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Fluke VT02 thermal camera /visual thermometer teardown

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For thermal camera fans I offer my latest purchase, a VT02 prototype, torn down for your enjoyment and information.

An interesting purchase for me in that I had never seen the original IRISYS visual thermometer in the public domain. I bought a pair  :)  The Fluke VT02 was designed and built by IRISYS in Northampton, UK. It uses one of their in-house fabricated ceramic pyro-electric detector. More on that later.

As some may know, FLUKE recently purchased IRISYS to obtain their knowledge of thermal imaging and other associated specialisms such as detector fabrication.

The units arrived today and I have no history on them so after an initial test (they both work fine) I opened one up for inspection. I already suspected that they might be prototypes and |Mike was of a similar opinion when I mentioned them to him.

As you will see in the pictures that I am providing, the unit is well built and does not look to be an early prototype with many modifications and bodge wires. I did note that the trigger switch has been shifted off of its originally designed PCB pad location so this may be a bit of fine tuning of the design. Also of interest are the laminated labels on the PCB's These ID the camera as 'B16' Beta #16 ? The cameras do not have any serial numbers or consumer type ID labels. I am of the view that these units were never intended for sale to the public and were likely produced for UAT or final design testing.

The units do have evidence of having been in contact with moisture as the memory cell has rust on it ! I would not be at all surprised if these units were recovered from a Skip after FLUKE bought IRISYS (I am told they had a big clear-out)

As can be seen in the pictures of the uncooled pyro-electric detector, there are finger prints all over it ! I am pleased to report that these were easily removed with a microfibre cloth dampened with IPA.

The IR lens is a single element type made of chalcogenide glass and not an expensive Germanium type. Chalcogenide glass lenses are becoming very common in lower priced thermal camera applications. The lens may be adjusted via its large course threaded mount. The visible light camera is a typical 'pill' type as found in mobile phones. The design is clever in that the IR lens and visible light camera are mounted on a single assembly to make alignment easier

A shutter wheel is required when using a pyro-electric detector array as change in the image must be induced to create an image. The shutter wheel in the VT02 is a very simple affair, simpler than that found in BST based thermal cameras. The detector is a staring array and no other 'scanning' is present. Some thought the motor noise that they could hear was a scanning assembly as found in early single element detector thermal cameras such as the Agema Thermovision 880. I can now confirm that this is not the case.

The pyro-electric detector is as yet unidentified but MAY be the 31x31 pixel IRISYS RedEye-6A (it has '6A' on its rear  ;). The Dewalt DCT416 (15x15 pixel) camera uses the 31x31 pixel Redeye-6A. I have noted that there is a Link with A & B positions on one of its pins. No idea what the link does yet but as the VT04 offers twice the resolution (30x30 vs the VT02 15x15 pixels) I am wondering if the link has any influence on the thermal resolution ;) Knowing my luck, likely not but you never know  :)

The Redeye-6A may be seen here:

The report found below also infers that the VT02 contains the Redeye-6A

This would explain how the VT04 can achieve twice the thermal resolution of the VT02.

As my units are likely prototypes of the series, they MAY be able to operate in the VT04 guise  :-//

So all in all an interesting little pair of units to play with  :)

Pictures continued

Pictures continued

Some additional information on the unit that I dismantled.....

The plastic case and components are well formed and look to be final versions. The two halves of the case have different moulding dates. One is 01/12 and the other is 06/12. There is the possibility that if these units were being dismantled and rebuilt during testing, that the case halves got mixed up and so caused the date disparity.

Definitely a design from early 2012 though.

I'm guessing with the low processing requirements all the thermal imager compensation is done in the MCU, which is fairly basic/low end (Cortex M3, 120MHz, no hard FPU or DSP capabilities.)


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