Installing a hidden camera to watch my wheels!

Have you ever scraped your front passenger wheel against the curb? Yes of course you have, because you’re a human being!

Instructions on how to replace the side mirror glass in a Suzuki Swift - www.suzukiswift.info

One pure, untouched side mirror.

I decided to make sure this doesn’t happen to me by installing a tiny camera in the side mirror which would look down at the front passenger-side wheel.
This means that when I’m parking in a tight spot or I’m parking on a narrow street I can get super close to the curb without actually hitting it. Sounds good huh?

To install the camera into the side mirror, I had to remove it. Removing the side mirror in a Suzuki Swift is quite simple. First however, you’ll need to remove the door panel and I made instructions here.

Instructions on how to replace the side mirror glass in a Suzuki Swift - www.suzukiswift.info

The mirror cover pops off when pried out with a flat screwdriver.

At any moment you can easily pop off the external cover on the side mirror to have a look how much room there is in there. Quite a bit as you can see in the above picture. To remove the cover, work your way around the cover prying it off with a flat screwdriver.

Instructions on how to replace the side mirror glass in a Suzuki Swift - www.suzukiswift.info

This is the little waterproof camera I will use.

This little beast is the camera I’ll use. It’s a waterproof reversing camera I bought off eBay for around $9 USD. Can’t beat that, so I bought two just in case one dies!

Instructions on how to replace the side mirror glass in a Suzuki Swift - www.suzukiswift.info

Disconnect the cables and undo the three bolts.

With the door cover and tweeter speaker removed you can unclip the side mirror cable plug and unscrew the three mirror bolts, by turning them anticlockwise.

Instructions on how to replace the side mirror glass in a Suzuki Swift - www.suzukiswift.info

Hey presto! Side mirror removed!

Removing the side mirror was easy, but I also needed to remove the mirror glass itself. This was a little trickier.

Instructions on how to replace the side mirror glass in a Suzuki Swift - www.suzukiswift.info

Be careful not to break the glass.

You’ll find a series of clips which hold the glass onto its swivel base. To remove the side mirror glass, use a thin screwdriver to pop the bottom-left clip first by wedging it in there. It’s almost impossible to see what’s going on in there, so click on the following picture for a close-up.

See the clips on the back of the mirror? Click for a close-up.

See the clips on the back of the mirror? Click for a close-up.

I was scared I was going to break the glass at one point, but as long as you pop off one of the clips, the whole clip assembly will be weaker, and the rest will let go. Just pry the whole glass out, but keep the pressure as even as possible to avoid breaking the glass.

Instructions on how to replace the side mirror glass in a Suzuki Swift - www.suzukiswift.info

A good look at how it all fits together.

If you’re reading these instructions looking to replace a mirror yourself, just reverse the procedure from here.

As for installing the hidden camera, now the hard work begins!

Instructions on how to replace the side mirror glass in a Suzuki Swift - www.suzukiswift.info

I cut a fairly crude hole into the black part of the side mirror.

I used a soldering iron to melt a nice big hole into the side mirror. Unfortunately, soldering irons aren’t very precise instruments when it comes to melting plastic. This meant the hole was a bit bigger and uglier than I wanted!

Instructions on how to replace the side mirror glass in a Suzuki Swift - www.suzukiswift.info

It fits and the wires are nicely hidden!

Still, from the outside it looks fine and the mirror’s movement isn’t impeded in any way which is important.

I ran the wires for the camera (power wires + signal wires) through a hole I cut into the mirror’s plastic frame and pulled the cables through.

Instructions on how to replace the side mirror glass in a Suzuki Swift - www.suzukiswift.info

As you probably know, I love hiding cables from view.

Now that’s a tidy install, and there’s plenty of unused room in the mirror housing for the connectors.

Instructions on how to replace the side mirror glass in a Suzuki Swift - www.suzukiswift.info

It’s in but now comes the boring wiring part…

Running the power and signal wires from the side mirror wasn’t easy. There were a lot of flexible joins, seals, and tubes to run them through. There was also the problem of having the camera not running all the time, because it seems to get quite warm after about 5 minutes of operation.

Being a cheap Chinese camera I didn’t want it to die after running for a couple of hours, so I found a way to ensure it’s only on when I need it.

Instructions on how to replace the side mirror glass in a Suzuki Swift - www.suzukiswift.info

The side mirror defroster wires – the perfect power source!

The answer to my prayers was right there in front of me: I just connected the power to the side mirror defroster wires!

This means my stealth camera will only operate when I press the rear window defroster button. This is good because it’s close to hand, it has an orange light to remind me it’s running, it only operates when the engine is running, and it turns itself off automatically when you turn off the engine! Perfect!

Instructions on how to replace the side mirror glass in a Suzuki Swift - www.suzukiswift.info

What a labyrinth to get through.

To run the signal wire from the side mirror to the to the stereo I followed the existing wire paths, avoiding the window going up & down and running through the flexible rubber tubes & grommets to keep water out. This part took a little patience.

Raspberry pi with internet connected in the car

My car had the internet but I never used it.

Many of you might remember that I installed a Raspberry Pi computer under the dash last year. However I never got around to using it, so I unplugged the computer and instead plugged in the side mirror camera.

Instructions on how to replace the side mirror glass in a Suzuki Swift - www.suzukiswift.info

With the camera in position I held it with some sealant.

I did some positioning and fine-tuning of the camera’s angle and then held it in place with some silicon sealant. A couple of hours later the sealant was dry and I put the mirror glass back in.

Instructions on how to replace the side mirror glass in a Suzuki Swift - www.suzukiswift.info

My side mirror “Stealth camera” is installed!

It was a fiddly task but the results are superb! Unless you’re below the mirror, you can’t tell there’s a camera hidden inside!

Instructions on how to replace the side mirror glass in a Suzuki Swift - www.suzukiswift.info

No more scraped curbs.

The stealth camera is flipped horizontally which means it’s a little disorientating for the uninitiated (you’re actually looking at the right front wheel) but it’s pretty obvious where the curb is when you’re using it but I’ll look at finding a way to flip the image horizontally.

In combination with the reversing camera (which comes on as soon as the car is put into reverse) it means I can now squeeze into some really tight spaces without touching the other cars and without getting out of the car to check distances.

Check out this video below to see it in action!

Cool huh?! :)

4 thoughts on “Installing a hidden camera to watch my wheels!

  1. Hi
    nice guide about installing side car mirror.
    i have a question, what did you do with the reversing camera, you said “In combination with the reversing camera” how?
    when you put in reverse the reverse camera is show on, do you have a switch between the side\reverse camera?
    regards , tomer

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