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
255 (27%)
Yes, I'd not considered buying a TIC before, but 320x240 resolution at this price justifies it (as either tool or toy!)
436 (46.1%)
Yes, I was going to buy an E5/6/8 class of unit but will now get the E4
46 (4.9%)
No, but am looking out for a cheap i3 to hack
47 (5%)
Not yet, but probably will if now that a closed-box hack becomes is possible
162 (17.1%)

Total Members Voted: 780

Author Topic: Flir E4 Thermal imaging camera teardown  (Read 2961798 times)

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Offline cynfab

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Re: Flir E4 Thermal imaging camera teardown
« Reply #1775 on: November 26, 2013, 02:52:31 am »
Here is the DHCP capture file. You always get that malformed packet which seems to confuse Windows initally.

I don't know the Linux equivalent but there are Windows command line tools (i forget the name of) you can use to "replay" packets captured in a Wireshark grab back out an interface.  That is sometimes useful when debugging when you have a known good trace.


Thanks...
 

Offline schdiewen

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Re: Flir E4 Thermal imaging camera teardown
« Reply #1776 on: November 26, 2013, 09:04:24 am »
Does anyone in Europe received the Flir E4 from the company conrad.de (and web pages Conrad.xx)

Ordered at 11/08 and received my E4 on 11/18 from conrad.de, calibration date 11/13, firmware 1.19.8. They got some stock on 11/14 and dispatched my unit on 11/16.

My package even contains the delivery note from Flir estonia to Conrad, about a batch of 10 E4s, including their serial numbers. I now contacted Conrad about that missing battery, since the web shop (by mistake?) promised that 2 batteries are included by the time I ordered. Now they corrected their article description, but I'm still waiting for an answer :D

Big thanks to Mike and all other contributers, for making it possible that I now own a 320x240 TIC!

Another thing, I noticed a spot on my lens, which I tried to clean with a Q-Tip soaked in some isopropyl alcohol and canned air. The spot is still there but now I have a small circular spot on my thermal images as well  :( It's quite hard to see after powering up the E4, but gets more prominent after some time. That circle is shown to be a little warmer than the surrounding environment, except when I point the camera to a hot surface, then it seems to be colder.
Since any dirt on the lens should be out of focus (?), did I somehow manage to move dust or oil droplets inside the housing to the sensor surface by blowing on the lens?
 

Offline Mark_O

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Re: Flir E4 Thermal imaging camera teardown
« Reply #1777 on: November 26, 2013, 09:23:12 am »
I think I listed the various USB ID's somewhere earlier on... I'll just paste it here...
Code: [Select]
RNDIS and UVC         : 09cb:1005
...
RNDIS, UVC and MSD    : 09cb:1005

I asked this before, but I don't think my question was clear enough.  How can the same VID/PID pair select two different protocol combos?
 

Offline Mark_O

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Re: Flir E4 Thermal imaging camera teardown
« Reply #1778 on: November 26, 2013, 09:28:09 am »
I noticed a spot on my lens, which I tried to clean with a Q-Tip soaked in some isopropyl alcohol and canned air. The spot is still there but now I have a small circular spot on my thermal images as well  :( It's quite hard to see after powering up the E4, but gets more prominent after some time. That circle is shown to be a little warmer than the surrounding environment, except when I point the camera to a hot surface, then it seems to be colder.

Since any dirt on the lens should be out of focus (?), did I somehow manage to move dust or oil droplets inside the housing to the sensor surface by blowing on the lens?

Probably not.  But there may have been a coating on the outside of the lens, and your cleaning removed a portion of it.

Just speculating.
 

Online mikeselectricstuff

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Re: Flir E4 Thermal imaging camera teardown
« Reply #1779 on: November 26, 2013, 09:46:27 am »
Quote
I now contacted Conrad about that missing battery, since the web shop (by mistake?) promised that 2 batteries are included by the time I ordered. Now they corrected their article description, but I'm still waiting for an answer :D
ISTR reading that the E8 comes with a spare battery and standalone charger - that may be the  cause of confusion.
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Offline EEVblog

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Re: Flir E4 Thermal imaging camera teardown
« Reply #1780 on: November 26, 2013, 10:15:07 am »
ISTR reading that the E8 comes with a spare battery and standalone charger - that may be the  cause of confusion.

My E8 came with a 2nd battery & USB charger stand, custom spots in the molded case.
 

