Top positive review
Actually saved hours worth of work
October 18, 2017
Okay. I told this thing that if it got me out of the mess I was in I would write it a positive review. And a deal's a deal. I had been working on my vehicle; replacing intake manifold gaskets. The engine intakes had been carefully covered with a towel to keep anything from dropping down into them, and I was just beginning re-assembly when I noticed that the mating surfaces were kinda grungy. I moved the towel off of one of the intake ports and spritzed a little solvent onto a rag. On taking my finger off the spray nozzle, it slowly lifted up off of the can, rotated gently in mid-air a few times and then dropped straight into the *only* uncovered opening. Nothing but net. I could not have made a better shot using a funnel. But there it was. Fortunately, this was not one of those pencil-eraser sized sprayers but looked more like what's on a can of shaving cream. Problem was, I could see it (sorta; in the right light and standing on my head) but I just couldn't get to it. I tried with my finger, and I'm sure we all know how helpful that was. I tried one of the little flex grabbers and that just pushed it down further. I even tried using a shop vac to drag it out of there, and I'd swear there was someone holding it from the other side. I mean, I had enough suction that I was pulling oil out of the crankcase but this thing wouldn't budge. So while in my resigned, peaceful Zen-like meditation of deciding whether to ponder the meaning of life or simply let out a blast of language that would keep the neighborhood kids in therapy for years, I recalled having used a fiber-optic scope with a hook on the end of it many, many moons ago. And where does one go to find something like that these days? Amazon. In looking over various options, I decided on this little guy as the best fit between price, function and features. It arrived on time and in a box that was significantly smaller than I had expected. Setup was relatively painless and the app is pretty simple to use. I initially tested the camera with my Android phone but soon realized that, for my use case, I was going to want something a bit larger and easier to see without having to hold. I installed the app onto an old tablet running Android Kit-Kat, which took off and worked just as well as my current-version phone. The moment of truth had arrived. I threaded the hook attachment onto the front of the camera (for those that may not notice, there is a trim ring at the front of the camera that must be removed in order to use any of the extra, supplied tools). I also noticed some people report experiencing issues with the camera staying connected. I found, as a few others suggested, that if you turn off your cellular data the connection stays solid. My guess is that the WiFi transmitter just isn't intended to let the neighbors down the street tune in and live-stream the show. So if it drifts a bit, and your phone is set to auto-toggle between WiFi and Cell to maintain the best reception, you're liable to get knocked off. If you're seeing a connectivity problem, try turning off the Cell data and see if it clears up. Anyway, I have to admit that it took me about ten minutes to get my bearings on how to orient this round camera in a square hole 3D environment. My first foray knocked the little devil down about another half-inch or so. That might not sound like much, but when you're already panicked it seemed like it had fallen off a cliff. So after a few minutes of out-of-the-scary-place practice, I was ready to try again. Though I wouldn't really call it easy, I did find that as I used it, and varied the light level to minimize reflections coming off the polished metal sections, it became more apparent how I needed to position the camera for optimum grab. And after about two minutes of rotating and lifting and corner turning, I saw that the cap was moving as I began to withdraw camera. Very carefully, very slowly, and offering prayers to pretty much every deity I could think of (in fact, I think I still need to sacrifice a cactus under a full moon while wearing orange parachute pants for one of those guys), I had cleared the housing and had the cap in my hand! After a few moments of jubilant dancing and high-fiving everything around me (there's one very confused squirrel at my place, now, BTW) I then threw it and the can it had come from as far and as hard as I could toward the back of the house. About half-way through its arc, I truly expected to see it take a hook turn into one of the windows. But it apparently decided it had done enough damage for one lifetime and simply bounced off into the weeds. And as far as this little camera goes - it did what I needed it to do, for a good price, with only a moderate learning curve and plenty of extra cable had I needed to find something further down. I, for one, am quite satisfied with both the product and the outcome for which it was purchased. It saved me more than its cost just in aggravation, not to mention the additional parts that would have been required had I had to dismantle the top of the motor. I give it a job well done.