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So last weekend I had to go under
my house. Needed to see if there
was any water leaking from tub,
toilets, or sink drainpipes.
Like most houses around here, there
isn't any basement. What you got is
a crawl space.
With the emphasis on crawl.
There's 18" to 2' between the
the subfloor, and that's
where you crawl. You share that
space with dust, rust, mold, and
rat turds. It takes about 10 minutes
to move 30 feet. You're wedged in
there tight. Definitely not for
the claustrophobic. Not fun for
anyone. You're wise to wear a
mechanic's jumpsuit (you can buy
them around here at auto stores)
but the dust and mold still get
into your hair, eyes, face, and
quickly go up your arms and legs.
On the other hand, if you need to
check a leak, it's very serious,
and you gotta do it. As your home
inspector told you when you bought
the place, lotta people have slow
leaks and don't even know it
until the toilet falls through the
floor. Awkward socially, and the
repair will end up costing you
big bucks. So if you even think
there might be a leak, you get your
ass down there and check.
Plus if you need to know the truth
about your phone jacks, or cable
wiring, or whether your water pipes
or furnace ducts are adequately
insulated, again, you gotta get
your ass down there. It's the
Why can't the people who gave us
the Mars Rover, the star of the
Pathfinder mission, give us the
same damn thing to scoot around
under the house and send back
I mean, how many times have you heard
that lecture about the space program
delivering benefits to the rest of
us? And here all I want is what
they have, in a home version.
Hell, half the components already
exist in low-end form. The rover
is just a ruggedized version of
a remote-control model car.
Give that thing a webcam and a
WiFi hookup, and it's ready to
go. Send it down there and have
it start shooting pictures back.
Oh yeah, guess it needs a light.
Hell, it doesn't need WiFi, just
have it broadcast at low power
to channel 32 or something.
Just so's it doesn't need a wire
So there's the idea. An affordable
home version of the rover to send
under your house and see what's there. It doesn't have to be so
cheap that everyone can buy one;
it could be rented from your local
Rent-A-center, same way you rent
that rototiller you're not going
to use every day.
Then whenever you need to map out
what's down there, you rent it for
the day, open up the access, put
it in, and start having fun.
Twiddle that joystick.
No rat turds for you! Hell, you can
send it places you wouldn't have
even been able to get to. Under
that furnace duct. It'll zip anywhere you want it to go within
seconds. Find out the truth about
that funny smell coming from the
front right corner :-)
[egnor, Sep 11 2002, last modified Oct 17 2004]
Video camera for the Desktop Rover
You'll need to strap on your own flashlight. [egnor, Sep 11 2002, last modified Oct 17 2004]
An added bennefit for owners, and so reasonably priced ... [8th of 7, Sep 12 2002, last modified Oct 17 2004]
Nikko Camera Car
Short range and probably doesn't have the all terrain functionality for under-foor word, but at least it has headlights. [st3f, Sep 13 2002, last modified Oct 17 2004]
||The Mars Pathfinder mission cost about $165 million dollars US. I'm sure you could knock a significant amount of that off due to the fact that you won't need to send this thing to Mars, likely a huge chunk of it. So that would probably bring the price of your device down to, oh, $4 or $5 million maybe. Easily done.
||Just as long as it's fast enough to chase the cat.
||Hell, have a dusty, rusty, moldy, and rat turd covered Croissant
||I thought thats what we had kids for, to send them under the house with a camera and take pictures of wireing and pipes. Seriously though, this sounds great. Like Rayford says, just as long as it's fast enough to chase the cat.
||This is pretty easy to do - a decent R/C model tank will cost about GBP £50, and the camera with transmitter about another GBP £100.
||It sounds so much fun, I might just build one.
||I doubt the average video camera (let alone the cheap ones you strap onto a R/C tank toy) gives enough resolution. I spent too much of last weekend under a house spraying for borers, had to tap on the wood to see where they were. And draw rings around the holes to check later for new attacks. For leaks you'd have to feel for damp too.
||Depends which ones you get, but most of them will do 350 lines vertical by 280 horizontal, which is as much as most domestic TVs can display. The trick is to change the lens stack for a tele-macro. The lens barrel just unscrews from the front of the CCD carrier. If you pick the CCD well (trade sensetivity for better resolution) and then use spectrally matched LEDs as your illuminator, you can get pretty good imaging. You're only looking at a 1 metre range, but good resolution.
||The toy tank makes the ideal mount because you can traverse the turret to see what's on each side of you.
||Don't know about leak detection for water. For gas, add a spark coil. That will find any gas leaks pretty effectively.........
||Thinking about it, my Stealth Lawnmower (link) could do this too ....
||[pfperry] I feel your pain about the borers. Not content with pestering you at the pub, yours even follow you home, christ, and lurk under the floorboards! Remind me not to move to your area. Oh, Australia isn't it. No reminder necessary.
||True, but it's not specially autonomous with that thick cable, and they aren't cheap either. I think a toy-tank-and-camera would be an inexpensive and effective way to meet ther requirements spec.
||Looks a lot like the "Matchbox car" I saw in another thread. Okay, I can see some commercial applications with this, for inspecting things like oil pipelines or sewers (amphibious version there, like a little Dutton Mariner.) There should be some wireless hardware out there so I can operate it from my PC...
As far as gas detection, install some gas detectors- like the ones the gas company uses.
||I actually did this today before I found this article. I put a wireless camera on my R/C tank. I taped the tiny wireless camera and a tiny flashlight to the barrel (so I could pan up and down, etc). I'm sending it 'down under' tomorrow, but I've already succesfully tested it with other obstructions in the way, so I know it'll work.
||[chairboy] any linked images would be appreciated.
||A year gone by and here I am reading this again. It strikes me that one could use an exceedingly long colonoscope for this purpose. It could have two fat wheels on either side of the camera head.
||Its an understandable frustration leading to a good idea. If you have an RC car and a camera I dont see why you cant rig one up youself. If you have a wireless web cam thats even better. If not what you need is a way to extend your usb cable. Those can be bought Im sure.
||As for cost. You can get an rc car for 50 bucks and a wireless web cam is going to run you 150+ dollars. SO lets say you could set this up for 250 bucks.