Author Topic: Choosing 1st "thermal camera" / is flir 1g3 a right way?  (Read 867 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline nikitasius

  • Contributor
  • Posts: 17
  • Country: fr
Choosing 1st "thermal camera" / is flir 1g3 a right way?
« on: July 27, 2020, 08:57:15 pm »
Hi folks, i'm new here and new with a thermal imaging too.
As i see, the stuff we call a "thermal caméra" is a bit complex:
• thermal imagers "to see", devices which gives us a thermal image w/o good sensivity and/or correct temperature values, usualy ≥9Hz (Seek 15Hz, Thermapp with 25Hz etc) and hunting stuff. Nice for contrast scenes with nice resolution.
• thermal imagers "to measure", devices with a good sensivity and good image processing, FPS between 9 and more (Fluke 50Hz, Flir 60Hz etc).

More money we invest, more cool stuff we get :) .

I'm looking for a device to measure and to "search". I'm planning to spend minimum money, i'm friendly with soldering (but don't want to spend my time repairing something cheap or to risk to fail with something expensive), so i'm gonna buy a brand new one. I'm under Debian and Android.

I don't need to look far away, i want to look close, 1-4 meters are enough.
I always can come closer, so no need to have more pixels than 160x120 and more €/£/$ to spend for.
I'd like to have correct measured values when i measure too.
I'd like to have kind of PiP/MSX-like to be able recognize "what it was?", but if camera shoot raw+JPEG thats fine too, but less handy on lowres sensor during a live inspection.
I don't need 25Hz or even 15Hz, due there are no moving parts: i want to look for thermal isolation, water leakage in my appt sometimes, check some old laptops and sometimes my car's engine. So low temperature range is fine for me (upto 120°C).

Due those devices made for 7-14um waves, guess best for me to look for ≥14um pixels.

I've seen a nice review on YouTube (but pretty old, in 3 parts about thermal imagers by mjlorton) where he explained which thermal imager can perfectly fit your needs. I've seen HTi reviews, Flir, Seek, even Fluke and Thermapp. I've read about "100 bucks camera" or lepton based stuff. I've read plenty articles here too (this is a great resource).

And finally what i can say:
• Seek (compact) is good when you cooling them to 20°C, but they have awful image processing, each 15th pixel dead and flipping often shutter annoying. From the reviews on the web noise is high and measured data is often wrong (black body test), but it have 14um pixels and nice resolution (what remains..). From this forum i found that Seek are sensible to power supply.
• Flir (1G2) have avg sensivity, 12um pixels and the 160x120 résolution. It did perfect test measures with a blackbody.
• HTi using Seek modules, so have same problems, but regarding some reviews they can have 4% dead pixels (if measured well), for HT-201, tested. Instead of 0.5%.
• Fluke, Bosch, i3system etc - just out of the budget and my plans.

In France Flir 1G3 cost 242€, 1G3 PRO LT 330€ and for 1G3 they are asking 440€.
Seek compact 290€, XR for 340€ and 480€ for pro.
HTi and i3s/xinfrared i can find on Aliexpress.

Standalone or with phone doesn't matter, but phone accessories are cheaper and handy and, guess, the best for a 1st steps, so i dont want to fall down.
I know, what ± best are Flir Exx (e30/40/etc) and they can be upgraded (=hacked), but they are for PRO usage.

Actually most useful what i fond for is Flir one gen3.
PRO version too much expensive for "low res" (160x120), silicon lenses and poor battery life. Better to invest x3 and buy used pro-Flir.
ONE (simple) looks restricted in the app, guess this way Flir want to say "wanna features in the app - but better one".
PRO LT looks similar to ONE simple, but in the app you have all features as for PRO and cost +100€ more then the simple one.

ONE and PRO LT have same resolution, 80x60, same 17um pixels, while PRO have 160x120 and 12um pixels. On photos they have the same batteries, so probably 160x120@12um will drain more than 80x60@17um (include processing).
Internet say what PRO based on Lepton 3. But what used in ONE and PRO LT i did not found, it can be old 2.0 or new 2.5.

