio and show this screen by hitting the "AUDIO SAT" button on the right column. When you see this screen, you alternate pressing the left side of the touch screen with the right side (left, right, left, right, left, right…)


You are now in the "Dealer Diag Menu" mode.


Entering "Connection Info." displays the backup (RearCamera) status. Without a connection, it says "NC" in red letters. With the camera properly installed, it always says "Connect" in green letters.


Entering "RearCamera Setup" lets you turn off the annoying green-yellow-red lines which are overlaid on the backup camera video.


10. Did I install this myself?
No. I hired a professional car stereo installer for approximately $150. I did not feel confident pulling apart the panels and trim. I did not feel confident connecting the power, the grounds, and routing the cables. I bought my camera from Amazon and brought it to All Pro Audio in San Jose, CA. They actually already had a relationship with SVXdc and they knew what harness to order. They have installed backup cameras in Subarus, but not in a systematic way. They had the best YELP ratings of any car stereo installer. As a word of warning, at the time they installed my unit, they also did three other backup cameras that customers had brought in. One customer was a WRX with OEM navigation. None of the customers used the Kenwood camera and they are all still having problems.

11. Was it worth it?
For those of us who purchased cars with the OEM navigation, adding a backup camera is a high-yield upgrade. From a safety point of view, I think it is a no-brainer. But it is also a wonderful parking aid. Parking sensors are not nearly as useful as seeing exactly how close your bumper is to the other car. I have had to come within 1 inch maneuvering into and out of spots, especially in San Francisco. (By the way, it's not nice to trap people in their spots). Good luck.
 

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Great writeup, Destroid!


People who wish to contact me, please use e-mail, not PM. Go to my homepage >> ae64.com << and follow the link for 'wiring harnesses for sale.'

Here are a few additional notes:

[ADDED 9/2014: IWSTI is using VigLink to embed extra, random links in posts (to generate revenue). I have edited this post, adding >> << surrounding the links I originally inserted. Any other links you see are not mine (and in many cases go to something that isn't even relevant). They're definitely not products that I endorse.]

The Navi's camera input is always NTSC, regardless of the market where the car was sold and how you configure the aux video input (which can be NTSC or PAL).

Some cheaper cameras (particularly some of the no-name ones from Asia sold on eBay) are NTSC, but are off-spec just enough that the Navi won't work with them. The Navi takes the camera's signal and overlays graphics (the text that reads "Check Surroundings Before Backing Up" and the optional green, yellow, and red guide lines). Some cameras apparently aren't quite NTSC-enough, resulting in a ghosted image. Turning off the guide lines does not help, since the HU's warning text remains.
Bad camera on aux input

Same camera on rear camera input
(click thumbnails to see larger images)

Uploaded with ImageShack.us
Note that the "Check Surroundings..." text is clear, but the camera's picture is ghosted. That camera is generating its own guide lines (which are ghosted along with the camera's picture).

See discussion and pictures on the >> Forester forums starting here << (post #24 and after). >> Picture << from that thread that I had linked here previously.

These "bad" cameras will seem to work fine when connected to the Navi's aux video input (or a TV). You only see the problem when connected to the Navi's rear camera input.

So when you go to install a camera, first test it connected to the Navi's rear camera input before you spend any time laying the cable, cutting wires, drilling holes, gluing, etc. You'll want to find out that the camera doesn't work while it's still easy to remove and return.

ADDED: It appears the 2008-2009 Navi models do not add the parking guide lines, only the warning text. The diagnostic/setup screen says "RearCamera Check" (not Setup). When you display that screen, there are no controls (other than "Menu" to return to previous screen).

ADDED: A 2009 owner with the FXDD07KF2 said that after he switched to new maps (he went from v 1.1 to 6.1), the HU begin adding the parking guide lines.

ADDED: The accessories brochure linked in Destroid's 1st post shows these OEM part numbers:
H0010SC150 Rear view camera
H0010FG100 Rear view camera installation kit (5-Door)
H0010FG200 Rear view camera installation kit (4-Door)
(the brochure is for 2011 Imprezas. BTW, the "ky" in the URL is the 2-letter code for Cayman Islands)

I couldn't find any pictures or manuals for the installation kits, but I suspect that they contain the bracket, long wire harness, and adapter harness that plugs into the Navi HU.

Incidentally, the accessory brochure lists the OEM Kenwood Navi HU as an available accessory (P/Ns H001EFG001 and H001EFG011). Like the OEM camera, those are not available in North America.


10-19-2013 0:25: Added new pictures showing images from bad camera
9-9-2014 21:44: Mentioned VigLinks
12-6-2014 22:11: Updating to new maps adds the parking guide lines.
 

