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Maybe it's just me, but couldn't a savvy HI find these wet spots with, say, a Tramex moisture finder and a decent handheld IR thermometer?

I think I first saw an IR cam in the Professional Equipment catalog about 3 years ago? Up to that point I had no clue they had come down in price from the $60K price the company I engineered for had paid for one.

I knew, at least for me, there was a lot of learn'n I could do that I believed would make me better overall at just performing a visual inspection.

I believed perhaps I could also find stuff that I couldn't otherwise but that was way down on the justification list.

Terry says he's been using IR for 5 years and I wish he would share his actual experiences rather than expound on the need for level N training.

I have been in biz for about 10 years and after I got the camera in this tough time I have coincidentally significantly widened my realtor referring base.

Without the new realtors I don't know how I would have survived but I would also say that this year many weeks have seen half or more referrals coming from past clients, which has never happened until this year.

I believe aquiring and employing the camera played a signifcant part in surviving for a number of reasons.

I am looking forward to this winter and our rainy season to find out what more I can learn and share.

I don't know what price threshold it will take, but at some point just about every HI will have an IR cam. It's inevitable as having a moisture meter.

I believe all this level N training stuff well get relegated only to those who are building biz beyond normal HI work and everybody will be happy.

Chris, Oregon

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The area I live in is probably 2 miles from the Intracoastal and on a sand ridge and water disappears quick so no problems in my neighborhood.

Downtown St Aug by the bayfront floods during a regular summer shower so I'm sure there having problems.

Several hours south of here in Melbourne its really bad. That's where the snakes and gators are coming out.

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  • 2 months later...
Originally posted by kurt

Scott Warga's been working IR extensively for over a year. It's his main gig. He's the guy that gave me the battery warning. It's no where near what Fluke says. And, you need enough juice for a couple jobs, or one big commercial job.

Recharges take about 3 hours. Changing out the battery requires dismantlement of the equipment. IOW, pain in ass. Possible, but who needs that?

Who's ever gotten even half of the battery life promised by the mfg's. of all those battery driven tools we have? I take whatever the mfg. says and cut it in half, and that always works out to reality. That means, the Fluke battery life isn't good enough.

Which leads to the BCam. But, I want the Fusion thing, which means the camera I want isn't here yet.

I too am in the market for an IR camera and have been researching both the Fluke and FLIR models. I have talked with a few different people who use them now and they all have Fluke cams. One, however, stated that the bundled FLIR software was better that the Fluke software.

A FLIR rep came to one of our ASHI conferences and had a number of models for demo.

The new Flir b60 has a replaceable battery with stated 5 hr life (likely more like 3-4), PIP fusion and 180x180 resolution. This is better than the similarily priced Fluke cameras. It seems all the b-series (b40, b50 and b60) cameras have longer battery life, are lighter and have PIP fusion.

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John,

I've been playing with the Flir b40 that we just purchased at my day job.

The bundled software is very limited with respect to how well you can report your findings. Specifically, you can only enter comments in the description tab, and edit comments in comments tab. The comment function is not supported by the b40, so I can't edit what ain't there. There are several tools in the bundled QuickReport software that are very handy, but they must be used within the software. You can export modified images to Word or cut and paste the images text info, but not both. So reporting in Word requires the purchase of a report module to interface the two. The report generator spits out images that are essentially the same size as the camera screen, so any highlighted areas are very difficult to read when printed to paper, but, it requires the report to be saved as a PDF so the image is easier to see in the reader.

PIP is recorded on seperate CCDs and the images do not align, rather the IR image is resized and overlayed on top of the digital image. The parameters for this operation are fixed and not supported by the software, there is no user editable content inside. It isn't horrible, but nowhere near as cool as fusion.

As for the camera, be careful what model you choose, not all of the published functions are supported on all models or even all cameras of a given model. The b40 for instance has a laser pointer function. My particular b40 has a button to turn the laser on and off, menu functions for the laser, warning labels all over it about the laser, and no laser was installed. Pushing any of the laser buttons generates an error window that says "function not supported by all cameras". Cosidering this and the unsupported comments tab, I'm sure I will find other functions not supported on this camera.

It's a cool tool to have in your arsenal, but I can say with certainty that I would be very disappointed it if it was my $5k spent. For that kind of outlay there is no excuse for unsupported functions, or half assed software with expensive add-ons to make it functional.

