Finding the right inspection camera for your application (borescope type)
Call PCE Instruments' technical support hotline for assistance with finding the right inspection camera to meet your needs. Our technical support specialists will ask you specific questions about your application or your project, and then recommend a suitable inspection camera product for your inspection task. Below you also will find some tips that you should take into consideration when selecting or buying an inspection camera.
Criteria for selecting a unit
- Diameter and length of the cable
- Rigid or flexible cable
- Memory / storage for photos and videos
- Service and support
Diameter and length of the cable
One of the key points to consider when choosing an inspection camera / industrial borescope camera is the cable. Imspection camera cables are available in many different lengths and diameters. Think about the cable diameter and length requirements needed for your application. In most instances, the diameter is determined by the existing openings of machine components, pipes, vents, etc. With the cable length, it is important not to choose a cable that is too short. If your diameter and length needs vary depending on your application, you may want to purchase an inspection camera that accommodates multiple cable diameters and lengths. The advantages of such an inspection camera are the onetime purchase price and low follow-up costs for retrofitting, such as purchasing cables with smaller diameters or longer lengths.
Rigid or flexible cable
PCE Instruments offers rigid and flexible inspection camera cables. Among flexible cables, you can find 2- and 4-way articulating systems. This articulation allows the inspection camera head to be moved in different directions and angles up to 360 °. In flexible inspection camera cables, images are transferred to the handheld device via a glass fiber bundle or, as it is in the newer digital borescopes, via the camera in the cable. Flexible inspection camera cables are available in many different diameters and lengths, allowing for a variety of practical usages. In addition, most digital inspection cameras with flexible cables have memories for storing photos and videos.
Rigid inspection camera cables typically offer very small diameters to allow the inspection of very components and spaces. Industrial borescopes with rigid cables are usually analog, meaning they don't afford users the opportunity to record and process images and videos without the use of a special adapter (sold separately).
Memory / storage for photos and videos
In many cases, it is necessary to record and store images or video sequences of a visual inspection. Before buying an inspection camera, consider whether or not you require this functionality. Nowadays, many digital borescopes feature a removable SD card memory. A removable SD card makes it easy to download photos and videos to a PC or laptop. With some of the inspection camera models, additional analytical software can be purchased. This software provides measurement capabilities for documenting the progress of cracks or fractures. The documentation can be saved or sent via email.
Service and support
PCE Instruments differs from other online shops by providing real customer service and support. We try to find the best inspection camera for our customers and maintain mutually beneficial and long-lasting business relationships. Give us a call at +44 (0) 2380 987 035 for PCE Instruments UK or +1 (561) 320-9162 for PCE Americas Inc. to experience our customer service and technical support firsthand.
Inspection Camera Purchase Advice (thermal imager type)
First of all, before purchasing an infrared camera, it is necessary to clarify for which application the measuring device is to be used. Infrared cameras with a lower resolution should not be used for precise temperature measurement. Infrared cameras with a VGA resolution could be used for easy temperature control, but practically, this does not make sense, since the devices of this kind has not been designed for such application.
What resolution is required for which application?
Low resolution, for example, 38 x 38 pixels: An inspection camera with a very low resolution as the PCE-TC 28 is used for simple temperature tests. The cameras almost replace a pyrometer. They are a better infrared thermometer with the advantages of a real thermal imaging camera. The measuring instruments can be perfectly applied to test the temperatures of fuses and electrical assemblies in control cabinets. Or also for simple and point temperature measurements. Furthermore, an inspection camera can also be used for the rapid control of water pipes, pumps, bearings and gearboxes. Many of these infrared cameras have a SD card memory, so images and videos can be stored for documentation purposes.
160 x 120 pixels medium resolution: An inspection camera with a resolution of 160x120 pixels can be used for more demanding measuring tasks. With this thermal imaging inspection camera the thermal bridges on buildings can be searched and found, or the component temperature can be measured in the electronics development.
An infrared inspection camera with a high resolution: For an inspection camera of this class the thermal resolutions starts from 640 x 480 pixels, what corresponds to the default VGA-resolution. This inspection camera also has documentation possibilities. Due to the high pixel density, much better thermal images can be recorded. Thus, a much better picture quality is achieved.
Is a real image required?
Some infrared cameras offer the possibility to record a visual real image in addition to the IR image. Frequently, it also goes about Bi-spectral infrared cameras. This means nothing else but that the inspection camera can record the images in the visible spectrum and in the infrared spectrum. An inspection camera with a second real-image camera offers the user the possibility to place the infrared image continuously or stepwise over the real image. This makes the assignment of the heat sources easier and facilitates the daily work
Should the infrared camera be mobile or used stationary?
