These questions listed below are the most frequently asked questions over the 10 years we have been selling top quality vehicle rear view backup video cameras. We hope our buyers find the information useful, know what they would expect from us and from our products, so buyers like you can make educated purchasing decision. We do not intend to duplicate the buying terms we already published in the description of each auction item, we ask you to read the terms carefully. Also we do not intend to duplicate the content of How to Choose Vehicle Rear View Backup Video Camera buying guide and FAQ's that we have already published regarding technology, setup, connecting, payment, shipping, warranty, communications, etc. These listed below are all REAL questions we received from REAL buyers, so we try to give some VERY straight answers here. We do not intend to offend anybody, instead we just try to give the truth. We always try to provide as much information as possible to our buyers. We are still creating/updating this list, so be patient for more.
A1. How good are your CCD cameras? I have bought a cheap CMOS camera before, how big is the difference between your camera and my CMOS?
This is a one-million-dollar question. We have provided the answer to this question from the technical perspective both inside the auction description and in our published FAQ. We want to give you an example here, if you have a $15K car and you are asking the dealer how good is your $30K car comparing with my $15K car, what will the dealer tell you? What additional things will you get for paying twice the price of your $15K car? It is simply the better handling, better quality, better features, and, better feeling. Do you get an extra wheel? Can you use the $30K car for something else other than bringing you from one point to another point? You know the answers are both no. So, for your $30 CMOS camera, if you are satisfied with the quality and result, do not spend another hundred dollar for a CCD camera. If a good CMOS camera can reach about 80% of the video quality, a CCD camera will give you 100% of the video quality. This is the classic 80/20 issue. The premium you are paying for the high end CCD camera is really for the 20% improvement. It would not give you twice the quality you have on your CMOS camera. But you would find many aspects of the video result have been improved, such as the reaction speed on light change, the resolution of the picture, the color distortion, etc. You found you have a crystal clear picture from your CCD camera just like from your high end digital camera. There are a lot of people who do not want to settle on a lower end item when they know there are higher end item available on the market, they would rather to pay a little bit more money to get the best quality item available instead of being regret and redoing everything later, if you are one of this type of people, high end CCD camera is for you.
A2. I have received the camera, I don't see the difference between your $100 plus CCD camera and my $30 CMOS camera!
Please refer to question above. For over 10 years, we have seen only one person who actually could not distinguish. Others who said similar things are the ones who cannot really afford high end products, so they try to come back and blame the products. We understand completely not everybody can afford high end items and that's perfectly fine, they should just purchase the items they can afford. If you try to stretch your money and barely have the money to make the purchase, most of the times you will not be satisfied with the items you receive (for the reasons explained in question above), and you will not feel it is worth your stretched money. If you have a CCD camera and a CMOS camera both in your hand, you compare the results and you cannot find the difference, we have to say that you are lying. If you can barely make your ends meet, please do not use your stretched money to purchase high end items from us, you should save your money for other more important things. And please, do not ask this type of questions.
A3. Why is your CCD camera much more expensive than somebody else's CCD camera?
Good question, we saw sellers market their $40 cameras as CCD cameras in item titles. For some of these items, if you open up the item page, you see it is a CMOS camera, so it is a keyword spam, you should report that to ebay. Some others would say it is a CCD camera, these sellers know without professional technician's help, an ordinary buyer would not be able to open a camera internal board to verify the image sensor being used, nor the selling channel host such as ebay can verify that. ebay has confirmed to us in the past that it cannot distinguish or verify what image sensor is being used inside a camera, so ebay cannot remove those dishonest listings. However, you can be assured that the $40 camera does NOT use CCD image sensor, that price cannot cover the cost of a CCD image sensor itself, not even talking about the electric board, etc. SONY and SHARP are two biggest CCD image sensor manufacturers today and most CCD cameras (regardless of the manufacturer of the camera) use CCD image sensors from these two, you can check with SONY and SHARP and find out the quantity price for say 2000 pieces of 1/3 inch color CCD image sensor.
