Stuck on rear camera install

Mike534x

Well-Known Member
#1
Hello everyone!

I'm finally installing a back up camera into the Envoy, but I've hit a bit of a snag. Currently, the camera is mounted/installed within the license plate holder between the two lamps. I have the video wiring somewhat routed, not perfectly but will back at another time to make it....less messy. I attempted to pull it through the headliner but managed to run the video cable along the inside weather stripping and through the gaps in the side paneling, to the door trim, and into the dashboard to the HU. My camera is nearly identical (a little smaller) the video below but I'm trying to figure out a good way of powering it. I have the video wire connected to the rear of the HU, and the small red wire is attached to a purple one that is sticking out of the wiring harness for the back up camera.

Here is where I'm stuck/use advice on.

My original plan was running the video up front which is done, and then run the power and ground and everything to the rear brake light and the reverse pigtail. After crawling under the truck and seeing how thin/brittle the wiring is in both the pigtail + brake light, I'm a bit nervous on damaging it so I'm looking at an alternate way if one exists. I do have a PAC RP5-GM11 interface installed. I noticed in the wiring diagram that there is a purple wire in the harness marked as "reverse output", so I should essentially be able to connect to that one in order for the HU to switch to the camera when its in reverse? and if so, where upfront would you suggest I could tap the other wiring into for the ground/power? This is my first attempt at installing a back up camera, the HU/PAC module were installed by another party and I decided to try tackling this after he wanted $200 to install this little $20 camera I bought (well....I guess its more like $60ish with the extra wiring + crimps/T-Taps). I couldn't finish it up tonight so everything is tucked away in the trunk, leaving me with 3 wires to find the correct home to. :biggrin:

I've added the video I was following, as well a picture of the wiring diagram for the PAC module and my HU.


 

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#2
That ppl wire from the PAC will trigger the HU to switch to the camera however it doesn't have enough juice to power the camera. Since my interface didn't have a reverse light trigger, I did it a little different. You could power the camera by tapping the reverse light in the rear pillar and also use that same feed to trigger the HU through that red wire that goes with the video cable. Or you could also use that ppl wire to the HU trigger but use that red wire to power the camera on a switched 12V+ at the HU (acc red wire from the PAC). It doesn't matter if the camera is always on. That way, if you want, you could use a splitter to also feed the video input and if you want to see the camera without having to put it in reverse, you can switch to video input (unless you were planning on using it for something, like a video game input).
 

Reprise

Lifetime VIP Supporter
#3
You have the right idea for the HU video activation signal - PAC 'purple' to Pioneer 'purple'. If you have one, use a test light to ensure that the PAC wire is hot when you put the selector in reverse. You'll need to be 'key on' for that, both to move the shifter, and for the wire to activate. But as long as the PAC wire receives signal on 'reverse', you should be good.

BTW, my own 3-year-old Pioneer (which has two (!) camera inputs) has them configured through a menu - you may need to do the same for yours.

That leaves the camera power / ground. The obvious candidate is the reverse pigtail (you don't use the brake lamp wiring, except as a convenient place to route the wire from liftgate to reverse lamp). See my thread on installing a rear camera in my Voy.

Yes, the reverse pigtail is thin and brittle. No argument there. Given the thin wire, I wasn't about to do a tap splice (which aren't outdoor rated, anyway), and a 3-way traditional splice w/ solder & heat shrink wasn't feasible, in my view.

I used 'Lever Nuts' (Weco) - I got a bag of 5-6 at Ace Hardware. You need (2) two of the 'three connector' type. Cut the vehicle wire (ensure you have enough length - see my thread), put each of the two ends into a 'lever', and the corresponding (+) or (-) camera wire in the third. Use some wire loom to cover everything up (the lever nuts are outdoor rated; if you wanted to wrap them in electrical tape, no point deductions for doing so). I think my loom was 1", which is wide enough to cover the lever nuts & everything else nicely.

Mine has been working fine since then, no issues (I use my camera to help in backing up to a trailer, among other things). It would be a really painful experience to have to do that every time without a camera (I don't use a spotter).
 
