So last Monday was Marine Day, a national holiday here in Japan, and it made for a nice 3 day weekend. While many people take literal advantage of this day and go to the beach or participate in other water/ocean activities on this day - I decided instead to fix a couple of minor issues on my car - those who know me know that no issue is too small for me to ignore - the big ones I might have to pay to get fixed, but the smaller stuff I can do at home. Just need to find the time to do so.
|Ready to go! Let the tinkering begin!
One thing that has been annoying me is the complete failure of the new rear view mirror that I installed a few months ago. My thinking was, an Android powered mirror with the possibility of using all of those apps, including Google Maps, plus Bluetooth to connect to my phone, and a front facing camera to record in front, coupled with a back-up camera, was an all-in-one solution that could help modernize my car.
|So many options! Except how to record what happens up front but still maintain rear view ability?
Could never quite figure it out...
|Yes, Google Maps in the mirror is why I got this... except very slow...
|Front camera showing display on screen
First, the Android system (8.1) is very slow. Very frustrating. And somewhat disconcerting, since the mirror powers up slowly so you have to wait. Second, these mirrors with the built in drive recorders/dash cams are designed for left hand drive vehicles - in other words when I adjust the mirror from the right side driver's side so I can see back, the camera, which is adjustable side-to-side, does not have enough sweep to be able to fully to aim straight to the front (less side adjustment is needed if the mirror is adjusted for drivers on the left). Third, the supplied rear camera failed. (Although later I found out that it was not the camera itself). Fourth, when you turn off the car, the mirror powers down very loudly with its electronic melody of sorts. But after a 5-10 second delay. So a bit jarring.
So, I decided to go back to basics. Not the OEM mirror, as I still wanted modern functionality but without the drawbacks of the Android one. After some searching, I found a modern, OEM-type windshield mounted mirror with dual 4.3 inch LED screens, allowing for 2 channels of video input each for a total of 4 video inputs!
|Not the highest resolution but it should work! From Amazon
Here it is, completely unboxed. A bit overwhelming (below) maybe but notice that there are two trigger wires, meaning that if the other video input is being used (or the video is off) a trigger will cause that video feed to be shown as priority. Perfect for a back up camera, right? Incidentally as seen below the back up camera was a separate order (hence the separate box) where I had to make sure its video feed was via RCA in order to work with this mirror!
|You can see the ETC antenna hanging down too, that had to be repositioned slightly
By comparing the old and new, you can see the old one is a bit wider. The old mirror is also designed to be attached to existing mirrors with rubber bands, so in the case of direct windshield mount it has a bracket that uses clips to latch onto the protusions designed for the rubber bands. This actually lead to some squeaking as well, for those of you who may have seen the livestream that Dino did on our way down to Mine's a few months ago when we took this car down there as Dino had an appointment to take photos of a very special build for a friend.
|Light blue arrows point to those clips. New mirror is one piece, thankfully...
The new mirror is a one piece design - so looks very OEM - but this install had some challenges too!
|Rough cut but not to worry too much
|Sandpaper to the rescue
|Looks great, right?!
|Love the flush look!
|No more worries about tape!
|From Amazon - funny the description said it may not work with Sony phones but....
|From Amazon Japan