Thermal imaging cameras

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Feltwell
Posts: 5759
Joined: Sun 18th May, 2008 7:28 pm
Location: Shropshire, England

Thermal imaging cameras

Post by Feltwell » Sun 8th Nov, 2020 10:55 am

Hello,

As the weather turns colder and Feltwell Towers is as leaky to heat as ever, the thought occurs that it would be interesting to run a thermal imaging camera over the place - solve certain mysteries such as why my feet freeze when using this computer!

A quick look on Amazon reveals they're still a pricey option, £300 at the cheaper end for most. You can get something that plugs into a phone for £200-ish. Hiring is an option but even a day seems to be £80-ish.

It doesn't need to be particularly accurate, just give an idea of relative temperatures, i.e. what bits are coldest. I spotted this and wondered if it would do the job:-

https://smile.amazon.co.uk/WE-WHLL-Temp ... 67&sr=8-16

I've got an adapter for my Makita drill battery that turns it into a USB power bank, that could power it.

Alternatively, AliExpress has been good for me in the past, direct purchasing from China. I know some people get jumpy about it but I've found it to be fine - and after all, buy things from Ebay that look like they are in the UK and they often ship direct from China! They do one for just over £100:-

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/1005001 ... web201603_

Anyone with experience of such things care to comment?

RBailey
Posts: 141
Joined: Thu 1st Aug, 2019 7:25 am
Location: Rutland

Re: Thermal imaging cameras

Post by RBailey » Mon 9th Nov, 2020 10:20 am

Sorry, no experience.
I have also looked myself a couple of times but fear of depression from the result has stopped me buying.

Please let us know on the outcome.

Cheers,
Richard B.

CliffordPope
Posts: 644
Joined: Tue 16th Nov, 2010 2:57 pm

Re: Thermal imaging cameras

Post by CliffordPope » Wed 11th Nov, 2020 12:22 pm

For a very cheap option try an infra red thermometer. You can spot the temperature differences on the house roof for example, or settle an argument about which bit of the stove hotplate is the hottest - straight over the fire or the bit a few inches along where the flue constricts and whistles?
You can track where a flue runs up inside a wall when the fire is lit, check for a blocked radiator, etc etc.

Hours of fun. Point it at a chair and calculate how recently the occupant vacated it. You can even point it down your own throat and get an instant temperature. :)

wobs
Posts: 504
Joined: Fri 21st Jul, 2006 2:17 pm
Location: Hull - there's a nip in the air.

Re: Thermal imaging cameras

Post by wobs » Wed 11th Nov, 2020 2:50 pm

I recall discussions here before about this, including some actual pics:
http://www.periodproperty.co.uk/forum/v ... al+imaging

And :
http://www.periodproperty.co.uk/forum/v ... ng#p205616

a twig
Posts: 657
Joined: Sun 6th Oct, 2013 10:18 pm

Re: Thermal imaging cameras

Post by a twig » Wed 11th Nov, 2020 4:08 pm

https://github.com/openthermalcamera - nice project for those long winter evenings :)

a twig
Posts: 657
Joined: Sun 6th Oct, 2013 10:18 pm

Re: Thermal imaging cameras

Post by a twig » Wed 11th Nov, 2020 4:09 pm

This post was a load of tosh so this is my attempt to delete it :D

Feltwell
Posts: 5759
Joined: Sun 18th May, 2008 7:28 pm
Location: Shropshire, England

Re: Thermal imaging cameras

Post by Feltwell » Fri 11th Dec, 2020 12:47 pm

Well, I've taken the plunge and ordered one - this one:-

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/1005001 ... web201603_

£94 in the end, on a deal they had running the other day, including the shipping. When it turns up I shall let you all know if it's any good or not!

tobydog
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Location: South Suffolk

Re: Thermal imaging cameras

Post by tobydog » Fri 11th Dec, 2020 5:01 pm

A few years back our village was promoting a green initiative and I was able to get a free thermal image of our house from all for sides. It was in January on a very cold night and we were lit up like Blackpool's illuminations :( . Somewhat expected given that we are 1640's and timber framed, however, our thatched roof was doing a pretty good job.