We have seen some more tricks other sellers used that we can share with you without quoting the actual IDs of these sellers:
1) Seller A advertised a CCD camera with a lower than normal price. Then for purchases they received over say a period of one month, they ship the actual CCD model only for one week and ship cheap CMOS model for the other 3 weeks. Most people only buy one camera, they cannot compare a CMOS camera and a CCD camera side by side, so they would never know.
2) Seller B advertised a CCD camera with very low price, and inside the item page, at the bottom, the seller used small fine prints saying they bought in bulk with refurbished cameras mixed, most of the cameras are brand new but they cannot guarantee.
3) Seller C registered in one country (such as Canada), ship from another country like China, and give you yet a 3rd country's phone number (such as U.S. phone number) or an IP phone number for problems. I would ask why they want to do that. You can probably come up with many answers. One buyer actually called me up to ask about this seller C in the phone. The buyer told me he bought a camera from that seller C, received the camera about 3 weeks later from China. When he opened the box, the camera's own packaging has "CMOS" image sensor box checked. He called seller C, asked why he received a CMOS camera while he bought and paid for CCD camera. Seller C told him maybe the manufacturer made a mistake on the marking. I told the buyer people in this field knows CCD image sensor is the biggest selling point for a higher price camera, they would NEVER make a mistake on marking a CCD camera as a CMOS camera, especially a manufacturer would NEVER NEVER make that mistake. Seller C said to the buyer "You do not sound satisfied with your purchase, we want to make sure you are satisfied with your purchase, if you return the camera to us (Canada? China? U.S.?), we will send you a replacement camera right away..." You can figure how that would work out.
4) Seller D saw our successful listings and wanted to get into the market, so the seller created his own listings but copied our pictures, text, and model numbers, paraphrased our product descriptions, etc., wanted buyers to think those are our listing. We want all buyers to understand that we never authorized anybody else to sell our products or use our product descriptions. We have no relationship with other sellers. There have been many seller D's over the years, in and out, you can probably figure what you will receive from them.
We were the first to sell top quality rear view cameras many years ago, we have seen how this market evolved over the time, and we have seen sellers came in and out all the time, we can give you more examples on the tricks people have used. The bottom line is there is no free lunch in this world, you get what you paid for.
A4. Is this a wireless camera or do you have any wireless vehicle rear view camera?
We do not carry any wireless cameras. It is simply because none of the wireless cameras in the market today are designed for vehicle use, especially for large vehicles such as trucks. Almost all wireless rear view cameras on the market today are security/surveillance cameras that are remarketed as vehicle rear view cameras. The biggest problem is that large vehicles have tons of electronics circuits that would create big interferences for wireless transmissions, so you would receive inconsistent signals, or many times no signal at all for wireless cameras. We have been selling vehicle rear view systems for over 10 years now, we haven't seen one manufacturer can overcome the problem. Even for the best manufacturer who supplies all our high end high quality rear view cameras, the manufacturer does have wireless rear view cameras, but the manufacturer told us not to use on large vehicles and not to use on vehicles that require stable video signals. The wireless technology is simply not there yet for vehicle use.
B1. How difficult is the installation?
We would not be able to answer your question because we do not know your abilities. Most of our cameras are very simple, they have 2 or 3 sockets attached (depending on whether you camera has the audio capability). One socket is for power input, you will connect your power supply to this socket. Usually people tap into the backup light power circuit, so the camera is auto activated when the vehicle is in reverse mode. If you have a large vehicle, make sure you use some types of power protections to protect your camera from being overloaded, common power protections are fuse, voltage regulator, etc. The other socket (or two sockets if your camera has audio capability) is for RCA type video output. You will use a RCA type connecting cable to connect this socket to your display's video input. That's it! For the past years, we have noticed one female buyer indicated it was very difficult to install, which we would have no comment on that.
B2. I just installed the camera today, it does not work at all, please send me a working camera!
Please do not send a question like this, you need to tell us how your camera does not work, you need to help us to help you. 100% of the times we received this type of questions were due to incorrect installations. For over several thousands of cameras we have sold over the years, accurately speaking, there has NOT been even one dead-on-arrival (DOA) item. Because we test EVERY single camera before it is being shipped out. In order for us to help you, you will need to provide as much details as possible on how you installed the camera. The following information would be very helpful:
1) Did you run the recommended important bench check after you receive the camera?
2) How is the camera installed? What type of the vehicle did you install the camera to?
3) How is the camera being powered, through which power circuit?
4) What type of display do you have? What is the interface from your display to your camera?
6) How is the camera connected to the display? What type of cable did you use?
7) Does the camera still receive power? Are the IR LEDs still on?
8) What did happen to the camera that made the camera stop working?
B3. I gave the camera to a professional installer and the installer told me the camera is bad.
The reply we will give you right away is if you ran the recommended important bench check. As we wrote to you in our Notification of Shipping email and in the package slip, if you would give your camera to a professional installer, you MUST run the recommended bench check. To run a bench check is very easy, just use a regulated 12V DC 1Amp (center is positive) wall power adapter to power your camera and connect your camera's video output to your home TV monitor's video input, you should see a live video from your camera on your TV monitor. We have recently seen several cases that the professional installers actually damaged the cameras by using incorrect power supplies, some professional installers only work with certain devices and they assume all devices use the same power supply. Usually the result of using incorrect power supply (high voltage, high current) would overload the camera and burn the internal processor chip. If your camera is overloaded by incorrect power supply and damaged, it is not DOA, and it would be very easy for our technician to find that out. We cannot provide free replacement for your damaged camera, but we can repair or replace it for a fee.
There are three cases we could share with you:
1) Professional installer A actually got the camera power wire on fire in front of a buyer from us and completely burn the camera. You can see how a professional installer can damage your camera and can create danger to your safety.
2) Professional installer B told a buyer from us that the camera is bad. The buyer came back to us asking for an exchange, we issued a RMA agreement indicated if our test result show the camera is damaged by the end user or the professional installer, they will need to pay for repairing or replacing it. The buyer brought the RMA agreement to the installer, the installer said to give him 10 minutes, and the installer magically "fixed" the camera. It turned out that the professional installer B artificially broke the camera just for the buyer to pay more labor and go back to the installer, when the installer was told he needed to pay for repairing the camera, the installer "fixed" the camera.
3) Professional installer C told a buyer of us the camera doesn't work, and the buyer brought back the camera, asked us. We asked him to run the bench check, turned out there was nothing wrong with the camera, and because it is very simple to install, the buyer installed the camera himself. The buyer said he has been using that installer for 15 years and he didn't want to hurt the feeling of the installer.
So you got the ideas here, you don't know what's going to happen with a "professional" installer, especially with the current economy.
B4. I have a XXX model navigation system or I have a XXX vehicle with manufacturer installed navigation system, is your camera compatible with my navigation system?
As long as your navigation system has a standard RCA type video input that you can switch to, you will be able to use our camera. As explained in the auction description, all our cameras have standard RCA type video output, so all you needed is to get a RCA type connecting cable to connect our camera's video output to your navigation's (or any display) RCA type video input. There is no way we can know every navigation or display model in the world, so you will need to look at the user manual of your navigation/display to figure it out. If you are still not sure after reading your user manual, you should contact the manufacturer of your display or check with the dealer of your vehicle if it is a vehicle manufacturer installed navigation.
B5. Will the camera auto activate when my vehicle is put into reverse mode?
The auto activation function is actually on the display, not on the camera. If your display cannot be auto switched to the rear view camera video input when your vehicle is put in reverse mode, even your camera can be auto activated, you still do not see the video on your display. Normally for a display to have the auto activation function, there should be a trigger wire that you tap it into your reverse mode circuit or backup light circuit. Most of the display LCDs we sell have that wire (usually in blue or green color). For the camera to be auto activated when vehicle is in put in reverse mode, all you needed to do is to power the camera through your backup light circuit.
B6. Can this camera fit into XXX space?
We will not be able to answer this question as we do not know exactly how you are going to use/install the camera, nor we know anything about your application/vehicle. The technical dimensions and specifications are stated and pictured in the auction description, you will need to double check and make sure it would work for you. Keep in mind that we will not accept any return or exchange for auction items since when you make the auction purchase, you confirm you have read through all the description and agree with all the auction terms.
