Products > Thermal Imaging

Infiray and their P2 Pro - discussion

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Fraser:
I thought a discussion of the recently released Infiray P2 Pro was warranted as it tells us something about Infiray as a company :)

The company

Infiray is a very interesting company as it is not just another “screwdriver” manufacturer of thermal imaging cameras. Infiray and the venerable IRAY are effectively one and the same as they belong to the same owner. IRAY manufacture uncooled microbolometers so their sister company, Infiray, effectively have an in-house source of one of the most important elements of a decent thermal imager…. The Microbolometer FPA. Such a close relationship helps to ensure an Infiray product that can deliver the best performance possible from the microbolometer. How ? well through better understanding of its capabilities and integration needs. I have seen “screwdriver” manufacturers truly mess up a thermal cameras performance through a lack of understanding of the microbolometers integration needs for decent imagery.

The products

Infiray produces a decent range of thermal imaging products to match the needs of a large array of end users. They produce both thermal imaging cores for OEM use and finished thermal imaging products for consumers. I have been monitoring the development of products by Infiray and had my first chance to test one of their cores a while ago. I must be honest and admit that I was not expecting much from the Infiray S0 core that I was testing as previous cores coming out of ASIA had exhibited mediocre image quality, with quite high image noise levels. I connected the Infiray S0 core to a Windows PC and awaited the thermal image produced by the windows Software……. After adjusting the focus I was presented with an image that impressed me. The resolution appeared adequate and the image noise levels were excellent when compared to other miniature cores that I had tested. I immediately liked the Infiray S0 core  :-+ It was the core that I had been waiting for in the marketplace…..compact, affordable and good image quality…. plus it offered 25fps frame rate ! My first thoughts were that both FLIR and Seek Thermal now had some serious competition to their Lepton and Mosaic cores. I actually considered the S0 to be a Lepton and Mosaic killer as it offered significant advantages over the USA sourced cores. Infiray had themselves a winner.

The S0 is a miniature thermal imaging core with great performance, but it was the size of a Seek Mosaic. The marketplace really needed an even smaller thermal imaging core for integration into all manner of modern devices, both civilian and military  ;) Think mobile phones and miniature drones. Infiray were clearly up for the challenge and released the Infiray Tiny1-x series of thermal imaging cores. Things were about to get a bit crazy ! This Tiny1-x core was tiny by name “Tiny One”  :-DD and by nature. It is an amazing feat of engineering, much like that of the FLIR Lepton, and it promises significant advantages over FLIR’s core. Not least of which are higher resolution and decent frame rate. Great for drone use ! The Tiny1 is like an S0 that has been slimmed down to make it a minimalist physical package. It’s small size should not be considered a sign of low performance however. It likely uses the same microbolometer die found in the S0 and has been mounted in a less bulky chassis. The Tiny1 is available in different formats to suit an OEM’s needs. The Tiny1-B is a rectangular PCB with the microbolometer and lens installed at one end. The Tiny1-C is a smaller footprint microbolometer and Lens PCB plus a separate processor PCB. This makes the Tiny1-C a more versatile format for compact deployments. It also has the potential to separate sources of localised heating from the sensitive microbolometer die. Seek Thermal did this with their Mosaic core to separate the microbolometer from the hotter processor components.

It will come as absolutely no surprise to hear that the technology developed for the Infiray S0 and Tiny1-x cores has been integrated into the finished thermal imaging camera products that Infiray offer to the marketplace. These finished products offer excellent value for money thermal imaging as a result. The Tiny1-x core technology is to be found in several hand held thermal imaging cameras that come to mind. Guide Sensmart have designed their own miniature thermal imaging cores and these have also found their way into the more budget orientated end of the handheld thermal imaging camera market. Not taking anything away from what Guide Sensmart have achieve with their TIMO series of cores, but the Infiray Tiny1-x is, in my opinion, a superior product.

The Infiray P2

So what has all of the above got to do with the Infiray P2 Pro mobile phone dongle thermal camera ? Well the last paragraph says it all really. Infiray created the diminutive Tiny1-x thermal imaging core and then included that technology in handheld thermal imaging products. The market for thermal imaging cameras includes those who wish to attach a compact module to their very capable modern mobile phones. We already have the FLIR One, Seek Thermal, Thermal Expert and several other dongle type cameras on the market but it has room to develop. Infiray wanted a piece of that “Dongle” market. The result was the Infiray T2L and it’s variants. That dongle is basically an S0 core in a dongle chassis and very capable it is too. In order to go smaller than the T2L, Infiray looked to their Tiny1-x core series. The Tiny1-x is fixed focus and more compact so it presented the opportunity to create a really small thermal imaging dongle…. And that is what Infiray did  :-+ The P2 is so compact that users would be excused for thinking it’s imagery would be poor due to size induced compromises. That is not the case however. Those who tested the P2 have been pleasantly surprised by its imaging capabilities. It looks like we had a new “darling” of the thermal imaging dongle marketplace to consider when buying a mobile phone dongle thermal camera  :-+