If I remember correctly, blue might suggest that an outside wall is cold because it's very well insulated, however, it could just be because the room behind it isn't heated. You need to know how to read what you see.

Feltwell
Posts: 5759
Joined: Sun 18th May, 2008 7:28 pm
Location: Shropshire, England

Re: Thermal imaging cameras

Post by Feltwell » Fri 11th Dec, 2020 5:33 pm

I think this camera, being a cheapie, will be much better suited to close up pictures rather than whole house elevations.

That's fine - there's not much I can do about walls being uninsulated, but working out where the cold spots are around windows, doors, floor edges etc will help me tackle all the little drafts.

And it's a new toy to play with :wink:

YorkshireCottage
Posts: 18
Joined: Sun 22nd Nov, 2020 4:04 pm

Re: Thermal imaging cameras

Post by YorkshireCottage » Fri 11th Dec, 2020 8:18 pm

Please post some pictures - I'm interested in getting a thermal camera and it would be useful to see the kind of results you get.

Socksitis
Posts: 136
Joined: Tue 25th Apr, 2017 9:40 pm

Re: Thermal imaging cameras

Post by Socksitis » Thu 17th Dec, 2020 8:53 pm

We have a thermal imaging camera and find it useful for seeing which parts of the underfloor heating are not working. Where the upright timber is on plaster board walls. So really useful.

Feltwell
Posts: 5759
Joined: Sun 18th May, 2008 7:28 pm
Location: Shropshire, England

Re: Thermal imaging cameras

Post by Feltwell » Thu 17th Dec, 2020 9:16 pm

That's good to know. No UFH here, but working out where the cold spots are and improving the general warmth of the place is high on the list.

I just hope my camera turns out to be cheap and cheerful rather than cheap and nasty!

ElectronicFur
Posts: 85
Joined: Sun 6th May, 2018 11:18 pm
Location: Monmouthshire

Re: Thermal imaging cameras

Post by ElectronicFur » Tue 26th Jan, 2021 5:45 pm

Have you had a play with this yet Feltwell?

As well as finding cold spots I'd be interested to know if a thermal camera can help spot were the joists are in thick lime plaster walls.

I tried the magnet trick, but didn't have much success.

Feltwell
Posts: 5759
Joined: Sun 18th May, 2008 7:28 pm
Location: Shropshire, England

Re: Thermal imaging cameras

Post by Feltwell » Tue 26th Jan, 2021 7:49 pm

It arrived on Christmas Eve, I've still only had a chance to have a quick play around with it! It's quite a good bit of kit but I suspect it's shortcomings will be true of any thermal camera.

So the camera itself is a clever bit of kit, you can change the colours used which makes a difference to how clear the image is, and you can also blend the heat image with a camera image at the same time - it records both - blend with either a true camera image or one that draws black lines round the outlines of items - very clever and it helps you pinpoint what is where.

But - there has to be a notable difference in temperature between different elements to pick anything up, so studs in a wall, no chance. I tried it on a stud partition here, nothing. I suppose you could try heating the room behind in the hope you get some differential temperature showing through but frankly I think the chances are against it.

If I point it at bare heating pipes they show up instantly. Point it at heating pipes under a wooden floor and there is warm area showing, but naturally it's much more diffused. Could it pick up UFH pipes? Yes, I think it would do that just fine, even better if you put a known heat source in the picture as a reference point to help you find the position (a soldering iron perhaps).

It has a memory card and you can capture images and transfer them to a PC, one day I will do this.....

The magnet trick - did you use any old magnet, or a neodymium powerful one? If you've not tried the neodymium ones give them a go, cheap on Ebay and they are remarkably strong. I'd be surprised if something like this can't find nail heads in plaster.

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Neodymium-Bl ... SwO7NfiO1V

ElectronicFur
Posts: 85
Joined: Sun 6th May, 2018 11:18 pm
Location: Monmouthshire

Re: Thermal imaging cameras

Post by ElectronicFur » Tue 26th Jan, 2021 8:57 pm

I used neodymium magnets that I already had, but maybe too small. I'll have to buy a bigger one and try again. Maybe I'll get one of those magnet fishing ones, and can try that with the kids then too.

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