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Brandon Whitmore

Flir B Cam SD

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Cool. I'll be interested to see what you have to say.

It's an inevitability for all of us, so it's good to get going on it and learn the benefits and limitations.

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That's the same model Chris uses. I'll also be interested to hear about your experience. Will you be getting trained?

I've been quietly using the B Cam for about a year and a half now and I've gotta say that it's not nearly as useful as I imagined it would be.

Still useful, just not blow-me-away useful.

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Will you be getting trained?

Not unless I see the need after using it for a while. I'll probably only use it when I suspect issues, at least at first. The slightly more than 1K price was too low to pass up, so I jumped in without figuring out a game plan.

Is your B cam pretty much the same model minus the SD feature?

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..................... I've gotta say that it's not nearly as useful as I imagined it would be.

Still useful, just not blow-me-away useful.

That's how I feel about my IR experience. I'm really glad I got it, there's instances where it's a miracle, other times it's just handy, but day to day, it's not blow-me-away useful.

It's very hard to integrate it into a daily HI schedule and have it be meaningful. If it hasn't rained in a day or two, getting it out for moisture intrusion analysis is near pointless.

That said, it's the only way to determine if radiant heat systems are doing anything. Given the number of radiant systems I'm seeing now, it's a gotta have tool.

The other thing that is missed by those not having it......the simple wow factor. It's like the old days when I'd pull out my T1000 gas sniffer or Delmhorst; folks dig fancy tools.

I call it soft marketing; people see you use this stuff, they remember and tell folks about it.

Yeah, it might be lame on several other levels, but it's the best advertising I've found in this thing that we do.

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I've found water in a ceiling yesterday that I would not have seen without my IR. This is the 1st time I found something that I think I would not have seen otherwise.

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If it hasn't rained in a day or two, getting it out for moisture intrusion analysis is near pointless.

That may be true in the land of brick and mortar, but in modern wood frame buildings I can pick out repeated water infiltration with my Bcam. All I need is a reasonable temperature differential.

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tn_2011316101555_IR_0140.jpg

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In this image I see thermal bridging at the roof truss to wall plate connection in the upper left, and compressed insulation on the right resulting in a loss of R value and colder wall surface. Outside there is a roof flashed into this wall. With a 20 degree differential between inside and out, and a 2 degree variation in surface temps it's pretty clear there's no water in the wall right now, but there has been.

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Yes, I overstated the "pointless" part. I've used it and found things I wouldn't have found otherwise, but again, as Jim said, it's not "blow me away" useful.

On nearly every item where I've "found" things, I already knew the problem was there due to simple visual analysis and a bit of intuition/experience.

The IR just nails it down so everyone can see. Folks don't like it when I say stuff like, (paraphrased) "That's wrong, I know it leaks". They have to see the pretty picture, then they think I'm a genius.

Then again, every time I say something like this, someone always posts a picture of a wire connection or some other obscure item that shows it is useful. But, to get to that level of "useful", you have to be doing whole house scans which takes several additional hours on a job.

So, to use it effectively every time, it kind of gets to the point of it being separate and apart from the home inspection, where you can schedule appropriate time of day, include weather in the scheduling, etc., etc...

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Good point. That is precisely how I use it. Every scan is a scheduled trouble shooting endeavor. I think I'd loose my mind if I tried to do a scan in the course of a regular HI, it's too distracting.

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"Then again, every time I say something like this, someone always posts a picture of a wire connection or some other obscure item that shows it is useful. But, to get to that level of "useful", you have to be doing whole house scans which takes several additional hours on a job."

Hi Kurt

It's the "obscrue wire connection guy". Take shots all you want. The simple fact is I'm glad people don't invest in the technology and don't incorporate it into their HI. I have been using it for over 7 years before it was "the fad". Couldn't be busier. It actaully is very easy to intergrate into a HI without adding hours. Give it time. You'll figure it out.

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Good advice. Boy, it's about putting in the time, that's for sure.

You must be in a good mood, today.

Kurt, I've come close to buying a camera several times, but haven't taken the proverbial plunge, yet. Does the 320 x 240 resolution make a HUGE difference versus the 120 x120 when it comes to functionality? Or does it simply make a good thing better? Do you think there are things you would see with better resolution that wouldn't be evident if it were lower? I've learned that the higher resolution cameras are simply better and have more features, but if I wanted to taste IR for 2.5 K rather than 9K, would I be losing a lot of utility?

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Hey, I'm only obnoxious to people that don't know what they're talking about.

As for your question, I can't honestly and fairly answer it. There's competent folks that use lesser resolution that say it's fine; I have no good argument against them.

My personal experiences testing equipment led me to a camera with high resolution, two batteries, damage resistant, and the option for a wide angle lens. All the other stuff is irrelevant, AFAIC.

I only wanted to buy one camera, not a lesser camera that I wanted to change out in a year.

