Camera Cleaning Tool - Domewizard and DIY

By Brian Rhodes, Published Dec 11, 2012, 12:00am EST

Keeping cameras clean can be a major pain. Outdoor camera image quality can be significantly reduced by domes or housings covered with dirt, cobwebs, and insects. Often, cleaning housings involved renting worklifts, climbing maintenance manways, or maneuvering tall ladders. However, Dotworkz has released a tool that permits cleaning these high cameras from the ground. In this note, we examine the DomeWizard and compare it against alternatives.

The Problem

Understanding why dirty cameras are an issue is not difficult. However, some surprising image quality issues can occur as a result of nothing more than dirty lenses. Take the example image from the PTZ below:

Notice how the 'autofocus' function of the PTZ is especially prone to errant focusing on the surface dirt and cobwebs, which causes the picture to be unusable. Keeping the housing domes and lenses clean help keep practical operational issues from disabling cameras.

The DomeWizard

dome cleaning

Dortworkz offers a simple solution for the problem. Domewizard is a flexible cleaning wand attached to a telescoping pole. The head of the pole can be installed on standard extension poles used for painting, and the cleaning pads are designed to expand to fit a range of dome sizes up to 5" in diameter.

Check the manufacturer's product promotional video below:

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The design of the pads allow for the outside edge to be used to clean static box-style enclosures as well as domes. Kit components and list prices include:

  • The expanding wand head is designed to specifically use the system's cleaning pads. The arms of the head expand to to fit the size of the dome being cleaned. The head is molded with 3/4" X 5 threads for installation on standard extension poles, including the type used for commercial painting. The head (minus pole) costs: $60.00
  • Microfiber pads are scratch resistant on plastic dome materials like lexan and polycarbonate. The pads are machine-washable and can be laundered for multiple uses. Packs of three cost: $42.00
  • A 5 section expanding pole, for a max length of 30 feet, cost: $227.00
  • A kit composed of the above parts and including a lexan-safe cleaning solution, cost: $340.00

Other Options

Compared with the cost of renting a lift, which can cost between $75 - $300 for a single day's use and may require an extra designated 'spotter' on the ground, the Dotworkz DomeWizard may pay for itself in one or two uses.

A true 'do-it-yourself' option may not be as effective as the DomeWizard, but can be approximated from the following parts:

  • Automotive Microfiber Cleaning Mitt: $3 - $8 online
  • Ammonia based Cleaning Solution: $2 - $6 online
  • Telescoping 5 segment, 30' Extension Pole: $100 - $135 online

Using these commercial available alternatives, a device similar to the DomeWizard can be assembled from between $100 - $150. While the effectiveness of a DIY-option cannot be compared to the Dotworkz product without testing, it features the same basic components as the $340 factory kit. The DIY option is significantly less expensive, but lacks the flexible cleaning head the Dotworkz kit provides.

The Benefit

Aside from being useful for installers/integrators who regularly clean cameras as part of maintenance contracts, the DomeWizard, or similar DIY option, may also prove to be an ideal solution for many end-users - who may need to quickly wipe a camera down before a service technician can be dispatched.

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