Borescopes are incredibly useful for a range of applications, but if you haven’t needed one before, you may not know what they are or how to find one that’s suitable. Read on as we answer our frequently asked questions.
A borescope camera is a tool that is used to view areas that aren’t easily visible, usually in industrial applications, but can be used in other areas, too, such as plumbing, law enforcement, vehicle repair, and more.
Borescopes are used to inspect inaccessible and often small areas – anywhere it’s impossible to see with the naked eye. Some of the applications they can be used for are in:
Aviation & aerospace
Sanitation & plumbing
Weaponry & metal casting
Law enforcement & security
While a borescope and endoscope may seem similar at first glance, they actually have very different applications. A borescope can be used by almost any profession, and are easily accessible.
Endoscope is a term generally used to describe medical tools used to look inside a body during an operation or other medical procedure, but the term sometimes gets adopted to describe a device used to look inside other things as well. Obviously, medical endoscopes are very expensive and not practical for everyday use.
Unlike medical endoscopes, borescopes can be extremely affordable and usually cost somewhere between $50 and $500. There are some exceptions that are specialized and cost upwards of 5 figures, but they aren’t common.
The best borescope will depend entirely on what you need it to do – do you want to use it once or twice while doing home improvements, or will you be using it daily for client projects? What do you need it to do? What budget do you have? Once you’re clear on what you’re looking for, you can narrow down which borescope manufacturer will be best for you. For industrial/professional use or rifle use, Teslong borescopes will likely be the best for you.
An articulating borescope is a borescope that can bend to look around corners and give you more control. A one-way articulating borescope allows you to bend the scope in one direction, while a two-way gives you two directional control, and so on. Articulating borescopes allow for better visibility and more control to make a more thorough inspection.
When choosing a borescope, consider the following factors:
What do you plan to use the borescope for? The application dictates what features you do and don’t need.
What is the average size of the opening you’ll be using the borescope in? If you don’t need a small borescope, then consider getting one that’s a little bigger. Larger diameter borescopes are usually more durable and somewhat stiffer so they hold their shape better.
How long do you need the probe to be? You can find borescopes of any length, so consider how long you need it to be. If you’re only going to be using it in a car engine, you don’t need a 30ft borescope!
Do you need an articulated borescope? An articulated borescope can bend at one or more places to give you more visibility and control.
Do you need a screen or do you want to use it with your smartphone or laptop?
What resolution do you need? The smaller and more detailed of an area you plan to inspect the more resolution you will probably want to have.
Do you need it to take images and video? All of Teslong’s borescopes record both photos and video, either natively to an SD card or through an App to your computer or mobile device.
Does it need to be waterproof? Most borescopes are hardwearing, but if you need it to be waterproof, make sure it’s rated. All of Teslong’s borescopes are IP67 waterproof.
What’s your budget? Borescopes can be extremely affordable, but if you need more sophisticated features, you’ll need a bigger budget.
In most cases, you won’t need to – borescopes can cost as little as $30 - $70 depending on what quality you need, so it’s usually better to buy one so you can use it whenever you need to. If you need a specialized borescope for a day or two, you can find borescopes to rent.
The field of view will vary depending on the lens used at the end of the borescope. Most of the Teslong borescope lenses have a 70-degree field of view. Articulated borescopes increase that field of view and dual-lens borescopes double that with 2 x 70-degree lenses. Some borescopes also offer different fields of view for different applications – you may only need a 10-degree field of view to identify small problems in a rifle, but need a 100-degree field of view to identify plumbing problems.
Using a borescope is incredibly simple, provided you take the right steps so you get the results you’re looking for. Here are the steps you need to take to properly use a borescope:
Step 1: Know How To Operate
Make sure you test the borescope before you use it, simply by learning how to turn it on, use any articulation, and view it on the screen or your device of choice. Also check if it needs power, as the last thing you want is to run out of power before you have properly assessed any issues.
You’ll also need to prepare the site where you plan to use the borescope, as gunk and dirt can make reaching the problem area incredibly frustrating. If you can, clear the area before you use the borescope.
Step 2: Insert the probe & get it to the problem area
Once you know how to use the borescope and have prepared the site, you can insert the probe into the area and maneuver it to the problem area. The better you test the borescope before starting, the easier this will be. Watch the video display closely and go slowly. It can be tempting to look away from the screen but think of it like trying to learn to drive a stick-shift car. You want to look down to change gear when you’re learning, but you need to look ahead quickly to see oncoming traffic. Try to learn to maneuver based on what you see on the screen.
Step 3: Examine the problem
When you get to the problem, hold the borescope still and examine the problem. If necessary, take reference photos and/or video – whatever you need to move forward with your repairs.
If you’re in a profession where you’re often dealing with issues that are just out of sight, or if you have a hobby or regularly take on DIY projects, then a borescope is almost certainly worth it. They’re inexpensive and can offer you a detailed look at problems you otherwise can only diagnose and fix unseen. This leaves room for error or even makes a problem worse. With a borescope, you can save time and look more professional. Basic borescopes are inexpensive and a fantastic tool to have in your kit. If you need to see in an inaccessible space, a borescope will be well worth it!
Borescopes are an essential piece of any avid DIYers or professionals’ toolkit, whether you work in residential or commercial settings. Our borescopes are reasonably priced and produce incredible results, so they’re always well worth the investment. To see our range of industrial borescopes, click here, and to see our range of borescopes for rifles, click here.