Non-Articulating Videoscopes: What They Are and How To Use Them

Articulating videoscopes are praised for their versatility, but not all professions require them. Sometimes non-articulating videoscopes are a better and more cost-effective fit (an articulating borescope can cost up to several thousand dollars, while some non-articulating devices cost under a grand). In this article, we cover what non-articulating videoscopes are used for and how to operate them. 

There are several types of non-articulating borescopes, but for our purposes, we’re focusing on one of the most commonly used varieties: pipe inspection cameras. 

What is a Non-Articulating Videoscope?

Before we get into articulating borescopes, let’s start by defining the term “videoscope.” A videoscope is a remote visual inspection tool consisting of a small camera mounted to the end of an insertion rod. The insertion rod is normally flexible, allowing the device to navigate twists and turns. During an inspection, the camera relays footage to a connected monitor, where the operator can oversee the inspection in real time as well as record it.   Many people may consider this a cheap borescope because the cost is considerably less than an articulating system but the fact of the matter is many borescope inspections do not require the more expensive borescope inspection systems.

Now that we know what a videoscope is, let’s discuss the difference between articulating and non-articulating videoscopes. Cambridge Dictionary defines articulation as, “something that consists of two or more parts, the way in which the parts are joined and able to move in relation to each other.” When it comes to inspection tools, an articulating borescope uses small probe tips to control the direction of the camera. 

Articulation gives the operator more control over the inspection, which is particularly useful when examining small or complex spaces. For aviation maintenance, articulating borescopes are a must. According to Aviation Pros, “One of the essential uses of articulating borescopes is for turbine engine inspection. Turbine engines have many internal rotating sections, as well as combustion chambers, that can be inspected with an articulating video borescope.”  

However, articulating borescopes are expensive and not all maintenance professionals require this technology. That’s why some opt for non-articulating borescopes, which lack the ability to remotely manipulate the direction of the camera. 

There are several varieties of non-articulating videoscopes, but pipe inspection cameras are among the most common. These durable devices typically feature a high-resolution, waterproof camera and flexible insertion cables, making them suitable for the plumbing industry.  

Who Uses Pipe Inspection Cameras? 

Pipe inspection cameras are one of the most widely valued tools in the plumbing industry. Plumbers use them to inspect piping and sewer lines to diagnose clogs, slow drainage and corrosion. According to Plumber Magazine, the main benefit of these devices is their, “ability to see and diagnose problems without tearing up customers’ yards to find the problem.” For this reason, pipe inspection cameras make plumbing jobs more efficient and productive. 

Several features make pipe inspection cameras a must-have in the plumbing industry. Their lengthy insertion cables, which reach up to 400ft, allow them to perform deep, underground pipe inspections. These videoscopes sometimes include a location transmitter, making it easier for the operator to pinpoint the camera’s location when underground. Lastly, piping tends to have a less complicated design. This means non-articulating borescopes (like pipe inspection cameras) can perform adequate inspections of these environments.  Not to be confused with articulating borescope systems there are sewer camera that provide pan & tilt features to allow you to inspect 360 degrees of the inspection area like the Wohler VIS 700 HD inspection system.

In addition to their popularity among plumbing professionals, pipe inspection cameras are also used by HVAC inspectors, construction workers, environmental engineers and more.

How To Use A Non-Articulating Videoscope 

Finally, let’s discuss how to perform an inspection with a non-articulating videoscope. 

First, insert the pipe inspection camera into the pipe opening or sewer line. You will begin to see inspection footage on your monitor. While you lower the videoscope into the piping, keep your eyes on the screen for any corrosion or blockage. Continue threading the camera through the pipe opening and it will be pushed further into the pipeline. Remember, the videoscope includes LED lights – adjust them as needed throughout the inspection. 

Once you identify the site of the damage, use the device’s location transmitter to pinpoint the corrosion. This will allow you to precisely target the problem area and avoid digging up the yard.   

Even though you can perform live inspections with videoscopes, you may want to review the footage later on. Record and save inspection footage to share with your coworkers or keep it for future reference. 

Contact Us 

Articulating borescopes may be tempting, but it’s possible you can perform diligent inspections without one. If you examine simpler machinery or infrastructure, consider a non-articulating videoscope. They are much less expensive than articulating borescopes and perform just as well in the right environment. If you’re not sure which videoscope suits your needs, don’t hesitate to contact us. Our staff of seasoned professionals is happy to walk you through the difference and help you make a selection.

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