If you are reading this article, you are probably shopping for a wireless RV backup camera or at least interested in the new Auto Vox W10. As full-time RVers, we appreciate the value of a good RV backup camera. To learn more about our full-time RV life, check out our About Us page.
At Trying To Unwind we do not accept payment for product reviews. However, we did receive the new W10 backup camera kit free of charge from AutoVox in exchange for our honest review.
Table of Contents
- Giveaway Details
- AutoVox Discount Code
- Do you need a wireless backup camera?
- Benefits of a Backup Camera
- Driver Independence
- Property Protection
- Travel Safely
- Types of RV Backup Cameras
- Hitch Mounted
- Key Features to Look For When Buying a RV Backup Camera
- AutoVox W10 Full Review
- About AutoVox
- AutoVox Wireless Camera Options
- About AutoVox
- Key Features of the W10
- Pros and Cons of the W10
- Camera & Video Performance
- Video Quality
- Adjustable Angle
- Field of View
- Video Quality
- Dual Mode
- How to Install Wireless Back Up Camera on RV
- Mounting Options
- Summary: Overall Functionality of the W10
- Leave a Comment to enter our W10 Wireless Backup Camera Giveaway
Giveaway Details : W10 Wireless Backup Camera
AutoVox also provided a W10 kit (camera, monitor and mounting hardware) to share with one of our readers. The kit is valued at $229.99.
Everyone who comments on this article or subscribes to our newsletter before December 1st will be entered in our first Trying to Unwind reader giveaway to win an AutoVox W10 kit. The shipping address must be located in the United States to win.
AutoVox Discount Code
Even if you don’t win, everyone is eligible for a 10% discount on AutoVox.com. The offer is valid for the next year (until November 30th, 2022). Just use coupon code BCD8YTBD at checkout. At the time of publishing, all online sites offer the same pricing on the W10 wireless RV backup camera so this is a true 10% savings.
Do you need a backup camera?
Honestly, an RV backup camera isn’t a necessity but it’s a glorious luxury.
A favorite campground pastime is watching other RVers park. I mean what is better than enjoying a cold beverage on your patio with free entertainment at some poor non-backing soul’s expense.
Some couples new to RVing really struggle with communication while backing. We’ve all seen the memes and t-shirts.
We’ve owned our RV, Pippi, since 2013 so we have more experience than most. Although sometimes dark or wet conditions make it difficult to see each other in Pippi’s side mirrors. We rely on our backup camera religiously to assist in parking our RV.
Our camera is wired so it provides a consistent picture despite Pippi’s 38-foot length. However, it is over 20 years old so the technology isn’t cutting edge.
Benefits of a Backup Camera
There are several benefits of a backup camera on RVs but the primary ones are independence, property protection, and safety.
Backup cameras on your RV will provide more independence and less reliance on a spotter. With a good RV backup camera, the driver can see where they are backing without blindly relying on the communication of their spouse or a stranger if they are traveling solo.
Campground neighbors have the best intentions when they try to help others get into a site. But their “help” may ultimately cause frustration or potential property damage.
A backup camera will give drivers the ability to get into tight spots safely. RVs are expensive and the last thing you want is to cause damage to any property while backing up. A backup camera allows the driver to keep an eye on power pedestals, water spigots, rocks, trees, and other obstacles that always seem to be close to campsites.
You can wire RV backup cameras to a constant power source so they remain on whenever you’re driving, not only in reverse. Contact your manufacturer for specifics for your model.
If installed properly, the camera will remain on whenever the vehicle is on. This is really helpful to quickly see what’s going on behind your RV. We love to keep an eye on our toad (tow vehicle) when on long drive days. I also use it to watch other drivers’ road positions when I need to change lanes or make a turn.
Type of RV Backup Cameras
There are several types of RV backup cameras on the market and they fall into three main categories: wireless, wired and hitch mounted.
Wireless cameras are the easiest to install because they don’t require connecting the camera (at the rear of your RV) to the monitor (in your cockpit).
Getting a consistently solid signal can be a challenge for longer RVs or those made of certain conductive materials like Airstreams. Auto Vox has an antenna add-on that boosts the signal and is recommended for rigs longer than 40 feet.
Wireless cameras are not completely wireless though, the camera and monitor will need the power to function. So expect some simple wiring during installation.
They can be installed anywhere on the rear of your vehicle, including your hitch. However, most people mount them higher to maximize the field of vision.
Wired cameras provide the most consistent video feed and better image quality since they communicate through wired connections. There is no risk of interference from a metal Airstream. Plus, you won’t need to worry about an antenna to boost a signal on longer rigs.
But you will have to run wires from the rear camera to your dash-mounted monitor. RV walls are notoriously tiny and already overfilled with wires, vents, and other obstructions. From my experience running wires in an RV will test even the best relationships, so be forewarned it’s not easy. Share your RV improvement/relationship-building story in the comments for a chance to win a W10 backup camera.