B7. Where is the installation instruction? Did you forget to send?
No. If you only purchased a rear view camera from us, there is no installation instruction comes with the camera, the manufacturer doesn't provide us any instruction because it is very simple. The wiring connection is very simple, as described above, all you needed to do is to connect the camera's RCA type video output (and audio if your camera has audio) to your display monitor's RCA video input, and then power your camera through your backup light circuit. By powering your camera through your backup light circuit, your camera will be auto activated when your vehicle is in reverse mode.
Many of you asked about the white color two-pin connector and the two-pin jumper comes with your camera. If you did read through the item description of the rear view camera you bought, you would know they are being describes there. For 99.9% of you who use the cameras as vehicle rear view cameras, you don't need to worry about the connector or the jumper, just leave the connector as is and don't attach the jumper. If you are the 0.1% who use the cameras as front view cameras, you will need to attach the two-pin jumper to the white female two-pin connect, that will switch the orientation (left/right) of the video view picture and give you the correct normal front view picture.
If you really have difficulty understanding this or performing the installation, you will definitely want to consult a local professional vehicle AV installer, and they can help you out.
Return, Exchange, and Warranty
C1. The camera is too big for me, can I exchange to a different camera?
The camera's dimensions are clearly stated and pictured in the auction description. Also our auction terms clearly stated that we cannot accept return or exchange. Because we sell these top quality cameras at very low prices, there simply isn't room for us to provide any additional service such as return or exchange. You confirmed you have read through all the information and agreed on all the terms and conditions when you made the auction purchase. So please do not ask.
C2. Where is the connecting cable? The camera only has about one foot of cable, it cannot reach the LCD in the front.
There was a couple of buyers asked this and asked to return the cameras or we ship the connecting cables to them. Please make sure you read our auction descriptions carefully, none of our camera or camera and LCD pack includes any connecting cables. Because all our individual cameras have standard RCA type video output, and RCA connecting cable can be easily found in your local stores such as Best Buy, Radio Shack, or even Target and Wal-Mart, so we do not include the RCA connecting cable. Cables are very heavy to ship and buyers in the past do not want to pay the shipping for something that they can find easily and cheaply from their local stores.
We understand some other sellers and vendors do include connecting cables, because they use proprietary connectors and cables that you cannot find anywhere else. It is your choice to choose proprietary connector/cable or standard RCA connector/cable. By choosing our standard RCA connector interface cameras, you are not forced or locked into proprietary or hard to find cables and connectors when you need a replacement. And remember when you use proprietary cables/connectors, you will have to convert to RCA type audio/video anyway before connecting to your display because most displays only have RCA type audio/video input sockets, any converting would lose video quality!
C3. What is your warranty on the camera?
As clearly stated in the auction description terms, we do not provide warranty for the camera except dead-on-arrival (DOA). In fact, for over several thousands of cameras we have sold over the years, accurately speaking, there has NOT been even one DOA item. Because we only carry top quality cameras and we test EVERY single camera before it is being shipped out. So you are assured the best quality available. We cannot provide any warranty service because we sell these top quality cameras at very very low prices on ebay, there simply isn't room for us to provide any additional services such as return, exchange, and warranty. If you purchased your camera through our retail or distributor channels, you would pay higher prices and you might receive limited warranty service.
With that being said, IF something happen to your camera (although the chance is very very slim), the manufacturer in China has an one year warranty on your camera, all you needed to do is to send the camera back to the manufacturer in China directly, and the manufacturer would repair or replace your camera at its discretion. For thousands of cameras we have sold, the chance this would happen to you is less than 1/10 of 1%.
