Thursday, January 21, 2021

infrared camera

INDEX to the series

In my never ending quest to reduce household energy use, I have added a Hti-Xintai HT-18 Thermal Imaging Camera to let me see HEAT.

My first day reaction - it's VERY COOL.

I can now see an accurate temperature image from a distance on a small handheld display. But not thru glass.

In this picture, I am looking at an inside wall and noticing gaps in the insulation.

A whole new infrared world has opened for me.

This is my wood stove at moderate heat in the infrared (IR, below visible light).

The WHITE marker at the image center (126.2C) shows the temperature at that point. The value is also shown in the upper left. The measurement point is on the door, just off the window, where I happen to have pointed the HT-18 when I pulled the trigger to take the picture. This is the center of the instrument.

The RED marker above and to the left of center (145.7C) is the warmest point on the image. That value is also shown on the bottom line as MAX.

The GREEN marker at the top left is the COOLEST point on the image (14.2C). Also shown on the bottom line as MIN. The MIN is near the bottom edge of a window so it would be cooler.

When watching the HT-18 live, the red and the green markers move around on the screen as conditions change. They can be turned off since they can be distracting.

The bottom line can also be turned off.

Bottom right is the time of day.

At top center right is the emissivity setting. The default is 0.95.

Top right is the battery condition. I have been getting several hours at least on a battery charge.

Interesting about the wood stove is the camera's inability to see through the glass in the stove door to the very much hotter embers of the fire inside the stove. This is related to the emissivity of the glass. Smooth shiny surfaces do not emit well. 

It is fun wandering around the house with this.

HT-18 has two cameras, one "sees" normal light, the other infrared (IR).

It is possible to see (and take pictures of) visible, IR or varying overlaps of the two on the built in display.

In this pic, I have shown the visible image of my gas furnace on the left and the IR image on the right as two separate pictures taken one after the other. The furnace has just finished operating.

The scale at the right shows the colour code from white (HOTTEST) to black (COOLEST).

HT-18 has 5 different color code scales, selected in the menu, two are B&W (no colour).

This GFI outlet upstairs has nothing plugged into it. It has no load yet it is slightly warm!

This is normal.

The tiny circuit which operates the GFI sensing consumes electricity and warms up.

When I put my hand on the outlet, it was barely warm. I don't think I would have detected it with my hand.

HT-18 was able to see the difference easily!

This is my electric water heater.

I have been wanting to add a blanket. Now I can see why I should.






The ceiling on second floor which has roof on the other side. Outside temperature is around freezing.

This is the HT-18 IR view with the colour code changed to white is cool and black is warm.

I can see the rafters and some of the nails.

Some gaps in the patchy (70 year old?) insulation show as white blobs.

Another part of the second floor ceiling.

I had previously identified this spot with a laser pointer temperature meter and marked spots with tape.

The insulation shows gaps (white blobs) clearly in the HT-18 IR image.

Interestingly, I had added the tape in mid summer, when the roof temperature outside was 60C. This spot was abnormally warmer than most of the ceiling, measuring with a spot beam thermometer. Much easier to see what is going on with HT-18.

A pic of my house from outside at night.

Notice how the basement is the warmest part of the house from outside.

This is probably not good.

This is one of my exterior doors from inside. Temp is -15C outside. I had thought this door was pretty tight. The door looks ok in visible light on the left.

Viewed with IR on the right with white cooler, black warmer mode reveals some problems.

The leaks at the bottom of the door are obvious.

Also the inside structure of the door is visible. This is a cheap hollow door and has cardboard strips glued inside to give the veneer panel some strength. The strips are clearly visible. This door is not a very good insulator.

Just above the waste basket is an electrical outlet which is glowing white. A light switch above it also glows white showing a cold leak.

I have much to learn. This is not a detailed review but a collection of first impressions and images as I learn. I am impressed so far. I think HT-18 will be very useful.

As a footnote, I have another Hti-Xintai instrument, HT-2000 CO2 meter which continues to give good service. I am a satisfied paying customer not a paid reviewer. Web ordering on Hti website, via Amazon or Banggood.

Thanks for your interest.

George Plhak
Lions Head, Ontario, Canada

INDEX to the series

Sunday, March 15, 2020

freezer 3

INDEX to the series

A beautiful sub-zero sunny day.

A perfect day to stack all the frozen food outside while I defrost my freezer.

I'll save a bit of energy and reduce future ice buildup by checking the seal and door hinge adjustment. Easy to do.

