Thermal camera: pointers on model and writing a guide for non-experts?

Hi folks! Someone has kindly offered to buy and donate a thermal camera to Liverpool Tool Library.

We want members to be able to borrow the camera and have a go themselves to identify draughts and basic issues - like the camera available to Carbon Co-op members.

I understand that interpreting thermal camera images isn’t straightforward. When I watched our Retrofit Assessor using it there’s obviously a bit of an art. I’ve followed threads here before with fascinating thermal images and I can see from the discussion that it’s not obvious.

That said, we’re keen to give it a go. I’ve foolishly volunteered to put together a guide to help people to use it. But I’m no expert so I’m going to have to learn on the job :slight_smile:

I’d really appreciate any input on the 2 main questions we have at the moment:

  1. What type or model of camera should we go for? I understand that more expensive ones lead to better results. Is there a sweet spot? Are any particularly robust and suitable for lending?

  2. Can you point to any existing guides or resources for using a thermal camera and interpreting thermal images? We’re starting from zero so anything helps!

Everything we will be Creative Commons so we can share knowledge with other tool libraries and beyond.

Thank you for any pointers!


My first thoughts are:

You need a “ruggedised” camera. There are versions of other cameras that for a hefty markup are made more physically durable. Any device that is used by multiple unskilled people is bound to be subjected to events and environments that are potentially damaging.

A less skilled user will better understand the thermal image if the outlines of physical features are included in the image. Some more advanced models do this.

The camera needs a method of passing images into the borrower’s possession and for existing data to be deleted (for privacy and data protection).

Manufacturer web sites will contain some useful user information but it might need expert filtering. I have tried the Flir website and it related mainly to detecting damp areas in the hot and humid North American market. If we wait for global warming to catch up here the videos will become more relevant!

Now some questions. How will the camera be passed around? Will it be physically checked in and out or will it be posted? What about the instruction manual?

The questions don’t need answers here but they need thought at your end.

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I have a reasonable amount of experience with the FLIR system and own a FLIR one for I-phone that stopped working. The c5 is pretty rugged and normal use is ok. These cameras are pretty essential for retrofit to identify issues and check if the corrective action deployed is effective. Some situations are more difficult to interpret than others but if you have a doubt, investigate further. Here is one of my examples of a ceiling that I was not happy with, so I took it down and a damp issue.

I am sure carbon coop members can share numerous examples of IR in action. FLIR were the market leader but got complacent (in my opinion).
I am thinking of buying the -Hikmicro pocket 2 as it has a better specification than C5. If anyone has experience of this let me know.

Thanks @Tim_Gilbert for these links (which I failed to find via search, somehow) and for your thoughts. Sorry for the epic delay getting back to you. I appreciate your input!

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Thanks @lloydham, I’ve heard the same view about FLIR getting complacent elsewhere. We’ve found a few other tool libraries with cameras so we’re asking for their experience of lending them out for a year or more. Cheers!

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I have just seen that FLIR have launched a subscription service for 1 year -Inspection guides how to identify air leaks, insulation & moisture. An opportunity to learn, share and evaluate I think.

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Link please      

Hi, I am referring to the FLIR app
Apple › app › flir-one
21 Sept 2023 — Introducing the Inspection Guides feature, where you can learn how to identify moisture, insulation and air leak issues through the new step-by-

In addition there are other guides available from FLIR
IND_055_US.pdf (
T820325_EN.pdf (
Thermal Cameras Tips to Avoid Common Home Inspection Mistakes | Teledyne FLIR

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