The debate surrounding water-resistant vs. waterproof borescopes is long lived, and few people truly grasp the difference. In fact, mixing up these two terms can be a costly and unpleasant mistake. This borescope blog will explain the difference so you’ll know which term to look for in choosing your borescope or inspection camera.
In general, waterproof means that the inspection camera material is designed so that it is impervious to water penetration, within designed water depths; we’ll talk about that later. In general, a water resistant inspection camera is designed in that will repel or withstand some water or liquid but not all before something inside the borescope is compromised. Water resistant borescopes are very different from waterproof borescopes. Borescopes that are water resistant will repel the effects of water to a point. After a period of exposure, or a certain amount of pressure, water will either soak the borescope lenses or seep through the external probe sheathing.
Some borescope manufacturers market several inspection camera products as waterproof. But the reality is that those borescope cameras are only waterproof to a certain point, which really makes them water-resistant devices. Specifically, when it comes to introducing these borescopes to water depths greater than 3 feet or to water that offer temperatures greater than 150 F. If you are looking for a high temp borescope check out this borescope blog. Depending on what type of lenses or adhesives are used at the borescope lens tips, water will penetrate at a certain depth or level of water submersion. When the water pressure exceeds the amount of pressure that these seams can hold, that’s what call liquid migration.
‘Liquid Migration’ refers to any type of liquid that enters between or behind the inspection camera lenses. Once the liquid enters these areas it will at minimum affect the image quality on the screen. Sadly, this liquid migration can also compromise the image sensor (micro camera) or the LED lighting at the tip to the point of failure due to corrosion.
The technical definition of water resistant is that it’s able to resist the penetration of water to a certain degree, but not entirely. Waterproof technically means that the inspection camera is impermeable to water, no matter how much time it spends in water.
In the simplest sense think of it this way, a waterproof jacket offers the highest level of protection from rain, sleet and snow. While a water-resistant jacket offers a good, but lower level of water protection. Assuming a jacket’s outer surface isn’t some absorbent material like cotton, it likely could handle a slight drizzle. If you’re out for an extended period in the rain, or the intensity of that rain increases, though, you’re going to get wet.
Water-resistant means the borescope can survive small splashes of water, rain, sweat, a drop in the snow, or a spill. Waterproof means the borescope will be fine if it’s completely submerged or soaked.
So, are waterproof borescopes and water resistance borescopes the same?
Most borescope manufacturer provide water resistant borescope and the industry standard is an IP67 rating for the control station. If your borescope probe is exposed to water or even momentarily submerged, don’t panic. Your borescope camera should be fine.
If you do require an inspection camera that can be exposed to water for long period of time you should consider a push camera or sometimes called snake camera or sewer camera. These systems are designed with lenses, adhesives and insertion probes that can withstand constant exposure and immersion into water. However, if you require the inspection camera to not only be submerged into water but also perform in significant water depths you will require an inspection camera that is designed to perform in pressure that results from the depth. These water well camera, bore hole camera or deep well camera are manufactured with adhesives, lenses and supporting hardware to successfully perform in high pressure inspection areas.
In conclusion, water-resistant borescope means that the system can be exposed to some water but not for any great length or depth. Water resistant borescopes are very different from waterproof borescopes. Borescopes that are water resistant will repel the effects of water to a point. After a period of exposure, or a certain amount of pressure, water will either soak or seep through the borescope internal components. Waterproof borescopes are designed to perform entirely submerged without compromising features or functions.