Offline Psi

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Re: Flir E4 Thermal imaging camera teardown
« Reply #1781 on: November 26, 2013, 10:30:02 am »
It would be lol to see the E8 modded to an E4, just for kicks.
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Offline amyk

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Re: Flir E4 Thermal imaging camera teardown
« Reply #1782 on: November 26, 2013, 10:32:14 am »
Really, 320x240 is still only thumbnail resolution. Soon, thermal cameras will not only be sold as tools, but as toys -- 20 megapixel thermal cameras will be sold at Wal-Mart for a few hundred dollars. It might take a decade, but it will happen eventually.
For that to happen the companies would need to change the perception of one from being just a tool to a more consumer-oriented product, which I don't see as happening easily. With visible light cameras it's a lot more obvious why that happened - people like to take pictures (and video) of things as a complement to their memories, something they can easily identify with. But I doubt the general public would be as interested in taking thermal pictures and/or knowing the temperatures of things, because human eyes don't see into the infrared already (not to mention TIC pictures make people look odd and creepy.) The price of optics and sensors also has to come down a *lot* more than it is today, down to visible-light camera prices (example: 640x480 30FPS  modules for <$10), and in that case the companies would probably want to keep more of it as profit rather than lower their prices.
 

Offline Psi

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Re: Flir E4 Thermal imaging camera teardown
« Reply #1783 on: November 26, 2013, 10:52:19 am »
It could happen as just a side effect of the continued development into visible light camera sensors and optics.
If new optics and sensor development produces technology able to sense thermal as well as visible for example, then we could see all cameras able to do thermal imaging.

The lens would need to be transparent to both visible and thermal wavelenghts, but that might be possible with new meta-materials
« Last Edit: November 26, 2013, 10:54:04 am by Psi »
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Offline olsenn

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Re: Flir E4 Thermal imaging camera teardown
« Reply #1784 on: November 26, 2013, 11:00:02 am »
Quote
For that to happen the companies would need to change the perception of one from being just a tool to a more consumer-oriented product, which I don't see as happening easily. With visible light cameras it's a lot more obvious why that happened - people like to take pictures (and video) of things as a complement to their memories, something they can easily identify with. But I doubt the general public would be as interested in taking thermal pictures and/or knowing the temperatures of things, because human eyes don't see into the infrared already (not to mention TIC pictures make people look odd and creepy.) The price of optics and sensors also has to come down a *lot* more than it is today, down to visible-light camera prices (example: 640x480 30FPS  modules for <$10), and in that case the companies would probably want to keep more of it as profit rather than lower their prices.

For certain the prices will have to come down, but they already have been coming down quite drastically in the past few years. With healthy competition I am sure it will happen. As for it transitioning from a tool to a toy, perhaps you are right -- there's only a small group of artists who like the idea of thermal videos. However, even as a tool it would be something that most people would like to have in their homes. Measuring propane left in a tank, checking insulation, or a plathora of other uses. I still feel confident that in ten years or so, 640x480 TIC's will cost under $500
 

Offline Clint

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Re: Flir E4 Thermal imaging camera teardown
« Reply #1785 on: November 26, 2013, 11:07:05 am »
I am in the UK and am more than happy having paid £670 for my 320x240 camera :) - double the resolution for similar money wont be more than a couple of years away.

Have a look at my dogs cold paws leaving prints on my wooden floor.
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Online mikeselectricstuff

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Re: Flir E4 Thermal imaging camera teardown
« Reply #1786 on: November 26, 2013, 11:12:58 am »
It could happen as just a side effect of the continued development into visible light camera sensors and optics.
Unlikely - LWIR optics is all about the materials - the optics for typical TIC resolutions are trivial compared to current optical camera  perfoemance - I can't see any fusion of th etwo happenning anytime soon. 
 Automotive pedestrian safety market is what will drive costs down over the next few years. The E4 already incorporates developments from this - the sensor packaging and moulded lens, and as volumes increase, costs will come down. Probably only a few years before we'll see TICs in the tool sections of hardware stores.
 
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Offline schdiewen

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Re: Flir E4 Thermal imaging camera teardown
« Reply #1787 on: November 26, 2013, 11:40:31 am »
I noticed a spot on my lens, which I tried to clean with a Q-Tip soaked in some isopropyl alcohol and canned air. The spot is still there but now I have a small circular spot on my thermal images as well  :( It's quite hard to see after powering up the E4, but gets more prominent after some time. That circle is shown to be a little warmer than the surrounding environment, except when I point the camera to a hot surface, then it seems to be colder.

Since any dirt on the lens should be out of focus (?), did I somehow manage to move dust or oil droplets inside the housing to the sensor surface by blowing on the lens?

Probably not.  But there may have been a coating on the outside of the lens, and your cleaning removed a portion of it.

Just speculating.

That was my first thought as well, while I was really careful it might still be possible. But that spot is only about 10 or 15 pixels in diameter and I would expect a way more fuzzy look if it were caused by the lens. Maybe I find a way to rotate the lens a bit and see if the disturbance moves likewise.
On the other hand, the original spot, that made me try to clean it in the first place, is still there and doesn't show up in the images. It's near the border of the lens and possibly a defect in the coating as well.

