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Author Topic: Uses for non-contact laser thermometers  (Read 3724 times)
K0OD
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Posts: 2557




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« on: September 11, 2010, 11:58:14 AM »

Our local Harbor Freight is advertising "Non-Contact Laser Thermometers" for just $25.99. Offhand I'd think just about everyone, not just hams, should have one at that price.

Last time I thought about those was when the Fire Department responded to our call about a smoke smell at our business. They waved a similar gizmo around and found the source almost instantly: an overheated florescent light ballast in a fixture about 12 feet above floor level. Really neat! Fireman told me the price of theirs... several thousand dollars. That was about 10 years ago.

There's got to be a bazillion uses for one around the shack and elsewhere to spot dangerously over heated devices.   I presume they'd work on wall outlets for example. Do you own one? What do you use it for?

----
BTW, one online source claims these devices can be "a valuable tool for paranormal investigating."  HA!
 


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KD4LLA
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« Reply #1 on: September 11, 2010, 12:16:58 PM »

Have used them at work to find hot bearings, non-functional heating bands, hot electric motors, etc.  Now that the price has dropped I also would say these tools are indispensable around the home too.
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AC5UP
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« Reply #2 on: September 11, 2010, 12:20:35 PM »

BTW, one online source claims these devices can be "a valuable tool for paranormal investigating."  HA!

Paranormal legend & lore says that if you feel a chill move through a room or if you enter a room that's noticeably cooler than the others for no logical reason... It may indicate the presence of an entity.

Which then begs the question, is the perceived change in temperature real or a phenomenon? Some sources claim there are sensitives among us who pick up on things like that more readily than the average person which would tend to confirm it's not a physical temperature change. Otherwise a handful of cheap thermometers placed around a room could show where an entity likes to park their dead keester and give some validity to the laser thermometer as a paranormal investigative tool.

Look... There's a cold spot in front of the FT-101E... Might something be considering a contact with W6RO Huh
 
(W6RO is the call for the Queen Mary in Long Beach, CA. The ship is supposed to be very, very haunted)
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KV1E
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« Reply #3 on: September 11, 2010, 05:04:48 PM »

I was also tempted by that Habor Freight ad.  I don't know enough about them to choose one wisely.  The Harbor Frieght one gave the aspect ratio and it seemed rather large to me  (8:1 or something like that).  Is that ratio about standard?  I guess it would be good for large areas but maybe not finding an overheated component on a circuit board.
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KE3WD
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« Reply #4 on: September 11, 2010, 05:20:47 PM »

I guess it would be good for large areas but maybe not finding an overheated component on a circuit board.

A DMM with a K type pinpoint thermocouple probe. 

Can locate a single hot component, even on a Surface Mount board. 

And, yes, indeedy, too much heat can often be a good sign of where to pay attention when troubleshooting electronics, especially during the initial "Triage" phase.  I use it every day, just after the close visual examination.  Then I'll use my fingers, carefully, feeling for a hot IC or the likes, but sometimes it takes the temperature probe.  Because it pays off benefits in less time. 

I'd rather doubt that this laser device would be as much use for the purpose, save that for the room-sized needs and the like. 

As for the paranormal whatevers, have fun! 

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KC8OYE
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« Reply #5 on: September 11, 2010, 11:28:46 PM »

I use one with my car to identify cylinders that aren't firing properly..
(lean cylinders are hot, rich cylinders are cold, dead cylinders are REALLY cold)

i have tube headers so it's easy to check each of the 8 Smiley
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KC2MWJ
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« Reply #6 on: September 12, 2010, 05:56:40 AM »

  Whenever we had electrical inspections at work, the inspectors would used these, to check circuit breakers, in our panels. I guess they were looking for hot spots. I would also use one of these, to measure processor heat sink temps, and server cabinet temperatures. Another use is for checking wheel bearing temps on my boat trailer, or AC temps at home or in my car.  I have one of these Harbor Freight models. Bought it 6 years ago, and it's still going strong. I love it.
« Last Edit: September 12, 2010, 05:58:43 AM by Tony Scrivani » Logged
N4NYY
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« Reply #7 on: September 12, 2010, 06:25:45 AM »

I should kick myself in the ass. I settled for a DMM with thermocouple several years ago, because price for the DMM with laser was high.
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K9WJL
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« Reply #8 on: September 12, 2010, 12:35:22 PM »

Ive got one at work, It's a Raytek I believe and its valuable for alot of things. I've used it for finding drafts and cold spots in the house, Checking suspect overloaded AC wiring and extension cords.
 You have to be careful what you measure though... It's not really good for shiny steel, painted steel is ok. Different materials reflect IR light differently.

73
Bill K9WJL
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AA4PB
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« Reply #9 on: September 12, 2010, 12:52:54 PM »

Good for checking heat sink temperatures to make sure your design is correct. Both of mine put a red dot on the point where the temperature is being read so you can aim it correctly.
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M0BOL
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« Reply #10 on: September 12, 2010, 01:48:45 PM »

Interesting gadget! I wonder if one of these could be used to measure the temperature of a tube plate through the glass envelope?

73 Rob M0BOL
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AC5E
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« Reply #11 on: September 12, 2010, 01:53:09 PM »

Once you have one, they are about as handy as a pocket in a shirt. I have used mine for many odd things such as checking coax loss - lossy coax gets warm, and SWR - high standing waves will result in hot spots. And checking wire wound resistors without burning my fingers, etc., etc..

Is that pot boiling? Check it! Is the car's water temperature too high? Check the upper radiator tank's outside surface. Thermostat not opening? Measure the hose temperature as the car warms up. Etc., etc., etc..

One caution - most glass is infra red absorptive, so don't try to measure through glass.

73  Pete Allen
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K9MRD
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« Reply #12 on: September 12, 2010, 07:17:38 PM »

I have seen them used to check the temp of 807's in a cooler. Smiley
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WA3SKN
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« Reply #13 on: September 13, 2010, 06:00:59 AM »

The lazer is for sighting.  And the absolute accuracy is about +/- 5 degrees F.  They are great for checking for hot spots and such, and are a useful tool.  Exact measurements require more accuracy.
Good price, though!
73s.

-Mike.
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KG6WLS
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Posts: 507




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« Reply #14 on: September 13, 2010, 06:40:56 AM »

Here at my shop we use a Fluke infrared thermometer for quick checks on our electrical distribution during PM (preventative maintenance) actions. When we really get serious and want to provide actual data we use our Fluke Ti25 thermal imaging camera. This unit is a little pricey, but it's not a toy either.  Wink

73
KG6WLS
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