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  #11  
Old 01-24-2013
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Re: Thermal imaging cameras for checking decks and hulls for moisture

Thanks for the insight everyone. I'm definitely soaking up the input here.

Since the use of the gun is free I'm gonna try it out and have at the minimum a digital scan of the whole boat to look at and scratch my head for hours. Like i said i have used these before to scan built up roofs for water; so, i have some experience using this type of equipment. That was 20 yrs. ago and it was a SOB crating it onto the roofs. But when a roof is in the 10's of thousands of dollars, its worth it. In addition; i have used the scopes and hand held units for security purposes.

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I'm with the others, above; I don't see how a thermal imaging camera would do anything for you. On a house, you heat it or cool it (internally) and after there is enough time for the interior to reach some approximation of stasis, you scan the outside to look for places where there are temperature differentials (this allows you to, for example, see where the insulation was left out of a wall). But on a boat, you a) don't have an internal, consistent heat source, and b) you aren't really concerned about heat loss. I'd be really curious to see what the guy with the gun sees. Is he looking at the exterior of the boat and looking for areas where the hull, having been heated by the sun, is different temperatures?
I've been thinking about this. I think My solution will be to crank up the heater inside (on the hard) so i believe i can get a more consistent reading outside. Won't help with the rudder though. (i might be able to place a heat lamp on one side to see how much sinks thru or reflection)

As far as thermal imaging goes; if you've never seen it in action you're missing out. Temperature differentials REALLY stand out. So I'm thinking moisture laden anything in a hull or deck would be at a different temp than it's surrounding area. R-values are different in al types of materials. Thermal imaging is instantaneous as well. If you put your hand on the side of a P/U for 30 sec and walk away i can see your hand print and your footsteps as long as it's within a certain time frame and the weather conditions hold up. If you think this is far out; watch a live video feed from a UAV; it gives a whole new meaning to "smoking is bad for your health". From 35,000 feet it's like someone set off a flare!
It's great for deer hunting too. I've used them for perimeter security at night as well. It wasn't like the gun i looked at the other day though.

I just view this as another tool to use. (along with a moisture meter and hammer) Anything that can highlight any issues before they become major i view as a benefit. Like i said; it's free, so I'm going to take advantage of it before i don't get a chance to.

Thanks benesailor
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Old 01-24-2013
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Re: Thermal imaging cameras for checking decks and hulls for moisture

themal imaging would work if you have an heat source aboard. The air or water bubble would come up as a cool spot as it would either act as insulation (air) or taking longer to heat up (water) and would be best done on the hard.

You would probably not have much time to do it.. so best to use an infrared heatlamp and a helper
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Old 01-24-2013
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I agree it can't hurt. Like i said my experience was sort of inconclusive, but given the cost of the device and credentials of the surveyor (he'd designed, built and sailed a sub) i assume he wasn't wasting mine and his time. I don't know anything about how it works, but there was a water logged piece of timber on the deck that was white/blue surounded by yellow. Pretty obvious difference. Don't know if it's as simple to say wet end grain core in the hull would have the same effect.
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Old 01-24-2013
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Re: Thermal imaging cameras for checking decks and hulls for moisture

i agree.
That's why i think i will get the interior 80 plus degrees and do the outside scan after sundown for the greatest temperature differential. After googling i now see that surveyors are using them.
I can't wait to try it. I think tomorrow morning should be good. It will be about -10F (-23C). If i put a salamander inside i should be able to get a good temp difference??
Just kidding; i'll wait.
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Old 01-25-2013
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Re: Thermal imaging cameras for checking decks and hulls for moisture

The use of thermal imaging techniques for assessing marine structures is well documented. You do need to understand the conditions necessary to achieve the heat transfer that is going to reveal the problems. I have several white papers on this subject. Please contact me for more information.

mailto:gary.orlove@infraredtraining.com
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Old 01-25-2013
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Re: Thermal imaging cameras for checking decks and hulls for moisture

I own a Flir thermal imager and use it in my surveys. They can provide a tremendous amount of information including delamination, blisters, wet core, sub surface fractures, hot electrical connections, hot spots on exhaust systems and a whole lot more. They are incredibly difficult to use and to interpret. It took me a year of playing with various bits of test panels under varying conditions to feel any comfort with it.

To me, it's just another tool in the bag and I am not certified in thermal imagery. Thermal imagery certification is a long and expensive process but there are level three certified thermographers who are also marine surveyors. There are some free online seminars should you wish more information or you can check out Jack Allinson SAMS AMS & Level three Certified Thermographer website for a lot more info.
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Old 01-25-2013
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Re: Thermal imaging cameras for checking decks and hulls for moisture

I have no doubt that I could take an IR picture of a 20# propane bottle 5 minutes after the sun first hits it and be able to tell exactly how much fuel is left*. I know that is not the best use of a $25,000 analysis tool, but it is a start!

By the same token, a pic taken just after the sun hits the boat might also reveal wet spots that would take longer to warm. Or maybe they would warm faster. Either way, I think you would need to do an IR survey when the boat is new and then compare as the years go by. It would be very difficult (I think) to determine which artifacts are from defects and which are simply design/construction.

To avoid having to turn the boat around and wait until the next morning for the other side; you could work on a cool night with a battery of heat lights. Hey, if you've already sunk $25k into a test tool what's few hundred more for some lights!

*The sun will warm the top half (where there is no fuel) much faster than the bottom (where the fuel is keeping it cool); after a while, the whole thing will be the same temp and the level won't be as obvious.
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Re: Thermal imaging cameras for checking decks and hulls for moisture

By the way, thermography cameras able to do a credible job on this application start as low as $1,995 MSRP (FLIR i7). These days, $25,000 buys the high end cameras!
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Old 01-31-2013
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Re: Thermal imaging cameras for checking decks and hulls for moisture

Thanks for all the info and ideas. Like i said i just get to use it for the weekend.(well, a couple of weekends) They will give me limited training. None of these guys has ever done a boat. I'm not about to buy a 10k camera for myself; but, i don't mind using it for free!
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