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Greetings all,

I've had my Limited 8-passenger for a little over a month now. For the most part, it is a joy, but in the fine tradition of internet forums, I'd like to state my one main complaint. Well, not so much a complaint as a "wish it had."

The biggest adjustment to the Ascent (at least for me), is that it is big. It is also a world of difference in terms of visibility from the 2007 Forester it replaced. To improve situational awareness, it would help if I could turn on the rear view camera view when in drive. This would help, for example, to be aware of what is behind me when stopped at a light. I don't want to shift into reverse and freak out the driver behind me. (Often I can only just barely see the top of a sedan behind.) It would also help when parking. If nothing else, it could show how close I am to the lines on each side as I pull in.

In short, I wish I could press a button to toggle to the rear camera view when not in reverse. Anyone else feel the same or differently? Anyone know of a practical reason this can't or shouldn't be done?

Enjoy!


See post #14 - Moderator.
 

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2019 Ascent Touring (CWP)
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The reason that the regular backup camera cannot be turned on with an OEM setup is generally focused on safety...IE, distraction. But I agree with the utility and many folks who tow setup with an auxiliary rear-view camera to monitor that. "Lockpick" type devices have generally featured activating the ability to turn on a backup camera, but who knows if there will ever be such a device compatible with the system in the Ascent.
 

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If its anything like aftermarket rearview cameras, the head unit displays the camera view as soon as it's powered, usually by something like the reverse lights themselves. So that leads me to believe if you do a little wiring you may be able to add a switch that will power the camera from another source when in drive, causing the head unit to display the image, just make sure you don't also power the reverse lights!
I've done all the things you stated by shifting into reverse when I otherwise should be in drive. I check when pulling through a parking space if my rear end is close to the line by shifting into reverse then park, and I've checked the car behind me at red lights by shifting into reverse temporarily. I'm sure the car following me hates that.
Along the same lines Ive wondered if its possible to add a front camera with a switch between the front and rear to display on the head unit. Mine is a premium so I wasn't blessed with an OEM front camera
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
The reason that the regular backup camera cannot be turned on with an OEM setup is generally focused on safety...IE, distraction. But I agree with the utility and many folks who tow setup with an auxiliary rear-view camera to monitor that. "Lockpick" type devices have generally featured activating the ability to turn on a backup camera, but who knows if there will ever be such a device compatible with the system in the Ascent.
Thanks. I think you are probably correct about distractions being a concern. Though I would counter with three things:
1. In my opinion, anything that improves driver awareness is a net plus for safety.
2. There are plenty of bells and whistles that arguably constitute at least as much of a distraction.
3. I could put it in reverse when stopped, which might elicit an unsafe response from other drivers. In this situation, being able to see the camera view when in neutral would serve without a concern about using it while driving.

For what its worth, a colleague of mine mentioned once renting a Suburban that did have this kind of toggle. Of course, that's a whole different category of big.
 

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2019 Ascent Touring (CWP)
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In theory, that's true. The challenge is that all this stuff is computer controlled these days and done by "signaling", rather than things like traditional switches sensing something. That's where "LockPick" type devices picked up ... they inject themselves into the signaling to understand states and send/receive instructions.
 

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The touring model has it built in the rear view mirror. This may be an available upgrade on the limited but you would have to ask the dealer.

Basically you flip a switch on the bottom of the rear view mirror and you can see out of the rear camera.

Thanks,
Adam
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
The touring model has it built in the rear view mirror. This may be an available upgrade on the limited but you would have to ask the dealer.

Basically you flip a switch on the bottom of the rear view mirror and you can see out of the rear camera.

Thanks,
Adam
Ah, right- the smart mirror on the Touring model. Does that display to the head unit or just the mirror itself? And is the field of view different from what you see in the mirror without the camera?

thanks
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
If its anything like aftermarket rearview cameras, the head unit displays the camera view as soon as it's powered, usually by something like the reverse lights themselves. So that leads me to believe if you do a little wiring you may be able to add a switch that will power the camera from another source when in drive, causing the head unit to display the image, just make sure you don't also power the reverse lights!
I've done all the things you stated by shifting into reverse when I otherwise should be in drive. I check when pulling through a parking space if my rear end is close to the line by shifting into reverse then park, and I've checked the car behind me at red lights by shifting into reverse temporarily. I'm sure the car following me hates that.
Along the same lines Ive wondered if its possible to add a front camera with a switch between the front and rear to display on the head unit. Mine is a premium so I wasn't blessed with an OEM front camera
Thanks for the interesting reply. I hadn't thought about what triggers the image. So they could in principle add a button that powers the camera without the reverse lights. I noted that the media guide says that the rear view camera will not be displayed when the navigation system is activated. So they do have some degree of programmed logic in the system already. (I haven't verified this myself.)

Like you, I also use the camera to check my parking position. I also know that it is possible to increase the time that the image is displayed (up to 30 seconds?) after shifting from reverse to drive. So I suppose I could try extending the "rear camera time out" and just flashing the reverse lights momentarily so as to not illicit a reaction form anyone behind me.
 

