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Old 12-25-2016, 11:30 PM #1
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Default Thermal Imaging Camera

Hey everyone! It's been a LONG time since I've contributed much of anything to the forums, and I ended up with some free time while waiting around for relatives today, so I figured I'd show off my new thermal camera a bit

The unit I have is a modded version. The native resolution the hardware reads in is 320x240, which is limited by softare down to 80x60. I've removed that limitation (and thus voided my warranty).









On the front, there's a shutter for the aperture (much appreciated at that, the less I need to clean that lens the happier I'll be)







So what sort of use am I getting out of this then? First things first, I can tell how bad our doors are insulated...



Something to note; the left side is the thermal image, and the right is the visible image -- both are taken by the camera and can be used to blend the images together in various ways, though you have to go through the menus and manually set the distance the camera is from the object and it just doesn't work as well as one would hope.

And of course, here at LPF we would probably like to see how it behaves with a laser. So here it goes with my 472nm diode driven at 2.4A (one of the older 462's cherry-picked by another member).

I'll show the laser itself, then the spot on an off-white wall.

Laser off:


On for one minute:




On for five minutes:



And it hit 100 degrees (farenheit) at 6 minutes, 25 seconds



And that's it for now!

Sometime soon I'll do the same for the argon laser I have sitting in the corner, and show off more of the menu options and color palettes. There's quite a bit to play around with for this camera. Though I have one complaint: no video recording. Only way to do it is to get a laptop or portable raspberry PI and record through that, and give into the fact you'll be wearing a backpack to record video...

I'm also open to requests for images!

Also if the sizing is off, I wrote this up on my new 4k monitor... hopefully it looks good on other screen resolutions. Alas, at the time I am writing this I'm low on time.


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Old 12-26-2016, 09:30 PM #2
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Default Re: Thermal Imaging Camera

Good Job...
Mine is not as good as your modified Flir E4.
I have a Flir TG165 that does what I need and
it is affordable.

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Old 12-26-2016, 10:02 PM #3
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Default Re: Thermal Imaging Camera

Nice !

I've only got the Flir for iPhone, which is enough for me to dabble with, although it's a bit slow in response.

http://www.flir.com/flirone/ios-android/

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Old 12-26-2016, 11:04 PM #4
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Default Re: Thermal Imaging Camera

I've had that same model E4/E8 for a few years now. It pays for itself if you know how to use it. Troubleshooting plumbing/HVAC/electrical for example has easily saved me hundreds in repair bills and heat loss costs.

The low frame rate is barely tolerable, and it's very difficult to record video with, but it's otherwise a great device. I 3D printed a focus adapter so I can use it in "macro mode" for electronics troubleshooting, for example. You should get one if you ever want to use it for close up work.


LED star with factory focus (infinity):




LED star in focus:

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Old 12-27-2016, 03:09 AM #5
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Default Re: Thermal Imaging Camera

I believe my dad just bought a Flir camera to connect to his phone. I'll let you know how it works when it arrives.
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Old 12-28-2016, 01:29 AM #6
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Default Re: Thermal Imaging Camera

I've seen some videos of people using those.

Afaik the often work pretty well, but the resolution of the thermal image is very low. Still useful for finding hot spots in electronic circuits and such though.
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Old 12-28-2016, 01:07 PM #7
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Default Re: Thermal Imaging Camera

Very cool. I would love to have one. It looks like the one you have is th E4? the new retail sticker on it on the flir website is $995 But theirs are all black, you maybe get a older model in tan? or they just dont show all available colors on website. Hope you got a good deal! I was looking at their DIY&Homeowner section, those are 300 or less. More my current speed heh. Would be nice to search for poor insulated areas of the house
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Old 12-28-2016, 02:28 PM #8
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Thumbs up Re: Thermal Imaging Camera

Very nice Thermal camera.

They are still VERY expensive, though they are coming down in price "slowly".

Back in 2004, we had a chimney fire which spread into our roof and side paneling. I ended up assisting some of the firefighters by holding their FLIRs while they went looking for hotspots.
Back then they had a FLIR made by FLUKE, which was a first single hand run 120x160 model. It was B&W with temp.

I thought it was cool back then. Secretly I love to get one but my wife would kill me.

Having one of these cameras would made for an interesting look at some of our custom heatsinks esp. with the high power 9mm diodes. NUBM05 NUBM08 and the NUBM44/47.
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Old 12-28-2016, 03:44 PM #9
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Default Re: Thermal Imaging Camera

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jhop View Post
... theirs are all black, you maybe get a older model in tan?


