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Thermal camera for PCB hot spots?

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  • Thermal camera for PCB hot spots?

    So, is there a sub-$200 thermal imager on the market that's useful for finding hot components on PCB boards? The ones I've looked at review on bangood and amazon mostly have trouble focusing at short distances, making them useless for PCB work.
    --
    I build and repair guitar amps
    http://amps.monkeymatic.com

  • #2
    I know a trick... YEARS ago we used to use a Sony camcorder in “low light” mode to do the same thing. Since we repaired them and else everything under warranty, there was always one around. You can probably find one for nothing. The tape transport doesn’t even have to work. Turn the light off in the room.

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    • #3
      I've used a Black and Decker leak detector/thermal scanner, which is basically an infrared thermometer with a light added that changes colors as you sweep it over cold or hot areas. It isn't the most precise tool for scanning a pcb, but it can work, and it is super useful in its intended use in snooping for drafty windows and doors or seeing if an electrical junction box is heating up. I don't know if the infrared thermometers with laser sighting would be easier to nail down to a specific part, but those things are super cheap.
      Last edited by glebert; 09-16-2019, 03:52 PM.

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      • #4
        I have an IR thermometer, and it's helpful, definitely. I use it fairly often. But that's not what I'm asking about. I've watched demos of the $400 thermal cameras, and that's what I'm after...I just can't justify that expense...yet...
        --
        I build and repair guitar amps
        http://amps.monkeymatic.com

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        • #5
          I have a Flir One which plugs into my Android phone. There is also an Apple version. It's been useful in repairs for finding hotspots though after a few years I don't think it's paid for itself yet.
          I don't regret buying it though, it' fun to play with. At the time it cost around $360cdn

          https://www.flir.com/flirone

          Here's an example: a Roland SRV-2000 digital delay. The Flir has two cameras, infrared and optical side-by-side so it will superimpose a little of the optical onto the resulting picture.

          https://music-electronics-forum.com/...1&d=1568653387
          Attached Files

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          • #6
            Appreciate that. But I don't want to invest in a phone add-on, because hardware interfaces change so fast.
            --
            I build and repair guitar amps
            http://amps.monkeymatic.com

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            • #7
              I wouldn't worry about that. It plugs into the mico USB port. I suppose eventually the latest software will require newer hardware but you could keep using it as is with the old phone (or tablet)
              The all-in-one versions cost a lot more and the software is not upgradeable so it would be replaced with a new model which would make the old one - well old.

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