The same endoscope: an overview of the flexible technical video camera “Video Master PRO”

    PROHow often did you have to disassemble the siphon under the sink to find out why your drain does not work? How often did you have to crawl under the car to compare serial numbers with documents? How often, absolutely necessary for you at the moment, a thing fell into a very uncomfortable and inaccessible place?

    Another thousand different when and how often happen in everyday life. This device is called to solve similar problems. Today we will be testing an endoscope or otherwise flexible video camera.

    In my hands is the Video Master PRO, and now I will put it in the most unsightly places to feel the genius of the engineer who came up with such a useful device.

    The video master is a device with a long probe, at the end of which there is a video camera. The color display displays in real time everything that is in the field of view of the camera.


    Weight 420 g
    Battery life 12-13 hours
    Probe diameter 9 mm
    Operating temperature range from -10 ° C to + 50 ° C
    Display 2.7 inches TFT-LCD
    Probe length 1 m
    Protection class IP67 (only for the probe)
    miniSD memory capacity up to 32 GB
    Power supply 4 AA batteries
    Dimensions 263 x 86 x 49 mm
    Resolution 640x480 (PAL / NTSC)
    Viewing angle 36 °

    I would like to start my report on the use of this gadget from the very beginning, namely, by opening the package.
    A neat box contains photos, specifications and an arrangement of control elements on the outside, inside is filled with packaging material made of foamed polyethylene. Everything is packed quite tightly, nothing hangs.

    We will analyze the complete set of the device

    Handle with LCD monitor
    USB cable
    Video cable
    Waterproof flexible probe with 9mm lens and adjustable backlight
    Nozzles with mounting sleeve: hook, mirror and magnet


    What did I know before about such pieces of iron? Yes, almost nothing, except that they are used to inspect various inaccessible places. At the moment, there are two types of such devices: medical and technical (sometimes called borescopes). We will leave the first to medical workers of a very different orientation, especially since there is a rather detailed wikipedia article about them .

    Regarding the technical use of endoscopes, first of all, it comes to the possibility of working with various plumbing equipment, but this does not close the scope of these extremely useful devices, both in the professional and in the domestic field. And in general, their use is limited only by the user's imagination. So offhand, you can use the device to check the condition and the presence of congestion in the sewer, the state of the internal mechanisms of various devices and engines without disassembling, check the condition of the wiring and various communications for the recently popular drywall.


    According to the characteristics of the gadget that I got, I think almost no one will have any serious questions, except, perhaps, the protection class .

    In this case, IP67 (Ingress Protection) is a system for classifying the degrees of protection of an electrical equipment enclosure against penetration of solid objects and water in accordance with the international standard IEC 60529 (DIN 40050, GOST 14254-96). Please note that this characteristic is just a probe; the device itself does not possess such a degree of protection.

    Marking is carried out using the international protection mark (IP) and two numbers, the first of which means protection against ingress of solid objects (dust), the second - from the ingress of water.

    The maximum protection in this classification is IP69: a dustproof device that can withstand prolonged immersion in water under pressure.

    In our case, IP67: a dustproof device that can work when briefly immersed in water, while water does not get inside in quantities that interfere with the operation of the device. The continuous operation of such a device in submerged mode is not expected.

    5The device, in fact, is made very high quality, despite the origin of "made in China". On the other hand, now everything is from there, even the praised smarts from one well-known company. So this is no longer an indicator. No backlash and unnecessary slots were noticed in the case. Comfortable ergonomic handle, which lacks perhaps only a rubberized non-slip coating. But it already tastes and color, although when working in difficult conditions (dirt, water, engine oil, etc.), I think such a coating would not be superfluous.

    The control buttons are made of high-quality plastic with embossed icons and inscriptions, which is an important plus for long-term use. Paint or stickers in aggressive operating conditions will not last a month.

    The probe is attached easily and simply by connecting the socket and plug with a threaded lock, eliminating the gap between the pairing. Connector - a component analog video interface that provides for the separate transmission of video components (S-Video or Mini-DIN 4). The photos below show the comparative dimensions of the probe parts. Additional accessories included in the package (magnet, mirror and hook) are installed on the end of the camera’s probe using a groove and a rubber mounting ring.


