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Author Topic: Uses for infrared tempature gun  (Read 4417 times)
jjrbus
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« on: January 28, 2007, 08:07:41 AM »

With tempature guns being more available I'm wondering of new uses people have come up for them? I use it often for tires, brakes, and bearings on bus and toad. But I alos check the top of the radiator, if it is cool (realitive term) I am low on coolant.
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« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2007, 08:20:02 AM »

I want to buy one of these. How much are they, and where can they be ordered from? I would appreciate any brand name and model number of product you have used and felt was a good purchase. TIA
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« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2007, 08:24:21 AM »

Me too.  This is my next must-have techie tool but I don't know anything about them.  Acklands has them listed in their sale flyer right now but their price still seems pretty steep at $179 Canuck. 
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« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2007, 08:29:15 AM »

I got mine from NAPA several years ago. I think it's a Raytech. I paid around $75 on sale at the time, but I've seen them down around $50 in the last few months at various auto parts and tools places.

I use mine for tires, brakes, engine warming, radiator, interior heating, etc. The laser makes a good cat toy, too.
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« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2007, 08:36:13 AM »

I gave $45 for mine at Sears over a year ago.  Harbor freight has them for $39.95 but I don't know the temp. range, and would suspect the reliability.

Ed.
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Dallas
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« Reply #5 on: January 28, 2007, 08:48:12 AM »

I use this one from Harbor Freight:

http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=91778

They also have other ones:

http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=93983

http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=93984

Even though they aren't the most accurate, I can live with the small difference.
I not only use mine for tires, trans, engine, coolant, etc., I use it to find the outside temp when looking out the window in the morning. (My indoor outdoor thermometer died a slow death).
Another use I've found is when we get out the deep fryer and make homemade potato chips or deep fry shrimp. It let's me know that the oil is hot enough.
Cat even uses it instead of her candy thermometer when making fudge, it's much faster and a lot more accurate than her candy thermometer.

One note about the deep frying oil... We had a "Fry-Daddy" that had a hard time keeping the temp up from one batch to another. I noticed when plugged in to a line that gave me a strong 120V I could get temps of around 360°F, but if the voltage dropped to 119V I could only achieve temps of around 330°F, making for really greasy fish and chips.

We now have a Rival DeepFryer and it will take the temperature up to 390° -400°F with no problem and keep it there no matter how fast I put a batch in.

Dallas
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« Reply #6 on: January 28, 2007, 08:55:09 AM »

Bobofthenorth  Princess auto had them on sale for $33.00 in Saskatoon Flyer. ( sorry ended 27th) I have had the gun type one for about 2 years now from them and it works great. $79.00
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« Reply #7 on: January 28, 2007, 09:56:13 AM »

Shoot!  I was in Saskatoon on Thursday & normally Princess Auto is on my must stop list but I didn't make it there.  Oh well - there will be another sale.
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« Reply #8 on: January 28, 2007, 02:23:48 PM »

Another Novel use for the IR temp guns...

Check your Batteries... when charging or discharging. Temp diiferences between cells can indicate problems
that you wouldn't see until a critical failure....fire... dead or internal short...

I got mine from Harbor Freight for $39 and it has saved me thousands already....
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« Reply #9 on: January 28, 2007, 04:18:59 PM »

I got mine a few years ago and took it on the bus with me... for a while...
then I figured out that if I check my tea and my soup to make sure it's not over 130 that I could quit burning my woosie little mouth!!
So now it lives in the kitchen at home, and is amazingly useful when warming things up to eat or drink !!!
Go figure...
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« Reply #10 on: January 28, 2007, 04:51:19 PM »

Been using a sears 50.00 unit for 4 years now. On I/O boats its easy to find your cooling overheat problems and i use it for heating trouble shooting in my plumbing biz. Dont really need it for checking out the cold shoulder my wife gives me once in awhile. also can find air leaks in the house and bus by shooting windows and such.
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« Reply #11 on: January 28, 2007, 05:27:11 PM »

Also habdy for find poor electrical connections. Poor connection=resistance=heat.  Jack
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« Reply #12 on: January 28, 2007, 05:40:39 PM »

Hello,

 Would like to add my 2cents worth.   We used one to see the temp of the the front shocks of over the road tractors to see if they were working (travel) the same.  If one was hotter than the other we would change them.  Tried it on my 5B and found out the left one need to be replaced, GREAT TOOL to have or use!

