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Author Topic: Guide PC210 Review  (Read 3768 times)

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Online markb1980

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Guide PC210 Review
« on: August 09, 2022, 06:40:21 pm »
Hello,

I have seen here a few informations about the PC210 from GuideIR but not a full review... So I decided to write one.

Let's have a look on the specs:

  • 256x192 Pixels resolution (plenty for the price)
  • Field of view: 56° x 48° (very wide - so great for indoor building thermography but not ideal for PCB work)
  • Minimum object distance: 0.3m
  • NETD: 45mK (really great compared to leading brands like Flir, Fluke or Testo but standard in many chineese brands)
  • Infrared frame rate: 25Hz (really great compared to leading brands like Flir, Fluke or Testo but standard in many chineese brands)
  • Focus-free
  • The camera has a mechanical shutter (this let the camera freeze 1 or 2 times per minute for a moment while doing the NUC)
  • Allows thermal video when connected to a PC
  • Price: 340 EUR + VAT (very affordable)
(for all details see: https://www.guideir.com/products/thermographys-tools/pc/data_23.html)

The first things that strike me is the build quality - the IR camera feels well build. The camera-body is rubberized and the camera feels good in the hand. I am pretty sure you can handle the tool also well while wearing gloves!

I love that the camera offers a dayligth-camera as well as a flashlight an a laser pointer. I have not seen that on this price-range. But this features we will discuss in greater detail later on...

Next positive thing is the very fast bootup-time. I know the InfiRay C210 and the Hikmicro Pocket2 - both need much longer to be ready.

After booting up the image-quality looks impressive. The images are very crisp and the iron-palette is very vibrant and gives a great contrast:



Next thing I tested was the close-up capability with and without a 50.8mm ZnSe lens:

without ZnSe lenswith ZnSe lens

The ZnSe lens and the holder are not included in the package abut you can buy them from some websites or simply 3D-print your own... For PSC-work the FOV is very wide. I would rather go with a narrower FOV for that. In this case the PC230 would be the better option. As I have a Pocket2 which I prefer for that kind of work because of the touchscreen and the smaller weight which allow me to use it on a goose-neck. I have bought the PC210 for it's wider FOV to use it for indoor thermography!

The camera offers 4 imaging modes - thermal only, visual only, PIP and MIF (Multi Image Fusion - which is very similiar to MSX from Flir)

Thermal onlyMIF

The camera offers for thermal imaging 2 ranges: -20°C till 150°C and 100°C till 550°C. When using the wrong range you will get a clear warning:



This is the same behavior as the Pocket2. The InfiRay C210 which I had borrowed to test it for my book was not that polite and just displayed 176°C which is a very bad thing in my opinion as you could easiely mistake the 176°C for a correct reading... So I am very glad the PC210 does give a propper warning!

The selection of palettes is OK but there could be a few more. The menu-system is very streight forward. The language-options are chineese and english, which should be no problem for the most of us.

The analysis-software is solid and allows to generate reports if that's a important to someone. I would rate it worster then Hikmicro but better then Infiray... (see the comments below)

The runtime of the rechargeable battery is very good. The half charged camera lasted the whole afternoon till now (20:26 or 8:26pm in my timezone) testing and playing arround.

The bad and the guly:

After so much positive points let's come to the nagtive ones...

First on my list is the video recording. If you switch the USB-mode in the menu to "Presentation" the PC210 will start to act as a webcam. So I tryed to capture the video-feed with the windows camera-tool but the video was upside down and mirrored also. OK - so I tested VLC and the image was distorted and the feed was very laggy. I asked the support and I got the answer I should test PotPlayer.

Ok with that programm I could get the video-feed running and I could record video im MKV format. There is no radiometric data in the video but that is nothing you would find at this price-point. Radiometric videos would be even hard to find for 10x the price of a PC210. So video recording works but it feels like this feature is still in beta-state.

It would be great if I could use it with the windows tool instead of using some other software. The analysis-software has a video-feature as well but I could not connect to the PC210. That would be also a better option. I guess it would not be that much work to add option to the Guide-software to read the webcam video-feed of a PC210!

