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PCB Thermal analysis on a budget, can't decide....

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JM1010:
In a moment of festivities euphoria I almost pressed the button to buy the dedicated CA-10 unit but I came back to my senses : if a unit at half the price can do a decent job of identifying small shorted components maybe I should consider a lower priced unit and eventually upgrade if volume or other considerations warrant it.

So back to the drawing board.... At a $325 price point, both Infiray C210 and the T2L seem like capable units of getting the job done. While they cost the same, the T2L is only a dongle and need to be connected to a smartphone. If the results were pretty much a wash  it would make no sense going with the T2L as the C210 is a complete solution with screen, battery etc.

So how big of a compromise is the C210? I understand that it does not have manual focus but can a macro lens (I believe the 20mm / 50 is the recommended one) turn it into a comparably capable solution to identify shorts in small components such as 0201 capacitors?

CHOOSING BETWEEN THE C210 AND T2L

If the C210 with an "optimal" macro lens can do the job, then that seems to be the best choice for me.

If the T2L is APPRECIABLY better (much clearer definition at close range) then that becomes the best option at that price point.

Fraser and everyone, do we have a clear winner at this price point for PCB analysis or can they both do the job with acceptable clarity?

Could someone also confirm the optimal macro lens to allow closest placement above the board with the C210.

Thanks in advance.

Fraser:
As I do not own the cameras that you are considering and use a CA10 for PCB work now, I cannot provide useful comment so will leave that to others on the forum.

Fraser

JM1010:
Fraser it's the first time I see you without an opinion  :scared:

I'm sure you can give me your best "educated guess":

 1) Can both these units have the potential to identify small shorted components on PCBs?

 2) In the context of PCB repair (very close range imaging), does the manual focus provides a HUGE advantage or can we achieve pretty much the same thing by adding a macro lens.

Without getting into an actual image comparison of these models, based on what we know of their respective specs can we arrive at a likely correct answer?

Fraser:
The reason for my caution is that I have not tested the cameras that you are comparing. There are owners of those cameras on this forum who can provide a well informed view on their suitability for PCB work.

The T2L contains a decent imaging core called the Infiray S0. This will provide good PCB imagery but, as you say, it needs a host. The Infiray C210 likely contains the cheaper Infiray Tiny1 core, hence the price. The Tiny1 core may provide good imaging and I suspect it is to be found in the Uni-T UT260B, which provides good PCB images, BUT it has not been confirmed which core is in the C210 or UT260B.

If pushed for comment, I would expect the UT260B and C210 to produce useful imagery of modern small sized SMT components if used in the close-up scenario of 50mm or less. The use of a 20mm diameter 50mm FL ZnSe lens is likely needed for such imaging. The image will be in best focus at around 50mm distance and, unlike the T2L, you will not be able to choose your operating distance and then set the focus to optimum. In many scenarios the fixed focus lens system with supplemental ZnSe lens will work well.

I personally prefer complete camera systems that do not rely on a particular host hardware or software for operation. Android is a dynamic OS and future versions may prove troublesome to the camera software or the application could become obsolete. With a complete camera you have a working camera for as long as the electronics last. My exception to this ‘rule’ are thermal cameras that are specialist in nature and benefit greatly from using a host computer, such as in the case of the CA10. The computing power of a PC is used to provide the image analysis capability on a large screen. PC software is somewhat different to Mobile Phone Apps as I can easily choose which one I am running on the host to maintain compatibility for many years to come.

Fraser

Fraser:
With regard to the closest positioning to the PCB of the C210. There are two standard ZnSe lenses that suit the task. The 50mm FL and the 25mm FL. Both are inexpensive as they are used in CO2 laser engravers, so common. At 25mm you will see tiny components but be aware that things like Heatsinks can get in the way at that close distance.

Fraser

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