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^I finished my install earlier today, I did it my self. It was a lot easier than I thought. I used svxdc's wire adapter. I basically fallowed the install for the sub and just ran the wire along the same route. Panel popping tools make jobs like this very easy. I used the same camera as the op Kenwood CCD-2000. I am very happy with final results. I will post pictures on the placement tomorrow. I put the camera on the driver side with a similar angle as the op.
 

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I have a 2011 STi sedan, but my nav unit looks different than what's pictured on this thread. Mine is Canadian, with the Sport-Tech Package. Perhaps Subaru Canada uses a different model altogether than SoA (Pioneer AVIC-U310T). Here's a picture of the front and back of the nav unit that came with the car.





AVIC-U310BT - In-Dash Navigation Receiver with CD Player and Built-in Bluetooth | Pioneer of Canada - English

Does anyone know if the same set-up and harness for the back up camera can be used with this nav unit? This unit does not show the disclaimer screen on start up (where you have to press "agree"). It doesn't have an "Audio Sat" button either, so I'm not sure how to get into the diagnostics screen.
 

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^^ That's an entirely different unit. I would assume none of the information provided in this thread would apply to it. Hopefully someone with more experience can comment.




On another note. I did this mod to my nav and it works perfectly, I used a Kennwood CMOS 2000. However My GPS has been acting strangely after the install, does it need to be recalibrated after disconnecting it??
 

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I also had the U310 with my sport-tech. It does not support a back up camera. You'll need to upgrade to a better navi unit to be able to hook one up. I upgraded to the Z130 and hooked up an ebay backup camera and it works perfectly. The Navi was almost plug and play as well, they both use the same connector.

On a side note for anyone else reading this thread, there's a small indent on the plastic trim piece (part with the Subaru logo) where the dealer is supposed to drill for the OEM camera. It's to the left of the license plate lights if anyone is looking for a good spot to mount thier camera.
 

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Thanks for the info. The Z130 is definitely nice. I was hoping I could set-up a backup cam without having to upgrade the nav unit. Oh well, that's one more thing on the wishlist.
 

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It's on my wishlist too. In the meantime, I wired up one of those "wireless" license plate frame mounted backup cameras (powered by the reverse lights) to a small screen mounted between my rearview mirror and headliner. The power for the screen is wired into the reverse light power wire in the dash. This way, screen and camera go on and off according to the reverse lights.
 

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Great post!!! Now I need to find the details for doing this on a 2012 as I believe they changed the Navi unit for this year....
 

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Great post!!! Now I need to find the details for doing this on a 2012 as I believe they changed the Navi unit for this year....
I'm in for this too!!
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Update on OEM Nav + Backup Camera

It has been 8 months since I installed my backup camera to the OEM Navigation in my 2011 STI, and I wanted to give an update.

First, it has been working flawlessly and has survived rain and numerous car washes. I live in an urban area with challenging parking situations (such as street parking in San Francisco or Berkeley with only 1 inch clearance front and back). It can be done by "feel" but it's easier with a camera. I also share a narrow tandem garage so both cars need to be parked perfectly for the garage door to close. I use my camera primarily as a parking aid, but it may improve safety too. Recently I walked towards my car while a mother with baby stroller was walking towards me in the parking lot. She saw me get into my car. I started the engine (not quiet). Where did she decide to stop her stroller? Right behind my car, she not only stopped, but she crouched down to get something from the bottom of the stroller. She must have been there for 30 seconds. I could still see the top of the stroller handle (and I knew she was there) but sheesh. If I was less attentive, I would have backed into her.

Second, I wanted to reiterate that the camera should be powered full-time as soon as the car ignition is turned on. The camera wiring should not interface with the reverse gear or the reverse lights. This is stipulated in the Kenwood install diagram, but I had to learn this the hard way. The Navigation unit automatically switches the display to camera video input as soon as the you go into reverse because it is aware of what gear the car is in. If you wire the camera power with either the reverse gear or the reverse lights, the camera will not behave as expected. If you're having trouble, check the "Dealer Diagnostic Screen" as described in the original post to make sure it looks just like that. If you are using an aftermarket navigation unit, then I'm not sure if this applies to your install.

Third, I have learned that on my install, the rear passenger door kick panel was busted by my installer. There is a molded retention hook which is cracked. It is clear that my installer must have had a hard time removing this panel, cracked the retention hook, and then put it back hoping that I wouldn't notice. I can only conclude that this must be a really difficult kick panel to remove. Those with more experience removing panels can contribute.

Good luck.
 
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