If i told something wrong, please correct me and show me the way.

I'd like to know if Flir 1g3 is a good choise. Which difference between PRO LT and ONE? If they are based on same lepton version, why they have a different sensivity? Can we run full Flir app with "simple" ONE (modded version)? And if we can use Flir One/PRO LT and keep it plugged to powerbank same time?

Syntax errors and typos i tried to correct, but my english isn't good :)
 

Offline IwuzBornanerd

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 270
  • Country: us
Re: Choosing 1st "thermal camera" / is flir 1g3 a right way?
« Reply #1 on: July 28, 2020, 09:03:13 am »
For what it's worth, it appears that the latest Seek Compact "dongles" do NOT have the every-15th "patent pixels" set to zero.  @gtizz2 has posted raw pixel data from a new XR and it does not have the "patent pixels".  Sadly though, his particular camera partially makes up for that by having 1110 dead pixels scattered around the image plane including a complete row of zeros at the bottom and a near complete column near the right edge, as you can see in the attached image.  In a sense this is better than the 2142 patent pixels, but still seems bad.

[attach=1]

By contrast, both of my Pro units have no dead pixels (or at least none stuck at 0) and the 3 non pro units only have a few dead pixels in addition to the patent pixels.
I am not opposed to exercise, unless it is an exercise in futility.
 
The following users thanked this post: nikitasius

Offline nikitasius

  • Contributor
  • Posts: 17
  • Country: fr
Re: Choosing 1st "thermal camera" / is flir 1g3 a right way?
« Reply #2 on: July 28, 2020, 11:33:25 am »
IwuzBornanerd ,
Thank you for the information 👍🏻👍🏻
 

Online Fraser

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 9745
  • Country: gb
Re: Choosing 1st "thermal camera" / is flir 1g3 a right way?
« Reply #3 on: July 28, 2020, 11:37:43 am »
I remember Seek Thermal saying that the ‘Patent Pixels’ issue would be resolved in the next generation of microbolometer that they were actively developing. I think it fair to say that the very first Seek Thermal Dongle that I bought was less than great and was a ‘work in progress’ on the development front. I suspect that the later versions use an improved microbolometer.

The whole Patent Pixels thing revolves around a squabble between FLIR and the CEO of Seek Thermal who had been part of Indigo when FLIR bought it. It was a ‘use of Indigo knowledge’ issue but it was clear that Seek Thermal were going to circumvent the Patent issue as the Seek staff were the ones involved in the design of the microbolometer anyway  ;D

Fraser
« Last Edit: July 28, 2020, 03:40:30 pm by Fraser »
 
The following users thanked this post: nikitasius

Online Fraser

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 9745
  • Country: gb
Re: Choosing 1st "thermal camera" / is flir 1g3 a right way?
« Reply #4 on: July 28, 2020, 12:09:59 pm »
For the OP.......

I am a great believer in the quality of FLIR thermal imaging cameras but that comes from using their Professional  Industrial products that were well designed, reliable and produced great images. I am disappointed by some of the consumer grade products that FLIR produce. The Ex and Exx series cameras are very nice. Anything based on a Lepton, is best described as ‘budget’ so built down to a cost and the buyer of such needs to accept that the images produced are not wonderful. That said they are more than good enough for many users of the technology and let us not forget that the Lepton series cores are marvels of miniaturisation and cost reduction. Where I have a problem with the FLIR One series is in their reliability. The F1G2 and F1G3 series were made in China to reduce cost and quality control appears to be an issue in some/many production batches. Those of us who have worked on faulty units have found poor BGA chip solder ball reflow, failed power management IC, failed processor and failed battery faults. Owning a FLIR One G2 or G3 is a bit like playing Russian roulette. Sometimes they work, then with no warning they do not :(

I cannot recommend the FLIR One series for this reason.