If your RV has an existing wired backup camera, you may be able to reuse the wiring. As with most projects, the existing wiring may not be compatible and may need to be replaced. Replacing wires will add time and expense to the project.
Hitch mounted backup cameras are typically wireless. The main difference between these and other wireless options is the camera mounting hardware. Generally, they rely on magnets to mount the camera to the hitch of a tow vehicle. These are ideal for people who don’t want to permanently mount the camera or drill holes in their vehicle exterior.
Key Features To Look for When Buying an RV Backup Camera
When shopping for an RV backup camera, I’d recommend prioritizing a few specs based on your needs.
Installation and mounting options are very important in my opinion since most modern cameras and monitors all provide great picture quality.
If you don’t want to run wires, then make sure you get a wireless camera. If you want to attach to the camera your hitch or monitor to your windshield, confirm compatibility.
Most popular models feature a similar camera and monitor quality including some level of night vision. The W10 offers a special coating that repels water which means you’ll still be able to use your camera on rainy days when some backup cameras would be obstructed by raindrops.
Before buying I recommend reading user reviews on more than one platform. Don’t base your decision solely on the glowing reviews posted on the manufacturer’s website. Check out Amazon or BestBuy for a variety of positive and negative reviews.
Auto Vox W10 Full Review
We received an AutoVox W10 wireless backup camera to test and review. Pippi has a wired backup camera but it is the original technology from 2000. We love having a backup camera on our RV and were keen to test the new W10.
It was designed specifically for vehicles up to 40 feet including towable trailers and all types of RVs. Autovox also offers an antenna to extend the W10’s range further for longer vehicles.
Auto Vox has been in the automotive electronics industry since 2007. They introduced their first wireless backup camera kit in 2017 and their first streaming dashcam in 2018.
AutoVox Wireless Camera Options
AutoVox offers a few different lines of backup cameras including wireless and wired. For this article, I’ll focus on their wireless offerings with digital signals. They also offer dashcams, wired cameras, and rearview mirror cameras.
At this time, the options are the new W10 with an extended range for RVs, the smaller W7 or the solar-powered TW1. All options include waterproof cameras, mirror/normal view toggle, 2 channel compatibility for a second camera and digital signals for improved picture quality. All monitors can be windshield or dash-mounted.
W10 Wireless Back Up Camera
The W10 is their latest wireless release with a larger 7” monitor and a wider angle of view, 135 degrees. It is the premium wireless backup camera offered by Auto Vox and has an extended range providing wireless communication for vehicles up to 40 feet long.
It is available for $229.99 retail and is currently on sale for $199.99 on AutoVox.com Trying to Unwind discount. Use code BCD8YTBD at checkout for a 10% discount on your purchase.
W7 Pro Wireless Back Up Camera
The prior offering, the W7 Pro, is still available for those seeking a lower price point with slightly lower performance. The W7 Pro with a 5” monitor, less advanced night vision and only 110 degrees of view. The lesser equipped W7 is available for $149.99.
Solar Powered Wireless Auto Vox TW1 Back Up Camera
They also offer the TW1, a solar-powered backup camera for those seeking alternative power options. It has the most narrow-angle of view at less than 110 degrees but has premium night vision technology (like the W10).
It requires a minimal installation which is claimed to take less than 5 minutes. The sleek camera mounts discreetly next to your license plate. The TW1 is powered by a 3350mAh lithium battery that can be recharged using an add-on solar panel or an external power source. The manufacturer stated battery life is 75 days before a recharge is needed but battery status is also visible on the monitor. It is available for $189.99 retail.
Key Features of Auto Vox W10 Wireless RV Backup Camera
The W10 offers easy installation with a wireless connection that reaches up to 40 feet. Longer rigs can add an antenna to extend the range.
The W10 backup camera can be used on multiple types of vehicles include multiple RV types, trailers, trucks, or agricultural vehicles.
Honestly, it would work for any driver that needs to see behind their vehicle, regardless of their vehicle type. Self-installation means you can choose the best location to install the camera for your intended purpose. For this review, we tested it with a large SUV towing a trailer and it was perfect.
The monitor is equipped to handle two channels. This means the monitor can display two separate camera feeds in a split-screen mode providing even more flexibility.
Two infrared lights provide strong night vision functionality. Keep in mind the camera does display in black and white while using night vision mode.
The full glass camera screen is treated to repel water. If you have ever had raindrops obstruct your backup camera, you understand the importance of this functionality. Poor weather will not impact visibility.
