Last Update: May 13, 2024

BY eric



A Simple Guide to Installing a Reverse Camera on Your Car


It doesn't matter what type of car you drive, and what sort of head unit you have, it all come down to a same principle when it comes to installing a reverse camera. This guide will give you some ideas how to install a reverse camera on your car, including a wiring diagram. Also, we will focus on connecting the camera to the head unit, which is the most common setup.

Basic Wiring

The goals of the wiring are to:

  • When the reverse gear is engaged, the camera is powered on
  • We can see the camera feed on the head unit when switching it on manually

The entire wiring setup can be broken down into three main components:

  • Connect the camera to the reverse light
  • Connect the camera to the head unit
  • Connect the camera to a switch

Head Unit

From the head unit, the most important wires are:

  • the RCA cable. This is a yellow plug that is usually located at the back of the head unit.
  • the reverse trigger wire. This is a wire that is usually connected to the reverse light. When the reverse light is on, the wire is powered on. This is the wire that tells the head unit to switch to the camera feed.
  • the +12V wire. This is the power wire that powers the camera when the switch is on.

Reverse Camera

The reverse camera usually has three wires:

  • the video wire. This is the wire that carries the video feed from the camera to the head unit via the RCA cable.
  • the red (positive) wire.
  • the black wire, which is the ground.

You can easily identify those wires by referring to the camera's manual.

Reverse Light

All cars have reverse light, though some cars have only one reverse light. Anyway this is the light that turns on when you put the car in reverse. This is the light that we will tap into to power the camera when the reverse gear is engaged if the car doesn't provide a reverse power wire already.

Connecting Everything Together

Wiring Diagram

You may change the wiring a bit based on your own needs or circumstances. It may worthy of mentioning that it is a very important to connect (solder) a diode between the +12v power source and the reverse light power source. When we switch on the power source manually but we shouldn't power the reverse light as well. This is to prevent the reverse light from turning on when the switch is on.

Camera Positioning

Generally, you find a center point on the rear of the car, and then measure the distance to the left and right of the center point. This will give you the exact position where the camera should be mounted. But I don't think it has to be in the exact center as the camera mainly provide a view of the rear of the car. It would be easier though to have it in the center as it will give you a symmetrical view particularly when you park the car in reverse.

Depending on the car model, some cars have a camera hole already, some don't. If your car doesn't have a camera hole, you will need to drill a hole to mount the camera.

Tools and Materials Needed

  • Auto electrical wire (4~5m) if you have to tap into the reverse light
  • Soldering iron if you have to tap into the reverse light
  • Heat shrink tubing (optional)
  • Electrical tape
  • Wire stripper
  • Drill and drill bits
  • Electrical wire crimper
  • Electrical wire connectors (terminals)
  • Car auto fuse (if you accidentally blow a fuse during the installation)
  • Electrical wire voltage tester (in case fuse gets blown)

Troubleshooting Tips

  • If the camera doesn't turn on when the reverse gear is engaged, check the reverse trigger wire connection.
  • If the camera feed doesn't show up on the head unit when the reverse gear is engaged, check the RCA cable connection.
  • If the camera doesn't turn on when the switch is on, check the +12V wire connection.
  • If everything is fine, except that your indicator light doesn't work, and reverse light is not on when the reverse gear is engaged, check the auto fuse. Yes, that happened to me.


You can find some videos how connect two wires together, how to use a soldering iron, how to use a wire stripper, how to use a drill, how to use a wire crimper, how to use a voltage tester, etc. on YouTube.

Wiring videos

Tapping into the reverse light

I strongly recommend you to watch a video recorded by Super Cheap Auto, which shows you how to tap into the reverse light. This video is very helpful, and it will give you a good idea how to tap into the reverse light.

Please find this video from this link: How to Install A Reverse Camera - Super DIYs, the particular part of tapping into the reverse light starts from 1:10.


The installation of a reverse camera is not difficult, but it does require some basic knowledge of car wiring. Once you understand the principle and ideas how components connect to each other from the wiring diagram, everything will be clear.


Photo by Evaldas Grižas on Unsplash


I installed a reverse camera on my Land Cruiser Prado (120 series), and everything works beautifully. I hope this guide will help you to install one on your car.

For suggestions, errors or any others.

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