The FLIR ONE Pro helps technicians find invisible problems quickly, whether inspecting electrical panels, troubleshooting mechanical systems, looking for HVAC problems or finding water damage. This FLIR ONE Pro-Series camera offers 4x the native resolution of the FLIR ONE Pro LT, for sharper image clarity that's further enhanced by FLIR VividIR image processing. Measure temperatures more than 3x higher than any FLIR ONE model—up to 400°C (752°F)—with a sensitivity that detects temperature differences down to 70 mK. The FLIR ONE Pro is also packed with powerful measurement tools.
A technician has many tools at his or her disposal to help diagnose trouble areas. One new method that is gaining popularity is the use of thermal devices, due to their ability to get a read on heat signatures quickly and provide an accurate picture of the location in question.
Brandon Steckler is the lead diagnostic technician at Lykon Automotive in Bristol, Pennsylvania. Part of his job is providing diagnostic solutions and education to fellow service techs. He recently performed tests with the FLIR ONE Pro Thermal Camera to detect voltage drop and locate battery drain; he assessed the product’s speed and precision, as well as its value to techs.
Steckler notes the FLIR ONE Pro easily interfaced with his iPhone from the start.
“I have the accuracy that FLIR delivers, but in a pocket-size accessory to my phone,” he says. The device coupled directly to his phone, without the hassle of cords.
Steckler uses the compatible phone app to store still pics or a live video feed from the device on his phone. He can save content directly to his phone, or even to the cloud.
“I can instantly email, text … send Facebook messages, and share with whomever I choose, anywhere in the world with an internet connection. This feature makes documentation a snap and serves as an aid in delivering a diagnosis to a customer,” he says.
In his tests Steckler used the thermal device under a few different simulated scenarios, such as voltage-drop.
“Locating a compromised wire within a wire harness/vehicle can be a very challenging and time-consuming process. The FLIR makes quick work of it, though,” he says. Steckler explains that when an electrical current flows through a wire and faces restriction due to a poor connection or severed wire strands, a buildup of resistance occurs that obstructs current flow. This results in a buildup of heat around the compromised area.
“With the FLIR [I] simply had to energize the circuit and quickly locate the heat signature in the harness. This eliminates hours -- possibly days -- of work and allows for a more accurate estimate to be delivered to the customer.”
Steckler also used the infrared image to locate a parasitic battery drain.
“All computers use just a little bit of energy to maintain volatile memory (like radio station presets). It’s very normal for a vehicle to consume about .050 amps of electrical current to support all of the computer’s memory.” He goes on to say when vehicles consume more than this amount of current the battery can go dead in no time. Since today’s vehicles have more computers on their networks, pinpointing the source of these unwanted drains can prove difficult for technicians.
Says Steckler, “We [traditionally] begin by monitoring the systems for current flow with a meter and eliminate fuses one at a time until the drain goes away. That only tells us which branch of the vehicle’s circuitry the fault is located within. We then have to work our way downstream until we pinpoint the device itself. Simply pointing the FLIR towards the fuse box, the heat signature points to the fuse and research can be done to further develop a game plan without unnecessary disassembly.”
Finally, the experienced technician was impressed with how the FLIR thermal device provides a quick ‘pre and post’ repair comparison, which helps to verify the integrity of a repair.
Without question Steckler reports the FLIR ONE Pro is a valuable diagnostic tool in the shop, as it cuts down significantly on the time it takes to pinpoint trouble areas inside a vehicle. In addition, he found the connectivity capabilities of the device made documentation and documentation sharing a breeze. These benefits translate to increased value for both customer and shop.