You need to adjust your monitor color balance or something. That's black.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jhop View Post
the new retail sticker on it on the flir website is $995
Except this is effectively an E8 after the firmware upgrade/hack. The E8 has MSRP of $4000. The only difference between a legit E8 and an upgraded E4 is the label on front.
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Old 12-28-2016, 04:01 PM #10
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Default Re: Thermal Imaging Camera

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cyparagon View Post
Except this is effectively an E8 after the firmware upgrade/hack. The E8 has MSRP of $4000. The only difference between a legit E8 and an upgraded E4 is the label on front.
wasn't aware. Good to know...

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Old 12-28-2016, 04:17 PM #11
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Default Re: Thermal Imaging Camera

The color of his looks almost green, not black. This one looks way different:
FLIR E4 Infrared Cameras

design looks different too. It is black, the one in OP is not. more like greenish/tan/black
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Old 12-28-2016, 08:32 PM #12
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Default Re: Thermal Imaging Camera

I think the OP's pics may be a bit off color.
Some of his are close to black..

I personally have not seen a green cased FLIR.
Even my lowly FLIR TG165 is Black...


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Old 12-29-2016, 01:00 AM #13
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Default Re: Thermal Imaging Camera

There are quite a lot of those things on the market now, but prices are still steep.

You can get an entry level model for $400 or so, with limited resolution and temperature range. Another downside of these cheap ones is that the pause to calibrate all the time, very annoying.

They are suitable for finding problems in home insulation and such though.

If you want to do any electronics diagnostics and such you need a thermal camera that can focus on closeby objects. Something designed for insulation testing probably has focus set fixed to infinity or a limited focus range.

When looking at the type you plug into a smartphone, Seek offers a decent option for $250 or so, with decent resolution and adjustable focus.

For electronics you really need a close focus distance, since even 'good resolution' for IR is very low compared to a normal camera (think 240x160 pixels or so). If you want to see what chip is getting hot, it's not useful to have a camera with this resolution that focuses only to a meter or further.
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Old 12-29-2016, 05:01 AM #14
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Default Re: Thermal Imaging Camera

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Originally Posted by Benm View Post
Another downside of these cheap ones is that the pause to calibrate all the time
Even the top cameras do that. See the 'thermal guys' on youtube. They use a FLIR T660 which is a $30,000 device.
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Old 12-29-2016, 04:26 PM #15
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Default Re: Thermal Imaging Camera

Alright, to clear the color up -- The unit is most certainly black. I have LED lighting above that table, combine that with my phone camera and you get something off-color. It is definitely black/dark gray. The unit may be old enough to have a slightly different casing, though to me it doesn't seem any different than the ones advertised. I bought this used for a little less than the E4 MSRP, so I'm honestly not sure what year it was manufactured. Maybe it's in the settings menu, though I'm not sure if the hack would have affected that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cyparagon View Post
I've had that same model E4/E8 for a few years now. It pays for itself if you know how to use it. Troubleshooting plumbing/HVAC/electrical for example has easily saved me hundreds in repair bills and heat loss costs.

The low frame rate is barely tolerable, and it's very difficult to record video with, but it's otherwise a great device. I 3D printed a focus adapter so I can use it in "macro mode" for electronics troubleshooting, for example. You should get one if you ever want to use it for close up work.
I've definitely gotten use out of fixing some insulation problems. Our bathroom window was especially bad.

Regarding the focus adapter -- did you print that yourself or did you order one from somewhere? I would love to get one under your recommendation. I know the lens would need to be a special material as glass is not transparent in this spectrum...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Benm View Post
You can get an entry level model for $400 or so, with limited resolution and temperature range. Another downside of these cheap ones is that the pause to calibrate all the time, very annoying.

When looking at the type you plug into a smartphone, Seek offers a decent option for $250 or so, with decent resolution and adjustable focus.
Mine has to re-calibrate every 30 seconds or so, maybe even more frequently. It has something to do with the sensor itself changing temperature, which is why even the top-class cameras also do it.

I considered getting the ones that you could plug into a smartphone as well, though I figured that much like my USB cables, it would not last very long
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Old 12-30-2016, 01:15 AM #16
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Default Re: Thermal Imaging Camera

Every 30 seconds would be nice, the cheap ones seem to do it about every other second, even in conditions where you would not expect the temperature of the actual sensor to change that much.

As for standalone vs phone hosted devices: I'd probably prefer standalone given all other specs are equal.

One thing to look out for is how they deal with optical and thermal images combined.

Some units just save what is displayed, even if it's a thermal image overlaid on an optical image. This can be quite problematic especially when the optical image is color - red wires looking really hot whie they are just red and dead cold and such traps.

I reckon it will take a couple of years for the technology to properly mature and become available at low prices. Not that current dedicated IR camera's are that bad, but i think there will be some point where they will become common on smartphones as an integrated feature rather than an add on device you plug in.
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