Repair or Restore – A Look at Sewer Camera Maintenance

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again, inspection cameras are one of the most important pieces of equipment in your toolbox. These machines help you find the cause of a clogged pipe and help validate your findings to an often-times skeptical customer. While these machines are designed to be used in harsh environments, with prolonged use or misuse they will break and need repaired.

When that time comes, it is important that the machine be taken to an authorized repair facility where the technician is well-versed in diagnosing and repairing the machine. We reached out to Patriot Sewer Equipment & Repair in Riverside, California to discuss some of the common things they see and how to prevent some of that damage. Answering questions is Erick Morales, business development manager.

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Patriot Sewer Equipment & Repair

PRO – Cameras are one of the most important tools in a contractor’s toolbox. What are some tips you can offer to keep the equipment in best operating order?

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Morales – Don’t use a camera to clear blockages. You can kink or break the pushrod or damage the camera head.

PRO – These machines work in a harsh environment, and even with proper use and the best preventative work, parts will eventually wear and get damaged. What is the most common problem(s) you see?

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Morales – Plumbers kinking their push rod is most common, or they forget to pull their camera out of sewer line and cut the pipe along with their push rod. Additionally, technicians not taking care of their equipment. Abuse is most common when an individual doesn’t strap down the camera in their work truck, throw around the camera or drop it, which will result in damaging the slip-ring, counter or hub assembly, as well as other parts of the camera system.

PRO – How can this breakage be avoided?

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Morales – Be careful when you run your camera in a sewer line, do not force your camera in any situation do not be in a hurry and do not try to slam your camera to get over an offset in the line.

Patriot Sewer Equipment & Repair

PRO – Patriot Sewer Equipment offers both restoration and service/repair. How do these differ?

Morales – Service and repair is just that. We service a camera or repair camera and everything on the equipment remains the same.

With restoration, we take old or used cameras and refurbish them, replacing old or broken parts. Maybe we will install a new push rod, new camera head or transmitter. We’ll have the frame powder coated using Patriot colors or we can powder coat the frame to match the customer’s requested colors. We will also customize the monitor by installing LCD color flat screens and adding a USB flash drive recorder. The customer then has a camera and monitor that looks like new again or even better than the original manufactured piece of equipment. Using our waterjet machine, we can fabricate parts for the customer to customize their equipment. We’ve even fabricated metal plates with the customer’s logo to make the equipment standout.

PRO – Are there certain repairs that can be performed in the field or by the contractor vs. being sent to a shop?

Morales – Unfortunately, most camera systems cannot be repaired in the field. This is because most cameras require special tools to complete a repair, as well as parts that plumbers or contractors do not often have access to.

Patriot Sewer Equipment & Repair

PRO – What is the benefit of taking an inspection camera to an authorized repair facility?

Morales – Authorized repair centers will complete repairs to factory specs and give a warranty on most repairs.

PRO – At what point should a contractor cut their losses and buy new equipment?

Morales – When equipment is old or obsolete and no longer manufactured. At this point, parts are generally no longer available or difficult to find.