Make your own inexpensive sewer drain camera

Closed Thread

Old 11-22-09, 05:39 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Pacific Northwest
Posts: 152
Make your own inexpensive sewer drain camera

I was wondering if anyone has attempted to make their own sewer drain line camera? I've seen a couple of them on ebay over the years for a few hundred or so that don't seem too difficult to put together if one wants to trace down the materials. They all seem to use an inexpensive bullet type waterproof camera in a simple housing and some hollow tubing to run the camera cable/power cord.

You'll see them on ebay if you search for "sewer camera". You can google for pushline sewer cameras and find others.

I read one posting somewhere about someone using the camera that Harbor Freight has sold for years. I've seen it for sale elsewhere too. It's yellow in color and mostly marketed to boaters---comes with a small monitor. If you search their site for "camera", you'll see it. You have to cut off the fin and weight-thing to use it for a drain line. The cable is only 65 feet though.

I'd rather make my own as I could choose the components myself. I think the most important parts to choose correctly are the camera (it would need LED lights and a waterproof enclosure and need to have a small diameter and length and appropriate optic specs to allow focusing very closeup) and the flexible head at the camera end.

If there are any do-it-yourselfers out there that find this project interesting, let's get a discussion going and figure out how to do this. I think every homeowner could benefit from having a drain line camera.

Last edited by fromhollywood; 11-22-09 at 07:26 PM.
Sponsored Links
Old 11-23-09, 06:05 AM
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: new york
Posts: 509
Old 11-23-09, 06:47 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Pacific Northwest
Posts: 152
That Flickr posting looks like the whole thing probably only cost $50. It doesn't look like it would make turns very easily though. The posted videos only show it going straight down and up. I'll bet a more rigid hose would help or you could add something flexible around the last foot or so.

I wouldn't mind spending more than $30. for the camera if it had 100 feet of cable and was ready-to-go instead of having to do the solder connections.
Old 11-25-09, 02:59 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Pacific Northwest
Posts: 152
I've been looking at some of the very expensive professional drain cameras and some use a compression spring at the end of the cable. That spring allows the camera to make turns. The power lines for the camera run through that spring. The head of the camera sits at the end of the spring. I would think a spring about 6" to 12" long, about 1" diameter would do the trick (about the same width as the camera). Springs are fairly cheap so maybe have to experiment with a few different sizes.

The camera head would probably need something to protect its edges as it would hit the inside of the pipe frequently as it makes turns. Maybe a PVC coupling of some kind. I've noticed expensive systems have replaceable glass lens for the cameras so they must get scratched up a lot. But, something a DIY'er would build for home use wouldn't get that much wear and tear.

In terms of cable, I would think something about 1/4" to 1/2" in diameter would suffice. It would have to be large enough to allow running the power line to the camera. I've never used PEX tubing before but maybe that would work. It's cheap and could be experimented with. When I see PEX coiled up in the stores, it looks very rigid and hard to get the curl out of it so maybe it wouldn't be flexible enough. I think there is a kind of PEX with aluminum in the center. Maybe that would be more flexible.

Last edited by fromhollywood; 11-25-09 at 04:50 PM.
Old 12-03-09, 10:48 PM
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: KY/OH
Posts: 3,523
Harbor Freight, fishing camera around $99 which takes you 60' with a B/W monitor.

Cable though isn't stiff so you'd have to do something to encase and give it rigidity.
Old 07-18-12, 09:47 AM
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 2
sewer camera

I've made one with the system from harbor freight but changed the camera to a smaller one. and ran cat 5 wire through the pipe to make it 100 ft. I'm using 1/2" OD pex pipe. It works pretty good but the cable really needs to be a little stiffer. any suggestions for this. also I saw something about a spring for the end. What type did you use. I'll be glad to send the info. on the system I built.

Old 07-18-12, 10:02 AM
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 2
sewer video camera

I found the camera at harbor freight when it was on special for $69.00. I discovered I really don't need this system but the tv, battery and carry bag are a nice set up to have even if you don't use the camera or wire. Mainly what you need is a small tv with video in put, 100 ft of 1/2" od Pex pipe 100 ft of Cat-5 or 6 wire a small camera Ebay $29.00) and all the connectors to change cat- wire to video in put wire (radioshack). I use this camera a lot on plumbing jobs. I am looking for a stiffer cable because the pex pipe tends to kink once it's up the line if there are tight turns or obstructions. Picture is great, can clearly see roots, cloggs and anything you might find in a sewer line. Before I made this I spent $350.00 to $500.00 every time I had trouble with a sewer line and was trying to convince the homeowner to replace the line, now they can see the problem and can put that money toward the line replacement or can just repair the problem.

Mod note: Inviting off forum conversation is frowned upon so everyone can see.

Last edited by Shadeladie; 07-18-12 at 10:18 AM. Reason: Email not allowed.
Old 11-21-12, 04:33 AM
lawrosa's Avatar
Super Moderator
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Galivants Ferry SC USA
Posts: 17,724
Likes Received: 2
Thread closed. Any questions on sewer video cameras please start a new post.
Closed Thread

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Display Modes