Infrared Training Center

Friday, August 19, 2016

Why Covers are Removed for IR Surveys

By Lawrence H. Ulmer, IV
FXB Engineering

The attached images are from survey at a typical multi-tenant office building.  No visible signs of a problem on this panel with cover on and door open.  This is why we remove covers during IR surveys.

(3) identical 70A breakers feeding RTU’s
Breaker at top looked normal for no load. Slight heat differential between the two phases but nothing significant.

Breaker in middle was showing heat rise on conductors typical of load, but no measurable load on meter.  This is a result from heat building up in the breaker.

Breaker on bottom had even load on conductors, but (1) conductor significantly hotter than the other.  Either a termination issue or the breaker is failing internally (or both).

E.C. touched conductor while getting load, arcing started to appear behind middle breaker.
You can see where the arcing was occurring on the other images where the breaker bolted to bus.   Looks like a bright copper weld spot surrounding by carbon deposits.

We left the room, called the property manager to get approval to de-energize the circuit and remove the breakers.   They lost the operation of (1) HVAC unit and can now schedule repair.

This was old federal pacific equipment that has been poorly maintained.   If left unaddressed they would have lost at a minimum the entire panel if the breaker feeding it operated properly.  Most likely increased physical damage to other breakers in the panel and a fault condition that could have tripped a breaker upstream somewhere dropping more load.     This panel also just so happened to be sitting directly above the desk of the facility maintenance personnel, less than 3’ from where his head would be while sitting at the desk.  Code violation but common occurrence in old buildings.

This incident being detected early just saved the management company thousands of dollars (possibly >$10k)  and potentially prevented personal injury (+$50k easy in insurance deductible).

Editor: Lawrence earns 6 ITC certification renewal credits for his story.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Traveling? Bring Extra Towels (and an Infrared Camera Too)

Ron Lucier, ASNT NDT Level III – TIR
Sr. Instructor – ITC

Time to call Housekeeping and ask for more towels.
For much of the year ITC instructors are on the road running certification classes at a variety of locations, including a number of onsite courses that are less expensive and more convenient for customers.  We look forward to these trips as there are many fun and interesting places to go and teach.  The hotels where we stay for these types of classes, however, can sometimes deliver unexpected surprises as happened to me recently at an onsite course in central Pennsylvania.

When I made my reservation it was with a major chain and within a mile of the customer site – perfect!  No traffic jams to deal with and a shopping center with restaurants a mile away.  It was expensive, but this is summer and with a major amusement park 20 miles away, and in the middle of Penn Dutch country, well, best to grin and bear it!

I drove from Central Massachusetts arriving just before a huge thunderstorm.  I wasn’t in my first floor room for more than 5 minutes when the rain suddenly hit, hard!  It was during this torrential downpour that I began to hear something rather odd – water dripping.  Looking around the room the source of the noise was the window and it wasn’t simply dripping – it was pouring in right near the air conditioner!  I shut the unit off because I know electricity and water probably shouldn’t mix.  I immediately called the Front Desk and was told Maintenance would be around soon.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Online FLIR MR160 and MR176 Operation Course Released

This course will acquaint users with the FLIR MR160 and MR176 Infrared Guided Moisture Meters with basic operation and use.

  • Learn how to operate the  FLIR MR160 and MR175
  • Identify areas of possible moisture intrusion
  • Use the moisture meter to quantify the extent of intrusion
  • Gain basic understanding of how environment measurements aid actions
Course Home Page

Thursday, April 14, 2016

New Buildings Lab Coming to ITC's Boston-Regional Training Center

Matt Schwoegler, ITC

About a month ago I received a call from our Marketing department asking if we’d be interested in taking on a table-top trade show display that they were no longer using and were willing to donate.  I immediately said yes (free stuff = good…potentially valuable free stuff = better).  Sure, absolutely, please send it over!

Although I didn’t know exactly what we wanted to do with it at the time, there’s some real estate available to work with in the classroom.  My initial thought was we could create some type of educational display/exhibit.  I figured worst case we simply dispose of it and call it a day.  Low risk, right?  And how big could it possibly be?  I’ve worked with many “table top” displays over the years at trade shows.  They pack nicely, are relatively small, and fairly easy to ship.

Not this one.

What arrived was practically the size of a small car, made of solid wood, weighed several hundred pounds and was essentially indestructible.  I’d later find out, with great difficulty during some demolition, that it was held together with hundreds of professional-grade construction staples and what seemed like a vat of industrial strength glue.  Bottom line, if a tornado was ever going to hit the building, this is where you’d want to go.

Long story short, we decided to keep the display contained within, but what to do with our new makeshift fallout shelter that was suddenly gracing the classroom with its warehouse aesthetics?  That’s where my colleague, and fellow ITC instructor, Ron Lucier comes in to the story.  He had just wrapped up a class when this shipping container came rolling down the hallway from Receiving.

His suggestion: “How about a buildings lab?”

Yes! It was the perfect size and we had plenty of space.  All that we needed was some customizing.  So off I went to Lowe’s for supplies and the rest came together over about a day and half at my home workshop.  A nice change from teaching and a chance to create something that thermographers visiting our Boston-regional training center will enjoy for some time.

