Inspire : Public Works Mar Apr 2015
PIPE INSPECTION for the Rover. The machine would have to be able to: inspect pipe diameter of 300mm and above; capture video in the dark or equipped with an LED torch light; reverse and steer remotely; be compact and easily maintained; be water resistant, if not waterproof; record video footage within the pipe and cost less than $5000, and therefore not be recorded as a Capital purchase. "Armed with these specifications, I scouted for parts from major electronic stores while putting them together mentally," says Lio. Iteration one used an off-the-shelf remote controlled car with a Pan Tilt Zoom mounted camera. Upon testing, the remote controlled car did not have enough torque to drag a CAT5 cable. The wireless signal also proved unable to penetrate through stormwater pipes. Next Lio and his team decided to custom build a remote controlled car with a mounted camera. He had tried to avoid this option as the steering mechanism of a remote-controlled car can be hard to reproduce. However, a 'Eureka' moment while watching a TV program about kayaking made it feasible - he could control the vehicle by manipulating which side of the motor got turned on. "After going through some test runs, the four high torque motors held up beautifully well, but the Rover stopped moving due to loss of traction." Mark two taught Lio that he would have to replace the plywood chassis for a heavier one and change the hard plastic wheels. And so mark three was created: a custom-made steel chassis car with a PTZ mounted camera. The third iteration is the same configuration as the previous, but with the addition of a 16mm steel plate chassis and four rubber wheels. Assemblage of the pieces is slightly more technical to construct - a normal drill bit doesn't cut it - but the resulting machine has proved robust. "Two switches control the Rover: when two buttons are pushed it moves forward, pressing the left button will steer the car left and vice versa," says Lio. "Reverse can be done by reversing voltage polarity and throttling can be done by increasing and decreasing voltage." Measuring how far the Rover has travelled along the pipe was discussed at length on the Ask Your Mates forum. Lio followed his peers' advice. 28 Public Works Professional March-April 2015 o -- . TENVIS Resolution 640 x 460 Video FPS 30 Pan/Tìlt Fa.stest Speed a a aHa aaa BraE mlJcm I [l ./ e TENVIS Resolution 640 x 480 Video FPS 30 Pan/Tilt Fastest Speed aaa alia aaa =omæ El3lJcm I (2)[1 George Town Council's remote controlled' Rover' is already taking shots of the inside of pipes. --" PLEASE NOTE: The machine featured is not associated with the Rovver, manufactured by iPEK and marketed by SECA in Australia and New Zealand. "Travel distance is measured by reading tags installed onto the cabling," he says. liThe operator is required to key in distance onto a notepad, which is captured by the video recorder." Rover mark three is only partly water resistant, so the equipment has to be handled (and operated) with care. Regardless, spare parts are readily available and cheap to purchase so the GTC does not have to bear the full brunt of the cost of replacing the Rover. GTC is in the process of testing mark three, but the Rover has proven to be an efficient and cost effective way for a small council on a tight budget to inspect stormwater pipes. NASA would be proud. ...
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