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Last week, we again encountered a situation where we recommended our customer call out one of a few different local MEP – type companies that offer inspection camera services. This was the fourth or fifth time this year I advised someone to do so. Most situations have been drainage-related repairs or additions where we needed to determine existing condition, location, or find what else was connected to a pipe.

In some instances, we needed to go in from a catch basin or downspout adapter, other instances we needed to go backwards from the outlet where lines were daylighted. On approx half of the jobs, the problem was accessible within 15-25ish feet of a way to get into the pipe. One was over 100’.

I was contacted this afternoon by someone that said they believe they have a drainage line that is broken (don’t know anything else yet). It again has me considering a potential purchase.

I’m not much of a tech guy, but I’ve been thinking of all the other instances besides these where I would have happily used an inspection camera (aka endoscope) to gain more information about a drainage situation before we start digging or making plans. Also, I’ve had a mechanic show me a scarred up cylinder wall by pulling a spark plug and snaking one in (marketed as a borescope). In addition to drainage lines, it would also be useful in mechanic work on our vehicles& equipment, assessing problems like sinkholes and washed out areas under hardscapes, etc.

I’m sure companies that market such services have high-quality cameras with a long reach that are quite expensive. While I cannot justify that level of purchase, there appear to be ones that have about 30 foot of cord (probably handle most of my applications) in the $100-$250 range. Most appear to have recording capabilities, and either a handheld screen or broadcast to a phone via Bluetooth/Wi-Fi.

Does anyone use one or have knowledge about their practical application in the landscape field? Not sure how much assistance it would be trying to get through 1” irrigation lines, but heck if I’ve got it, I’ll probably find a situation to use it on that too. TIA.
 

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I've seen these in use by Drain Addict on youtube. They seem pretty top notch. Might be considered a bit pricey in the $1500 range I think, but worth it for identifying the issue and saving a lot of unneeded labor in certain situations.

 

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The water district rented one from a rental company near us. $200 a day for the camera and a locator.
Spoke with Ben this morning to make sure what I’m posting is correct.

I’ve used and considered buying a camera but for irrigation the limitations exceed the capabilities.

Buy nice or buy twice, a camera capable of a 20-30’ reach isn’t saving you much in time or labor. Size and flexibility are also major concerns.
 
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