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Industrial Endoscopes | History, Uses, Benefits & Reasons To Get One

Last Updated: 29.11.21

Why get a borescope?


Whether you need to take a closer look at your engine, want to get those HVAC pipes cleaned, or would like to be able to inspect other areas that are hard to reach, a borescope can help you perform remote visual examinations and ensure that you get to prevent or fix problems as they arise.

These devices are becoming more popular, and with the many uses they have and the current low prices, now would be a great time to consider buying one for your home.


A borescope can help you inspect hard-to-reach areas

A borescope is an inspection device that has an objective lens on one end that is attached to a long tube with an eyepiece at the other end. This tube can be rigid, semi-rigid, or flexible. With a rigid borescope, you can examine straight pipes and other locations that don’t have any bends and curves.

A semi-rigid model has the ability to bend and so you can use it to get to get around corners in narrow areas. With a flexible borescope you can remotely inspect hard-to-reach areas with ease. These flexible scopes often come with high-quality cameras which enable you to accurately see defects such as cracks, dents, and leaks on larger displays as well as to record video.


You get a portable device to make inspections on the field

One of the best things about these scopes is that they are small and lightweight so that you can easily take them with you to perform examinations on the field. Many scopes come with built-in cameras, although you can also get a great borescope for iPhone and plug it into your mobile device via a USB cable.

With a portable device, you can inspect, record, and review video of target locations and find the faults in the shortest amount of time possible while also being able to store the recordings in the cloud or share it with your colleagues to find a solution to the problem.

These units also come with internal batteries so you don’t need an external power source, and they won’t drain your iPhone’s battery either, allowing you to work even for extended periods of time without running low on energy.


You can use it to inspect your engine

With a quality automotive borescope, you can check the engine and other systems. Whether you want to perform routine inspections or are trying to pinpoint the location of a specific problem, a specialized scope can help you get even in areas that are tough to reach.

You can examine valves and pistons and check for damage or leaks, see if you need to replace some old gaskets, or carefully inspect castings and seals and make sure that you don’t remove and pick apart the entire engine only to find out that you’ve just successfully lost an entire day’s worth of work.

A borescope can save you a lot of time, and a lot of money as well, as you can actually spot problems and get a chance to fix them before they become serious and lead to critical failures that would require replacing expensive parts.

You can also maintain your vehicle in top shape without having to get yourself dirty because you won’t need to crawl under the car every time you need to have a look at something. Many models come with long cables so you can rest assured that you can reach any part of the car without getting on your hands and knees.


A borescope can help you clean the HVAC systems

If your boiler, ventilation pipes, and other parts of the HVAC system haven’t had any maintenance done in a while, then now would be a good time to get a quality scope and check out the installations. You can use the device to look for leaks, blockages, and other problems that might affect performance.

By performing preventive maintenance, you will be able to eliminate clogs to ensure a proper circulation of air so that the AC unit won’t use extra energy to compensate for the narrower passages.

You won’t just make sure that you can fix minor problems, but also know when you need to replace gaskets or lubricate various mechanical parts so that you can prolong the service life of your heating and cooling systems and save a lot of money in the long run.


You get to repair broken pipes easier

In case you suspect that you have a broken sewage pipe, then you should be glad to know that you can use a borescope to find the leakage spot. You can do so without having to dig up your entire yard, which can save you both time and money. Not only that, but you’ll also be able to save your yard or flower garden from destruction.

Even for the cases when you need to dig under concrete to fix a pipe, you’ll still save hours of backbreaking work by knowing exactly where you have to dig, and not create a huge mess in your home or garage.


Medical examinations are also possible with a borescope

While it’s not recommended that you play doctor if you don’t have any medical training, you could still use a borescope as an endoscope to check for signs of infections. However, doing so should only be done if you really know what you’re doing, or under the supervision of qualified medical personnel.


You get models with many built-in features

There are quite a few models that also feature LED lighting systems that can illuminate even completely dark areas. These lights also enable video scopes to capture and transmit higher quality images so that you can see even tiny defects, despite the poor light conditions.

Higher-end models also feature cutting-edge CMOS sensors just like the ones in DSLR cameras, which are capable of producing high-resolution images and videos and ensure that you can see everything up close.

You can also zoom in to reveal tiny details, and some borescopes also feature complex control panels that allow you to control the articulations of the flexible insertion tube using a 4-way joystick so that you can navigate through the narrowest spaces.




