REVIEW – Borescopes, devices designed to capture an image through a small opening, used to cost hundreds of dollars. Today, models can cost below $100 thanks to the miniaturization and mass production of components. But does a lower cost mean lower quality? DEPSTECH has provided its WF060 for review. Read on to see what I think!
What is it?
The DEPSTECH WF060 WiFi borescope is a video camera system with a rechargeable battery and electronics on one end, a camera and an LED light array on the other, with each end connected by a guide-wire and electronics. The borescope gets its name for being a scope for a bore or hole. The DEPSTECH WF060 is not an endoscope, which is a medical-grade instrument for looking inside a living animal. The DEPSTECH WF060 WiFi camera transmits the objective image to an iPhone or Android device running the custom DEPSTECH app. The app is then able to record a picture or video on the device.
What’s in the box?
- WiFi borescope
- microUSB to USB cable (for charging)
- Tool kit
- 2 Velcro storage bands
- Warranty card
- Contact Card
- Resolution: 5MP
- Image Sensor: CMOS
- maximum resolution 2592 x 1944
- Horizontal view angle: 80º
- Focal distance: 7 to 40 cm (fixed focus)
- Diameter: 8.5mm
- Battery Capacity: 3350 mAh
- camera and cable IP rating: IP67
Design and features
The camera comes in a roll-top box with a locking tab. It is a durable box that can also be used for storage after opening.
The items are loosely stored inside – there aren’t any inserts to keep things from rolling around. The camera cable comes neatly coiled and held in place by two Velcro cable ties. It looks so neat that I don’t want to unravel it. The borescope comes with a hook, magnet, and mirror tools designed to thread onto the end of the camera barrel. They come in a small plastic container. The camera also came with a SIM card tool that may be used to hit the reset button on the side of the unit.
The box has a label for use with the Transparency app. The sticker on my box informs me that my product was produced in Shenzhen, Guangdong, China.
The camera only works with the DEPSTECH app. The DEPSTECH app is available on the Apple Store or on Google Play. The Android app will request access to photos, media, and files. The iOS app requires access to your photos when taking the first photo or video. Whichever device is used must be configured to communicate with the WiFi SSID transmitted by the camera. For easy reference, the camera has the default name and password on the side of the unit.
One thing that I found very interesting is that the WiFi antenna allows more than one connection, so multiple devices can be used to observe the camera, take pictures, change the resolution, or record video. When one device changes the resolution the change is implemented on each connected device. When the dedicated camera button is pressed on the camera to record photos or video the recording is made on each device.
The design of the DEPSTECH WF060 WiFi borescope is made to permit one-handed operation while the other hand can be used to guide and control the cable and attached camera. The electronics and battery end of the unit is 4.75 inches long by about 1.25 inches in diameter. The axis is straight but the radius is oblong and has a flat side. Holding it is very much like holding a compact umbrella handle. The charging port is at the base of the unit but all other controls are located towards the top. The left side has a power button and a reset button. The reset button must be pressed with a pointed object. The front has an LED array to indicate battery strength and WiFi status, an image capture button that can be pressed quickly to capture an image or pressed for a longer duration to start a video, and a toggle switch that can be pressed on top to zoom in or on the bottom to zoom out. The zoom function is a digital zoom that is applied after the image is captured. The right side has a button to turn on and off the LED lamp at the top of the handheld unit and a toggle switch to adjust the brightness of the LEDs surrounding the camera to high, medium, low, or off. All controls are black except the image capture button, which is orange. The top of the handheld unit has the cable and an LED lamp towards the back, below the cable.
There is a considerable anti-strain guard around the cable to ensure that it doesn’t break or come loose from the handheld unit. I was testing the durability of the attachment when it surprisingly disconnected, revealing a standard type-A USB inside. It got me thinking that if the interface is standard maybe the communication is too. I inserted a Microsoft LifeCam Studio Model 1425 into the slot and discovered that the data pins were not connecting. I chamfered the black rubber on the plug with a file and reinserted the LifeCam. I was surprised to discover that the DEPSTECH WF060 WiFi handle transmitted the signal to the phone. I also tried plugging the DESPTECH camera to my laptop and discovered that the camera also worked independently of the handle. However, the LEDs surrounding the camera did not illuminate. My guess is that the handle is using the USB shielding to carry the voltage to the LEDs
The cable is 16 feet five inches from the hilt of the handheld unit to the tip of the camera. The cable is about 3/8 inch in diameter. There is a stiffness to the cable that allows the camera to be pushed along by the cable behind it. The cable is stiff enough to hold the camera upright about 32 inches but after that, the weight of the camera and instability of the cable will cause it to fall.
The camera module is 5/8 inch in diameter and 2 1/8 inch long.
The interface to the cable is secure but has a bit of a shoulder that may get caught on something when trying to remove the camera from an inspection.
This happened to me as I was testing the camera in my heating ducts. I bit of electrical tape can be used to make this transition more gradual. The front of the camera is threaded to permit the installation of tools. The camera and tools are all a gun-metal grey anodized finish. The camera comes with a bezel to protect the threads but installing this creates a ledge that may get caught within an inspection area.
The hook tool provides a respectable view after it is installed, even though it seems like it blocks a majority of the camera lens. Here I am picking up my keys I dropped on the deck behind me with only looking at the video received by the camera.
The mirror doesn’t quite cover the entire field of view.
This may be confusing to look at but my held to orient the camera if there is some view of what is straight ahead as part of the field of view. You can see the sand-colored deck umbrella in the perimeter of the shot of my deck railing. I’m holding the camera up vertically to take this picture.
The magnet comes with a high powered magnet installed in the tip but it is silver-colored and reflects the LED lamp lights.
I glued a circle of black construction paper on the tool to lower the amount of light reflected. and that seemed to help.
One other tool I would love to see included is a ball so that the camera does not rest directly on the inside of whatever is being inspected. The Milwaukee 48-53-0113 M-SPECTOR 360 Pipe Guide Attachment is similar in design to what may be useful for this camera, but I cannot determine if this attachment will work on the DEPSTECH WF060 WiFi camera.
The handheld unit took just under 6 hours to charge the battery from completely empty to completely full and drew between 2 W and 2.75 W, which equates to the rated 33oo mAh. The camera will draw almost 4 W if it is plugged in while operating. Because the camera can operate while charging, using an external battery permits the camera to be used for extended operation.
I took a couple of videos of the camera in action, one in my heating ducts and one looking through the discharge pipe of my TPV on the water heater. I had some difficulty guiding the camera up the heating duct.
Inspecting the TPV valve seat with the camera was a breeze.
What I like
- Good build quality
- A clear picture within the focus range
What I’d change
- Add a pipe guide tool.
- Add an adapter for powering LEDs using a direct USB connection
The borescope camera is one of those tools that may not be used every day but is indispensable when you need it. Owning a DEPSTECH WF060 WiFi borescope is a good choice because of its multiple connection options, clear picture, stiff cable, and inexpensive price.