Garmin BC 30 Wireless Backup Camera Review
Today’s cars are pretty sophisticated boasting large touchscreen displays powered by real operating systems. A lot of midrange models even have built-in rear camera systems that work with these large screens so you can see what is at your immediate rear as you reverse. Of course, the average consumer won’t be buying a new car every few years but sometimes it is the extra features that serve as the main reasons as to why people want to own these new models.
Garmin wants to provide a cheap upgrade path to people that particularly want a backup camera. The Garmin BC 30 Wireless Backup Camera is one of Garmin’s available backup camera choices
About the Garmin BC 30 Wireless Backup Camera
The Garmin BC 30 is one of the official accessories of Garmin nuvi devices. The backup camera system alone doesn’t come with Garmin nuvi device and it is important that you have one because it relies on the Garmin nuvi’s screen. It comes with a car charger that connects to the Garmin nuvi device because you want to make sure the screen stays charged. It also comes with a wireless transmitter and its own power cable. The main backup camera connects to this wireless transmitter. The backup camera itself is small and could be mounted to a preferred spot at the rear. Most people mount it right on top of the license plate. The included mounting bracket and screws aid with the installation. The build quality of the camera is pretty solid and rugged enough to handle harsh weather conditions.
Garmin recommends that you contact a professional to install the entire Garmin BC 30 Wireless Backup Camera system but for those DIY fans, Garmin has prepared six elaborate instruction videos on their website and YouTube channel that teach you exactly how to install the camera from the preparation to the configuration, troubleshooting and optional steps.
To ensure that the camera works properly with any type of vehicle, the Garmin nuvi device provides an extra option to configure the guidance lines. Guidance lines serve as overlays on the screen so you can get a good representation of your car’s path when going in reverse.
Once you have successfully set up at least one camera, you have the option of buying up to three more cameras and have them all pair up to the same transmitter. The first camera should already be recognized by the transmitter but extra cameras need to be paired manually via the Garmin nuvi device.
The Garmin BC 30 provides you with the option to have the camera wired directly to the reverse lights so your Garmin nuvi device automatically brings up the camera view whenever you put the car on reverse. Otherwise, you will have to manually toggle the display.
As the transmitter is less than 45 feet away from the Garmin nuvi device, you should have no problems seeing the rear view in real time. It uses a 1/3.7-type CMOS sensor with a low resolution of 640×480. This pretty much make the camera as good as a cheap webcam but during the day, the video quality is decent. It also has a camera angle of 115 degrees vertical and 140 degrees horizontal. Actual quality may vary depending on the situation, time of the day and area.
- Easy-to-follow instruction videos found on the official Garmin YouTube channel.
- Unintimidating unboxing experience.
- Works with all Garmin nuvi devices 2013 and beyond.
- Video quality may not be consistently great.
If you have a Garmin nuvi device and your car doesn’t have a backup camera system, the Garmin BC 30 Wireless Backup Camera is a no-brainer. Even for experienced drivers, a properly installed camera will let you conveniently see blind spots.
5.0 out of 5 stars
Great result, with clean installation on a Toyota Camry
I installed this unit in conjunction with a 2639LMT GPS. It worked flawlessly. Unlike several other commentators, I find the resolution very good (perhaps this is more of an issue with the GPS unit used rather than the camera unit), and the alignment lines are fine. I installed it in a 99 Camry XL myself. If anyone is considering the same installation, here are some pointers: Power wiring; accessed through the plastic protective sheath by the left side trunk hinge; +12 Reversing power – Red, Earth – White/black stripe (either one). I installed the camera fuse under the plastic cover of the centre stop light on the interior back shelf of the car. From there, the transmitter cord exits the cover by filing/dremelling out a notch in the plastic cover. Under the area covered by the cover, I drilled two holes through to the trunk (drilling from the trunk to the interior) – one a 5/16″ hole on the vehicle centre line for the cable to the camera, with the cable running along the under surface of the trunk lid to the camera; the other, a 3/16″ hole slightly to the left side of the vehicle, for the power cord that then runs to the connection point noted earlier. I mounted the camera on the centre line, above the licence plate. From the interior of the trunk lid, if you remove the appropriate plastic push-clip that helps secure the trunk lining and drill through from there, you will find that it exits in the perfect position for the camera cable to enter the trunk area (drill a lead 1/16″hole first from the interior, then use that as a reference point to drill the final 5/16″hole from the exterior).
4.0 out of 5 stars
Good solution but a bit pricey.
Installed with new Nuvi 65LMT with latest firmware update, powered from backup light. Worked pretty much as advertised unless the engine was running, at which point it might work once, briefly before connection was lost and not again until after engine was shut down and whole thing restarted. Display is grainy but usable, camera mount needed some adaptation to work with my car. After talking to Garmin, I tried running the camera from a constant 12V power supply (extended from an accessory socket). Connection issue went away, so a faulty transmitter was ruled out. Apparently a peculiarity with the backup light operation (2012 BMW) was interfering with the switching system in the transmitter when the car was running. I installed a relay triggered by the backup light as the recommended work around for the lighting system issues. Now it works fine. A buyer should be prepared for a little more installation hassle and cost than indicated in the Garmin videos, particularly on cars with recent higher tech auto lighting systems 🙂