Another good alternative is to purchase the SquareTrade Warranty. As a reputable ebay Power Seller, SquareTrade has agreed to offer our eligible U.S. and Canada buyer the option to purchase its A-rated electronics warranty. For literately pennies a day, you will enjoy a lasting worry-free shopping experience on eligible electronics for up to 3 full years. For example, our $99.99 camera would cost only $12.99 for a 3-year complete coverage, that is one penny a day. Your item is fixed or you are paid the item's full purchase price by SquareTrade in 5 days, guaranteed, you will not find such a warranty anywhere else. We encourage all buyers to purchase the SquareTrade Warranty, however we are NOT related to or responsible for the Warranty that SquareTrade might offer to you. The SquareTrade Warranty is a sole agreement between you, the buyer, and SquareTrade. Please contact SquareTrade directly for any Warranty related issues.
C4. (One and half months after purchase!) The camera is defective, never worked, it is DOA, I need to send back and exchange for a new one.
Before this buyer made the purchase, he asked questions on disassembling the camera for his application, how good the camera is comparing with his $25 camera, and told us he was going to use the camera for some fun, not for vehicle rear view use. By the way, how do we remember who asked what? We keep all email records for a year because we want to better serve our customers, but these email records can also prove what this buyer asked us before the purchase. One and half months after his purchase, he told us the camera is defective, never worked, and asked us to send a new one. He said he didn't have time to check the camera (but he had time to search and buy and play with it), in school, no equipment to run the bench check, and etc. etc. Please do not give us excuses like these. We all know it is very easy to run a bench check, there is no special equipment needed, just use a regulated 12V DC 1Amp (center is positive) wall power adapter to power your camera and connect your camera's video output to your home TV monitor's video input, you should see a live video from your camera on your TV monitor. 12V DC power adapter is very popular on small appliances such as cordless phones, radios... As explained in previous questions, because we only carry top quality cameras and because we test every single camera before it is being shipped out, we haven't had one dead-on-arrival (DOA) case for several thousands of cameras we have sold. However, if it is a DOA (from shipping or other reasons), you MUST report to us within 3 days of delivery! Please do not contact us one and half months later and told us it never worked DOA, we would rather to hear the truth and we can help you reach the free helps from the manufacturer. Remember the manufacturer in China has one year warranty and as long as you send the camera back to the manufacturer, the manufacturer would most likely repair or replace your camera for free. We would always want to help our customers, but leaving us an untruthful negative feedback wouldn't get you anywhere. And, we want to keep the price low, we do NOT want to raise the price for everybody in order to cover buyers like this, it is not fair for other buyers to pay for his "playing".
D1. Did you ship my camera? I cannot track it on USPS with the tracking number you gave me.
We ship every business day and we send Notification of Shipping email to you after your package has been physically shipped out. So if you received our Notification of Shipping email, you are assured that your package has already been shipped out. For small light weight items, especially those that buyer chose NOT to purchase the shipping insurance, the package would be shipped out via USPS standard shipping service. USPS does NOT have a very good online status tracking system although it has been improved a lot over the years. In some cases the USPS shipping status for a package might not get updated until it is delivered, we would have no control on that. However, in almost all cases, we have found that USPS standard shipping is the fastest standard shipping service among all shipping carriers. Also note USPS (and all other shipping carriers) might NOT update shipping status during weekend. If daily online shipping status tracking is absolutely a must to you, you need to contact us immediately after you submit your payment, and we will try to arrange the shipping of your item through other shipping carriers.
D2. It has been a week, I still haven't receive the camera yet, the USPS tracking says it is in transit, is the camera lost?
As explained in the question above, USPS does NOT have a very good online tracking system and it might not update the status until or after the package is delivered. However, we recently did see a case that a package was lost by USPS within 65 miles of the destination in GA. The buyer did purchase shipping insurance, filed an insurance claim after 21 days of shipping (this is the number of days you have to wait before you can file a claim under USPS policy), and received USPS insurance claim check of the full purchase price back after 5 days of the claim. That buyer purchased another camera from us and told us that he had some other valuables lost by USPS.
We strongly recommend you to purchase shipping insurance especially if you know your area can have shipping/delivery/stolen problems. Shipping lost and/or damage does not happen often, but it does happen from time to time. If you didn't purchase shipping insurance, we would have no way to help you, please understand and do not ask us. If you did purchase shipping insurance, we would be happy to provide any supporting document and paper work for your claim.