Quote
I now contacted Conrad about that missing battery, since the web shop (by mistake?) promised that 2 batteries are included by the time I ordered. Now they corrected their article description, but I'm still waiting for an answer :D
ISTR reading that the E8 comes with a spare battery and standalone charger - that may be the  cause of confusion.

Probably, I remember one of the enclosed leaflets stated those accessories as being optional. I don't think Conrad will send me another battery, but since they listed 2 of them in their article description, I thought it might be worth asking and see how they respond. Maybe not at all, I send them my complaint on thursday and have not received a reply yet.
 

Online Fraser

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Re: Flir E4 Thermal imaging camera teardown
« Reply #1788 on: November 26, 2013, 12:47:53 pm »
Thermal camera lenses are particularly sensitive to damage by incorrect cleaning methods.

The coating on the lens directly effects the lenses performance and removal of such causes degradation of the image.

A Germanium lens should be cleaned with non solvent based fluids. I recommend the use of the standard eye glass cleaner that contains no IPA or solvents. Such cleaners are safe on plastic lenses and TIC lenses. IMHO you should not use the little packets of  lens tissue type glasses cleaners as these can be abrasive. Use a Microfibre cloth.

Manufacturers recommend that only an air duster is used to prevent scratching of the lens coating. I read of one poor chap who religiously wiped his lens with a lens cloth after each use to keep it clean. He wrote off a very expensive camera lens as a result ! Friction from regular rubbing of the lens with a cloth will cause damage to the coating. Try cleaning the lens very carefully with the spray on spectacles cleaner on a soft microfiber lens cloth. There may be a residue from your previous attempt causing the thermal effect that you are seeing.

Be aware that the Ex series uses a new(ish) lens manufacturing technology that is not pure Germanium. It is s a composite 'glass' that may be moulded to shape rather than diamond cut. I am not aware of this lenses vulnerabilities to IPA. I am sorry to say, you may have damaged your lens permanently. FLIR will repair it but sadly it will cost you as it is not a warranty failure. Contact your supplier in the first instance and then FLIR HQ if the supplier cannot assist.

For those unaware. It is not necessary to keep your lens completely dust free on this camera. You are unlikely to see any degradation in the image. Dust on the FPA detector is a very different matter though so take care if removing the lens from the camera at any time. The detectors window is also quite delicate and should only be cleaned with compressed air.
« Last Edit: November 26, 2013, 01:07:42 pm by Aurora »
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Online Fraser

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Re: Flir E4 Thermal imaging camera teardown
« Reply #1789 on: November 26, 2013, 01:01:13 pm »
PASS (UK) have stock

I have spoken with David at PASS (UK) today. They have stock of the E4 at the moment. Please contact David on his direct telephone or email address for more information.

For contact details please look at message 1109 on this page:

https://www.eevblog.com/forum/testgear/flir-e4-thermal-imaging-camera-teardown/msg328110/#msg328110

remember to tell David that you come from the EEVBlog forum and you may get a discount.

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Offline kayvee

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Re: Flir E4 Thermal imaging camera teardown
« Reply #1790 on: November 26, 2013, 01:08:32 pm »
You beat me to it, I was about post the same news!
 

Offline bernroth

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Re: Flir E4 Thermal imaging camera teardown
« Reply #1791 on: November 26, 2013, 01:13:40 pm »
Take a look on ebay, the Flir E4 cameras from a seller in Luxembourg have just arrived in stock with FW 1.19.8
Article ID 251384446334
 

Online Fraser

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Re: Flir E4 Thermal imaging camera teardown
« Reply #1792 on: November 26, 2013, 01:17:54 pm »
For those unaware, I have produced a separate thread titled

FLIR E4 - The useful information thread

You will find it here.

https://www.eevblog.com/forum/reviews/flir-e4-the-useful-information-thread/

The idea behind the thread is to pull the useful information about the E4 into one, easy to browse, location so that newbies do not need to trawl through the mixed topics of this long thread in order to locate specific information.

