World’s Cheapest And Possibly Worst IR Camera

Don’t blame us for the title. [CCrome] admits it may well be the cheapest and worst IR camera available. The concept is surprisingly simple. Mount a cheap Harbor Freight non-contact thermometer on a 3D printer carriage and use it to scan the target. The design files are available on GitHub.

There is, of course, an Arduino to grab the data and send it to the PC. Some Python code takes care of converting it into an image.

Perhaps you don’t need a camera, but having a way to communicate with an $11 IR temperature sensor might come in handy someday. You do have to mash the measurement button down, so [CCrome] used the 3D printer to make a clamp for the button that also holds the POGO pins to the PCB. We would have been tempted to solder across the switch and also solder the wires to the pad. But, then again, you need a 3D printer for the project anyway.

Don’t expect the results you would get from a real thermal sensor. If you want that, you may have to build it yourself or open your wallet wide. If you need some inspiration for a use case, look at the thermal camera contest from a few years back.

A Visual Infrared Thermometer That Runs Off Your Laptop

A common measurement for circuits is heat dissipation inspection. While single point thermometers do the trick, they can be quite annoying to use. Meanwhile, a thermal imaging camera is often out of the budget for hobbyists. How about building your own visual thermometer for cheap? That’s what [Thomas Fischl] decided to do, using an infrared thermal sensor array (MLX90640) connected through a PIC16LF1455 to a host computer. The computer handles the temperature calculation and visualization of hot spots, gathered from data collected by the IR pixel.

The interface board, USB2FIR, has full access to MLX90640 memory and can handle bulk transfer for faster data transmission of the raw sensor data collected by the pixel. A USB driver is needed to access the board – once the data is fetched, the visualizations can be created from a Matplotlib and TKinter GUI showing frame data and a real time heat map with minimum, maximum, and central temperature.

The hardware isn’t complicated, since the board relies on several ICs for processing the sensor data and immediately sends over the data to be processed externally. With some modifications – a 3D-printed enclosure, for instance – this can easily be made into a discreet tool for heat detection.

Make Your Own Infrared Camera On The Cheap!

This is a super fun hack that’s been around for ages — but now with cheap full 1080P HD camera availability, it’s probably a good time to make your own infrared camera!

It’s actually a very easy modification to perform. All cameras are capable of “seeing” infrared light, but for standard photography and video, you don’t want to see the infrared light. So most sensors just have an infrared filter in front of the sensor, to block out any excess infrared light.┬áIf you remove it … you have a converted infrared camera.

The following video shows exactly how to modify a camera to do this. It is a bit misleading though as it labels it as a thermal camera; and while it is seeing “infrared”, it’s not actually full thermal infrared, like a FLIR or Seek Thermal can see — it’s a mixture of visible and near infrared light. You will be able to see some hot things glowing through the camera, but not to the same degree as a real thermal imaging device. Continue reading “Make Your Own Infrared Camera On The Cheap!”