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Full HD pipe inspection cameras, pipe inspection DVR and outdoor monitor

Updated: May 2, 2020

AHD camera solutions with no latency, long wiring and smart overlays via DVR

Full HD pipe inspection camera - skoopia industrial AHD cameras

skoopia provides you a Full-HD camera that covers all requirements for a pipe inspection camera: Long distance transmission without amplification including transmission over slip rings and multiple connectors. But now providing a Full-HD, the first true Full-HD sewer camera!

skoopia pipe inspection cameras provide

  • a Full HD (1080p) AHD camera signal * supporting all types of cabling & signal requirements- coax as well as twisted pair * differential pipe inspection camera signal as well as & regular video/gnd pipe inspection camera signal

  • no latency (CVBS alike)

  • long distance signal transmission (500 m plus)

  • large voltage range meeting (4V - 16V)

  • direct camera control for operator productivity (VISCA/PELCO)

  • small single Full HD board cameras and small 10x Full HD zoom blocks meeting space requirement

  • cameras supporting a large temperature range (-40 degrees up to 105 degrees), making them extremely suitable as pipe repair camera, reliner camera or sewer camera.

  • robust implementation, being single board, and parity control input voltage / video signal.

  • smart AHD recording with overlay capability - as this was not available yet in the market.

  • smart lenses & smart support in lens choice - to increase depth of field (in focus range) and avoid "having the borders of the housing in the picture".

Moreover, skoopia is well aware that pipe inspection camera implementations require a long life time to minimize investment in engineering for changes on existing product and/or engineering effort to support the installed base for replacement of "broken in action" cameras.

skoopia industrial AHD cameras can be found clicking here


Pipe inspection camera - video transmission

Pipe inspection as well as pipe repair industry is perhaps not the most sexy industry, yet it imposes very specific and unique -often difficult to meet - criteria for a pipe inspection camera, being:

  • Difficult transmission issues, due to : * Long distance * Thin cable * Slip rings & plural connector couplings

  • Fit small spaces * Fit small pipes * No room for adequate cooling

  • Robustness * Physical robustness * Temperature robustness

  • Low latency * Operator controlled robots

Why long distance?

Because you get paid per meter examined, and it is less productive to get the robot in and out of the pipes too often.


Smart enhancing solutions to further optimize image quality and/or transmission distance are present in the market for AHD. PS ( markets a 14mm x 14mm AHD amplifier/transmittor as well as a amplifier/filter/receiver unit for both coaxial cabling as for twisted pair.


Why thin cable?

The thinner the cable the lower the friction (to pull the cable) and (normally) the lighter the cable (making it easier to pull the cable).

Why slip rings?

Pipe inspection cameras examine tubes, which are typically round. A crucial part in examining tubes are the welds / joints. For this, the camera needs to be able to make a 360 degrees rotation, preferably without any limitations (if something is not clear, also 720 degress should be possible). Therefore, transmission of the signal of larger robots having the cabability to swiffle to the welds/joints is done via slipe rings.

Why limited space?

Pipe inspection cameras are either used inside pipe inspection robots or inside fixed head that is pushed (so called push rod camera), they are built in such a way that they can serve pipe diameters from small to very large. The smaller the camera, the smaller the pipe inspection camera head can be. Therefore small board cameras and small block cameras are required as pipe inspection camera, to allow serving as wide range of pipe diameters as possible with 1 pipe inspection camera head.

Why temperature robustness?

Pipe inspection cameras are often used in environments in which space is very limited. As such, there is often very limited space for heat sinks that could enhance heat dissipation. Moreover, if the camera is used as a pipe repair camera, also called sewer camera or reliner camera, the operating temperature from outside is high, as the reliner is often hardened using powerfull LED lighting.

Why physical robustness?

Pipe inspection cameras are used in outdoor environments, in rough circumstances. Camera housings need to deal with a lot of wear and tear pushing the pipe inspection camera by force through a pipe, in very diverse cirucmstances (high /low temperature, water, etc).

Why low latency?

Pipe inspection cameras provide video footage for the operator of the camera. As such, he is guided using the video. Often the pipe inspection operator needs to comment on potential issues he sees. Latency in the image would cause him to make location mistakes (as the camera is factually already in a different place) or severely hamper productivity (as he needs to move back to the seen anomality to further inspect).


Pipe inspection camera - sensor differences & lens update

Transition from CVBS cameras, which are typically still CCD based, and have 4:3 sensors, mostly only having a 1/4" sensor size if compared to the to new high resolution, super sensitive CMOS based Full HD 16:9 sensors is not trivial.

For this change, the following aspects need to be considered:'

  • A potential lens change, as VFOV as well as HFOV will change due to aspect ratio change and likely sensor size change. * Most pipe inspection cameras require a wide as possible angle. However, the new aspect ratio could result in viewing the housing of the pipe inspection camera in horizontal direction, if the vertical field of view is kept identical * Larger sensors allow lenses with less lens abberation and image distortion or with the same lens allow for a wider angle (FOV).

