Sunday, April 17, 2011

TOOLS OF A SAILOR: INSPECTION CAMERA

While an inspection camera may not be as used on board as often as say an Irwin 9 in 1 Multi Tool Screwdriver. It does work where other tools will not. There are many areas on a boat that once it is put together make it very difficult to get to and inspect. An  Inspection camera (borescope) is just the thing to use get to those places on board and without injury as you attempt to contort the body to look at places you can't normally easily get to for a visual inspection.



When I converted BIANKA to Electric Propulsion back in 2008 I drained the 30 gallon on board fuel tank of it's diesel fuel. I always had it in the back of my mind to convert the now empty tank into a freshwater wash down tank. So that on an extended cruise I might from time to time use it to rinse off after a swim or clean  and rinse the cockpit with fresh water without heading to a dock.  One of the things I wanted to do in making the conversion was to install an inspection/clean out port in the tank. But where to locate it? I was concerned that the fuel tank might have a baffle in it. If that was the case the location of the inspection port would be dictated by location and construction of the baffle. By using an  Inspection camera
I would be able to quickly find this information out. Below is a picture of the assembled camera:


The video monitor just slides onto the handle. Though on some models it can be used in a wireless mode detached from handle. I prefer to operate on the handle. 




The fuel tank had only one opening that was big enough to get a look inside. That was where the fuel sender unit was located:



But, even that was not that big of an opening. I might have been able to use a small inspection mirror. But, I'd also have to get some light in through the hole too with the chance of dropping either or both of the tools into the tank. With  the  inspection camera I used had none of these issues as it easily fit through the fuel sender opening and I could inspect the tank in a comfortable position:

By adjusting the camera snake and moving the handle I was able to quickly see there was no baffle in the fuel tank. [CAPT. MIKE NOTE: The images shown below are much clearer and have less glare when looking at LCD monitor screen directly as these images using an external camera.]
 I was also able to inspect various areas inside the tank such as the air vent fitting and the pickup point for my on board Espar diesel furnace which I will also remove when I convert the tank to freshwater:

I was also able to easily inspect the welds inside the tank too:


In short an inspection camera can be very useful on board to inspect water and fuel tanks and other areas of your boat that are not easily accessible. Besides the hand held typeof Inspection camera
 that I use there are other  types available like a USB model that connect to your laptop computer. Whichever you choose I think you will find that it is a helpful addition to the tools you have on board one that can help make difficult jobs in areas with limited access much easier. 

1 comment:

Mark bapist said...

I just came to your post and reading the above thing, it is very impressive and it is a very nice blog. Thanks a lot for sharing this.

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