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VizuaLogic HindSight

Originally Published in Trailer Life Magazine

When was the last time you struggled to hook up a trailer by yourself? Even worse, you probably don’t want to think about the times you’ve almost backed into something — or someone. It’s a terrible feeling, and it could be expensive or even tragic. Especially in large pickups and SUVs, there are blind spots that may hide kids, animals, portable dump tanks or your favorite hibachi. While some high-end motorhomes come with a rearview camera, what’s a person pulling a trailer or hauling a big slide-in camper to do? In this age of high-tech digital imagery, VizuaLogic in Corona, California, has created the HindSight Backup Monitor System. We found a volunteer Ford F-350 at Brown’s Valley RV Performance Center for our installation and test of the HindSight Monitor. We found the instructions a bit ambiguous in places, but overall, it’s a straightforward installation. While the small CCD color camera can be located virtually anywhere using various accessory brackets, the rear bumper is the easiest choice on a truck. We drilled a 1 1/8-inch hole and mounted the camera using the angle-control rings supplied. The shielded wire from the camera to the audio/video controller module was then routed inside the frame rail to a location behind the rear seat where the small module was attached with screws that were provided. A longer cable from the camera to the control module would make mounting in Club or Crew Cab trucks much easier. Next, we hooked up the 12-volt DC power source, the transmission reverse trigger and the ground wire. There’s a green parking-brake wire that can be ignored if no auxiliary video screen is installed. The 3.5-inch LCD color monitor has a well-designed mounting bracket that was easy to attach to the windshield next to the rearview mirror. We selected a location that would not block the driver’s view, but could be observed without taking his or her eyes off the road. The shielded cable from the monitor was routed behind the headliner and door-pillar trim, and back to the control module. The VizuaLogic HindSight can be installed quickly by most technicians, or by yourself if you’re handy with basic tools and understand automotive 12-volt DC wiring. It can be integrated with many on-board video displays that have auxiliary video inputs, such as DVD or VCR players and navigation systems, where such devices are legal. The unit comes with a remote control, and there are several adjustments that can be made to the viewing screen, including contrast, brightness, color and sharpness. Of particular interest to us was the “Kid Cam” button. With this feature, you can add a second camera in the vehicle to watch the kids in the rear, or presumably inside your camper or trailer, or even on the back of your trailer to monitor a second vantage point with a push of a button. If you were in a state that allows passengers to ride in your fifth-wheel on the highway, wouldn’t it be nice to keep an eye on them? Or, how about those two poodles? Can you recall the last time you stopped for lunch, only to find that your refrigerator or closet door had opened on the road, and everything was on the floor? With the Kid Cam, you can spot the bottle of ketchup before it collides with the mustard on top of your favorite shirt. Shifting into reverse gave us an amazingly wide-angle picture of virtually everything behind the truck. We could also turn the monitor on even if we were not in reverse. On the road, the VizuaLogic HindSight is a great safety convenience. Backing up into or out of tight parking places, it gave us a sharp view of hidden posts, trees, curbs and other vehicles. By adjusting the angle of the camera, hitching up to a trailer was a breeze, though one does need to get used to the wide-angle perspective. Remember, Objects may be closer than they appear. We can certainly see how it could save the life of a small child playing behind our truck. At night, thanks to the camera’s low-light capability, there’s still an excellent picture. The system is waterproof, and carries a 1-year limited warranty. Suggested retail price for the HindSight we installed is $599.99. VizuaLogic, (800) 624-7960, vizualogic.com

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