Inspection cameras are useful tools in several industries including construction, maintenance and plumbing. They are extremely versatile and allow you to see in small spaces, such as a pipe or behind the wall where a test or measurement tool won’t suffice, where you wouldn’t normally be able to see without the assistance of technology. These cameras, which attach to a cable that sends feed back to the viewer, come in various sizes and with a variety of features. RIDGID® has several different models to choose from whether you use them every day on the jobsite for drain and sewer video inspection, or choose to have one on hand for your various household projects.
Types of Inspection Cameras
There are several types of Ridgid inspection cameras and locators from which to choose. Hand-held, compact and standard camera options each have their own benefits and come in handy for particular jobs. The main differences in the available options are size, operation, portability and features.
Hand-held inspection cameras have a video terminal and a cable that connects directly to it. They’re easy to use for small jobs such as seeing behind a wall or under appliances, or jobs that don’t require more than 30 feet of cable. Most hand-held units have a set distance they can reach due to the fact that the cable needs to be easily operable with a single hand.
Compact Camera Systems
Compact systems are easily portable and extremely durable, making them a fantastic solution for when you need a quality inspection camera to travel with you to various jobsites. They expand up to 100 feet of cable length, giving you plenty of room to navigate within your home’s or jobsite’s plumbing system. Integrated monitors make it easy to see everything. Cables can bend at up to 90 degrees for outstanding flexibility.
When you buy a standard camera, you’re buying a single component. Standard inspection camera units don’t come with monitors, but you can easily purchase one as an add-on option. The advantage of a standard camera is that it comes in a wheel that’s easily ported from site to site, and they offer a longer reach than hand-held or compact models. The SeeSnake® line delivers several times the cable length Ridgid’s compact units.
Consider the Features
Whether you’re tackling a large job where you need expanded reach or you’re trying to find a small object in a household drain, it’s important to consider the features before you buy an inspection camera. Most Ridgid inspection cameras offer multiple features that make operation effortless.
The size of the camera is the most one of the most important decisions to make. For plumbing and sewer inspection, smaller hand-held cameras are often best. There are two components to a camera size: its diameter and length. Self-leveling cameras deliver upright pictures at all times, virtually eliminating the need for a rotation. Many cameras have a diameter of approximately an inch, though they may be slightly larger or smaller depending on the model you choose. Unless you have to view in tiny drain lines, an inch is sufficient for most jobs you’ll tackle.
The screen size and the resolution both matter when it comes to creating a clear picture. If you have a high-resolution camera but a small display, you likely won’t be able to see things as clearly. Likewise, a larger screen with low-quality resolution makes it difficult to discern exactly what you’re viewing. It’s best to choose a camera display that’s slightly larger with high-resolution picture for a clear view of what you need.
For working in dark spaces, LED lights are a must. They illuminate unlit areas, making the inspection process easier. All quality inspection cameras have LED lights around the outer diameter of the camera. These lights last for several thousands of hours, which translates to years of operation before you need to replace them.
The cable reach determines how far down a pipe, behind a wall or under a surface a camera can travel. Most cameras come with a standard cable size but you can buy extensions to make them reach even further.
The video output lets you know how the camera transfers the video and what type of cable you need to transmit or download the feed. This is only applicable to cameras that store video feed and let you access it at a later time.
This is important to be able to see at all angles without needing to adjust the camera manually which is virtually impossible to do once it’s in the desired location. While there are a number of cameras that have self-leveling capability, not all do. This is when image rotation comes in handy to give you a right-side up view at all times.
While the main purpose of a quality inspection camera is to let you see in dark concealed places, it’s also beneficial if the unit takes screenshots. This lets you review the pictures later and perhaps catch something that you missed, or for sending images to your client. Several inspection cameras have this option, but there are models that are view only which means you’ll have no future reference.
One-handed operation is important for keeping your other hand free to operate the cable, especially when the cable needs to travel far. Ridgid has several cameras that are operable single-handedly to give you more versatility while navigating the cable with the camera.
While not all quality inspection cameras have built-in memory, it’s useful for storing video and pictures for future reference. Some have SD card slots while others help increase storage capability with the use of add-on equipment. SD slots let you easily transfer files to a computer.
A comfort grip is one thing that’s important for long periods of use as it helps to eliminate user fatigue. If you’re consistently working on the job and handling several clients each day, it helps to have an additional layer between your hand and the tool.
One of the many requirements of a Ridgid plumbing tool, or any tool you use on the job, is that it’s portable. It’s important to be able to easily transport the camera to the jobsite. There are two main factors that affect portability: the size and weight of the inspection camera. The larger the unit, the harder it is to transport, and likewise with its weight.
Consider the Use
When preparing to buy an inspection camera it’s important to consider the use. If you plan to use it regularly as part of your job, youwant to buy a more durable model, such as one that’s made of anodized steel. Buying a quality inspection camera with a longer reach is essential, since not every job is the same or requires the same reach. It’s more cost-effective to buy a camera that works with an expandable cable to prepare for the job ahead of time than it is to purchase a compatible camera later on. If you plan to use the camera at home for small odd jobs, you can purchase one with the reach you need for a particular task.
In addition to a quality inspection camera , there are several optional add-ons that can enhance your productivity. Some of these are necessary add-ons, especially for standard cameras.
The camera transmits a picture directly to the monitor so you can see in real-time what you’re looking at. Add-on monitors are often bigger than those on handheld cameras and are a necessary purchase with standard cameras that don’t include a display. They come in several different sizes so you can choose the one that best fits your needs.
A laptop interface lets you use your laptop to operate the camera and gives you the ability to monitor, record and store your findings. Ridgid’s SeeSnake interfaces have a built-in control panel so you can avoid getting your laptop dirty. It also has the option to run on a battery so you can travel without the need for your AC power.
A DVDPak gives you the ability to record inspections, even in the most extreme of conditions. It comes with weatherized exteriors for durability and let you burn the results onto a DVD for storage. This lets you review the footage for more in-depth evaluations and to share the results with your customers.
Digital Reporting Monitor
With a digital reporting monitor, you’ll improve the image and video capture of your inspection camera. It features a built-in keyboard that allows you to annotate the media. You can even record audio commentary, and with its USB ports, you’ll have access to a large amount of storage space.
Simply put, the best inspection camera is the one that suits your individual or business needs. Like most tools, it’s important to evaluate the features each unit offers in order to determine that you have the tools you need to get the job done. Ridgid backs up their products with lifetime warranties against defects in material or craftsmanship. Check out our full selection of Ridgid inspection cameras today and get the one that suits your needs.