Hawkeye Borescope & Accessory FAQs

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That depends on your application. If your entry path is straight, and less than 1 meter long, a rigid borescope is usually your best option. Hawkeye Pro Rigid Borescopes have superior image quality, are lower priced and are much more durable than flexible scopes.

If your entry path is curved, like a bent tube or complex casting, then you will need a Flexible borescope. If you are working on a stationary benchtop such as in a QC lab or on a manufacturing floor, you can use a fiberoptic borescope, such as our Hawkeye Pro or Blue Flexibles. However, if you are in the field, such as inspecting aircraft or a power-gen system, then you will want a portable video borescope such as our Hawkeye V2.

If your entry path is very narrow, less than 1.8 mm, then you will need our Hawkeye Pro MicroFlex Flexible or Hawkeye Pro MicroFlex Semi-Rigid.

We offer two video systems that will attach to any Hawkeye Rigid or Flexible Fiberoptic Borescope. They are the Luxxor Portable Camera, and, the Luxxor Video System. If you are in a stationary benchtop application, like in a QC lab, the Luxxor Video System will give you the best image quality. However, if you need portability, then the Luxxor Portable Camera is your best choice.

If you have your own camera, attaching it to a Hawkeye Rigid or Flexible Borescope requires a video coupler. Which video coupler to choose depends upon both the particular borescope and the size of the video camera sensor. A chart (as a pdf file) showing various scope / video sensor combinations gives a clear idea of how this works (PDF link). For most Hawkeye borescopes, the following guidelines will be helpful.

Rules of Thumb

  • If your CCD sensor is ½”, use our VC-35 coupler.
  • If your CCD sensor is either 1/3” or 1/4”, use our VC-25 coupler.
  • If your CCD sensor is 2/3’ – 1”, use our VC-75 coupler.

All of our portable and benchtop (stationary) light sources will work with any of our borescopes. Which one you should choose depends upon your application. If you are looking into a large cavity (building wall, diesel cylinder, etc.) then you will need more light than if you are looking into a small cavity in a machined part. The finish of the cavity will also have some effect. You will need less light if the cavity walls are white and/or shiny than if they are dull and/or black. Video and digital image capture requires more light than viewing by eye.

Keeping all this in mind, here are some general recommendations, but remember your specific application may be different.

Portable Light Sources:

Mini-Maglite– portable operation

  • Only intended for use in small bores (< .5″ dia.) such as rifle barrels, fuel injector nozzles, small valves, and manifolds.
  • Viewing by eye only . . . not sufficient for video.
  • Use only with larger diameter rigid borescopes.
  • Not very effective for use with flexible borescopes even in small cavities.

Super NOVA LED – portable operation / rechargeable

  • Use especially for portable applications.
  • For use in medium bores (< 3″ dia.) such as engine cylinders, wall cavities by eye, with larger diameter borescopes.
  • Small bores by turning down light output.
  • Portable digital image capture in small bores.
  • Use with Pro and Blue Flexible Borescopes for portable applications.
  • Use with any Hawkeye Rigid Borescope.
  • Not for use with Hawkeye MicroFlex Borescopes.

Hawkeye LED – portable operation

  • Use especially for portable applications.
  • For use in medium bores (< 3″ dia.) such as engine cylinders, wall cavities by eye, with larger diameter borescopes.
  • Small bores by turning down light output.
  • Portable digital image capture in small bores.
  • Use with Pro and Blue Flexible Borescopes for portable applications.
  • Use with any Rigid Hawkeye borescope.
  • Not for use with Hawkeye MicroFlex scopes.

