Inspection Tools

October 19, 2015

Seek Thermal Camera - Review


A while back Seek sent us one of their little iPhone thermal imaging units to check out. It's a small camera that's barely bigger than a piece of Hubba Bubba that clicks into the charging port of an iphone (versions are also available for Androids). Through the phone and an app, the unit displays the heat image of whatever it is you point it at, whether that be a window, a wall, or your cat. It costs about $250 and comes with a nice little case.

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Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (1) | social bookmarking

September 9, 2015

Ryobi 18-Volt Drain Auger


The Ryobi 18 volt cordless platform is really pretty wild. Once you have a couple batteries and a charger, you can go bonkers on the bare tool purchases, like their new Drain Auger, set to be released later this month. While it may seem strange at first glance, after some further thought, this piece of gear makes a whole lot of sense. The specifics of the item are that it has a 25-foot cable, a power feed mechanism and can be effectively used on drains of up to 2-inches. It costs about $70 (bare tool).

That cost may sound steep but most plumbers I know (around the Boston area) have an hourly that is at least that and in most cases a decent amount more. If you have to deal with a drain clog, this tool will pay for itself fairly quickly.

I've got an old manual snake and it's a mess to deal with. It's the kind with the off-set Z handle, so wrapping it up and storing it is a chore. It sits in a milk crate somewhere in the back of the shop. I try not to think about it, even on the rare days that I come across it. But something like this Ryobi is a lot more user friendly. The electric ones in the style of the Ryobi (self feeding) are cheaper (which is nice), but they don't offer the quick plug and play of the cordless, like if you're trying to deal with an exterior line.

Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

June 22, 2015

Milwaukee Tools 2015 New Product Symposium


Last week I was able to head off to Milwaukee Tools for their annual Product Symposium where they unleashed all of their latest and greatest tools and gear. There is a lot coming too. To get a sense of what I'm trying to get at, picture a giant red tidal wave with white lightning bolts shooting out of it (a toolnami, if you will). Hearing about each and every one of these new tools over the course of a single day was like being attacked by a grizzly bear made entirely of information. Honestly, towards the end, my mind was beaten down to the point where I felt like Brad Pitt from 12 Monkeys. Now here I am a few days later, trying to decipher my scribbled notes and jumbled memories.

Here's what I've got for you...

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Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (1) | social bookmarking

May 30, 2012

General Tools CL10


Ever dug into a wall and cut a wire? How about a pipe? We've all done it and it's not a good scene, especially that first moment of "awwww....come on!" General Tools has come up with a downright futuristic way to avoid the problem and it's all contained within the two-part tool they're calling the CL10.

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Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

July 26, 2011

Milwaukee Product Symposium 2011 (aka: EmbargoLand)


Last week we had the honor of attending this year's Milwaukee Product Symposium. It's their big annual to-do where they announce all of their new tools for the coming year. There were big tools, little tools, new tools, classic tools, and most of all embargoed tools. It's this last category that is driving us a little batty at the moment. These are the tools that Milwaukee is on the verge of releasing, but they're not 100 percent ready to make the public announcement yet, so all of us press types got to look at them, play with them, hear about them, but we can't talk about them. It's killing us too, because some of these tools are great. As in really great. One in particular (to us the highlight of the show) is so bizarre and off the beaten path that it makes their 12-volt Pex Expander look like a common everyday item. But enough about the things we can't talk about and on to the things that we can...

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Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

January 28, 2011

Ryobi Tek4 Cordless Inspection Scope - Review


In just a few short years, inspection scopes have gone from, "only the specialists have them" to "my mom's got like three of these things." Actually, that's not true, we're not there yet, but we're getting there. And with its big box store availability and nice price, the Ryobi Cordless Inspection Scope, powered by their 4-volt Tek4 battery gives a solid push in that direction. Ryobi sent us one to check out and after using it for about a month in a variety of settings, here we are writing the review...

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Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (6) | social bookmarking

October 14, 2010

Bosch Announces Partnership with Perceptron


Looks like it won't be long before we start seeing Bosch inspection cameras. Big Blue just yesterday announced a partnership with Perceptron, a company specifically dedicated to optical devices and apparently the makers of the first inspection camera.

As we started digging through the Perceptron website, we began to get all worked up in a tizzy up over this. We can't even understand the purpose of easily 2/3rds of their products, so thinking of ways that all this crazy technology could be distilled down to the contractor world gave us that euphoric nitrous balloon feeling. Could Bosch be completely blowing the doors off the inspection world? And then we stumbled across this...

The first commercial [visual inspection] product, the Ridgid® SeeSnake® micro™ inspection camera, was launched in 2007 through a partnership with Ridge Tool Company. The SeeSnake® micro™ allows users to easily perform visual inspections in hard to reach areas.

and then this,

Perceptron introduced its second major product for Ridge Tool, the Ridgid® microEXPLORER™ Digital Inspection Camera, in July 2008. The microEXPLORER™ takes inspection to the next level with it's ability to capture still images or record videos for diagnosing and solving difficult problems. In October 2008, CBU released the second generation of the SeeSnake® micro™.

