Poll

Has the hackabiliy of the E4 made you buy one :  

Yes, I was already looking at the competition at a similar price, but the hack swung it to E4
187 (24.4%)
Yes, I'd not considered buying a TIC before, but 320x240 resolution at this price justifies it (as either tool or toy!)
371 (48.5%)
Yes, I was going to buy an E5/6/8 class of unit but will now get the E4
35 (4.6%)
No, but am looking out for a cheap i3 to hack
30 (3.9%)
Not yet, but probably will if now that a closed-box hack becomes is possible
142 (18.6%)

Total Members Voted: 672

Author Topic: Flir E4 Thermal imaging camera teardown  (Read 1392834 times)

0 Members and 4 Guests are viewing this topic.

Offline neggles

  • Contributor
  • Posts: 43
  • Country: au
  • I like to make things
Re: Flir E4 Thermal imaging camera teardown
« Reply #1600 on: November 20, 2013, 03:24:17 PM »
The FLIR representative at the job fair was probably just a recruiter. Chances are that she doesn't know much about the hack and had only heard about it in passing.

I'd be willing to bet she'd only heard about it from other people at the fair / in a general sense from someone else at the company & was just saying that they were working hard on a fix because, well, in that position wouldn't you say that too?
 

Offline aargee

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 423
  • Country: au
Re: Flir E4 Thermal imaging camera teardown
« Reply #1601 on: November 20, 2013, 05:14:06 PM »
Imo, the potential problem is if majority of FLIR big distributors are fully aware of this hack while still have mountain high of stackpiled of unsold non E4 models, they will be shouting at FLIR to fix it asap "every day" if necessary.

Imagine you're the FLIR distributor relationship officer/manager that is facing those angry mobs everyday.  >:D

I think you're making the assumption here that most E4s sold are being converted to E8 by the hack. It wouldn't surprise me that a lot of the Ex sales are for businesses that aren't interested in hacking and/or have the know how. They're just building inspectors or pest controllers or technical services or ... that want a product that does xyz.
Not easy, not hard, just need to be incentivised.
 

Offline Corporate666

  • Supporter
  • ****
  • Posts: 1799
  • Country: us
  • Remember, you are unique, just like everybody else
Re: Flir E4 Thermal imaging camera teardown
« Reply #1602 on: November 20, 2013, 05:34:03 PM »
Imo, the potential problem is if majority of FLIR big distributors are fully aware of this hack while still have mountain high of stackpiled of unsold non E4 models, they will be shouting at FLIR to fix it asap "every day" if necessary.

Imagine you're the FLIR distributor relationship officer/manager that is facing those angry mobs everyday.  >:D

I dunno... I've talked to a few authorized FLIR sellers, and they have all said that sales of the E4 are hot, but sales of other units aren't down.  I don't think the distributors really carry much stock, so I doubt there will be stacks of unsold higher end models, plus the people buying the higher-end units are probably the businesses and people who need the features and would need to pay for 'official' access to those features.  I'd wager it's just the hobbyists hacking these things for the most part, or at least, people who would not have otherwise bought a higher end unit.
It's not always the most popular person who gets the job done.
 

Offline BravoV

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 3545
  • Country: 00
  • An EEE (Eternal Electronics Enthusiast)
Re: Flir E4 Thermal imaging camera teardown
« Reply #1603 on: November 20, 2013, 05:42:52 PM »
Ah ... maybe I worded it wrongly, what I mean is, if I was a distributor with the sales burden target and quota "set and agreed" with the principal (FLIR in this case), then I will do what ever necessary to justify my whining  >:D that I can't just fulfill the sales target quota, even it sounds silly. Hope you get it.

As a big distributor (read: not reseller), "usually" you do not have the luxury of being picky on what you want to sell. Like only selling certain items/models that sold like hot cakes while rejecting others. Principal and distributor usually have an agreed sales quota (annually) spreaded across different products/models from principal.

Say for an example all E4 are already sold and still have tons of back order, while those E5,E6 and E8 are still untouched for months, and then based of the info and already proven about the hackability of E4.

Now, the "real" business part. Its not about this hackable or not hackable, or even quota related.

