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Load line camera

Discussion in 'Cranes' started by Natman, May 2, 2021.

  1. Natman

    Natman Senior Member

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    After a particularly frustrating truss job yesterday, it occurred to me, and not for the first time, that I need to check into a camera. I fully expect it to be expensive. I just googled the subject and sent a few queries out, as expected no mention was made of the price. But all the cranes were quite large, and it makes me wonder if they are even addressing the boom truck market?

    For starters, I don't have a flat spot on my round down haul weight, as I see on the demo videos, that have flat sided load blocks. It'd be easy enough to fab a bracket for a camera, and weld it on the ball, and not compromise the load line. Don't know if that would be "legal", but I can't see a problem with it. They are magnetically attached it seems, and transmit wirelessly I also assume.

    The pic shows me reaching out to set some deck trusses, (I'm looking at a sheeted wall) while sitting down in a hole and looking at nothing but OSB. If it wasn't for the LMI I wouldn't have a clue. The better a operator gets at using all the tricks while working blind, without any signaling, the more they take you for granted and just assume you have X ray vision. These kinds of jobs are why I bought a wireless remote for my 17 ton Terex many years ago. But since getting a rider, I am too spoiled to even consider getting a remote for the National, I like my cab's amenities too much, I don't want to leave it just for a better view. I would be the only truss setter in my area with a camera, getting the God's Eye view, that would impress the contractors (some, the best ones) I work with that give a hoot and appreciate the expense involved and that I am willing to go the extra mile to do a better job. Plus it'd save me getting a sore throat from yelling, and all the jumping up and down from the op cab after the yelling doens't work and I have to go directly to under the hook and tell the crew that "by the way, you know I can't see a frigging thing, right?" And I'm not talking once per job, multiple times this happens. Any camera experience anyone has for something best suited for my needs, let me know. I expect it to cost 5 K at least, probably more, hopefully not more than 10. It should be $1500.00 at most but i know better. IMG_20210430_112723202.jpg
     
  2. crane operator

    crane operator Senior Member

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    Steve Waldner put one on his tms700. He bought a remote camera like for on a car, and used a adapter from ebay for a dewalt cordless battery to run it. He said it gave a great picture. I'd be interested, but I don't really want to put one on all my cranes, or switch it from crane to crane.

    I'll look for the thread. His isn't mounted to the ball, but to the boom by the A2b chain with a pivot mount, so its always looking down.

    A block mount is okay, with rotation resistant cable they hang pretty straight. Mounted on a ball is going to be disorientating on the screen because its going to spin. I think I'd want a boom mount like steve's.
     
    Natman likes this.
  3. crane operator

    crane operator Senior Member

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  4. skyking1

    skyking1 Senior Member

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    that's what I thought too, one on the boom looking down the line.
     
  5. Toolslinger

    Toolslinger Member

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    While I haven't installed it yet, I picked up a wireless unit from Amazon with two cameras. I added a 22400 mAh battery pack that will do 12 or 24v, and a small Pelican case to seal the battery in. I'm going to mount it all on a plate, and it will hang from the jib mounting pin, so it can rotate to stay vertical. The second camera will stick on the lower section of the boom looking out since my proposed use is below the damn crest just a bit, which would give me two views to hand the clam/hook.
    I've only got 35' of boom, so distance isn't much of an issue for me. Doing a homebrew like this might be an issue for you guys with long booms since the cheap cameras all seem to have wide angle lenses. I believe I've got about $300 in it. I tested the camera on the battery pack, and just shut it down after running for 48 hours, including the IR night illuminators. That's plenty of reserve to cover the battery as it ages.
    This is all on an antique, that isn't going to get used around other people, and sure as heck isn't going to be a life safety devise. It's just there to help with a project, on a tight budget...
     
  6. skyking1

    skyking1 Senior Member

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    the camera is an additive device on the production cranes. the biggest single issue safety-wise is hanging it on there so none of it can come apart and fall from the boom tip.
     
  7. Tugger2

    Tugger2 Senior Member

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    I keep some hand held radios around , give one to a man on the ground and things go pretty well when you cant see.A drum rotation indicator that works helps lots to. If you go the extra mile and get a nice headset then your set.
     
  8. Natman

    Natman Senior Member

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    Yes, on more professional sites, working with experienced people, that'd be the way to go. On the residential house jobs I do, I'd still be relying on unskilled and unknown to me people, telling me what to do, I'd rather eyeball it myself. I do have a DRI, helps for sure, as does the LMI telling me the truss has touched down.