Benefits of getting an endoscope


While endoscopes are actually medical devices used for visual examinations of internal organs, with the advances in technology and the diversification of uses, the term has become more common for devices that function as endoscopes, although the correct technical term should be borescopes.

There are quite a few reasons to get an endoscope, although none of them includes carrying out intimate examinations of various body parts. This is because many endoscopes on the market aren’t intended for medical use, not to mention the fact that playing doctor with your body is never a good idea, especially when you haven’t got the slightest idea what you’re doing.

So, here are the main benefits of owning a commercial endoscope that you might not have known about.

Get a waterproof model to check drains and leaking pipes

You can find an endoscope that has a waterproof body so that you can check out dirty drainage and leaking pipes. You can opt for a device with a long cable that should allow you to perform inspections of damaged areas so you can pinpoint the problematic location without having to dig out all your pipes and create a huge mess in your home and garden.


Connect it to your mobile device

With technology advancing so fast, long gone are the days when an endoscope consisted of a lens attached to a rigid metal tube. These devices have become smaller and smaller while also getting better. Nowadays, you can also find a model that easily connects to a variety of mobile phones.

You can get a new endoscope for iPhone and easily plug it in using the USB port. Besides getting a cool little device to perform a lot of inspections, you also get to enjoy portability, since you’ll be able to charge the endoscope from your phone. You can also view details on your screen and enjoy a load of extra features and controls that will improve functionality.


Go for a model with a high resolution

The good thing about these devices is that you can always get a powerful endoscope camera that comes with a high-resolution sensor. While your average endoscope will come with a tiny 2MP camera, you can also find units with sensors that are similar to the CMOS variants found in digital cameras.

These offer great performance even in poorly lit areas, and they also come with LED illumination so you can easily see what you’re doing even in complete darkness.


Get a good view of inaccessible areas

One of the advantages of modern endoscopes is that they come with flexible cables and tubes so that you can easily get them into tight spaces and even around corners or pipe elbows so you can get a pretty good look at what’s there, whether you’re trying to find a clogged air vent or cracks or other signs of damage to explain a leak.

For these jobs, you might want to find an endoscope that comes with a long enough cable to help you examine hard-to-reach areas. Fortunately, you can easily find models that have cables measuring at least 16 feet so you can gain access to narrow spaces and inaccessible spots that had been off-limits until now.


Inspect your car’s engine for damage

Whether you’re an automotive mechanic or just someone handy with his hands, you can properly inspect your engine as well as other parts of your car without having to take it all apart. Using an endoscope will allow you to get a good look in tight spaces that you couldn’t have examined otherwise.

With a quality device, you can check the engine gaskets, look for signs of cracks, or inspect the pistons. The great thing about using an endoscope is that you get to save a lot of time since you won’t need to disassemble the entire engine just to perform some basic checks.

You can also investigate suspect culprits for various mechanical failures and improve the safety of your car while also getting the opportunity to perform checks faster so you could actually afford to examine your car more often and ensure that you maintain it in a good shape.

Choose a model compatible with multiple operating systems

While many endoscopes are compatible with iPhones, you might want to use this device with other tablets and computers that use different operating systems. The good news is that lots of models are actually compatible with Android or Windows so you can hook them up to your tablet or even desktop PC and get increased functionality.

You can easily perform finer operations when you’re viewing photos and video on a larger screen. While inspecting tight spaces with an endoscope that’s connected to your desktop PC is unrealistic, you can easily get a laptop with a 15-inch display to help you better see what you’re doing.

Just make sure that you get a camera that has a high-enough resolution, as low-resolution and poor lighting will give you pixelated, dark, and blurry videos that might be painful to watch. You can also record your inspections so that you can always review them later on to check for different sections, zoom in, and get to see things you might have missed the first time.


Get a sophisticated model for tough jobs

For plumbers or other professionals that need a device they can rely on to perform tough jobs, there are also high-end endoscopes that can give them a clear view of the tiniest spaces and allow them to zoom in and spot even miniature cracks.

These devices are portable, waterproof, shock-resistant, and some even come with controls so you can move the probe with specialized joysticks. These are well-suited to inspect HVAC elements, sewers, and complex machinery, helping professionals in diagnosing problems and repairing them while saving them a lot of time and effort.

So whether you just want to try out an endoscope that works with your iPhone and get a good view of tight spaces around your home or need a high-end model with complete control for professional jobs, there is certainly a model to suit your needs and budget perfectly.




