Being able to see in tight or hidden places is always handy for a myriad of automotive work. From being able to view the hidden rear of an intake manifold gasket, peering into cylinder head exhaust ports, inspecting the location and condition of an otherwise near-impossible-to-see harness connector, looking down into intake manifold runners, to inspecting for a rear main seal leak on an installed engine, a peek-into-tight-places tool can save hours during inspections and diagnosis.
One such tool is the DeWalt cordless inspection camera (model DCT410 or DCT411). That’s right — camera. This cordless (runs on a rechargeable battery pack) inspection tool features a three-foot-long flexible gooseneck viewing cable outfitted with both a camera lens and LED light, and a large digital viewing screen (in full color, by the way).
The tool allows you to poke around with the flexible probe, viewing live as you search. When you see something that you want to record (for records or to study afterwards), press a button and you can snap a digital photo.
And if that isn’t cool enough, you can press another button and record color video (cool for viewing the action of moving parts).
A small Micro SD slot is featured for a micro SD memory card of up to 16 gb (NOTE: The SD card is not included with the kit, but is readily available at any camera shop or mass retailer. These SD cards, depending on memory capacity, can run anywhere from $6 to $40. They’re available in sizes starting with 2 gb.) You don’t need an SD card to view with the camera, but you’ll need a card if you want to record stills or video. If you plan on recording video, get the larger-capacity 16 gb size.
Photos are saved in JPG format, and videos are saved as AVI. Once you’ve taken your still photos and/or video, pop the SD card out of the tool, slip it into your PC and upload. Couldn’t be easier.
NOTE: You’re not forced to take photos or video if you don’t want to. You can use the tool as an inspection tool only, but you have the immediate option of recording what you see if you so desire.
In truth, this tool was designed for building contractors to view and record hidden cables in walls, HVAC inspection, plumbing inspection, etc. However, just as a screwdriver or a hammer can be used by either a home builder or an automotive technician, this tool can serve as a great inspection aid in any automotive shop as well.
A series of control buttons are featured on the tool’s camera head. On top (above the viewing screen, left to right) are the power button, the zoom/delete button, the play button, the video start/stop button and the camera button.
Below the screen are the main menu button, the back button, the OK button, and the forward button.
On the right outboard side is a small reset button. On the left outboard side is the micro SD memory card slot. Just above the pistol grip (on the underside of the tool snout) is the camera cable on/off switch and a rolling LED light brightness switch.