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Ah, right- the smart mirror on the Touring model. Does that display to the head unit or just the mirror itself? And is the field of view different from what you see in the mirror without the camera?

thanks

It's a totally different camera, with a totally different field of view. It can be used as a mirror replacement, and has a field of view just slightly larger than using the regular mirror. It displays on the mirror itself, taking up near the entirety of the rear view mirror (sans a border around the LCD screen itself).

 

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To the best of my knowledge, Subaru does not offer the Touring's rear mirror-cam as an option and there is currently no known way to use the Limited's rear camera other than in reverse. If you try to mod it, you may void the warranty because you'll need to break into and alter factory wiring and components.

However, if you want a rear camera you can display whenever you want, and a front grill camera you can display whenever you want, as well as a recording front and rear dash cam, all of which you can relatively easily add yourself without voiding any warranty, and all for less than $200, see this new thread:

https://www.ascentforums.com/forum/26-subaru-subaru/7331-front-grill-camera-dash-cam-mod-ascent.html

This mod will do everything you want and much, much more. I use mine every day and it's a fantastic mod for any trim Ascent. You can even add more cameras if you like, such as a WiFi camera for the back of an RV.
 

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I always wanted to do this with previous cars but never actuallty did. Maybe I'll actually try to do this with the Ascent. I'd find it helpful to know if my car has cleared certain train tracks at a certain traffic light that I cross every day. I think you just have to find the reverse signal wire and find a 12V source, then wire in a switch.

This guy did it in a Toyota:
https://www.tacomaworld.com/threads/backup-camera-anytime-mod.468447/

This guy makes Toyota kits:
https://www.anytimebackupcamera.com/
 

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Not all of us are quite so handy. :grin:
Only some minor handyman type skills are needed. Most people can do it if they try. I've included some YouTube tutorials for the few potentially tricky parts.

If you only want the rear camera and not the front grill camera, it's much easier because you won't need the camera switch. It's sold as a kit with plug and play components. It's certainly a lot easier and a lot less risky than trying to break into and modify the factory wiring and components.

Please let me know which part(s) you think are too difficult and I may be able to help. Also, you can hire someone to do this for you, the same people that install automotive audio, alarm, and remote starter systems. Usually they're quite reasonable and have all the skills.
 

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There is a hidden menu, hold home button and then press tuning knob two times. One of the options on the second tab is the rear view camera. I think it’s meant so can adjust the view, but you can get to that screen and leave it on as you drive.

Not saying this is easy to do repeatedly or safe, but you can do it if you want to see what some moron behind you is doing.
 

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There is a hidden menu, hold home button and then press tuning knob two times.
Thanks. I just messed with that the other day and didn’t even think about using it that way!

Update: tried it. Works great and it’s pretty quick after the first couple times. It should come with a disclaimer “objects in rear view camera are closer than they appear!”
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks. I just messed with that the other day and didn’t even think about using it that way!

Update: tried it. Works great and it’s pretty quick after the first couple times. It should come with a disclaimer “objects in rear view camera are closer than they appear!”
There is a hidden menu, hold home button and then press tuning knob two times. One of the options on the second tab is the rear view camera. I think it’s meant so can adjust the view, but you can get to that screen and leave it on as you drive.

Not saying this is easy to do repeatedly or safe, but you can do it if you want to see what some moron behind you is doing.
I'll second those thanks. Very interesting.
 

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I needed some slack in the cord that came with my little trailer because it was being unplugged by brush while off road, so I picked up a 24" extension cord, and now the rear-view camera sometimes displays when I'm driving forward.

If my phone is not plugged in, it doesn't seem to happen. But if it starts happening, unplugging my phone doesn't return the screen to normal operation. The rear camera view does not take over the screen without the trailer being plugged in, but I haven't tested it with/without the extension yet.

Sometimes it's constant, sometimes it winks back and forth. If I've already set a destination and picked a podcast, I can cope by just using Android Auto voice commands. I'm not sure if there's something odd about this particular extension, but I cannot for the life of me figure out why anything going on with those 7 pins ought to be able to turn on the rear-camera view.

I'll investigate further before heading to Overland West in a couple of weeks, because it's just super weird, and who knows what else is being weird?
 

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It's just my opinion, but I think if we start to add too much technology we compromise safety, ie too much distraction. I'm very satisfied with my Limited. My wife and I feel very safe. My only regret is not going for the Touring simply for the head up display/front camera. It's much more difficult to judge distances in the front than my Outback.
 

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It's just my opinion, but I think if we start to add too much technology we compromise safety, ie too much distraction. I'm very satisfied with my Limited. My wife and I feel very safe. My only regret is not going for the Touring simply for the head up display/front camera. It's much more difficult to judge distances in the front than my Outback.
I had semi-regrets about not getting a touring for that front camera as well. Coming from an Outback it took a while to adjust to the size of the Ascent and the large tall hood. I'm just as confident now as I was with the Outback. In a way I'm glad I didn't rely on the front camera. People are quite adaptable if given the opportunity.
 

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Handy I'm not

Please let me know which part(s) you think are too difficult and I may be able to help.
Hey pro, thanks for the kind offer. Unfortunately MS has left me not very handy at all (not that I was competent to begin with). :tango_face_wink: I'll find someone to tackle it when I'm feeling flush with cash.
 
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