Thermal Imaging Camera?

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Now that it's winter, I'm starting to be concerned about why our house gets cold quickly. I figure the best way to spot the problems might be to point a thermal imaging camera at it and see where the heat is escaping, be it through a bad window, a particular wall or roof etc.. Are these easily obtainable, either to rent/borrow/loan or buy - if they're not dead expensive? I've tried places like GadgetShop and Maplin, but not found anything.
Any ideas?
Cheers
andyt
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Andy Turner wrote:

No, they aren't cheap. They aren't difficult to buy, but you'd be looking at a minimum of 5-10k for one.
Because of the price, and the fact that there isn't a great deal of demand, not many people hire them out.
If you really, really want to have a go, approach your local uni's engineering dept - they may have one, but I'd be very surprised if they lent it to you.
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Grunff wrote:

Anoher thought - look up a professional photgraphic suppliers in YP, and get a infra red filter and some IR film.
Dammit. I should do this myself.!!!
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The Natural Philosopher wrote:

A lot of Sony camcorders have a nightshot button that moves into IR, I wonder if they'd do the job.
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Try a post to <uk.tech.broadcasting> if you get no success here. I've known them to be hired in for special effects. But haven't a clue from where.
But don't mention what it's actually for - they can be a 'funny' lot on there.;-)
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On Wed, 10 Dec 2003 10:55:46 +0000, Andy Turner

for the roof... wait till it snows, i did, i noticed that my roof hadnt anysnow on it and the others had, this meant that the loft wasnt insulated properlee and the heat was escaping through it.....I then isulated it properly and snow is now settleling on my roof ,problem solved a free and easy way..just an idea you could try

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Screamingwitch. wrote:

If you don't want to wait til it snows, you can get it delivered if you want. http://www.thesnowpark.co.uk/takeaway.htm
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CCD cameras are generally IR sensitive, though whether the frequency response goes down low enough for what you want I don't know, so you could try a CCD camera at night with the lights off.
Higher end cameras may have an IR blocking filter built in, you can check this by pointing an IR remote at the camera and looking to see if the LED's visible. Sony added IR filters after it's cameras were being used as 'X-ray specs' type cameras to see through clothes.

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bof wrote:

Nowhere near long enough wavelength. Out by a mile.

Still won't help with thermal imaging.
Visible (red) ends ~700nm. A ccd might pick up all the way to 850-900nm. For thermal imaging you need 3-12um.
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CCD response generally only goes out as far as about 1.2 micron (1200nm) wavelength, which is only suitable for detecting heat at temperatures of 400C or more.

True, but IR LEDs operate at about 800nm or so (0.8 micron)
Sony added IR filters after it's cameras were being

B0IIoks, urban myth.
The real reason for the IR filter is to improve the devices modulation transfer function (MTF) as the CCDs response to short wavelength generally causes an apparent defocussing of the image.
Thermal imagers usually work in the range 8 - 20 microns or more to detect body heat/room temperature objects.
You can hire them from various places for about 500 a week if you do a search.
Dave
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Not really an urban myth. When these low-light cameras were in the news etc it was shown that underwear etc were visible through light clothing when normal cameras didn't show anything. Not 'x-ray specs' but certainly enough to make most people embarassed when they were shown what the cameras showed.
D
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That was nothing to do with IR, but more to do with the improved S/N ratio in the CCD and the higher gain applied to it for low light performance (effectively the contrast ratio was increased).
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CCDs are based on Silicon technology and so are limited by the bandgap of silicon to work at wavelengths shorter than 1.1 microns, most near infrared LEDs work in the 0.8-0.9 microns wavelength range.
To get into the thermal infrared you really want to work at 3-10 microns wavelength which is completely different technology. HgCdTe (used in near IR instrumentation) only works up to 2.5 microns. InSb technology detectors can work out to 10 microns but may need to be cooled to avoid thermal background from the camera itself swamping the image.
Fire Brigades have used thermal cameras for rescue work and checking that no heat sources remain in a fire after it appears to be out. Perhaps asking them to look is an option.
We once borrowed a thermal IR camera to look for heat sources in a telescope dome...we managed to locate dodgy electrics, hot oil pads and all sorts of heat sources in this way.
Ian L.
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On 10 Dec 2003 07:30:19 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@physics.ox.ac.uk (Ian) wrote:

where the heat losses are..........
.andy
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(Ian) wrote:

Don't you mean 'were'? ;)
D
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Not so, the cameras in question had a high gain mode which allowed you to filter out the visible spectrum and apply high gain to the remaining IR, to which some materials are transparent.
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Oh right - you mean he can destroy the house in order to save the house ?
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On Wed, 10 Dec 2003 10:55:46 +0000, Andy Turner

A much easier solution would be to calculate the heatlosses using either a table of U values or a program from one of the radiator manufacturers such as Barlo or Myson. Myson's web site is under reconstruction, but I can email you a copy of their program if you want it.
Essentially, you measure each surface in metres, look up the U value for the type of material and multiply by the temperature difference across it to determine the heat loss in watts. The programs do this arithmetic for you and add the results.
In most houses, the walls and the windows are responsible for the largest heat loss assuming that you have at least some insulation in the loft. Are the walls solid brick or with a cavity? Are they insulated?
It's also important to check into drafts and reduce them if they are a problem. However, don't try to hermetically seal the place. If the walls and windows are big losers of heat then you will create a condensation problem.
.andy
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Andy Hall wrote:

An even easier solution is to go round the house touching all the surfaces. The ones that feel cold are leaking heat fast.
If there are any draughts, tackle those before anything else.
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You can do heat transfer calcs using a code such as FLHE and large tables of conductivity, heat-capacity-at-constant-pressure and density, together with heat transfer coefficients calculated using Stanton numbers.
It's not as much fun as it sounds.
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