Alex Portillo gets all the diagnostic work at his repair shop, Car Clinic in Mahopac, NY. He has attended classes where the instructors used thermal imagers and has even got to use one of his friend’s in the past.
“Thermal imagers are great and all, but in the past they have sometimes made it really hard to see what you’re looking at,” says Portillo. “The VT02 changes all of that.”
When asked if anything could be improved on the tool, he replies, “Absolutely nothing. The tool works perfectly. I can see exactly what’s going on the car and yet see temperature in a clear picture.
“In the past it would be really hard for me to tell if there is a cooling or A/C system blockage in the radiator or expansion valve," says Portillo.
“If you understand what temperatures you should be looking at, this tool solves that problem.”
When asked how the Fluke VT02 was different than other thermal imagers he has previously used, he lists several features.
“First, you can actually see what’s going on,” reports Portillo. “Other thermal imagers I have used make it look like you’re the ‘predator’ from that Schwarzenegger movie. All you see are heat signatures. Just like the movie, if you only see in heat, it can be really tough to see what you are looking at and then the tool is not as useful.
“Second, it has a vivid color screen and it’s not in black and white like others Third, you can easily capture picture files with it. Fourth, the tool is affordable. I mean, just Google it. You can buy one of these without breaking the bank.”
When asked whether he could use a spot thermometer to do the same work, Portillo replies, “You can, but it’s harder. What are you really pointing at? What are you really seeing?”
Portillo compares the tool to another set of tools used in the shop: “The spot thermometer is the multimeter. The thermal imager is the labscope, so to say.”
Portillo also comments on the tool not being a “true” thermal imager. “I have heard that it is not really a thermal imager,” he comments. “The box calls it a ‘visual IR thermometer.’ To be honest, I don’t care about its scientific classification. It simply works and gives you a good image. I took a couple of screen shots of a parasitic draw. You can see which relay is on . I can instantly diagnose a car without an hour of testing that way. I don’t care what you call the tool scientifically; what it does is incredible.
“The tool is definitely a 10 out of 10,” Portillo says when asked to rate it. “It’s exactly as advertised and it’s made in a first-world country (U.K.). I expect it to be a quality tool for years to come.”
The Fluke VT02 Visual IR Thermometer, a troubleshooting camera with an infrared heat map, detects blockages in heater cores and cooling systems, helps diagnose electrical issues and determines failed bearing components quickly without the use of other tools. The tool combines the visual insight of a thermal imager, the visual images of a digital camera and the point-and-shoot convenience of an infrared (IR) thermometer. It can display and save images as full visual, full IR or in three blended modes, and comes with free Smartview software.