The Magellan RoadMate RV9165T-LM GPS facilitates RV navigation in all directions when combined with a backup camera kit.
By Jim Brightly, F358406
For those of us who own older motorhomes or converted buses that are not equipped with a backup monitor system, the Magellan RoadMate RV9165T-LM is an ideal solution. The RV9165T-LM not only provides up-to-the-minute GPS information, routing solutions, points of interest (POI), restaurants, shops, and fueling stations (more about these features later), but with the add-on camera kit, it can automatically switch to the backup camera whenever the motorhome is shifted into reverse.
I’ve always been a fan of items that have more than one function — dual-sport motorcycles, four-wheel-drive vehicles, zip-leg pants, reversible jackets — so I was really intrigued when I found that Magellan’s RV9165T-LM GPS receiver also can be used as the monitor for a backup camera on my motorhome. It utilizes the audiovisual (A/V) input, which is an easy connection to external devices such as DVD players, iPods, and Magellan’s Wireless Back-up Camera kit.
What struck me first about this device was the 7-inch screen. It’s comparable to the GPS systems found in today’s high-end motorhomes. The high-resolution screen makes viewing maps easier and is the only way to go for those of us with older eyes. Because of the typical distance between the driver’s seat and the motorhome’s windshield, the larger 7-inch screen makes sense. In addition, the device includes a huge GPS database specifically designed for RVers. The RV9165T-LM allows users to customize their RV routes based on the vehicle’s length, width, weight, and height. The RV9165T-LM also includes 6 million POIs (gas stations, restaurants, ATMs, coffee shops, etc.), pet-friendly parks, and RV service and parking facilities.
The very smart RoadMate RV9165T-LM GPS software will plan a route according to the user’s preferences, making for an error-free, enjoyable ride. And it does this almost instantaneously (it’s one of the fastest computers I’ve seen in a GPS unit). Plus, the device’s Bluetooth connection allows it to be used as a hands-free speakerphone, which is just the thing to have in many jurisdictions where hand-held cell phone usage while driving is illegal.
For daily driving, the device’s free lifetime traffic updates provide the quickest commute possible. RoadMate continuously scans traffic signals to warn of upcoming congestion. The RV9165T-LM also shows which freeway lanes are best to be in when preparing for an upcoming maneuver (that feature is applicable for traveling in the lower 48 states) and reminds you of the highway’s speed limit should you inadvertently exceed it.
As with most automotive GPS devices, the RoadMate RV9165T-LM allows you to personalize your travel experience with icons of your favorite places and searches. Magellan’s one-touch user interface is very easy to use. Other features include map updates for life and an automatic night view, which adjusts color and contrast for better viewing in darkness.
As stated earlier, the RoadMate RV9165T-LM’s 7-inch monitor and wireless backup camera assembly is an excellent choice for motorhomes without a factory-installed backup system.
The Magellan RoadMate RV9165T-LM GPS system has a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $349.99, while the add-on Wireless Back-up Camera kit is priced at $149.99. For more information about these products, visit www.magellangps.com. (Magellan recently introduced the RoadMate RV9365T-LMB, which includes several new features, among them SaniDump/RV Dump Station POIs, the preloaded AAA TourBook, Traffic Camera Alerts, Landmark Guidance, and Next 2-Turns Visibility.)
Installation Of The Roadmate RV9165T-LM And Wireless Back-Up Camera
The Magellan RoadMate RV9165T-LM includes everything you will need to get the GPS system up and running in your motorhome. The Magellan Wireless Back-up Camera is sold separately. The kit includes a camera, a transmitter, a receiver, and all wiring and connectors needed for installation.
Before beginning the installation process, it’s a good idea to assemble the hand tools you will need to accomplish the job. These include a wire stripper, a circuit tester, plastic zip ties, diagonal pliers (often called wire cutters or dikes), pliers, a screwdriver, and electrical tape. I found it convenient to have a table or a rolling tray to hold tools and materials while working on this project.
Begin at the rear of the motorhome, at the license plate holder. This is where the camera will mount.
1. Start the installation by making sure the backup lights on your motorhome work. If they do not, troubleshoot that problem before proceeding.
2. The backup camera arrives mounted within a bracket that’s already configured to fit the license plate holder. The camera can be adjusted up and down to provide the best view for backing maneuvers. During my installation, I had to use the lower two holes through the plate holder, because the required license plate light fixture would have covered the preferred camera location.
3. Remove the taillight assembly and locate the power line for the backup lights (on my motorhome, it was a green wire) and the common ground wire. Since many motorhomes have fiberglass rear caps, it may not be possible to ground the camera and transmitter to the body. In that case, a direct ground wire connection must be used.
4. All three lights in the taillight assembly used a common ground strap, which made it easy to identify the common ground wire. The wire was white at the assembly, but it connected to the black ground wire in the motorhome’s wiring loom.
5. Since the camera is mounted at the bottom of the plate, it will not be as stable as it would if mounted to the top of the plate. A shaking plate shouldn’t be a problem, though, since the camera is active only when the motorhome is in reverse. The camera’s cable had to be routed outside the motorhome, because there was not enough space behind the plate.
6. I taped up the color-coded connectors for the transmitter and camera cables to seal out moisture.
7. I couldn’t mount the transmitter in a protected environment, so I secured it inside the motorhome’s frame rail by using plastic zip ties. I snipped the long ends of the ties after I finished.
8. The transmitter’s power cable was routed to the motorhome’s trailer connector in order to use it as a ground. I then spliced in an extension to reach back to the motorhome’s wiring loom.
9. Having earlier ascertained that the green wire supplied power to the backup lights, I double-checked at the frame to make sure and connected the transmitter’s power wire to the green wire in the loom. This concluded the camera installation portion of the project.
10. Inside the motorhome, I attached the extended mount to the driver’s-side window, for two reasons. First, it’s more convenient when adding a destination, finding POIs, or locating a campground. Second, many states have laws that prohibit mounting items on a vehicle’s windshield that might create a distraction.
11. The threaded ring on the back of the GPS unit must be loosened before slipping it over the mounting bracket’s ball.
12. The camera’s receiver must be secured to a T-slot on the mounting bracket and then attached through the AV connector to the RV9165T-LM.
13. Both the RV9165T-LM and the camera receiver require 12-volt-DC power, so I used a dual DC power port coupler.
14. When using the RV9165T-LM, you can choose three-dimensional or two-dimensional perspectives for the routing maps. Unlike permanently mounted GPS devices, the unit must be turned on and off manually.
15. To activate the backup camera, simply shift the motorhome into reverse and enjoy the safety and pleasure of having a backup monitor.