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Fried camera and a little perplexed (long)

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  • Fried camera and a little perplexed (long)

    Company, that I will leave unnamed, called me out to a home to camera a kitchen line. They stated that they went out to the location but their camera wasn't working. The gal said that they just got the camera back from the shop, because it wasn't working the first time they went out to inspect the same location. Obviously it wasn't fixed properly. So, I go out there, see the open clean out by the kitchen, set up my camera and start to insert the camera into the drain. The picture is nice and clear but when I switch to sonde mode, my picture goes out. I switch out of sonde and the picture comes back. Thinking that the fault is with the camera, I switch back to sondek, but no picture. I keep it in sondek mode and pull the cable out of the drain and when the camera end exits the drain the picture comes back. At this point I'm a little clueless, so I insert the camera back into the drain in sonde mode and as soon as I do, the picture goes out. It then dawns on me that the line might be charged. This is not out of real knowledge, but out of pure instinct. I contacted the shop that I bought the camera from, and they immediately said that the line was hot! Holy ****, I'm thinking that my $$$ investment has been BBQ'd. Fortunately, only the counter was fried, but the whole system could have been compromised and with a huge repair fee.

    Now this company that sent me out there is a well known leak detection company with seasoned experience. For them not to know something was up and not relating it to me seems rather out of sorts. I'm almost sure the shop that worked on their camera the first time, ascertained the symptoms. I almost feel like I was used as a guinee pig. Also though, I'd hate to jump to hasty or unfounded conclussions.

    What are your thoughts...

    Hopefully, this will save somebody out there from ruining their expensive tools. Needless to say, I'm checking every pipe with a ohm meter before inspection....

  • #2
    Re: Fried camera and a little perplexed (long)

    I'd get your equipment fixed, ask to see the receipt for the damages to their camera, then send them the bill to have your equipment fixed.


    They should of known that this situation was going to damage your equipment.
    Northern Kentucky Plumbers Twitter Feed | Plumbing Videos

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    • #3
      Re: Fried camera and a little perplexed (long)

      I'm not a lawyer and that's really who could answer your question correctly but how can you prove their intentions? If it was noted on the invoice about the pipe then I can see it because you prove prior knowledge. It seems it would be to easy to claim ignorance for them.

      How do you check a pipe to see if it's hot?
      Buy cheap, buy twice.

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      • #4
        Re: Fried camera and a little perplexed (long)

        Originally posted by gear junkie View Post
        How do you check a pipe to see if it's hot?
        that i'd like to know

        steve
        In the never ending struggle to keep the water flowing.... The Poo Poo Cowboy rides again!!!

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        • #5
          Re: Fried camera and a little perplexed (long)

          Sounds to me like there is a short going to ground some where. Probably there is a ground wire clamped to this drain line.
          What kind of pipe were you in, cast, steel, pvc, copper??
          If it was a pvc line i would throw out the BS flag!
          Not sure how much stray current it would take to mess with the camera but must not be very much.
          To check for current use a voltage meter (not an ohm meter) hook one lead to a known ground and the other lead to the suspect pipe. Be careful what/where you are standing on/in if you grab the suspect pipe.
          There can be a small enough eletrical leak to the ground to not trip a breaker or blow a fuse.

          I would definately have the camera fixed and send them the bill, all they will do is pass it on to the home owner.

          Good luck with it.

          G3

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          • #6
            Re: Fried camera and a little perplexed (long)

            You may be able to check the pipe with a voltage meter (hot to pipe and find a good ground somewhere.

            I carry an inductive voltage tester by Fluke, It lights up and beeps when it is close to live voltage and does not require contact. It is the size of a large ink pen. ($25) It also may not be good for low voltages (below 80 volts) check the instructions of the brand you buy...

            Okie
            Last edited by OkieBill; 11-30-2008, 10:40 AM.

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            • #7
              Electrician call me...

              this morning and stated that he could not detect any current. I told him something happened to effect 2 camera's and one of those camera's twice. Maybe he doesn't know how to test for something like this. Hell, I don't know......Arrgghhh!

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              • #8
                Re: Fried camera and a little perplexed (long)

                Don't you have any electrician buddies? Give them a call & trade for time served.

                J.C.

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                • #9
                  Compensation!

                  Very nice of unspoken leak detection company to pay me for my time and cover expenses of replacing the counter. I still won't mention their name, but kudos to them.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Fried camera and a little perplexed (long)

                    Like another guy has said on another post, it would probobly be a good idea to carry a cheap feild tester that lites up near a hot conductor. Also, you can test the line yourself with a multitester set to a.c. volts with red to pipe -black to good ground.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Fried camera and a little perplexed (long)

                      When relying on a DMM to check for voltage, do a Live-Dead-Live test first.

                      How?
                      1. Set the meter to AC Volts and the range in Auto or 200V.
                      2. Using the leads that you will use in the test of the pipe check for voltage at a known live AC source like a wall outlet. You should read normal line voltage (100-120V AC).
                      3. No go and test the suspect piping. If it shows zero volts then go back and retest at the known good source.
                      If your test does reveal voltage on the piping, then you need to track down where it is from and remedy the cause. This may (and probably will) require an electrician to investigate and correct. You do it and you are outside your comfort zone or area of knowledge and something goes wrong, you'll bee sorry.

                      Why? This verifies that the meter was working properly before you did your test and also that it was working OK after the test, so it must have been good in between.

                      Anything less is taking a chance, but its your equipment and your life, so what you feel is right to ensure your safety.
                      "When we build let us think we build forever. Let it not be for present delight nor for present use alone. Let it be such work that our descendants will thank us for, and let us think, as we lay stone upon stone, that a time is to come when these stones will be held sacred because our hands have touched them, and that men will say, as they look upon the labor and wrought substance of them, "See! This our fathers did for us."
                      John Ruskin (1819 - 1900)

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                      • #12
                        Re: Fried camera and a little perplexed (long)

                        Originally posted by lloyd macdonald View Post
                        Like another guy has said on another post, it would probobly be a good idea to carry a cheap feild tester that lites up near a hot conductor. Also, you can test the line yourself with a multitester set to a.c. volts with red to pipe -black to good ground.

                        Those "cheap field testers" (or even the not-so-cheap TIF's) won't detect the field if the conductor (or pipe, or whatever) is laying in the dirt. The dirt kills the ELECTROSTATIC field (these things don't detect the ELECTROMAGNETIC field). You can't pull a pipe up out of the dirt to check it, especially if it's shocking the crap outta you...

                        Use a DMM. Just jam the black lead into the dirt, as far away from the line you're checking as the leads will allow. Touch the red lead to the pipe. Wear dry gloves, or, preferably electrician's HV gloves.

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