Comprehensive guide & review: Does Walabot really work | What phones are compatible with Walabot? | What type of walls can Walabot see through | How to set up Walabot | All the Walabot Alternatives | and more…
9th Jun 2020
By Rohan Tandon
Rohan is a passionate tech journalist with a degree in English literature. He's worked as a commissi
Have you ever wished you could see inside your walls?
Perhaps you suspect termites in your walls. Perhaps you’re concerned about the condition of your pipes. Whatever the reason, you may wish you had x-ray vision to peer into the walls without taking a hammer to them.
Walabot DIY uses RF radar to project a visual representation of the inside of your walls in your smartphone. This means you can use Walabot DIY to see through walls and detect anomalies. In this Walabot guide, we discuss everything you need to know about this technology.
What is Walabot DIY and how does it work?
Walabot DIY is a small device that looks just like a portable hard disk, about the same size as a smartphone. The product has been designed and manufactured by a 3D imaging sensor firm called Vayyar Imaging. The company specializes in producing 3D and 4D imaging sensors for their clients.
Walabot DIY uses RF radar signals to produce a visual representation of what lies beyond your walls. Walabot has a magnetic body with which you can attach it behind your smartphone. As such, you can simply run your phone with the Walabot DIY over your wall’s surface. You can scan all walls and surfaces as long as they’re within 4-inches in depth. Walabot DIY is especially useful when you’re looking for studs to hammer nails into the wall.
Walabot DIY is useful for everyone, including novice DIYers, builders, and professional renovators. Whether you’re hanging a picture on the wall or a large TV, you need to make sure you don’t drive your nail through any pipes or wires. Walabot DIY allows you to avoid such mishaps. The Walabot DIY design is so simple and intuitive that even the most technologically challenged people will master it quickly enough.
Walabot DIY is especially useful if you’re working in old homes, those that were either built long ago or have seen multiple renovations. Such homes often have improperly laid wires, pipes, and studs. For example, you may have some wires going through studs. Walabot DIY can identify these subtle details, thus saving you from potentially costly damages.
Portability: Most imaging devices on the market are large and bulky. However, Walabot DIY has advanced imaging capabilities while being the same size as a smartphone. As such, you can easily stuff it into your pockets and carry it anywhere you want.
Magnetized: Walabot DIY comes with a magnetized casing that allows you to attach it to your phone without any damage to either device. As such, you can easily scan your walls with your smartphone.
Truly DIY: Walabot DIY lives up to its name because you can handle it yourself. All you have to do is connect your phone to the Walabot DIY with a type-C or micro-USB cable. Furthermore, even the smartphone app is extremely simple and comes with step-by-step tutorials.
Safe: Walabot DIY uses RF radar signals instead of X-rays, making it extremely safe.
Protective Layers: Walabot DIY comes with protective layers like a plastic film and reusable gel pad, ensuring you don’t damage your Walabot, walls, or phone.
Walabot DIY Cons:
I could only think of one Walabot DIY drawback. It is only compatible with Android phones running Android 6.0+. As of now, there is no iOS compatibility. Therefore Walabot is not compatible with the iPhone.
Unboxing, Installing and Using Walabot DIY. Is it easy?
Installing Walabot DIY is extremely simple. As the name suggests, you can do it yourself without professional supervision. The following is a step-by-step overview of the installation process.
Step 1: Unbox Walabot DIY
Walabot DIY Device: Shaped like a portable hard disk, this is the primary Walabot device.
Two Cables: You’ll find two cables — one micro-USB and one type-C. Use the cable compatible with your smartphone and ignore the other.
Plastic Film: This is a protective layer used to protect your walls and Walabot DIY.
Gel Pad: This will ensure your Walabot DIY remains attached to your phone.
When asked to give permission to access your photos/media/files, tap Allow.
Step 3: Register your Walabot DIY
Scroll through the Terms of Service and tap I Agree.
You’ll be asked if you have a Walabot DIY. Select Yes.
Enter all the requested details to register your device, activating the warranty.
Step 4: Connect Walabot DIY to your Phone
Retrieve the protective plastic film and attach it on the flat side of the Walabot DIY.
Remove the plastic protector from the gel pad and attach it to the raised surface of the Walabot DIY.
Attach your smartphone to the Walabot DIY’s gel pad surface. You can wash and reuse the gel pad once you’re done.
Connect the Walabot DIY to your phone using the relevant type-C or micro-USB cable. Ensure your smartphone is fully charged because Walabot DIY will use your phone’s power.
You’ll be asked to allow access to your USB device. Tap OK.
Step 5: Calibrate Walabot DIY to your Wall
Select the wall on which you want to use the Walabot DIY. Make sure that you choose the correct wall type for calibration.
Place Walabot DIY on the wall and tap Start. You must calibrate the device correctly for accurate results.
During the calibration process, keep the device firmly pressed against the wall.
Move the Walabot DIY in a circular motion over the wall’s surface. The circular motion should be around 16-inches in diameter.
