Products > Thermal Imaging

Comparing affordable TICs

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torch:
At work, I am provided with a nice name brand unit -- 384 x 288, 3.5" display, 50hz, 35mK spectral resolution, -40 to 1,000°C measurement, intrinsically safe, NFPA 1801 certification, 2 hours looping video recording, etc. etc. etc. At darn near $20k, I can't afford that level of performance at home.

My home budget is more in the $500 buck range for occasional use -- automotive diagnosis, heat loss investigation, and, gee, maybe even circuit boards. I'm not interested in a smart phone dongle -- for one thing, I'm a dinosaur with a flip phone. So: a standalone unit. Stunned by the plethora of Chinese options and the untrustworthiness of their reviews, I attacked the problem on the basis of whether or not they were discussed favourably in this forum.

Actually, I rather hoped to find a chart similar to the ones on meters and scopes..

After a lot of reading, I think I've narrowed it down to 3 very similar units:

1. Hikmicro B20
Pros: Largest display at 3.2"
Longest focal length/narrowest FOV (disadvantage in certain applications)
WiFi

Cons: Memory is built in, not replaceable card
Wifi appears to only work with their smartphone app
Shortest battery life
No video recording
Most expensive -- about $250 more before taxes.

2. Guide PC210
Pros: Cheapest even after adding case and macro lens and shipping (but only by $1)
Lowest operating temperature, -15°C.
Only one with reflection adjustment
Longest battery life
Lightest (but only 5 grams lighter than the B20)


Cons: Smallest display screen, at 2.4"
Worst spectral resolution (but only slightly, 45mK vs 40mK of the other two)
Widest field of view (56° x 48°) (benefit in some instances)
Video recording possible, but only when tethered to a PC.

Topdon TC005.

Pros: Amazon can get one here in 2 days, free returns if it's defective.
Can record video internally

Cons: Lowest frequency (20Hz)
Narrowest spectral range (slightly: 8 - 14 um fs 7.5 - 14 um)
Only 2 span ranges available.
No adjustments for emissivity, reflection or distance
Heaviest (520g)

Unknown: IP spec, minimum focal distance, "fusion" or PIP modes?

Have I missed anything, or gotten anything wrong? Any other contenders I should be looking at?

nikitasius:
> I'm a dinosaur with a flip phone.

well you can consider buying 50 bucks android phone w/ type-c TIC (and a handle) as a TIC w/ a huge screen. Why not? Honestly, i've checked the market and if i had flip phone it's cheaper to buy cheap android + type-c TIC (w/ a handle) to build a standalone device than to buy all-in-one TIC.

Thermal image will be pretty good and cover your needs, while temp measurements will be +- good. Also if you do diag you probably have other thermometers for focused & precision measurements and also it's even not the case to measure the temperature (you check for R/V/I, use your scope to check pulsations or whatever, even unsolder from pcb to check on tester or replace)..

Just my 2 cents

nikitasius:
Also some topics from Fraser https://www.eevblog.com/forum/thermal-imaging/new-products-from-seek/msg5027698/#msg5027698

And you can google Infiray products and check real videos & teardowns on youtube.

Fraser:
For “all in one” affordable complete thermal cameras you have never had more choice, but I can see how that could be a problem in itself !

I would suggest looking at the following models… not all will meet your needs but that will be clear from the specifications sheet.

In no particular order:

1. UNi-T UTi260B (UTi690B) - has a following on this forum but I consider it’s build quality marginal. Uses the Infiray Tiny1 C core.
2. Infiray C200 - uses the Infiray Tiny1C core and is a nice camera with good build quality.
3. Guide IR PC210 - uses their own Guide Sensmart TIMO256 core and is a well built camera
4. HTi HT18+ - Unknown which core is used but a decent performer from what I have heard. Not tested one myself.
5. HTi HT19 The next model up from HT18+ with higher resolution.

That will do for now. I personally would avoid going below 256 x 192 pixel resolution as that appears to be the entry point these days for a budget thermal camera with decent imaging capabilities. Many different brands of camera use the same common cores. Such cores are the Infiray Tiny1 and Guide Sensmart TIMO256. Hikvision appear to use their own core designs. I would avoid cameras that use either FLIR Lepton or Seek Thermal cores as these are showing their age now. For information, TOPDON use the Infiray Tiny1-C core but frame rate is dictated by the power of the host processor used with the core. Video recording can be a lot to ask of a budget thermal camera and is unlikely to be fully Radiometric video.

torch:

--- Quote from: Fraser on August 25, 2023, 10:52:35 am ---1. UNi-T UTi260B (UTi690B) - has a following on this forum but I consider it’s build quality marginal. Uses the Infiray Tiny1 C core.
2. Infiray C200 - uses the Infiray Tiny1C core and is a nice camera with good build quality.
3. Guide IR PC210 - uses their own Guide Sensmart TIMO256 core and is a well built camera
4. HTi HT18+ - Unknown which core is used but a decent performer from what I have heard. Not tested one myself.
5. HTi HT19 The next model up from HT18+ with higher resolution.

--- End quote ---

Thanks for the suggestions. For the record, from what I understand, the Infiray C200, Vevor SC240N and Topdon TC004 are all the same unit under different names. The TC005 adds visible light camera and extends the IR range from 300°C to 550°C and adds 3 more palettes. (Interestingly, they run Linux and someone actually hacked one to play a video game -- Doom, IIRC)

The Guide PC210 is on my list already. It's one that keeps cropping up and I haven't heard anything bad about it yet. Eleshop has an interesting comparison with the Uni-T UTi260. The Uni-T has a bigger screen and higher IP rating, but is heavier, shorter battery life, longer charge time, and worse spectral resolution and range. Price is almost exactly the same.  EDIT: at Eleshop. Can be had considerably cheaper from the Orient.

The HTI19 actually looks less impressive than the HT18+. Ok, it has higher resolution but lower frequency, narrower range. Overall, I wasn't impressed with either of them. Lack of range adjustment, short (2 hour) battery life (yes, it comes with an extra battery, but you have to use the camera to charge it, so what's the point?). But most importantly, instead of an IP rating and drop height, the manual contains several cautions -- notably to avoid bringing it in from the cold unless it is in a sealed bag to prevent internal condensation!

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