Sunday, January 8, 2017

Paradise ponders, backup camera edition...

Paradise ponders, backup camera edition...  I ended up spending nearly all of yesterday installing a backup camera onto my tractor.  It dawned on me that when I'm snow-plowing, I spend about half the time backing up – and it's a real pain to half to twist around to see what's behind me.  I started out looking for a mirror, but then noticed (on Amazon) that the backup cameras were getting downright cheap – not really all that much more than a mirror, and much nicer to use.  I mounted the entire thing on my tractor's ROPS (Roll-Over Protection System).  There was already power there for the headlights, so I wired into that – turning on the headlights while I'm plowing is a good idea anyway.  Having the system mounted up that high will reduce the chance that I kill it somehow.

The first photo above shows the entire system.  The camera is at the top center.  The LEDs all around it are infrared illuminators, so the camera will work even at night (though just in black & white).  The lights to the left and right of the camera are backwards facing headlights, designed to allow use of the backhoe at night.  The second photo is a closeup of the other two components.  The silver box on the left is a multiplexer, which allows up to three cameras to be attached.  The monitor is on the right, with the back of one of my headlights to the left of it. 

The hardest part of this installation turned out to be drilling and tapping holes in the ROPS.  That structure is made out of heavy gauge steel, an alloy that's harder that what I normally run into.  I broke two 8-32 taps in the process of doing this installation!

I did a bit of a snow inventory around the house yesterday afternoon.  We've got two places where the accumulation looks like it might be a problem as it melts.  One of those is on our balcony, and I'll be shoveling that off later today.  The other is on the new roof over our deck, where we have over 4' of snow piled up against the second floor windows of our house.  I'm afraid that when that melts it will come streaming into the windows.  So I'm going to climb up on that roof later today and shovel that snow away from the window.  That's not as bad as it sounds, as the slope of that roof is very gentle – in fact, that's the reason snow can pile up there.  We're probably going to have to do something about that; in a few years climbing up on that roof will likely be impossible for me...

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