Thursday, August 20, 2015

Messed-Up App of the Day: Crux CCH-01W

Today’s Messed-Up App of the Day is the “Crux CCH-01W rear-view camera for select 2007-up Jeep Wrangler models.”

A rear-view camera is an especially good idea in the Jeep Wrangler, because it is very difficult to see behind the vehicle. The rear seat headrests, the wiper motor housing, the spare tire, and the center brake light all conspire to obstruct much of what little view the window had given you to begin with.

The view is so bad that it’s easy to, for example, accidentally demolish a mailbox.

I chose the Crux CCH-01W because it is purpose-built for our 2012 Jeep Wrangler. It snaps right into the license plate frame. I liked that. It had 4.5 out of 5.0 stars in four reviews at, my favorite place to buy stuff like this. I liked that, too.

But I do not like the Crux CCH-01W. I returned it because our Jeep will be safer without this camera than with it. Here’s the story.

My installation process was probably pretty normal. I had never done a project like this before, so it took me longer than it should have. Crux doesn’t include any installation instructions with the camera, which is a little frustrating, but I knew that from the reviews. There is a lot of help online, and Crutchfield helped as much as I needed. After all the work of installing it, it was a huge thrill when I first shifted into Reverse and—voilà!—a picture appeared in my dashboard.

However, that was where the happiness would end. When I tried to use the camera, I noticed right away that the red, yellow, and green grid lines that the camera superimposes upon its picture didn’t make any sense. The grid lines showed that I was going to collide with the vehicle on my left that clearly wasn’t in jeopardy (an inconvenient false negative), and they showed that I was all-clear on the right when in fact I was about to ram into my garage door facing (a dangerous false positive).

The problem is that the grid lines are offset about two feet to the left. Of course, this is because the camera is about two feet to the left of the vehicle’s centerline. It’s above the license plate, below the left-hand tail light.

So then, to use these grid lines, you have to shift them in your mind about two feet to the right. In your mind. There’s no way to adjust them on the screen. Since this camera is designed exclusively for the left-hand corner of a 2007-up Jeep Wrangler, shouldn’t the designers have adjusted the location of the grid lines to compensate?

So, let’s recap. The safety device I bought to relieve driver workload and improve safety will, unfortunately, increase driver workload and degrade safety.

That’s bad enough, but it doesn’t end there. There is a far worse problem than just the misalignment of the grid lines.

Here is a photo of a my little girl standing a few feet behind the Jeep, directly behind the right rear wheel:

And here is what the camera shows the driver while she is standing there:

No way am I keeping that camera on the vehicle.

It’s easy to understand why it happens. The camera, which has a 120° viewing angle, is located so far off the vehicle centerline that it creates a blind spot behind the right-hand corner of the vehicle and grid lines that don’t make sense.

The Crux CCH-01W is one of those products that seems like nobody who designed it ever actually had to use it. I think it should never have been released.

As I was shopping for this project, my son and a local professional installer advised me to buy a camera that mounted on the vehicle centerline instead of this one. I didn’t take their advice because the reviews for the CCH-01W were good, and the price was $170 less. Fortunately, Crutchfield has a generous return policy, and the center-mounting 170°-view replacement camera that I’ll install this weekend has arrived today.

I’ve learned a lot. The second installation will go much more quickly than the first.


Jon said...

So what happened when you demolished the mailbox? I ask because I have a similar mailbox and that looks like something I would do.

Cary Millsap said...

Jon: First, you find a stone mason, and then a little over a year later, you install a backup camera.

Keith Williams said...

You should go to the Crutchfield site and put your negative review there. While I enjoyed reading your blog, I am not looking to buy this camera. You have a responsibility to protect others from this as well.

Cary Millsap said...

Keith: Oh, I did. But they haven't released it to their page yet.

Cary Millsap said...

Update: Crutchfield has published my review now.