Hope that was helpful,

Tom

I have a PDF report that I did on my own house. I could email it to you if you are interested.

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Here are a couple of images from the b40:

24 F outside, 68 F inside. Anybody got a guess why the foundation is so warm?

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This is the south elevation of my house. The bright red at the bottom is the stone foundation, approx. 12" thick.

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This is the north elevation, the bright red in this case is 8" CMU.

And just for fun:

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Think this double wall leaks a bit at the joints?

Tom

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I recently bought a Fluke TiR for 4k, almost a grand cheaper than the comparable Flir. The Flir is lighter, has a Lithium ion battery that can be changed out easily and seems to be a little more ergonomically designed, but to me wasn't worth the price difference.

The Fluke is slightly more pixels (140x160). Heavier and shorter battery life.

I don't know anything about the Flir software, but the Fluke is pretty cool. When you are editing the pics, there is a slider below the photo that you can slide from full IR to full visual or any in between.

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I spoke today with an IR instructor with RestCon in Sacramento. He stated that he and his company looked at both the Flukes and FLIRs and put them thru the paces. They decided the Flukes were a better overall camera with higher image quality. They now are a Fluke distributor. Right now the FLukes are on sale with fairly significant price reductions. The sale lasts until Dec 18th.

I am now seriously considering the TiR2 because of the $3500 price reduction (check out www.moistureview.com). This puts in the same price league as the b60 which I was leaning toward. But the TiR2 is tripod mountable and has higher thermal sensitivity which will give you a better image and ability to detect more subtle temperature differences.

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I like the TIR and the software. The thing I really like is the focusing. Line up IR image horizontally with the item in the picture part and it's focused. The battery life is just fine and the screen is nice size. I would have like the camera itself to be a little smaller but overall it's fine.

Lazy cat

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  • 1 month later...

One of my friends has a TiR & a TiR1 and 2 other contractors I know bought the Flir B-50 & B-60. I've been able to see all 4 side-by-side. Here are my observations.

The Flir's are lighter, smaller, have laser pointers a built-in light, and a changeable battery.

Used the Flukes for 3 days - never ran out of battery on any job. When Battery was 2/3 down - it re-charged within 1 hr or LESS

The Fluke TiR had a better screen than the B-50 Flir.

The Fluke TiR1 had a better screen than the B-50 or B-60 Flir

Not just my opinion - 4-5 guys on the job looked them over and said the same thing.

Fluke TiR = $4,050 - $4,250 with 19,200 pixels and 0.10 sensitivity

Fluke TiR1 = $6,250 - $6,950 w/19,200 pixels and 0.07 sensitivity

The Flir B-50 = $5,350 - $5,995 w/19,600 pixels & 0.10 sensitivity

Flir B-60 = $7,250 - $7,995 w/32,400 pixels & 0.08 sensitivity

All were easy to use. The Flukes were 1 lb heavier.

Thats about it .......................

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One of the local guys let me use his 6 month old Fluke TiR to see what we thought about IR in the recent Flir Level I Class.

Didn't wanta spend much $$$ unless we could justify this - In a REALLY slow RE market.

I was really amazed at something. I've seen the Flir B-60 really being touted in the hand held type of IR's. Heres my question or issue. I'm really not that concerned about Reading High Temperatures or the pictures the IR will make back at the office - What I'm interested in is the IR camera showing the issue out in the field - mostly on residential homes, AND mostly moisture OR air Leaks Or Energy Surveys.

The Fluke TiR sells for $4,045 +/- is a 160x120 camera (19,200 pixels) with a 0.10 sensitivity and 5% accuracy.

The Flir B-60 sells for $7,295 +/- and is a 180x180 (32,400 pixels) with a 0.08 sensitivity and 2% accuracy

After all the playing I did with both cameras in the class, I could not see ON THE SCREEN any significant difference in the field image. Most of the other guys playing with both IR's said the same thing. Most thought the more inexpensive Fluke had a sharper image than the more expensive B-60.

The Flir B-60 had nice features - lighter, a laser pointer, built in lamp, BUT ........ How about the On Screen Field Image

Am I missing something? How can you spend almost double more $$$$ and see no better Field Image.

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  • 4 months later...

Hi All,

Thinking about finally making the jump to an IR; mostly because I'd like a non-invasive way to immediately back up our findings when we have damp walls and such and I'm thinking about expanding into energy audits.

