inspection camera - for homeowner use

Re: the recent thread on inspection cameras. I have different but related question. I would like to be able to inspect my sewer line out to the street - probably 50 feet or so total distance. I have easy access to it via a cleanout plug. I don't really have any problems with it right now in terms of clogs, but I am still curious as to how good of a shape it's in. I am pretty sure it's cast iron (the stack is) and 90+ years old. If there are incipient problems I'd like to know so I can start saving up! I am thinking there ought to be a reasonably cheap solution using a camera that hooks up to the computer. After all a USB webcam that sits on top of your monitor costs about $10. Can anyone recommend a product or a rigged-up solution? I don't want to pay $$$ to a plumber or even an equipment rental place. Yes, I am a cheap bastard. -- H
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On Tue, 7 Jul 2009 11:55:15 -0700 (PDT), Heathcliff

How to build a submersible web cam:
http://geektechnique.org/projectlab/694/how-to-make-a-cheap-submersible-webcam
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wrote:

Submersible? Yes.
Able to see in a cast iron pipe? Nope!
This needs a light source to be feasible for what the OP wants.
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wrote:

Correct on all accounts :-)))
There is cheap and there is feasible.
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You really need to run the numbers as you are going to pay a whole lot more for buying the equipment than it would cost you to have someone do it for you. That said, this is probably what you are looking for:
http://www.buy.com/retail/product.asp?sku !1043692&listingidA841021&dcaid902
50' of extentions won't be cheap though.
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Right, sort of. That is a complete unit with its own screen for viewing what's down the pipe. But, I am thinking there should be something simpler out there that you can plug into your existing computer. The computer supplies the processing and image display, all you need is a camera and a light to illuminate what you're looking at. USB cameras and flashlight-strength LEDs are cheap - so one might expect this could be done fairly cheaply. And for this application you also would want something - slides or rollers or something - to keep the lens up out of the muck. But I suppose there is some flaw in my thinking since my hypothetical gizmo is not already out there.
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On Tue, 7 Jul 2009 15:26:00 -0700 (PDT), Heathcliff

I think the one flaw is how far you can travel with a USB camera. Not real far!
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Look around at cheap security cameras. For less than $50 you can get one that includes infrared LED's (you get a B&W picture in dark areas). Mine came with a 100' "phone" cable that supplies power to the camera and feeds composite video back (most work this way). You can hook it directly to just about any TV made in the last 20 years or so. If you want in on your computer, you'll need a video capture card. It shouldn't be too hard to waterproof it. You don't need it to handle much pressure.
Not perfect, but it will be WAY cheaper than USB.
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Don't forget that USB cables have a limited length... So you might need to move to an Ethernet camera -- which adds more cost & complexity...
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on 7/7/2009 5:13 PM (ET) Robert Neville wrote the following:

http://www.buy.com/retail/product.asp?sku !1043692&listingidA841021&dcaid902
I like this one better. Besides using it for sewer pipe inspections, you could probably give yourself a colon inspection. :-) http://cgi.ebay.com/75-ft-REAL-COLOR-VIDEO-SEWER-PIPE-INSPECTION-CAMERA_W0QQitemZ300328648307QQcmdZViewItemQQptZLH_DefaultDomain_0?hash=item45ecfb7e73&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14&_trkparmse%3A12 |66%3A2|39%3A1|72%3A1205|293%3A1|294%3A50 or: http://tinyurl.com/n6noqr
--

Bill
In Hamptonburgh, NY
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Heathcliff wrote:

The first time I saw them for rent was at a local plumbing supply house and the deposit was $1500.00.
TDD
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You can probably rig something up using this $ 29 camera: http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?ItemnumberG546
You could ductape the camera and a small led flashlight to a stiff sewer snake. It needs to be stiff so that you can push it along 50' of sewer pipe. Any old TV will give you a good image.
I have a slab house and wanted to know where all the pipes under the slab are running. For $ 250, a commercial company marked all the pipes. Then we looked down the main sewer line (100') to make sure it was clear. The black plastic pipe was clean as a whistle, after 25 years.
Interesting and educational. The wonders of science!
--
Walter
www.rationality.net
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On Tue, 7 Jul 2009 11:55:15 -0700 (PDT), Heathcliff

Take your cheapie $500 camcorder and charge the batteries well. Attach 100 feet of rope to it, turn it on, and turn on the light. Drop it in the toilet and flush the toilet. Do not let go of the end of the rope. Let it go all the way down the sewer until you run out of rope. Then pull it back out the toilet and enjoy watching a really shitty video (literally).
By the way, if you can not pull it back up thru the toilet, be sure to tie the rope to something solid when you go to call a plumber. You dont want to lose 100 feet of valuable rope.
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Well, then just dig it up, you cheap bastard. Other than that, SOME companies do FREE inspections, or at least reasonable ones. You're dealing with a big deal here. The first thing you need to do is get a good idea what you're up against. And the way to do that is to put a good camera down there and look at it up close and personal. What you see is what you get, and you'll be sure about what work needs to be done. THEN, you can cut corners on that with different ways to save money. Don't cheap out on the inspection.
Welcome to the CBC. (Cheap Bastards Club) If you qualify, then you can upgrade to the CBOFC. (Cheap Bastards Old Farts Club)
Steve
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Heathcliff wrote:

Here's a bunch from Craigslist for under $200.
http://craiglook.com/all.html?q=inspection+camera
After you've had your peek, you can re-sell it on Craigslist. Ebay also has several for under $200.
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