So for now phase one is complete.  Up next, adding insulation and a heat source.  At the very least looks like we might get to test it next week during a Level I certification course that’s in town.   I’ll let you know how it goes and will be sure to send an update.  And if we find anything wrong, hey at least I personally know the builder.

Check out more images below...

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

InfraMation 2016 Keynote Presentation: Corbett Lunsford

The Infrared Training Center is pleased to announce that Corbett Lunsford will be leading a keynote presentation on Wednesday, September 28 at InfraMation 2016 in Las Vegas.

Corbett is the co-host of the 2016 TV show ‘Home Diagnosis’ and Proof Is Possible US Tour and the author of the book ‘Home Performance Diagnostics’. He founded the Building Performance Workshop in 2008 to help homeowners prove they got what they paid for, and to help building pros prove they do better work than the competition. 

He can be heard interviewing the cream of the construction industry on the Building Performance Podcast at and seen demonstrating that Proof Is Possible with home performance testing in over a hundred YouTube videos on his channel

InfraMation 2016, the leading IR training experience, will be held in Las Vegas, Nevada, at the Rio All-Suite Las Vegas Hotel and Casino September 27-29, 2016, with a pre-conference training day on September 26. Join other thermal imaging experts from around the world to learn the latest infrared imaging techniques and applications while making valuable connections.  Learn more and register online at

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Why Would I Need a Mid-Wave Infrared Camera?

We are often asked this question in our infrared certification classes.  There are a number of important detect certain gasses including methane, to better measure the temperature of glass (it has a high emissivity, >.90 in MWIR) and to minimize reflections when inspecting certain low-slope roof membranes.

It also allows us to successfully inspect inside a furnace because mid-wave cameras can see clearly through flame at specific mid-IR wavelengths, something that a long-wave imaging system does not provide due to the radiation transmission properties of fire.  This capability improves the accuracy of temperature readings and allows for better analysis of thermal patterns when evaluating the efficiency of burners, capturing the temperatures of tubes or detecting the build-up of coking.

Check out this short video clip from last year's InfraMation conference which nicely demonstrates the transmission differences between long-wave and mid-wave cameras when inspecting furnace tubes:

The presenter, Andy Whitcher, is actually returning to this year's conference in Las Vegas to speak about Optical Gas Imaging this time around.  More on that in another post.  For now, enjoy this video and then make plans to join us at the Rio Las Vegas in September for InfraMation2016; the industry’s largest thermal imaging applications and networking conference.  I hope to see you there! 

Thursday, February 18, 2016

InfraMation Abstract Submission Date extended to March 1, 2016

Interested parties still have the opportunity to be considered for a presentation at the premier learning event for infrared thermographers. See the Call for Papers web page for all the details and significant discounts on the conference.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Inspecting Solar Panels with UAVs

New video to show you featuring a FLIR thermal imager mounted on a UAV inspecting solar panels for damage.

This application of infrared thermography has come a long way and now, with a new aerial perspective, is an extremely efficient tool for maintenance and quality assurance inspections of solar systems. In contrast to time consuming traditional methods, large solar installations can now be inspected quickly from the right distance and view point.

Even with these advancements in the technology, however, a thermal imager still does not have the ability to detect problems on its own – you still need a qualified operator with the right knowledge and skills to use it properly.

That’s where ITC can help with training and certification! Check out our website for a complete list of course locations and dates now available through September 2016.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Throwback Thursday – Thermovision 680 Medical

Check these pictures out for #TBT; a Thermovision 680 Liquid Nitrogen cooled system circa 1968 that was utilized for medical applications.

Originally manufactured by AGA Infrared Systems of Sweden, the camera had interchangeable lenses and a Polaroid camera attachment that was used to capture the infrared images shown on a display unit (not seen here) as there was no on-board file storage.

The "Short Wave" model used a single InSb (Indium Antimonide) detector while the Long Wave version featured a HgCdTe (Mercury Cadmium Telluride) detector.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

New Live Webcasts and On-Demand Webinars

Learn the basics before getting certified with free live webcasts and on-demand webinars from ITC! Topics now scheduled into January 2016 that provide a valuable overview of thermal imaging and its many applications.  

Learn more and register here, plus get access to 20 on-demand webinars that are free and available for viewing any time: 

Besides US-based live webcasts and on-demand webinars, ITC also offers European-based sessions with more convenient times for those attending internationally:

Live Webcasts - North American Broadcast Schedule
November - January

FLIR Tools Software Basics
Friday, November 6

FLIR Tools+ Advanced

Friday, November 6

Introduction to IR for Building Systems
Friday, November 13

Introduction to IR for Electrical Applications

Tuesday, November 24

Hands-On Operation of Your FLIR Thermal Imager

Friday, December 11

Building Moisture Inspection Basics

Friday, December 18

Overview of IR Optical Gas Imaging Webinar

Monday, December 21

Infrared Thermography Basics
Wednesday, December 30

Thermographer Q&A: Capturing Great Thermal Images

Friday, January 8, 2016