This question is fundamental and irreplaceable for the choice of the inspection camera. For sure, it is possible to use an inspection camera, which is designed for stationary installation, in which the thermal imaging inspection camera is connected to a laptop via USB, also as a mobile device. The other way round, it is much more complicated to use a mobile IR inspection camera for a stationary application. Not the least important reason for this is the design and construction of the inspectioncamera. Infrared inspection cameras for stationary applications such as those of the PCE-PI series have small dimensions and no own display. As a result, these infrared cameras can be easily mounted on machines and in places which are difficult to access. Furthermore, this inspection camera has the possibility to be controlled via USB or network. Thus, a continuous monitoring of a process is possible without any problems. A handheld inspection camera cannot be used for online thermography just like that. Frequently, the software of mobile cameras offers a perfect documentation possibility, but cannot be used for online measurements because the image is not transmitted live. You need to clearly understand this, before purchasing your inspection camera and select the infrared device carefully.
Our consultants are ready, even on telephone, to assist you in making a decision when selecting the inspection camera. They help you when it goes about specific questions about a infrared inspection camera and whether certain functions are available.
An inspection camera is an optical device consisting of a tube (rigid or flexible) with an eyepiece on one end and the lens on the other end, connected by the optical system. An inspection camera has a very high image quality and is affordable at a good price. It consists of the visual and lighting systems. The visual system is usually a gradient, rod or lens optics, which is enclosed in the inner metal tube. The lighting system consists of an optical fiber for illuminating the inside of the area. The optical fiber is located between outer and inner metal tubes. The image of the illuminated object is transmitted through the optical system so the viewer’s eye could see it.
An inspection camera can be equipped with a video camera to transmit the images on a display or computer. They are characterized by four main parameters: the diameter of the operating part, the length of the operating part, the angle of the observation direction and the angle of view. You should take into consideration that increasing of the field of view leads to reducing detalization. It means that you can see a lot but in small sizes or a little but in big sizes and in detail. The main advantage of inspection cameras is a high resolution of up to 25 lines per millimeter.
The inspection camera is designed to control the work where the inspection area is not easy to reach. They are usually used for visual inspection of aircraft engines, industrial gas turbines, steam turbines, internal combustion engines and the engines of cars and trucks during maintenance and performance evaluation. An inspection camera is common in forensic examinations in law enforcement, in the building inspection to check the ceilings and walls of the buildings, in the weapon industry for the inspection of the fire weapon barrel and so on.
Inspection cameras can be flexible, rigid or video borescopes. A flexible inspection camera is used to inspect bended tubes and cavities. They transmit images of areas inaccessible to the naked eye. The main features of these devices are convenience, focus, the eyepiece, a bright illumination, which allows you to clearly view dark places. Video borescope differs from the previous type of inspection cameras by having a miniature camera at the end of the flexible tube. They also have an illumination for capturing images or videos in dark places. Camera and flexible tube in many models can be immersed in the water. Their main features are high quality, clear digital images and videos.
With the help of this instrument you can get and save images and videos for further transmission in a computer. A rigid borescope is used to inspect areas or cavities in a straight line. That is why their usage is limited. There are certain objects and places where it is better to use rigid borescopes, for example, cylinders, fuel injectors and so on. They are affordable at a lower cost and provide high quality images. The status check with the help of an inspection camera can significantly save maintenance costs. In many cases it allows to understand whether it is necessary to disassemble the turbine for further diagnostics.
While choosing the inspection camera you have to take into consideration a type and size of the inspected object, the distance of the object from the access point, access point diameter and image clarity. A PCE inspection camera is exceptionally durable, reliable and easy to use. They have water and dust protection along with producing maximum illumination and resolution. The device can be operated with one hand. Buttons are ergonomically designed to offer one-handed easy control to view targets from the ideal angle.
On an inspection camera, the inspection cameras have a cylindrical form that contains a light and a lens that are inserted into cavities with limited accessibility. Magnifying the image from the optic fibers allows visualization of the area being analyzed to determine the fault. Traditionally an inspection camera is used for diagnostics in the medical sector. Nowadays, an industrial borescope camera is used in the industrial sector, for cavities with limited accessibility, pipe welding inspection, injection molding, machinery, motors, and casting, etc. It is the perfect assistant for those diagnostics that have to be done where a technician has to work in areas that are difficult to reach or it is impossible to see an area using normal methods. Our inspection camera has a flexible cable and the cable of this borescope camera returns to its original form after the cable of the inspection camera is extracted. For documentation, we offer more than one video borescope with camera and video adaptor.
