Frequently Asked Questions
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 see inside places that aren’t easily visible, usually in industrial applications like plumbing, engine maintenance, airplane inspection, 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. Usually, the use of a borescope is a welcome alternative to tedious disassembly. Some of the applications they can be used for are in:
- Aviation & aerospace
- Sanitation & plumbing
- Vehicle repair
- Weaponry & metal casting
- Law enforcement & security
- Power generation
Endoscope is a term originally used to describe medical tools used to aid a surgeon looking inside a body during an operation. The term sometimes has been adopted to describe a device used to look inside other things as well. When we say “industrial endoscope” we mean an endoscope used for something other than medical purposes. Obviously, medical endoscopes are very expensive and not practical for everyday use.
The term “borescope” is basically the same as an industrial endoscope, however it is not used in a medical or surgical context - that is only an endoscope.
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 is the one that gets the job done. To shop for one, start by asking if you want one that plugs into a mobile device or computer via USB, or if you want one that connects over WiFi, or maybe a freestanding one that works independently is best? Next, you will need to know what type of camera probe you want - single lens, dual lens, or auto-focus lens? Don’t forget to take some measurements of whatever it is you are inspecting - how big of a hole does the probe need to fit down and also how long does it need to be to perform the inspection? Once you’re clear on those details, you can narrow down which borescope manufacturer will be best for you. For industrial/professional use, Teslong makes a borescope to suite just about anyones needs.
An articulating borescope is a borescope that can be manipulated to bend and look around corners. 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 give you a wider field of view so you see more and 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 smallest size of opening you’ll be pushing the borescope through?
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, some even have larger camera sensors and therefore better image quality.
How long do you need the probe to be?
You can find borescopes in a range of lengths, so consider how long you need it to be. If you’re only going to use 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 would you rather 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 water resistant, 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 somewhat because the lens can look around. Dual-lens borescopes double the field of view 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 pretty 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 OPERATEMake 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 make sure the batteries are charged, as the last thing you want is to run out of power before you have properly assessed any issues.
STEP 2: PREPARE YOUR WORK AREA/h4> You’ll also need to prepare the site where you plan to use the borescope. Dirt and fluids that accumulate on the camera probe lens will quickly ruin your image so try to clean your inspection areas as best possible.
STEP 3: INSERT THE PROBE & GET IT TO THE PROBLEM AREAOnce 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 4: EXAMINE THE PROBLEMWhen 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 making visual inspections in tight areas, 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 with lots of disassembly or destructive inspection. With a borescope, you can solve problems, 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. Teslong borescopes are reasonably priced and produce incredible results, so they’re always worth the investment.