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Mike534x

Mike534x

Well-Known Member
#4
That ppl wire from the PAC will trigger the HU to switch to the camera however it doesn't have enough juice to power the camera. Since my interface didn't have a reverse light trigger, I did it a little different. You could power the camera by tapping the reverse light in the rear pillar and also use that same feed to trigger the HU through that red wire that goes with the video cable. Or you could also use that ppl wire to the HU trigger but use that red wire to power the camera on a switched 12V+ at the HU (acc red wire from the PAC). It doesn't matter if the camera is always on. That way, if you want, you could use a splitter to also feed the video input and if you want to see the camera without having to put it in reverse, you can switch to video input (unless you were planning on using it for something, like a video game input).
Ahh I see. So just to be sure I'm reading this right, there is a wiring/reverse wire inside of the rear pillar which I assume leads to the pigtail? If so I would gladly do that then run more wiring up front. I was actually wondering if I could use the 12V ACC wire from the PAC module to power the camera. If I were to do that it should work normally right? Like after coming out of reverse it "should" change back to the previous screen (radio stations and vice versa) I assume. I honestly wasn't sure if running it always on would cause any kind of wear and tear over time though it seems like it would be handy to switch to it through the input menu. I usually have a luggage carrier connected to the hitch, so it would be nice to switch to the rear view to make sure everything is still there.

I did figure the purple wire on the pioneer wouldn't be strong enough to do both, but figured I'd ask to see if there is an alternative wire I can tap into to get the camera the power it needs.

You have the right idea for the HU video activation signal - PAC 'purple' to Pioneer 'purple'. If you have one, use a test light to ensure that the PAC wire is hot when you put the selector in reverse. You'll need to be 'key on' for that, both to move the shifter, and for the wire to activate. But as long as the PAC wire receives signal on 'reverse', you should be good.

BTW, my own 3-year-old Pioneer (which has two (!) camera inputs) has them configured through a menu - you may need to do the same for yours.

That leaves the camera power / ground. The obvious candidate is the reverse pigtail (you don't use the brake lamp wiring, except as a convenient place to route the wire from liftgate to reverse lamp). See my thread on installing a rear camera in my Voy.

Yes, the reverse pigtail is thin and brittle. No argument there. Given the thin wire, I wasn't about to do a tap splice (which aren't outdoor rated, anyway), and a 3-way traditional splice w/ solder & heat shrink wasn't feasible, in my view.

I used 'Lever Nuts' (Weco) - I got a bag of 5-6 at Ace Hardware. You need (2) two of the 'three connector' type. Cut the vehicle wire (ensure you have enough length - see my thread), put each of the two ends into a 'lever', and the corresponding (+) or (-) camera wire in the third. Use some wire loom to cover everything up (the lever nuts are outdoor rated; if you wanted to wrap them in electrical tape, no point deductions for doing so). I think my loom was 1", which is wide enough to cover the lever nuts & everything else nicely.

Mine has been working fine since then, no issues (I use my camera to help in backing up to a trailer, among other things). It would be a really painful experience to have to do that every time without a camera (I don't use a spotter).
I was not even aware of Lever Nuts, This sounds like the perfect solution to getting the last 3 wires situated. Honestly, I didn't expect the wiring to be so brittle. My original thought was to tap in and use a T-Tap for the pig tails. But then I figured, even if I made it work, it probably wouldn't last very long exposed to everything even with it protected as best as I could. I don't exactly have it set up as purple to purple. The red wire attached to the video cable is connected to just the purple wire on the Pioneer. It was after I bundled it up for the night that I noticed the PAC module had a purple and white wire used for the "reverse output" for the transmission. So I just figured if the video feed is taken care of on the HU, then I can take the last 3 wires (the one for the camera, and the one on the video cable) tap it into the reverse output to cover the signal + power, and then just splice the negative to the black (negative) wire on the PAC or the HU. I'll have to test the reverse output on the PAC module this weekend, I figured it was already "hot" but might as well save myself the shame of opening it all back up again lol. Well the good news is, Pioneer still keeps TWO video outputs. Hurray....well they were sort of smart this time. The one on my HU is colored a darker brown/goldish to be used for the cam, so hopefully its just plug and play. Though I wouldn't be surprised if I needed to configure everything through the menu since Pioneer doesn't make it easy to just let things work as they should.

I apologize in advance if I'm getting myself confused, or making it sound confusing, I'm still trying to understand everything. I guess I should have asked earlier, but any 16 gauge wire should work? Well.....Home Depot only had Red and Black primary wire. It seems a bit thicker then whats on the camera and my wiring harnesses but should do the trick? I did find your thread on the install! Only thing I did differently was run everything through the right side of the tailgate and fed it on the passenger side to the dash. I think the video cable running along the bottom trim will be fine for now, but I think I can move the power wire up top through the rubber gromet like you did and down the pillar to the floor trim. I may need to pick up a longer yellow cable, so I can redo it from inside the trunk lid and route it through the rubber gromet on top and through the inside and down the pillar so its not getting shut on like it is now.
 

