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13 Apr 2022 < Back

Is the reign of the torch and mirror over?!

For as long as there has been a timber preservation industry, we have been poking around in subfloors to assess the condition of structural timbers. In voids with no physical access, the torch and mirror inspection has been the long reigning standard in conducting inspections. But in this ever evolving world of technology, is it time we move on? At the PestEx Expo a few weeks ago, we spotted a device aimed at pest controllers to assist with their inspections: 'The Ferret Pro'. The device itself is incredibly lightweight and is essentially, a very small camera on an extendable pole. With four very bright LED lights, it can be put into difficult to access areas and provide a better indication as to what might be hidden. Naturally we were intrigued and brought one to give closer scrutiny. Here's our review...

The Ferret Pro

The device has a built in Wi-Fi hotspot which can be used to connect to a smart device. The reported range is 15metres (m). When we put this range to the test in the office, we managed to get to over 20m including through two doors. The Ferret stick (a telescopic pole which can be attached directly to the camera) only reached to 1.4m so this will not allow you to see the condition of gutters etc. But given the range of the Wi-Fi, if you were to find an alternative extendable pole, you could certainly use it for this application. Alternatively you could just extend your arm out of a first floor window. The 720px picture is of a reasonable quality and perfectly adequate to determine the presence of beetle infestation or timber decay. Its poor in comparison to a GoPro (but this is significantly cheaper), is better suited to dark voids, and its design means it is easier to push into nooks and crannies.

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What are its other features?

The device is also reportedly dustproof & waterproof, although we were told by the sales staff that it wouldn’t react well to being fully submerged and we have not put this to the test. The phone app was extremely easy to download. We have only used the IOS version but expect the android version is equally easy. The actual device comes supplied in a well thought out protective case, keeping all the various attachments including hooks and magnets safe - which may prove handy when doing other works such as cable installation. Other accessories include the wrist strap to free up your hands whilst using the device.

Any drawbacks?

Some of the drawbacks we have picked up on included a relatively short battery life (although its claimed it fully charges in just an hour), and, extending the ferret stick within the confines of a void might be tricky but with a bit of practice, we suspect this will become easier. Of course this technology is neither new nor revolutionary - camera poles and Boroscopes streaming to smart devices is certainly nothing new. That said, this is a well-constructed and decent bit of kit and would certainly make a useful addition to the armoury of any preservation surveyor. Will it replace the torch and mirror? Not entirely. It’s not as quick to use as a torch and mirror, but will increase visibility in certain applications, e.g. areas hidden by joists or sleep walls. It will also allow you to illustrate any defects to the client, thus increasing transparency.

Your chance to win a 'Ferret Pro'

At our Property Care Conference, on 22nd September, we will be given you the chance to win your own 'Ferret Pro'. Details will be provided closer to the time. For more information on the conference and how the world of dampness in buildings is set to change going forward, as we embrace future technologies and look to solve our sustainability challenges, simply click on the button below...

Find out More >>

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