Thermal Imaging Cameras Offer Economical Solutions For a Variety of Diagnostic Applications

With the introduction of a new breed of low cost thermal imaging cameras, thermal imaging technology is now an effective problem solving, analysis and preventive maintenance tool for a variety of applications. Thermal imaging cameras are light weight, ergonomic, intuitive and contain high resolution thermal detectors that offer valuable temperature information to isolate problems. This article offers an explanation of the technology and the applications for which it is well suited.

Thermal Imaging Cameras function much like digital photographic cameras except they take a thermal picture. The detectors measure infrared radiation which is then converted to electrical signals in order to create a visual representation of the heat an object gives off. The visual representation displays cooler items in shades of blue and hotter items in shades of red and can be analyzed and formatted on a computer via a USB download. When deciding on a thermal imaging camera, the primary features to consider include the resolution, accuracy and temperature range. The resolution is measured by pixels. Because every pixel on the screen is a discrete temperature reading, the more pixels the camera has, the more detail the thermal picture will be. Accuracy is measured in terms of a percentage of the value of the reading. Most cameras have accuracy’s between 2-5%. Finally, thermal cameras are limited to a specified temperature range. If your application deals with extreme heat or cold, you should make sure the camera is capable of taking those measurements.

While the general specifications from one camera to the next are similar, high-end cameras typically offer additional features you may find useful. Many cameras offer photographic overlays of the thermal picture. This is ideal for identification of detailed components and their proximity to each other in the thermal picture. Cameras intended for the building inspection and HVAC industries offer dew point and insulation alarms useful in locating areas of moisture or insufficient insulation. Some cameras even offer voice annotation to document and flashlights to illuminate dark areas.

There are numerous applications for thermal imaging cameras that, prior to the introduction of low-cost offerings, were previously cost inhibitive. The heat signature of electrical circuits and machine components may precipitate future problems and failures. HVAC systems and building structures display obvious thermal visualizations of inefficiencies, insufficient insulation, moisture and loose duct fittings. Pest Control professionals can identify infestations inside of walls or enclosed areas as a result of nesting areas displaying higher temperatures than surrounding areas. Plumbing professionals locate blockages in pipes and law enforcement agencies are aided in finding hidden suspects. Even paranormal investigators find thermal imaging cameras an aide in their discovery.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *