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Thermal Imaging and Cost Effectiveness


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Yes, very helpful, Kevin. Thanks.

Do you actively advertise the stand-alone IR service, or do you rely on your web sites and word of mouth?

Like Kurt--or is it Kerby, now? I'm not really sure I like that--said, the OS has to be efficient or one could spend hours translating the data into a coherent report. The split shots that show the IR image on the left and the standard image on the right--does the camera's software convert the dual image into a stand-alone .jpg, or do you have to monkey around with images from two separate cameras so a client knows what she's looking at?

Kerby?

The Fluke runs them into standard .jpg, bitmaps, or whatever. The Fusion is an overlay; the IR image is laid over a background shot. There's no "monkeying around" at all; it's pretty darn efficient.

I'm probably going the Fluke.

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I haven't seen much consideration on this thread about the effect of an infrared camera on an inspector's liability on the job. Without the camera, an inspector's liability goes only as far as his naked eye can detect. With the camera in the inspector's arsenal, that liability is extended to whatever the camera can see also. Which means that an infrared equipped inspector needs to make sure on every home inspection he does that he includes any finding that the camera could have disclosed. And he doesn't have to be in immediate possession of it, just own one.

I don't believe that's much of a real risk. People used to say precisely the same thing about moisture meters, CO monitors, or pretty much any tool other than a screwdriver and a flashlight. Heck, when digital cameras first became affordable, lots of inspectors flapped on and on about how you should never take a picture because the photo might show something that you missed.

Well, none of it panned out. IR cameras are no different. They're just another tool that extends our senses a bit. Use them well and they're an asset. Use them poorly and they won't do you, or anyone, any good.

There are simply no facts to back up the frequent assertion that, if we exceed the standards in one way, the rest of the standards will be thrown out the window and we'll be hung out to dry. That simply hasn't happened.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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Yes, very helpful, Kevin. Thanks.

Do you actively advertise the stand-alone IR service, or do you rely on your web sites and word of mouth?

Like Kurt--or is it Kerby, now? I'm not really sure I like that--said, the OS has to be efficient or one could spend hours translating the data into a coherent report. The split shots that show the IR image on the left and the standard image on the right--does the camera's software convert the dual image into a stand-alone .jpg, or do you have to monkey around with images from two separate cameras so a client knows what she's looking at?

Kerby?

That's how Mark referred to you in the NEC thread. Just busting your chops . . .

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I have a Flir b40 at my day job, and all I can say is that I'm glad I didn't pay for it. The low res images are hard to interpret once you put them on paper, the included software was designed for a different camera so none of the useful functions support the b40, then there's the silliness of equipping every b40 with a laser pointer and only enabling some of them (not important, just dumb). At $5k it's really over priced. For there to be any value in a $13k camera it would have to be light years ahead of the b40, like the difference between a VGA cell phone cam and 10 mega pixel SLR. If it's only marginally better than a b40 I'd rather have a new inspectormobile.

Tom

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I have a Flir b40 at my day job, and all I can say is that I'm glad I didn't pay for it. The low res images are hard to interpret once you put them on paper, the included software was designed for a different camera so none of the useful functions support the b40, then there's the silliness of equipping every b40 with a laser pointer and only enabling some of them (not important, just dumb). At $5k it's really over priced. For there to be any value in a $13k camera it would have to be light years ahead of the b40, like the difference between a VGA cell phone cam and 10 mega pixel SLR. If it's only marginally better than a b40 I'd rather have a new inspectormobile.

Tom

Yeah. The TiR32 is the first machine to have all the stuff I know I want for under $10,000. I know the b's can be very useful, but I think I'd get frustrated with it's limitations pretty quickly.

Resolution, 2 rechargable lith-ion's, charger, swappable lens, large screen, reasonably disaster resistant, voice annotation (I've found this just wonderfully useful when taking lots of pics), controls/software/"Fusion" very intuitive and easy, SD card slot, etc. It's how I'd set it up if I was setting it up.

I just didn't like the lower rez imagers, and simple things like battery packs and swappable lenses is just something one's going to want.

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Are you referring to me, Mr. Bain?

Marc LeBlanc

Actually, Mark Perry's comment was beneath a post by Kurt in the NEC thread, so I assumed--incorrectly--that "Kerby" was some sort of nickname for Kurt. Mark was actually referring to Erby, whose post was on the preceding page, but misspelled his name.