There's also information on Perceptron partnering with Snap-On for inspection devices targeting the mechanic. So there is the possibility that the partnership will be similar to Ridgid's and may only be about an inspection camera and little else.

We'll see though. We hope we're wrong. We want to see fireworks.

Press release after the jump...

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Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

September 3, 2009

Ridgid Explorer vs Milwaukee M12 M-Spector AV

ex-v-m12.jpgJay over at CopTool has just posted up a nice review of of the two most popular inspection cameras on the market, the Ridgid Explorer and the Milwaukee M-Spector. The upshot of his review is that the Ridgid Explorer seems to have the better selection of features, but that it costs almost three hundred dollars more. But this isn't to say that the Milwaukee is a bad tool at all, because it's not. It has it's own set of advantages such as battery compatibility with other M12 tools, a longer battery life and a built-in microphone.

Check out CopTools review here.

(Image gratuitously snagged from CopTool)

Ridgid Explorer at Ohio Power Tool and
Milwaukee M12 M-Spector at Ohio Power Tool and

Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (1) | social bookmarking

April 27, 2009

Ridgid LCDPak and MiniPak for the SeeSnake


Ridgid recently increased the capabilities of their SeeSnake with the release of two new monitors for the system. The big selling point on these two new items seems to be the fact that they can be powered by both standard AC or with Ridgid's 18-volt li-ion battery. This feature obviously translates into a much greater degree of portability and ease of use.

The LCDPak is the larger of the two new monitors. It's got a 10.4" color LCD display with 640x480 resolution and ten levels of light adjustment. The LCDPak can run for about five hours on two 18-volt batteries, but can also operate for a shorter time on one if need be.

The MiniPak is a smaller version and can also be run off of both power sources. It has a 5.7" color display and only takes one battery to get to the five hour mark.

Keep in mind that these monitors are part of the SeeSnake system and aren't necessarily sold with the SeeSnake camera hose. They are also high-powered pieces of digital equipment and are priced accordingly. As stand-alone items, the LCDPak and MiniPak retail for $2,600 and $2,000 respectively. It ain't cheap, but that's not to say it's not handy either (hellooo double negative). We've played around with both the Ridgid and Milwaukee hand held versions of the inspection camera and quickly saw how these larger models could be helpful. They're not really items for the homeowner, but someone in the trades could put them to good use.

MiniPak at Ohio Power Tools
LCDPak at Ohio Power Tools

Here's a video with more information on the LCDpak:

Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (1) | social bookmarking

July 30, 2008

Ridgid microExplorer Digital Seesnake Inspection Camera 30063

ridgid_explorer.jpgThe guys at CopTool have some cool information on Ridgid's second generation inspection camera. It seems that not only has Ridgid addressed any complaints with their first version, but they've added a whole lot more sauce as well.

New features include pan, zoom and a self-leveling camera. This is all well and good, but the real leap with this tool is that it can capture both images and video. And we're not talking about grainy 'here's my photo of the UFO I took in my backyard' resolution, we're talking about 1280 x 1024 images and 320 x 240 video. And once taken, the images and video can be easily transferred to a computer.

This looks like an amazing tool and a gift from the heavens to anyone who has ever had to track down a leak or find out what's in the way of that duct. But the impressiveness of the tool doesn't end with the features, it includes the price as well. This fella is going to go for a smashing $785. It's a boatload of money, but if it's a tool that you could use, it's a price worth considering.

Right now, Ohio Power Tools is taking pre-orders for a reduced price of $690. Order yours here.

Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

May 7, 2008

Milwaukee Digital Inspection Camera

milwaukee_digital_inspectio.jpgBased on the great success of last year's Ridgid SeeSnake Micro (our review here), we've been wondering how long it would be before someone else followed suit with a similar tool. Well it turns out that it's Milwaukee and they've added a number of nice features, making their Digital Inspection Camera an across the boards improvement on the SeeSnake.

The basics of the tool are the same; there's a three foot long flexible hose with a camera lens on one end and a hand-held screen on the other. The lens end has a light and, like the Ridgid, hose extensions are available if 3' isn't enough length.

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Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (1) | social bookmarking

March 12, 2008

Ridgid SeeSnake Micro - Review

Ridgid_seesnake.jpgWe've been hearing about The Ridgid SeeSnake Micro for a while now and in the last month or so, we've seen it start to show up at job sites in a lot of different hands. First it was electricians, then it was plumbers, and now it's everyone else from carpenters to HVAC guys. We wanted to find out what the big deal is all about so we got our hands on one and gave it a whirl.

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Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

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