On Board Camera System

(click on any picture to see enlarged view)

video system for toyota fj

The Baja Camera System®  started with humble beginnings.
My wife and I were shopping at Costco and as I strolled down the car aisle I saw a wireless backup camera for $79. Since I had been thinking about self spotting when rock crawling, the wheels were spinning. Once I got home I examined all the parts, exposed the sticky tape on the camera and stuck it to the corner of my bumper aimed toward the right front tire. I temporarily wired the camera and velcroed the monitor to my visor. My driveway is paved so I began following one specific crack and was excited when I was able to stop the FJ at exactly the place I wanted my tire by using the monitor.  After that, the wheels were spinning for over a year until I found a business that could develop the right camera system.  Total Vision® of Tucson, AZ was the contact I found. Rod was receptive to my request and I took my truck down for him to see. Rod had similar thoughts and so it began...

 
   
wikid camera build

 

My idea was to have two monitors so I could see both front tires while rock crawling

During my first attempt I hacked up my drivers side visor and made a visor mounted monitor system. After a few days of fabbing and fitting I decided to scrap the visor mount attempt. One new visor was ordered.
 

 

Looking at other options, the roof was targeted.  This is where the fun begins.

Removing the headliner was the first large task.  I had never attempted this before, but that has never stopped me before!
 

 

Removing Headliner Toyota FJ   After the headliner was removed, I sat in the drivers seat and began to scheme. The obvious observation was the amount of room between the healiner and actual roof. The roof is also strutted or supported in a few places and I figured the forward support could be used as a mounting point. The ideas began to surface.  Having some plywood and the monitors to position, I just started to make a pod to fit them in and figure a way to attach them. After many attempts, which included over a week and two sheets of plywood, a basic concept was accomplished. Two monitors in a single mount.  Positioning the monitors was the next battle. 

 

After discussion with Rod I decided to have more views to look at for more total coverage. It made sense because it also balanced the space. This allowed me to create a  panel for all of the controls and switches.   Placement of the CB was considered and here is the result.  The many steps not mentioned are the different ways to accomplish each task at hand. Important to me was to be sure it looked factory and also retain the functions of the visors, without obstructiong the view through the windshield

  more video views and cb

 

Removing Headliner Toyota FJ  

After many attempts at positioning I made the final Overhead console mounted on 1/4 plywood. Each monitor pod set was carefully positioned and test fitted until every function worked without anymore fiddling.

Another thought was to add a permanent mounted CB antenna and here's what I did. I purchased a Wilson 1000 antenna. Mounting was easy if you don't mind drilling holes in your roof. I used a unibit and drilled a 7/8" hole in about the center of the truck. The reason I chose the center is the way cb radio waves use the truck as a plane to transmit and recieve.  If you mount your antenna in the rear it will have most of its power forward, in the front  backward so in the middle you get better reception both ways.  The Wilson 1000 allows you to remove the entire base and antenna when not in use to be replaced with a screw on cap over the threaded socket that is left on your roof.

 

My thoughts then moved to the roof. There is absolutely no insulation of any kind on the entire roof. After some research I found Second Skin Audio, a local company that offered sound deadening and insulation that I could add. After consulting with them I chose two products. 

First, Damplifier Pro is a sound deadening material.

  more video views and cb
It's very sticky and comes in 12"X20" sheets that you peel paper off one side and adhere it to the area you want to cover. 012    more video views and cb
You need to get as many of the bubbles out as possible since it works on a contact basis for the sound deadening.   more video views and cb

Then I used Heatwave Pro with their specific adhesive to bond it to the reflective side of the damplifier Pro.  Here is the completed ceiling...

Second, Heatwave Pro

  more video views and cb

 

Removing Headliner Toyota FJ  

After discusssion with Rod at Total Vision® and his review of my new monitor set up he put into motion the design of the system to function with my monitors. 

The plan is 8 cameras, 2 keypads controlled by ECU's to have the ability to switch between chosen views. Each keypad will control the function of 2 monitors drivers side and passenger side. Each ECU has 2 video outs and 1 audio out to send to a One Quad Channel DVR with gps tracking and 2 channels of audio.