Keep moving the phone in circles until you get the calibrated message.
You won’t have to recalibrate every time you lift the device. But you will have to recalibrate every time you scan a new wall.
Step 6: Select the Viewing Mode: Image Mode vs. Expert Mode
Image Mode: Image Mode helps with the classification of objects. It differentiates between pipes, wires, wooden studs, and metal studs. When you’re in Image Mode, you simply have to place the Walabot DIY against the wall and start scanning. Move the device slowly for accurate results. A blue blob will indicate that two objects are close together. You can scan a larger area of the wall to detect those objects or move into Expert Mode for greater accuracy.
Expert Mode: Expert Mode is the sensor’s raw signal output and allows you to detect movement within walls. You should enter Expert Mode to look for intersection points and curved objects and examine movement. When you’re in Expert Mode, place the Walabot DIY against the wall and follow the curves of the pipes and wires to identify movements. A red blob on your phone will indicate the presence of an object. You can also use the intensity bar on your phone to identify different materials. Different intensities are necessary for different types of objects.
Walabot DIY Features (What Can Walabot DIY Do?)
Walabot DIY identifies the following materials:
Wood: Walabot DIY can identify wood, which allows you to look for wooden studs or beams. As such, you can examine structural damage within the walls.
Pipes: Walabot DIY can look for pipes, which allows you to examine PVC pipes, conduit pipes, etc. This allows you to look for leaky or broken pipes.
Wires: Walabot DIY can identify electrical wires, conduit wires, and cables.
Metal: Walabot DIY can identify metallic objects, such as pipes, bars, and studs.
Movement: When in Expert Mode, Walabot DIY can identify movements within the walls; you can identify rodents, termites, and other moving creatures.
Walabot DIY sees through the following walls:
Drywall with up to 4 inches of thickness.
Concrete walls with up to 4 inches of thickness.
Lath walls, if you have Walabot DIY Plus.
Plaster walls, if you have Walabot DIY Plus.
Walabot DIY does NOT see through the following walls:
Stucco and vinyl walls.
Non-flat walls and surfaces, like concrete blocks, ceramic tiles, and brick.
Walls with corrugated wires or chicken wire mesh.
Walabot DIY vs. Walabot DIY Plus
Walabot DIY Plus is the advanced version of Walabot DIY. However, the two devices are pretty much the same in most respects. Walabot DIY Plus only includes the following additional features or changes:
Lath & Plaster Walls: Walabot DIY can only see through drywall and concrete walls up to 4 inches thick. However, Walabot DIY Plus can also see through lath and plaster walls.
Smoother Scanning: Walabot DIY Plus includes Teflon strips that provide a smoother scanning and calibration process.
What Phones are Compatible with Walabot?
Walabot DIY is only compatible with Android phones running Android 6.0+ with USB on-the-go (OTG).
After downloading and installing the Walabot DIY app on your phone, it’s extremely simple and intuitive in its functionality. The Walabot DIY app allows you to do the following:
Calibrate Walabot DIY to your wall.
Select the intensity threshold from your app.
Select the wall type — drywall, concrete, lath, and plaster — for greater accuracy.
Use the sensing mode to identify pipes, wires, and other objects.
Watch video tutorials to take you through all the steps.
Operate the one-tap snapshot feature to save the images to your phone.
Walabot DIY is the ideal stud finder and wall sensor for home renovators, DIYers, and professionals alike. It can help you find studs, electrical wires, leaking pipes, or even termites and rodents.
Furthermore, it can see through drywall, concrete, plywood, or ceramic walls to a depth of 4 inches, which is deeper than most wall sensors. Walabot DIY gives you one of the simplest and most intuitive means of seeing what’s inside your wall. You can also save these 3D images on your phone to examine later.
As long as you have the right smartphone and your home (or project) is made of the right materials, this is a pretty handy tool! So, get yourself one of these Walabots and see what’s going on within your walls!
Walabot DIY is a brilliant stud detector for drywalls and concrete walls. But, as we mentioned earlier, it’s not available for iOS devices. Unfortunately, that may be a dealbreaker for a lot of people. Furthermore, even though Walabot DIY can see through drywall, concrete, lath, and plaster walls, it still has numerous blind spots. To that end, the following are some Walabot DIY alternatives that may make up for those blind spots.
List of Walabot alternatives: DeWalt Wall Scanner, Flir One, Bosch D-TECT, DeWalt Wall Scanner, ProSensor Franklin Sensor 710, Zircon StudSensor, CH Hanson.
DeWalt Wall Scanner is a great alternative to Walabot DIY because it doesn’t rely on an external smartphone or app. As such, you can use the DeWalt Wall Scanner even if you don’t have a phone.
This wall scanner uses a patent-pending technology that detects wood, ferrous metal, non-ferrous metal, plastic, and non-shielded electrical wires. It scans through drywalls, plywood, concrete walls, and ceramic tiles. As such, the DeWalt Wall Scanner can also see through plywood and ceramic — two materials that Walabot DIY can’t penetrate.
