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Mast Inspection - Endoscope Hack


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Thought I'd share what I thought was a good idea.

Wanting to inspect the inside of the mast. I got a USB endoscope / mini inspection camera, taped it to the halyard and pulled it up inside the mast. I got one for $65 from PB Tech. Here is an example of one with the same specs for $35 from mighty ape (not sure why I didn't get that one). These things plug into your phone and off you go. 5 m cable, when going in at the halyard exit point I can get up to the lowers. If I need to check the top will mean a trip up in the bosuns chair. You can get wifi ones, which might work all the way up the mast from deck level (might not either, mast being like a faraday cage, blocking wifi signal). The issue I was investigating was not far above the exit point. Either that or a USB extension cable. Cheap enough to try it out.

I could see the cable / wiring duct inside the mast (still firmly attached on the inside), and the halyards (i.e. weren't wrapped). I was investigating a snag, when I was re-mousing my halyards after washing them. Turned out it was just a rivet end (random).

What I am most interested in is assessing the stay backing plates. The rigger has always said we need to check these for cracks etc, as just changing the standing rigging is a little pointless. On first go the image quality wasn't really enough to give me confidence the backing plates are OK. I think I need a better light source to give a better picture (less shadows). The camera has LED lights in the head, which is sufficient for seeing things. Easiest thing to do is tape a small torch to the halyard also I think. Checking the backing plates wasn't the purpose of this exercise, but now I see the concept works, I will have a go at doing that properly as well.

Shot loads easier and cheaper than pulling the mast out, and even then, you still can't see what is going on inside it.



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