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Small inexpensive USB camera recommendations (for exploring attic crawlspace)

Discussion in 'off topic' started by ToTo Man, Sep 12, 2019.

  1. ToTo Man

    ToTo Man the band not the dog

    My dad got covered from head to toe in fibreglass last weekend as he crawled through the eaves of our attic trying to find the source of a leak in the roof. I suggested it would be handy if he could stick a small and cheap USB camera on the end of an extendable pole and use that to explore the crawlspace instead of crawling through it himself. The camera could be connected to my MacBook by a 5m long USB cable and I could see the footage in real time. I suspect lighting would be an issue. I'm not sure if you can get cameras equipped with a torch or if I'd need a separate torch as a source of light. Has anyone done something similar to what I'm suggesting? Recommendations for the required hardware would be greatly appreciated. :)
  2. Jamie

    Jamie pfm Member

    Phone, duct tape & broom handle?
  3. ToTo Man

    ToTo Man the band not the dog

    I don't think he'd be willing to risk his iPhone for that.
  4. steve watkins

    steve watkins pfm Member

    I have several flexible lead, up to 10m, usb cameras all with remote adjustable illumination. Picture displayed on pc whilst feeding the camera into the space. They are about £5/10 on ebay. Used in conjunction with a set of fibreglass rods they have been very useful but the field of view and depth of focus is small and might not be the best for your application. It does work well in under floor spaces though.
    When I swept our chimneys a Gopro gave good results. I've not tried but a phone on an extension might be difficult to navigate, depending on the space.
    Remote navigation does take some getting used to.
    From personal experience leaks can be on one side and show on the other and I would now prefer to check carefully from the outside for damaged, loose or broken tiles/slates/flashing etc, cracked chimney mortar, flaunching or pots, broken/lifted valley lead or mortar etc etc
    If you can carefully lift a tile or two once you have found a likely spot, you can sometimes see evidence of where it is running down.
    The felt under the eaves tiles can often become raggedy and torn because of wind sun and weather. A long strip of DPC can cure any leaks here or perhaps eaves protectors.
    Do you have access to a drone?
    I hope you get lucky because it can be difficult.
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2019
    ToTo Man likes this.
  5. venton

    venton pfm Member

    On Amazon you get usb endoscope type cameras with built in leds. I used one to try to find a leak under floorboards. Attached to tablet or phone. To be honest it was a bit of a faff and I'd prefer to just get up close with a torch in your situation. The cameras tend to rotate and it gets disorienting to see what's what.
  6. billo

    billo pfm Member

    It may be cheaper and easier to buy a paper all-in-one suit and a disposable mask. It also has the added benefit of you being able to play at CSI : losftspace :)
    gintonic likes this.
  7. ToTo Man

    ToTo Man the band not the dog

    We continually get slates coming off the roof, more so in recent years as the weather gets more extreme (stronger winds, more torrential downpours). The roof is 100+ years old and really needs a complete overall, but due to cost we've adopted a mend & make do approach over the last decade or so. I think we'll need to bite the bullet next summer and go for a complete replacement, as the continual leak chasing is getting tiresome and the length of time between reporting the leak to our roofer and him finding time to come out and repair it invariably means our ceilings are absorbing more water than they ought to, hence my dad trying to limit the damage by taking buckets up into the eaves...

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