My 7-year-old son has developed an interest in plumbing and is fascinated by the pipes in our house.
He has been asking what the pipes look like inside so I invested around A$6 in the cheapest 2-metre waterproof pipe inspection camera I could find.
Here is my review.
Unboxing (unbagging actually): the camera came with a CD, a mirror (for looking sideways) and some bits of wire that I'm not sure the purpose of, though I read one was a magnet and one was a hook.
Although the device comes with a CD, when I connected it to a USB port on my son's notebook, Windows 7 found a driver and installed it as a USB camera. This meant it would work as a webcam.
I also installed the software on the CD as it was easy to capture still frames and record video.
The camera comes with 6 LED lights and brightness can be adjusted by a control on the USB plug. They light up dark pipes well enough.
The resolution of the camera is 480P which is quite low but is fine for looking inside of pipes.
The main problem with these cameras for looking inside pipes (and probably other things) is the very flexible cord which makes it difficult to position the camera where you need it once it is down a pipe. It also makes it impossible to get around some bends in pipes, like the S-bends under a sink.
The camera needs to be at least a short distance away from objects to be in focus but due to the flexible cord, it is often up against the wall of the pipe and can't focus.
When pushing the camera down a pipe you usually see 90% blurry images that you can't make out and 10% somewhat clear images.
I did try using the mirror but could see absolutely nothing with it for some reason.
Overall it is a disappointing product but for the very cheap price it provided us with some entertainment, and I did actually find a metallic obstruction in one of our pipes. My wife thinks it might be jewellery but we could not make it out what it was with the camera.
I've done some more pipe exploration with the magnet and hook ends attached. I have actually found that with the magnet attached the camera doesn't get as close to the walls of the pipe so is almost always in focus. So this works much better but the downside is that the magnet is always in view in front of the camera.
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