Pros and Cons of W10
Pros of the W10 Wireless Backup Camera
- Simple installation: wireless digital communication between camera & monitor means only wiring requires is to power camera
- Video Quality : Adjustable HD camera provides clear video on 7” dash mounted screen
- Bad Weather Ready : Hydrophobic treatment on the glass front repels water from camera face
- Night Functionality : Infrared Night Vision provides clear mono chromatic video in dark conditions
- Ease of Purchase : Available at multiple online retailers including Amazon (great for nomads with access to a locker location but not their mailbox)
Cons of the W10 Wireless Backup Camera
- Restrictive Mounting Options : monitor mount requires adhesive on the dashboard
- Limited to vehicles 40 feet or less : An add-on antenna can be purchased to extend to the range but video quality may suffer.
- Monitor Power : Monitor requires constant DC accessory power port (cigarette lighter plug) to function
Camera & Video Performance
I am not a techie so won’t go into too much detail about the technical specs. Our review focuses on our experiences testing the W10.
The bottom line is the camera and 7″ HD monitor provide very good video quality. We have no complaints on either the camera or monitor performance after running several tests.
When shopping for a wireless backup camera, the key features are picture quality, the field of view and adjustability.
The camera video quality was great, even at night. We rarely drive our RV at night so for our review, we tested the night visibility in the driveway. The night vision image is black and white but the picture was very crisp and clear with no external lighting.
The W10 has two infrared lights which allow the entire range of sight to be visible after dark. Many backup cameras only have one light which drastically narrows the night range of view.
Since our current backup camera is based on 1990s technology and displayed on a black and white screen, we were impressed with the details we could see with the W10’s infrared enhanced night vision. What can I say, we’re kind of easy to impress.
The camera does adjust so it can be angled after being mounted. Once it is positioned properly it can be tightened to ensure it stays in place. If using a single camera on multiple setups (boats, farm equipment or trailers), you may want to adjust the camera more regularly. Since our setup doesn’t change, we set the camera position once and don’t plan to adjust it again.
Field of View
The W10 offers a 130-degree field of view, which is pretty wide compared to other standard backup cameras on the market. When I am backing up, I want to see as much as possible and 130 degrees is quite wide. It provides enough visibility to easily get into a campsite or driveway.
However, if you expect to be backing up with lots of obstacles and turns, there are super-wide-angle cameras on the market that go as wide as 175 degrees.
The W10 offers a 7” high definition color monitor with dual input. Images are updated at 25 frames per second which provides a responsive, real-time video feed.
The monitor offers a screen resolution of 720p (1280 x720), which is also known as wide-screen high definition. This isn’t as good as full HD (1920 x1080) but it is a crystal clear picture.
Based on our experience, the monitor clarity provided a great picture for backing up. It is even clear enough to easily read a newspaper if someone held it in front of the camera. I don’t foresee that ever happening but overall the display and camera quality are great.
The monitor can operate in a dual-mode showing two camera feeds at one time. At the time of our testing, the second camera kits were on backorder so our testing was conducted with a single rear-facing camera.
A second camera could be used for blind-spot monitoring on big rigs. Our motorhome has a big blind spot on the front passenger side and a side-mounted camera would be a great added safety feature. However, honestly, I’m not sure how we’d mount it without it being an eyesore.
How to Install Back Up Camera on an RV
The camera is designed to be mounted at the top of your vehicle where the factory-installed backup lights are already located. This allows easy installation by utilizing the wiring of the reverse light to power the camera. The challenge with this option is the camera will only turn on when the reverse lights are on when you are backing up.
With an RV, you will most likely want to have a rear view of your rig anytime you are driving.
Our 37’ Class A motorhome doesn’t have a rearview mirror so a rear camera offers us this functionality. An RV backup camera can be wired in a way to make it a rearview camera that stays on whenever you are driving. You will just need to connect the camera to an electrical source that is hot when your engine is running.
If mounting on a travel trailer and used as a rearview mirror, the rear camera should follow the same always hot installation.
However, if mounting a second wireless RV backup camera on a travel trail or fifth wheel, a hitch-mounted camera could be used for hitching and may only need to be on when in reverse. Or you may want to keep it on while driving as well so you can monitor your hitch and trailer connections while driving.
The in-cab monitor can be mounted to your dash using provided adhesive. I wish there was a suction cup windshield option or more mounting options that didn’t rely on adhesive.
The provided adhesive can be affixed to your dash or windshield. We don’t love adhesive because direct sun and heat on your vehicle dash tend to turn the adhesive into a gooey mess over time. Also, you can’t remove and hide the mounting hardware if you’re parking in a high-crime area like we did when exploring San Francisco.
Summary: Overall Functionality W10 Wireless Backup Camera
Overall, I would say the Auto Vox W10 is a solid choice for an affordable wireless RV backup camera.
To write this review, we tested the W10 for a few days so don’t have long-term performance data to share. In our testing, the only real complaints we had were the limited mounting options due to hardware and power requirements. All in all, Auto Vox offers a solid RV backup camera at a competitive price point.