It is all about business politics or tactics, isn't this moment a good opportunity to whine to FLIR that its really hard to reach the agreed sales target as an excuse and use this issue as an escape goat ? Even they're just minority in the sales volume.  >:D

Offline amyk

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 4438
Re: Flir E4 Thermal imaging camera teardown
« Reply #1604 on: November 20, 2013, 06:40:59 PM »
I doubt FLIR have had such a continuous stream of buyers before; thermal cameras are hardly a "consumer product" (and tend to last a long time) so their business probably consisted of periodically spaced, large orders with some more smaller ones sprinkled in between. Now they're getting a ton of E4 orders so relatively speaking the other models have decreased in demand.
 

Offline max-bit

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 288
  • Country: pl
Re: Flir E4 Thermal imaging camera teardown
« Reply #1605 on: November 20, 2013, 06:43:46 PM »
regular user will not buy anything after for E4 (price)
A company can afford to buy more expensive models and will not deal with the hack models E4.
And so, mainly infrared cameras are buy practical only a company, the retail market is known to be more smaller.
 

Offline aargee

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 423
  • Country: au
Re: Flir E4 Thermal imaging camera teardown
« Reply #1606 on: November 20, 2013, 07:28:05 PM »
Yes, let's see, to hack the E4, you come to this thread. Maybe half the visitors then click on the survey at the top of the page, what does that make it - maybe 300. I wonder what the world market is for the E series? ... And only four in the survey are buying an E4 over its stable mates due to the hack.

Looks like a lowish percentage to me.
Not easy, not hard, just need to be incentivised.
 

Online mikeselectricstuff

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 7852
  • Country: gb
    • Mike's Electric Stuff
Re: Flir E4 Thermal imaging camera teardown
« Reply #1607 on: November 20, 2013, 07:49:20 PM »
I've been keeping a  casual eye on Tequipment's stock levels, and they are shifting quite a few E6's and the odd E5.
E8's seem to be sitting there but I think it's way overpriced, as you can get an  E50 for the same price, with  only slightly less resolution but a  big, focussable lens and 60fps
Mike's Electric Stuff: High voltage, vintage electronics, electrical curiosities
Day Job: UFOs, LEDs etc.
Versatronics & other low-end pick & place forum
 

Online mikeselectricstuff

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 7852
  • Country: gb
    • Mike's Electric Stuff
Re: Flir E4 Thermal imaging camera teardown
« Reply #1608 on: November 20, 2013, 07:51:25 PM »
Also, do you simply screw the lens back all the way in to it's tight and that's the "factory" position, or does it seem to have a factory tweaked position one should mark off before adjusting?
Factory position on mine is about half a turn from fully in so useful to mark it - not very hard to re-focus but nice not to have to.   
Mike's Electric Stuff: High voltage, vintage electronics, electrical curiosities
Day Job: UFOs, LEDs etc.
Versatronics & other low-end pick & place forum
 

Online Pinkus

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 322
Re: Flir E4 Thermal imaging camera teardown
« Reply #1609 on: November 20, 2013, 08:06:52 PM »
Feel free to upload my 3D models of the lens adjuster and the ZnSe lens adapter to wherever you think it'll do most good.

Thanks, done:
http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:187162
http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:187166
I had to chose a license so chose creative commons public domain?
At least the lens tool for turning the lens does need some improvement. I am not a CAD specialist so I better not work on that, but you can easily see that the STL file and the printed tool are not perfect. I recognized that by uploading the file to a 3D printing company - it was rejected with the error message that the survace is not OK and contains errors and thus cannot be printed.
Maybe some more work on the CAD file is needed here?
I thought I mention this before too much people invest money into ordering a 3D printed model which is not 100% finished yet.
See attached picture.
Btw: I am also wondering why the top is not as shiny and smooth as the cone below. Is there any technical reason or is this due to the not-yet-perfect STL file?