Therefore I blame my mistake on Mark, since it's my policy to take responsibility for very little at all.

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I wasn't too pleased that the camera's I was shopping didn't have swappable batteries, but it has rarely been an issue for me. A full charge is plenty of juice for the use my camera gets during an "average" inspection. Sometimes I plug it in in the car when going to the next inspection.

I really, really like the IR Fusion software that came with my Fluke. In it I am able to compare IR and visual images and also to blend the two.

-Brad

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Spoke with a Flir factory rep today and he did not have anything good to say about the B40. He said for the price you are better off with a BCAM SD over the B40 but he did recommend the B50 over both due to all the bells and whistles and resolution for the price.

Since I may have to hire a full time inspector very shortly heading into the winter, I may just keep the money and not purchase anything.

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I always say get the "most" camera you can afford. My first camera was a BCAM SD, and I wanted to sell the thing a week after I got it. I ended up using it for over a year before upgrading.

John Snell with Snell Infrared has written a great paper about Infrared Camera prices and performance. I would highly recommend requesting a copy and reading it before making a purchase.

You can get it here: http://www.thesnellgroup.com/WhitePapers.aspx

The paper is called "Breakthroughs in Infrared Camera Prices and Performance - Building Applications"

Hope this helps :)

Kevin

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Are you referring to me, Mr. Bain?

Marc LeBlanc

Actually, Mark Perry's comment was beneath a post by Kurt in the NEC thread, so I assumed--incorrectly--that "Kerby" was some sort of nickname for Kurt. Mark was actually referring to Erby, whose post was on the preceding page, but misspelled his name.

Therefore I blame my mistake on Mark, since it's my policy to take responsibility for very little at all.

Geezzz, I wish you would stop talking with my wife!

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I'm not sure how inspectors who use IR handle it but I would feel weird saying, "I'm suspicious of something in this wall. If you pay me extra I'll get my IR cam and have a look"

John,

There are many different opinions on how an inspector should use or incorporate Thermography into their business. I have always been under the opinion that the use of the technology goes beyond the standard visual inspection. Therefore, I do not include it in my inspections. I charge an additional fee and have the client sign an addendum to my Pre-Inspection Agreement. All of my IR services are extra and under a separate agreement.

Kevin

I didn't realize that good IR equipment was so expensive. Toss in the training and experience and I can see justification for some significant extra fee charges.

I don't see myself investing in IR any time soon. If someone calls and wants it specifically, I'll send 'em your way Kevin.

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  • 3 weeks later...

My background is electrical mechanical hydraulic carpentry....about ten years ago our maintenance building was plagued with repairs. So many electrical and machine repairs or replacement. Had to be a more cost effective way to maintain this equip. We already had maint schedules in place, but they were obviously not good enough. Enter the Flir camera. Someone brought one in and showed us what it did, crazy results. He started off at the bldg main panel and showed us all sorts of very hot connections, an anomoly. Not good. We further discussed the use of TI in our compressors, electric motors and hyrdaulics. The "Predictive Maintenance" schedules were created, a camera eventually purchased and someone took the Level I course (wasnt me). And we baselined all of the equipment.

Interpreting the results was interesting even fun. This was the big part. Just because the camera shows you something you cannot jump to a conclusion, that what you see, or what your telling someone else you see, is gospel. This is where you better have your ship wired tight. A missed call or a call that creates the tear down of a wall, machine or hydraulic motor can prove costly. Remembering that your going to have a record of this, if this goes legal, a more experienced Thermographer 'Expert' will have a chance at discrediting or at the very least create doubt on your technical ability to read and interpret accurately what you claimed in the first place. Its a camera, right? point and click.

My point (or ramble) is that if and when you get that camera and the courses, you only report what you can back up with strong troubleshooting and expertise to support your camera pics. If you cannot, leave it in your bag. I dont have the course, but have experience with TI IR. Knowing how to read the hot bodies and possible conduction and reflection on your 3sqinch screen be confusing. I have seen hot spots that were created by not setting the camera up properly. oops sorry we ripped that apart.

(caveat emptor, when buying a camera)

good morning, I am off to shovel more snow

thanx

steve

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My IR camera has not produced any more income to my home inspection business, However, it has increased my energy analysis business and just last summer got me a job that paid me 4 times what I paid for the camera. Without the IR camera I could not have gotten thia lucrative job. In addition, those homes that I visited to fulfill my IR contrcat job couls easily become home inspection clients at a later date.

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