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Tube Inspection Cameras

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Pipeline video inspection is a form of telepresence used to visually inspect the interiors of pipelines. A common application is to determine the condition of small diameter sewer lines and household connection pipes.

Older sewer lines of small diameter, typically 6-inch (150 mm), are made by the union of a number of short 3 feet (0.91 m) sections. The pipe segments may be made of cast iron, with 12 feet (3.7 m) to 20 feet (6.1 m) sections, but are more often made of vitrified clay pipe (VCP), a ceramic material, in 3 feet (0.91 m), 4 feet (1.2 m) & 6 feet (1.8 m) sections. Each iron or clay segment will have an enlargement (a "bell") on one end to receive the end of the adjacent segment. Roots from trees and vegetation may work into the joins between segments and can be forceful enough to break open a larger opening in terra cotta or corroded cast iron. Eventually a root ball will form that will impede the flow and this may cleaned out by a cutter mechanism and subsequently inhibited by use of a chemical foam - a rooticide.

With modern video equipment the interior of the pipe may be inspected - this is a form of non-destructive testing. A small diameter collector pipe will typically have a cleanout access at the far end and will be several hundred feet long, terminating at a manhole. Additional collector pipes may discharge at this manhole and a pipe (perhaps of larger diameter) will carry the effluent to the next manhole, and so forth to a pump station or treatment plant.

Service truck
The service truck contains a power supply in the form of a small generator, a small air-conditioned compartment containing video monitoring and recording equipment, and related computer and display for feature recording.

Cable and winch
At the back end of the truck is a powered reel with video cable reinforced with kevlar or steel wire braid. Some trucks also contain a powered winch that booms out from the truck allowing for lowering and retrieval of the inspection equipment from the pipeline.

Inspection camera
Sometimes referred to as a PIG (pipeline inspection gauge), the camera and lights are mounted in a swiveling head attached to a cylindrical body. The camera head can pan and tilt remotely. Integrated into the camera head are lighting devices, typically LEDs, for illuminating the pipeline. The camera is connected to display equipment via a long cable wound upon a winch. Some companies, such as Rausch Electronics USA, incorporate a series of lasers in the camera to accurately measure the pipe diameter and other data.

Choosing an Inspection Camera - Inspection cameras should be long enough (at least 36 inches) to see around corners and underneath objects. You want the camera to be able to view things in tight areas - having a bright LED light for increased visibility is a plus. Dark areas in and around motors or HVAC equipment are a pain to troubleshoot if you don't have adequate light. The video or photos delivered by the inspection camera should be clear and good quality. The DeWalt DCT411S1 does both photo and video capturing on a micro SD card. The Bosch PS91-1A gets the overall best reviews from owners. Other brands are Extech, Micro, and Ridgid. Prices start at about $200 and go up from there. The Bosch sells for $300 and the high end Ridgid (with a 200' reel) costs upwards of $5000. For the average homeowner or handyman, the DEWALT or Bosch should do just fine. For things like leaks in your cars engine, there is no better way to diagnose where they are coming from than with an inspection camera. Just send the camera head down into the guts of your motor and get video footage. I know my mechanic uses one of these to quickly determine the origin of oil leaks. If you tend to do DIY plumbing projects in your home, an inspection camera will surely come in handy. Being able to see into tight spaces - where your eyeballs couldn't normally see - will save you hours of time in fixing or repairing pipes and plumbing fixtures. Inspection Camera Reviews - For the best selection of owner comments, we found Amazon.com provides plenty to look at. You'll get honest feedback from mechanics, plumbers, DIYer's and electricians on which models of inspection cameras pass the test. DeWALT and Bosch lead the field, but there are many to choose from. When all else fails, just ask your local plumbing store which one they recommend or talk with your mechanic and see what style or type of camera they prefer

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