A short history


An endoscope is a tool used mostly in medicine to look inside a cavity of the human body. It is utilized to diagnose diseases like ulcers and cancer, and it has many shapes, sizes, and extra features that help physicians make an accurate diagnosis in as little time as possible.

Unlike other imaging techniques, endoscopes don’t use toxic substances for contrast, and they are inserted directly into the organ. They are especially useful for tight poorly visible spaces. There are many types of endoscopes that have different functions. In medicine, they can be used both with anesthesia or without one.

Endoscope-like devices first appeared in Antiquity

The idea of an endoscope started to germinate inside the human mind ever since the ancient Greek and Roman eras. The ancient people had been wondering what the inside of the human body looked like when the human iwass alive, as opposed to an autopsy. The first prototype of a device that resembled an endoscope was even found in the ruins of the lost city of Pompeii.

Soon after, the history of the endoscope gets very confusing, because no other thing was found to attest the presence of an endoscope-like tool in the human communities for almost two thousand years. That changed in 1805 when a brave doctor decided it was about time Medicine reached new heights.


The first people to conquer the endoscope

His name was Philipp Bozzini, and he was the first one ever to try to observe a living human’s urinary tract, rectum and pharynx via a rigid tube he created with his own hands. The device was called a Lichtleiter because it used light to guide its way through the human body.

Soon after that moment, in 1853, Antoine Jean Desormeaux, a Frenchman, created a nifty instrument that was purposefully designed to examine the bladder and the urinary tract of both men and women. He was the first one to call such a tool an endoscope, and the name stuck to the device. He was also the first one to describe some prevalent urinary diseases.

Germany didn’t want to fall behind the race of discovery, so in 1868, Dr. Adolph Kussmaul managed to sneak a look inside the stomach of one of his patients, that was unlucky enough to have this procedure done without anesthesia, as it is still done sometimes in remote parts of the world that lack supplies and qualified personnel. Luckily, the patient was a trained sword-swallower, who managed to take in the whole 47 cm long metal tube without complaining too much.

Other revelations regarding the endoscope

Other important steps in the development of the endoscope were the moment in 1871, when Nitze and Josef Leiter, two German doctors developed the cystourethroscope and the vital moment in 1881 when Johann von Mikulicz and his colleagues invented the world’s first rigid gastroscope.

The flexible gastroscope didn’t come until much later, in 1932, when Dr. Rudolph Schindler invented it, thus making the life of his patients, but not only, considerably easier. This new device allowed for much quicker endoscopy sessions, and for the trauma that the patient goes through it to be much milder.


The future of the endoscope

A present-day endoscope is a tool that far exceeded the medical area. They have taken over every modern household because people have realized that they can be used to find lost items under tight spaces, that they can see the inside of their plumbing and that these are versatile tools which can make a great difference in an emergency situation.

Now, the nifty machines have reached a point where they can be packed in any bag since they are so small and flexible. Most of them have a light attached to their end, can be connected to Bluetooth, and the best models available on the market have a high-performance camera that allows you to take footage of whatever you use it for.

The ideal endoscopes for iPhone available today will allow you to experience all the advantages you have when you buy a tiny tool like this to complete your toolbox. It sure is a great time to be alive and to have access to an Internet connection.




Ioana Moldovan

Ioana’s professional experience in the optics field has helped her understand the value of passing her knowledge forward. Her curious personality helps her gather useful information for her readers and her goal is to make technical information fun and accessible to everyone.

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Kate Welling
Kate Welling
3 years ago

A borescope sounds like a neat invention. It is interesting how it can be bent so you can get hard to reach places. I could see how it would be beneficial to have one of these for the industrial fields. Knowing that you can check engines and other systems and pinpoint the location of a specific problem is cool! I don’t have enough money to buy one myself, so I would just hire a company that does it as a service. I would love to contact a company to take a look at my HVAC system that has been acting… Read more »

The Team
The Team (@the-team)
3 years ago
Reply to  Kate Welling

It is a great type of product, Kate, but it really doesn’t cost that much money. Sure, high-end models made by Teslong, for example, might cost within the range of $100 to $150 and even more, but there are budget-friendly options you can get for under $50. By comparison, hiring a professional to check on your HVAC system surely is more expensive than fifty bucks. But that’s just our opinion. Protection Status