Pushrods and Tractors – which to use?

Pushrods are the most popular choice of drain survey cameras, being cheaper and quicker to set up than a tractor system. They are designed to survey the smallest pipe sizes in general use, from 3 inches (75mm) up to 9 inches (225mm). Most domestic drains start from 4 inches (100mm) in diameter and, with an appropriately sized skid (the plastic “Cover” around the camera head to lift the camera above the flow level), our pushrods can take excellent surveys of pipes up to 12 inch (300mm) in diameter.

Our smallest pushrods (often called a “Look-see”) are able to survey pipes as small as 3 inches (75mm) and have the facility to record the survey onto either an internal hard drive, or directly onto a removable SD card up to 32GB. 

Our pushrods come with 60 or 80 metres of pushrod with integral wiring and will push the out the total distance of the rod. The unit has a self-levelling colour camera head as standard with ultabright LED’s providing the light source. It is the strength of the lighting that determines the maximum size of pipe a pushrod camera can survey. Stronger light sources can cope with larger diameter pipes. In general a good pushrod should be capable of surveying 9 inch (225mm) whilst our system can survey upto a 12 inch (300mm) pipe, after which, tractors are better for the larger diameters.

Tractor systems use a powered, heavy buggy (tractor) with an integral colour camera and removable extra lights on top for the larger diameters where extra light is required. They are designed for larger pipes and are designed to be heavy, up to 30 kilograms, for the simple reason that they have to pull up to 250 metres of cable behind them and need the traction to be effective. Our tractors can survey up to 500 metre lengths from a single opening (upstream and downstream).

Tractors operate in pipe sizes from 6 inches (150mm) upwards to 6 feet (2 metres). Tractor systems can come with pan and rotate colour camera heads with zoom, automatic and manual focusing, additional lights, a built in sonde (a radio beacon) for accuracy at surface level (the locator is an optional extra) and two extra sets of wheels for larger pipes. 

Mini-tractors, weighing around 7-8 kgs, are often used in smaller pipes from 6 inches to 12 inches (300mm) diameter, but have drawbacks in that they do not normally incorporate a gantry to raise the camera head over the flow, and pulling power is limited.

If you have any questions about which pushrod or tractor system would suit your requirements, please call Roy Dykes on (+44) 07836 546804, or email: roy@jetmasters.co.uk .