PLEASE do not enter specific details of any form of hacking or firmware modification into that thread as it is best that any such discussions occur in this thread, where they belong. I have already linked to this thread from the information repository. Please do likewise if there is a specific discussion that you think will be of interest to new arrivals.
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Offline Wann

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Re: Flir E4 Thermal imaging camera teardown
« Reply #1793 on: November 26, 2013, 02:28:00 pm »
Flir has a guide for lens cleaning:

http://flir.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/193

I don't know if the new E series is applicable though.
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Online Fraser

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Re: Flir E4 Thermal imaging camera teardown
« Reply #1794 on: November 26, 2013, 02:59:01 pm »
Also see this interesting article on why it is best to not use faceplate cleaning wipers on Thermal CCTV cameras....there isn't the need in most cases.

http://www.flir.com/uploadedfiles/Eurasia/MMC/Tech_Notes/TN_0004_EN.pdf
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Offline schdiewen

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Re: Flir E4 Thermal imaging camera teardown
« Reply #1795 on: November 26, 2013, 03:14:28 pm »
...
A Germanium lens should be cleaned with non solvent based fluids. I recommend the use of the standard eye glass cleaner that contains no IPA or solvents. Such cleaners are safe on plastic lenses and TIC lenses. IMHO you should not use the little packets of  lens tissue type glasses cleaners as these can be abrasive. Use a Microfibre cloth.
...

Thanks for this detailed information. I chose the cleaning procedure based on some generic recommendation I found throughout different product sheets of thermal cameras, including this guide:

Flir has a guide for lens cleaning:

http://flir.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/193

I don't know if the new E series is applicable though.

Since I had no idea, what stained my lens (I've never touched it or used it in dirty environment), my plan was to first time clean all possible residues and after that only use canned air at rare intervals to keep it clean. Now that sounds like a bad idea. I was aware that the lenses are fragile and thought to use appropriate caution. But maybe the lenses on the Ex are more picky than on older models due to their changed manufacturing process. Anyway, I don't think I get it repaired, because (1) it's a very small spot at the border of the image and (2) I don't want my firmware to be "upgraded" ;)

So i will investigate what happens when I turn the lens if I find a tool and some time. Or live with it, I'm just annoyed cause I know it's there and very likely wasn't before.

Just for interest's sake, is it possible to buy a replacement lens or will that also need recalibration? And how much would it cost?

Oh, and at least some good news on the other thing: Conrad decided to send me that "missing" battery, according to their now arrived reply to my inquiry. Might be good to know for other customers, who bought their E4 while the article page was bugged  :D
 

Offline olsenn

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Re: Flir E4 Thermal imaging camera teardown
« Reply #1796 on: November 26, 2013, 03:17:50 pm »
Is it possible to get a lens protector for the Ex-Series? Something that just sits in the cone shaped area before the lens?
 

Online Fraser

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Re: Flir E4 Thermal imaging camera teardown
« Reply #1797 on: November 26, 2013, 03:43:03 pm »
OLSENN,

There is not an official lens protector available for the Ex series but please read my posting on the E4 information repository:

message #2

https://www.eevblog.com/forum/reviews/flir-e4-the-useful-information-thread/

You can make your own cheaply and easily  ;)

The industrial thermal cameras have semi-permanent and disposable lens protector options. That is to say expensive and inexpensive types. The semi-permanent types use high quality materials such as germanium and other high transmission materials to avoid serious calibration errors. The cheaper disposable protectors use a very thin film to reduce through losses. The detailed shrink film material works very well when tested on my E4. For info, my TESTO branded germanium lens protector costs around US$400  :scared:

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=321244696874

« Last Edit: November 26, 2013, 03:54:21 pm by Aurora »
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Offline Bandrik

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Re: Flir E4 Thermal imaging camera teardown
« Reply #1798 on: November 26, 2013, 04:00:21 pm »
You can make your own cheaply and easily  ;)

If you don't mind, would you please go into a little more detail how you made and applied your Polyolefin protector? A photo would probably be the best help. I'm very interested in doing this, but I'm not quite sure what shape and size needs to be cut out, and where it would be best applied to the camera so that it stays in place and doesn't look terribly unattractive (if possible).

If you'd like, you could just append your post in the other thread with this info, which would probably help others quite a bit to have it all in one place.  :)
 

Online Fraser

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Re: Flir E4 Thermal imaging camera teardown
« Reply #1799 on: November 26, 2013, 04:15:13 pm »
I just stretched the film across the camera face and held it in place with a rubber band. It was a test and not a permanent solution. I have no need of such a protector on my E4 as the lens is well recessed and I am not working with dust, dirt or liquids at the moment  :)

The film may be applied to any frame of your choosing with nothing more than UHU, Bostick No.1  or any other decent hobby glue. To tighten the film (no truly necessary) you can warm it with a hair dryer and it will pull taught. The mounting frame could be made to sit inside the rubberised aperture of the camera reasonably easily as Mike showed in his videos for using close-up lenses.

I am afraid the exact solution will fall to your inventiveness. You could use Georges80 20mm lens holder design and have it printed as I have done.

My intended use of the material is very different ...... I will use the film as the lens window in an external weatherproof box for wildlife observation using one of my 320x240 BST Fire Brigade cameras  :)
« Last Edit: November 26, 2013, 04:17:02 pm by Aurora »
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