Now remember that I said the Tiny1-x series are fixed focus. ….. well the focus can be adjusted but not when the core is secured inside a dust tight casing as found with the Infiray P2. I was pleasantly surprised to see the P2 used a large lens protection window in front of the imaging core. It would have been cheaper for Infiray to use a much smaller protection window, as found on the FLIR One series or even no protection window, as we see on many Seek Thermal Mosaic core deployments. Infiray chose to protect the core but that removed access to the cores focus mechanism. Some users desired a closer focus capability than can be easily achieved with a fixed focus camera system. Whilst the P2 may be capable of decent focus at quite short distances, it was not really designed for PCB analysis duties without some help from a close-up lens. The use of ZnSe close-up lenses on thermal cameras is well known and understood on this forum. It has normally been a case of an end user creating their own solution using commonly available CO2 laser ZnSe focussing lenses though. These laser focus lenses are not optimised for such duties, but they do work well. It is not common to see a camera manufacturer offering an add-on close focus lens for consumer grade products. They are offered for some professional grade Industrial cameras, but at horrendous cost ! Infiray have addressed this situation with their new "baby".....

The Infiray P2 PRO

It is time to introduce the latest offering from Infiray…… the P2 Pro. There has been some “chatter” about this new release from Infiray on this forum and I hope to test this camera in the near future. It offers some interesting advantages over the standard P2 model. The P2 Pro is capable of temperature measurement up to 550 Celsius whereas the P2 was limited to 170 Celsius. This will appeal to those wishing to image the high temperatures found on power electronics or during reflow/soldering operations. The increase in maximum temperature measurement capability is a welcome improvement to the standard P2 specification. That said, 170 Celsius is more than enough for many users of this technology ! Now the interesting bit……… Infiray appear to be a company that monitors users activities in thermal imaging and have chosen to ‘tune’ one of their products to better match the needs of a certain group of users …. namely those of us who use thermal imaging in electronics inspection and analysis. Infiray created a novel add-on close-up lens for the P2 camera series. I was pleasantly surprised to see the very nicely designed close up lens that neatly mounts onto the relatively flat front of the P2 casing using magnets. For me, it was as great to see Infiray deciding to create such a niche, but very useful option for their camera. I strongly suspect that the infiray close-up lens will have better optical performance than the ZnSe laser focus lenses that we often use. This definitely gets a  :-+ :-+ from me.

Reviews of this new P2 Pro model ?

The P2 Pro will soon be tested and reviewed by end users so we can expect to see the new models enhanced capabilities being shown on forums, such as this, and Youtube channels, such as Mike’s. I think we are in for a treat  :-+ Such a compact camera format lends itself to all manner of deployments. It does not have to be mounted directly on a mobile phone, it can be used with a long USB cable to increase versatility. Mounting on a microscope stand for PCB analysis work would be simple  :-+ I own large Android tablets that will happily interface the Infiray P2 Pro so that offers me large screen PCB thermal analysis  :) I suspect Windows PC’s might also be an option for a Host in the future as I was able to use my S0 core based camera with a bespoke Windows 10 thermal analysis program. Infiray may already offer a Windows SDK for their Tiny1-x cores so that might be a path that members of this forum will explore.

I can see all manner of 3D printable mounting accessories being created for the diminutive P2/P2 PRO  :-+ 

Well I have written enough for now. I see the Infiray S0 and Tiny1-x based products being a minor revolution in future thermal imaging. You get a lot of bang for your Buck !

Fraser

Fraser:
Continuing the discussion of the Infiray P2 and P2 Pro…..

If you had such a compact thermal imaging device, what would you use it for ?

