How Do I Turn On Lights On a USB Borescope?

Industrial borescopes have existed since the 1960s, but until fairly recently, these tools came with such a hefty price tag that only top professionals, such as aerospace engineers, were able to work with borescopes routinely.

Thanks to the advent of smartphones and high-resolution micro cameras, that is no longer true. Industrial borescopes that cost over $3,000 and have advanced features are still on the market, of course, but people who need (or simply want) a borescope for everyday personal or professional use can now buy a fully functional borescope for less than $100. Many basic models are available for $40 or less, in fact.

These remote viewing instruments come in handy across a wide range of industries. Car mechanics, mold inspectors, home inspectors, HVAC technicians, and plumbers can all benefit from a borescope, to name but a few examples. Because the cost of decent borescopes has dropped so much, even DIY enthusiasts who need a borescope for just one job might consider buying one — something that can ultimately prove to be a lot cheaper than disassembling the structure you are working with, which you might have to do if you don’t have a borescope.

Some borescopes have built-in LCD screens. Many of the more popular borescopes, however, are USB borescopes. The fact that USB borescopes don’t have their own LCD screens, because they are designed to connect to another device (a laptop, iPhone, or Android phone) that already has a screen, makes them an inexpensive choice. USB borescopes have the added benefit of being very portable. If you carry your laptop or phone with you anyway, the borescope itself doesn’t take up much additional space.

Although modern USB borescopes are very easy to use, many new users find the thought of using a borescope for the first time a little daunting. While you are probably intending to use your new borescope to diagnose a problem of some kind, you might have to go through a little troubleshooting with your new tool before you’re ready to get started, too.

How do you turn the lights on on a USB borescope?

What Is Generally in the Box When You Buy a USB Borescope?

How Do I Turn On Lights On a USB Borescope?

Each borescope has a specific set of features — not all USB borescopes are the same, and if you look around on Amazon, you will quickly discover that not every manufacturer is equally clear about the parts a borescope ships with, either.

A USB borescope will definitely be shipped with:

  • A cable, which may be flexible or semi-rigid. The working length of borescope cables varies drastically from one product to the next.
  • A camera probe.
  • LED lighting. This enables the user to get a good view of the area they are exploring with the borescope. The lighting features will vary from one borescope model to the next. In some cases, you will only be able to turn the borescope’s light on and off. In other cases, the borescope’s lighting system may have four, six, or even more settings. Depending on your needs, these adjustable light settings can be very helpful.
  • Some sort of control system. Some borescopes have an adjustable focus, for example, while others have a dual camera system that allows users to switch between two lenses. The control system will also allow users to turn the borescope’s lights on and off, and where relevant to adjust their focus and brightness.

Some borescopes ship with detachable LCD screens, allowing the user to decide whether they want to use that or their smartphone or laptop. Many models have a variety of attachments, such as mirrors and hooks. Not all borescopes have chargers — some rely on the power your phone or laptop provides.

Regardless of the borescope you buy, you can also expect your borescope to ship with, at the very least, a basic manual that explains its features and components and shows you how to use them.

How Do You Turn a USB Borescope Light On?

How Do I Turn On Lights On a USB Borescope?

A borescope’s control system, which will also feature the device’s LED light controller, is generally a rectangular or curved “box”. The control system is thicker than the cable, and will be located away from the probe, toward the end of the borescope that you attach to your phone or laptop.

Once you locate the controls, switching the light on can be as easy as flicking a switch — although it will usually be a type of rotary switch, which you move around in a circular motion. Rotating this switch will usually enable the user to adjust the brightness setting and any other LED lighting settings that the borescope may have.

The light controls on a USB borescope are typically so intuitive that nearly anyone would be able to figure out how to use them without needing to even consult the manual. If you are reading this because your USB borescope’s lights are not switching on correctly, the problem might not be that you are using the wrong switch. Rather, it is quite likely that:

  • The borescope’s LED lights are broken.
  • A connection in the switch is broken, meaning that the electrical signal is not able to reach the LED lights.
  • The USB borescope needs charging.

What do you do next? If you have just purchased a new USB borescope and the light isn’t coming on, or the brightness and diffuse settings do not seem to adjust as they should, the first thing you should do is to consult the manual your borescope will have shipped with. The problem could be easy to fix.

If the manual does not offer solutions and the light on your USB borescope will still not switch on, chances are that there is something wrong with the borescope — particularly if you bought a very cheap model. In this case, the best course of action would be to reach out to the seller or manufacturer. Your borescope should still be under warranty, so you will likely be asked to return it. The manufacturer should send a new borescope free of charge.

To avoid this risk in the first place, it is always advisable to read reviews before you buy a USB borescope.