Reverse Camera and Swapped HU

When I bought my FR-S, I got the BeSpoke radio upgrade based on the features that it promised and the extra output power.  However, in order for any of the features to work, you had to have an iPhone (Not just a smart phone, but an actual iPhone 4 at a minimum).  What you’re left with is a radio with a touch screen that only has GPS navigation if you plug your phone into it and run the BeSpoke app.

That app is absolute garbage.  It takes forever to load maps and sometimes crashes.  When you’re using the “navigation” you are limited to some internet radio stations.  Plain and simple, it’s terrible.  So, since I already had a Pioneer AVIC x920bt that was in my MR2 Spyder, I decided to replace the radio with that.  In doing so, I also added a backup camera and installed my mic and iPod connections into factory locations.

The backup camera is quite helpful with this car since it has a lot of blind spots. I got the camera from Amazon for just $20.  And it looks good and works.  It came with plenty of cable to wire everything and looks like a factory option from outside.  Inside, I took care to remove panels and run the video cable along existing wire looms (Securing with zip-ties) and then over to the radio location.

I’ve included links to the products below.  I needed to get the Lexus Antenna adapter in order to connect my x920bt to the stock antenna.  And I already had the Metra wiring harness and dash kit from the previous install.  I was able to get it all set up and only had to source the reverse-signal wire from the left kick panel as well as VSS signal from the stock radio harness.

I did not take pictures during the install, unfortunately.  But here are a couple pics of the finished product and some info on how it all works together…

Reverse Camera Outside Shot

The camera housing is metal and comes with an adhesive gasket that you can use as a template for marking the 1/4″ hole to drill for mounting.  It fits perfectly on the FR-S and is barely noticeable.

Reverse Camera Video Output

This is how it looks inside the car.  The distance lines are put there from the camera and are basically useless.  But they don’t bother me.  The image is reversed (Like it is a rear-view mirror).  This is how it should be.  The video quality is good especially considering it’s a $20 backup camera.

One thing you’ll notice is that you see a bunch of white at the bottom of the screen.  Yeah, that’s my bumper.  Due to how the camera is mounted and how the design of my car is, the bumper gets in the way.  Below is a side shot showing where the camera is in relation to the bumper and the rest of the car.

Reverse Camera Side Shot

So, you can see the angle of the video is quite wide and shows a lot.  This car would have the same issue with just about any camera.

 

Overall, I’m quite happy with how everything turned out.  I now have my full-time GPS navigation in the car along with my choice of audio source (Including streaming Pandora and controlling it directly from the head unit itself).  The driving experience has been made much better.  Hopefully, this info helps to make the decision to do the mod or not.  I’ll try to take more pics during my installations in the future for a better “How-To” type write up.

 

UPDATE: Adding a little update that is somewhat related. I purchased the map update for my head unit from Pioneer and when it came, I noticed that I got the new Firmware as well which now allows AppRadio and a host of all sorts of goodness. I can run Waze directly on my head unit while streaming Pandora at the same time! That was a definite bonus. Also, I think I’m going to create some sort of small wedge and attempt to angle the camera housing so it points more straight back instead of down so much. Had I known from the beginning it would be like this, I would have done the wedge during the first install.

Here are links to the items I bought (or already had) when doing this mod.

NEEWER Waterproof CMOS/CCD Reverse Backup Car Rear View Camera

Pioneer AVIC-X920BT 6.1-Inch In-Dash Double-Din Navigation A/V Receiver

Metra 40-LX11 Lexus Antenna Adaptor Cable 2002-Up

Metra 71-1761 87 – 94 Toyota Vehicle Harness

Metra 95-8202 Toyota DDIN Multi Dash Kit

Thanks for reading.

2 comments

  1. Jigglypoof says:

    Are you still able to make phone calls through the car?

    I really want to replace the unit inside my FR-S. The design of the BeSpoke premium head unit is fine. In fact, I’ve actually warmed up to it.

    I’m afraid if I switch to an aftermarket head unit with a rear view cam and better equalizer settings, I’ll lose out on the ability to make phone calls from my iPhone through the speakers and microphone that come with the stock car. Do you know if there’s any compatibility with the receiver you bought or any other Pioneer units?

  2. lordtakuban says:

    I can make and receive calls through my Pioneer AVIC x920bt just fine. In fact, the phone book interface is much better than the BeSPOKE unit. Most Pioneer head units these days (and just about all head units for that matter) do BT calling and audio with your phone.

    You’ll need to do some cleaver hooking up of the microphone so that you can be heard well. But other than that, it works great.

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