« Last Edit: November 20, 2013, 08:08:26 PM by PeterK13 »
 

Offline SPRX

  • Contributor
  • Posts: 46
  • Country: au
Re: Flir E4 Thermal imaging camera teardown
« Reply #1610 on: November 20, 2013, 08:39:46 PM »

If you consider the manufacturing cost (of hardware and software development cost etc), have they under-priced E4 and over priced E8 ? 
They are pretty much seems manufactured in the similar production line, and I think they have priced the E4 correctly.
 

Online mikeselectricstuff

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 7852
  • Country: gb
    • Mike's Electric Stuff
Re: Flir E4 Thermal imaging camera teardown
« Reply #1611 on: November 21, 2013, 01:23:12 AM »

If you consider the manufacturing cost (of hardware and software development cost etc), have they under-priced E4 and over priced E8 ? 
They are pretty much seems manufactured in the similar production line, and I think they have priced the E4 correctly.
Obviously they're making a lot more per E8, but there is no way they are selling the E4 without some profit as they'd always sell many more E4's than higher end units even without a hack. - we've heard that dealer margins are tighter on the E4, not surprisingly.
Mike's Electric Stuff: High voltage, vintage electronics, electrical curiosities
Day Job: UFOs, LEDs etc.
Versatronics & other low-end pick & place forum
 

Online Pinkus

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 322
Re: Flir E4 Thermal imaging camera teardown
« Reply #1612 on: November 21, 2013, 03:01:38 AM »
If you think Flir might be fine that E4 sales are going up, you are wrong.
Of course they will have an effect on the sales of E5/6/8.
I did quick guess on costs - see attached screen shot.

I did two calculations, the second table boosts the E4 sales from 1000 to 5000 units, while the E5/6/8 sales are dropping by 75% (which they would, as the word of hackability would spread quickly).
Result: Flir is selling now >5000 cameras instead of 2000 cameras, but is still making less money....
Do you think they will tolerate this? I don't.

It is a similar calculation as any reseller should do.
Example: Assume you are selling some electronics with a 15% margin. You want to give a christmas discount of 5% on everything because this will to boost you sales by 30%. Sounds like a good idea? Wrong: you need to sell at least >50% more than before. Any sales boost below 50% will cost you real money at the end.
« Last Edit: November 21, 2013, 03:03:10 AM by PeterK13 »
 

Online mikeselectricstuff

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 7852
  • Country: gb
    • Mike's Electric Stuff
Re: Flir E4 Thermal imaging camera teardown
« Reply #1613 on: November 21, 2013, 03:05:42 AM »
The consensus at least amongst this thread seems to be that the E4 hack has resulted in new sales that otherwise wouldn't have happenned at all, rather than lost/down-converted sales of higher models.
The E8 is so overpriced for its feature set that I don't think it merits incusion in any serious comparison. 
Mike's Electric Stuff: High voltage, vintage electronics, electrical curiosities
Day Job: UFOs, LEDs etc.
Versatronics & other low-end pick & place forum
 

Offline Clint

  • Regular Contributor
  • *
  • Posts: 112
  • Country: gb
Re: Flir E4 Thermal imaging camera teardown
« Reply #1614 on: November 21, 2013, 03:14:07 AM »
I don't think you can consider profit made on the cost of a hardware unit, FLIR are a very well run company who have been in the game from the beginning and have been ruining complex government based contracts worldwide; from that you can summarise that when designing a product they will be extremely good at working out how they can sell the product to cover their development costs in the quickest time possible, including the hardware crippling of a product for it to appeal to a wider audience. We see this everywhere in manufacturing. In all reality its probably not the E8 owners getting ripped off, from what's on offer on the release date they probably got a well priced piece of equipment that covered all the capabilities they needed. Indeed the E4 is very well priced but without the hack, probably is price marked right and although the dealer margin may not be as big the volume probably makes up from that especially with accessories and future trade ups.

Mike's hack shifts the field of play slightly, how much and for how long is only known to FLIR and to a degree is in their control.