Benchtop Light Sources (Stationery Operation)

Luxxor 35 LED – line power

  • This is the most versatile light source for most benchtop applications.
  • Offers a wide range of light intensity from dim to bright.
  • For use ion large cavities (< 6″ dia.) such as engine blocks / cylinders, tubes and pipes.
  • Small and medium bores by turning down light output.
  • Works well in most video applications.
  • Works well with ALL Hawkeye Rigid and Flexible Borescopes.
  • Works well whenever recording video.
  • Requires a Luxxor Light Guide (sold separately)

Luxxor 50– line power

  • For use in larger cavities such as walls, pipes, large diesel cylinders, pressure vessels, tanks.
  • Small and medium bores by turning down light output.
  • Often required with Hawkeye Flexible Borescopes.
  • Requires a Luxxor Light Guide (sold separately).

UV Light – line power

  • Dual UV and white light source.
  • First choice for FPI (fluorescent penetrant inspection).
  • Switching from white light to UV and back is very easy
  • Requires a UV-Light Guide

The resolution/accuracy depends upon the object distance and how accurately the object distance can be repeated between measurements. The capture resolution is 640 x 480 pixels, but because the scope has a round field of view, the useful pixels across the image is something closer to 450. As an example, if the object distance is such that a 1 inch diameter target fills the field of view, then each pixel represents 1″ / 450 pixels = 0.0022″. In principal then you could measure something to +/- 0.0022″. If next time you placed the scope in front of the object, the object distance was such that a 0.9″ diameter target filled the field, then each pixel would be 0.9″/450 = 0.0020″. Let’s say the first time you measured a feature it was 100 pixels wide, so you would say it was 100 x 0.0022″ = 0.220″ wide. With the scope closer, so you had the smaller 0.9″ field, this same object feature would appear to be 110 pixels wide (since each pixel is now 0.002″ instead of 0.0022″). If you didn’t know you were closer, then you would assume the original pixel value and say that the feature was 110 * 0.0022″ = 0.242″ wide. You would be off by 0.022″. This is an extreme case and you should be able to do much better than this with reasonable fixturing.

Our Hawkeye rigid borescopes have a Field of View of about 42 degrees, so the object distance (“L”) for the first 1 inch field would be L = 0.5 / tan( 42 / 2) = 1.30″. In the 2nd case, where the field was 0.9″, the object distance would have been L = 0.45 / tan( 42 / 2) = 1.17″. This is a change in object distance of 0.13″. To get an accuracy of 0.01″ for this example, the object distance would need to be repeatable from part to part to about half of this value or 0.065″.

This sort of calculation needs to be done based on each specific overall field size to determine how accurately the object distance needs to be repeated to get a particular measurement accuracy. If you are dealing with small objects / features, then getting to 0.01″ or better should be very achievable. For larger objects / features, then it becomes harder. In either case, accurate measurement using a borescope requires some sort of fixture/jig to help with repeatable object distances. Accurate measurement is not something that can be done by hand holding unless the part has an internal feature (such as a lip) that the borescope can touch each time to provide a built in fixture.

The longest borescope we sell is the Hawkeye V2 Video Borescope, 6 mm x 6 meter length. The longest Rigid borescope we sell is the 37” Super Hardy.

The 0.5 mm Pro MicroFlex Flexible.

Magnification of a borescope is a measure of how large and object appears when viewed through the borescope as compared to its actual size when viewed from the same location without the borescope. Magnification of a borescope is not constant! The magnification changes as the object distance changes, with larger magnification when the object is nearer the tip of the borescope. A graph (link) showing how magnification changes with object distance reveals that the magnification does not grow linearly with object distance.

A rigid borescope uses a series of individual lenses or a long gradient index relay lens to relay the image of the objective lens to an image plane where the eye lens can magnify it and present it to the eye for viewing.

A flexible borescope uses a coherent fiber bundle with thousands of individual fibers to relay the image from the objective to the eyepiece. Due to the “pixelated” nature of the fiberscope image relay device, the image from a fiberscope is never as good as a similar diameter rigid borescope. There is also much less ability to focus a flexible borescope because the two end faces of the coherent fiber bundle are well defined planes. Pictures of both types of borescopes and comparison images from each can be viewed here.

Flexible video borescope have the camera at the tip of the scope replaces the fiber bundle thus delivering superior image quality compared to fiberoptic scopes.