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Tackling a 360-camera system issue on a 2018 Mercedes

Tuesday, July 30, 2019 - 07:00
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Growing up I always knew about the phrase “doing a 360,” and what it meant to me was that someone was doing a total change in their life or simply doing a full circle on a skateboard. Times are changing so fast in the automotive arena and now we’re applying this terminology to working on advanced camera technology in cars today that incorporate front, rear and side cameras.

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Figure 1

These new systems give a driver a full bird’s eye view of the conditions around the vehicle from the convenience of an onboard screen in the center dash panel. This is accomplished in most systems by an onboard controller that is wired to each camera with a video or Ethernet cable. The controller then sends the images by use of Ethernet technology to a main gateway controller that will transfer these images to a display panel wired by a MOST or Ethernet connection. The goal is to have the images display close to real time, and this can only be possible by having faster networks on board.

Figure 2

I recently had a call on a 2018 Mercedes GLE 350 (Figure 1) that was involved in a front-end collision. The grille was damaged, along with the front camera housed below the emblem (Figure 2). This front camera is used for the 360-camera system onboard and should not be confused with the forward-facing camera up in the windshield, which is used for the Lane Departure Systems on most vehicles. Onboard cameras are not always plug-and-play and must be initialized to pair with the camera control module. There is no software needed, but a scan tool that supports camera functions should have the ability to start the camera initialization process. After the initialization process, a calibration of the replaced camera must be followed to finish the procedure.

Figure 3

When I arrived at the shop, I noticed the onboard screen displayed the message “Camera not Calibrated” (Figure 3). I went ahead and performed a full scan on the vehicle just to make sure there were no other underlying issues I could not see. It is vitally important to let my shop be aware if there is anything else that would need to be addressed while I was still there. Sure enough, I came across a Code B127B14 for a problem with the Center Left Rear Parking Aid Sensor, but this would have to be addressed with the insurance company because this vehicle was a front-hit only and this code was unrelated to the accident. I was more concerned with the Code B1FBD54 that read “Control Module for 360 is faulty/Calibration is Absent” (Figure 4). This code was related to the accident, but was a little deceiving because it was pointing me in a direction of a faulty camera control module and the code was not specific to which camera had the calibration issue. I basically knew one new camera was changed, and that was the front one, so my next move was to start the initialization process and see if this code would be gone.

Figure 4
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