Message Board Thread - "Calibration"

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Calibration VibTech 5/11/2006
We have a Flir ThermaCam E65. How important is it to have it calibrated every year. Flir wants 1250 bucks to calibrate it. My superiors were not very happy when they found this out. It's pretty bad to shell out 15,000 bucks for a camera and they want another 1250 to calibrate it. We mostly use vibration data in our preventive maint. department and use the camera as a supplement. We were thinking about every 2-3 years to have it calibrated. What does everyone think? Would it be feasible to do that? Thanks for your input.
Re:Calibration jvoitl 5/11/2006
It depends on the use of the device. With electrical, a hot connection is a problem and the exact temperature is not too important. Likewise with building science, a cold air intrusion, roof leaks etc. can be seen. In these applications exact temperatures are not too important, but may give some indication as to the severity of the problem.
Using the camera for motors, gearboxes, bearings etc., or any other application where the data is trended over time, is a different story. When the indicated temperatures start varying, it's best to be sure it is a true temperature variance and not just the camera reading varying because the calibration is not current.
Calibration of any piece of test equipment, mechanical or electrical, is a fact of life. While still useful if not calibrated, to realize the best from your investment, recommended calibration should be preformed.
Re:Calibration mg 5/12/2006
You can easily do an in-house calibration. You basically monitor temperature of a hot plate with your IR camera and compare it with the data obtained from a calibrated thermocouple. If you are satisfied of the Temperature value you obtained than, there is no real need for an external calibration. It this way you end up sending the camera for external calibration only every 2 or 3 year, which reduces your downtime.
Re:Calibration ecruz 5/12/2006
What you need to buy is a blackbody furnace that is suitable for the temperature range you use your camera. There are some cheap ones in the market that are very reliable and accurate. All you need to do is compare your camera calibration to the blackbody furnace reading and see how much difference there is. Electronic components tend to drift over time, and if the drift is getting excessive, then it is probably time to have a factory calibration. My experience in the past is that I need a factory calibration just about every 21/2 to 3 years.
Re:Calibration Bob Berry 5/13/2006
"With electrical, a hot connection is a problem and the exact temperature is not too important."

I disagree with this statement, the temperature that copper begins to aneal at is very important when deciding on the action required for a repair as is the temperature that gassing occours in PCV.

That being said if your work is all qualitative as opposed to quantitative, calibration is irrelevant.

If however your work is quantitative, then temperature measurement is very important, and you will need calibration in order to ensure repeatabliity.

You should be performing calibration checks regularly on your camera anyway, I would'nt bother with the expense of a blackbody source to do this. I would recommend you use ice water and boiling water and a consistant, repeatable setup procedure.

In the end, your question was "How important is it to have it calibrated every year?" The only answer to this is, how important is temperature to you?
Re:Calibration jvoitl 5/15/2006
I stand by my statemnt that reading the exact temperature of electrical is not too important. I have my camera calibrated every year but still normally cannot tell the exact temperature when doing electrical. Hot spots on electrical equipment usually happen at terminations which are not insulated. The material being checked is some type of metal, copper, aluminum, silver plating etc. The emissivity of these metals could be all over the place depending on the metal itself, amount of oxidation, dust buildup etc. It would be quite risky to try and coat a live, hot, connection with paint or tape to improve the emissivity. Consequently I can get an idea of the severity of the problem, but not the exact temperature. On many of the hot connections I've found, the wire insulation an inch or two away looks hotter than the actual connection where the heat is being generated, due to the increased emissivity. When doing the repair work we check the condition of the metal, insulation etc.
Re:Calibration VibTech 5/16/2006
Thanks for the responses! I'll pass on your ideas.
Re:Calibration ns6ao 3/29/2010
Hi All,

I'm a new member to the IR Community and have recently started using our IR Camera for Predictive Maintenance.
We had our FLIR E45 ThermaCAM calibrated in April 2008. I really don't want to spend all that money every year or so. I'll be very thankful if someone can please send me a simple and cost-effective method and apparatus details to carry out in-house calibration? Since I'm a newbie, a detailed explanation will be greatly appreciated.
Many thanks in advance.

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