  STEVE 5B.
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« Reply #13 on: January 28, 2007, 06:28:03 PM »

I want to buy one of these. How much are they, and where can they be ordered from? I would appreciate any brand name and model number of product you have used and felt was a good purchase. TIA

Ebay has all sorts of laser temp guns for cheap.  I bought a Raytech with a 900* F range for $49 bucks.  $7 bucks shipping. 
You never know what Ebay has to offer in the form of knockoffs...but mine works fine.  Note that most bluetooth wireless cellphone headsets seem to be Chinese knockoffs even though they claim NEW OEM MOTOROLA.  The Chinese interpretation of "OEM" is similar to parsing the word "is" by Bil....nevermind.   Roll Eyes 
Played with the heat gun a right good bit during the Arcadia trip and it was repeatable.   
Be sure and get a unit that reads upward to 900 degrees or more.  Some only go to 500 degrees and this isn't useful with exhaust manifold temps...works on about everything else..
My dos centavos.  JR

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« Reply #14 on: January 28, 2007, 06:30:35 PM »

They are perfect for checking relative temps, such as tires. I try to check each tire at exactly the same spot on the tread so I can see if any are hotter than the others and probably lower pressure.

If you need exact temps then you must follow exactly the directions for distance from and area of the object tested. I have two, one works at 8" and one at 6".  They are never closer than 5-10 degrees.

I guess the best way to get exact temps is to have three and take an average!
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Dallas
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« Reply #15 on: January 28, 2007, 06:43:10 PM »

They are perfect for checking relative temps,


Hey Gusc,

The only "relative" temps I want are the liver temps taken by the coroner.

Actually, my relatives are far and away the best. Imean that, I really do! The farther and farther away..... the better! Grin
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« Reply #16 on: January 28, 2007, 09:07:16 PM »

Gus, I think tire temps on heavy equiptment relate mostly to brake applications and torque. If you are checking brakes, don't try to fix the hot one!
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« Reply #17 on: January 29, 2007, 05:00:44 AM »

I have found that using the gun to check tires, brakes and wheel bearings is relative-not specific. If we are driving north on I-75 in Florida in the afternoon and stop to check temps, the left side will be slightly hotter due to the sun shining on that side. We have also found the the outside dual is usually a little cooler than the inside dual (better air flow?). It we check temps after a stretch of stop & go driving such as a city with many stoplights, all temps will be moderately higher. Ambient temps will also affect the readings.  Jack
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« Reply #18 on: January 29, 2007, 06:36:51 AM »

Bobofthenorth: Cdn Tire sells them and if you wait long enough,  everything they sell will be on sale at half price (like Harbor Freight). From reading the ads, it seems that some have a laser pointer so that you know what spot you are measuring, and some do not. I guess to measure a tire temperature it would not matter, but to measure an electrical connection it would be necessary. I don't have one, so this is just an opinion!
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« Reply #19 on: January 29, 2007, 07:07:47 AM »

I've had a RayTech with a Laser pointer for 2+ years now. Just awesome!  Grin
I paid ~$75 for it.

Also remember it is measuring the infraRed NOT actual temp! This means the surface color & texture will effect the reading. Shiney chrome & flat black will read different temps with an IR gun even tho they are at the same temp. This is why it's a good idea to play with it & keep a log so you can get a feel for how different surfaces & colors read. That way you will get a good baseline for how to use it & what 'nomal' temps are.


JR, there can be a HUGE diference in OE & OEM.
OE must meet specifications of original equipment.
OEM must be made by the same manufacturer (usually the products that were over-runs or off-spec.)
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« Reply #20 on: January 29, 2007, 07:50:46 AM »

Thanks to all who responded with both tips for use, and the different types to buy. I bought the RayTec off ebay that reads from below zero to over 900F, 49.99 + 6.99 shipping. It should be here in plenty of time for my upcoming trip,,, what a great resource this list is.
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« Reply #21 on: January 31, 2007, 08:31:22 PM »

The red beam makes a great chase toy for a cat or dog.
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« Reply #22 on: February 01, 2007, 09:33:15 PM »

Jack,

Good point, never thought about air circulation to the inside dual, I just thought it was because it was closer to the differential and engine heat.
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« Reply #23 on: February 02, 2007, 09:33:29 AM »

I always thought the brake drum was the biggest cause for the inner dual having a higher temp. The lack of good airflow leaves the heat there to warm the tire. This really causes problems when the tires are at maximum load.

Another benefit of Jakes or retarders would be cooler tires that last longer.
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« Reply #24 on: February 02, 2007, 01:05:59 PM »

Kyle, To get good airflow under my coach I had to raise the front to the max spec. Not only are the brakes cooling better, the crosswind problem is completely gone.
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« Reply #25 on: February 02, 2007, 03:39:55 PM »

Dallas,

Great suggestion for frying stuff.  Drug out the temp gun and it works great for frying with just a little oil that is not deep enough for a thermometer. Its a diet aid too!  Grin 
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« Reply #26 on: February 02, 2007, 04:08:02 PM »

Looking for some input here.  My philosophy has always been to buy good quality tools and take care of them, and they last me forever.  Well, when it comes to the infrared guns, I've had my eye on the Fluke 65 model.  Kinda pricey, with new units around $300.   (Choke, gag.)    I've never rationalized buy a new one, but have followed several fleaBay auctions and bid (unsuccessfully) on a few.