 

 

Camera mount and wiring day. I completed 3 camera installs and ran about 80% of the wire/cables Location, location, location, was the theme of the day.

Drivers side on the roof narrow view camera that shows lots of distance but not as much on the sides

Camera One

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Passenger side a wide angle but not much distance.


My logic behind where they are mounted is...
I wanted to be able to easily clean them without having to make some kind of boom to reach the center (remember I am short). I decided to follow the line of the washer nozzles. With that I also needed to establish an axis for where center would be in front of the truck. 8Ball and I worked it out with much effort.

Camera Two

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Rear view is a narrow view and wil be able to catch where I've been; plus, any interesting habits that are happening in the car behind me. Besides, it would be a great scenic view.

Camera Three

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Here is a rock spotting camera located on the front drivers side. The passenger side has the same.

Camera Four

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I drilled a 1" hole angled down and painted the exposed edge. The camera's have brackets that are epoxied in place

Camera Five

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Approach angle camera

Camera Six

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Here is the departure camera or backup cam

Camera Seven

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Rear axle cam protected by my skids and with clear view of the dif and inner tires

Camera Eight
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Removing Headliner Toyota FJ  

Cable and wire runs were also done today.

 

 

Removing Headliner Toyota FJ  

Progress on the overhead console.



I used headliner material to cover the monitor pods and made a center section which will house both of the keypads, cb radio and a few other goodies I have planned for it. 

This turned out to be wasted time, because of plan changes.

 

Here is a sample Keypad that will control the cameras. The center was cut and formed from 18 gauge steel. Angles were important along with forming a rigid back edge.

I am working with Rod from Total Vision® of Tucson, AZ. Total Vision Products: The new standard in mobile vision products I gave him the thoughts I had and he developed the system. We are working together with the install. So far my end of the install is almost done. Rod is designing another system that could be a great addition to the FJ crowd along with others who may want something like it. The system being designed is not this involved for the install. Mine is just over the top.


Besides all of the wiring I accomplished the oh center console is painted and fitted.

  more video views and cb
Removing Headliner Toyota FJ

 

 


We have most of the system in and two of the cameras viewing.
I will start with a view from the drivers seat while driving home from Tucson. The left picture is facing forward from one of the two front facing roof cams. The right picture is the long view rear roof cam picture. I was hoping to catch this guy pickin his nose.

 

There is lots of wiring and configuring to do. This is the semi complete oh console after today's progress.

Wiring in the 2 ecu's that are controlled from the keypads on the console.

  more video views and cb

 

 


I decided to make a harness for all the switches in the OH console. I ran one 12 gauge wire for power and a ground. Then soldered and wired each switch. I used (2) 5 wire cables to use as trigger wires to run to all of the accessories that will need to be switched. I should never have to pull anything apart in the roof area to add anything from now on.

9 switches total  5 are dedicated for the camera system and current Off-road lights.



 

Quad channel DVR with GPS tracking and alarm mode. The location I decided on changed due to being able to use the IR remote ofr functions.

 

 

 


Here is the wiring finalized. It will not move or show after the headliner is installed. We still have to test the whole system before the headliner goes up just in case..


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Here are the 2 ecu's wired and ready for testing. I am going to make a wire keeper for the top of this where all the wires that come out of the ecu's will have support above them so they won't wiggle out. Testing mode doesn't require neat appearance til I know its right.

  more video views and cb

 

 

Relocating the Lowrance was needed

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Ok, after testing my system in a local rough wash area, I cannot get the video system to mess up so I think it's ready to finalize. The picture reflects wires secured with the sound deadening. I used strips of it to stop possible wires coming loose and rattling in the headliner. The sound deadening is extremely sticky, so I doubt it will come loose. Everything else was wire tied into position
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The DVR is now mounted in a different location so it will be easier to control it with the remote. Top of my rear battery box is where I chose. If you look at my gear box, on my build, it fits against the battery box so you only see the carpeted boxes instead of wiring.



 

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