01 February 2018 - Infra Red camera comparison

It is great to have a decent infra-red camera to do 'proper' thermal imaging surveys (and it would be nicer to have a selection), but these cameras are expensive and therefore if not specifically doing an infra-red survey we tend not to bring it to other survey and test types.

But it would be nice to have one to hand. Therefore, we bought a CAT S60 phone with inbuilt basic flir camera. That was nice, but didn't quite fit all the things we would have like from even a simple camera. So we bought the Seek Reveal Pro also!

Below are what we have found to be some of the pro's and con's of these cheaper but still handy cameras - a mini review of the CAT S60 and SEEK Reveal Pro.

  CAT S60 SEEK Reveal Pro 'Good Cameras'
Price €600 to €700 €600 to €700 Probably over €5000 for 'good cameras'
Resolution 60x80 320x240 ✔ Min 320x240
Visible image Yes, takes a visible image at the same time, can be accessed using the flir tools. ✔
Careful - the resolution is poor.
none May or may not, depending on the model
Software Works with Flir tools, so quite good ✔ None - the pic you take is the pic you have, as a png, not modifiable
Start up Reasonable - but if you have a pin on your phone, you need to unlock, start flir... might take 20secs to get the first image. You may even have had the device off, as we often do, to conserve battery, so that adds about 30 seconds start-up. And if you were rushing you may have pressed a different icon than the flir icon Even from dead start, image can be taken in just about 5-6 seconds ✔
General Notes Really wanted to get this as a back up to not just the main camera but also as a phone, if it was ever needed. Have not used the other functions, it is basically a hardy but otherwise middle of the road android smart phone. The visible image camera is mediocre. Some more points:
  • As noted the start up time is slow.
  • Battery life is poor - not using a smart phone generally, am shcked that even if turned off for 3 or four days it needs a recharge - and this is using no functions
  • Sometimes, the IR camera seems to get stuck to 'on' even though it looks 'off' and becomes very hot in the pocket, also using a lot of battery in the process
  • The msx is great - but it can fool you! For example, items outside of the window may look like they are in your scope of view, but of course, they are not, so the image can be confusing. Also, the images can get quit eout of alignment
  • The automatic temerpature range/span adjustment is not great, and even if you try to freeze it, it cause then the screen to start hopping.
  • On the other hand, even if not radiometric, the video and panoramic functions are nice to have ✔
This device just feels really good in the hand. The face-up screen is very handy, and the LED torch on it is absolutley excellent, and continues to work even if the power has drained too much for the camera to operate. Some other points:
  • Start up time is good ✔
  • Can set the temperature range/span to change automatically (which we don't like) to change automatically on a button press (works well) or totally manually (which we prefer on the good camera, but on this it is actually too fiddly to be doing regularly) ✔
  • Disappointed by no software available, but on the other hand, the png image format allows the images to be blown up and still look fairly well
  • The temperature readings are way out, even on just buildings they may be more than 10c out - but the patterns on the screen are pretty good and match the 'good' camera reasonably well.

Below are some direct comparison images with our 'good' camera at its standard 320x240 resolution, and the SEEK Reveal Pro, and the CAT S60 set to 320x240. See what you think yourself. The visible images are those taken with the CAT S60 at the same time as the thermal image for that camera.

  Impac Thermotracer 7700 SEEK Reveal Pro CAT S60
house from outside, vis camera on flir CAT S60 house from outside, impac camera house from outside, SEEK Reveal Pro camera house from outside, flir camera on CAT S60
stainless steel kettle with see through window and label, vis camera on flir CAT S60 stainless steel kettle with see through window and label, impac camera stainless steel kettle with see through window and label, SEEK Reveal Pro camera stainless steel kettle with see through window and label, flir camera on CAT S60
items on top of a radiator, vis camera on flir CAT S60 items on top of a radiator, Impac camera items on top of a radiator, SEEK Reveal Pro camera items on top of a radiator, flir camera on CAT S60

30 January 2018 - 2017 in Airtightness

Just for interest: the best and worst tests of the year in 2017. Unlike the other years, I will add a bit of context here.

Best Air Permeability test Worst Air Permeability tested

New build

Worst Air Permeability tested


1 0.29 (twice) 34.26 15.56
2 0.31 (4 times) 7.94 14.13
3 0.32 (twice) 5.94 13.57
Notes 1 - both semi-d spec build timber frame house
2 - 2 semi D spec build timber frame,
1 timber frame self build
1 block built, wet plastered self build
3 - both semi-d spec build timber frame house
1 - office building (roof not properly sealed)
2 - Penthouse apartment
3 - Infill site, block build
1 - block built house, ca year 2000
2 - extensive renovation of ca 1960's house,
preliminary as works underway
3 - timber frame - ca year 2010

The readings are in m3/hr.m2.


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Airtightness testing - IS EN9972:2015 Certified Member of the Irish Passive House Association

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