How To Use a Borescope Properly

Borescope is an essential tool for every professional, technician and even DIY enthusiasts who deal with repairs and maintenance of equipment that cannot be plainly seen all through.

This implies that borescopes are mainly used with machines that are pretty complicated and possess hidden parts that cannot be seen with the naked eyes except the machine is taken apart.

Similarly, it can be used for viewing cavity walls and other hard-to-reach areas which are entirely necessary to be inspected optically.

Borescopes (also known as snake cameras or inspection cameras) simply make the job of inspecting a lot easier and help to view faults in places it would ordinarily be practically impossible in some cases.

Types of Inspection Cameras

Borescopes come in various types and you can find some of the major differences in the cable type as well as the features accompanying.

Depending on what you want to use it for/ exactly where you want to use it, there are two types of inspection camera based on probe type:

  • Borescopes with very flexible probes. This refers to the tube-like part which extends into the location that you want to check out.
  • Borescopes with rigid probes.

There are also some which are part rigid and part flexible in order to get picture images from different angles, in this case, the cable end can be articulated to any end.

This type is particularly useful in inspecting interior walls and pharmaceutical tubes among a range of other places where it can be used.

Generally, borescopes come with an eyepiece at one end and an objective lens at the other end, these two are constantly by means of an optical relay system. However, in recent times, there have been modifications to the structure of inspection cameras and these types are no longer on sale as much as they used to be.

Modern Snake Cameras are mostly digital in nature and come with a microphone camera on one end and tubing. It allows you to view happenings at the opposing end of the borescope.

Likewise, most borescopes come with some storage space for saving video recordings of the borescope’s activities.

Man holds Inspection Camera to check his car

How to Use the Inspection Camera (Step by Step)

To effectively make use of a borescope, there are a number of essential steps that you have to take at first. These steps eventually culminate in ensuring that you get accurate results and enjoy the ease of viewing as well.

1. Create Ideal Conditions

In order for any technological device to work properly, there is a place of creating the best conditions in which it can operate. For instance, in order to properly use a device that requires recharging, it is essential that the device is recharged before you go ahead to make use of it. This way, you can be certain that in the course of the main use of it, you wouldn’t experience low battery power which would impede the progress of your work.

Similarly, it is essential that you also prepare the site where you would be making use of this device. In actual fact, this is one of the most important moves as you would soon come to realize.

For instance, in petrol or diesel engines, an accumulation of dirt or dust over a period of time can effectively prevent you from clearly viewing your target area or from even getting there at all.

This is why you need to ensure that the target area is pretty accessible. For walls, you could make use of some object to scrape away objects and dust while you might need to wash out some parts of it involves heavy engines.

2. Prepare Your Borescope

Preparing your borescope involves a number of steps, one of which is determining the exact type of borescope to use. Usually, it is whatever place that you want to be that ends up determining the type of borescope that you use.

This implies that not all inspection cameras are ideal for viewing certain sites. This is because borescopes differ based on the features that accompany them. For instance, certain borescopes have longer probes than others while others offer certain features such as a waterproof feature.

Similarly, you need to be aware of several other factors such as an estimated dimension of the location that you are sticking your borescope in. For instance, certain locations require slimmer probes due to the fact that the pathway is especially narrow.

Also, some other locations may require very bright light in order to see clearly. Therefore, you need to prepare your borescope to meet all the conditions that the location which you want to view may require.

In addition, you should keep in mind the estimated battery life of your borescope so that you do not get caught unawares such that it powers down while you are in the middle of working.

Inspection Camera with flexible snake in a manhole cover

3. Insert Your Probe

While inserting your probe might not sound like a very special process, you would be surprised at the fact it might end up requiring some technical knowledge. While this may not be technical knowledge perse, it could require some manipulation. That means you do not exactly have to open up some manual

The manner in which you insert your probe goes a long way in determining how effective and accurate your results would be. Before you insert, you need to first make sure that you are getting the right probe in terms of dimension and type. The types of probes available comprise some very flexible ones and some pretty rigid ones as well.

If you are dealing with some machine or some other fixture that has a number of twists and turns, you would most definitely be needing a flexible probe in order to easily navigate these turns.

For other locations that are pretty straightforward, a somewhat rigid probe would do. Similarly, you would need to position your probe properly in order to get a very clear image or video depending on which you intend to get.

In addition, it is essential to keep your probe very stand in order to get clear images during your navigation. This process doesn’t really any special skill and you should get the hang of it in no time.

4. Maneuver the Probe Properly

Basically, your probe does the major task of going into the inaccessible location to get the details you need or help you see clearly in order to detect whatever fault there is to find out. Your probe also carries the camera and simply acts as a form of messenger on your behalf.

In order to get accurate results, it is essential that you are able to work this probe properly. This is because the way you handle the maneuverability of your probe determines the type of result that you end up with. This goes on to point to the fact that you need to be very careful with the way you handle the probe.

In order to maneuver the probe properly, you need to be somewhat acquainted with the internal structure of the space you want to pass your borescope through. This is so that you don’t end up just maneuvering blindly and ending up getting stuck.

Also, you need to watch the video display very closely since this would also help with seeing exactly what you are doing clearly and determining what to do next. Furthermore, you should keep in mind that this probe is literally your eye down there which goes all the more to indicate that it is best for you to apply every form of precaution.

engineer with Inspection Camera in his hand

5. Maintain a Close Watch on the Viewing Screen

Although maneuvering the probe could be pretty distracting, especially when you are not particularly accustomed to the process. It is essential that you focus your sight on the screen. After using this device regularly, you wouldn’t particularly need to look into wherever the probe is going.

A moment of distraction from the screen could lead to your missing out on an essential piece of evidence. This might point to the fault that you are looking out for. Similarly, it is also essential that you progress gradually. Because moving too fast could lead to probe damage if it makes forceful contact with some components.

The viewing screen basically shows you everything that the probe camera is seeing. Therefore, it is a great idea to not take your eyes off of it at all. Finally, there might be times when you need to make reference to some videos or images. And you should always ensure that you are recording whatever it is that you are viewing in order not to make your work a waste of effort.


While it is essential that you know how to operate your inspection camera perfectly, it is also essential that you pick out the one that is most suitable for the task you have at hand. This way, the stress you would have to go through is greatly reduced. Similarly, it would end up facilitating your work and ensuring that you get accurate results.

Also, following the steps above would definitely guarantee that you get the results you desire. Therefore, you should make it a point of duty to take this process into cognizance. With that, you can rest assured that you would definitely get the right results.

Meter & Tester