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As the technology behind thermal imaging cameras advances it was only a matter of time before a smart phone attachment would be introduced. But can they fulfil the role of a professional thermal imaging camera designed specifically for the job? “Thermal imaging has limitless potential

in troubleshooting, predictive maintenance and fault finding,” explains Stacey Ward, sales manager at BSRIA Instrument Solutions. “Formerly, the main decisions to be made when stepping into the world of thermography was what is the best camera for my application, what resolution do I require, what additional functionality could be beneficial to me and what does my budget actually buy?” With the emergence of the smart phone

camera attachment even more difficult decisions abound: do I need a custom designed camera if I already have a smart phone? What is the difference between standalone cameras and phone add-ons? What are the pros and cons of the different devices, if any? The first question often asked is cost; an entry level thermal imager usually starts at around £700; for this you will get an instrument with a “fairly decent resolution suitable for spot checking with more advanced cameras running into many thousands of pounds”.

A smart phone camera attachment is

typically priced around £250 and considering the cost of a smartphone itself you are already near the same price as an entry level thermal imaging camera. The advantage however is that most people already have a smartphone. As with anything the more money you spend the better quality you get and image resolution is usually the main factor affecting the cost of a camera. The resolution may be of a decent standard but nothing can compare to the image definition of a camera with high pixilation. With a true thermal imager you have the added advantage of every pixel being effectively a thermometer, giving you accurate and precise measurements.

BSRIA Instrument Solutions T: 01344 459314

Image resolution is usually the main factor affecting the cost of a camera


The CAP-ENV from IRISS is the toughest and most reliable infrared window available and suitable for thermal inspection of energised equipment in the visual, UV and all three infrared wavelengths. What sets this product apart from others in the IRISS range is a stainless steel housing with a reinforced, lockable door which is environmentally sealed to IP67/NEMA 6. This means that accurate quantitative and qualitative measurements can be taken from live electrical systems in the most hostile conditions. IRISS CAP-ENV is ideal for use in offshore, onshore or marine applications, exposed industrial environments and in climates characterised by temperature extremes. An exclusive pharmaceutical grade reinforced Poly-View System polymeric material creates the large, clear rectangular IR window of the CAP-ENV. It provides an unparalleled field of view and standard sizes are available to suit the application. The materials are unaffected by mechanical stress and are shatterproof. The windows maintain a fixed and stable transmission rate even when exposed to humidity, moisture, seawater and a broad spectrum of acids and alkalis.

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