First Mate MS thermal camera, FLIR does it again!

Ben Ellison

Ben Ellison

Panbo editor, publisher & chief bottlewasher from 4/2005 until 8/2018, and now pleased to have Ben Stein as a very able publisher, webmaster, and editing colleague. Please don't regard him as an "expert"; he's getting quite old and thinks that "fadiddling fumble-putz" is a more accurate description.

9 Responses

  1. Sandy Daugherty says:

    My wallet is starting to wiggle.

  2. John - gCaptain says:

    I just completed a test of the older version for the gCaptain audience and what struck me most was the high number of “other” uses for this camera. From detecting a leak in my boat’s refrigerator insulation to monitoring the heat dissipation in my exhaust and the battery terminals that needed cleaning. On ships we use similar systems to find missing people during smoke infested fires and, although not rated for this, I’m sure it would work for this (and many other!) purposes.
    Which leads me to the question… what other uses have your readers found for thermal imagers?

  3. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Excellent point, John, and one I meant to make. FLIR is pretty shy about making claims for the First Mates as thermographic cameras, probably because they make ones with tighter focal lengths and the ability to display actual temperatures.
    But I think you’re quite right that these cams can be at least somewhat helpful in numerous ways. Last year I found a marina mate playing with his new First Mate and I aimed it at the cabin sole over Gizmo’s recently run diesel. At about 10 feet away it was not in sharp focus but I could definitely see the heat coming up between the heavily insulated access panels, especially where the gasketing has gone bad.
    I’m pretty sure that camera would do a pretty good job of detecting heat leaks in my house if only I had during colder weather. I will try some further experiments with onboard temperature stuff before I return the test pair.

  4. Russ says:

    Moore’s Law strikes again.

  5. Doug says:

    Ben – I love the idea of this (night thermal vision) but even at $2,000 this is pretty pricy stuff. What are you seeing in the move to more of the John / Jane Boater affordable level? I have a really nice pair of stabalized binoculars but I had to pause before I spent the $1000+, and those are argueably more likely to be used on a regular basis than the Flir gear.

  6. John - gCaptain says:

    I actually did just that last week. No need for colder weather you just need a 10 degree temperature differential… so I waited till night and turned my heater on a bit. I could clearly see not only the places that need to be better insulated but I also could see the beams behind my drywall. My wife was puzzled why I was hanging her mirror at 10pm (I should have just marked the spot rather than banging a nail that late) but was thrilled that I finally got it up. Worked much better than a stud finder!

  7. Pete says:

    I had a building inspector meeting the other day for another house we are purchasing. He had what he claims to be a $30,000 handheld thermal camera and I had a quick go with it. It definitely showed the beams behind drywall, fresh fingerprints on the walls etc. I doubt he needed to spend 30K on the camera but thermal does have other uses for sure.

  8. Dan Corcoran (b393capt) says:

    I only had my hands on this for 5 minutes, but I was impressed. It’s light weight, very well balanced in the hand, the view finder is very comfortable.

  9. ronald says:

    my firstmate ms thermal camera shows animals as a bright light in faded grass. where trees rocks cement appear as white also. as in the ocean dont show to much thermal imaging with people in the water. does show heat on walls and well long story. but yes thermal ms is better cause you can recharge the battery to laptop only. the other thermal cams kill batteries quickly.

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