    I installed a backup camera on the National some years ago, works great, and I seem to recall they offer them wireless also, Sounds like homebrewing one may be the way to go, I can build airplanes so maybe I can cobble something together for the crane?! I'll first see who gets back to me this week on the info requests I put in. Some of the pro models have a zoom feature, that may be handy, using a backup camera with the wide point of view, not so much. Tip of the boom would be OK, much less problematic, getting it rigged to gravity point down should be too hard.
     
  9. Natman

    Natman Senior Member

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    The same outfit I got my backup camera from. https://www.rearviewsafety.com/safe...up-camera-system-5-single-screen-monitor.html Seems simple enough, and less than 5K......it's not clear to me what powers the camera. I see the specs list it draws 3.5 watts, so about 1/4 amp @ 12 volts. I see upon further inspection, (and re-reading the other camera posts) that the camera transits the picture wirelessly, but needs power ran to it, got it now. I guess I thought "wireless" meant NO wires to the camera at all, that had me confused a bit.
    I'm going to go one further, and design a system that will be totally self contained, and solar powered. The right lithium battery, and a 10 watt or even 5 watt PV panel would be plenty big enough. A charge controller would also be required, no problem there, I did solar work for decades, just lots bigger systems. I will eyeball my boom tip tomorrow first thing and see what comes to mind.
     
  10. skyking1

    skyking1 Senior Member

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    take some good pictures of how you set that up. it is something I always wanted and I was lucky enough to have those more professional crews to work with, mostly. The home builders sound like a daily hassle.
     
  11. Natman

    Natman Senior Member

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    It usually the kid on the job, sometimes the wife or girlfriend, someone who can't run a nail gun or climb a ladder. The most experienced guy will be up on the plateline, and many just don't seem to realize the POV I have is not as good as theirs. Glasses that can see thru OSB would work also.

    Just heard back from one crane camera outfit, HookCam, about $7500.00. My guess of between 5 and 10K was spot on! I think I may be able to cobble something up that will undercut that price. $500.00 sounds about right.
     
    dirty4fun likes this.
  12. f311fr1

    f311fr1 Senior Member

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    We put a wireless camera on the stick of our excavator broad casing to an I pad strapped to the operators knee. This allowed us to do an even fill of crawl spaces from below and eliminate a bunch of hand work.
     
    doublewide likes this.
  13. Natman

    Natman Senior Member

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    Got a package deal on a 10 watt PV module, a controller, and a quality lithium battery, for $101.00 inc shipping. Just ordered the camera and receiver from RVS, for $359.00, shipping included. The other expenses will be 0, the mount will be fabbed from stuff I already have.

    Setting trusses on two jobs today, I couldn't help but think that several times, if the camera works even half as good as I think it will (and I know the picture quality, real good, already from my backup camera use) it may just be a game changer.
     
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  14. Natman

    Natman Senior Member

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    About done, two separate modules, both on left side of boom, both bolt to the ears that are there for the jib. Not wanting to scare up any 1 3/8" dia by 2" bolts, I used a combination of steel pipe, aluminum tube, and sch. 80 PVC well drop pipe to shim down the big holes to 1/2". THIS is why we have a shop junk pile! So, two 1/2" bolts, and the thing will come off or on in a minute or so, without (goes without saying) any modification to the boom tip itself. Top piece holds the 10 watt solar panel, the weather tite junction box, and the lithium iron battery plus the charge controller, bottom part holds the 16" swing arm, with the camera at it's end. The only only connection between the two is the 12 VDC power cord, and that will have a quick disconnect. Splitting the thing up into two parts was the best idea I have had yet, no real need for a single component. I got the idea while driving down the road, and with nothing better to do eyeballing the boom tip, and it all fell into place. Still a bit less than $500.00, but more work than I thought, but I always think that.

    The big unknown is how it will "look", or view, I am sure it will work. I have been looking at my rear view camera a lot when driving, as opposed to backing into a job site, and the picture is excellent: good definition, full color, etc., as far as I know the wireless camera shows the same picture quality. 90% of my residential truss sets I can do with 85' of stick, so by the time I am boomed down and working maybe on a 2 story house, my viewpoint will only be 40/60" away, more or less. Pictures when it's all done and I get a handle on how it works.
     
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  15. skyking1

    skyking1 Senior Member

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    Can't wait to see the pics of the pics of the Picks.
    :D
     
  16. Natman

    Natman Senior Member

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    IMG_20210517_154339666_HDR.jpg First off, this thread should be BOOM TIP CAMERA, no way a load line camera would be worth anything for except the slowest and smoothest operator! But here's what I have come up with so far.

