Heat Seeker: Eyes in the Dark
The Seek Thermal imaging camera at first blush lives up to its name. You can see just about anything in the dark simply by taking advantage of thermal pixels to detect infrared light and measure temperatures. Sounds technical doesn’t it? But this little unit for Android and iOS simply latches to your smartphone and is easy and accurate when used. This camera lets the DIYers (do-it-yourselfers), contractors, or anyone for that matter view just about anything. For instance, users can spot variations in temperature, leaks, water damage, and electrical danger.
The Seek Thermal imaging camera for iPhone, which is the version I tested, is small, compact, but an extremely powerful camera that can take pictures and videos that take advantage of 32,136 thermal pixels to detect infrared light and measure temperatures. The heat seeker has a detection range from -40 to 330 degrees Celsius, but its uses seem to go on forever.
Opening the box, I retrieved the thermal camera, as well as a great carrying case to keep it protected to give it some bulk and less of a chance for me to lose it. Thanks to Seek Thermal, I can keep tabs on this device. No charging or other cables are needed, as it uses the battery from my iPhone to run.
What I found most appealing is this camera can be used for many things.
First, recognizing heat loss is an impressive feature. I was able to see places in my home that are releasing the most heat or cold. I could identify where we are wasting the most energy. Building or plumbing maintenance is also maximized with this camera. It’s like having x-ray eyes because, as a homeowner, I can actually see through pipes to catch clogs or water leaks. Another feature that DIYers will benefit from is seeing stud placement through drywall. I was actually testing this out at the office behind the drywall.
For the real Seek Thermal enthusiast, the camera can be applied when cooking and camping. If you are very adventurous, you can see the temperature of your food while you cook. In addition, you can use thermal imaging to confirm if your campfire is completely out before you call it a night.
While these are just a few of the many use cases, the Seek Thermal camera has numerous applications.
There was downside, however. The camera doesn’t fit into the lightning port on my iPhone without taking my smartphone protective case off. Despite this little hiccup, set up was extremely easy.
Once I plugged the camera into my iPhone, I was immediately prompted to download the Seek Thermal app that goes along with the camera, which is free from the Apple app store. Once I downloaded the app, I was asked to sign in and sign up to an account or I could wait to “sign up later,” which was another option. Everything is ready to go from there.
This camera costs $249 and even then can’t be used without an iPhone or Android device. The app is what brings the two in harmony for one cool camera. The app has different modes such as “spot,” which takes and measures the temperature around a single point in the middle of the screen. It also has a “high/low” mode that shows you the hottest and coldest part of the image. “Threshold” mode allows you to set a temperature and have the camera look for places above, below, or equal to that temperature. Even the display colors can be changed from an array of different choices. The last part of the app is the Thermal + mode that uses both cameras on your phone to show a split screen of real footage and the thermal view as well.
After testing this product, I only had one complaint and that was every time I used this product I had to take my phone cover off. Some smaller cases will work fine, but if you use an OtterBox, LifeProof, or any bigger case, you are out of luck.
As I already noted, at around $250, the Seek Thermal imaging camera is reasonably priced compared to others that can run from a range of $700 to as much as $9,000, but even then, these still aren’t for everyone.
The big value is the product gives any contractor, DIYer, or homeowner eyes in the dark, meaning you can view just about any danger.
Thus, if you need to track things by heat, temperature, air, or electrical, the folks at Santa Barbara, Calif.-based Seek Thermal, www.thermal.com, have created the right solution that will work for you.
- Takes pictures and videos of 32,136 thermal pixels to detect infrared light and measure temperatures
- It is very versatile
- It is affordable
- Camera doesn’t fit into the lightning port on iPhone without taking protective case off