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Thread: Remote Control Tools

  1. #1
    Ken Larson's Avatar
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    Default Remote Control Tools

    Anyone here using any remote control operated tools yet? Maybe a small remote helicopter with a camera to view high roofs or a small remote ATV with a camera to get into tight crawl spaces? I see these things in magazines all the time but never seen them in action.

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  2. #2
    Bruce King's Avatar
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    Default Re: Remote Control Tools

    I have thought long and hard about those things and come to the conclusion that they rarely work.

    Have you ever tried to fly a remote control helicopter? Iis very hard unless you have a training setup and spend hours practicing with someone that can save it at the last second. One that has a camera is big bucks too.

    The crawlbot idea will cause you to miss many serious issues and will get stuck anyway.


  3. #3
    mike huntzinger's Avatar
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    Default Re: Remote Control Tools

    I tryed the crawl space RC car w/ a camera but the video was grainy needed lots of light.. it was a kids toy spy-bot but for fun it was cool because my crawl space is only 6" to 12" so some of this was never before seen


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    Default Re: Remote Control Tools

    My son is almost 10.... I figure a couple more years and I'll just send him into the crawl space with a camera. That's the best remote control there is

    Seriously, it would be cool to have technology help out for those steep, high roofs but I just can't imagine anything stable enough that could really inspect it.

    I do find myself using Google earth or other satalite maps more and more to determine when a roof was done or when an addition was put on.


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    Default Re: Remote Control Tools

    Erby Crofutt, Georgetown, KY - Read my Blog here: Erby the Central Kentucky Home Inspector B4 U Close Home Inspections www.b4uclose.com www.kentuckyradon.com
    Find on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/B4UCloseInspections

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    Default Re: Remote Control Tools

    Raymond Wand Home Inspection Service
    http://www.raymondwand.ca
    The value of experience is not in seeing much, but in seeing wisely.

  7. #7
    John Kogel's Avatar
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    Default Re: Remote Control Tools

    It has been tried of course. Marc in Lafayette found that it drops to the ground if you fly it out of range. Also it crashes if you nick a tree branch or the edge of the roof. The battery is only good for a couple of minutes. A puff of wind spoils your shot and then you're back to flying a chopper instead of inspecting. Or you're wondering how to bring it down off the roof.

    A helium balloon on a tether might work better because you can haul it down and put it away quick. The tether could supply power to a superlight web cam, so the balloon could be the size of a football. About $50 for that much helium and about $100 for the balloon. Try it, somebody.

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
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    Default Re: Remote Control Tools

    Technology has evolved to overcome many of those concerns. GPS stablized flight, auto return home when signal lost, gps/barometric hover position, automated landing, lower voltage battery alert, some units are flyable in winds upto 20km.

    Visual flight rules apply, so the unit should never be flown out of sight.

    Batteries on some units can power upto half hour of flight dependent on wind, payload, and flight time will very, less weight more flight time.

    A unit I just purchased has a flight time of upto 25 minutes, which is more than enough time to inspect a roof, rural property, farm buildings, or in use for other advantageous purposes.

    Fwiw I just purchased a Turbo Ace Matrix quadcopter.

    Here is a Realtor in PEI who uses a DJI Phantom quad, its one of the least expensive modes and is pretty much foolproof.

    Prince Edward Island Real Estate, PEI Real Estate, Agent, Videos, Oceanfront, Waterfront, Homes for Sale, Land for Sale, Century 21 Northumberland Real Estate Agent/Realtor, Charlottetown, Summerside

    Last edited by Raymond Wand; 09-29-2013 at 04:06 AM.
    Raymond Wand Home Inspection Service
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  9. #9
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    Default Re: Remote Control Tools

    I'm not so sure these things should be used at a home inspection.
    They can be dangerous to the inspector, as well as anyone nearby.
    Roman Pirozek Jr: Man decapitates himself with his own remote-control helicopter | Mail Online

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Remote Control Tools

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Cantrell View Post
    I'm not so sure these things should be used at a home inspection.
    They can be dangerous to the inspector, as well as anyone nearby.
    Roman Pirozek Jr: Man decapitates himself with his own remote-control helicopter | Mail Online
    They are commonly called Drones.

    Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) or "drones" and the use of same by non-law enforcement (private entities) to acquire images is already ILLEGAL in TEXAS (Sept. 1st).

    The law makes using drones to capture images of people or property without permission punishable by a fine up to $500, while also allowing those improperly photographed or filmed to collect up to $10,000 in civil penalties...
    More than 40 state legislatures have debated the increasing presence of unmanned aircraft in civilian airspace, with most of the proposals focused on protecting people from overly intrusive surveillance by law enforcement.
    But Texas' law tips the scales in police favor giving them broad freedoms to use drones during investigations and allowing them to bypass a required search warrant if they have suspicions of illegal activity while also limiting use of small drones by ordinary residents.
    Above from: Story by WILL WEISSERT 09/14/13 10:55 AM ET EDT Associated Press (AP)
    still found at: Texas Drones Law Gets Tough On Public, Private Use

    similar version story can still be found at (of course FOX news):
    Texas law gets tough on public, private drone use | Fox News

    Murky for private business use - law is unkind and in a major state of transition for other-than-hobbist use (RC - NO imaging), and frankly somewhat dangerous to be equiping with imaging or sound gathering for other than law enforcement personnel in their official capacity (and a bit "dicey" for LE without a court-order/warrant in some jurisdictions). There are already some cases in Fed Dist. courts on existing laws.

    Makes for HI use in other than a truly remotely situated home surrounded by scores of acres on the same parcel, highly dubious.

    A number of states' legislatures are mulling similar legislation to that of Texas. Tea-Party types teaming up with (of all entities!) the ACLU in some jurisdictions.

    for example in Oklahoma:

    Oklahoma lawmaker partners with ACLU to plan legislation about drone usage | News OK

    Illinois is one State which has eavesdropping laws which restrict imaging even outdoors in open space and one that (unless recently struck down...was being appealed last time I recall having read about it) makes it illegal to capture an image of a law enforcement officer in the performance of his duty shift by other than law enforcement...and sound recordings are most strictly prohibited without all parties expressed consent in advance of recording (warrants, court-authorized taps, law enforcement excepted) with few (and difficult to defend) exceptions for civilians. In Illinois it is a crime - and can be aggrivated to felony with prison time.

    I would caution AGAINST the use of a drone to acquire imaging.

    Especially the use of any powered aerial device with exposed, unguarded rotors, and nothing lacking a teather.

    Not only possibly criminal (even accidentially - such as catching an image of a juvenile next door) but the liability due to the danger to persons - injury by direct contact, incidential contact (device contacts something else which is thrown or falls), contact with utility, etc.

    Ownership rights of "airspace" above the grade varies from state-to-state and from title/deed/covenants, just as do mineral rights, water rights (some plats may not even have right to use or collect the rain which falls upon the plot!). Where one has rights rarely do they exceed more than a few score feet above the roof.

    In other than "ranch" or farm country wouldn't consider it (getting consent from all neighboring property owners and all individuals within range so if accidentially imaged! - doesn't matter if you're going to delete it and never publish it!), and even then - service drops, antena, etc. INSURANCE and liability for destruction, damage, injury, and the accidential possibility of the invasion of privacy make operating any RC aerial vehicle in an area not specifically designated for such, and especially one with an imaging device onboard would be a risky, if not illegal (or soon to be) proposition. (Catch image of neighbor tot splashing in pool without clothes or peeing on the tree in their yard you've not only violated privacy, you're manufacturing child porn for cripes sake!). Then of course - you'd require the permission of all the utilities and easement holders as well.

    Then you'd also have to consider the prohibitions for imaging "security" items such as substations, sub-switches, etc.

    Generally HIs are not in the title search/insurance field - and HI insurance underwriters aren't going to consider DRONE use part of "normal" HI activity. While the laws (and this includes the federal laws and regultions since the 'big G' has the first right of airspace and airways) are in their current state of "catch-up" I'd suspect the only underwriters for such business activity would be specialized and surplus type.

    Last edited by H.G. Watson, Sr.; 09-29-2013 at 11:18 AM.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Remote Control Tools

    Quote Originally Posted by H.G. Watson, Sr. View Post
    They are commonly called Drones.).
    You Should Know.

