Apeman Endoscopic Camera


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WingAdmin
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Apeman Endoscopic Camera

Post by WingAdmin » Fri Dec 29, 2017 5:41 pm



Endoscopic cameras - a tiny camera on the end of a stick - have been around for quite some time. Before the advent of tiny CCD cameras, bundles of fiber optics were used to transmit the rough approximation of an image, cost tens of thousands of dollars, and were used almost entirely for surgical purposes.

These cameras are of untold use when working in small, cramped areas such as found in motorcycles. I've used mine to do so many tasks on my bike, including unlocking a broken trunk lock, observing a driveshaft (above), and more - as well as around-the-house tasks, such as inspecting inside walls and pulling wires through ceiling spaces.

I bought my first endoscopic camera about ten years ago. It was relatively expensive, came with a flexible steel shaft about three feet long, and the camera was about 3/4" in diameter. It had its own tiny LCD screen, and the image resolution was atrocious - 320x200, with very little contrast, and almost no color saturation. You can see a video produced by this primitive camera here:





Because I had bought this camera years ago for a fair price, and because I couldn't then justify buying a newer, better one, I lived with it for years. However, in recent times, the price of high-resolution full-color cameras, much smaller than my old camera has fallen, to where you can buy one online for around $20! These cameras utilize your smartphone's screen instead of including their own.

I browsed around until I found one that I liked, and that had good reviews. Most of the cameras today plug into your phone's micro-USB charging port. My newer phone has a USB-C port, so that wouldn't work. Instead I found this camera that connects to your phone via Wifi - no wires. Available for only $25 on Amazon, I wrote it down on my Christmas list, and Santa duly delivered.

Arriving in a rather scuffy plastic box, a black module (the Wifi module) is visible at the top.

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Once unpacking, you are presented with the camera connected to a bunch of wire, some suction cups, the Wifi module, a USB cable, a bag full of accessories, and the manual.

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The manual is worth including here, if for no other reason than the highly entertaining and gushing first page:

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The suction cups are apparently to stick the Wifi module to your smartphone.

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I tried this out - sticking the suction cups to the Wifi module, then sticking the Wifi module to my phone - but it didn't stick very well to my phone's case. No worry, the Wifi module can be nowhere near your phone and it will still work.

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The Wifi module contains a battery that powers the camera, two micro-USB jacks, a power button, two LEDs, and a small hole that I assume is used to perform a factory reset if required.

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The camera itself has a micro-USB plug connected to a small module. The other end of the module is a long, stiff wire, about 6 feet long, that connects to the camera itself.

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This module has a button on it and what looks like a microphone hole, as well as a thumbwheel on the side. As far as I could tell the button does absolutely nothing - it is not mentioned anywhere in the manual, and pressing it has no effect. The microphone hole either doesn't actually have a microphone behind it, or it is not configured to work, as this camera does not record sound. The thumbwheel on the side is used to adjust the intensity of the LED lighting on the camera.

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The camera itself is 5mm in diameter, with six LEDs ringing the lens aperture. It can easily stay in place when its stiff wire is bent.

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In the bag of accessories is a lens cleaning cloth, and this little right-angled mirror. The mirror can be screwed onto the end of the camera, to allow you to see around a corner when the camera is inserted somewhere you can't reach. I have used this feature before, and it works well!

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Also included is a ring that can be used to hold an included hook tool in front of the camera.

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As well as a spring tool, used to pull wire - you open the spring, put the wire between two of the coils, then move it to where you need it to go.

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First off, the Wifi module needs to be charged. This is done by plugging the USB charging cable (or any micro-USB cable) into the charge port nearest the edge. It starts flashing an orange LED, to let you know it's charging. Once it is fully charged, the orange LED turns solid. You can use the camera when it is charging, so if the Wifi module is completely discharged, you can still plug it into a charger and use it.

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The camera itself plugs into the camera port micro-USB.

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Pressing and holding down the power button lights up the green LED and the orange LED starts to flash. You now open the Wifi settings on your smartphone and connect to the "EC530" network. It will ask for a password, which is 12345678.

Next, you download the "Moqo" app from the Google Play store or Apple iTunes store. It is a free app that installs on your phone to operate the camera.

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When the power is turned on, the LEDs will illuminate on the end of the camera.

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The LEDs can be turned up quite bright, or completely off if desired.

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There is very little drama - you turn on the camera, start the app, and you see the image on the screen. You can change the resolution from 640x400 to 1280x720 - performance seems to be the same with either resolution, so I don't know why anyone would ever use 640x400, unless maybe they had an old slow phone. The hardest part seems to be making sure the camera is right side up - I may mark a stripe of paint on mine to help with this.

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The app is very simple. The icon at the top right takes a snapshot of whatever the camera is currently viewing and saves it on your phone. The next icon down starts the app recording video of whatever the camera is seeing. The third icon down allows you to review any pictures or videos that you have taken, and the last one allows you change the camera's only setting: its resolution.

