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ROV Converted to Pipe Inspector

Hi All,

We are working a project,

We are building a Pipe Inspector, using all electronics from B ROV installed on top of a tranxas Rock Crawler Scale 1:8.

Pipe has some water reminder.

see video below, on our progress.

We are aiming for a project, where we need to run 200m

We are having issues with cable tension at 75m, any suggestions to reduce cable tension?

  • I am thinking on use Lubricant as Vaseline to reduce friction.
  • Any lubricant recommended as water friendly, (Stay on the skin with water contact)



Cool project!

Is the idea to use this inside water-filled pipes? The tether is made to be approximately neutrally buoyant, and should also have significantly less friction in a smooth, wet pipe than it does on rough concrete.

A bit concerned that if you lubricate it you could leave some residue in the pipe you’re inspecting, which might not be ideal - might be better to focus on stronger motors or a gearbox if you don’t have enough torque to pull it. Lubrication also makes it much more frustrating to store and unravel things - generally you lubricate things that are moving in a constrained and consistent place, not something that you’re going to roll back up after each inspection and get yourself covered in lube.


you bring some points we have no considered on the lubricant side.

definatelly the pipe (PVC) will have less friction on the tether than rought cement.

We are running some test tomorrow with some wheels on the tether every 20m and we’ll see the results.

The pipe is partially wet, we are aimming for the worst case scenario (Dry pipe) and see how it goes.


Glad I could provide some helpful advice :slight_smile:

Hope your testing goes well!

If you find you still need less friction, you might be able to get some kind of teflon coating/sheath for your tether. That’s probably quite expensive to do, and I’m not sure where you’d get it done, but might be worth considering.

The tether rough surface results in high friction. I use a standard Cat cable for pipe inspection as they have a smooth slippery surface when wet. The cat cable is negative buoyant and will be laying on the bottom of the pipe.


Thanks for the coment on the CAT cable, definitely the CAT Cable surface is smoother.

Any special Cable brand, that can be strong enough to pull the vehicle with the cable?


Hi All,

Yesterday we run another test, on the tether tension.

We managed to reduce tension by attaching 3 wheelers on the tether on intervals of 8meters. (we installed 5 pieces) at front of the tether.

See below video:

The intendent pipe we are planning to survey is made out of plastics, we hope the friction will be way lower compared with the rough cement.

Also we are planning to use Cable pulling lubricant,

I used an afforable version of Nexan CAT cable, nothing fancy

Greasing the cable is not a good idea…sand and dust will stick to the cable. Also, forget about the midline wheels. They will be stuck if there are any mud/debris in the pipe. As a base case you should avoid all and any add-ons to the tether. They will only create problems for you.
You could also use a 3mm SM fiber cable…
Did you build the tractor yourself?

Hi Oystein,

Thanks for the recommendation well noted.

Yes the tractor was built by us, using BR electronics and Tranxas RC Crawler.


Hi Luis

What is the weight of the complete crawler setup?
I have built something similar but went with a tracked solution and it weighs in at around 5Kg.
I use it for confined space inspections and needed something that had a bit of weight to tow the tether around pillars and underfloor stumps, and having something that had a bit of weight helps.
I have yet to waterproof it as the electronics are not in a sealed compartment.
My tether is just plain Cat6 cable and I have yet to go further than 50 mtrs but it is fine with that.




thanks for the advise on the weight, our unit is about 7 Kg, we noticed we can pull more cable when the tractor weight more.

we manage to pull 105 meters of Tether in a rough surface,

Our survey is next week in a plastic pipe, less friction, I am very sure we can go more than 130 meters.

I have the Cat 6 Cable as plan B.


I have a similar rover for pipe inspection. No pulling problem for 200m if the cable weight is less than the rover. A cheap AWG24 twisted pair or the Fathom X works fine for 200m.


thanks for your commend noted

Here updated video

We are ready for real work action next week


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