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Anyone here use Thermal Imaging?

Is it worth it? The $3000+ for the system?



What systems you guys use? or do you rent each time?
 

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I will be getting into this. I am back at college for electrical. This fall is the first semester they are offering a "sustainability" certificate that I will be adding into my degree. The one I called FLIR about was $11,000. It detects water damage, ground faults in electrical circuitry, and the of course just the temperature loss. You can call FLIR or Fluke has some also, but they actually sell used cameras, and also the discontinued cameras for a little less. Pretty cool stuff. I am interested in what people think also. :)
 

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The costs for thermal imaging cameras right now are just insane. I think just like any other new 'electronic' gadget, that we will see significant price reductions in the technology in the next couple of years.

Energy audits of homes is one sector of construction/real estate that is going to take off real quick. Here in Oregon there is some preliminary legislation going around that is trying to make it mandatory for Oregon homes to have a 'Energy Certificate' assigned to each house based on a required energy audit.. It is much like a EPA sticker on a car that indicates MPG.

I wouldn't be surprised to see thermal imaging become a part of the energy auditing process. Soon enough home owners will be requesting thermal images of prospective homes to see how well they are (are not) sealed. :shifty:
 

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The Deck Guy
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I just spent two and a half hours in a Thermal Imaging class at the fire academy tonight. We use thermal imaging constantly in the fire service and kind of without thinking about it.

What I learned tonight is that the imager is only half the solution. If you cannot "read" the imager and interpret what you are seeing, it's useless.

The examples we were shown of just how easy it is to misread an imager were pretty amazing.

So...before you make the investment in the device, make sure you know how to read the damn thing. It's not as simple as it looks.
 

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Design Build
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I was in a BFV once (Back in my younger days) at an Infantry Graduation in Ft. Benning, GA. We used the TC's thermal imager to peek up some...

ah...

well....

anyways....there sure were a lot of cute girls in the reviewing stand that hot Georgia summer day.
 

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I was the Thermal Infrared speciaist at the plant I worked at in the late nineties & you could not touch a good camera for anywheres near what they are today. The one I used was $44k's.
To be worth it for you, it would depend on your business-if you do a lot of troubleshooting for Commercial, Etc. And as another reply said it would be useless, unless you learn how to read them. I would highly recommend some hands on training & Fluke has seminars all over the country for a small fee and some free. I went to level 1 training for a week at Snell Infrared & it was very interesting & I learned alot to get started in the field-yet it took time in the field to "get to read it correctly " for troubleshooting, etc. You can get false readings from relections.
There is alot to it & not just taking a picture.........Hope this helps, Mike
 

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I own stock in FotoMat!
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Try going here to see what TI is all about.
 

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Sean
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The prices have also dropped dramatically for these units.
True, now a decent unit with a good resolution is around $7 - 8 thousand which includes a 1 week class, because as GregDi so aptly pointed out, if you can't read it, the image is worthless.

I will second Mike's thoughts & also highly recommend Snell - great group

Fluke Ti32 - first picture shows there PIP / Fusion option with an electrical issue almost perfectly focused, second one is from a great guy in Maine of Stephen King's house.
 

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I have used the thermal camera for electrical inspections and I have a suggestion if you are considering purchasing the thermal camera.

In financial terms you may like to calculate the Payback Period, and if you are running a business the Net Present Value for the investment. These are two measurements which will show you the viability of investing.

The demand for the camera images is also another aspect to consider.

Hope this helps
 

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I've had one for about 3 years now. A Fluke TiR. Back then I primarily bought it for inspection purposes, residential and commercial. I still use it for inspections, but I also use it for determining electrical problems and moisture problems on remodels.

The most important thing, don't just buy it and think you know what's going on. You HAVE to get some training on the thing. I learned not all training is created equal. Many of the high dollar courses are geared towards industrial applications. All I needed was something geared for residential or small commercial applications.

A month after my training I landed a job big enough to pay 80% of the camera and training off. I'll have to admit I haven't really marketed the camera service like probably need to.

In the home inspection industry, realtors usually HATE an inspector that uses the camera. It can discover some defects that they don't want to be found.
 

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We use them when doing home inspection and finding leaks. We usually give a quick demo to show how sensitive they are. (Like quickly placing your hand on the wall then imaging that area) I can't say it has been a money maker, as much as a time and money saver. It has become a good tool that helps our jobs.
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there are classes (certifications) that I will be taking. Nearly done now with the electrical degree. Yep, being able to read the cameras is nearly the whole game.

I called Flir back in the day (08') and the camera I wanted was like 14K, the class was extra and you needed the camera before the class.. plus had to travel to (I think) Philadelphia to take the class.

Some say Fluke has a better camera.. I don't know.
 

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Sean
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N8 - they both make great cameras along with a host of other companies

First you need to figure out the cost you can afford, then the specs you need for the jobs. Then you can see about some other nifty features they offer (last I checked Fluke is about the only one that was offering these,but that may have changed now) - the Picture in Picture on the camera display instead of just via software, ability to take a fall if accidentally dropped, and switchable lenses (some models)

In the end though, it comes down to which camera meets or exceeds your need at a price you can afford - that there is the best camera for you
 

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There is at least one website that tells you how to remove the IR filter from almost any cheap digital camera and so the camera goes back to being sensitive to IR rather than the visible spectrum.

It'll show hot spots but not the temps of them.
To do the temps you have to aim the camera at objects with known temperatures and see what it looks like it.
There is also the object emissivity to consider.

With experience it might work as well as some of the units mentioned.
 

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There is at least one website that tells you how to remove the IR filter from almost any cheap digital camera and so the camera goes back to being sensitive to IR rather than the visible spectrum.

It'll show hot spots but not the temps of them.
To do the temps you have to aim the camera at objects with known temperatures and see what it looks like it.
There is also the object emissivity to consider.

With experience it might work as well as some of the units mentioned.
i have some old digital cameras laying around. I would love to try this. Got Link?
 

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Capra Aegagrus
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With experience it might work as well as some of the units mentioned.
Who gets to pay for that learning process on a homegrown DIY jury-rig? :whistling

I'm all for improvising under pressure and so forth, but when pro tools are available and you're just cobbling stuff together to save a buck with possible/probable amateur results, ...well, I won't go there.
 
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