General The Seeker DCS400 (Borescope tool)
“They call me the seeker, I’ve been searching low and high.” Had to lead off with some Who lyrics, sorry. Speaking of searching and seeking, have you ever been working on a project–under the hood of your car for example, or way, way, way back under the sink–and said to yourself, “If I just had a borescope right now, my problems would be solved!”? Well, search no further because your problems have been solved. This handy video borescope tool from General is completely worth the price in cool factor alone. In fact, it’s so cool you might forget the practical functionality of the thing. With a camera mounted on an extendable, flexible tube, there are virtually no corners, crooks or crannies that can escape its detection. I don’t have to tell any professional mechanics, contractors, or even amateur gearheads that this can be a tremendous time saver. In addition to discovery probing, there are magnets and hook attachments included that will allow you to conduct search and rescue operations for stuck tools and those stranded parts that can get knocked back into hard to reach areas.
The Seeker’s practical applications for professionals are pretty evident. I can see how this could be put to good use by plumbers or HVAC installers. The probe tube extends up to three feet and is waterproof. Another benefit, in addition to the actual diagnostic work you can accomplish, is that this device will enable you to better educate customers. It can be a useful visual tool when explaining repair work because your viewing options are not limited to real time. With the supplied 2 GB SD card, you can record up to three hours of stored video, then attach the scope to a computer or TV and analyze the footage at a later point. Seeing is believing, so the saying goes and like I said, I can imagine that this would be especially useful for professionals who might need the help of a visual aide in explaining to their clients exactly what an unseen problem might be. You can snap single pics, view and save them as a JPEG which you can send as an attachment in an e-mail. That’s helpful if you need to solicit a second opinion. Another cool feature is the 4x zoom option in the menu. I found this feature came in handy when using the pickup hook. It makes it feel less like you’re on a fishing expedition because it gives you better views of the contours of your target. I must say that the wireless color monitor is pretty cool too. It’s positioned at an easy to read slant and the programmable menu is fairly intuitive.
As far as handling, the camera is pretty light and I like the pistol grip. As easy as the camera is to maneuver by hand, there are times when you need to go hands-free and that’s completely doable with this thing. The unit contains a built-in stand and magnets to facilitate that process. There are also attachable magnets and a 45º attachable mirror so every angle can be viewed fairly easily. If you need to do some long distance viewing, that’s a snap too. The Seeker features a detachable LCD monitor that can be utilized for viewing from up to 32 feet away. I can’t think of a job where this might come in handy, necessarily, but if it does then you have that capability. I can foresee needing to extend the reach of the probe a few feet from time to time. You’re limited to three feet with the probe that comes standard, which is probably fine for most commercial or household uses. If you typically need something with a longer reach, however, General does sell various lengths of extension which would allow you to extend that reach up to as long as sixteen feet.
All the necessary USB and video cables are included so you can get right to work. The Seeker also comes with two rechargeable lithium ion batteries as well as an AC adapter (does anybody actually use these things or do they all just fill up drawers in kitchens around the country?). The device comes with a custom hard case so you can pack the camera away nice and tight and protect it from inevitable mishaps in your garage or workspace.
In summation, this video inspection tool is quite an asset for people working in tight spots. It’s ideal for plumbers, HVAC and auto mechanics who need to get a visual from multiple angles and there are quite a few practical household applications for it as well.