The camera does a decent job setting the level and span (better then the Pocket2 but the Pocket2 has one-touch Level and Span and a manual setting also). I did the good old test with a pot of hot water:

Auto-Level and Auto-SpanManually set to 60-80°C

You can see a reasoable amount of contrast in the water (this is a nice example of convection by the way) but after finetuning the Level and Span to the temperatures in the water in the analysis-software the whole pattern is much better visible. So manual Level and Span is a really handy feature and for me a must have! So I am really glad the support told me how to find it - I would really wish someone would have spend the time to write a longer manual for the camera which show how to access and use all features...

As you see after editing the images loose their overlay data and they shrink in size. That makes the analysis-software a bit worster then the software from Hikmicro. But not many users of cameras in this price-range will need a tool to write reports. This would more hurt the users of higher end cameras.

The flashlight is not ideal as it works - see next post.

Guide please fix that in the next firmware update. This behaviour is great for the laser but it is carp for the flashlight-LED. Activate the laser when pulling the trigger but switch the LED on when I activate it in the menu. Please!

I will come to conculsions after using the camera for a while longer and I will keep you updated if some other things come up...
« Last Edit: August 11, 2022, 10:12:53 am by markb1980 »
Pentester, Digital forensics examiner, Data recovery technitian, Author for various books
 
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Online markb1980

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Re: Guide PC210 Review
« Reply #1 on: August 10, 2022, 07:33:31 am »
I found out that the flashlight comes on fast enough to illuminate scene for the daylight camera if you press the trigger guite fast...  |O

I guess this can be a very easy fix in firmware. When I activate the flash-light option in the menu the LED stay off. Is get just activated when I pull the trigger. That is inconvinient as I would have to hold the trigger always to use the camera as a torch or I need to have a real torch in the other hand... I would wish there are 3 options for the flashlight - off, activated by trigger and always on.

When I press the trigger slowly the flashlight comes on a fraction of a second to late so that it basically did nothing for the daylight-camera. So slow and steady triggering will not work but faster pressing will.   This make the feature useable somehow but still far from ideal. I don't like to press the trigger very fast to avoid camera shake. A slow and steady press of the trigger will often result in sharper images.

This is with a 25Hz camera not that critical as with a 9Hz one but still I would rather go slow and steady.

But I have also more great news - the camera does support manual Level & Span. If you hold the Menu-button pressed for aprox. 3 seconds you get another menu...

Manual Level and Span

After long pressing the Menu-button a big letter appears in the left upper corner of the display:

Automatic Level & SpanManual Level & SpanManual Span & Auto Level

The way to set the manual Level and Span is a bit unconventional. You can shift both values up or down with the +/+ and -/- button. With the -/+ and +/- buttons you can shift the values further appart or closer to each other. This looks confusing on the first glance but after using it 2 or 3 times you get used to the way it works.

I am really glad this option is there - this make the camera in my opinion a much better deal then a InfiRay C200/C210, UniT UT260B, ...

 
« Last Edit: August 11, 2022, 07:49:40 am by markb1980 »
Pentester, Digital forensics examiner, Data recovery technitian, Author for various books
 

Offline BmaxTom

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Re: Guide PC210 Review
« Reply #2 on: August 11, 2022, 06:04:26 pm »
The manual mode only works properly from firmware version V1.3.6.20220520.

https://eleshop.eu/guide-ir-pc210-thermal-imaging-camera.html
 
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Online markb1980

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Re: Guide PC210 Review
« Reply #3 on: August 11, 2022, 06:18:29 pm »
Thanks for the info but I had no issue before the update.
What was the problem?

Pentester, Digital forensics examiner, Data recovery technitian, Author for various books
 

Offline BmaxTom

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Re: Guide PC210 Review
« Reply #4 on: August 11, 2022, 06:33:46 pm »
 

Online markb1980

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Re: Guide PC210 Review
« Reply #5 on: August 11, 2022, 07:15:46 pm »
OK I did not recall that issue but maybe I have overlooked it as it was guite close. Not when I check my images displaying the feature you are right - the image does not match...
« Last Edit: August 11, 2022, 07:19:35 pm by markb1980 »
Pentester, Digital forensics examiner, Data recovery technitian, Author for various books
 

Offline Shadar

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Re: Guide PC210 Review
« Reply #6 on: August 22, 2022, 09:28:56 am »
Hi guys. I don’t know whether it may be of interest to anyone but there is a big sale going on on AliExpress atm. It will last for a couple of days. If you combine the sale and 12% discount code from hotukdeals you can get the  imager with a very significant discount. I just ordered mine for £247. There may be VAT charges on import on the UK side when the item arrives but even then it should stay below £300.

