Now and then, a project comes to Audio Garage that’s a little outside of our normal day-to-day routine. This 2015 Toyota Tundra owner uses his truck for work and often camps in the bed when in remote locations. He wanted a custom camera and lighting system that would allow him to monitor the area around the Tundra. What made the project more involved was that he wanted to control the lighting from the cab or the bed. His request went one step further with a request to view the camera system from both locations. With no single product designed to offer dual-zone control, we knew our technicians were in for a challenge.
Toyota Tundra Custom Camera System
The client asked that we create a four-camera system that would allow him to see all around the truck while driving or when set up to camp. We started with a trio of iBeam TE-CCH heavy-duty cameras mounted on top of the camper lid to monitor the left and right sides, along with the area behind the vehicle. These cameras have built-in infrared LED emitters, so even when it’s pitch-black out, anyone near the truck will be clearly visible. We opted for a Crimestopper CAM-400 mounted just above the cab on the roof rack to keep the forward-facing camera compact.
The cameras feed into a pair of iBeam TE-7VS 7-inch LCD screens. One screen is mounted on a swivel arm in the truck’s bed, and the other is attached to what used to be a Magic Mount cup holder. We repurposed this cell phone holder so that the screen could be placed in the center console without making significant modifications to the vehicle. The client can cycle through each of the camera images or choose a four-up display that shows all of them simultaneously.
High-Output Lighting Upgrades
Next on the list was to add lighting to illuminate the area around the vehicle. We used two of the low-profile Diode Dynamics Stage Series 6-inch flood-pattern LED light bars on each side of the vehicle and another pair on the rear. One of the lights is white, while the other is amber. We created custom mounting brackets for the lights and the cameras on his roof rack.
The lights are controlled by a Trigger Six Shooter power distribution and control system. The Six Shooter comes with a small switch panel that we mounted in the truck bed’s back corner. We assigned the controls to each of the sidelights, the pair of rear lights and the existing front LED light bar. The Six Shooter comes with a Bluetooth smartphone app that allows the owner to activate the lights when he’s in the cab or outside the vehicle working. We also upgraded the Tundra’s fog lights with a set of Diode Dynamics DD6191 angled SAE-compliant quad-LED fog lights.
A month or so after the upgrades were complete, he came back and asked us to replace the existing LED light bar with a 42-inch Diode Dynamics bar that matched the others on the truck. He opted for three white light sections and four amber.
Electrical System Enhancements
Concerned that the lights might put too much strain on the stock battery and leave him stranded, the client brought us a pair of lithium power cells. He asked us to install them so that the lighting and camera system would operate exclusively from these batteries but be charged by the truck when the engine is running. We used a 500-amp solenoid to isolate the secondary battery system. A voltage indicator in the rear control panel lets the owner monitor voltages. We also added three power ports to the panel to charge smartphones or to power portable devices. We upgraded the truck’s main battery with an Interstate MTZ-34R unit to ensure that starting the truck would be reliable.
North Dakota’s Truck Accessory Experts
After several days of running wires, building control circuity and mounting cameras and lights, we had this amazing monitoring system complete and ready to show to the client. Our solution matched his vision perfectly, and he was thrilled with the way everything was easy to use. If you have a unique project planned for your car or truck, drop by Audio Garage in Fargo and talk with one of our Product Specialists.
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