What is a video borescope? A video borescope is simply a borescope that has the capability of displaying its viewed image on a video display screen. Let me give you a few tips and pointers about video borescopes:
Before you rush right out and purchase a video borescope, we need to talk a bit about light. That’s right – light. In particular, the light-source that you will be using with your video borescope. You do have a light-source, don’t you? You really cannot use a video borescope effectively without a good light-source. If you will be viewing your borescope images on a video monitor, or taking pictures or making a videotape – or even displaying the transmitted image on your PC – then you will need a light-source that provides a great deal of illumination.
You will find that borescope tips will illuminate their viewing areas in one of two ways. Older borescope models will use a small light bulb. While that might seem perfectly acceptable, it can present problems – for one thing, if you use a video borescope with a “hot light” (which is what these models are called), you could break the little light bulb as you move your borescope around. Another problem with hot light video borescopes is that these little lights actually produce heat – and if you are examining an area where flammable vapors may be present, for example, this could pose a serious safety hazard.
A far safer approach is to purchase a video borescope with a “cold light” source. These types of video borescopes have the light-generating mechanism outside, and the light which is generated is relayed down through the video borescope tube, and out through the end-tip, to illuminate the viewing area. You can purchase borescopes with Xenon or Halide arc-lamps that will powerfully illuminate the interior of any object cavity; for use in the field you can purchase borescopes with smaller, battery-powered light sources.
When to Use a Video Borescope
There are three situations where the use of a video borescope can be advantageous. One situation would be where documentation of your inspection results is necessary. Video borescopes are commonly used in medical environments for this very reason. The use of a good-quality video borescope can actually save you time, as the video record of your inspection can eliminate the need to supply a detailed written report. On the other hand, in those situations where a detailed written report is still required, the video/photograph record can serve as documentation to support any conclusions reached in the report.
Another reason to use a video borescope is when more than one person needs to be able to view the inspection area. Without a video borescope, you will be forced to have each member of your inspection team view the inspection area for themselves, one at a time. With a video borescope, the entire team can view the images and discuss among themselves what they are seeing, and what it means. The use of a video borescope setup means that you can bring in additional personnel as consultants, if you need to resolve disputes or decide on how best to make necessary repairs/modifications.
Finally, a video borescope setup can be very helpful for the inspector who must visually inspect many items each day. Using traditional eyepiece-based borescopes for long periods of time can contribute to eye fatigue. With a video borescope, this unwanted eyestrain will be eliminated, and in most cases the inspection can be much more thorough than those done while looking through an eyepiece.