Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 12-18-2016, 10:03 PM   #1
Veteran Member
 
City: Brownsville, WA
Country: USA
Join Date: Mar 2016
Posts: 54
Using IR thermography to isolate electrical issues

https://youtu.be/08s5DBqhB5A

Up front, apologies for the less than professional video.

Last weekend I found that the 20A fuse on my Espar furnace had failed. I replaced it, but noted that the conductor downstream from the fuse holder had seen some serious overtemp. I see the the crimp connection at the spade lug terminal is ugly and corroded, so I will fix that soon, but wondering if the corrosion was a cause or a result of the overtemp. I think I need to throw an Amp clamp around the wiring and see what kind of current the furnace is drawing to see if the blower motor is failing.

Also, apologies for the title typo. I was at home and several St. Florian IPAs deep as I was attempting to post the video.

If anyone can help me figure out how to embed the Youtube video without getting an error about needing "more than two characters" in the post I would be appreciative.
__________________
Advertisement

mgdavis is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-18-2016, 11:21 PM   #2
Guru
 
C lectric's Avatar
 
City: Gibsons, B.C.
Country: Canada
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 1,471
Corroded or poorly set crimp connectors or any wetness can cause corrosion in the crimp and then heat buildup which will burn insulation. Poorly tightened screws on the fuse holder can also cause this.

That corrosion can then heat the fuse holder or a circuit breaker causing tripping.

Repair or replace the wire, best replace. Do a good crimp, ensure no water can get on the connection and try again.

Yes, an ammeter would help telling you if there really is a too high amp draw.

But I have seen this many times when a crimp or connection is poor.
__________________

C lectric is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-19-2016, 03:27 AM   #3
Guru
 
koliver's Avatar
 
City: Saltspring Island
Country: BC, canada
Vessel Name: Retreat
Vessel Model: C&L 44
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 1,854
If yours is a D7L, there will be a very high amperage draw at startup, so the wire has to be sized correctly to avoid burning off the insulation.
My boat came to me with that model Espar, on which, for the next several years I spent more on maintenance than on the 3 diesel engines, until I pulled it out and gave it away. I have a different source of cabin heat that doesn't cause me any worries.
Some like the D7L and keep it working. I hope you are able to join that group.
__________________
Keith
koliver is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 12-19-2016, 11:08 AM   #4
Guru
 
Ski in NC's Avatar
 
City: Wilmington, NC
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Louisa
Vessel Model: Custom Built 38
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 3,065
Some 20yrs ago I was an engineer at a nuke power plant. We had an IR camera that was hauled around to image inside electrical cabinets. Found lots of warm connections which then were fixed. Powerful tool. The thing was bulky and complex and we modified a shopping cart to haul it.

The problem was much of the equipment was in standby so it was a hassle getting a scan during periodic testing.

Having an easily portable FLIR makes this kind of checking super easy.
Ski in NC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-19-2016, 11:34 AM   #5
Guru
 
djmarchand's Avatar
 
City: East Greenwich Yacht Club, RI
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Bella
Vessel Model: Mainship Pilot 34
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 2,250
You don't really have to use an IR camera. A simple IR gun will work on a suspect connection. Just hold it close so its cone encompasses just the connection as much as possible.

On my DC panel, I just touch each connection. But on the AC side I use a gun, or keep my hands and body away from a ground ;-).

David
djmarchand is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-19-2016, 05:41 PM   #6
Guru
 
City: East Coast
Country: USA
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 2,146
Either IR cameras or thermometers are often used when doing preventive maintenance on commercial power distribution panels.


This can save money spent fixing things that aren't broken.


If you see burnt insulation, you don't need either, you have found the problem.
WesK is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-19-2016, 05:55 PM   #7
Senior Member
 
Fletcher500's Avatar
 
City: San Diego
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Chelsea Rose
Vessel Model: Beneteau, 44, Volvo D6 Mains
Join Date: May 2016
Posts: 285
IR scans of main electrical systems is a best practice for large industrial plants with high electrical loads. Great for finding issues, before they become big problems as noted by others. Money well spent.

I would assume the marine industry will start using it more on larger vessels, on their 120 v systems.
Fletcher500 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-19-2016, 06:37 PM   #8
Senior Member
 
City: Between Oregon and Alaska
Country: US
Vessel Name: Charlie Harper
Vessel Model: Wheeler Shipyard 83'
Join Date: Jun 2016
Posts: 242
I check all my ac and dc connections with the heat gun maybe once a year and have found screws in the main panel breakers must vibrate loose because of engine vibrations.
Also the heat gun is useful in seeing all cylinders are working equally, hot alternator bearings, etc.
It's probably overkill, but I soldier my terminals.
Lepke is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 12-19-2016, 06:37 PM   #9
Senior Member
 
BIG CAT's Avatar
 
City: Biloxi,MS
Country: USA
Join Date: May 2016
Posts: 125
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fletcher500 View Post
IR scans of main electrical systems is a best practice for large industrial plants with high electrical loads. Great for finding issues, before they become big problems as noted by others. Money well spent.

