Posts Tagged ‘FLIR

flir-e4-thermal-imaging-camera

Last year a workaround that included the modification of the software of the FLIR E4 entry level thermal camera has been discovered that allowed the users to get higher resolution and additional functionality available only in the top model of the series – the FLIR E8. It seems that the thermal imaging sensor used in the whole series was the same higher resolution one and it has been locked to lower resolution for the cheaper models from the series and the additional software features available in the higher-end models as well. FLIR has quickly addressed the “issue” by updating the firmware and selling new cameras with newer firmware version that did not allow the easy modification from users, but it seems that it might still be possible to unlock at least the resolution on E4 cameras with newer firmware. Meanwhile the “hack” was also extended to cover other models from the FLIR thermal camera range such as the FLIR i3/i5 that can be modified to i7 in terms of functionality or FLIR E30 to E60. If you are interested you can check the pretty long discussion with information and modification guides available on the EEVblog, but be warned that the process may not be easy for the average user as it involves some tinkering with the device and its software. If you are not sure you will be able to do it, then you better not even try as you may end up with unusable thermal camera that cannot be repaired under warranty, so be careful!

For more information on how to modify the FLIR E4 and other FLIR thermal cameras…

lepton-thermal-camera-breakout-board

The FLIR Lepton thermal imaging sensor is a smaller resolution (80×60 pixels) and affordable priced sensor designed for use in mobile devices providing an affordable thermal imaging capabilities. This is the thermal imaging sensor that is used by FLIR in their FLIR ONE thermal imaging accessory for the Apple iPhone 5 and 5S. The DIY and hardware hacking community has already worked up on a solution to use the FLIR Leptopn sensor along with a custom developed breakout board for various projects. But since FLIR does not sell single units separately, but takes only large orders for the sensors it is hard to get a Lepton sensor to experiment with. One way to do so is to buy a FLIR ONE disassemble the device and take out sensor, the alternative is to go for a group buy. There is a GroupGet campaign for the FLIR Lepton Thermal Camera Core currently running that can help you get a single or a few units for $207.60 USD each and you can also get a breakout board for $45 USD each. This will allow you to interface the Lepton thermal imaging sensor to a custom controller and add thermal imaging capabilities to a project you are working on such as a robot or a drone for example.

For more information on the GroupGet campaign for the FLIR Lepton sensors…

thermal-visual-msx-image

If you are taking thermal images of various things you should be well aware of the fact that while thermal images do show the temperature of objects they do little to provide easy visual cues to what part of the object is hotter or colder. The reason is that thermal images just record the temperature information of objects and while this can create somewhat of an outline of the object you are examining, if you do not take a visual image to store with the thermal image later on you might have trouble identifying things on the thermal image. Not all thermal cameras ca do that – record both thermal and visual images, but even if your camera does not support that (like our FLIR i7 for example) you can still do pretty well if you use a digital camera or your smartphone to also take a visual image as a reference.

Thermal MSX (Multi Spectral Dynamic Imaging) images is what FLIR calls their mode of overlaying both thermal and visual images together and processing the data in order to provide a more detailed thermal image and this mode does work very well as you can see on the sample image above. Even with lower resolution thermal image when you overlay on top of it a visual image and combine the two to have the outlines of the objects you are shooting the end result can be really good. On this thermal photo we have recorded the temperature of an Mitsubishi Air-conditioning system in operation shot with the FLIR ONE thermal camera accessory for iPhone. Even though the FLIR ONE is with a low resolution thermal imaging sensor when we combine the thermal with visual information the resulting thermal MSX image does look really good as it can give both useful thermal and visual information, especially if the goal of the image is to be more understandable to people that are new to thermal imaging.

Taking MSX thermal images (overlaid visual and thermal data) however is not possible all the time as taking a good image in the visual light spectrum does require you to have good light conditions, unlike thermal images that can be taken even during total darkness. So make sure that you have enough light available when you need to take MSX thermal images if you have a thermal camera capable of this as not all models can do this, but as we’ve explained you can help yourself by taking manually a visible spectrum photo with the help of your smartphone or digital camera.


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