There is a vast array of reversing camera systems on the market and a quick Google search will bring up hundreds of results but how do you know if the kit you’re buying has the good build quality and is reliable? There is a huge difference in fitting a reversing camera system to a car or motorhome and fitting one to an HGV or aggregates tipper. It is often a false economy when buying a cheap camera system on eBay only to find that after a few months it has failed and is now costing you hundreds of pounds in downtime and there is no technical backup.
What makes a good heavy duty camera system?
The most important consideration is the cameras waterproof rating (IP Rating) and only an IP69K rating is truly waterproof as this rating guarantees that the camera can withstand high pressure and high-temperature water jets from pressure washers and steam cleaners. The TS HD range of cameras are tested for water resistance with 80ºC water jets at 100bar pressure. Many cameras on the market are shown as “waterproof” to IP67 or IP68 but over time these will start to let in water causing the lens to fog up and total failure of the camera.
Example of fogged camera
The materials that are used in the construction of the camera and external connections is also very important. A lot of generic cameras are manufactured out of very low-cost materials with little attention to quality control. Often made of low-quality alloy’s (pot metal), the cameras will quickly deteriorate and corrode when exposed to salt spray and stone chips. Low-quality cameras use non-tempered glass or even plastic to cut costs, making them very susceptible to damage and scratching giving blurred images, particularly in bright sunlight. Our HD cameras are manufactured with high quality ‘stay clean’ type mineral glass which is very strong, scratch resistant and even resistant to harsh cleaning chemicals. The casings on our cameras are solid aluminium with a baked on corrosion resistant coating.
How can a camera have a hole in it for the microphone and still keep the waterproof rating?
The simple answer is that most cameras with a microphone can’t and this is a major weak point when it comes to water resistance. Reliably being able to hear what is happening at the back of a reversing vehicle can be a very important safety feature but low price, low quality camera manufacturers simply glue a microphone up against a small hole in the casing and hope for the best! Over time, water and salt can corrode the microphone and then water will penetrate the casing. The TS16HD reversing camera features a true waterproof microphone which is achieved by recessing the microphone into the casing by 10mm which deflects most of the high-pressure water and dirt. It is then sealed from the elements with a specially designed silicone membrane which is isolated from the interior of the camera casing with a separate silicone seal that water cannot get past. Our reversing cameras also have a built-in heater which ensures the internal components remain at a stable temperature so they are not affected in freezing conditions and will not ice up.
The back of a aggregates tipper is not a good place to mount a sophisticated piece of electronics with hundreds of delicate components and optics, that is why vibration and shock testing is so important. Constant vibrations from a vehicle can weaken the internal connections and is one of the reasons why cameras and monitors fail when in use on HGV’s and tippers. We have extensively tested our camera systems against vibration and high G impacts. Our HD cameras are tested to 30G continuous vibration and can withstand over 100G shock while our monitors are tested to 20G, so we can be confident that they will stand up to the harshest conditions. Unlike many other manufacturers monitors, Transport Support’s HD Monitors are also IP rated to prevent moisture and dust from getting in.
What about Lens and Picture quality?
You will often see CMOS, CDD, HAD, 1/4″, 1/3″, TVL etc shown on spec sheets for reversing cameras but what is the best and what should you be looking for?
- CCD sensors, as mentioned above, create high-quality, low-noise images. CMOS sensors, traditionally, are more susceptible to noise.
- Because each pixel on a CMOS sensor has several transistors located next to it, the light sensitivity of a CMOS chip tends to be lower. Many of the photons hitting the chip hit the transistors instead of the photodiode.
- CCD sensors have been mass produced for a longer period of time, so they are more mature. They tend to have higher quality and more pixels.
Based on these differences, you can see that CCD’s tend to be used in cameras that focus on high-quality images with lots of pixels and excellent light sensitivity. CMOS sensors traditionally have lower quality, lower resolution, and lower sensitivity.
The bigger the CCD sensor the better it will be at creating high quality, clear images as it will have more surface area to capture the image data. This is why we have opted for 1/3″ Sony Super HAD CCD sensors in all our TS HD range of cameras giving them superior image quality and low light sensitivity.
The TS16HD reversing camera features 16 high powered infrared (IR) LED for longer range night vision and unlike similar looking side view cameras, our TS45HD also has night vision capabilities with 4 built-in IR LED’s.
Our image resolution is also higher than average at 700 TV lines (TVL) with a 130º field of view unlike many cameras that are only 420 TVL and around 100º Feild of view.
At Transport Support we believe in the quality and durability of our vehicle reversing camera systems and after years or R&D and thorough testing, we can be confident in our product and back it with a 3-year warranty. We have the experience, knowledge and technical back-up to assist you in choosing the right camera system for your blind spot application.