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New tool/toy for looking at roofs and chimneys


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Just flew it for about 15 minutes so need lots more time for full evaluation. I watched it around roof very closely (very windy) and kept glancing at monitor. Lost sight couple time on back roof with no issues. I can switch from video to camera in a second. Also it hovers very well (stays pretty much right in place) so if something looked like an issue can fly quite close and snap photos. Photos are downloaded onto micro disk on phantom. I can move camera any way I want including straight down with phone app that attached to monitor. When it landed just upload them to my iPhone for instant review. Not saying it's the answer to never walking on roofs but I come across some difficult roofs(as we all do) where I believe this can be very useful. When I did the 1st video the drone was up 400 feet up/out and well out of my vision so had to rely on monitor. Also went so far it lost signal and iPhone app said "signal lost heading to home base". After about 5 minutes could hear it then soon see as it began to come down directly over my head on an automatic flight land path when I was to regain control and land. So far the hardest thing is getting use to flight stick. I want to be able to fly it where I want too without thinking about flight controls. (elevate ,turn, throttle up or down, back or forward, etc.) I figure it will be about a month before I use it on a job. Need lots more flight time to feel comfortable. Or then again it may just turn out to be expensive toy after all.-time will tell.

John

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I agree on the *useful for some roofs* part. It could be quite useful, but I have some serious trepidations about getting into it, not the least of which is that thing we've all experienced where some aspect of the inspection goes wrong. It seems like the drone thing would have lots of opportunity for going wrong. Or at least, making me look like a moron.

Does your machine have the GPS hover feature?

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Hmmm, some things never change on this forum. Any look is better than no look. When it isn't safe to use a 40+ foot ladder to hop onto a roof, an aerial photograph can be exceedingly helpful. Photos taken by my drone are 14 megs, and can be zoomed in upon.

I tried to upload an example, but anything over 90 kb gets rejected here.

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Who was saying it's not useful? I'm saying I wonder if there's a lot of opportunity for mayhem.

If you're extra proud of your drone, and have useful information to share, tell us about it in less snide-like words.

Also, pics are downsized because some folks post mega hi rez, and it eats up memory and function. Or something. Any pic is helpful.

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I take all my inspection pics in 14 MP so I can zoom in, crop stuff out, etc. It has been really helpful since ditching the note pad and relying on pics alone... almost, I still jot down model numbers if I can't make them out on my camera screen.

The PDF converter built into Windows 10 resizes them very nicely.

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I used to do shoot big rez until I talked to a good photographer about imaging and how to think about it. I try to get a good initial image instead of having to rework images. Saves lots of time and makes for better pics.

Do most folks take big high rez and then manipulate their pics?

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I have my camera set on the lowest resolution it has, I think it is called email or PC setting. Most of my photos are in the 100mb to 150 mb. They are more than enough in size for HI work. I try to take a good picture the first time and review them to make sure while I'm on site. I only take pictures of problems. Since I have been using digital cameras (I think about 1998) I have always used the lowest setting and as far as I know have not suffered any from it.

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I take hundreds of construction pics each week, stuff that is intended to be looked at days, weeks, months, or years later for details. Everything is 3000x2000 and about 2MB, big enough to zoom in on if need be, but I always try to crop at the time I take the shot by getting or zooming closer. More is better.

The rooftop shots I've seen from drones... so far... look like they give a decent cursory look, but with roofs and flashing, there are lots of times where you want to lift a layer to look underneath. There are lots of places you can't easily climb to without protection, so a drone would be a lot better than nothing.

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Who was saying it's not useful? I'm saying I wonder if there's a lot of opportunity for mayhem.

If you're extra proud of your drone, and have useful information to share, tell us about it in less snide-like words.

Also, pics are downsized because some folks post mega hi rez, and it eats up memory and function. Or something. Any pic is helpful.

My intention wasn't to be snide. A 90 kb photo would pretty much be worthless, because the detail would be lost. I have your e-mail address. If you'd like me to zap you a photo or two, I'm happy to oblige.

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I don't think I need a pic; I know they take good pics. I've fiddled with a demo and I know a couple guys that have them to know the pics are good.

My concern is the mayhem factor and how much actual use I'd get out of a drone. I'd probably need it a few jobs every year, with a few meaning something >2 and <10. Factor in the unknown of weather, and it might only come out of the box (for me) a few times a year.

That might make it worth it, or not. I don't know yet.

