Story of the Sewer Inspection Camera System

A local plumbing company came to us with a problem.  Their 250′ sewer inspection camera system had died.  They aren’t inexpensive to purchase and they really needed the unit to work to their satisfaction.  Pretty hard to see what’s going on inside a sewer pipe otherwise, right?

Our answer?  Of course.

This was an interesting piece of equipment consisting of a CRT monitor (old school, picture tube) with a VHS tape recording unit in a pretty solid metal housing.  From there you plug in a magic wand – let’s think a king-sized colonoscopy inspection wand with a light, camera, etc. – which plugs into the monitoring unit, allowing you to see (in real time) what’s going on in that pipe.  What I really liked was the microphone on the end of the probe so you could hear the water from 250′ away.

This was a fairly old unit and it had obviously seen better days, but the quality of the picture was surprisingly good.  For $8,000 one would expect this to be the case.  This unit showed it’s age by failing it’s vertical scan – a thin line across the screen was the result.  After replacing all the capacitors, which had aged and leaked, and cleaning up the circuit board, the unit generally worked – except that it wouldn’t properly lock the horizontal sync signal.  After spending a few hours looking for the source of the problem, it was determined that the simpler solution would be to put a reset button on the unit, forcing horizontal lock.  That worked great and the unit has a beautiful picture.

Not many people in Washington that could/would take on the project.  This is pretty typical for TechLab.