Videoscopes vs. Fiberscopes: Determining The Differences

by | Sep 3, 2020 | News, Blog, Knowledge Center

Advances in optical technology have revolutionized repair operations across many industries. As a result, borescopes give workers the chance to view hidden nooks and crannies that might otherwise be out of view. They save time and money – two things that usually accompany disassembly procedures. 

Of course, having the right tool for the job is crucially important. A borescope is an optical tool at the end of either a rigid or flexible tube. This tube is inserted into a pipe or space that is otherwise inaccessible, giving viewers a close-up look at what’s happening inside. Understanding the difference between a borescope camera and other similar tools can help you select the right version for your project. 

Videoscopes and fiberscopes are two of the most popular types of borescopes. A borescope videoscope is incredibly versatile and allows you to capture both video and still image recordings. A borescope fiberscope, on the other hand, is made up of bundled fiber optic cables. They’re flexible and useful when you need to access cavities around a bend. Knowing which borescope to use for the task at hand can make the job easier, quicker, and more affordable. 

Differences Between Videoscopes and Fiberscopes

Determining which tool to use isn’t always easy. Before you settle on a videoscope vs. a fiberscope, it helps to consider the job at hand. A rigid fiberscope is ideal for industrial use in the aviation, plumbing and aerospace fields. They remain rigid and in place no matter where you insert them. This is especially helpful when you’re trying to catch a glimpse inside a space overhead – the tool won’t collapse inside or fall back down toward the operator. Incredibly versatile and durable, these tools can inspect deep inside pipes, tanks, turbines, compressors and other hard to reach spaces. 

Flexible fiberscopes take the versatility one step farther. Since they can be maneuvered through nooks and crannies with ease, flexible fiberscopes are perfect for snaking through complicated internal mechanisms. It’s important to be careful as you use such tools, though. Since the fibers used in fiberscopes tend to be quite fragile, the tool can be damaged if improperly handled. If damage occurs, you’ll notice issues almost immediately. Black dots will appear on the images sent back from the device. You may also see a decline in overall image quality. 

Videoscopes are much more durable. They are shock-resistant and can be bent, maneuvered and folded without being damaged. Their articulating capabilities make videoscopes the obvious choice when you’ve got a tight squeeze to navigate through.

If image resolution is important to the job, it’s worth educating yourself on the differences between videoscopes vs. fiberscopes. The latter has a video image display attached, but the display will be indirect. That means the projection from the fiber optic bundle is captured from the original image. Again, black dots may inhibit your view if any damage occurs. While this may seem like a minor difference, it’s a significant disadvantage for those who prize image resolution. Since a videoscope consists of a miniature video camera attached to a tube, you’ll receive a digital image. The video signal is carried through to the video display unit, allowing for a more consistent, high-quality output.

Repair costs are also worth factoring into your decision to use a videoscope vs. a fiberscope. Should your fiberscope suffer damages, you may have to rebuild or replace it entirely. Since repairs are often more than 50 percent of what it would cost to replace the fiberscope entirely, the tool can be pricier to use than you might expect. 

Videoscopes, on the other hand, are designed as modular units. It’s easy to disassemble them and replace individual parts.

Using Videoscopes and Fiberscopes in the Field

Numerous industries rely on videoscopes and fiberscopes to maintain equipment and diagnose issues. Inspectors, technicians, and other specialists working in industrial environments use these devices in their daily duties. Virtually any job requiring visual inspection work can benefit from the use of either a videoscope or fiberscope. Whether you’re inspecting gas turbines, rotating equipment, gearboxes, aircraft inspections, or conducting pipe inspections both videoscopes and fiberscopes can help get the job done. 

Effective inspection techniques vary by job and by industry. Regardless of whether you’re using a videoscope or a fiberscope, lighting is critically important. When you’re working outside in the sun, you’ll need to give your eyes time to adjust before looking into the scope. Since bright light can sometimes impact the quality of the image displayed, it’s a good idea to perform this type of inspection work inside a hangar. 

It’s also vital to understand what you’re looking for when using these types of devices. Making your way into a turbine, for instance, is only half the battle. You’ll need to know what a good part looks like before comparing it to what’s inside your turbine. It doesn’t matter how effective your tools are if you don’t have a clear idea of what to expect, so be aware of what defects to seek as you use a borescope inspection camera.

Whatever job you have in mind, borescope accessories help make the task possible. Guide tubes, for instance, help direct articulating borescopes in the direction intended. Precise maneuvering grants operators the freedom to explore even the smallest of spaces. Guidetube accessory is especially helpful for those undertaking fuel nozzle maintenance, but there are guide tubes of all sizes and varieties to assist with whatever task is on your to-do list.

The Right Scope for the Job

With so many different options available from such a wide variety of manufacturers, it’s important to do your research before pulling the trigger on a videoscope or fiberscope. Allow the team at USABorescopes to make recommendations, give advice, and offer insight based on your budget and the task at hand. Through the years, we’ve gained a reputation as one of the most knowledgeable resources in the borescope industry. By choosing the borescope that’s right for your needs, you’ll save valuable time and money. To get started, contact us or dial (931) 362-3304 for a quote.