Roger Bisby takes a look at inspection cameras from Silverline.
Inspection cameras can save anyone involved in building a lot of time, trouble and expense. The problem was that they used to be expensive, so only specialists surveyors tended to have them. The rest of us managed with a mirror and a torch. Over the years we have seen prices tumble, making inspection cameras available to all.
Silverline, known for offering a budget range of tools, has two cameras which are well worth considering. They are both full HD colour cameras with adjustable, lens mounted LED lights, and both the models I tried have a three-year guarantee.
The difference is that one comes with a monitor and video out leads and the other one comes without a monitor but links up through WIFI to your phone or tablet. Not only does this save money, it also means that you can instantly share the video images. You can make up your own mind if this is something you want or need. For me, the monitor is a bit more immediate but if I needed to make reports then the WIFI recording model would be better.
Both cameras come with a 1m probe and an IP 67 rating, making them suitable for use in the rain. I am not going to pretend that the images you get from these cameras are anywhere near as good as the image you can get on a 10mp phone camera but you can increase the gain and adjust the lighting and, with a little trial and error, you can get a reasonable picture and find out what is going on under some floorboards or in a wall cavity.
What I really like is the fact that you can turn the picture around in the monitor by pressing a sequential button on the monitor model and even view it from the right or the left. In the past I have used cameras costing five times as much where the only way to get the image upright was to spin the probe or the monitor – or to stand on your head.
Both cameras come in a blow moulded case with a magnet, hook and mirror to attach to the probe. For cable fishing this is ideal, but the limited length of the probe means that you won’t be able to work remotely and there does not seem to be an option of adding more cables to increase the probe length. If you need that kind of longer distance operation then you’ll need to look at something which will cost a bit more but for everyday poking and probing this is a useful tool in either the WIFI or the monitor version.