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Myth #1: Thermal imaging cameras should not be used in daylight

Thermal imaging cameras use the thermal sensor to cover a wavelength range that is outside the visible spectrum. This is why they can also be used easily on the bright day.

The myth exists probably due to the fact that thermal imaging cameras are confused with night-vision devices used by the military troops. These night vision devices, which are based on a photomultiplier technology, amplify low light intensities in the visible spectrum and – like thermal imaging cameras – can make objects visible to humans in the dark. In the case of strong light irradiation, however, these photomultiplier devices – in contrast to thermal imaging cameras – are useless.

Myth #2: You have to spend a lot of money to get a reasonable model

Of course, it depends on the intended area of use and available budget, for which price category one decides. However, even inexpensive thermal imaging cameras can be more than adequate for the most common applications. The best entry into thermal imaging technology is possible with special attachments for smartphones. But also in the price category for beginners there are models which are suitable for building diagnostics or for simple investigations of hobbyists and developers.

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Myth #3: Only a professional can handle a thermal imaging camera

Many thermal imaging cameras now have automated calibration and a simple user interface. The most important technical terms and knowledge can be acquired quickly via the Internet or at a workshop and are not in the way to be able to use as a layman a thermal imaging camera effectively. Entry-level models which do not have any additional function are particularly easy to use and are recommended for users who are less experienced with technology. The occasional hobbyist, however, should also be able to deal with today’s pro devices and, after a short introduction and read-in phase, can quickly come to the examination of the actual (technical) problem.

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Myth #4: Buying a thermal imaging camera is not worthwhile

Thermal imaging cameras offer a unique advantage in certain applications. In building diagnostics, for example, no other instrument can detect certain deficits, such as heat leakage, cold walls or insulation damage, more efficiently and accurately. If the deficiencies are correctly identified and corrected with the aid of a thermal imaging camera, larger (financial) damage, which would often only become apparent in the long term, can be avoided.

This is why it is often worth buying a thermal imaging camera if you want to follow the renovation process yourself or to investigate several thermal questions. If you are dealing with recurring damages (mold, leaks), an early investment in a suitable thermal imaging camera is often indicated.

Myth #5: The color of the object affects the thermal image

Humans perceive different colors of an object through different wavelengths of light emanating from the object. The visible region is located in a wavelength range of approximately 0.4 to 0.7 μm. Thermal imaging cameras, however, measure a spectrum of about 4 to 14 μm (thermal range) over the thermal sensor.

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Different colors of the same object (e.g. differently varnished) do not correlate directly with the thermal emission degree of the object – provided that the light emitted is only reflected light from an external light source (sun, lamp etc.) and the object itself produces no light (e.g. heating wire or lighter).

Myth #6: Thermal imaging cameras can see behind walls

A thermal imaging camera detects only the incident (infrared) light of an object that emanates from its surface. This can be composed of different parts: reflected, transmitted and emitted light.

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If one were to be interested in what is known, for example, behind a wall, one would only have to be able to detect the transmitted heat rays. However, this is difficult because the heat radiation of a person, for example, behind a wall is largely absorbed by the wall and diffuses there. From the outside, however, there is little more visible than an even temperature distribution of the wall.

Myth #7: The Image Combining feature is a must

With image combining, a thermal imaging camera, equipped with a digital camera for the visible spectrum and a thermal image sensor, combines the visible image with the thermal image sensor. This can be useful for certain applications to better identify objects.

Areas of application for this are above all the use in the security sector and the military. This feature is not necessarily a must for thermal analysis of building sites or electrical circuits. Rather, the evaluation of the thermal image is paramount there, where a distinction of the individual components is often possible without problems.

Picture source:

Icons made by Freepik from www.flaticon.com is licensed by CC BY 3.0

Sources:

http://pembrokeinstruments.com/_download_pdf_897/_Pembroke-PDF-Downloads/Top-Ten-Myths-IR-Thermal-Cameras-Pembroke.pdf