Author Topic: A new affordable thermal imager  (Read 21030 times)

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Offline Andreas_Thermal

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A new affordable thermal imager
« on: March 17, 2016, 07:33:53 am »
Hi!

8 months ago, a friend of mine and myself started a project called C-THERMAL - it is going to be the first smart thermal imager www.c-thermal.com
However, I just wanted to give you a short hello - I really like this forum because of it`s reasonable discussions about electronics stuff.




For those who want to ask which core we use: yes, it`s FLIRs Lepton and every single picture on our website is taken with our working prototypes :)
If you are really interested, I`m also going to make a short video clip of our hardware design within the next weeks.

I would really appreciate any feedback from you!

Cheers, Andi
 

Offline frenky

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Re: A new affordable thermal imager
« Reply #1 on: March 17, 2016, 07:41:39 am »
Nice. Which Lepton did you use?
 

Offline Andreas_Thermal

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Re: A new affordable thermal imager
« Reply #2 on: March 17, 2016, 07:50:22 am »
It`s the Lepton 2 - the one with 80x60 px resolution. At the moment, the Lepton 3 is not yet available to OEMs.
 

Offline bitseeker

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Re: A new affordable thermal imager
« Reply #3 on: March 17, 2016, 08:01:04 am »
An affordable thermal imager for occasional spotting of hot components on a PCB or drafty windows at home would certainly be nice. How affordable are we talking?

Also, will you be sending eval units to folks like Martin Lorton for comparative testing?
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Offline mikeselectricstuff

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Re: A new affordable thermal imager
« Reply #4 on: March 17, 2016, 08:05:49 am »
it is going to be the first smart thermal imager
How do you justify that claim ? In what way is this smarter than any thermal imager ?
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Online tszaboo

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Re: A new affordable thermal imager
« Reply #5 on: March 17, 2016, 08:15:03 am »
Looks interesting. What is the planned price? Does it have a tripod mount screw?
 

Offline Andreas_Thermal

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Re: A new affordable thermal imager
« Reply #6 on: March 17, 2016, 08:45:26 am »
Our planned price was 298USD (or for the EU - 298€) - but at the moment it seems to be that we can sell it a bit cheaper than planned.

A review by Martin Lorton would be very nice - but we don`t have that much working prototypes ready to ship yet.

Regarding the "smart": Our automatic detection of damp masonry and heat bridges works through a combination of the following sensor data: air pressure, air temperature, air humidity and of course, the thermal imaging core. The automatic detection takes place within the camera firmware - there is no need for a smart phone. For taking thermal panoramas, we have also integrated an orientation sensor. We have also planned to support our camera over a long time period with over the air firmware updates.

The combination of the mentioned things above is our definition of a smart thermal imager.

PS: of course, an automatic detection of damp mansonry respectively mildew hazard is a pretty easy thing, as you may imagine, it`s not that easy with heat bridges, but it`s manageable.
 

Offline poorchava

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Re: A new affordable thermal imager
« Reply #7 on: March 17, 2016, 09:06:51 am »
Kinda surprised nobody brought this one up before (video by mikeselectricstuff):
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Offline mikeselectricstuff

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Re: A new affordable thermal imager
« Reply #8 on: March 17, 2016, 09:21:01 am »
Kinda surprised nobody brought this one up before (video by mikeselectricstuff):

I'm a bit surprised it's taken so long for anyone else to do it...
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Offline Andreas_Thermal

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Re: A new affordable thermal imager
« Reply #9 on: March 17, 2016, 09:31:02 am »
Yes, of course I have been inspired a bit by mikeselectricstuff (by the way: I love to watch your videos, especially the extreme teardown of a Lepton core).
 

Online all_repair

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Re: A new affordable thermal imager
« Reply #10 on: March 17, 2016, 09:58:07 am »
I'm a bit surprised it's taken so long for anyone else to do it...

We were eagerly waiting for you  :-DD but the postman never come.
 

Offline TinkerFan

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Re: A new affordable thermal imager
« Reply #11 on: March 17, 2016, 10:03:50 am »
Nice bit of kit. :-+
If you get it through kickstarter though...
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Offline jeremy

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Re: A new affordable thermal imager
« Reply #12 on: March 17, 2016, 10:09:45 am »
The fundamental problem with all of these home insulation type thermal cameras is that they have limited practical use in small electronics due to their focal length and/or the fixed lens configuration. Really, something which is useful for inspecting your house metres away is not going to be useful to distinguish between two small and adjacent mosfets, one of which is maybe 10C hotter than the other while sitting next to a hot CPU.

If someone comes up with an imager which has a focal length more like a macro lens for less than $1000, that is some real novelty in my opinion.
 

Offline janoc

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Re: A new affordable thermal imager
« Reply #13 on: March 17, 2016, 10:16:15 am »
it is going to be the first smart thermal imager
How do you justify that claim ? In what way is this smarter than any thermal imager ?

Mike, "smart" in today's IoT lingo often means that it needs a smartphone to actually do anything ...  |O
So it essentially means exactly the opposite - dumb.