So the question is:  Are the ones at less than a third of the price pretty close?  Durability, accuracy. etc.  I know Fluke has a pretty decent name, but what is it about their unit the commands such a higher price?

WEC4104
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« Reply #27 on: February 02, 2007, 04:17:43 PM »

Good question!!  Nothing use to irk me more than to go to say, Sears and buy a craftsman tool. Then go to Harorfrieght and find the same thing for 1/4 the price. People will always jump on this and say, but it is made to Craftsman specs. 30 years ago, maybe a valid argument, but not today.
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« Reply #28 on: February 02, 2007, 04:56:09 PM »

So the question is:  Are the ones at less than a third of the price pretty close?  Durability, accuracy. etc.  I know Fluke has a pretty decent name, but what is it about their unit the commands such a higher price?

WEC4104

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I don't know that my IR temp gun is accurate, but I believe it gives repeatable results. I use it as a tool to look for trends & to see when something is not normal.

When I went 2500 miles away to get a bunch of bus parts, I used it on the way out to base-line the tires, brakes, hubs, etc. It was nice to see the loaded tire & hub temps were with in 5 deg of the empty readings. The tires on the sunny side were as much as 20 deg warmer than the shady side tires.
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« Reply #29 on: February 02, 2007, 06:29:29 PM »

I've been using a "3M" infared thermometer for about 5 years now, cost me about $95.  It seems consistent, a accuracy is within about 2 degrees as far as I can tell. FWIW
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John Z
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« Reply #30 on: February 02, 2007, 09:11:11 PM »

My new Raytec arrived today. My daughter and i sat and took temps of everything in the room. These things are really amazing. My daughter said she can't imagine anyone getting one of these things and not shooting temps of everything in the room! This model seems very accurate and easy to use, and i look forward to taking it on my upcoming trip to monitor tires, bearings, brakes, etc.
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« Reply #31 on: February 03, 2007, 09:43:27 AM »

As has been mentioned, we are looking for abnormal temperatures rather than absolute temperatures.  I believe any of the guns will do a good job for most of our needs. 

As has been mentioned, the reflective characteristic of the surface can significantly change the reading.  More expensive guns will have adjustments for emissivity.  That sounds good, but in the real world, you would need a calibration system.  In our belt test lab (when I worked at Gates) we used a calibrated heat chamber with several samples in the chamber.  Because of the chamber, they were all heated to the same temperature.  We would then determine the emissivity level setting for each type of surface (belts, sheave, painted bearings, etc.).  We needed the absolute temperature for our data logging.  However, that was in a LAB.  In the real world, we don’t need to know the temperature exactly.

As an example of emissivity, I suspect JohnZ, saw temperature variations for different items in the room.  Indeed, they all should have been about the same temperature, unless selected items were getting heated by exposure to the sun through a window.

Bottom line, the cheaper guns should be fine for what we use them for.

Having said that, I firmly believe that trying to tie tire temperature as some sort of measure of tire pressure is bordering on a dangerous process.  Obviously, a severely under-inflated tire will be hot.  However, I strongly suspect that you can not sort out a 15% under-inflated tire from the others because of the variation that occurs from exposure to the sun, difference from wind-loading, inside vs outside dual, etc.  The same goes for “thumping”.  Temperature and thumping might tell you of a severe condition, but not warn you of a long-term damage causing problem.  There is simply no substitute for measuring the tire pressure with a gauge or tire pressure monitor. 

Now to unique uses of a temperature gun.  My wife has rheumatoid arthritis.  One of the symptoms is elevated temperature at the affected joints.  When she has symptoms of a flair-up, we get the gun out to see if it is truly a flair-up of RA or her osteoarthritis (the common ailment that many of us suffer from if we have a few years on the old body).  It makes a huge difference, since the two ailments are treated quite differently.  The RA requires increasing dosage of some really nasty medications to prevent accelerated damage to the joints, as opposed to generic pain killers for the osteoarthritis. 

I often mention this unique application in my seminars and Pat always gives me a “crusty” if she hears me. Wink
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« Reply #32 on: February 03, 2007, 11:03:36 AM »

I've been using my Raytec since the early 90's, back then when you bought it, it came in a nice plastic carrying case that was just about bomb proof..........it still works today and has to rank up there with one of the best diagnostic tools that I've ever purchased!  I wish I could list all of the things I've used it on from electrical connections, to race car tires, water temps on my geothermal heating system, engine temps, exhaust temps, cases of the red _ss don't show up, but there are other way's of determining that!    All in all it's awesome!           

 Pat
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