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DIY: Do It Yourself
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Old 10-19-2016, 06:36 AM   #1
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Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Melbourne
Posts: 85
My Ride: 2002 330i
Reverse camera install PIC HEAVY!

Here's the DIY for my reverse camera install in a 2002 330i sedan. Like my other ventures into e46 repair, my car has several manufacturing differences, so I hope this can help someone out who faced the same difficulties as I did. This is a long DIY, but I didn't want to miss a step along the way and cause confusion. If you just want pics.

The camera I bought was a generic eBay CCD camera for around $20, which said it fits without modification, but that wasn't the case unfortunately. It took a few weeks to arrive, and worked when I tested it with an AV input and DC supply unit I have for testing, so next step was installation in the car.

My boot handle isn't integrated into the boot lid like the other's I've seen (these have recesses in the actual boot lid chassis for lighting/handle assembly housings), but is an external module mounted on the boot lid, which I immediately realised would mean extra install work. First I removed the inner boot lid trim, which is held in by small extended snap anchors. Draw out the head 10mm or so with a flathead screwdriver, then use a pair of pliers to pull the whole anchor out. The tool chest mounted on top of the lining has a flexible arm that's removed by twisting the end that goes into the boot lining then pulling it out, and two small felt covered screws need to be removed at the base supports for the whole thing to come out. The lining and chest are a complete unit, so just lift it out and set it aside. The boot handle is held in by 4 torx screws, and be careful when removing as the plastic is most likely cracked and brittle.

The boot release button/light wiring connector is just underneath the metal trim, with a small plastic snap connector holding it on. Once removed, the boot handle assembly comes right off. Mine has foam on the backside to act as an insulator/weather seal. The left-hand light comes out by gently prying the edges with a flathead screwdriver, revealing the incandescent globe, which comes right out. After pushing the plastic globe-holder part out from the inside, I inserted the camera to figure out how much of the camera housing had to be removed for it to fit.

Last edited by bmwdud121; 10-19-2016 at 06:48 AM.
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Old 10-19-2016, 06:43 AM   #2
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Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Melbourne
Posts: 85
My Ride: 2002 330i
The housing is unnecessarily bulky, so a lot can be removed without damaging the components. If I had to buy another, I would find one that is virtually flat on the backside, not a huge bump (they exist!). I used a rotary tool to sand parts away, including a bit from the side snap connectors, but got a bit carried away with sanding the read and took a bit too much off, but I just patched the holes up with duct tape. Now it fits like a glove!

The globe holder assembly has four wires, and before cutting I wrapped the cameraís LED power cable around the holder arms (positive on the side closest the wires, and ground furthest away) to test, which powered the camera LEDs fine when the license lights came on. I shortened the LED power wire from the camera to around 10cm (from 30cm), then I cut the wires from the globe assembly and stripped ~5mm from the ends, and soldered each pair to the corresponding LED wire (positive to the blue/brown striped wires, and negative to the brown wires) and covered them in heat-shrink. I tucked the wires into the adjacent compartment (a small niche next to the compartment that holds the camera), then cut a channel in the foam from the camera rear to the boot handle Ďplugí for the RCA cable. I then used my rotary tool to cut a small groove in the bottom corner of the wire cavity for the camera cable to fit, so that it sits with the rest of the cables leading from the boot handle assembly into the boot lining. After everything was sitting in place, I reinstalled the boot handle and screwed it into place. As you can see, the lights are now different colours, but Iíll replace the other incandescent globe with an LED in the near future (i.e. six months from nowÖ).

With the camera now installed, onto threading the wiring into the boot compartment. I threaded the wiring through the boot frame to reach the rubber wiring boot, and my tool of choice to do this a was a wire coat hanger with some duct tape on the end (to prevent scratching and possibly cutting existing wiring).
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Old 10-19-2016, 06:48 AM   #3
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My Ride: 2002 330i
I removed the rubber boot from the boot lid, taped one end of the RCA cable to the end of the coat hanger and threaded it up through the right hand side of the boot, where I could reach in with my fingers and pull the RCA lead out through a hole section in the steel boot lid lining. As the RCA cable was 5m long I pulled most through, then I taped the naked end of the DC power cable (the part without the connector) to the RCA cable and pulled it back down through the boot lining and out the hole near the rubber boot.

To get the wiring through the boot, I first sprayed some silicone-based lubricant (avoid using penetrating oil on rubber surfaces and electronic components) down the boot, then while it was working its way down, I removed the middle section of the rubber boot from the chassis. Note that the boot is one long section from the boot lid all to way into the boot itself, meaning itís difficult to remove the whole thing. Instead, I made a small cut with a razor on the interior side of the grommet that sits in the middle of the rubber boot, so that I could thread the wire through in two stages instead of one. I inserted the coat hanger in through this slit, and it came up and out of the other end with ease.

I decided to cut the other RCA connecter off when threading this cable, as it made things much easier, and it would take me less than 5 minutes to re-solder the connection later on. I threaded the cable though the first half of the rubber boot, then went in through the inside of the boot to back towards the middle grommet, so that the coat hanger wire came out the same slit I had used in the first stage. I taped the RCA cable onto the end, and pulled it all the way through into the boot, then reinstalled the rubber boot and grommet. As before, I taped the DC power cable to the RCA cable and pulled it all the way through the rubber boot and into the boot itself. Using my soldering arms, I re-soldered the other RCA lead back, and now the two trickiest parts of the process (camera install and cable management) were done!

My wiring went to my PIBUS, so I only needed to route the cable to the cd-stacker location (avoiding the journey to the dash). I zip tied the excess cabling to the chassis just behind the boot lining, and routed the remaining cable behind the boot lining until it arrived at the PIBUS. Cabling was now invisible and complete. I reinstalled the boot lid lining and tool chest (taping the RCA and DC connections that sit inside the lining to make sure they didnít disconnect by accident) and stood back to look at the invisible installation. The last thing I did was use some clear silicone around the edges where the camera sits in the boot handle assembly to make sure water couldnít get in, as there was a decent gap between them.

All done! The camera worked as Iíd hoped, is hardly visible from the exterior (keeping the stock look, apart from the different license plate lights), and cabling is completely hidden and protected. PIBUS correctly detects when the car is in reverse and switches to the camera, and I can even engage it anytime by pressing the phone button, but I rarely do that as itís incredibly distracting and trippy. Hope this guide helps someone, and happy to answer questions if itís unclear.

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Old 10-20-2016, 05:49 AM   #4
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My Ride: '02 330i 6MT
Nice work!
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camera, diy, install, reverse camera

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