Footage Counter on a Sewer Camera

I am very new to using Arduino and I'm in the learning process. I have a project that I need to accomplish using the Arduino and a rotary encoder, if possible. I am trying to implement a footage counter onto a sewer camera that plumbers use. The footage is needed to be displayed on a small 7" TFT LCD monitor as the cable reel turns. I would also need the ability to "reset" the footage back to zero as needed. Is this feasible and/or possible using the Arduino with a rotary encoder? If so, can someone point me into the right direction? Also, is there a basic code that I could begin with and make certain adjustments to get this project to work correctly? Thanks in advance

Hi and welcome @scoobydoo22,

Yes, this is possible. Here is a tutorial for how to interface a rotary encoder:

Here is a tutorial for how to interface a tft lcd touch screen:

Parts needed:
7" TFT LCD Touch Screen
Rotary Encoder
Arduino Mega
Tactile Button (for resetting)

You could add the two codes together and alter them to your needs.

Hope this helps.

I assume You only want to record the position of the moving things, camera etc, and not tamper with the video signals?
The project is doable.
Don't waist time searching for a ready project like this. Split it into parts like running the display, managing the encoder etc. When You master the parts You will be close to the goal.
Reading a resetting button is easy.

I might be a buzzkill here but that wheel is going to get fouled & fail and if you want to know how far in your endoscope is just put marks on the snake cable.
For resetting it just use subtraction.

Thank you sir! It makes sense to split it into different parts. Can the same Arduino be used for more that one function or would I need two separate ones? One for each part?

One Arduino would work for all of it. I think you would need to use a Mega if you are going to use a tft lcd. I would try using a 16x2 LCD because it's much simpler. That way you wouldn't need a Mega, you could use any Arduino you want to.

One Arduino. The splitting piece is just the process of mastering the different hardware one at a time.

It does help! Thank you very much kgray9!!!

Awesome thank you sir!

I currently have an UNO. Do you recommend the Mega over it for this project?

You would need to use a mega if you are using a touch screen. An uno would work if you go with a 16x2 LCD like this one

Thanks again for the tip :grinning:

How is the cable coming off the reel? Is a constant amount of endoscope fed out for each turn of the reel, or do you have an idler wheel that dies turn in exact relation to the footage or we going back to Algebra or Calculus class to come up with some way that revolutions are translated to footage?

Describe the mechanical part of this project please.


Also, could we see a picture of this reel?

It is a constant amount of cable coming off of the reel with each turn. A sample picture of this Viztrac endoscope camera can be found on the website



That does look like pretty close; there are layers of decreasing radii if I see the picture correctly, I'd have to limber up the old slide rule to see if it amounts to anything significant, so.


It looks like that shouldn’t be much of a problem because of the large diameter of the reel.

For calculating how many feet per turn, you would just do double the diameter measurement.