Milwaukee M-Spector AV M12 Cordless Multimedia Camera Kit

A cost effective tool for virtually any trades person, with a positive return on investment

milwaukee_2310

Milwaukee M-Spector AV M12 Cordless Multimedia Camera Kit



It's only within the last few years that we've begun to see affordably priced inspection cameras specifically designed for the trades. Inspection cameras consist of a long flexible waterproof cable with a camera lens on one end and a hand-held screen and control unit on the other end. The beauty of this arrangement is that you simply insert the the cable through an appropriately sized opening to view what otherwise would require some form of dismantling or unnecessary damage. Plumbers, electricians, carpenters, renovators and the like will appreciate it's cost-effectiveness.



The M-Spector AV M12 Cordless Multimedia Camera Kit (2311-21) is the latest in Milwaukee's line of inspection tools. The 'kit' consists of the control body (part 2311-20), a .67"/17mm diameter 39"/1m flexible cable with camera on one end, 2 GB memory card, USB cable to download images to a computer, 12V lithium-ion battery, charger, instruction booklet and a lockable high impact storage case.

The control body is made of high impact ABS plastic with a non-slip grip on the handle.

The control body, which only weighs 2.1 pounds (with battery and cable installed), is easily controlled by one hand. It has a large LCD screen (2-1/16" H by 2-3/4" W) with conveniently located control buttons, which you can manipulate with your thumb. Once you get used to what the icons on the buttons mean, using the 2311-21 is a piece of cake.
 

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Sturdy. lockable storage case
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A place for everything
The LCD screen has a 320 by 240 resolution, giving very clean, sharp images. When turned on, the 2311-20 defaults to picture mode (you'll see a tiny icon of a camera on the lower left side of the screen). At the top of the screen are three icons (LED brightness, camera zoom, and camera rotate). You switch between these three functions by pressing the directional buttons (left arrow and right arrow) on the control arm. You control the functions by pressing the + and - buttons on the control arm. The round button at the center of the directional and +/- buttons is the 'record' button (which oddly enough doesn't have an icon identifying it as such).
 

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Control buttons are all together, and easily accessible
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The control menu is at the top of the screen, while submenus appear on the left
Just above the circular arrangement of buttons is a row of four smaller horizontal buttons. The horizontal buttons control: power to the unit (for turning the unit on and off), camera mode (for taking still photos), movie mode, and playback mode. I found that it took me half a dozen times using the 2311-20 before I felt comfortable with the button arrangement. I kept inadvertently pressing the 'record' button - until I stuck a bit of red tape on it to visually remind me of its function.
 

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Screen resolution is very good and pictures appear clean and crisp
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Zoom function provides up to 4x magnification
The 2311-21 is powered by Milwaukee's M12 lithium-ion battery (obviously interchangeable with any other Milwaukee M12 cordless tool). The battery delivers up to 12 hours of continuous run time, which should last anywhere from several days to several weeks between charges. You don't have to worry about turning the 2311-20 off; after 5 minutes of inactivity it automatically shuts down. And, on the lower right side of the screen is a fuel gauge, so you'll know when to re-charge the battery.
 

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Sample of downloaded image

The 2 gigabyte secure digital memory card can hold up to an astounding 7,600 images, or 90 minutes of recorded audio-visual. You can look at the captured images on the LCD screen right on the job, or head back to the shop and download them to your computer. Being able to show customers what needs to be taken care of is a real bonus. If you've ever downloaded from a digital camera your in business. Simply attach the supplied USB cable to the 2311-21 and plug it into your computer. Your computer should then automatically download the images. 



Photos are 1280 pixels by 960 pixels (260 KB in size), while a 30 second video is about 10 MB in size. The little rubber flap that covers the memory card and USB interface port looks to me like it will eventually fall off. It also doesn't cover the ports tightly; I can easily see dust or moisture seeping in.
 

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Download images via a USB cable
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Protective cover doesn't close tightly
The camera itself sits on the end of a 39" waterproof moderately flexible cable. A cable that is too flexible can't be pushed properly without bunching up, while a stiff cable is easier to push, but more difficult to bend around obstacles. While a mechanic might want a more flexible cable, I feel that this cable is a good compromise for most trades people in the building industry.



A longer cable might be handy at times, and fortunately you can purchase a optional 8' extension cable (Part # 48-53-0140). The camera can fit through any opening that is 5/8" diameter or larger. I do have a concern with the plastic lens cover on the camera. If these cables are pushed aggressively I can easily see the lens being easily damaged.
 

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Plastic lens cover invites damage
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A terrific productivity tool for any trades-person
I found it quick and easy to manoeuvre the cable into, under and around tight spaces. The 2311-20 has a 4x  adjustable LED brightness control that provides a very clear picture in any dark place. I found that, for the best photos, it's best to leave the LED at full brightness. Because the cable gets turned every which way, sometimes the images are topsy-turvey. Some inspection cameras have a self-leveling feature that automatically keeps the image right side up. 



However, the 2311-20 only enables you to rotate the images (both live and captured) 180°. But, it does have a decent 4X zoom feature. It's not like a smooth zoom on a digital camera - the movement is somewhat jerky - still, it's a welcome feature. Apart from the optional 8' cable, the 2311-20 doesn't offer any accessories (at least at this time). Useful accessories I've seen other inspection cameras include a magnet, hook, and mirror.



There is no doubt in my mind that the Milwaukee M-Spector AV M12 Cordless Multimedia Camera Kit is a cost effective tool for virtually any trades person, with a positive return on investment.

KEY FEATURES:


  • 4 1 42" W x 9 3/8" L
  • 2.1 lbs/.965 kg (with battery)
  • 12V lithium-ion battery with 12 hour run time
  • 2 GB SD mrmory card stores u pto 7,600 photos or 90 minutes of recorded audio/video
  • Integrated microphone and speaker
  • 3.5" LCD display, 320 x 240 resolution
  • .67"/17mm digital camera on 39" flexible, waterproof cable (optional .37"/9.5mm analog camera available, model# 2312-21)
  • 4X adjustable zoom
  • 4X adjustable LED brightness
  • Rotate both live and captured images
  • Auto shut off
  • Waterproof 39" cable
  • 5 year tool and 2 year battery warranty
  • Includes: lockable, hard shell storage case, 17mm camera cable, 2GB memory card, USB cable, 12V lithium-ion battery, charger, instruction booklet

MANUFACTURER:Milwaukee Electric Tool Corp
AVAILABLE FROM:Tool and equipment suppliers nationwide
RETAIL PRICE:$499.00
MODEL #:2311-20
MADE IN:N/A
Carl Duguay, November 2010
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