I'm Looking at the FLIR BCam SD because it's on sale right now for 34% off. If this turns out to be a huge mistake, I don't want to own the most expensive gizmo there is and then be trying to get rid of it later. If it can do what a home inspector needs to do and what an energy auditor needs to do, without breaking my little gizmo-challenged brain, I'll be happy.

Anyone have one? Anyone have experience using one versus using another brand?

Anyone know if the 7 hours of battery life is hype or anywhere near true?

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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I have a Flir b60 at my day job, and it was under $5K. It has the lense, indicator and power button for the laser pointer, but was not equipped with the laser. There are big disclaimers in the instructions and owners manual that not all cameras will have the laser pointer enabled, maybe that's why it was so cheap(?). The battery is still running on it's initial charge after several months, but it doesn't get used as much as it could. The onscreen image quality is ok, but the images are pretty easy to read once downloaded. The image size is really pretty small, and zooming provides much better clarity than resizing upwards (if you have software that will do so). The included software is a little disappointing but not horrible once you get used to it's quirks. If your writting your own narrative you probably would be better of using other software rather than coping with the limitations of Flir's program.

Tom

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I waited for more than a year before committing to an IR cam. For me, the Fluke had the best feature to dollar ratio - to get the same resolution from a Flir I would have had to spend almost a thousand more dollars (but that would also have gotten me swappable batteries, something the fluke doesn't have). Also helping me decide on the Fluke was the Flir rep telling me that I would be a fool to buy the Fluke because the soap opera assoc. members say the Flir is better.

I'm sure that both cams are great, but I really, really like my Fluke.

-Brad

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The laser pointer is important; I use mine all the time to pin point anomalies for scanning with my moisture meter.

I have heard that the picture in picture thing is not used for scanning so much as for taking the shot for the report. You can do picture in picture with the flir Bcam, you just need to do it offline in the computer with some freeware that allows you to overlay photos.

As far as the resolution, more will get you better pics, but you can easily get by on the Bcams resolution for trying to uncover wet walls, ceilings and floors, etc.

Chris, Oregon

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Chris,

My b60 b40 (oops) has a picture in picture mode on the camera. I don't like it much because it resizes one of the images and the targets don't line up. The orange rectagle at the top of the IR image is the bottom of the cabinet you can see at the top of the background image.

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What is the freeware you use to fuse images?

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I use "Merge". You have to fiddle with it a bit. You bring the first pic in and size it, then the IR pic and scale and position it, which shows up in a third window as the composite pic. It's not perfect. You have to try and take the photo and the IR pic at the same azimuths.

Chris, Oregon

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Hi All,

Thinking about finally making the jump to an IR; mostly because I'd like a non-invasive way to immediately back up our findings when we have damp walls and such and I'm thinking about expanding into energy audits.

I'm Looking at the FLIR BCam SD because it's on sale right now for 34% off. If this turns out to be a huge mistake, I don't want to own the most expensive gizmo there is and then be trying to get rid of it later. If it can do what a home inspector needs to do and what an energy auditor needs to do, without breaking my little gizmo-challenged brain, I'll be happy.

Anyone have one? Anyone have experience using one versus using another brand?

Anyone know if the 7 hours of battery life is hype or anywhere near true?

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

Mike,

I started out with a Fluke TIR2 FT. It is a great camera and the software for manipulating the images is really fantastic. I recently sold my Fluke because my wife needed a higher resolution camera for performing IR on horses.

She bought the Flir B360. While the resolution is much better, for buildings the Fluke TIR2 FT is much better.

I know someone who recently bought the Fluke TIR2 FT and is leaving the inspection business for a gig in the corporate world. He is looking to sell his camera. I think it is about a year old or less and probably not been used much. If you just want it for home inspections, get the Fluke.

Call me if you want his contact information.

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I purchased a Flir BCam SD 2 years ago when the price was more. Use it on every inspection, reeltors freak out when they see it. Found some things with it, verified with moisture meter, clients love it and tell their friends.

Mine does not have the picture in picture, wish it did. Is picture in picture a help or a hinderance when taking the image?

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Is picture in picture a help or a hinderance when taking the image?

For the Fluke IR camera, I love it. Easy to understand what I looking at plus focusing is too easy. Nothing to do but decide if I want to have the temp. scale included with the picture and if I want to have PIP or just the IR picture. Then just covert the picture into a JPEG.

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  • 6 months later...

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