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Cen-Tech Inspection Camera

Maybe it was the nut or bolt you dropped on the crossmember, completely out of sight. Or maybe you were attempting to line up a socket on an unseen bolt. Or maybe you were attempting to locate a short circuit beneath a center console. Any one of these situations would make you wish you had eyes, and perhaps a flashlight, at the end of your fingertips. Back in the old days that was just a dream. We had to go by feel to line up that wrench or find the unseen bolt that dropped down somewhere in the abyss.

Today, thanks to micro-circuitry, fiber-optics, LED and LCD technology, we no longer have to feel our way through difficult repair jobs or to disassemble the entire component to determine exactly where the problems lie. We now have affordable, hand-held, remote cameras that have the capability to snake into inaccessible areas, such as a spark plug hole, to give the technician a view of the problem. Uses of this product can be endless—attaching that blind nut on a stud on the other side of the firewall or the dropped nut inside a door panel.

Manufactured by Cen-Tech, this hand-held inspection camera can snake through openings as small as 3/8-inch and give a real-time, color read-out of areas which are impossible to view otherwise. The oil and scratch-resistant lens can give a clear view of objects up to 1 inch away, and read the image back on a 2.4-inch, 140x234 resolution LCD screen. This camera has the capability of reversing the image or to rotate it 180 degrees. Battery life is about five hours of continuous operation, using four AA batteries, which are included. The MSRP on this camera is $129, while Internet sales are closer to $70. Accessories include a hook, mirror and magnet.

Cen-Tech also offers a similar camera, which is upgraded and can record either to its internal flash memory or on to a separate SD card (not included). It can also be connected to a computer to get an active view of the problem. (Attaching cable is not included). The probe is connected to the camera by a 38-inch watertight flexible shaft. On the recording camera, the 2.4-inch LCD display runs 320x240. The MSRP on the recording camera is $249, while Internet sales are closer to $200.

Harbor Freight Tools often runs coupon specials in their print ads and website. Harbor Freight Tools has over 500 outlets around the U.S. Additionally, their products can be ordered online or by phone.


John L. Bellah is a member of SAE International and is the technical editor for

Police Fleet Manager Magazine. He is a retired corporal with the California State University, Long Beach Police Department. He can be contacted at

Published in Police Fleet Manager, Nov/Dec 2013

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