£275.00  36% Off | Guide PC210 Thermal imaging camera Thermal imager infrared camera Digital thermometer Night vision Infrared thermometer
https://a.aliexpress.com/_mPCyCg8
 

Offline jweaver

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Re: Guide PC210 Review
« Reply #7 on: August 23, 2022, 09:53:36 pm »
Or even better this one

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/1005004183056641.html?spm=a2g0o.order_list.0.0.64d91802YYg0A7

I paid £258 for mine a few weeks back and it was delivered today, but I see its £238 now with free shipping.. And if the HotUKDeals voucher works (I didn't know about this when I ordered) it would take it down to £210..
 

Offline Liam G

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Re: Guide PC210 Review
« Reply #8 on: August 28, 2022, 02:27:58 pm »
Hi,

Fellow PC210 owner here  :) - Thanks to markb1980 for the info/review. You make mention of a 50.8mm ZnSe lens - is this the focal-length you would recommend for this camera, for pcb viewing? Also, can you recommend a cheap/reliable supplier of such macro lenses? I only need the round lens because I can easily make an adapter/bracket myself.

Thanks.

 

Offline jweaver

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Re: Guide PC210 Review
« Reply #9 on: August 28, 2022, 02:44:57 pm »
I ordered my lens from eBay for £12 here

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/175179859366?var=474381676952..

 I have 3D printed the mount and am now waiting on the lens.. Depending on how I get on with it, I might buy the 101.6mm which is slightly more expensive at £13.19

 

Offline Liam G

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Re: Guide PC210 Review
« Reply #10 on: August 28, 2022, 04:31:27 pm »
. . . I have 3D printed the mount and am now waiting on the lens.. Depending on how I get on with it, I might buy the 101.6mm which is slightly more expensive . . .

Thanks. Do you know if there is any difference between IR Cam macro lenses and the ones made for CO2 Laser Engraver Cutting Machines? Are they made to the same standard?
 

Offline jweaver

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Re: Guide PC210 Review
« Reply #11 on: August 29, 2022, 01:37:36 pm »
I literally have no idea.. But I assume that for our application the quality is less important as we are only resolving a relatively low resolution.. So I figured the cheapest was best.. But I could be wrong.
 

Offline BmaxTom

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Re: Guide PC210 Review
« Reply #12 on: August 30, 2022, 06:17:28 pm »
The pictures are made with the cheap lenses for CO2 Laser Engraver and Cutting Machines

https://www.eevblog.com/forum/thermal-imaging/what-macro-lens-for-the-guideir-pc210/msg4367173/#msg4367173
 

Offline jweaver

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Re: Guide PC210 Review
« Reply #13 on: August 30, 2022, 08:04:13 pm »
Has anyone worked out what the "Distance" setting does? I assumed it was paralax correction between the IR and Visible cameras, but changing it appears to do nothing..

And on the same subject, what about the "ReflMeasure" setting.. At default its 23 degrees, but I have changed it and can't work out what it does.

Anyone got a clue?

Jon
 

Offline Shadar

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Re: Guide PC210 Review
« Reply #14 on: September 02, 2022, 04:07:15 pm »
Or even better this one

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/1005004183056641.html?spm=a2g0o.order_list.0.0.64d91802YYg0A7

I paid £258 for mine a few weeks back and it was delivered today, but I see its £238 now with free shipping.. And if the HotUKDeals voucher works (I didn't know about this when I ordered) it would take it down to £210..

Good find! Hope mine will arrive soon :)
 

Offline wmattias

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Re: Guide PC210 Review
« Reply #15 on: September 07, 2022, 12:14:49 pm »
Where did you find the STL/CAD files for the mount?
 

Offline BmaxTom

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Re: Guide PC210 Review
« Reply #16 on: September 07, 2022, 04:00:30 pm »
 


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