Also a good time to inventory what I have on hand and check expiry dates/condition. And clean up a bit of raspberry juice.

The ice build up is all on one end of the freezer. I can see a finger of ice reaching up to where the moist room air has been entering the freezer.

Likely the hinge on the left side of the freezer is a bit too high.

[click any pic to enlarge]

The two hinges hide under plastic covers that snap off if pried gently.

Mine has four Philips head screws holding each hinge.

With the door/cover in the down position, I carefully loosen all eight screws about 1 turn counter clockwise. Because the screws are in slots, the cover is free to move up and down slightly. I could lift the cover off completely if I wanted to.

Instead, I lift each corner slightly and press down slightly to ensure that the cover is sitting evenly all the way around.

The hinges hold the cover securely but should not hold it UP or DOWN from its normal level seated closed position.

Now that I have it in that position, I carefully tighten all the screws alternating between the hinges - one screw on one hinge, the same screw on the other hinge, then the next screw on the first hinge etc.

The final step is to check all around the cover with a piece of paper to ensure that the paper is gripped firmly when the cover is closed.

I did this paper seal test before hinge adjustment and it was apparent to me that the paper was not held well on the left end of the cover. It is now.

Another sign of good freezer health is the vacuum that results when the door is freshly closed. When I open and close the cover now it snaps shut and holds tight. The warm room air trapped in the freezer cools and shrinks. Difficult to open for a few minutes! It did not do that before, at least not like it does now! All good.

While empty, I carefully cleaned and disinfected the seal and door. Some slight mold spots were removed.

The freezer is chilling and will be refilled with sorted frozen food in a couple of hours, kept frozen outside.

I will try to "read" the frost buildup over the next few months to see if I have reduced the seal leak.

Thanks for your interest

George Plhak
Lions Head Ontario Canada

Update June 6, 2020

Ice buildup has started around the left hinge but does not seem to be very severe.

At the right side, there is almost no ice.

INDEX to the series

Thursday, March 12, 2020

fixing led string lights 2

Addendum to fixing led string lights.

An example of fuses in a string. Two of the tiny 10mm 3A fuses down in a recess in the plug.

[click any pics to enlarge]

I found it helpful to use a small flat screw driver to push open the tiny cover.

Tiny fast blow 3.0 amp 10mm fuses. You can buy them at Amazon in a larger lot for about 50 cents each. Beautiful laser engraved printing on one end cap.

I've had a chance to look carefully at two strings of more recent (2018 manufacture) from the same company. One has 25 C9 bulbs (top) while the other has 35 C6 bulbs (bottom).

There are significant changes in the strings to what I described previously.

I am sorry to say that the LEDs on both newer strings are NOT REPLACEABLE. I highlighted the corrosion that appeared in the ones I looked at earlier. Apparently the manufacturer has done away with "repair-ability".

Fuses protect from overloads if the user, for example, plugs too many strings together in series. Only the C9 string has fuses in the plug, the C6 string does not. The C9 string came with two spare fuses in a small baggy taped to the plug. Two fuses protect both the line and the neutral since the plug and socket are not polarized.

If either of the two fuses is blown (open circuit) the LED string will not light, nor will another string plugged into it at either the end socket or the feed through socket on the back of the plug. Both are fed by the fuses.

The bulb assemblies of both are masterpieces of precision injection molding. These will not come apart without damage. Probably water tight except for the plug and socket.

The same 3 wire arrangement is used on both newer strings. Two conductors go from plug to socket to carry the line circuit to the next string. The LEDs in the string are all in the third line, down the center if you will. At the plug end, the LEDs connect to the fuse side of the line. At the socket end, the LED string connects to the neutral. Actually, the plug and socket are not polarized, so there is no line and neutral in that sense, but there really is!

There is no canister containing extra parts like resistors or blocking diodes in the newer strings.

Except for the two LEDs nearest the ends, all LEDs have two wires out the bottom. All are in a series string. There is no physical indication of polarity (cathode/anode) on the outside of the bulb assembly, so if you are going to be cutting them out of the string, you'd better mark for orientation or be prepared to test for polarity later.

The end LEDs have three wires coming out the bottom. On each, two of the wires are connected together and to one side of the LED. The third wire is to the rest of the string. The C9 bulb string is pictured.

It is worth noting that at each end, it is the center conductor of the 3 wire LED base that goes to the socket or plug.

Thanks for your interest

George Plhak
Lions Head Ontario Canada

This is an addendum to fixing led string lights.