Even though the OP's gizmo seems to be able to function without the phone as well (unlike Seek).
« Last Edit: March 17, 2016, 10:19:03 am by janoc »
 

Offline Andreas_Thermal

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Re: A new affordable thermal imager
« Reply #14 on: March 17, 2016, 11:00:31 am »
Quote
The fundamental problem with all of these home insulation type thermal cameras is that they have limited practical use in small electronics due to their focal length and/or the fixed lens configuration. Really, something which is useful for inspecting your house metres away is not going to be useful to distinguish between two small and adjacent mosfets, one of which is maybe 10C hotter than the other while sitting next to a hot CPU.

If someone comes up with an imager which has a focal length more like a macro lens for less than $1000, that is some real novelty in my opinion.

I´m also working on a case design with focus adjustment (the Leptons lens shape offers it - looks a bit like a gearwheel).

Made some images with a very close distance to a PCB:



 

Offline frenky

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Re: A new affordable thermal imager
« Reply #15 on: March 17, 2016, 12:21:25 pm »
For taking thermal panoramas, we have also integrated an orientation sensor.

If this is working ok, then you could also implement super-resolution:

 


Offline bitseeker

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Offline OrBy

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Re: A new affordable thermal imager
« Reply #18 on: March 17, 2016, 09:42:12 pm »
Are you going to be using the shuttered or non-shuttered cores?
Is there any chance that the LUT's or color pallets may be able to be customized? (a night vision green to black would be nice)
Will video streaming over USB/UVC be an option?
Pictures only or will it be able to record video? (I personally would take video recording over other features like wireless charging)
« Last Edit: March 17, 2016, 09:48:00 pm by OrBy »
 

Offline nidlaX

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Re: A new affordable thermal imager
« Reply #19 on: March 17, 2016, 10:24:17 pm »
Nice project, but I would argue that the first price point you mentioned is still too close to the Flir One G2 with Lepton 3 (or even the Seek) for your product to be competitive. If you can hit $189, with a future Lepton 3 version that's priced slightly lower than the Flir One G2, then you would have a market.
 

Offline Andreas_Thermal

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Re: A new affordable thermal imager
« Reply #20 on: March 18, 2016, 06:20:07 am »
Quote
Are you going to be using the shuttered or non-shuttered cores?
Is there any chance that the LUT's or color pallets may be able to be customized? (a night vision green to black would be nice)
Will video streaming over USB/UVC be an option?
Pictures only or will it be able to record video? (I personally would take video recording over other features like wireless charging)

At the moment we use the none shuttered versions (25° and 50°). Regarding the LUT`s: nice idea, would be no problem to implement (never thought about this). Video streaming currently only works over WLAN and is not planned to be implemented over USB. It can record pictures and videos (in full 14 Bit thermal resolution) - LUT`s are applied in post processing.

Quote
Nice project, but I would argue that the first price point you mentioned is still too close to the Flir One G2 with Lepton 3 (or even the Seek) for your product to be competitive. If you can hit $189, with a future Lepton 3 version that's priced slightly lower than the Flir One G2, then you would have a market.

Thank you :)! You are right - at the moment we do everything we can in order to lower the price.
 

Offline OrBy

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Re: A new affordable thermal imager
« Reply #21 on: March 18, 2016, 02:35:45 pm »
At the moment we use the none shuttered versions (25° and 50°). Regarding the LUT`s: nice idea, would be no problem to implement (never thought about this). Video streaming currently only works over WLAN and is not planned to be implemented over USB. It can record pictures and videos (in full 14 Bit thermal resolution) - LUT`s are applied in post processing.

I can see having the non-shuttered version being able to make a smaller more robust package - image quality my be a little worse but that's likely a better trade off given the size of the device.
Having the ability to use or upload custom LUT's would be a feature that no one else has really done in this price point/space yet so it would be cool - I do hope you look into it. (Attached are a few of my fav LUT's)
Since you can record video on device - then not having video over USB is fine in my view.

On other question - it looks like your going for quite a small easy to fit in your pocket form factor - is the front of the lepton going to be exposed or are you going to shield it with another lens or recess it a bit?
 

Offline Andreas_Thermal

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Re: A new affordable thermal imager
« Reply #22 on: March 18, 2016, 05:29:44 pm »
I just had to try out one of your gradients which looks very night vision like  8) - As we have 8 Gb of internal memory, your suggestion is really no big issue to implement for us   :)

Regarding the window: At the moment the camera lens is recessed by about 1 mm but we have no final decision (yet) about using a window or not - those tiny little things are quite expensive.



 

Offline OrBy

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Re: A new affordable thermal imager
« Reply #23 on: March 19, 2016, 01:07:10 am »
Nice!

If your looking for more LUT's to play with I posted a file with many in it here https://www.eevblog.com/forum/thermal-imaging/flir-e4-thermal-imaging-camera-teardown/msg713511/#msg713511. (not all of them are good but with 8gb of space it sounds like it would be a minimal impact)

I can imaging the costs involved with custom thermal parts like lenses could run away on you quickly - if it's reasonably recessed with some sort of gasket to avoid ingress of dust/lint/light moisture I could see that being an workable solution.

I look forward to your kickstarter. :)
 

Offline eren

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Re: A new affordable thermal imager
« Reply #24 on: March 21, 2016, 10:56:51 am »
Excellent project -- I'd be really really interested to use this! Looking forward to the kickstarter.
 


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