A wide range of videoscopes, fiberscopes and our line of industrial borescope camera, with different diameters and magnifications are listed above. The various scopes that we quote at PCE-Instruments makes us one of the top dealers in the World for the inspection camera. Our industrial borescope camera is battery powered and has a small diameter that gives you great flexibility while performing inspections. You can also connect a 90° mirror on an inspection camera tip; so that you get a lateral view. Almost every inspection camera has a memory and the data can be stored on a SD card, so that the data can be used as attachments to emails or reports. Nearly every inspection camera has a build in LED light what allows you to see in dark areas, so that nothing will go undetected.
Infrared measurement consists of capturing an image to make visible the heat radiation from an object, invisible to the human eye. This inspection camera doesn't require contact with the device and the camera can record events such as explosions, fires and the course of movements. Infrared measurements can be recorded to produce a scheme of temperature measurements of an area.
Infrared images illustrate the heat emitted by objects, machines, buildings, etc. Thanks to a thermal inspection camera you can have an idea about the loss of infrared heat or determine heat sources. To guarantee quality, thermal imaging is becoming more frequent as in installing insulation during the construction of a building. This allows to locate problems without causing damage to the building. Our thermal cameras are suitable for these situations.
Thermal inspection cameras provide us with a thermogram, a representation in color of radiation differences in objects. Since infrared radiation is a parameter related to temperature, a thermal inspection is used to discover differences in materials temperature. This allows for the thermal inspection camera to be used in diverse fields, for instance in a building, because both heat loss and isolation are key elements for a building efficiency and comfort. This type of thermal inspection cameras may be of interest to builders, architects, consultants, promoters, management.
With a thermal inspection camera you can check heat loss in houses caused by air infiltrations through junctions between roofs and walls. Thermal inspection cameras can be also used to detect humidity and damages caused by water, such air humidity on a roof caused by a leak. Thermal properties of water enables to detect humidity by a thermal inspection camera under certain conditions. Thermal imaging cameras can be used in various fields (checking roofing and coating status, calculation of thermal transmission in surfaces, inspection of dry processes in materials, heating and cooling systems operation, domestic electrical risk assessment) and in applications where the differences of temperature provide important information.
When winter arrives, it increases the transmission of influenza in some places with a lot of people such as airports, transit stations, supermarkets, etc. One of the most characteristic symptoms of influenza is high fever. In some U.S. airports, thermal inspection camera are used to check passengers to discover if they suffer any symptom of the virus H1N1 as well as other diseases. These thermal inspection cameras can detect fever without any contact.
A thermal inspection camera is like a normal camera but it can register light reflected by an object. Thermal inspection cameras are heat sensitive devices which show images depending on their temperature, so thermal imaging cameras are especially useful in dark environments. Thermal inspection cameras display objects depending on their temperature, hotter objects are brighter. A thermal inspection camera uses very sensitive systems which can measure temperatures up to a fraction of a degree. Thermal inspection cameras were firstly used during the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in 2002 and 2003 in the airports of Singapore and China. Since then, thermal imaging cameras have been continuously used. Although a thermal inspection camera can detect high body temperature, it cannot detect human swine influenza. Any traveler exposed to any effort (running, carrying excessive weight, drinking alcoholic drinks together with an excessive heat) may present an increase in body temperature.
Thermal inspection cameras PCE-TC series have a software which allows for the detection of any heat source. With the help of a temperature calibrator and programming it at 38ºC for example, you could check if the thermal inspection camera detects temperature accurately. The software of the thermal inspection cameras emits a visible alarm to the PC when the thermal inspection camera detects a higher level of temperature. This way, a high accuracy is assured. These thermal imaging cameras combine visible and thermal images to create a person’s “heat picture”. With this image you can see a display at the rear of the camera as in the standard digital cameras. A cursor automatically points the hottest area of the image, normally the person’s face. It is better to check people one by one. Thermal imaging cameras were originally used within the military sector.
When the technology of thermal imaging cameras advanced, they started to be used in more fields of application military use, predictive maintenance, control of processes, detection and analysis of fire, inspection of floors, insulation, walls, etc as well as in medicine. Most damages in the industrial sector both electrical or mechanical can be previously detected by changes of temperature by thermal inspection cameras (fixed cameras for continuous control or handheld cameras for spot checks). The use of the thermal inspection camera in the maintenance of installations, machines, etc makes it possible to detect future damages and avoid their consequences. At purchasing a camera, the customer should take into account: number of pixels, spectral sensitivity, sensor life, field of view, dynamic range, input power, mass and volume.