So, those criteria took me to the TiR32, and so far, I'm not sorry.

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Anyone have any idea as to the service life of an IR camera? The warranty period is short, and it's a big investment up front. Are people getting 5-10 years out of a camera, or are they often failing after a few?

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Thanks.

I like the idea of purchasing a more expensive camera knowing that it will end up costing me say 1k a year for 9 years, vs. 3k a year for 3 years.

I may end up asking Flir (local to me) if they are repairable, or if they typically need to be replaced when they have issues.

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Originally posted by kurt

Kurt, I've come close to buying a camera several times, but haven't taken the proverbial plunge, yet. Does the 320 x 240 resolution make a HUGE difference versus the 120 x120 when it comes to functionality? Or does it simply make a good thing better? Do you think there are things you would see with better resolution that wouldn't be evident if it were lower? I've learned that the higher resolution cameras are simply better and have more features, but if I wanted to taste IR for 2.5 K rather than 9K, would I be losing a lot of utility?

John, The 120X120 range of resolution is adequate for most residential applications. I started several years ago with a Fluke TIR FT2. A great camera. I know have a Flir B360 with 320X240 res. It is a good camera but after owning both I would rather go back to a Fluke.

Fluke loaned me a TiR32 for a trial I like the camera.

If anyone wants to buy a B360, let me know.

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I have used for past year the Fluke TiS while I would loved to have Kurt’s TiR32 it was the most I could justifiably afford. I have to say that I am very pleased with it; I have found ice dams a number of times. If I see something that needs further evaluation I will then confirm with my protimeter moisture meter. These have been in areas with no water stains of anything unusual. It also has been useful finding leaks in attic ac duct work. It has a great wow factor showing clients radiant heat in floors and other Images. I have also got quite a number of jobs just because I have a thermal imager and most nobody cares or understands the differences between say a Fluke TiS or TiR32. I still would much prefer the TiR32 but this will do for now. By the way Kurt is right it’s a very rugged tool that needs no babying. Here is a few thermal images taken with the TiS, ice dam, ac leak and Radiant floor heat

John Callan

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tn_2011318104055_Thermal%20Images%20002.jpg

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" Does the 320 x 240 resolution make a HUGE difference versus the 120 x120 when it comes to functionality? Or does it simply make a good thing better? Do you think there are things you would see with better resolution that wouldn't be evident if it were lower? I've learned that the higher resolution cameras are simply better and have more features, but if I wanted to taste IR for 2.5 K rather than 9K, would I be losing a lot of utility?"

Hi Bain

You’re asking very good questions that don't have perfect answers unfortunately. If you listen to the Fluke, Flir, Hotshot, etc... and or Training company's they all will tell you that lower resolution cameras can be used. Remember these companies put these cameras out because they want you to get hooked. The training companies for the most part try to stay neutral but they don't want to discourage people from entering the business either. I have no agendas and this is just my 2 cents. You can take it or leave it. I don’t claim to be smarter than anyone. These companies know if they get you to buy an entry level camera eventually you will not be happy with the lower resolution and will want to upgrade. There are plenty of sights to buy used lower resolution equipment. For building inspections (just my opinion)you want the most sensitive camera you can get. That usually means you get a higher pixel count as well (or crisper images). That is not always the case though. You have to understand what you are getting. I can buy a 640x320 detector right now but its sensitivity is only .10C. Or I can by a 320x240 detector that has a .05C (and pay half as much). At first glance your instinct wants to say I'll take the 640 over the 320 because I get more pixels and a crisper image. In building work since you are dealing with very small temperature differentials I don't need a crisp image of a possible missed anomaly. I would much rather be able to have the more sensitive detector that can "see" the anomaly. Now I know this is going to piss some people off and this is not my intention. You are making an investment here in your business. How do you want your business to be perceived? Obviously since you are asking good questions you are a professional and want to appear professional. Clients today are very internet savvy and do research before they contact you for work. If you look at a lot of websites and you see 80x80 images and you also see 320x240 or 640x320 images, which to the novice looks more professional. The way I looked at it over 7 years ago was if I got one job a month that would pay for the unit, the rest was gravy. It’s painful to even talk about but back them I paid well over 20+ thousand to get the same sensitivity and resolution you can get for 8 today. Even so the camera paid for itself, which I found out right away. It opened up a whole new market that I didn’t have access to before. Today for example I just got a job that will take me to 3-4 different states doing work for a major hotel chain. This one job would pay for my current TI-32. I don’t say that to brag, it is to show people the potentials of the equipment. So many guys are jumping in and leaving money on the table. Yes, it takes some time and proper training (I know everyone is rolling their eyes, everyone thinks they don’t need it) but anyone can do it.