You should consider DeWalt Wall Scanner instead of Walabot if you:
Have walls with ceramic tiles or plywood.
Use an iPhone. DeWalt offers an alternative for iPhone users.
Flir One is a completely different type of product from Walabot. Both of them are smartphone-mounted devices that scan walls. But they use different technologies, and they look for different things.
While Walabot uses radar, Flir One uses an infrared camera. While Walabot identifies materials like metal and wood, Flir One identifies heat signatures. You plug the Flir One device below your smartphone and scan your wall. It will detect heat signatures, based on which you can identify hot and cold spots.
As such, Flir One can help you identify warm and cold spots, stop thermal loss, and identify short circuits. It can also help you detect the heat signature from rodents and other animals. However, it doesn’t detect wooden studs or wires with accuracy.
You should consider a Flir One instead of a Walabot DIY if you:
Need a thermal camera to detect a lack of insulation or hot/cold spots.
Need a device that works with both iOS and Android.
Are more focused on thermal imaging than wiring and structural issues.
Bosch D-TECT is a wall and floor detection scanner with which you can identify objects behind walls and floors. It has similar functionality to the Walabot, but it has an inbuilt screen, negating the need for an external smartphone app. As such, this is the perfect Walabot DIY alternative for iOS / iPhone users.
Unlike Walabot DIY, Bosch D-TECT doesn’t require calibration, so the readings are always accurate. Furthermore, Bosch D-TECT has three modes — drywall, concrete, and universal. As such, even though it works best on drywall and concrete, it can also see through all other surfaces.
However, Bosch D-TECT also has issues. Unlike Walabot DIY, it doesn’t give you a visual representation of the insides of the wall. It has a traffic light system with three lights: green indicates nothing detected, orange indicates something may be close, and red indicates an object has been detected. As such, Bosch D-TECT only warns you an object may be present, it doesn’t provide more information.
You should consider a Bosch D-TECT instead of a Walabot DIY if you:
Don’t want to use a smartphone for detection.
You have an iPhone or don’t have a compatible Android phone.
Need to look for objects through a wider range of wall types.
Only need information on the presence of objects, without identifying the object specifically.
ProSensor Franklin Sensor 710 is a precision stud finder that’s useful if you’re specifically looking for studs within the wall. This device doesn’t need an external smartphone, but it doesn’t provide visuals of the insides of your walls.
ProSensor Franklin Sensor 710 uses multi-sense technology to identify studs behind walls. It includes a series of LED lights that illuminate to indicate the presence of studs. The closer you are to the studs, the more they glow. As such, you can accurately identify the studs’ locations. It also lets you identify their size. It can also detect studs through uneven surfaces, carpets, concrete blocks, and other textures.
You should consider a ProSensor Franklin Sensor 710 instead of a Walabot DIY if you:
Need to find studs through a wide range of different wall types.
Don’t or can’t connect your device to a smartphone.
Need a simple solution that doesn’t require installation.
Zircon StudSensor is an electronic stud finder that doesn’t need smartphones or apps. It’s a portable wall scanner with an inbuilt LCD screen that alerts you to the presence of wood/metal studs and live wires. It can identify studs and wires to a maximum depth of 1.5 inches.
You should consider a Zircon StudSensor instead of a Walabot DIY if you:
Don’t or can’t use smartphone or smartphone apps.
Need a simple device that doesn’t necessitate installation or downloads.
Don’t have an internet connection.
Need to identify studs and wires that may be close to the wall’s surface.
CH Hanson is an old-school stud finder that uses inbuilt magnets to identify studs within the walls rather than imaging technologies or sensors. This is a compact device that you have to place close to your wall. You’ll feel a slight pull on your hands as the device will be drawn to nails, screws, and other metallic objects. As such, it will help you detect the approximate location of metallic objects within walls.
You should consider a CH Hanson instead of a Walabot DIY if you:
Don’t want an electronic device.
Don’t want a device that has batteries or needs to be connected.
Don’t or can’t use smartphones.
Only need to identify the presence of metallic studs — not wood studs or other objects.
Don’t need a visual representation.
Want something extremely cheap. CH Hanson is available for only $8!
Walabot DIY Troubleshooting
How do I update the Walabot DIY software?
Since the Walabot DIY app interprets all the information, you need to regularly update your Walabot app. The company regularly rolls out updates with new features and capabilities. You can update the Walabot DIY app from the Google Play Store.
What do I do about connection issues?
Ensure you have connected the cable to the smartphone correctly.
Remove your phone’s protective case.
Uninstall and reinstall the Walabot app.
Contact Walabot support if nothing works.
What do I do if I can’t download the Walabot app?
Make sure your phone meets the technical requirements. Walabot DIY app only works on Android 6.0+ with USB on-the-go support. Try using another phone.