We Tried This Endoscope and Were Surprised How Useful It Is for DIYers

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Have you ever wanted to see behind a wall or into a difficult-to-reach small space? Then you’ll want an endoscope.

Depstech DS500 endoscopefamily handyman

I work on different DIY projects all the time and it always seems like I could use an extra set of eyes to see things that aren’t always easy to see. Looking behind a wall, deep into the engine bay of your car, through your dryer’s vent, into a sewer line or down into a heat register … there are dozens of applications where I could use a little help. You too, probably.

That’s where an endoscope comes in handy. Even if the area you’re trying to view is several feet away, an endoscope can be your “seeing eye,” locating that hard-to-reach screw or identifying what kind of wire is behind your wall.

Old school methods involved the clumsy use of a mirror and bending your neck in ways a contortionist would envy. After struggling one too many times to see out-of-reach things, I turned to the Depstech DS500 endoscope.

What is an Endoscope?

An endoscope (AKA an inspection camera or borescope) is a camera on the end of a wire that connects to a screen. This cool tech tool displays what the camera sees.

There are several versions. WiFi endoscopes broadcast the image to a smart phone or other device. USB versions connect to a smartphone, tablet or laptop via USB, lightning or other directly wired connections. Industrial models have their own screens with various ways to zoom into the video, switch orientation and save recordings to flash, onboard or other memory applications.

What Is The DS500?

The Depstech DS500 is a dual lens inspection camera with a five-inch LCD screen. The detachable, HD camera offers two views. You can switch between the traditional view at the end of the snake, or a side view for when you can’t see the camera itself. The additional view makes it easier to see everything in the area.

The 16.5-ft. snake part is rigid and holds its shape well as you push it along. It’s also waterproof, making drain, sewer and other underwater applications a breeze. The unit has a 5,000 mAh battery, with plenty of charge for a few days’ work.

How We Tested

My basement is mostly finished. However, the previous owners left a wall-mounted TV and speakers mounted to the ceiling. They all connect at a multi-port wall plate — that was obvious. What wasn’t obvious was what other cables or wires may be at play. I hesitated to remove the plate because it was painted on and I wasn’t keen on repainting anything.

I inserted the camera end of the DS500’s semi-ridged wire through an open port in the wall plate into the space behind it. The five-inch display easily showed what was behind the wall. To my surprise, there was a run of shielded guitar cables. The previous owner must have had jam sessions in the basement.

The endoscope also revealed more common cables like coaxial lines, data cables and an HDMI cable. The DS500 comes with a TF (micro) SD card to store captured images and video, which was nice to review later.

My dryer wasn’t heating properly, and I determined some fuses needed replacement. With many appliance repairs, the work space is often in a challenging location and difficult to see. I used the Depstech endoscope to snake under the dryer drum to get a better view of the project. The access area is along the bottom, so it was nice to sit on the floor and feed the camera along, instead of laying uncomfortably on my side.

After I located the faulty fuses, I determined the orientation of the mounting screws, so I knew what I was getting into. Getting my hand and arm into said location, that’s another story.

As I worked on my dryer, I was also curious about the condition of the dryer vent itself. Dryer vents are notorious for clogging with lint and other debris. I went outside and got up on a ladder to do the inspection. With the DS500, it was easy to insert the camera through the vent louvres and get a clear view of my vent. Thankfully, it was mostly clear.

Inspecting a dryer vent with Depstech DS500 endoscopefamily handyman

After these uses, my curiosity got the best of me and I took the endoscope around my house inspecting my HVAC registers. Everything checked out, but I liked getting a quick look at the orientation of my dampers. It’s routinely below zero where I live, and I want to make sure they’re all positioned correctly.

Final Verdict on Depstech Endoscope

The Depstech DS500 is a great endoscope for providing a better view of nearly any DIY project around the house. I wouldn’t say it’s an essential tool, but it’s one you didn’t know you needed until you have one.

I would definitely recommend the Depstech DS500 for any intermediate to advanced DIYer. As for downsides, the build quality seems a little light. Not fragile by any means, but lighter weight than other more premium models.

Inspecting an HVAC register with the Depstech DS500 endoscopefamily handyman

Where to Buy

You can get them at the Depstech website. The company’s products are also available on Amazon.

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Shay Tilander
Shay Tilander is a senior editor at Family Handyman. When he's not enjoying family time with his wife and three boys, he loves tinkering with projects and geeking out on electronics.