Spectroscope - The test drive

Got me a Spectroscope from Nick and CO a few days back. Pretty neat. Pretty scary.

The first thing I noted was the overall height of the extenda-controls. These are the clamps that hold the extended sections in place. Being a bit vertically challenged, I found them too high… so, I collapsed the unit and sawed off about 12" from the base. That put everything at slightly above eye level. Nice.

I figured out the remote control piece of the Panasonic Lumix digital camera, mounted it on the top of the pole section, and linked it to my LG Smartphone (Android).

Then I started extending the scope, a secftion at a time, starting from the top.

One thing I didn’t expect was the sheer weight when all sections are at max extension. Holding the base section in place was a challenge. Then, because of sheer height, the extended poles can become unstable if you move the unit too quickly. This is pure physics and inertia. Absent of the give, the sections would snap. So, for a few moments, all needs to calm down and the operator needs to get control of the device.

Once this was established, I was able to shoot some nice photos up-close of roofing shingles. I had the unit laying against the gutter for stability.

Puling it back a bit, I was able to maneuver the unit to examine the soffits and fascias. I set the camera to zoom from the ground, and even switched modes to video.

Pretty neat. It is not something I will use on all inspections, for sure. It adds a lot of time to the process. With every new gadget, I will write a process by which I use the technology in a consistent manner. I forsee it as a really useful tool for those roofs that are not so tall, but are too steep to safely ladder, or where garden beds wil make the ladder base unstable. I plan to install a handle on the base section, along with a step-spike to properly help anchor the unit into the earth while using it.

Got some pretty scary shots of the scope at full height, looking down on my balding head. All and all, a usefull tool that takes a bit of innovation, balance, and modification to get the full benefits. Beyond that, it is impressive.

Thanks Joe for the review, I asked about the weight several times but got no answers.
Now that you mention it the inertia of something that long would have to be a factor and something to get used to.

I’m planning on using it to look at high flat roof here in Baltimore but should be able to use the gutter or drip edge to help steady the pole in use. The idea of a spiked base is a good one. Nick can you work on that as an accessory?

Would like to see your photos Joe!

Best,

Tom

Joe, would you purchase one of these? If it was not given to you, would you buy one?

If there are any concerns regading controlling or stabilizing it you want to be careful around the electrical service entrance.

Russel,

Where I am, and being stocky, my wife thinks I am crazy walking roofs. I still walk the ones within reach and that are not too steep for me to remain safe.

I have digital photo binoculars to see whatever I can from the ground and shoot it. Although our state’s SOP covers me for not having to walk roofs, there are times when I wish I could see things a bit closer. In these circumstances, and where warranted, I will use the pole. It’s a little bulky, but is made of fiberglass, to insulate one from overhead wires.

I have contemplated purchasing one of these for years. The initial problem was with controlling the camera. With the Lumix Remote Control, that issue is resolved. Of course, if the head allowed for remote ban and tilt, that would be awesome. I am actually working on that aspect.

Also, the lower mount works for smartphones, but not for a 6" tablet or anything larger. I’m working on that, as well.

All in all, it is pretty sweet. Yes. Someone purchased it and gave it to me for a Christmas Gift. It was after I stated that I was purchasing it.

So, to answer your question… yes. The decision was made to make the purchase prior to delivery.

I saw this remote control drone at Verizon the other day. $300. The sales girl told me that there was another home inspector that bought one recently. I am considering this.

http://www.verizonwireless.com/parrot-drone-2.shtml

Here are some YouTube videos of this drone.

Can’t speak for the spectroscope but dont waste your money on the drone. Its far too light to use and it relies on wifi which is limited range especially as it drifts over the roof edge. Also, the batteries are small and the camera is so so. I speak from having one before it caught fire lol.

An alternativevto the spectroscope is using a Samsung phone with a wifi samsung camera. I use this combination and it does the job nicely at a fractionof the cost of the spectroscope…

Yeah I don’t think the drone is a real alternative to the inspectoscope, but how is the Samsung an alternative? The pole with camera attachment and smartphone holder isn’t available separately as I understand it.

Procam.jpg

Yes it is. It just isn’t on their site. Email them at sales@inspectoroutlet.com and I’m sure they can accommodate you.

Thanks for the review! Your additional clamp for the smallest section of the pole is still coming, I should have it shipped to you shortly. It sounds like the larger clamp is working out ok for you so far.

We did intentionally leave the poles longer so that they could be cut down to length if need be.

In regards to stability, if you keep the bottom of the pole on the ground with the smartphone mounted up at eye level, it seems to work best as you can control the pole better.

Hi Tom, did you email me about the weight? I’m so sorry if so, I never saw an email from you. Please direct all questions to sales@inspectoroutlet.com as I don’t check these message boards all the time.

We’re working on trying to find a spiked base, for now the pole ships with rubber cap base that grips pretty well on all surfaces.

Just to add, we do have a tablet version of the holder at the base for an additional $50. It’s a very neat piece, you can see pictures if you scroll down at http://www.inspectoroutlet.com/spectoscope.aspx.