Flir i3, i5, and i7: The Newest Alternative to Spot Measurement
The Flir i3, i5, and i7 Infrared Cameras have been disontinued. Please check Flir Thermal Imaging Cameras by following this LINK.
I was involved recently in a meeting with the fine folks at FLIR and something that came up was the subject of IR thermometers or “spot guns”. Now most of you in the field are probably very familiar with these devices but some good talking points arose regarding why, if you want to increase your efficiency and long term money making potential, you should basically throw your spot gun in the garbage and pick up a point and shoot thermal imager like the Flir i3.
The specific phrase thrown out at the meeting was “the laser is not measuring the temperature.” This may seem like common sense, but what the laser does on an IR thermometer is assist in targeting, nothing more. The gun is actually taking an average temperature reading over a larger area. This is represented by the guns ratio. For instance, in a 12:1 gun, at twelve inches from your target, the gun is measuring a 1 inch box and averaging the temperatures. This also means that if you are 48 inches from the target you are measuring a 4 square inch box – pretty sloppy accuracy-wise for finding overheating components. Now a thermal camera essentially runs a similar process, by measuring and averaging temperature data to fill in gaps, except that instead of one measurement point you have a temperature measurement being taken by every pixel in the camera’s microbolometer. This means that even in the lowest resolution camera Flir offers (the Flir i3 at 60x60), you are getting 3600 temperature readings; plus the data is assembled and visualized so that you can see the entire measurement field on the camera screen. 3600 versus 1 – it’s pretty obvious which device provides the superior measurement method.
For maintenance and any operation where efficiency is key - (I would say most jobs) - it’s really a no-brainer. It may cost more than a spot gun in the short term but it decreases the time investment in a given job many hundreds of times. Not a bad deal at all.