Push Rod Video Inspection Technology

How Push Rod Video Inspection Works

We use push rod video inspection technology, aka a camera snake, to perform video inspections of small to medium-sized residential and commercial sewer service lines, drains, and empty conduits. By making use of two different sized cameras, three different sized push rod reels, and a sonde, we are able to inspect pipes and conduits to look for areas of concern, mark out problem areas in the field with paint and/or flags, and document the findings on a video recording and in a written report.

The Push Rod Video Inspection System

The GatorCam4 PushRod System, which is manufactured by SPX Corp. of Raymond, ME, is comprised of a computer and a push rod reel with a video camera, sonde, and light at its head. It can be used in a wide range of Pipeline Inspection applications – from domestic to industrial.

The GatorCam4 PushRod Video Inspection System

Two Different Sized Video Cameras

The GatorCam4 system makes use of two different sized video cameras--a 1 inch and 2 inch camera--each equipped with a high resolution sensor and the latest generation ultra-bright white LEDs, which combine to deliver a crisp, clear picture in most pipe conditions.

One & Two Inch GatorCam4 Cameras

Each camera is packaged in a tough 303 stainless steel case, enabling it to withstand 11 bar of pressure, the equivalent of being submerged 330 feet underwater. The 1 inch camera features a tough polycarbonate cover to protect the LEDs, and is housed in a small, compact package, specifically designed to help navigating through tight bends. The self-leveling 2 inch camera features a sapphire window to protect its lens. Both cameras come with a manual focus tool that allows us to adjust the focus to the correct pipe size, ensuring we do not miss even the smallest defect.

Three Different Sized Push Rod Reels

Each camera can be mounted to the head of the following three push rod reels:

Three Different Sized GatorCam4 PushRod Reels
  1. Mini Reel - 115 feet long. When coupled with the compact 1 inch camera, it offers outstanding performance around tight bends and traps, negotiating most traps from 2 inches and bends from 1 ¼ inches. It is the ideal tool for inspecting small underslab pipes and conduits and for indoor plumbing needs.
  2. Midi Reel - 400 feet long. When coupled with either the compact 1 inch camera or the 2 inch self-leveling camera, it is capable of negotiating small to medium diameter pipes and conduits such as residential and commercial service lines.
  3. Specialist Reel - 500 feet long. When coupled with either the compact 1 inch camera or the 2 inch self-leveling camera, it is capable of negotiating medium to large diameter pipes and conduits such as commercial storm and sanitary sewer service lines and some sewer mains.

Deploying the Video Camera into the Line in Question

The push rod is used to insert the video camera into the pipe or conduit in question from an opening such as a cleanout, vault, catch basin, or toilet, and is afterwards used to propel the camera through the pipe during the course of the survey.

A Technician Deploying the Video Camera Through a Pipe Cleanout

Conducting a Video Inspection Survey

The video recording begins at a distance 0 feet, the start of the pipe run, and the camera is pushed along the entire section of pipe in question or until it meets resistance. While moving the camera forward, the computer screen is watched for any areas of concern. Comments are typed onto the screen to document any problem areas and record their distance from the starting point, along with taking still images of them for incorporation into a report (if one is requested).

Locating a Problem Area in the Field

Attached to the camera is a sonde, which can be located at the surface with a cable and pipe locator receiver. The sonde is turned on and pushed to the location of the problem area. At the surface, the sonde's location and depth is detected with a handheld receiver and documented in the field by marking the ground with paint and/or flags, showing exactly where excavation needs to be performed to expose the pipe for repair.

A Technician Locating a Sonde at Location of Broken Sewer

Documenting the Results of a Video Inspection Survey

After the video inspection survey has been completed, the video files can be written onto a CD or flash drive and delivered to the client right in the field. Or when back at the office, they can be uploaded to a Google Drive public folder, where the client can download them from a link sent via email. In addition, if requested, still images of any problem areas can be incorporated into a written report documenting and discussing the results of the survey and, if necessary, making recommendations on how to repair them.

Advantages of Push Rod Video Inspection Technology

  • Quickest and easiest way to video inspect a pipe or empty conduit.
  • Effective on small diameter lines with tight bends.
  • Portability makes it easy to use inside buildings, bathrooms, and utility rooms.
  • Can be used without shutting down sewer service.

Limitations of Push Rod Video Inspection Technology

  • Frictional force against duct rod makes it difficult to push long distances on large diameter lines.
  • The video camera is incapable of seeing fine detail inside large diameter lines.
  • Cannot be used if there is no access into the line from a cleanout, vault, catch basin, or toilet.
  • Data cannot be gathered if the pipe is filled with water and the camera is submerged.