One thing is for sure, its done their business no damage, with the product thrown under the spotlight by a lot of very clever guys; not once have I seen a criticism of the company or its product. I for one would not hesitate to recommend the procurement of products from them in the future.
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
g33K5 L1k3 80085
 

Offline Clint

  • Regular Contributor
  • *
  • Posts: 112
  • Country: gb
Re: Flir E4 Thermal imaging camera teardown
« Reply #1615 on: November 21, 2013, 03:17:15 AM »
The consensus at least amongst this thread seems to be that the E4 hack has resulted in new sales that otherwise wouldn't have happenned at all

Agreed here, I am in conversation with six new camera owners and only one of them previously have a TIC and it was a very old s/h unit.

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
g33K5 L1k3 80085
 

Online nowlan

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 568
  • Country: au
Re: Flir E4 Thermal imaging camera teardown
« Reply #1616 on: November 21, 2013, 01:59:05 PM »
One thing is for sure, its done their business no damage, with the product thrown under the spotlight by a lot of very clever guys; not once have I seen a criticism of the company or its product. I for one would not hesitate to recommend the procurement of products from them in the future.

Fragile usb charging socket and tripod mount have been raised. Also the bloated/slow menu was mentioned by Mike in original video.
 

Offline aargee

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 423
  • Country: au
Re: Flir E4 Thermal imaging camera teardown
« Reply #1617 on: November 21, 2013, 02:36:04 PM »
So did Flir try and shutdown the forum?  :-DD
Not easy, not hard, just need to be incentivised.
 

Offline Rasz

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 1527
  • Country: 00
    • My random blog.
Re: Flir E4 Thermal imaging camera teardown
« Reply #1618 on: November 21, 2013, 03:01:57 PM »
One thing is for sure, its done their business no damage, with the product thrown under the spotlight by a lot of very clever guys; not once have I seen a criticism of the company or its product.

well, the UI is all kinds of SHIT. Its not critical to the working of the unit, but makes using it somewhat painful. They got all the technology right, but didnt bother to hire any usability experts.
Who logs in to gdm? Not I, said the duck.
My fireplace is on fire, but in all the wrong places.
 

Offline Corporate666

  • Supporter
  • ****
  • Posts: 1799
  • Country: us
  • Remember, you are unique, just like everybody else
Re: Flir E4 Thermal imaging camera teardown
« Reply #1619 on: November 21, 2013, 03:08:05 PM »
If you think Flir might be fine that E4 sales are going up, you are wrong.
Of course they will have an effect on the sales of E5/6/8.
I did quick guess on costs - see attached screen shot.

I did two calculations, the second table boosts the E4 sales from 1000 to 5000 units, while the E5/6/8 sales are dropping by 75% (which they would, as the word of hackability would spread quickly).
Result: Flir is selling now >5000 cameras instead of 2000 cameras, but is still making less money....
Do you think they will tolerate this? I don't.

It is a similar calculation as any reseller should do.
Example: Assume you are selling some electronics with a 15% margin. You want to give a christmas discount of 5% on everything because this will to boost you sales by 30%. Sounds like a good idea? Wrong: you need to sell at least >50% more than before. Any sales boost below 50% will cost you real money at the end.

There are way too many assumptions in the chart to make the conclusions relevant, I think.

I seriously doubt 75% of E8 buyers elect for an E4 instead.  FLIR obviously knows their customers and what they are willing to pay.  I would say that anyone willing to pay the E8 price has a reason to pay that much... and it's not simply the resolution increase.  And those people willing to pay the E8 price (or E5/E6) are not likely to buy an E4 and hack it... partly for calibration/gurantee reasons, also warranty, accountability and more.  I doubt many companies would sanction use of a hacked E4 for important measurements - especially not where a chain of accountability is necessary.  And how many hobbyists are buying E8's?  I'd venture to guess almost none.

Not to mention I would think a majority of people who would buy an E8 likely don't know about the hack. 

I think the hack leads to many more E4 sales from people who would not otherwise buy - not cannibalization of E5-E8 sales.
It's not always the most popular person who gets the job done.
 

Offline scibit

  • Contributor
  • Posts: 13
Re: Flir E4 Thermal imaging camera teardown
« Reply #1620 on: November 21, 2013, 03:08:32 PM »
Just had mine delivered to a friend in the US who's going to forward it on.
Had them check it out and apparently it's running firmware version 1.17.7, which was a bit of a surprise.
I'm guessing that there's no harm in upgrading it to 1.18.7?
 

