A thermal camera can be very useful for finding home heating leaks, looking for electrical circuit hot spots, troubleshooting printed circuit board components, and for knowing when your tea is just right for sipping. The initial reason I built one was to watch the rate of heat buildup along a length of clothes dryer exhaust duct.
The camera displays a thermal image or histogram and sports a shutter button to freeze the image. The focus feature fine-tunes the display’s temperature range to match the current images maximum and maximum measurements. A settable alarm flashes lights and beeps when the camera sees a temperature at or above the threshold. The setup function is used to set the temperature display range and the alarm threshold. An editable configuration file contains the camera’s power-up settings.
The heart of the camera is a thermal imaging sensor with an 8 by 8 thermopile array that reads temperatures from 32°F to 176°F (0°C to 80°C) with an absolute accuracy of +- 4.5°F (2.5°C) and resolution of 0.9°F (0.5°C). The 64 elements in the array are too few to see a lot of detail, but it is possible to recognize general thermal zones and shapes.
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