    Standard 4-pin S-Video female connector:

    1. GND ground (Y),
    2. GND ground ©,
    3. Y Brightness,
    4. C Color.

    Like any other techie who can’t imagine himself without a computer, I was immediately interested in the possibility of connecting to a PC. And I confess right away that at first I slowed down a little. According to the instructions, I connected the camera via USB, and turned on the power. And nothing ...
    It turned out that the device is detected only in the presence of a miniSD-card.
    10The instructions do not explicitly say this, although one could guess based on the description order in which the card is installed first and then connected. After installing the card, the gadget with a half-pin is defined as a removable disk, unfortunately I do not keep poppies and Xs on all computers that are in my possession of systems running the Microsoft family of systems (XP, Vista, Win7), so check the work in these systems failed.

    When drivers are installed in the system, an additional disk device appears - ZORAN COACH6 (I62) USB Device.

    After the computer came the turn of the TV. Everything here is also simple. The camera can be connected via an analog composite input, and on the TV, select a signal source, and voila:

    According to the video characteristics, you can see that the device supports both NTSC and PAL. The main advantages of the first are good compatibility with a black and white image, a low level of cross-distortion of luminance and color signals, as well as good noise immunity, while the transmission channel is used most effectively of all existing systems, allowing it to transmit an image with good color clarity with its relative narrowness. The second allows the best separation of luminance and color signals. In this parameter, PAL significantly exceeds NTSC, although compared to the first, it has a reduced vertical resolution in color.

    We pass to the test, in close to combat conditions.

    In the settings of the device there is a function to display the date and time in videos and photographs. At the first start, you need to configure them. An important plus is the presence in the menu of the Russian language. The recorded video files were without significant barrel distortion. In some cases, too intense lighting led to a very overexposed image with the loss of some details. The device allows you to adjust the degree of illumination from 0 to 5. There is also a triple zoom.

    To check the color accuracy and sharpness of the camera, I sketched such a blank on sheet A4.


    Following are a few video files.

    Shooting rooms under the hood of a car.

    Shooting a TV with 2.5 meters (carried out to control the smoothness of the video in daylight).

    Wires of a back headlight (here you can notice a slight overexposure of the image).

    Sink and pouring water (water turned out to be a rather unpleasant surprise).

    Checking the readability of the text on the packaging of the music disc under the car seat.

    Check sharpness and color rendition of the pattern.

    The same in extremely small spaces (1.5 cm).

    Characteristics of one of the resulting video files.

    Sharpness and color rendition verification by template. Avi

    Format: AVI
    Format / Info: Audio Video Interleave
    File size: 55.9 MiB
    Duration: 1mn 32s
    Overall bit rate: 5 060 Kbps

    ID: 0
    Format: AVC
    Format / Info: Advanced Video Codec
    Format profile: Main@L3.0
    Format settings, CABAC: Yes
    Format settings, ReFrames: 1 frame
    Codec ID: H264
    Duration: 1mn 32s
    Bit rate: 5 025 Kbps
    Width: 640 pixels
    Height: 480 pixels
    Display aspect ratio: 4: 3
    Frame rate: 30.000 fps
    Color space: YUV
    Chroma subsampling: 4: 2: 0
    Bit depth: 8 bits
    Scan type: Progressive
    Bits / (Pixel * Frame): 0.545
    Stream size: 55.5 MiB (99%)

    ID: 1
    Format: ADPCM
    Codec ID: 2
    Codec ID / Hint: Microsoft
    Duration: 1mn 32s
    Bit rate mode: Constant
    Bit rate: 32.2 Kbps
    Channel (s): 1 channel
    Sampling rate: 8 000 Hz
    Bit depth: 4 bits
    Stream size: 364 KiB (1%)
    Interleave, duration: 254 ms (7.63 video frames)

    If you look closely at characteristics of the resulting video files, you can see that the audio track is also present, which indicates the ability of the head unit to record sound. Although the probe itself, due to the use of S-video, does not support sound recording.

    Perhaps with a smaller size of the camera module and a more flexible cable, it would be easier to look at different angles, but a thicker and harder cable is better suited for those cases when it is necessary to overcome some kind of congestion, then you can push the camera by force.

    It should be noted that image quality requires some dexterity in the retention of the device, and the control of the probe. With shaking hands, a high-quality picture cannot be seen.

    Separately, I would like to note the very high-quality execution of the instructions containing a complete description of any actions with the gadget, starting from the assembly and ending with viewing the firmware version. Typically, devices of this class on the market cost one and a half to two times more, and this is at least, so my final verdict must have. Price forThis device in the Dadget store at the moment is 9900 rubles. So hurry up while the price is still so low. In my opinion, a great investment, unlike a few microwaves, refrigerators or even a bag of buckwheat. In general, after some acquaintance with the device, I give an unambiguous assessment of must have.

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