How to Use a Borescope: Types, Functions & More

by | Feb 1, 2021 | Blog, Knowledge Center, News

How to Use a Borescope

Next time you’re inspecting a small, cramped space, consider getting a borescope to do the heavy lifting for you. The newest models are convenient and easy to use, harnessing the latest technologies to offer a unique view of the internal workings of pipes, engines, and other types of machinery. Understanding how to use a borescope is easier than you might expect. With a little practice, you can leverage these tools to save you serious time and money on the job site. 

What Is a Borescope?

The word “borescope” is an umbrella term for the visual inspection tools that capture live video footage of the spaces they’re inspecting. There are a variety of borescope models available to suit your specific needs. For instance, rigid borescopes are often used when straight-line access to a targeted viewing area is required. These kinds of borescopes use a lens system to send images back to the viewer in real-time. An angled mirror and eyepiece make it easy to get a close-up view of the equipment you’re inspecting.

There are as many types of borescopes as there are opportunities to use this amazing technology. Understanding how to use a borescope camera can guide your selection of the ideal tool for your job. First, though, it helps to get up to speed on the exact functions of a borescope.

What are the Functions of a Borescope?

So, just what is a borescope used for? Just as doctors use a medical endoscope to peek at the internal workings of the human body, you can use a borescope to capture images of the internal workings of machinery and pipes. For instance, plumbers often use borescope technology to diagnose leaks in the homes of their clients. They simply insert a pipe push camera borescope into the leaky pipe and view any potential blockages or other issues through the lens or video screen. HVAC technicians use borescopes in similar ways. Inspecting a vent or air duct is a lot simpler when you have these tools at your fingertips!

Borescopes are also frequently used in the aviation industry. These critical tools are used for inspections of turbines, engines, and any other small, hard-to-reach space that needs regular maintenance or inspection. Those in the oil and gas industry also find borescopes useful for similar reasons – it’s a lot easier to insert a borescope for a quick inspection than it is to break down a key piece of machinery for a glimpse inside. 

The manufacturing world leverages borescopes for similar inspection processes. When speedy, thorough inspections are necessary for the ongoing use and maintenance of a particular piece of machinery, borescopes make the process easy. Rather than deconstructing a key component of an assembly line, manufacturing professionals rely on borescopes to see what’s happening inside.

How To Properly Use a Borescope?

Each borescope will have its own specific set of instructions for use. Be sure to check the accompanying instruction booklet of any borescope you intend to use. Generally, though, learning how to use a borescope is easy. Start by inserting the tip of the borescope into the space you need to inspect. You can feed the cable in as far as necessary to spot potential issues. High-intensity LED lights at the tip of the scope illuminate the space inside, and the borescope’s monitor will show you live views of the space you’re inspecting.

Borescope uses vary depending on the model in use and the task at hand. For instance, if you are inspecting an overhead air duct, you may prefer a rigid borescope that will hold its shape so you won’t be fighting gravity as you take a look inside. Conversely, if you’re inspecting an engine and need to snake the cable through tight corners, a flexible borescope may be preferable. 

What are Some Types of Borescopes?

For borescope uses on the go, portable borescopes are the best option. They pack all the power of a traditional borescope into one easily transported package. These flexible cameras use poly/vinyl, stainless steel, or tungsten sheathing insertion tubes.

Micro borescopes are a great option for those working in aviation and industrial settings. Often measuring as small as .37 mm, these tools are ideal for inspecting especially small spaces. Sometimes referred to as “mini borescopes,” these models are built with flexible probes, allowing operators to snake through the tiniest of corners and crevices. You’ll want to ensure your model has the necessary LED lighting features, as small spaces can often be quite dark. 

Articulating and non-articulating borescopes each have their pros and cons. Articulation allows the operator to guide the tip of the borescope in the direction of their choosing. This is ideal for small space inspection jobs, like inspecting engines in the aerospace or automotive field. If you don’t need to guide the tip of your borescope to the left, right, up, or down, a non-articulating borescope can get the job done just as effectively.

Rigid and flexible borescopes are also available. Rigid scopes come in handy when you’re attempting to guide the tool through spaces like HVAC vents or pipes. Because they hold their shape regardless of where you insert them, rigid scopes don’t have to fight gravity while you inspect. Flexible borescopes, on the other hand, are ideal for snaking through tight corners. When you need a tool that can bend and wind its way through the inner workings of machinery, you’re going to want a flexible borescope for the job.

Borescope technology has come a long way in recent years. Features like memory storage, LAN ports, and Bluetooth capabilities make it easy to save images and share with colleagues. 

Leverage Borescope Technology for Your Next Project

USABorescopes has become a leader in the remote visual inspection industry. Regardless of your industry or specific needs, we’re sure to have the ideal tool for the task. We offer borescopes for rent and for sale, as well as borescope repair services. Contact us for guidance on which borescope is right for you!