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Inspection Cameras: Not Just For Boreholes!


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11 replies to this topic

#1 TerryE

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Posted 22 August 2015 - 11:25 AM

Jeremy's last blog post, A Long Tale About Water (And Life.....), included a description of a remote inspection camera that he built.

It struck me that a design for a simple low cost version could be very useful for members including myself. Quite a few times recently, I've found myself with an arm in a hole holding onto a camera and snapping in off in all directions on the off-chance that I got a pic looking in the right direction at whatever I was trying to get a look at. My watching J's videos of his borehole has convinced my that I need something similar for my build so what?
  • I don't think it needs to be water proof but water and knock resistance would be a good idea.
  • The head needs to incorporate a reasonably wide angle camera and 4-10W of LED lights.
  • I want a working diameter of 40mm or less for the head and simple wiring (e.g. simple length of usb or cat5 cable) with a cable length of up to 5m say, possibly supported in garden hose of something similar to give it a bit of stiffness for feeding into cavities.
  • I want video rather than stills, and a means of displaying the picture in real time.
  • The ability to record the footage would be highly desirable.
I immediately saw two possible options here:(a) butchering a webcam to do this; and (b) doing a DIY approach using something like this £6 camera that is dicussed inJulian Ilett's electronics video blog. However, on reflection I thought: you can pretty much buy anything on eBay now, so I tried these queries: eBay - Pipe inspection cameras and Banggood - inspection cameras.

You can even get an IP67 waterproof one for £18 (but not 2 bar as Jeremy's design!); still waterproof enough for Nick to push it round a U bend. I am going to order one (not sure which yet) and report back.

PS. Jan did suggest my trying it on one of my orifices, but then I'd really be in the sh!t.

Edited by TerryE, 23 August 2015 - 10:54 PM.


#2 Alphonsox

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Posted 22 August 2015 - 12:21 PM

Another option available at Aldi from Sunday

https://www.aldi.co....015-08-21_16-35

#3 jsharris

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Posted 22 August 2015 - 01:47 PM

If you want to go down the DIY route then there are some simple alternatives. The reversing camera on my last Prius developed a fault and was replaced, but I kept the duff one. It turned out that water ingress had caused the failure and when dried out it worked fine. I did some digging around and you can buy these small camera very, very cheaply and having taken mine out of the specially shaped Prius casing I've found it is a tiny unit that could easily fit inside a small tube (it isn't the one I used for the borehole camera). I also found some tips on the web for getting rid of the parking guide lines these cameras often have as standard and reversing the image (they are often mirrored video, so left is really right).

Given a 12V supply they will happily deliver reasonably high quality video. Lighting is easy to add with white LEDs (you don't need many, I've found) and you can turn any Windows PC or laptop into a video display and recorder using a £20 gadget from Maplin.

I'm playing around with the idea of making one much as you describe, using the interface gadget I already have and the old Prius camera (I've already modded it to get rid of the parking guide lines - an easy snip a wire job).

You're right, being able to poke something around dark places to see what's there is remarkably useful. Last week I used my borehole camera to look at a 22mm pipe fitting behind the MVHR unit in our services area, being able to glance at the laptop screen to see the orientation of the nut and get the wrench on first go was a delight, compared with the usual process of fumbling around, wondering if you on the nut or not before trying to tighten/loosen a fitting in an awkward place.

PS:

Mine was working at just under 5 bar down the borehole, but the housing should be OK for about 150 bar, as the submersible it came from was rated at 5000ft IIRC.

Edited by jsharris, 22 August 2015 - 01:51 PM.


#4 Nickfromwales

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Posted 22 August 2015 - 01:52 PM

View PostAlphonsox, on 22 August 2015 - 12:21 PM, said:

Another option available at Aldi from Sunday

https://www.aldi.co....015-08-21_16-35
I'm buying one.
Aldi and lidl pull real blinders every now and then.
Cheers for the link ;)
Regards, Nick.

#5 TerryE

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Posted 23 August 2015 - 07:50 AM

View PostNickfromwales, on 22 August 2015 - 01:52 PM, said:

I'm buying one.

One thing to bear in mind is how far you want to push it in. This Aldi one looks like it has a 1m or so flex on the camera. You can get them up to 5m or so.

#6 Nickfromwales

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Posted 23 August 2015 - 08:16 AM

My biggest issue is locating leaks behind / under shower trays and baths etc, boilers and the like so 1M will do me fine, plus how do you manipulate a 5M long camera umbilical :huh:
This wee beastie will save a lot of removing of panels / timber work etc so, as its very cheap, it'll pay for itself quite quickly :)
I just know one of my kids will stick it up their nose the second I put the batteries in it. :( Dettol spray standing by. :D
Kids..........I couldn't eat a whole one.
Regards,nick.


#7 TerryE

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Posted 23 August 2015 - 08:45 AM

Have a look at http://www.ebay.co.u...=item540aba04ad
Go down to the detailed description. It has a 1m cable plus a 3m extension, so you normally use the 1m configuration, but at least you can add the extra 3m if you need to.

#8 Nickfromwales

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Posted 23 August 2015 - 09:06 AM

The one less the extension lead...
http://www.ebay.co.u...sd=360957215917
But were rapidly heading out of the lustre of the lidl price tag ;).
Please tell me if the one on eBay is a better brand / make / more durable? But to give really twice the money would be a no no, plus I really can't see where I'd need the additional length tbh.
Regards, nick.

#9 TerryE

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Posted 23 August 2015 - 10:39 PM

Nick, buy the one that you feel comfortable with. I will need more than 1m, but you might never. If you start finding it useful and say: bugger, i wish I'd bought the one with the extension, then it's probably time to do so!!

#10 Nickfromwales

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Posted 23 August 2015 - 11:10 PM

Damnit.
I was settled on the aldi one, but now you've messed with my head :D
£75 isn't exactly a bank-buster so I'll sleep on it. :)
Regards, nick.

#11 temp

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Posted 24 August 2015 - 07:20 AM

I got one from ebay last time the topic came up. Nice long cable. Too cheap to make it worth bothering with DIY.

#12 SteamyTea

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Posted 24 August 2015 - 07:57 AM

I bought the angle grinder that Aldi has on promotion (20 quid). First one I have had with a 2 year warrantee and variable speed. Will do for what I need (comes with spare brushes as well).
Shame I have not found out how to lock it to the on position, but after dropping a 'live one' once, probably not a bad thing.