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The camera focuses from about an inch and a half out to infinity - basically, if it's closer than about an inch and a half, it will be out of focus. Anything farther away and it's fine. The color is relatively accurate, and the image is fairly sharp, particularly at the higher resolution. I pointed it at an item I had sitting nearby that had some orange colors in it, and it was impressed with the image:

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The first thing I did was use the camera to check out the RTV sealant on the valve cover of my wife's PC800 - when I did this job, I had to do it blindly, so I never had any idea if the sealing job was OK. Looks like it was just great!

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Next I started poking it up around inside my GL1500, just to see what I could see. It's actually pretty fun exploring the innards of your bike, places you can't normally see. The tiny, waterproof camera makes it easy.

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I also took a short video as I explored my GL1500's innards:





Overall, I'm very pleased with this camera. It operates flawlessly, the viewing app is simple and bug-free, and the image is more than acceptable. I expect I will have this unit in my toolbox for years to come.



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AZgl1800
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Re: Apeman Endoscopic Camera

Post by AZgl1800 » Fri Dec 29, 2017 10:38 pm

Very nice.

I have looked at those thinking I should get one, but was waiting for the prices to come down.

about 25 years ago, I worked for a contractor and was the camera operator that inspected the city utility sewer systems that he got contracts on to reline/repair.

It was a full fledged color TV camera on a gimbaled thing that I could make move up/dn and left/right in any direction up to almost 90 degrees in any of those directions.

It was on crawler treads, much like a crawler tractor.
It pulled a very heavy cable behind it, RG6 75 ohm coax, and a steel cable attached to the side of the coax and the multi-pair control wires. Nothing fancy there, probably designed in the 60s...

On the front of that thing was a rotary diamond faced cutter that also gimbaled and it was used to trim back sewer entrance pipes that were not flush with the cement/clay pipes....

all of those protrusions would catch debris and reduce the pipe flow capacity by half or more.
Once we got the pipe clean, we would blow steam thru it and restrict the outflow with a valve and watch it until the outlet temp reached 160 degrees. Then the end caps were removed and a PVC pipe was pulled through the concrete pipe sealing off all of the leaks.....

Then that camera had to be run through the PVC pipe and we would use the footage log on the camera reel to note where to cut the new entrance holes for the sewer entrance services.

Once we were done, the newly relined sewer lines would flow at about 140% compared to brand new concrete pipes. it was a very efficient, cost productive repair for municipalities.

but, back to what you showed... I am going to get one, because I have several things that I need to look at around here, like the pipes in the RV trailer for the holding tanks, valves, etc.... the sewer pipe here for my toilets and to the septic tank.

and the clothes dryer vent line...


Hope I never need it to inspect a motorcycle problem.
~John

Justin K.
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Re: Apeman Endoscopic Camera

Post by Justin K. » Tue Jan 02, 2018 11:32 am

Sounds like exactly what's needed to check the condition of my GL1800 air filter without breaking everything down. It should snake in there from the left side just fine.
Good price, too.
Thanks for the extensive write-up.

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minimac
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Re: Apeman Endoscopic Camera

Post by minimac » Wed Jan 03, 2018 9:16 am

Great write up and photos. I have used a similar camera (very high dollar) when working, to look inside piping and condensing tubes where physical inspection was impossible. I'm glad to see that the prices have come down to a point where it makes sense to have one. It's one of those tools that you don't think you need until you need it.

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brian.peters
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Re: Apeman Endoscopic Camera

Post by brian.peters » Wed Jan 03, 2018 10:39 am

I have two of these. One with the horrible display but a stiff "wand" to position the camera and one very much like this only not wifi it hooks to the USB port on the phone.

They are helpful but a bit fiddly and take some time to get used to. Don't expect it to be like shrinking yourself down and standing on in there as the field of view is quite small and it can be difficult to orient them correctly.

Still worth it at twice the price they are today. I last used it to get the bolts in the saddlebags lined back up after lowering the luggage when I had to bleed the back brakes. Worked a treat for that.

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Asphaltmaniac
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Re: Apeman Endoscopic Camera

Post by Asphaltmaniac » Wed Aug 01, 2018 11:55 pm

minimac wrote:
Wed Jan 03, 2018 9:16 am
Great write up and photos. I have used a similar camera (very high dollar) when working, to look inside piping and condensing tubes where physical inspection was impossible. I'm glad to see that the prices have come down to a point where it makes sense to have one. It's one of those tools that you don't think you need until you need it.
Hey, what road is that sign on your post......funny.

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AZgl1800
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Re: Apeman Endoscopic Camera

Post by AZgl1800 » Thu Aug 02, 2018 2:25 pm

hey, I need to get one of these now...

I keep dropping stuff and it rolls under the divan and I can't see what it back there anymore :twisted:
~John

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redial
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Re: Apeman Endoscopic Camera

Post by redial » Tue Aug 07, 2018 12:13 am

Hey John, then you could spend your time looking for the good place you put your camera. (ha ha)


Len in Kapunda

The world is not going to finish today, as it is already tomorrow in Australia and New Zealand, and other islands of foreign nations such as Guam and Samoa.

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