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Topic Title: thermal imaging
Topic Summary: Anyone here use it
Created On: 19 April 2017 08:27 PM
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 19 April 2017 08:27 PM
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Joined: 23 March 2016

Hi Guys,
Was wondering if anyone here uses the newer better priced thermal imaging cameras & what their pros & cons are.
I was thinking of adding one to our arsenal of kit, but in honesty know little about them. Is there a steep learning curve?
Cheers in advance
 19 April 2017 11:02 PM
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Thermal imaging is very good, but only if the circumstances suit - it may be stating the obvious, but it works best looking at matt black objects, it is easy to be fooled by reflections from metallic surfaces, into seeing the effect of something hot behind you or even your own body heat reflected . (and its not X-ray, so you can't see how hot something is if the view is blocked by something else.)
However, for looking at the black jackets of armoured cables, and hot terminals, or even just to see if the circuit breaker in the middle is warmer than the one at the edge, it is very good.
You can also leave black stickers on things whose temperature you want to know more accurately than a simple comparative 'warmer than'

In some cases, if an infra red viewing window can be built into the door of the equipment it allows a "covers on" inspection.

However it depends how useful this capability would be to you, and for accurately estimating the maximum temperature during a daily load cycle, the peak indicating colour change stickers can be a cheaper and more effective option.
We have used both techniques for identifying bad joints and hotspots in RF cables, while keeping a safe distance. The camera identifies good places to put the stickers..

regards Mike
 20 April 2017 11:35 AM
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The covers have to be removed from DB's first, and then the imaging done when the circuits are loaded. NO point in pointing it at a closed up DB. And you really should attend some sort of course so you know what you doing. Some guidance in GN3
 20 April 2017 11:58 AM
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I've got a short clip of an IR scan somewhere showing the front of a 4000A switchboard with covers on and doors closed - one of the 400A outgoing ways is absolutely glowing hot in the scan - we think it was about 130C on the switchfuse door - it would have resulted in a serous burn if touched

That said, the damage to the paint finish on the door and the smell of real burning inside the switchfuse should have been enough to alert the maintenance spark - it didn't need an IR camera to see there was a very real overload going on in the panel section

So - it's horses for courses - they are very useful, but so are heat sensitive stickers and the mark one eyeball/calloused hand approach


Let the wind blow you, across a big floor.
 20 April 2017 07:11 PM
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I have one at work, used more for building defects, ensuring buildings are correctly detailed as per drawings, cold bridges, leak tracing etc
 20 April 2017 08:35 PM
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I have found a TI camera to be fantastic for taking cool looking pics of the Lego Deathstar and my footprints around the house. Other than that it has been quite useful for confirming faults on underfloor heating (electric and wet) and as a mildly interesting addition on some of the limited testing that I do on light industrial sites. It hasnt paid for itself yet!
 21 April 2017 10:50 AM
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The Flir one for either iOS or Android is a decent bit of kit and quite cheap around £160 mark. We have used it to identify poor connections on some electrical equipment and has proved to be a fantastic tool for identifying problems with wet heating systems.
Fantastic bit of kit for seeing just how much money you are losing from your home :-(
 21 April 2017 12:42 PM
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Whoops, caps lock on.

 22 April 2017 10:32 AM
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I've got a FLIR One, mainly for checking quality (or lack) of thermal insulation in the roof of my new place (dormer bungalow).

It's great at spotting differences and has a spot meter for taking temperatures. The only thing it doesn't have is a scale and/or the ability to set the thermal span - I queried this with FLIR and they said this because they've feature-reduced to sell at a low price (basically, by a "pro" version if you want more).

Would still recommend though as it's really is good, especially the way it aligns a thermal and optical image so you can easily see what is actually generating the heat in complex images.

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