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Discussion Starter #1
Those of you who went to the Overland Expo might have seen Don drive his rig Wikid around the closed course with the windows completely covered using his 8 camera system. Our setup is only 4 cameras but it has seen some serious abuse so today as I was uninstalling the Total Vision Self Spotting System from the FJ Cruiser so we can transfer it to the new Sportsmobile it struck me as the perfect chance for a long term review.
The system has worked perfectly and is so simple that I often use just like any other part of the truck, radio, gps, cruise control. The only feature I haven't made much use of is the ability to record to the laptop hard drive. I am just not a video guy, but if you are, then I am sure YouTube will welcome your under rig shots.


A quick overview of the system will set the stage for the long term perspective. Total Vision sent up Disabled Explorers with a 4 camera self spotting system that displays on our laptop. There are the front and rear bumper camera along with front and rear axle cameras. The system has a power switch and a rotating dial to choose your view. One thing I like about the rotating dial is that I can reach it easily even while using the Sure Grip hand control. So it is not a problem changing views while overcoming an obstacle.


A simple bit of software on the laptop called MyScreenCam allows you to make the viewing window any size you want and to record the video. The cameras come in color or black & white and even work well in low light. The only change we will make to the Sportsmobile will be to add underbelly rock lights to improve the field of view.


The back bumper camera is well protected by the Warn rear bumper and has held up perfectly. This camera was the least of my worries but with the limited visibility of the FJ Cruiser it was the most often used view.


The front bumper camera was the second most used again due to the seating position vs hood with the FJC. Our first mounting point on top of the Warn solenoid box worked great but when we switched over to the lightweight Aluminess bumper I moved the camera to the top bull bar. This gave a much wider field of view and was well protected by the Hi-Lift mounted over it.


Under the rig is the area of most abuse. Since installing the system I have competed in the 5 day Expo Trophy which includes high speed sand driving, burying your rig to the frame in a sand hill as a Recovery Challenge, A Navigation Challenge through rocky washes and steep cross axle climbs and more. Then there is all the testing we do at Disabled Explorers which often involves sinking the rig into sand and mud or high centering on a big rock.


The axle cameras are mounted next to the Rasta aluminum skid plate support bracket which has done a great job of protecting them. I do have to clean the lens every once in a while if water or mud has been involved but not every time so it isn't a burden.


The only camera to suffer any damage with all this abuse was the rear axle camera which showed a cracked lens cap. Total Vision knows and expects the gear to be used hard and to save you money their cameras are built with a replaceable lens cover. It is super easy to call or email and for a few bucks you can screw on the new lens cover and be back in action.



As someone who likes to go out by myself on weekdays (hey I have the SPOT Satellite Messenger, Ham Radio, water in the fridge and survival gear) the Total Vision system has been a huge help in self spotting over rocks, when cresting hills and backing up on narrow trails. The only change we will make in transferring the system over to the Sportsmobile will be to add a roof rack camera facing forward. That will give me a reason to make use of the simple hard drive record function and give us some fun video to play with. Of course who knows what Total Vision is up to with their next generation of video systems?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I got this one a ways back and I know Rod has made some changes so contact Total Vision to see what the cost are. It also depends on the controller and if you use a laptop, video monitor or in dash head unit with video.
I will contact him monday and see what my setup would run someone today.
 

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Thanks for the write up. I contacted total vision, after I saw the mention in Overland journal. Very friendly, sent me lots of info. Sounds like a really cool system.
 

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I had a chance to ride with Lance @ the Overland Expo and see this system in action it was very cool!!! It would be a useful tool for someone offroading by themselves as well the disabled explorer. thanks Lance for the write up.
 

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Interesting that the new 2010 Range Rover (and RR Sport) has a similar set up with a camera system all around to aid in spotting. Not that anyone (most RR owners) would use them for it though. Wondering if this will be a trend in some other new vehicles in the near future.
 

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Along with the extensive Camera System I have on my truck, Rod and I also installed a 4 camera system on my wifes TT . It works off the pioneer dvd nav unit and has a rotary switch for camera selection. It has a video out to hook to a laptop as well.
Both Rod and I have been really busy since the expo but I will be getting together with him for more information and do a write on the TT camera system as well.
I am emailing him to get some aprox pricing for a 4 camera system.
You can see my system on my build page linked at the bottom of my signature or at my website
thanks Don
 

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I am interested in a 3 camera system using my Pioneer D2 or netbook. I already have a rear camera. Located here in Tucson so should be pretty easy to have someone check it out.


Along with the extensive Camera System I have on my truck, Rod and I also installed a 4 camera system on my wifes TT . It works off the pioneer dvd nav unit and has a rotary switch for camera selection. It has a video out to hook to a laptop as well.
Both Rod and I have been really busy since the expo but I will be getting together with him for more information and do a write on the TT camera system as well.
I am emailing him to get some aprox pricing for a 4 camera system.
You can see my system on my build page linked at the bottom of my signature or at my website
thanks Don
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Rod is a super cool guy and you can work with him to set up just about anything from a simple backup camera to something as crazy as Wiked.

Total Vision Products: Racing and Off-road vision systems

just call him up and go over there...but make sure you tell him you saw the Disbled Explorers post so our sponsors know we are working for them :)
 

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