RC spy car as crawlspace inspection device?

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I want to inspect the crawlspace once in a while but don't really enjoy crawling in it.
Can you use the trakr (RC video camera tank) to inspect the crawlspace or is there something more appropriate? The camera would need to see in the dark or have built-in light.
Things I want to checks are : water on the vapor barrier, rodents, detached insulation, etc.
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If it is fairly smooth it could work, that looks very easy to high center. Were that to happen, you would have to crawl to retrieve it. Built in light? you could attach a small led flashlight to it. Here is another thought: http://ardrone.parrot.com/parrot-ar-drone/usa /
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IIRC, there was a show on the history channel showing such a strategy to explore one of the air shafts in one of the pyramids. Worst case, you would have to crawl in and retrieve it.
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Tie a string to it so if it flips, you can haul it out. After watching a TV show where they were hauling dead and maggot-ridden possums and skunks out from under the crawl space, I am now thoroughly convinced NEVER to buy a house without a basement. Repairing *anything* serious in a crawl space turns a fairly routine job into a near-lunar expedition, complete with bio-hazards from the parasites and other creatures that inhabit living and dead possums, skunks, raccoons, etc. You have my sympathy. Gives me a good idea, though. Start a plumbing and electrical company staffed by midgets specializing in crawlspace work. (-:
I've never been able to figure out why some areas of the countries don't have basements. It was probably a good building strategy when there was no plumbing, CATV or electric in houses, but now? Uh uh.
-- Bobby G.
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Robert Green wrote: ...

Clearly you've never had a leaking one or failed walls from clay soil heave, etc., etc., etc., ...
--
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On 11/3/2010 10:47 AM, dpb wrote:

rare. I know the soil conditions and water tables in some areas make basements problematical, but unless I absolutely had to live someplace they were totally impractical, I would find a basement, or go with a well built slab house. I hate crawls with a passion. Or if cost was no object, I'd find a lot that was big enough to make a hill that was above the water table. (That last tactic is pretty common with McMansions in bayou country. Looks nicer than the houses on stilts.)
--
aem sends...

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I've never been under one, never want to be, either. You just can't do your best repair work choking on rotting raccoon dust squished in like a sardine. We've nearly rewired the house to be all grounded circuit outlets (it was two wire). If I had to do it from a crawlspace and not the basement, it wouldn't have gotten done.
One thing I noticed in the crawlspace they showed on DJ's was all the loops of unsecured wiring under the house. Probably not professional work but I'll bet neatness suffers when the repairman is unhappy. Those loops make it doubly hard to move without snagging and breaking something. I think I'll go have a party for my basement in my basment tonight. I didn't know how good I had it until I saw the raccoon ridden crawl space exploration on Dirty Jobs.

At least you could take a workboat under a house with stilts. I'm assuming that no basements are standard in areas like NOLA because they bury people above ground which has to be a testament to how unstable the ground is. I've only lived in the north and mid east, and real estate values probably help dictate the desire for basements. The more it costs per square foot, the more temptation there is to expand that real estate upward and downward. The area we're looking in has a lot of basementless houses. Since I can't crawl around under them anyway anymore, I shouldn't care. It's a younger man's worry now I suppose.
I'm having enough trouble deposing of the stuff that builds up in a basement over time - stereos that need fixing, broken appliances, not quite dead yet auto parts for cars I no longer own, old porch lamps, new porch lamps that are waiting for new porch, plywood scraps, pipe scraps, useless plexiglas, half dead batteries, dead battery tools awaiting rebuilds, old PCs, lots of spools of wire, soda bottles filled with paint (so they don't rust in the bucket), plumbing tools, wiring tools, old shoplites, new shoplites, so much stuff to get rid of. Hmmm. That wouldn't happen with only a crawl space. Maybe they do have a use.
-- Bobby G.
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Basement, or on slab, I'd never buy a house with a crawl-space. (or a flat roof)
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It seems to me a slab is just as troublesome as a crawlspace, just in different ways. At least you won't have rotting skunks in a slab. My wife freaked when she learned that critters especially like to nest in the area up and around the bath tub in houses with crawlspaces.
-- Bobby G.
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ok, which is worse. Crawling on your back in a cool crawlspace to fix an electrical issue, or getting in an hot attic of a slab house in July in the South.
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wrote:

errrrr..... depends :-)
Done both - in the south. No creepies in the attic and it's dry. At least you can go up in the morning or later evening when it's cool or plan it on a rainy/cloudy day. Lot easier to bring stuff in as well as move around.
Then again, you can't always plan when you do it.
Went up in the attic once with the AC guy, in the south, 96 (temp & humidity) and sunny. I thought it couldn't get worse. Then he fired up the map torch.
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On 11/5/2010 10:29 AM, Red Green wrote:

The problem I have in attics in the summer is the fact that I sweat like a thunderstorm and my sweat shorts out electrical items.
TDD
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wrote in <stuff snipped>

On trick I learned right here in AHR is to aim a garden hose on the area you're working it. It really does cool things down even though it makes your neighbors think you've gone loony, watering the roof.
-- Bobby G.
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On 11/6/2010 9:37 AM, Robert Green wrote:

What actually works best is one of those ducted fans like the utilities use to ventilate manholes.
http://preview.tinyurl.com/24j2xqw
TDD
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wrote in

Well, if you want the Rolls-Royce of cooling technologies, those portable airconditioners they use for the A-line stars on movie sets would make the attic most workable. Directors can't afford to have a drop of sweat ruin a makeup job that can easily cost 10's of thousands of dollars, especially the prosthetic workups.
However, neither a ducted fan or a portable AC unit is in my future. A garden hose is. I mounted the hose on an old, heavy duty photographic lightstand and clamp rammed into a hole in the ground. I should go to google and look up who posted that suggestion because it's one of the most useful things I have learned here. (Speak up if you remember, anyone!) It's also a "D'oh" moment because I should have been able to think of it myself.
-- Bobby G.
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On 11/7/2010 9:22 PM, Robert Green wrote:

It also works in an emergency when the condenser fan goes out on an AC system. You tie a water hose and sprayer to a stepladder and water the condenser coils with a medium shower, not too fine or too coarse. The water will keep it running until the fan motor can be replaced.
TDD
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roofs in the south. Just pop the roof open when repairs are needed inside. Side benefit - if a huricane takes the roof, just clip a new one on :}
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Clearly. Well, I've had leaking ones, but I'd rather deal with that than crawl under the house on a hot day to fix a cracked pipe lying next to a dead skunk, a cadre of spiders and loads of other things that seem to call crawlspaces "home sweet home."
Is soil instability the only reason to omit basements (aside from cost)?
-- Bobby G.
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High water table, would be my guess.
nate
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On 11/3/2010 9:35 AM, Robert Green wrote:

It's easy enough to keep the serious critters out of a crawl space. The bugs and small things won't hurt you.
as for your question about no basements, well in someparts of the country it is solid rock. Can't dig. Hard enough to put in a frost footing. In other areas, no tornadoes, so no basement needed. Build on a slab. It's cheap. Ever watch extreme home makeover on sunday nights?? Those fancified mcmansions are ALL built on slabs. It's the only way they can do it in a week. Crawl spaces are not the end of the world, but i sure do wish the folks in the old days would have made the house just 8 or 10 inches taller off the ground. LOL! I'm not as skinny as i used to be. And the house i live in has the joists 8" off the dirt. and NO access to the space anyway.
--
Steve Barker
remove the "not" from my address to email
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