Uses that come to mind, in no particular order, are :

1. Home heating surveys of your home to seal air leaks and improve insulation in these times of increased fuel costs.
2. Wildlife and pet observation (I cannot resist thermal imaging my cats  ;D )
3  PCB thermal analysis for electronics design and repair
4. Thermal analysis of a PC to check for hot spots due to poor air movement within the casing
5. Artistic photography … this camera is so small that it will not attract attention when out and about in public.
6. Automotive maintenance …. searching for faults that present a particular thermal signature. Such as warm fuses due to overload or unexpected current draw when a circuit is supposed to be unpowered.
7. Thermography experiments to learn more about thermal imaging and what can effect measurements.
8. Electric Solar panel inspection to check for poor connections or failing PV modules.
9. Monitoring the temperature of batteries as they are fast charged, looking for cell anomalies.
10. Monitoring the temperature of a PCB during a reflow operation.
11. Thermal astronomy ? Much would depend upon the availability of a suitable LWIR capable telescope.
12. Checking brake disk temperatures on a car to assess braking performance and potentially seized callipers.
13. Science experiments to teach children/adults about thermal energy
14. Veterinary care - observation of inflamed tissue with elevated temperatures
15. Potential Search and Rescue (SAR) operations (within the capabilities of the camera and lens system)
16. Thermal Bore-scope for inspecting inaccessible areas
17. Monitoring the input and output ports of house radiators to check central heating system balance etc.
18. Checking the thermal output of equipment that is in stand-by to see which are drawing significant power when “off”
19. Checking soldering iron barrel (oxidised) temperature (a thermocouple at the tip is better though)
20. Experiments with resistor wattages vs surface temperature and heat sink effectiveness in electronics
21. In a modified form…. Intruder detection using webcam motion detection software
22. Passive night vision using thermal signatures rather than traditional starlight or active IR illumination plus a night sight.
23. Plumbing - pipe blockage detection & location. Leaking underfloor heating water pipe detection and location.
24. Electric under floor heating inspection
25. Blood circulation checks on human limbs ( knowledge of techniques required). Cold “digits” may indicate circulatory issues in some circumstances, such as Raynaud’s Disease.
26. Illicit use of houses or rooms for growing unusual plant crops under artificial lighting and heating ;) Local privacy laws apply !
27. Creating a thermal microscope, with a supplemental lens, for biology examination. For example plant thermal distribution whilst growing or Insect wing muscle thermal profiling. Basically examining “bugs” in the thermal domain  ;D
28. FUN ! Use it for whatever makes you happy  :-+

Any other suggestions ?

tomasis:
good review. Pro2 is very interesting. I saw that P2 dropped in price, but the temperature limit is a bit low.

What degree limit do you need for electronics error searching?

Fraser:
Next….. mounting options  :-+

The P2 and P2 Pro are designed to plug into a mobile phone but such a deployment is not always the best for the task at hand. Some thoughts on alternative mounting options…….

1. A bracket holding the P2 camera to the rear of the mobile phone with a short umbilical cable for the data link
2. A combined “pistol grip” and bracket holding the P2 camera to the rear of the mobile phone with a short umbilical cable for the data link
3. A GoPro compatible mount to permit use of the many GoPro mounting options. A USB umbilical cable can separate camera from Phone/tablet
4. An articulated arm + P2 holder for bench working hands free. A USB umbilical cable can separate camera from phone/tablet.
5. A microscope type mount and holder for bench working hands free. A USB umbilical cable can separate camera from Phone/tablet
6. The combination of a small handheld holder and long USB umbilical cable to permit use of the camera in confined spaces separate from the bulky phone it tablet.
7. A holder that incorporates a standard tripod 1/4” x 20Tpi thread for use of photographic mounting options. A USB umbilical cable can separate camera from Phone/tablet
8. A protective casing for camera use in harsh environments. A thin Germanium window may be incorporated into the design.
9. A mount and lens adapter that permits supplemental lens use for thermal microscopy using reversed thermal camera lenses. (Specialist use)
10. A pole mount plus long USB umbilical cable to separate the camera from Phone/tablet. This enables use at heights for building inspection use.
11. Drone aircraft mounts (specialist use requiring a suitable Android host system)
12. Larger casing format, like a compact camera design, to make hand holding easier. A USB umbilical cable can separate camera from Phone/tablet or the phone can mount on the rear of the larger camera casing. Much like the FOTRIC 200 series cameras.

Many/all of these mounting options may be produced via 3D printing. There are already clip on adapters for the P2 in the public domain. Some of these clip on case designs could be adapter for different applications.

https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:5420751

https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:5482343

https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:5339383


Any more ideas for mounting options ?

Fraser:
Tomasis,

For general electronics I would say 120 Celsius is adequate. Anything getting hotter than that had better be designed to cope with high temperatures or it is going to degrade quickly. Many IC’s state 70C maximum long term operating temperature. Ceramic power resistors can operate at high temperatures of ~350C but how often will you come across those in daily life? In such a case, an electrically insulated thermocouple would likely solve the measurement challenge if the thermal camera could not.

Have a look at my suggested uses and see how many would likely see temperatures exceeding 120C. The P2 offers 170C which is good and the P2 Pro has the advantage of the low sensitivity mode providing measurement as high as you are ever likely to need at 550C maximum.

Fraser

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