Offline Bandrik

  • Newbie
  • Posts: 4
Re: Flir E4 Thermal imaging camera teardown
« Reply #1621 on: November 21, 2013, 03:09:10 PM »
While the forum was down, I went ahead and applied Mike's hack. It worked like a charm! I now have a working E4/E8.

Thanks again, Mike!   8)
 

Offline georges80

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 586
  • Country: us
Re: Flir E4 Thermal imaging camera teardown
« Reply #1622 on: November 21, 2013, 03:10:44 PM »
Feel free to upload my 3D models of the lens adjuster and the ZnSe lens adapter to wherever you think it'll do most good.

Thanks, done:
http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:187162
http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:187166
I had to chose a license so chose creative commons public domain?
At least the lens tool for turning the lens does need some improvement. I am not a CAD specialist so I better not work on that, but you can easily see that the STL file and the printed tool are not perfect. I recognized that by uploading the file to a 3D printing company - it was rejected with the error message that the survace is not OK and contains errors and thus cannot be printed.
Maybe some more work on the CAD file is needed here?
I thought I mention this before too much people invest money into ordering a 3D printed model which is not 100% finished yet.
See attached picture.
Btw: I am also wondering why the top is not as shiny and smooth as the cone below. Is there any technical reason or is this due to the not-yet-perfect STL file?

The 'finish' will never be perfect since the 'home quality' 3d printers are not Star Trek replicators :)

Areas with a lot of detail are difficult for these plastic extruding printers to provide a great finish. In the case of the lens tool I printed a few out while refining the diameter etc and each has a different finished quality. I had some in clear PLA and some in white PLA. White PLA looks nicer since you can't see 'into it'.

The key is that the 10 spokes engage the lens correctly and makes it very easy to adjust. The picture of my adjuster is in clear PLA and printed in medium resolution since I was told by a co-worker that fine resolution if finicky on the makerbot replicator 2.

There are 2 'artifact' slivers on the side that don't affect printing (at least on the makerbot 2). I'll look to 'clean' them up, but I have no issue printing even with them in place. They don't in any way affect the usability of the tool and the makerbot software doesn't complain.

If you read the last posts you'll see someone has printed the tool at his place of work and the tools works fine. His had some different plastic extrusion finished look - which again shows that different 'home quality' 3d printers will provide different finish quality.

Anyhow, the STL file will generate a working tool. I've printed a couple (needed a spare) on the makerbot replicator 2 at work and its software had no issues. Maybe the 3d service you tried to use is more 'fussy' about what it can print. I can't verify the STL with various services since it works with the equipment I have available to me. If someone wants to take the Sketchup files that I provided and made them more universal to other 3d printing services I have no issue with that.

cheers,
george.
My 'job': www.taskled.com
 

Offline olsenn

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 997
Re: Flir E4 Thermal imaging camera teardown
« Reply #1623 on: November 21, 2013, 03:29:53 PM »
I don't think FLIR is worries about a loss in E8 sales since the intended audience of that product is businesses with enough money that they don't care, and also wouldn't risk legal repercussions.

However, I think what FLIR is most worried about is the loss in E6 sales. This is the minimum spec product to comply with the RESNET standard. This is used by building inspectors, and many of these tradesmen work for small companies whose owner is just a normal bloke like us who isn't afraid of saving money getting the E4 and hacking it.
 

Offline ron

  • Regular Contributor
  • *
  • Posts: 87
  • Country: us
Re: Flir E4 Thermal imaging camera teardown
« Reply #1624 on: November 21, 2013, 03:38:58 PM »
Just had mine delivered to a friend in the US who's going to forward it on.
Had them check it out and apparently it's running firmware version 1.17.7, which was a bit of a surprise.
I'm guessing that there's no harm in upgrading it to 1.18.7?

I also had 1.17.7 .  Updated to 1.18.7 and applied hack -- no problem. :-+
 


Share me

Digg  Facebook  SlashDot  Delicious  Technorati  Twitter  Google  Yahoo
Smf