There have been two great inventions in the past 150 years (apart from sliced bread.) One is indoor plumbing and the other is the push camera. Before the camera, plumbers and municipal workers had to guess where a blockage, a damaged pipe, or some other problem was located before they could decide if they needed to dig, and then where to dig. The camera solved that problem but then other problems arose.
Some problems were immediately obvious, and others were slower to show themselves. The problems resulted in not being able to see anything in the pipe, not seeing clearly enough, getting the problem's location wrong, damaging the expensive (but still great) invention, and having to replace the great invention sooner than expected, because it just wore out too soon. Fortunately, there are solutions to these problems with push cameras, but let's look at the problems in more detail.
The Wrong Location
If you have a 100 foot pipe, and your camera tells you the blockage or damage is 85 feet into the pipe, that's where you dig. If the blockage was only 70 feet in, you've wasted time, effort, and you look less professional than you should.
The problem is that, as you feed the camera through the pipe, the push rod kinks and bends, so you feed more cable than you should, and this gives you the faulty location.
Why does it happen? The pipe may just be wide enough to mean the rod has to bend to build up enough force to move the camera forward. It may be, because the operator stood up to push the camera instead of kneeling down in the wet mud to get better purchase on the rod, that it started to bend before it got very far into the pipe. The longer the pipe, the more of a problem bends and kinks are.
The pipe may have a lot of sludge or other debris in it, so the camera has to be pushed harder to get through, and that makes the rod bend too much. Add all these little things together and your dig location may be out by several feet.
The Wrong Kind of Pipe
If the pipe's diameter is too wide, the rod can bend, as we just said. If the pipe is too narrow, or if the elbows and bends are too frequent, then either the camera may not get through, so you are back to before this great invention hit the streets.
Just building on the previous causes of problems, one of the results of pipe width, sludge and debris, etc, is that the screen image is poor, and it's difficult to determine what the problem is. If you can see the problem but you don't know if the image is an upright one or not, because of kinks and bends, then you still have to guess more than you may want to.
This is an expensive problem. The camera lens gets scratched because it isn't protected well enough. Now you have to send it off for repair, and you are back to life before the invention came to save you time and money. And you are spending money you didn't expect to, just to get your camera back.
Kinks, bends, pushing and pulling, debris and scratches, all add up to too much friction, and that leads to the unit wearing out and having to be replaced. It should have lasted longer but it didn't.
Help! Is Anybody There?
Yes! All of these problems have solutions.
You want to avoid getting down in the dirt, and stop all that pushing and pulling to move the camera. Use the Universal or the Mini Roller Skids - depending on the pipe diameter.
You want to make sure your image is upright and not reduced by pipe-bottom sludge on the lens. The roller skids will help there, as well. Narrow bends and too many elbows? Try the PipeSpyder centering guide.
All of these products - as well as others - will maximize accuracy, reduce wear and tear, reduce damage, and help your expensive camera to last a lot longer. If you would like to check out all of our problem-solving, stress-reducing, and time-saving products, please click here to see what will help you the most.