Author Topic: Uses of a thermal camera in hobby electronics ?  (Read 960 times)

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Offline Franz Zinn

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Uses of a thermal camera in hobby electronics ?
« on: June 05, 2015, 07:25:57 pm »

What are the typical design/diagnostic uses of a thermal camera. If it is just a matter of checking if some component is over heating, isn't this more inexpensively done using a multimeter and thermal probe ? How useful is it as a tool ?


Offline mikeselectricstuff

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Re: Uses of a thermal camera in hobby electronics ?
« Reply #1 on: June 05, 2015, 07:49:18 pm »
Possibly more useful for debug & repair than design - if all you care about is the temp of a single point then yes an IR thermometer is adequate.

A TIC is Extremely good at finding shorts on a PCB - throw some current into it and the path of the short just lights up.
Similarly if excess current is being drawn by a component, you can see it instantly.

Other applications would include measuring the effectivness of heatsinking as you can see the thermal gradients.

Can also be useful for monitoring temp while doing hot-air rework.

It's also just a fun toy to have  :D
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Offline georges80

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Re: Uses of a thermal camera in hobby electronics ?
« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2015, 08:28:20 pm »
It's very useful to find components that are somewhat 'damaged'.

I've used mine to debug faulty/damaged capacitors. Leaky FETs in switchers.

It's incredibly useful to verify the thermal path of a design, especially using high powered FETs that rely on vias in the thermal pads to transfer heat. You can see the entire board as it heats up and how heat transfers through various thermal paths including the heatsink/housing.

A single point IR gun or thermocouple can't provide that level of 'detail'.

Obviously if your designs don't need that level of observability then the TIC is just an expensive toy :)


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