The Seek Thermal Dongles have improved over the years and I bought a Seek Reveal Pro as I like the ‘all in one’ solution. I remain impressed with the Reveal Pro and suspect the Pro Dongle is also very good. There is higher noise than I am used to in low thermal contrast scenes but that is likely a price that must be paid for 12um pixels and an affordable core design. The lenses are where improvement could be made but that increases cost. I would not buy a Seek Thermal standard (non pro) dongle or Reveal as improvement in the PRO image quality is significant and makes the standard core look quite disappointing.

The Thermal Expert and Therm App Dongle cameras are, quite frankly, amazing bits of kit in terms of the pictures that they can produce. There is a lot of effort put into creating ‘pretty pictures’ with those camera cores and they are impressive. It must be understood though that a powerful mobile phone is really needed to make the most of these cameras and that can be an expensive additional cost if you do not own a suitable phone. It should also be understood that many of the models are not sold as highly accurate radiometric cameras. As such their temperature measurement accuracy can be poor. There are ways to improve this on some cameras but this should be considered if measurement accuracy is a key requirement.

There are other cameras coming out all the time on to the marketplace, especially since the Corona Virus outbreak. Be careful when looking at new models that have not been reviewed. Many cheaper cameras are using the Seek Thermal OEM cores. There are also some excellent competitors to the Therm App and Thermal Expert that have been detailed on this forum. Well worth looking at.

The bottom line is that you definitely get what you pay for with thermal imaging devices when buying new. Buy a budget model and you get budget performance. Pay more and you move into a far better performing product range that will meet your needs to several years. I recommend spending more and getting a better product. Resale values are generally better as well  ;)

Do not discount buying a used camera. That is what I specialise in doing and you get a lot of bang for your buck ! Getting a used $36K professional camera for less than $800 is kind of cool 8)
They may not be the latest models but they often use technology that is far more capable than consumer grade products. The FLIR Exx series are a very good choice But they tend to be popular so prices hover around the $1500 mark. The Exx series cameras can be easily upgraded to better than E60 specification by the user :)

Fraser
« Last Edit: July 28, 2020, 12:22:52 pm by Fraser »
 
The following users thanked this post: nikitasius

Offline nikitasius

  • Contributor
  • Posts: 17
  • Country: fr
Re: Choosing 1st "thermal camera" / is flir 1g3 a right way?
« Reply #5 on: July 28, 2020, 03:33:28 pm »
Hi, Fraser, thank you for the great explanation !
How i can see, Seek have this labels on their caméras: "C" - type-c, "U"- micro-usb, "L" - iOS
• Pro `xQ-AAA`
• Compact `xW-AAA`
• Compact XR `xT-AAA`

On their PDF from official website they have "Available Date: September 2014" and when i look for the UPC it show me the same.
How actually can i know in 2020 if i'm buying an improved over the years Seek dongle or one of the old ones?
 

Online Fraser

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 9745
  • Country: gb
Re: Choosing 1st "thermal camera" / is flir 1g3 a right way?
« Reply #6 on: July 28, 2020, 03:36:43 pm »
I regret, I cannot answer that. Other forum members may know the answer though. Hopefully they will comment.

Fraser
 
The following users thanked this post: nikitasius

Offline nikitasius

  • Contributor
  • Posts: 17
  • Country: fr
Re: Choosing 1st "thermal camera" / is flir 1g3 a right way?
« Reply #7 on: July 29, 2020, 08:41:41 am »
IwuzBornanerd and Fraser, thank you so much for the great advices you gave me.
Just fond on Amazon some nice offers for micro-usb versions, so i can use micro-usb2typeC adapter in future.
I'm agree, that to buy a 36k camera for 800 is very exciting, but i just need to taste it a bit to understand, what exactly i want to do, like i did with DSLR and lenses😁
BTW, i've seen a flir e4 for ~440€ (which was sold for 611€) on ebay too, so now i know ±avg price for the e4.
I'm reading this forum and digging deep 👍🏻
 

