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Discussion Starter #1
Finally got annoyed enough by the lack of a front camera or sensors on the Limited trim that I ended up putting something together. This build is essentially based on pro10is' front cam build, but I found the Android based unit in that post to be too large/blocking too much of the view, so I instead went for one of the cheapo foldable units.

Parts:
1x 12V RCA front camera (e.g. $19 on amazon)
1x Foldable LCD screen (e.g. $20 on amazon)

You can also find both of these cheaper on Ebay/Aliexpress if you're willing to order on China.

Final result:
Camera mounted in front grill:
2959


LCD unfolded:
2960


LCD folded:
2961


Build steps:
  1. Open the hood, and remove the retainers from the top cover that covers the grill by removing the ~dozen plastic retainers. This is described in detail already here (notes: The "common" retainer here is best removed by using a screw driver to push up the middle, but only push it up ~20% of the way before prying out the entire retainer. You won't be able to get it out if you push up the middle all the way. For the "other" two screw-like retainer that holds the vent housing, just unscrew it a quarter turn, and then pry the entire retainer out. Also, note that there's two more clips after you've removed the duct, and two more are hidden in the bottom of the top cover)
  2. Remove the top grill cover. It won't come out easily, you'll have to bend the plastic of the cover, and the grill itself slightly. I'd recommend working one side at a time. Be gentle but determined :). After you've wiggled one side out, do the same with the second:
  3. 2962
  4. Pick a spot on where you want to mount the camera (also, figure out how you have to rotate the camera so the top is aligned before mounting it), and use the hole saw that comes with the camera to drill the appropriate hole through the grill plastic. I found it helpful to draw the outline of the camera on a piece of paper first, and taping that to the car to make sure everything fits. Location-wise I went for the space right below the official camera mount, mostly because there was more space there and it was easier to drill.
  5. For running the wiring, use pro10is instructions on getting through the firewall. Essentially you're using the ~6mm hole that is used by the hood button wire. This hole is on the left side in the bottom of the driver space. Note that the hole itself is aligned on an axis parallel to the wheel (so the hole goes out "to the left", not to directly towards the engine bay). I'd recommend running a cable that has at least three wires (GND, 12V, Video); the one that comes with the camera has those. You'll have to cut & re-solder connectors since the connectors won't fit through the hole.
  6. MVIMG_20200108_151930.jpg
  7. Run the wiring on the side of the hood, making sure to avoid any radiators, belts, and so on. Use zipties or similar to keep the cable in place.
  8. For the LCD: I've attached some vinyl tape on both sides, blocking the "rail" the screen moves on. This prevents the screen from opening fully (in the dash position the viewing angle is better if you only let it open to 50%). Since I didn't feel comfortable permanently mounting this unit to the dash, and wanted to avoid any type of glue, I've also drilled some holes & attached some stiff copper wiring which I use for holding the LCD in place. This wiring forms a U-hook around the dash, which -- combined with anti-slip rubber feet -- actually feels rock solid
  9. MVIMG_20200108_212050.jpg
    2966
  10. For power, I'd recommend installing one (or a dual) 12V outlet in the driver's area, using the regular fuse tap. Much easier to add/remove random toys this way :)
The setup can be done in one (long) evening. Getting the top grill plastic cover out was probably the scariest part.

What I like about it:
  • Cheap, quick way of getting a front camera; useful for parking (especially if the wall in front of you is made out of concrete ...)
  • Everything in the Interior is easily removable if you don't like it. Can also replace the LCD with a different one if you don't like this one.
What you need to be aware of:
  • I've only been using this setup for ~two weeks now, so we'll see how it holds up :)
  • The display itself is a cheap-o China Display, so be ready for it to fall apart, or it to need some manual fixing at any point in the future. I'd assume that the spring mechanism will at some point break.
What I'd do different next time:
  • I ended up mounting the camera a tiny bit too low, i.e. the bottom ~15% of the picture is useless since the camera just sees the grill itself. In retrospect I'd have probably try mounting it a tiny bit higher. Note that the grill cover currently nicely aligns with the yellow line, and this is usually the line I'd use when parking (it roughly leaves ~20cm in the front of the car).
  • Still considering permanently mounting the camera display, e.g by glueing some black magnets to the dash
  • Still need to draw some lines on the display that correctly show me the width of the vehicle (I'd suggest parking in an empty parking lot with lines, making sure the car is aligned, and then using the parking lines as template on what area is drive able/what would result in a collision.
  • If someone figures out an easier way to wire the official camera to the MFD that doesn't involve taking the entire interior apart, I'd probably prefer that to avoid the custom LCD unit.
 

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Registered
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Finally got annoyed enough by the lack of a front camera or sensors on the Limited trim that I ended up putting something together. This build is essentially based on pro10is' front cam build, but I found the Android based unit in that post to be too large/blocking too much of the view, so I instead went for one of the cheapo foldable units.

Parts:
1x 12V RCA front camera (e.g. $19 on amazon)
1x Foldable LCD screen (e.g. $20 on amazon)

You can also find both of these cheaper on Ebay/Aliexpress if you're willing to order on China.

