When it comes to video borescopes, you have an option to buy one that works with either electric or battery power, and it can be used in harsh conditions such as offshore oil rigs and manufacturing plants. Because of the nature of this job, borescopes are expected to have long lifespans and operate smoothly in extreme temperatures and weather conditions.
As important as it is, you don’t want to take choosing your borescope lightly. When selecting a borescope, you need to consider all aspects of how often and where you will be using it.
Will you need something that is battery-powered or corded? What type of viewing head will work best for your application. Here are some other factors that should be taken into consideration when selecting a video borescope.
Why do you need a Video Borescope?
There are several reasons you might need a video borescope. Many technicians have found them invaluable in detecting some defects, such as electrical issues, mainly when working with automobiles.
A problem like a wiring short or loose connection can be hard to identify without visual cues; video borescopes provide an easy way to get inside and check things out. They’re also helpful in inspecting air conditioning systems, compressors, and fans in HVAC equipment and many other applications where traditional tools aren’t practical.
While there are several different borescopes on the market today, each type has its purpose and design specs.
➤ Related Article: Industrial Borescope: Definition and Working Principle
➤ Related Article: Comparison Guide: Borescope vs. Endoscope
Types of Video Borescope
When you need a borescope for electrical and/or electronic applications, you will want to opt for one that can transmit an image from its camera to your viewing device wirelessly. Wireless borescopes tend to be more expensive than wired models. But, being free of cords allows for more flexibility and mobility when working with multiple devices.
USB Digital Borescope
USB borescopes are great for small work areas and have an easy setup. They do, however, require a computer to run your videos. If you need a tool that can be utilized in tight spaces, a USB borescope is your best bet.
Dual Camera Borescope
The dual camera borescope is best for those who plan on using it to inspect pipes and wires. The cameras give a clear picture at any distance you need. There is no adjusting when switching from inches to centimeters because they have special mechanisms that detect either length system automatically as soon as you start viewing.
LCD Screen Borescope
LCD screen industrial borescopes are the most common type of borescope. It usually comes with an LCD screen for viewing and is a decent option for most contractors. The only real downside is that it can be challenging to read in low-light conditions.
They also tend to run on batteries, which means you’ll have to replace them after each use. These are worth looking into if you want a small borescope that can still take a beating.
A well-built articulating borescope will have a rigid base that holds onto its position. They come with a flexible neck that allows for precise positioning inside your equipment and a bendable shaft that can be pushed through narrow gaps.
A joystick borescope is simply a video borescope that offers a small joystick to control its imaging sensor more intuitively. The major advantage of using a joystick is that you can move more freely without reaching down into tight spaces and getting your hands dirty.
What Size of Borescope do you need?
These are small industrial endoscopes meant for small spaces, such as in vehicles or certain machinery. A great option if you’re working on a repair project that involves smaller spaces, these micro borescopes should have a camera at least 3.5 mm in diameter and 500–800 lines of resolution for clear picture quality.
3mm And 4mm Borescopes
Use 3mm and 4mm borescopes to see holes in walls and things a few feet away. While they can be handy, these models are often not suitable for regular use because they tend to break easily.
They’re also quite large and difficult to move around, making them impractical for many different applications.
6mm and 8mm Borescopes
The 6mm video borescopes are best for small cracks and crevices, while 8mm borescopes work best for larger cracks or crevices or in cases where you have to get a closer look at something. 6mm borescopes are typically used by plumbers, automotive technicians, and appliance technicians who have limited space under a sink.
On the other hand, HVAC technicians and contractors use the 8mm borescopes because of their increased versatility for tasks such as fitting heating and cooling systems in tight spaces. You can use an 8mm borescope on smaller applications, but it will take a lot more room, so it’s not recommended.
These industrial borescopes can be inserted into areas of a 1 diameter. They come with a 10mm illumination which means you will see high-resolution images. This type of borescope is good for hoses, wires, and pipes.
The 10mm monitor offers you an HD view from 500-6000k pixels. The lumen output on these monitors vary between 50-100 lumens, so they are not great if you need light in dark areas or to see objects in a large room or garage setting.
They are best used inside smaller objects such as appliances, electronics, and plumbing parts. You cannot access larger areas due to their limited length at 2 (50 mm).
What should you Look for when Selecting a Borescope?
When looking for a video borescope, there are several key aspects you should pay attention to. Depending on your needs, there may be additional considerations too. All of these should be taken into account when making your selection.
The size and application of your video borescope are determined by what you want to use it for. Are you inspecting automotive components or taking measurements during a construction project?
If a client requests that you inspect a piece of machinery at their site, does it make sense for them to provide one in exchange for reduced fees? If not, then bring your own (or better yet, rent one).