    Ken Rowe likes this.
    It Might have Choked Artie But it ain't gone'a choke Stymie! Our Gang " The Pooch " (1932)
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  12. #12
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    Default Re: Remote Control Tools

    I guess the same arguments could be said about guns, cars, et ceteras, kill people too. Airplanes are/can used and are used to infringe on peoples privacy. All you need is an airplane and a good telephoto lense. Heck you don't even need an aircraft.

    As to infringing on others airspace again the use of the drone would be subject to safeguards and federal aviation rules in place. Sure abuse is and can will happen, just as with any other man made device and a fool who goes beyond common sense.

    Up here in Canadian airspace one would require a SFOC - Special Flight Operations Cert. issued by Transport Canada, observe visual flight rules, ceiling cap, daytime flights, insurance, staying a minimum 100' from people or even flying over crowds.

    Raymond Wand Home Inspection Service
    http://www.raymondwand.ca
    The value of experience is not in seeing much, but in seeing wisely.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Remote Control Tools

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce King View Post
    I have thought long and hard about those things and come to the conclusion that they rarely work.

    Have you ever tried to fly a remote control helicopter? Iis very hard unless you have a training setup and spend hours practicing with someone that can save it at the last second. One that has a camera is big bucks too.

    The crawlbot idea will cause you to miss many serious issues and will get stuck anyway.
    Agree, I've tried both with 30" remote helicopter, for high roofs & my 24" drome for crawls both have on board camera's. As way of back grown. I'm very proficient in flying both. However, Some of the problems I've faced, are high wind, obstacles in crawl spaces and of course light condition. To name a few. Bottom line if your not familiar with flying one these expensive toys, you will damage them just practicing how to fly them.

    Fidel F. Gonzales
    RELIANT INSPECTION SERVICE
    http://www.reliantinspectionservice.com

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Remote Control Tools

    What does something like the quadcopter cost?


  15. #15
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    Default Re: Remote Control Tools

    I can not imagine how you would fly anything in a crawlspace. At least not the crawlspacxes that I come across.

    Amazon is thinking of using drones to deliver packages. Starting soon in a couple states.


  16. #16
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    Default Re: Remote Control Tools

    Quote Originally Posted by Woodie Wallace View Post
    What does something like the quadcopter cost?
    Hi Woodie, there many types of helicopter, ie size how many channels etc price range from a few hundred to a few thousands. Power by Battery or fuel also determines price.The drones start at above 800.00'and up.
    also they vary on fuel vs battery power. Further, the more channel the unit has the more it cost.

    hope this helps

    Fidel F. Gonzales
    RELIANT INSPECTION SERVICE
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    Default Re: Remote Control Tools

    Quote Originally Posted by Woodie Wallace View Post
    What does something like the quadcopter cost?


    Phantom-2 is a great choice from what an owner has said. Starting at $670 then add on camera, monitor and stuff it seems to end up around $1,100 or so. Version 2 has good upgrades. Still time to ask your special Santa for a big boy toy.
    Hear is a review.
    Review (with video!): DJI Phantom 2 Vision quadcopter


  18. #18
    Rick Bunzel's Avatar
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    Default Re: Remote Control Tools

    Unfortunately most drones I have seen are still limited in the detail they can capture. Our business is about catching the symptoms that indicate a greater issue. There is no substitute for the Mark1 Eyeball. If your using your eyes to identify concern areas and then looking closer with a drone that may work. However doing a flyover with a drone and saying a roof is OK could lead you to problems.

    BTW - Flying a quadcopter through a crawlspace?? Wow kudos to you if you can do that. Many crawls I do are so tight, with insulation, cob webs, ducts and strings hanging down that you would have to be within line of sight to navigate through the maze which defeats the purpose of using a 'copter in the first place.


    //Rick

    Rick Bunzel
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  19. #19
    John Kogel's Avatar
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    Default Re: Remote Control Tools

    You can get a helicopter with a web cam for about $100. I'd try one just to clear the cobwebs out of the crawl.

    But for $1000? Hire a kid for an hour and let him use your camera.

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

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