How to Keep Your Backup Camera when Upgrading Your Stereo

Vehicle backup camera technology has come a long way since it was first introduced on the Buick Centarion concept car in the late ’50s. During that era, the rear camera concept was simple. The Buick was equipped using a rear mounted video camera that sent an images to a TV screen mounted on the dashboard.

By today’s standards, most if not all newer vehicles come equipped with a rear vision camera and by 2018, federal law will mandate manufacturers to equip a large percentage of their vehicles with “backup assist” cameras.

If you’ve considered upgrading your factory head unit with an aftermarket head unit but are hesitant because you are worried about not being able to retain your OEM backup camera- don’t fret. There is a plethora of easy to wiring harnesses available on the market today that allow you to use your factory wiring to connect to your aftermarket head unit. You will be able to upgrade stereo and keep your factory back up camera with nothing more than a few tools and less than an hour of your time.   

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The Wiring Harness and Install

Metra GMLAN29Backup harnesses are readily available through manufacturers such as Metra. These simple to install harnesses allow you to maintain many of the features of your stock unit, including connecting your stock backup camera to your new aftermarket head unit. The Metra BackupCam cable lets you keep your factory-installed backup camera when you install an aftermarket stereo in select ’06-up GM vehicles.

Using the 13-inch cable gives you a GMLAN29 connector on one end along with a composite video connector on the other. Once installed, you'll see images from your GM rear-view camera on your new receiver's screen. The backup camera interface will provide 6 vdc to your backup camera for power and will also provide the video signal to the aftermarket head unit. The Metra BackupCam made specifically for GM vehicles is just one example of many vehicle specific harnesses available. Metra also offers their BackupCam-3 Camera Adapter that allows you to keep the backup camera in your Chevrolet or GMC vehicle when you install a new head unit. One end of the cable features a 12-pin harness that connects to the video plug in your vehicle, while the yellow RCA connector on the other end plugs into the rear-view camera input on your new head unit. Installing these harness kits require no splicing of the stock wiring harness and does not disturb the stock appearance.​

Using these simple to install harness kits allows you to enjoy many audio features your factory head unit lacks while maintaining the added feature of keeping your factory backup camera as soon as the vehicle is in reverse.

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