Roadmaster's VR3 Backup Camera has your back

The gadget helps avoid tragedy when you're driving in reverse, but the challenging installation is best left to professionals.

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    Wireless Back up System with color LCD Monitor, made by Roadmaster.
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Backup cameras, which help prevent tragedies when your car is in reverse, are quickly becoming standard equipment on new SUVs and minivans. But if you have an older model, Roadmaster has been working on a solution – the VR3 Wireless Backup Camera and Monitor.

It consists of a camera that is installed on your license plate and sends images to a 2.5-in. monitor mounted anywhere you choose. The monitor is primarily set to operate when the car goes into reverse, but it can be set to stay on all the time.

This is a great gadget in theory and only slightly less so in reality, mainly because it assumes that the average minivan driver is comfortable wiring stuff to a car's electrical system.

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Once I read the words "drill a hole in your car," I sped over to a service center where the manager walked me through the tedious process of connecting the camera to the backup lights and then running a power cord through the body of the van to the front.

A few bucks and several hours later, he told me that this was the hardest wiring job he's done for one of these camera systems.

Despite the installation, the palm-size monitor is very helpful. Drivers take note: The monitor provides a wide but strictly rear view that should not replace looking back with your own eyes when changing lanes or backing up.

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