Matt

Silver Supporter
#5
I used the reverse wiring for my power, but I did it on the inside wiring not the outside. I think the wires are a bit thicker and I haven't had an issue with it.

 
#6
On my pickup I used the reverse wire that goes to the 7 pin trailer connector instead of the tail light reverse light.
 
#7
Ahh I see. So just to be sure I'm reading this right, there is a wiring/reverse wire inside of the rear pillar which I assume leads to the pigtail?
Yep, just like @Matt above.

I was actually wondering if I could use the 12V ACC wire from the PAC module to power the camera. If I were to do that it should work normally right? Like after coming out of reverse it "should" change back to the previous screen (radio stations and vice versa) I assume.
Yes because the HU uses the ppl reverse signal wire to do the switch back and forth, not the video signal.

Just be aware though that when you switch to the video, it also cuts out the radio (or other audio) as it is expecting audio with that video (think DVD player or video game console) unless your HU has a camera monitoring option just for this purpose.
 

Reprise

Lifetime VIP Supporter
#8
On my pickup I used the reverse wire that goes to the 7 pin trailer connector instead of the tail light reverse light.
That's probably going to be my approach when I put a cam in the Sierra. Thx for the idea :thumbsup:
 

Reprise

Lifetime VIP Supporter
#9
I used the reverse wiring for my power, but I did it on the inside wiring not the outside. I think the wires are a bit thicker and I haven't had an issue with it.

You'll forgive me for being a wee bit dense...:dunce: Can you reference where that is in the rear? I see a radiused corner, but am a bit lost otherwise.

Had I known of this, I'd have used this approach as well (water, meet bridge)
 
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Mike534x

Mike534x

Well-Known Member
#10
On my pickup I used the reverse wire that goes to the 7 pin trailer connector instead of the tail light reverse light.
I take it the reverse wire going to the trailer connector is the same green/white wire I can tap into? I'm going to try connecting to the one inside the pillar, if I can't I'm willing to give that a shot as well.


Yep, just like @Matt above.



Yes because the HU uses the ppl reverse signal wire to do the switch back and forth, not the video signal.

Just be aware though that when you switch to the video, it also cuts out the radio (or other audio) as it is expecting audio with that video (think DVD player or video game console) unless your HU has a camera monitoring option just for this purpose.
It does! It has two connections, one video and one for the back up camera.
 

Reprise

Lifetime VIP Supporter
#11
I take it the reverse wire going to the trailer connector is the same green/white wire I can tap into? I'm going to try connecting to the one inside the pillar, if I can't I'm willing to give that a shot as well.
FYI -- If you go via the trailer harness connector, you want the wire extending from the center (round) pin. That's the reverse (aux) signal on a 7-way, non-HD (in the US). It's formally called a 'Bargman' or (less often) a 'Pollock'.

The pinout is standardized, but the wire color isn't, AFAIK.
From what I see online, GM *may* use yellow for this pin, but go for the location, not the wire color.

(and for those who ask, 'HD' refers to commercial / agricultural use, not our consumer-oriented cargo or travel trailers.) Also, travel trailers *don't* have backup lights, by default; thus, the secondary 'aux' designation for that center pin.
 

Matt

Silver Supporter
#12
You'll forgive me for being a wee bit dense...:dunce: Can you reference where that is in the rear? I see a radiused corner, but am a bit lost otherwise.

Had I known of this, I'd have used this approach as well (water, meet bridge)
It's the left side rear cargo bay. You have to pull the plastic pillar cover and some of the carpet to get at it. The camera is tilted rather than straight so that's why it's difficult to tell where it is.
 

Reprise

Lifetime VIP Supporter
#13
And, I also just realized...your TBeast (LOL) is a SWB...another reason why I couldn't discern the 'where'. It also helps to look at the pic on a laptop, rather than my phone. :duh:

Appreciate the reply! :tiphat:
 

16vcabman

Well-Known Member
#14
Keep in mind the Envoy has backup lights in bumper, not like TB. I found my tap wire in the back fuse box. Not for the timid. Requires pulling bottom cover off of connectors on on fuse box which means unbolting connectors and disconnecting battery first. Find a wiring diagram first for the fuse box under seat.
 

Reprise

Lifetime VIP Supporter
#16
I could almost understand locating them outside of the tail lamp module, if they did it to increase the lamp area of the stop / turn (e.g.; safety.)

If they did it for vanity (styling), then bonehead x2. :duh: :duh:
 

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