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TV cameras in the weirdest places...

Subject: TV cameras in the weirdest places...
From: John Miller <>
Date: Sun, 4 Apr 1999 14:53:47 -0700 (PDT)
Here's something that you might find interesting like I did.

I bought this 50+ year old house and wanted to learn more about
the condition, location, and material used in the sewer line.

So, I called in a plumber with a TV camera. It worked pretty slick.
The unit looks a lot like a snake but with a small (1.5" dia by 4" long)
head that he feeds down the cleanout.  The head contained a B/W camera
and a light.  He said newer units have color cameras and will also
show on the monitor how far in feet they are into the drain.
He pushes it along by hand. He said that newer units use a water jet
to pull themselves along. This would hae been good since once he was
past three 90's and out 75 feet or so he couldn't go past the next turn.

But all in all, it was a good experience. When you see a tee on the monitor,
you can go turn on the water (or flush) the particular item you think
feeds that spot to confirm your hypothesis.  He could determine the type
of pipe (Cast, Galvanized, Plastic, Tile) by looking at the fittings and
length of the sections.

One of the neat features of this thing was that it had a transmitter
in the head that could be easily located with a wand that looked like
a small hand held metal detector. I was able to map the location of the
sewer line. It didn't go at all in the direction any of us first guessed.

Cost of all this?  $125 plus 2 hours of time at $50/hr.
This seemed a bit high given that I could have bought a camera for less,
water-proofed it, and sent it down on my homewowner snake (but without
the locator capability).

My next plumbing project requires replacing the constricted galvanized
water pipes with copper.  But to do that I will need to see behind some
walls and between some joists to see how to route the new lines with
a minimum of work or not making too many holes in finished ceilings/walls.

QUESTION:  Has anyone built their own remote cameras for applications
like this where you want to see into spots you can't put your head?

I think I'm going to do this and am looking for any suggestions/experience.


John Miller

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