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I have my camera set on the lowest resolution it has, I think it is called email or PC setting. Most of my photos are in the 100mb to 150 mb. They are more than enough in size for HI work. I try to take a good picture the first time and review them to make sure while I'm on site. I only take pictures of problems. Since I have been using digital cameras (I think about 1998) I have always used the lowest setting and as far as I know have not suffered any from it.

Scott, I do a lot of structural inspections as a result of things found by HIs. When the resolution is too low I cannot see details. I often like to review reports ahead of time because sometimes I can give the client an idea as to the level of concern, or even whether it is worth spending the money to have me come out.

Also, too many HIs fill their reports with useless photos of attics, crawl spaces, water heaters, etc., and then when it come to defects they either don't take a photo, take a photo from too far away, or take a close-up that cannot be identified. It seems like they follow a routine and produce a report, but pay little attention to actually inspecting and reporting. BTW, I'm not accusing you of this, Just ranting as usual.

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It seems like they follow a routine and produce a report, but pay little attention to actually inspecting and reporting.

It's a real problem in the profession. Lots of folks punch info into a computer program, drag a couple pics into it, and they don't know why.

The rez thing is also a function of folks not knowing what they're doing or how to take a photo. If one knows what one is looking at and what they're trying to tell the customer, they can take a good pic. If not, they don't.

Rez has little to do with it. Good pics can be pretty much any resolution. It's about composition and providing establishing and close ups, it's not necessarily about rez.

I can imagine that rez is pretty important with the drones because of the inherent problems in getting the shots lined up right.

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The drones have been around for quite a while, but the software is now making them more usable for the novice. They are very stable platforms with the software, without it it takes military training. I have the Phantom 2 vision and I have no practice or experience flying anything or gamer experience. I have found it easy to use with one exception. If the guidance system does not lock in...do not fly it unless you are an expert. I had one major issue when flying it (during the first month) because I was in stupid mode and the GPS was not locked. It crashed and burned but I sent it in and they repaired it ...at no charge. I find I use it just about every week for steep roofs that I will not walk and it gives images that are as good as walking on the roof.

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Here's another curve I've been hearing.....

Reading the screens in sunlight is really problematic; think trying to read your cell phone or iPad in sunlight, and that's what you get. It can mess you up and I'm aware of a couple crashes because of it.

One of the companies now has a headset/helmet with screen arrangement so it's, in effect, like going under a hood so you can see the screen.

Kicker....the headset is around $700, and it's proprietary so it's not interchangeable with other drone controls. One of the guys I know that has a drone says it's an investment one probably should make if they're serious.

Takeaway....the technology is still getting hammered out. The GPS lock thing, the helmet, etc., it's going to take a while before the dust settles enough to know which equipment is the right equipment.

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It seems like they follow a routine and produce a report, but pay little attention to actually inspecting and reporting.

It's a real problem in the profession. Lots of folks punch info into a computer program, drag a couple pics into it, and they don't know why.

The rez thing is also a function of folks not knowing what they're doing or how to take a photo. If one knows what one is looking at and what they're trying to tell the customer, they can take a good pic. If not, they don't.

Rez has little to do with it. Good pics can be pretty much any resolution. It's about composition and providing establishing and close ups, it's not necessarily about rez.

I can imagine that rez is pretty important with the drones because of the inherent problems in getting the shots lined up right.

Continuing thread drift...

Here is a typical example of what I get. The resolution is not as bad any many, but are we talking about one joist or many? In this case the inspector did not call for a structural engineer, but the buyers apparently hired one anyway. Every comment in the report ends with just about the same sentence: Have a qualified contractor further evaluate and repair...

Download Attachment: icon_adobe.gif ceiling joists.pdf

55.52 KB

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I could have used a drone camera last week. I made a risky climb to get a shot down a chimney that I knew dang well was bad. But the pic proves it, end of story. I had forgotten that the pole camera can take a shot from the ladder.

My idea is a helium balloon on a reasonable length tether like a strong fishing rod. Get overviews of a chimney or a dormer roof from the ground. The balloon is about the size of a football and can carry a web cam. Mucho quicker than getting a drone out of its carrying case, IMO.

It will cost $40 for the Helium or create hydrogen gas but that is a liability. The ballon will go flat in a week or so.

So you need to pump the gas back into the bottle when you're done, and put it all away.

I used the paint pole camera once last year and keep it handy. Haven't been accused of spying yet but it could happen. Don't want the flash to go off going up past the penthouse windows. [:)]

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