October 25, 2021

Professional Tool Reviews for Pros

General Tools PalmScope and IRT/NCV/Flashlight Multi-Tool

General Tools has a pair of new offerings to kick off 2014: the DCS950 General Tools PalmScope video inspection system and the VR40 4:1 IR Thermometer with NCV Detector and Flashlight. The VR40 took home the Pro Tool Innovation Award for Thermal Imaging in the Tests and Measurements category. Here’s a closer look at the DCS950 and VR40.

General Tools PalmScope (DCS950)

The PalmScope (DCS950) is a video inspection system designed to handle the harsh environment of the HVAC world. The 2 foot cord and 0.34 inch (9 mm) diameter probe tip allow the user to inspect a variety of potential issues including cracks, leaks, and blockages. It can also be used to conveniently read part or serial numbers without disassembling or tearing down a build.

The General Tools PalmScope DSC950 is built around a thermoplastic rubber housing that is drop rated up to 3.4 feet (1 meter) and features a clam shell design for internal storage of the cord and probe tip. The system is IP67 rated for protection against water, dust, and oil.

Video capabilities are displayed on 2.7 inch screen with 320 x 240 pixels. Video adjustments include a 4x zoom, depth of field range of 1 inch to 10 feet, and on screen video flip. 4 LED lights on the probe ensure that you can see in enclosed areas.

The PalmScope includes 4 probe tip accessories: a 45 degree mirror, pick up hook, pick up magnet, and thread protector. Included with the system is a nylon pouch with belt clip, manual, and 1 year limited warranty. We expect to see retail prices under $170, and though currently out of stock, Amazon has it listed at $125.76.

General Tools PalmScope Spec Summary


  • Probe Length: 24 in. (0.6m)
  • Probe Diameter: 0.35 in. (9mm)
  • Probe Water/Dust/Oil Resistance: IP67 standard
  • LCD Size: 2.7 in. (686mm) diagonal
  • LCD/Camera Resolution: 320 x 240 pixel (QVGA)
  • Camera Depth of Field: 1 in. to 10 ft.(25mm to 2.4m)
  • Camera Field of View: 60°
  • Screen Controls: Brightness up and down, 1 to 4X zoom in 6 steps, 180° flip
  • Case Impact Resistance: From height of 39 in. (1m) onto 2 in. (50mm) thick hardwood
  • Dimensions: 5.4 x 2.9 x 1.5 in.(136 x 73 x 39mm)
  • Weight: 9 oz. (250g)
  • Power Source: (4) “AAA” batteries

General Tools VR40 Multi-Function IRT/NCV/Flashlight

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Also available is the patent pending 4:1 IR Thermometer with NCV Detector and Flashlight (VR40). As you can likely gather from the name, the VR40 combine the functions of an infrared thermometer (IRT), non-contact voltage detector (NCV), and flashlight.

The IRT function has a range of -4 to 626 degrees Fahrenheit (-20 to 330 degree Celcius) and displays  it on a 4-digit LCD which automatically holds the data for 15 seconds. The NCV function features  voltage setting of 12 – 25 VAC, 70 – 125 VAC, 150 – 240 VAC, 250 – 600 VAC allowing the user to select the voltage range that is most appropriate to the application. Both a visual and audio alarm let the user know when voltage is present while the 5 LED flashlight ensures that work spaces are illuminated.

The VR40 is a Pro Tool Innovation Award Winner in the category of Test and Measurements, sub category – Thermal Imaging, with credit being given to its applicable multiple functions and voltage range selection modes.

The VR40 retails for $40, but prices on Amazon are a few dollars less. Included with purchase are 2 AAA batteries, manual, and 3 year limited warranty.

General Tools VR40 Spec Summary

  • IRT D:S Ratio, Range: 4:1, -4° to 626°F (-20° to 330°C)
  • IRT Measurement Accuracy: +/- 3.8°F (2°C) or +/- 1% of reading (whichever is greater) above 32°F; +/- 4.5°F (2.5°C) below 32°F
  • IRT Emissivity: Fixed at 0.95
  • Overall Non-Contact Detection Range: 12 to 600VAC at 50/60Hz
  • Detection Ranges/Sensitivities: 12 to 25VAC, 70to 125VAC, 150 to 240VAC, 250 to 600VAC
  • Operating Temperature: 32° to 113°F (0° to 45°C) @ <95% RH
  • Dimensions: 6.0 x 1.2 x 1.2 in. (152 x 31 x31mm)
  • Weight (with batteries): 7.8 oz. (220g)
  • Power Source: (2) AAA batteries (included)

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