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I’m amazed at how good digital imaging technology has gotten — it’s not quite as neat as x-ray vision, but cool anyway.  Consumer grade digital cameras and video cameras take higher resolution pictures than most of us will ever need; we can look at good images from space for free on the internet; and prices are dropping on super spy cameras like this one. You can get the Li-Ion version for about $240.

Now you can check out the insides of gas tanks, garbage disposals, and even walls if you’re willing to patch a 3/4″ hole.  This could prove very helpful even to those of us who aren’t professional inspectors. Your local equipment dealer may even rent you one if you just want something interesting to play with.

Digital Inspection Camera [Milwaukee]
Street Pricing [Google Products]
Via Amazon [What’s This?] [What’s This?]

 

8 Responses to See Where You Can’t Go

  1. Jason says:

    I played with one of these at White Cap while they were finding my band saw part. I absolutely do not need one of these but I absolutely want one.

    Jason

  2. Fred says:

    This is the kind of thing that will be real cheap by Christmas. How different is this from my $60 Argus digital camera?

    When I finally get my Nikon digital camera I might be tempted to bend the ol’ Argus into something like this and it will still take pictures, too.

  3. Zathrus says:

    This isn’t substantially different from the Rigid SeeSnake; just a bit higher resolution and LiIon. But it doesn’t seem to have the various end bits that the Rigid does. Both have extensions up to 30′.

    I doubt it’s going to be “real cheap by Christmas” — the fiber optic lead and optics are the expensive parts. You could improvise something out of a cheap USB pen camera, but it will be larger, less manueverable, and won’t have the specialty tips that the Rigid has.

    I could really use one of these for a couple of jobs around my house. In particular the previous home owners finished the basement but did a really poor job. Amongst other things, they cut the feed to one of the main level vents, so that room is always too warm/cold, as is the room above it (one of my daughters’ bedrooms). Stick this down the vent and I could figure out what the heck is going on, rather than randomly cutting into drywall.

    Oh, and they also drywalled over the water and gas shut offs, and spigot shutoffs… with one of the spigots turned off. Whee.

  4. fred says:

    We have a Ridgid See Snake that can handle about 300 feet of sewer line inspection. We find this is a great tool for showing our customers what’s going on in their problem sewer lines – and why we need or don’t need to excavate.

    Ridgid also makes a more compact version which may be available at some Home Depots

    http://www.ridgid.com/seesnakemicro/

    We’ve used Provision borescopes for many years to peer into walls etc. Not as high tech as the camera devices – but work OK.

  5. Zathrus:

    So called pros do just as stupid things. The last Hometime series where they built the wine cellar (not the one in Dean”s Basement the latest one) they framed in and built the wine cellar over a sewer clean-out — unless I missed something, they didn’t even mention it. I just cringed every time they showed it.

    Boy is that home-owner gonna be pissed in 10 years when his sewer line backs up and the plumber has to rip apart his wine cellar to get to the clean out.

  6. Zathrus says:

    Oh, this was done by “pros”, not by the homeowners themselves. Although I heard from a neighbor that they fought with the contractor and weren’t pleased with the work (and shouldn’t have been; the electrical violated “minor” codes like having the ground wires cut off in every receptacle and hot and neutral reversed on top of that; yes, I fixed it all myself).

  7. fred says:

    As in all walks of life – some folks give their “profession” a bad name. Unlicenesed and under-skilled contractors account for some of the work that we get (to fix shoddy or worse jobs) – so maybe I shouldn’t complain.

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