Videoscopes 101: What you need to know

videoscope inspection camera

What is a videoscope?

A videoscope is a tool used by technicians to inspect hard-to-reach spaces. Typically it comprises a fiber optic rod attached to a camera; this camera sends video to a monitor so the operator can view them. Videoscopes have articulated tips that allow operators to control the direction of the camera, and many come with external light sources that make it easy to see inside even dark, confined spaces. An insertion probe section allows for easy entry into whatever piece of equipment that might need inspecting. Typically less than 10 millimeters in diameter and up to 15 meters in length, videoscopes can be tailored to the precise task at hand. 

Videoscopes are popular in many industries. Technicians in the aviation/aerospace field often use aircraft videoscopes to inspect turbines, engines, airframes, and avionics. Plumbing videoscopes are useful for those in the plumbing industry, as they can be inserted into pipes to spot blockages and leaks. Manufacturing professionals find videoscopes helpful for similar reasons, as it’s a useful tool for inspecting expensive machinery without needing to disassemble the entire piece. 

Types of Videoscopes

Rigid videoscope cameras are one of the most popular types of videoscopes. They’re ideal for fitting into tight spaces and remaining firm during the inspection process. Because the shaft of the probe remains rigid, it’s the perfect tool for inspecting horizontal, angled, or vertical spaces. Unlike their more flexible counterparts, rigid videoscopes maintain their shape, giving operators one less thing to worry about as they conduct their inspections. 

Videoscopes can come as both articulating and non-articulating. Articulating videoscope cameras offer more versatility during inspections. A controllable end allows operators to move the scope up, down, left, or right. This is ideal when you’ve got a dark, hard-to-reach space to inspect, but you don’t want to dismantle everything to look inside. If the task at hand requires you to maneuver through tight spaces and crannies, you’ll want an articulating videoscope camera for the job. 

A UV videoscope relies on fluorescence to highlight tiny hairline cracks that might be otherwise invisible to the human eye. Ultraviolet light is not visible to humans, but these tools use fluorescent dye to point out cracks and any water in them. The dye is then visible on screen for operators to spot. Ultraviolet filters control what kind of light reaches the monitor, providing a more effective image for inspectors. As you might imagine, this kind of videoscope is ideal for those working in the plumbing industry.

Videoscope Features

Videoscopes come in several sizes, making it easy to inspect even the tiniest of spaces. They are measured in diameter and are frequently available in 3 mm, 4 mm, 6 mm, and 8 mm sizes, although smaller or micro borescopes are available. All versions offer high-resolution distal lenses at the end of the probe. Many are equipped with built-in fiber optic lights, allowing operators to capture sharp, clear images that can be recorded, saved, and shared. Videoscopes with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth features make it easier than ever to capture and save the footage collected.

When you’re working in a confined space, it becomes difficult to know exactly where your videoscope is at all times. That’s where locator transmitters come into play. Select a videoscope with locator transmission to know where your tool is located at any given moment. While you’re at it, invest in a videoscope with lengthy cables for maximum reach. Some versions go up to 30 meters in length, making even the largest spaces inspectable. Don’t need such a long reach? Videoscopes with short cables are also available. 

Portable videoscopes are perhaps the most versatile option of all. Designed for speedy, easy inspections, these tools can save serious time and money. Such videoscopes are often ergonomic in design, and feature all the same specs as full-sized versions within a single handheld device. Because portable videoscopes are typically battery-powered, operators can grab their tools and go without worrying about power cords or charging devices.

Videoscope Use and Maintenance

Before using a videoscope for inspections, make sure that the machinery you’re looking into is turned off. Be sure to avoid high temperatures and caustic or corrosive chemicals, as they can damage the device. While some videoscopes have chemical resistivity features, check your specs before inserting the tool into machinery where it might interact with chemicals. 

The insertion tube is made up of multiple layers of crush-resistant materials. Should your videoscope become stuck, you can rotate it and slightly push and pull without fear of damage. While using the scope, use the live view to help you navigate and minimize the impact on the optical tip. Never use any tools on the tip adapter while installing or taking them off. They’re designed to be installed by hand. Always make sure the insertion tube is as straight as possible when using the articulation. Remove any oil or grime after use. 

Carrying cases make it convenient to take your videoscope on the road. Always be sure to protect the insertion tube when loading your videoscope into the case; otherwise, it may be crushed or damaged as you close the lid. 

By following these basic tips and tricks, you’ll extend the life of your videoscope for years to come!

Get Your Videoscope Now

Leverage the latest in videoscope technology for your next inspection. USABorescopes has a wide selection of videoscopes available for both rental and purchase. Not sure where to start? We’re happy to provide you with recommendations and quotes upon request. Contact us today to get started.


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