Other things to keep in mind like Kurt mentioned are batteries. If you can’t swap batteries out that is just not an option in my opinion. I might start my day doing a residential heatloss inspection before dawn, home inspection in the middle and roof inspection at night (try not to schedule those days but they do happen). How could you do that without multiple batteries? Lens are a big deal as well. One company charges 1000 for telephoto/ wide other charges 3000. Size and functionality are other things to consider. The bottom line is no one can tell you what you should get. Just make sure you educate yourself well before hand. I guess the bottom line in this rant is I want people to realize there are larger opportunities out there that are very lucrative other than just using it on a home inspection. Although your intial intention may only be for home inspections there are cameras that will not limit you in the future as you grow and become more confident.

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Thanks for the thoughtful responses, everybody. They were truly helpful. I'm taking a break from looking at some section 8 duplexes at the moment, and the buyer is concerned about the tenants' high utility bills. Besides several inherent design flaws in the HVAC systems, there's also no insulation above the vaulted ceilings. It would be way cool to add a thermal image to my report to demonstrate the differences between the insulated and uninsulated portions of the ceilings.

Like most, I'm a geek when it comes to electronic devices, and it seems like IR cameras are comparable to how one views flat-screen televisions. No matter how big the screen of the television you buy is, there are going to be times when you wish it was just a LITTLE bit larger.

However, fence straddling and waiting-for-prices-to-go-down could well paralyze me for years. And, as primitivelamps said, if owning a camera is going to increase revenues, I'm a dope if I don't go ahead and dive in.

Thanks again.

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Don't be paralyzed by the price thing; you'll never buy.

Primitive makes the good case, better than I can.

I really think it boils down to batteries, lens options, durability, ease of use. To get those things, you end up at higher rez. So, stop worrying about resolution.

I've used Fluke and Flir, Fluke wins on ease. My opinion only. Not that Flir doesn't make a fine tool, but I like the button arrangement on the Fluke. I switch out all palettes and all controls with a simple to memorize pattern on the 3 buttons, very quickly, all by feel. It's an elegant system. This gets important, because to have any efficiency at all, you really can't take your eyes off the screen.

And if your doing operations including whole building scans, you really, really want a wide angle lens. Bernhardt said that a long time ago, and it's quite true.

I'm a tool freak. I despise tools that don't fulfill every expectation of excellence completely.

I think I got that with my Fluke.

I can't overemphasize the battery thing. Who that has ever worked with portable tools, would ever buy anything that didn't come with two batteries and a charger?

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Don't be paralyzed by the price thing; you'll never buy.

Primitive makes the good case, better than I can.

I really think it boils down to batteries, lens options, durability, ease of use. To get those things, you end up at higher rez. So, stop worrying about resolution.

I've used Fluke and Flir, Fluke wins on ease. My opinion only. Not that Flir doesn't make a fine tool, but I like the button arrangement on the Fluke. I switch out all palettes and all controls with a simple to memorize pattern on the 3 buttons, very quickly, all by feel. It's an elegant system. This gets important, because to have any efficiency at all, you really can't take your eyes off the screen.

And if your doing operations including whole building scans, you really, really want a wide angle lens. Bernhardt said that a long time ago, and it's quite true.

I'm a tool freak. I despise tools that don't fulfill every expectation of excellence completely.

I think I got that with my Fluke.

I can't overemphasize the battery thing. Who that has ever worked with portable tools, would ever buy anything that didn't come with two batteries and a charger?

Words of wisdom, from a sage. And if you think convolutedly like I do, you tell yourself, "Well, but I can write the thing off, so it's really only costing FIFTY-FIVE hundred dollars."

I'm checking out a commercial building for a second time tomorrow. The first client walked several months ago due to moisture problems associated with the horrid EIFS installation and all the water swishing in around the windows. I would LOVE to have an IR camera slung on my hip when I pull into the parking lot, and I'm certain the buyer would have no problem with paying extra for an IR scan.

I hear what you're telling me about the additonal features on better cameras. Like I said earlier, I understand that the more expensive camera doesn't only have higher resolution, it's a better piece of equipment. And as for batteries, I remember when I used to charge four UltraStingers every night 'cause the runtimes were so crappy. And there was nothing worse than having the battery or the bulb peter out when I least wanted it to. (There was this attic, once. The UltraStinger gasped its last breath and there I was, in near total darkness, trying to find my way back to the scuttlehole.)

I was looking around the internet earlier and found this blog post (That Patterson guy gets around.). It pretty much reiterates what you and others have stated previously.

http://activerain.com/blogsview/125497/ ... -good-for-

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I've had my IR (Fluke TiR) for a little over two years now. It has generated more than enough revenue to justify the cost. If I were buying one today I wouldn't think twice about paying the extra to get the higher resolution and swappable batteries.

-B

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This Fluke IR detector...is it something that comes with a holster that you can just keep on your belt during the inspection and occasionally just 'draw' and shoot at something that you're suspicious about? Or is it something that's better left in the tool bag because it's too heavy or bulky to carry around?

Marc

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