This will show that you take pride in your work and have an eye for detail. Clients who respect those qualities will likely request you again in future projects.
The diameter of a borescope’s tip is an important factor in its overall performance. The larger a borescope’s probe diameter, generally speaking, means better image quality. The larger diameter also makes your video borescopes more durable.
Most will perform even after sustaining some damage from debris or other environmental factors. However, it’s not all about size; smaller diameters can provide you with better detail and focus when necessary.
It all depends on what you’ll be using your borescope for and how much access space you have to work with.
Typically, borescopes are available in lengths of 4 to 8 inches. The length of your probe will depend on what you intend to use it for. If you’re primarily using it for long-term inspections (such as detecting roof leaks), a longer unit is probably better.
Shorter probes, however, allow you more range of motion and make them easier to maneuver around corners and tight spaces (such as inspecting electrical sockets).
The downside is that a short probe can sometimes make viewing difficult because you have less distance between your eye and the end of your device.
Direction of View
High-resolution industrial endoscopes usually come with various viewing angles and can be used from several positions. The best borescopes come with many different camera angles and macro capability so you can capture photos, videos, and other pertinent data right away.
You’ll also want to pay attention to whether your video borescope comes with lenses that zoom. This will allow you an even greater range of vision when it comes time for hands-on inspections.
Field of View
Measure your bore’s diameter, including any obstructions like casings or gaskets. Be sure that you choose a video borescope with a field of view large enough to capture all of your camera’s surroundings as they pass through your bore.
For example, an extra-large 1-5/8 core made up of multiple casings requires at least an 80° FOV. The wider and clearer the field of view is, the better—it will make it easier for you to spot flaws in materials and workmanship before they cost you money and downtime downline.
Depth of View
Before anything else, it’s important to understand why you would use a borescope in your work. In general, there are two reasons for using a borescope: You need an image of what is going on inside a confined space, or you need an image of something that is otherwise inaccessible.
You’ll have your pick of magnification. Most video borescopes give you a choice between low and high power (usually between 5x and 50x). That means you can decide exactly how much zoom you want when capturing footage.
The higher your magnification, though, the less information you’ll see on screen. This is because your camera has to be focused at a single point while recording, so it can only see a fraction of what’s visible through its lens.
The amount of light emitted by a borescope is one of its most important specifications. Generally, a higher level of illumination will produce better images, allowing you to see more detail.
The best borescopes emit up to 20 lumens. When looking at images on your screen, evaluate how much detail you can make out before seeing any pixelation; typically, that’s how much light you’ll need for imaging purposes.
Also, look for true color reproduction or black and white viewing options for different applications (e.g., metal, wood). Fluorescence capability is ideal for inspection under UV lighting conditions when inspecting plastics or paint coatings.
Though industrial borescopes often have a reputation for being low-resolution devices, you can find some of them today that have top-notch image quality. If it’s not a critical feature for your application, then you may be able to get away with purchasing an entry-level model or even something from your local hardware store.
However, if high-quality imaging is important, then you need to be prepared to spend more money. Some cheaper models might be adequate for most users, but you should be ready to shell out more cash if higher-quality images are necessary.
In addition, choose borescopes that come with multiple lenses so that you can adjust them depending on where and what you are viewing through your device.
Once you purchase a borescope, cost should not be your primary concern. These tools are relatively expensive; however, if you plan on owning a business that deals with cracks or structural issues, then it will be worth your money.
If not, save up and make sure that you will get high-quality something for it to last for many years. Quality comes at a price, but these scopes are worth every penny, even with an expensive price tag.
Once you pay for one and use it several times, you will notice how essential it is to get to those hard-to-reach places within your home or office structure.
Ease of Use
When it comes to video borescopes, ease of use is an absolute must. No one wants a product that takes forever or is overly complicated. Look for one that’s designed with ergonomics in mind, so you can hold it for long periods without getting tired or sore.
A quality borescope should also be very easy to assemble and disassemble. If you’re planning on working on vehicles, machinery, or other complex devices, a good borescope will save you a ton of time setting up and taking down your tool.
If you’re on a budget, there are plenty of video borescopes available for less than $300. But do remember that as your budget rises, so does your ability to capture more high-quality images.
If you spend more, don’t feel obligated to go all out: a camera with 10x zoom is far better than one with 20x zoom if you want close-up views. The ideal tool can get into small spaces without sacrificing image quality.
What is a video borescope, and what are its uses? If you ask yourself these questions, you’re definitely in need of one. It allows you to inspect inaccessible areas while avoiding damage.
However, choosing one should not be difficult because there are several features for you to consider before buying it. Keeping these key factors in mind will help narrow down your choices and lead you towards finding the best video borescope for your particular job. So make sure to remember them before making a decision.