    The two separate components are each held to the two boom tip ears (where the jib pins go) by bushed down 1/2" bolts, the clamping force keeping them from swiveling or moving, simpler is best here. NO change at all in set up or driving down the road, not in the way at all and so far any customer has failed to even notice this addition. A quick electrical disconnect, pulled, and the two modules can come off separate in about 2 minutes or less. The receiver is mounted in line of sight to my existing LMI, but much closer to my eyeballs, about 10", but no turning of my head required to easily see both. the wireless camera DOES draw power all the time, about .1 of an amp, so I rigged a lighted toggle switch that so far I have remembered to turn off at the end of the day. The 7" screen on the receiver is powered by the op cab system, along with my LMI and radio, and is automatically disable when I shut down the crane function before driving down the road. IMG_20210517_154339666_HDR.jpg The charge controller for the 5 watt solar panel has a built in load terminal, but i am not sure if it also features a LVD like the bigger and high quality controllers do, that stands for low voltage disconnect. That makes it idiot proof, if you fail to turn off any load, it can self disconnect before totally draining the battery. If the lighted toggle switch (a built in LED on the switch handle) fails to get my attention, I may also wire in a larger LED on the back of the camera, more in my field of view while driving down the road. I have a stick onboard to reach the toggle switch at the end of the day.

    The good part: the camera, so far with up to 101' of boom out, transmits that far to the receiver no problem. The two modules are outa the way, as is the receiver, and their install went as planned, . BUT...the picture quality is not quite as good as my hard wired backup camera. This is probably a function of bandwidth/it being wireless, and why the "real" crane camera systems seem to start at $7500.00. At the same time, it was totally worth the bit less then $500.00 and a few hours of my spare time it took. It is about like I figured: worthless and not needed for 90% of my work, but super handy now and then. Looking down from 80' at trusses, the shadows on the floor and the trusses themselves get a little mixed up, but when setting a big hip roof girder assembly today, all by itself, it was very helpful. In fact, the carpenter motioned for me to cable down, while my camera told me I needed to first boom back a couple feet (couldn't see squat visually) and sure enough, after I came down I needed to boom back, the camera was right. There will be a learning curve to using it, and I have decided to not tell most of my customers I have it, at least for now, as it really won't change things much from their perspective, more of an aid for me. Loading a 40' fiberglass swimming pool today on a trailer, I was easily able to discern that I was centered up over it before winching up. Truss work may be it's least useful function, get it out in the open with less visual clutter and it's picture quality is plenty good enough, and 100% better than nothing!

    The 1 1/2" sq tube swing arm, pivots in nylon blocks, all hardware is aircraft/grade 8, and uses nyloc nuts, the blue strap on the 8" junction box, a 6" J box wasn't quite big enough, (for the battery and controller) is NOT the primary means of holding it there, and will be replaced, it is a backup and not really needed but redundant. It will be replaced by stainless aircraft cable. The friction of the camera swing arm can be fine tuned, and I seem to have got it right first time, as there is no wildly swinging driving down the road, or during jack rabbit starts (that's a joke) but it stays dead plumb while I boom up or down. I put a cup of lead shot in the swing arm, just because I had it handy and I figured the mass would make it more stable. As of now, I wouldn't change a thing, other than opt for a better camera image, but not for another $6500.00 IMG_20210517_154415638_HDR.jpg .
     
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  17. Natman

    Natman Senior Member

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    The 4500 lb. pool job, just loading the trailer, setting it for real Wednesday. Taking a picture of a screen with a phone doesn't really show the picture quality, and the wide angle view takes a bit of getting used to. IMG_20210517_145413067.jpg
     
  18. Toolslinger

    Toolslinger Member

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    That looks handy. I need to get enough other projects done to get back to my hobby crane, and camera...
    I note that the camera is on the left side of your boom, and the image seems to indicate it's on the right side. Is the image upside down, or mirrored, or am I just thinking wrong? That's assuming the wide dimension of the image is perpendicular to the boom.
     
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  19. Natman

    Natman Senior Member

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    I just noticed today while setting some iron at a new dairy, that I need to flip the camera around, easy enough to do, one nut. Didn't notice before as I was looking at it head on, if that makes sense. Like I said, there will be a learning curve! I have a variety of jobs the next few days, not just my usual trusses, that should get me up to speed on how to interpret what it's showing me.
     
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  20. Natman

    Natman Senior Member

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    Today, while first off loading some small bundles of roof jack trusses from a semi, while the 60' trusses still on the trailer were blocking my view, as was setting the jacks on the far side of the truck, the camera allowed me to me to scatter them out just right. Plus I was able to see the truck driver unrigging me. No signal person of course, so the camera made the job go quicker, wait a minute... I work by the hour! Oh well, still fun doing the best work you can, and I will be called back to set them after they frame the houses, a new customer, he appreciated the way I offloaded and how I was setup. Got him fooled....
     
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