Offline nikitasius

  • Contributor
  • Posts: 17
  • Country: fr
Re: Choosing 1st "thermal camera" / is flir 1g3 a right way?
« Reply #8 on: July 29, 2020, 09:40:04 am »
But i'm worried what with micro-usb version i can get the oldone since everyone uses type-c 🤔
 

Online Fraser

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 9745
  • Country: gb
Re: Choosing 1st "thermal camera" / is flir 1g3 a right way?
« Reply #9 on: July 29, 2020, 11:03:08 am »
If you are buying a new Seek Thermal dongle then the risk of getting the earlier generation of unit is very low indeed. They are long gone unless a retailer has VERY old stock. From memory the better cores were being used from 2016 in the J3 product so you are pretty safe buying any new dongle from a reputable seller who has decent stock turnover. From what I can see in my archives, Seek never announced a new microbolometer design, it just seemed to happen with image quality improving noticeably. It may have happened with the rebranding of the first generation (fixed focus) dongle cameras to the “Classic” model but I have no proof of that.

Fraser
 
The following users thanked this post: nikitasius

Offline nikitasius

  • Contributor
  • Posts: 17
  • Country: fr
Re: Choosing 1st "thermal camera" / is flir 1g3 a right way?
« Reply #10 on: July 29, 2020, 03:24:17 pm »
Best prices for Seek i found on Amazon France, so i'm pretty sure to get new on the Amazon. But they all on micro-usb, guess this is a main reason.
 

Offline IwuzBornanerd

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 270
  • Country: us
Re: Choosing 1st "thermal camera" / is flir 1g3 a right way?
« Reply #11 on: July 29, 2020, 10:02:38 pm »
Sorry I didn't notice new posts here yesterday. 

My experience with the Seek dongles is that the early ones were pretty noisy but about the same time the Pro came out the non-pro units got better.  This was some time in 2016 as the ones I bought in early 2017 are much better.  As Fraser said, we did not see any announcement of change from Seek, and from my cracking open both old and new I can see no difference in hardware between my 2015 & 2017 units--including that the sensor part number & revision are the same.  As I mentioned above, however, there is indication that the latest non-pro units may have a new sensor.  I don't have a sample of image quality from such a new unit, but you can see a set of comparison images from the cameras I have from both the Seek app and my own software on this thread https://www.eevblog.com/forum/thermal-imaging/the-seek-thermal-core-development-user-opinion-please/msg2915972/#msg2915972  My initial post on that thread contains a link to my earlier report on the differences between my 2015 & 2017 units and this might also interest you.

For the most part I have considered the image quality of the new XR and the Pro units to be the same, but there is a bit of a difference in those last comparison shots--with  my software; but with the Seek app the pros appear worse!  But please consider what I said in that post about the Seek app's temperature span being integer values only as it might well be that the Pro units are actually showing a narrower temperature span than the XR image.  It's just tough to get a real good comparison.

The Pro gives you a bigger field of view but the view per pixel is very nearly (if not exactly) the same as that of the XR at the same distance, so you don't really get any higher scene resolution at a given distance.
I am not opposed to exercise, unless it is an exercise in futility.
 
The following users thanked this post: nikitasius

Offline nikitasius

  • Contributor
  • Posts: 17
  • Country: fr
Re: Choosing 1st "thermal camera" / is flir 1g3 a right way?
« Reply #12 on: July 30, 2020, 09:48:21 am »
IwuzBornanerd, thank you for the link, i will read !
Actually i'm reading "the 96 pages thread" and i'm on page 33 😁
It's very interresting to see whats changed during last 6 years.
Sad, what Seek left only 3 messages on this board.
I code on Java, but i do server soft (backend stuff). Android apps i did just few for testing purposes. So the possibility to make something useful with "MSX like" or tricks with accelerator sensor to increase "résolution" of scene are very exciting.

(I've read some threads here how other companies "increase their resolution")
 


Share me

Digg  Facebook  SlashDot  Delicious  Technorati  Twitter  Google  Yahoo
Smf