Care and Precautions for Your Borescope Investment

by | Nov 22, 2021 | Blog, News

Borescopes and Videoscopes are an important piece of equipment for your quality and inspection department.   Both fiberscopes and videoscopes provide the ability to thoroughly examine your specific inspection requirement, enabling challenging inspections to be performed without destroying the product.  That is why these borescopes and videoscopes are called ‘nondestructive test equipment’.  However, a broken or damaged borescope or videoscope that isn’t working according to the manufacturer’s specifications can cost you both time and money. It can also affect you inspection outcomes to conduct a thorough examination, and can potentially put your manufacturing or inspection process to a stop.

While some catastrophic borescope damage may be viewed as unpreventable, other damage can be determined early on, which will give you time to have your borescope or videoscope inspection equipment properly repaired; and hopefully at a lower cost.  Early intervention is critical when it comes to borescope repair, as small problems can lead to major, catastrophic damage to your borescope over time. Taking care of those small problems promptly means shorter repair times and lower repair costs!  We are all familiar with the adage, “An ounce of Prevention is worth a pound of Cure.”

The following are some elements that you can check and test for that could indicate damage to your borescope or videoscope:

Check For Liquid Migration:  The first step with inspecting your borescope after periodic usage is to examine your inspection camera for liquid migration.   This is especially important if you know that you are exposing your borescope or videoscope to liquid or even submerging your inspection camera in liquid.   While most inspection cameras are water and oil resistant, not all inspection cameras are water proof.   This is a big difference.   We invite you to read our borescope blog on this topic as well.

If you have static or distortion in your borescope image, or the image appears blurry, too bright, or too dark, you could have issues introduced from fluid inside your endoscope.  Fluid invasion one of the greatest causes of major damage.    This occurs when either the tip lenses, tip housing or bending section is compromised and allows liquid to enter the borescope sonde.  With a fiberscope you will see this through the eyepiece and actually view a ‘cloudy’ or blurry image.   Fiberoptic bundles that supply image to the focusing eyepiece or the light to the end of the scope can be compromised as well.  Conversely, with a videoscope you will notice color saturation or other distorted imaging on the screen.   If you notice any of these performance issues with your videoscope it is important to address this videoscope repair immediately because if the liquid compromises the image sensor (micro camera) at the tip of the probe this could very well result in a catastrophic failure in the probe.

Check Your Insertion Tube:  Whether it is a borescope or a videoscope, the flexible wand, cord, snake or sonde that comes from the base of the inspection device down to the tip is formally called the borescope insertion tube.  As this is the ‘tube’ that you ‘insert’ into the inspection area.  When you run your hands slowly down the insertion tube, do you feel any ridges, kinks, dents or bite marks? All of these external markings are indications that the internal material inside these tubes is being compromised.  The dents and kinks in the borescope probe put pressure on the inner components like the articulation guides and articulation cables. Over time this can lead to restrictions in the channels, strain on the articulation systems, and damage to the fiberoptic bundles inside the fiberscope.  With regards to the Videoscope, these issues can in time adversely affect the communication ribbon that runs from the control station (color screen) down to the tip of the borescope camera.  This can also lead to a leak and fluid invasion, which is discussed above.  To check for these problems, gently flex the entire length of the tubes while running your hands down the tube. If you see any ridges or small kinks as you flex the scope, or feel any dents, that tube may need to be replaced or repaired.

As a reminder, regardless of how long of a videoscope probe you have it is always recommended that you have the probe straight as possible and avoid any coiling or wrapping of the probe.    This puts excessive stress on the articulation cable and articulation guides which could result in stretching or breaking of the articulation.

Check for Broken or damage Optic Fibers: If you are using a fiberscope (a scope that uses a leached fiberoptic image bundle to deliver the image through an eyepiece), inspecting the image for black dots, blurry areas or gray tones is important to ensuring the inspectors ability to fully and reliably examine all areas of the inspection area.   When you have broken fibers in your fiberscope many describe it as if someone had used a pepper shaker inside their borescope.  It looks as if there are specs of pepper inside.  In actuality, each of those ‘pepper specs’ is an individually broking image fiber.    It is not uncommon to have some broken fibers inside a fiberscope.  Industry standard on a NEW Fiberscope with 10,000 pixels (individual fibers) is to have up to 5 broken fibers.   Obviously, 5 broken fiberscope fibers out of 10,000 will not have any significant impact on the inspection capabilities on the borescope.   However, 50, 100, 200 or more will definitely have an impact on the borescope inspection clarity.