Final result:
Camera mounted in front grill:
View attachment 2959

LCD unfolded:
View attachment 2960

LCD folded:
View attachment 2961

Build steps:
  1. Open the hood, and remove the retainers from the top cover that covers the grill by removing the ~dozen plastic retainers. This is described in detail already here (notes: The "common" retainer here is best removed by using a screw driver to push up the middle, but only push it up ~20% of the way before prying out the entire retainer. You won't be able to get it out if you push up the middle all the way. For the "other" two screw-like retainer that holds the vent housing, just unscrew it a quarter turn, and then pry the entire retainer out. Also, note that there's two more clips after you've removed the duct, and two more are hidden in the bottom of the top cover)
  2. Remove the top grill cover. It won't come out easily, you'll have to bend the plastic of the cover, and the grill itself slightly. I'd recommend working one side at a time. Be gentle but determined :). After you've wiggled one side out, do the same with the second:
  3. View attachment 2962
  4. Pick a spot on where you want to mount the camera (also, figure out how you have to rotate the camera so the top is aligned before mounting it), and use the hole saw that comes with the camera to drill the appropriate hole through the grill plastic. I found it helpful to draw the outline of the camera on a piece of paper first, and taping that to the car to make sure everything fits. Location-wise I went for the space right below the official camera mount, mostly because there was more space there and it was easier to drill.
  5. For running the wiring, use pro10is instructions on getting through the firewall. Essentially you're using the ~6mm hole that is used by the hood button wire. This hole is on the left side in the bottom of the driver space. Note that the hole itself is aligned on an axis parallel to the wheel (so the hole goes out "to the left", not to directly towards the engine bay). I'd recommend running a cable that has at least three wires (GND, 12V, Video); the one that comes with the camera has those. You'll have to cut & re-solder connectors since the connectors won't fit through the hole.
  6. View attachment 2963
  7. Run the wiring on the side of the hood, making sure to avoid any radiators, belts, and so on. Use zipties or similar to keep the cable in place.
  8. For the LCD: I've attached some vinyl tape on both sides, blocking the "rail" the screen moves on. This prevents the screen from opening fully (in the dash position the viewing angle is better if you only let it open to 50%). Since I didn't feel comfortable permanently mounting this unit to the dash, and wanted to avoid any type of glue, I've also drilled some holes & attached some stiff copper wiring which I use for holding the LCD in place. This wiring forms a U-hook around the dash, which -- combined with anti-slip rubber feet -- actually feels rock solid
  9. View attachment 2965 View attachment 2966
  10. For power, I'd recommend installing one (or a dual) 12V outlet in the driver's area, using the regular fuse tap. Much easier to add/remove random toys this way :)
The setup can be done in one (long) evening. Getting the top grill plastic cover out was probably the scariest part.

What I like about it:
  • Cheap, quick way of getting a front camera; useful for parking (especially if the wall in front of you is made out of concrete ...)
  • Everything in the Interior is easily removable if you don't like it. Can also replace the LCD with a different one if you don't like this one.
What you need to be aware of:
  • I've only been using this setup for ~two weeks now, so we'll see how it holds up :)
  • The display itself is a cheap-o China Display, so be ready for it to fall apart, or it to need some manual fixing at any point in the future. I'd assume that the spring mechanism will at some point break.
What I'd do different next time:
  • I ended up mounting the camera a tiny bit too low, i.e. the bottom ~15% of the picture is useless since the camera just sees the grill itself. In retrospect I'd have probably try mounting it a tiny bit higher. Note that the grill cover currently nicely aligns with the yellow line, and this is usually the line I'd use when parking (it roughly leaves ~20cm in the front of the car).
  • Still considering permanently mounting the camera display, e.g by glueing some black magnets to the dash
  • Still need to draw some lines on the display that correctly show me the width of the vehicle (I'd suggest parking in an empty parking lot with lines, making sure the car is aligned, and then using the parking lines as template on what area is drive able/what would result in a collision.
  • If someone figures out an easier way to wire the official camera to the MFD that doesn't involve taking the entire interior apart, I'd probably prefer that to avoid the custom LCD unit.
Nice work, glad to see someone besides me come up with a working solution.

To be fair though, the unit I selected also folds up/down very easily which does not affect the operation of the dash cam.


Also, I don't find it blocks anything significant from the windshield view as you can see in back of it. It costs significantly more than your unit but it also doubles as a dash cam and an Android smartphone that can run OBDII apps like DashCommand and Torque.

To mount your unit you never need to use screws or glue on the dashboard. You can use high strength double-sided tape to attach magnets. This is what I did and it's held up perfectly now for over a year in both very hot and very cold conditions. This tape is removable without any damage to the dash.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Yeah, I actually got the Android-based unit you're using first, but I wasn't quite as happy with it. The LCD caused some reflection/glare on the windshield when it was on, which felt disturbing to me. The folding functionality is nice and close to what I want, but the mechanism is very difficult to move, so it didn't feel like something that I could safely do while driving/getting into a parking spot, so that is why I went with the smaller LCD instead.

Thank you for the hint with the double-sided tape, that might come in useful. Have you ever tried removing it after a long while? I'm worried about the tape glueing itself permanently to the car if left alone in the heat :)
 

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I've removed double-sided tape that was left in place for years. All it takes is a little heat from a hairdryer to soften it up first.

The reflections from the Anstar unit are very minor, but it it bothered you, they could have been removed by adding a small hood to the top of the unit or by tilting it downward more.

But as long as you're happy with what you have, you're all set.
 
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