GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

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November 12, 2012

Cell phone signals interfering with backup monitor

Q: I recently installed a rear view camera in my 2002 Chrysler Sebring. It works by remote control rather than wires from the trunk to the monitor, and is very handy when backing up in a parking lot or even out onto the street. The install only took me about an hour and a half. The problem is, when I drive down the highway, the rear view camera monitor in the car turns on and off at will. This is a distraction when you drive, and I am starting to think that it is more of hindrance than a help. I used the cigarette lighter plug for power for the monitor. I used the back-up lights in the trunk area for the camera. I am considering returning the unit, but I would rather keep it if I can resolve the problem.

A: I am familiar with your problem. You most likely have a Peak unit, or a knock-off of a Peak. What is happening is due to cellphone signals from cars passing by you, as well as infrared signals from alarm systems in buildings you are passing by. There are two ways to resolve the problem. The easiest way would be to unplug the monitor from the cigarette lighter plug except when you are going to actually use it when backing up. In most cases the plug will break after a few months unless you’re extremely careful. The other way you can get rid of this problem would be to run a wire from the back-up lights to the monitor as a power source. That way, unless the vehicle is in reverse, the monitor will not flash on as you drive.

Car Care Tip: If you are a do-it-yourselfer, and you are running wires in your car, be very aware of safety. Make sure all wires are out of the area of the passenger foot area, as well as the exit and entry thresholds of the vehicle.

Larry Rubenstein is a master technician who owns a North Shore service station. His column appears periodically on Tuesdays. Write to Larry at the Gloucester Daily Times, c/o Auto Scanner, 36 Whittemore St., Gloucester, MA 01930, or send an email to scanauto@aol.com.

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