Confirm the Articulation Range:  Whether your endoscope camera is 2-way articulation, 4-way articulation or Joystick articulation (360 degrees), there is an OEM standard for the range of motion.   The articulation, sometimes called borescope steering, borescope defection or borescope manipulation is in most designs controlled by steel cables that run from the handle down to the bending section (articulation section).   These cables work together to push and pull the cables to move or direct the tip of the probe.  Even if you have electronically assisted articulation like the Olympus Borescopes or the GE Borescope they are still designed with cables.   Other inspection cameras like the SPI Borescopes, Viewtech Borescopes and even our USA Series portable videoscopes offer mechanical articulation.   Many users actually prefer this design as your can feel when the probe is under stress.

Stretch the cable as straight as possible.  You may even run your fingers down the full length of the probe down to the top to straighten the articulation cables and articulation guides.  When you flex or articulate the borescope tip, does it go the full range as expected?   If not, it is possible that the cables have stretched a bit over time.  Without requiring a complete borescope repair a trained borescope repair Technician can tighten the articulation cables.   This will put the borescope back within range or as close to borescope OEM standards as possible without requiring a complete borescope repair including cable replacement.

Borescope Sheathing or Braiding:  Regardless if you are using a fiberscope or a videoscope for our visual inspection device it is most likely designed with a steel braid down the entire borescope insertion tube.   This braid is stainless steel or tungsten.  The small cables or wire are weaved together to provide a smooth but durable exterior for your borescope.   Although the external sheathing is made from a high tensile strength steel it can wear out and fray over time.  Most of the time the wear first starts to appear at the bending section or articulation section.  Mostly because this portion of the insertion tube is used every time you enter an inspection area and has the most physical movement with the articulation.    If you start to notice fray or wear it is best to address the issue before it becomes a larger one.   Additionally, the frayed section of the insertion tube can hang up inside your inspection area.

If you have a fiberscope that is showing signs of wear at the bending section and you decide to not address it, it could get to the point where you can damage the image bundle or the light bundle at the tip.   Now instead of having a low-cost borescope repair you may be looking at a complete rebuild because the light and image bundle to be replaced in its entirety.  You cannot just replace the broken or worn section.  If the worn sheathing is not addressed on your videoscope the wear could get to the point where you compromise the communication ribbon that provides communication to the control station down to the tip of the probe where you have the image sensor and LED lighting.   This again is a costly repair because the entire ribbon has to be replaced and this can only be performed if the probe is entirely disassembled.

Borescope Storage and Warehousing:  Regardless of your industry, your borescope camera is a significant investment in your nondestructive test arsenal.    We would like to take some time to discuss the proper storage of your borescope camera.  The best borescope suppliers will provide a custom fitted storage case for your borescope.   Although in many circumstances the borescope storage case may not seem that cosmetic but it does provide a very valuable purpose

In most industrial borescope applications this is not a tool that is used on a daily basis.  The borescope storage case will provide the platform to not only house your borescope but also protect it from environmental and accidental damage.     The borescope case will secure the control station as well as provide a path or portal to protect the borescope probe.   In most cases it is recommended that you house your best selling borescope in room temperature.   As high heat can adversely affect your borescope investment by drying out and cracking components.  Extreme cold temperatures are not recommended as many of the moving components and metal can restrict and bind.   In addition, when you introduce your borescope system to your room temperature inspection area condensation can be introduced to internal borescope computer boards and borescope mother boards.

Are you looking for Factory Authorized Borescope Repair?

Whether your videoscope is in need of immediate repair or simply needs a minor tune-up, USA Borescopes is the proven, reliable source for high quality videoscope repairs performed by expert technicians. All of our borescope repairs will meet or exceed OEM Borescope requirements.  You will be amazed by both the time in with which we get your videoscopes back in your hands and the amount of money you’ll save. At USA Borescopes, our borescope repairs are performed in our state-of-the-art facility by our trained borescope repair technicians.

We pride ourselves in being responsive and timely, not only with our communication but also the turnaround time with our borescope repair efforts.  We recognize that even the shortest turn-around times on a borescope repair can still be a problem for your quality or inspection department. To ensure that you always have a borescope to perform all of your scheduled borescope inspection requirements we provide our customers with half price rental borescope while their borescopes are in for service.  And our borescope rental has a maximin of 1-week rental fee while your borescope is in for repair.   Now, if you send your borescope in for repair and we send you a half price rental; but after we provide you with the repair estimate and you delay or withhold the borescope repair approval, then the rental rate will continue.

Our quality videoscope repair work and competitive prices are backed by a full warranty.  Let us show you how much time and money you can save! Send in your videoscope today! Our borescope repair evaluations are free of charge and repair estimates are generally provided within 7 business days of receiving your borescope camera.

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