  • PCB board location change, as CCD likely has a significantly lower distance from PCB board if compared to CMOS (see underneath picture). This likely causes a different build-in depth.

  • Last but not least. A higher resolution requires a higher resolution lens. Although numerous Full HD / 2MP+ lenses are available, using an existing VGA lens will significantly reduce the image quality.


Pipe inspection camera - Productivity

In the higher end pipe inspection cameras, direct camera control via e.g. I2C, RS485 or UART was available to enhance image quality while shooting video footage. However, the dynamic control of the cameras required two additional wires, increasing the diameter of the cable as well as its price. Therefore, a lower wire count was found in the push rod systems (sometimes even as low as three wires, sharing the GND for video and power, with potential cross talk occurring). in the low-end push rod pipe inspection cameras

  • Direct steering commands (mostly only for larger systems) * direct registry access allowing single button command control

  • Upfront configuration of cameras (mostly for lower end systems) * multiple configurations of cameras - not interchangeable on stock.

Here, skoopia cameras offer:

  • self-customization - cameras can be configured with 1 command direct and indirect. This will provide: * higher productivity: no need to await the time before all 5 or 6 changes (typical in a medical camera examination) are performed. * single unit stock keeping unit - minimizing your stock, and allowing in-field changes. Even wrong deliveries can be solved in-field and avoid a second maintenance visit. * UtC - Up the Coax sending of the control signals over the video wires


UtC - skoopia pipe inspection cameras do only require 4 wires for full dynamic control

Contemporary chips supporting AHD also support UtC. This allows for a significant step up for any push rod camera with fixed settings. Now the video wires can be used to dynamically control the push rod camera, so all variable parameters (e.g. WDR, one push white balance, mirror / flip) are possible, even at the entry level cameras.


Pipe inspection camera - Longevity

Pipe inspection robots devices should last long in the field, making product life cycle of the pipe inspection camera very critical. It is not just the sewer inspection camera in the new sewer robots, it is also maintenance of the new sewer inspection robots, but hopefully also a form, fit and function replacement for the installed base of sewer inspection cameras.


Fulll HD pipe inspection recorder or Full HD pipe inspection DVR

We already addressed that the transmission issues that so far have hampered adoption of Full HD cameras in the sewer industry. But it is not just the pipe inspection camera video that needs to be addressed. Full-HD sewer cameras are only possible in AHD, as AHD has the lowest band width.

Pipe inspection also requires overlays to guide follow up on the video made. Typical information that is required in the video is:

  • description of the location,

  • time/date of the recording,

  • company name making the recording

  • meter read to know exactly where the recording was made

  • commenting to help the reviewer with potential issues.

Although AHD DVRs exist, they lack the above functionality to support the operator in making a video with overlays. Moreover, near-all DVRs are focused on the security market, having multiple camera inputs, and a cumbersome menu. This is absolutely fine, if the recorder needs to be installed once, and then only records the multiple channels. However, in pipe inspection, settings of the DVR are continuously changed and only 1 camera needs to be recorded.

Therefore skoopia has developed a single channel dedicated pipe inspection DVR, with an easy to use menu, direct buttons for mostly used functions, and integrated overlays including meter read.


Full HD smart panorama view on industrial monitor / sunlight readable monitor.

Last but not least. A pipe inspection camera is continuously monitored, primarily outdoors. Here skoopia offers outdoor sunlight readable monitors, having a very high brightness (1000 nit). But these monitors are often build in a carry-on tool case. Since most tool cases are based on 4:3 aspect ratio (a more suitable form factor to watch round objects, if compared to 16:9 monitors, skoopia monitors also offer the so-called zoomed panorama view.

Underneath the advantage of the zoomed panorama view is explained.

Zoomed panorama allows you to record the video footage of the sewer in Full HD 16:9, but also allows you to continue to use 4:3 industrial high brightness monitors, providing you two key benefits:

1) The tool case does not require redesign

2) The weight of the monitor (or monitor module) is significantly lower than the 16;9 monitor having the same vertical height, important as tool cases are often hand-carried.

Finally, native AHD monitors show the lowest latency camera to video display, having a latency below 50 ms. With AHD monitors offering AHD input and loop-through, this is a serious solution for any environment demanding very low latency.


skoopia has dedication for the pipe inspection industry, providing specific solutions allowing you to make the transition from CVBS pipe inspection camera to Full-HD pipe inspection camera smoothly.

  • Full HD pipe inspection cameras that support CVBS as well as AHD

  • Pipe inspection DVR supporting CVBS as well as AHD, including the relevant overlays

  • Pipe inspection monitors, offering you high brightness for outdoor usage, with zoomed panorama for best build-in monitors.

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