Mazda MX-5: Back-Up Camera Installed

Today’s project was to install a back-up camera in my little red sports car… and I almost finished it. Almost!

I know I said I was going to put off the back-up camera install until warmer weather, but I had nothing better to do. So today I tore up the passenger side of the interior and pulled out all the panels from the trunk to get access to the wiring, so I could connect my camera.

The interior was easy and so was the trunk. I managed to route the wire perfectly from under the dash all the way to the trunk. The most difficult part was going from behind the passenger seat to the actual trunk. I found the best way was to raise the PRHT top as if I were to retract it, and then it exposed the area where the car wiring goes. I gently zip tied the backup video camera wire to it, and finally dropped the camera wire down into the trunk. I soldered the power source for the camera to the back-up light. Tested it by taping the camera to the spot I wanted to mount it, and everything worked.

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Looks perfect!

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Now I did run into a few problems.

When testing the camera I noticed that when I put the car in reverse, nothing happens!  That was unexpected… I was hoping the back-up image would come up. It doesn’t. Something is off with the settings, or I plugged the yellow RCA jack into the wrong slot on the back of the radio. It’s something I still need to figure out.

The other problem was, the way I wanted to mount the camera, resulted in a terrible image. So I had to re-design the bracket to mount it. At which point I ran out of day light, and didn’t finish the install. The bracket though will mount to the license plate, but unlike those license plate mounted cameras, mine will be hidden by the license plate and only the lip that holds the camera will show, but at the same time be hidden by the lip of the trunk lid. I chose not to mount the camera under the trunk lid lip because people on Miata.net said that the lip blocks the view from the camera, which kind of defeats the purpose of having that camera.

Will post an update when I’m done with the install. It’s easy peasy from here on out.

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UPDATE January 11:

Today was a good day to mount the DIY aluminum bracket my father and I made for the back-up camera. I found it easiest to access the grommet behind the bumper by removing the driver’s side tail light and having plenty of room to work with there.

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At this point everything was plug and play, I just insulated things, zip tied them so the wires don’t bounce around, and put some silicone into the grommet so the water doesn’t seep in from the outside.

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I like the way it looks a lot. The install feels factory from the outside, though you can see the camera once the trunk is open. But I can live with that. I plugged the video wire to the correct slot in the back of the Pioneer head unit and the picture comes on when car is in reverse but for some reason the screen doesn’t go back to whatever setting it was before shifting the car in reverse. Something I must still figure out.

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For the time being I’m quite happy with this!