I would assume the marine industry will start using it more on larger vessels, on their 120 v systems.
its widely used on the commercial side. also i know of one major cruise line that was using it to identify hot spots on exhaust systems. they then had the shields reworked to eliminate them. you can also use the tech for finding water leaks inside walls.
BIG CAT is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-19-2016, 06:42 PM   #10
Senior Member
 
Fletcher500's Avatar
 
City: San Diego
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Chelsea Rose
Vessel Model: Beneteau, 44, Volvo D6 Mains
Join Date: May 2016
Posts: 285
Quote:
Originally Posted by BIG CAT View Post
its widely used on the commercial side. also i know of one major cruise line that was using it to identify hot spots on exhaust systems. they then had the shields reworked to eliminate them. you can also use the tech for finding water leaks inside walls.
Makes sense. My past life as an engineer on ships involved steam turbines 30 years ago. I am obviously not current on the latest marine practices. Good to hear they are doing this, because I would bet it has also prevented some potential fires, and hence a life saver.
Fletcher500 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-19-2016, 07:16 PM   #11
Guru
 
twistedtree's Avatar
 
City: Gloucester, MA
Country: USA
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 2,428
Wow, that is awesome. Is that the FLIR attachment for a phone? That's substantially more useful that the FLIR on the top of my boat.
__________________
www.MVTanglewood.com
twistedtree is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-19-2016, 07:30 PM   #12
Senior Member
 
BIG CAT's Avatar
 
City: Biloxi,MS
Country: USA
Join Date: May 2016
Posts: 125
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fletcher500 View Post
Makes sense. My past life as an engineer on ships involved steam turbines 30 years ago. I am obviously not current on the latest marine practices. Good to hear they are doing this, because I would bet it has also prevented some potential fires, and hence a life saver.
fire prevention was a huge driver for it.
you might remember the carnival triumph that had a engine room fire and was floating out in the gulf for a week. the gens were putting on the ships was a direct result of that incident. those class of ships have 2 separate engine room and 1 big design flaw. the main feeder cable from the forward engine room run over top of the 3rd gen in the aft engine room. when the fire happened it burnt those cables in half. so even though the forward engine room was fine they couldn't get power to the main switch board. they are correcting them as the go into dry dock as well as installing high fog fire suppression and the aux gens.
BIG CAT is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-19-2016, 07:32 PM   #13
Veteran Member
 
City: Brownsville, WA
Country: USA
Join Date: Mar 2016
Posts: 54
Flir One for Android. Not as nice as the T200 and T420s I play with at work, but very helpful for isolating various issues around the house and boat. I actually did a survey of the engine room a few months ago, but did not have the furnace running; Had the furnace been on then I am sure this would have been detected early.
mgdavis is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-19-2016, 07:53 PM   #14
Guru
 
twistedtree's Avatar
 
City: Gloucester, MA
Country: USA
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 2,428
Quote:
Originally Posted by mgdavis View Post
Flir One for Android. Not as nice as the T200 and T420s I play with at work, but very helpful for isolating various issues around the house and boat. I actually did a survey of the engine room a few months ago, but did not have the furnace running; Had the furnace been on then I am sure this would have been detected early.
I've been wondering how well they actually work, and seem perfect for survey work like this. Yes, you can point a thermal gun at each and every connection, or look at a picture a pick out how spots to investigate. I'm about to order one....
__________________
www.MVTanglewood.com
twistedtree is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-19-2016, 08:01 PM   #15
Veteran Member
 
City: Brownsville, WA
Country: USA
Join Date: Mar 2016
Posts: 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by twistedtree View Post
I've been wondering how well they actually work, and seem perfect for survey work like this. Yes, you can point a thermal gun at each and every connection, or look at a picture a pick out how spots to investigate. I'm about to order one....
Make sure your phone or tablet is compatible. There is a list on the Flir site of devices that will work.
mgdavis is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-19-2016, 11:17 PM   #16
Member
 
City: Maple Bay BC
Country: Canada
Join Date: Dec 2016
Posts: 8
I just bought a FLIR TG165 infrared camera. It is small, handheld and with a screen about 1 1/2" by 2". About the size of a handheld ir thermometer but so much better! Tiny but I am not using it commercially, just for household leak detection, hot wires, check horses hooves for hot spots.
Years ago, for work, I looked at a unit with about a 5" screen that ran about $40,000. Then newer ones came on the market for about $25,000. For my own use I bought this one at Canadian Tire for $350. Yup, three hundred and fifty dollars. Canadian dollars!
Greg S is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-20-2016, 07:41 PM   #17
Veteran Member
 
City: Brownsville, WA
Country: USA
Join Date: Mar 2016
Posts: 54
That TG165 is neat, a screen to help you find the hot spot, and a conventional IR thermometer to measure them. The relatively quickly response of the thermometer compensates for the relatively slow refresh rate of the camera.
mgdavis is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-23-2017, 11:59 AM   #18
Guru
 
twistedtree's Avatar
 
City: Gloucester, MA
Country: USA
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 2,428
After reading this thread, I went and bought a FLIR One for iPhone.

I REALLY like the device, but I returned it because itís totally unreliable.

The good part is that it does provide good thermal images. For example, I could see where my heating tubes snake through the concealed wall of my pilot house. And a couple of pictures of my electrical cabinet clearly showed the consumers of standby power - namely the fire shutdown control boxes, and associated external relays, all of which were glowing brightly in the image. I could also see at a glance that I didnít have any overheating breakers or electrical connections. Itís much faster and more comprehensive than shooting everything with a temp gun. I also checked the power plug for our coffee maker while it was running this morning. The plug and cord were warm which is to be expected, but I could confirm that the receptacle was not. I can also see where the heat is getting out of my boat the most, and where the cold is getting in. With all this, I would rank it as one of the most valuable $250 diagnostic tools that I have.

But hereís the rub. The camera continually disconnects from the phone app, and the image goes black and says to reconnect the phone. A few seconds later, it comes back on and resumes with a correct image. And it continually goes through this disconnect, reconnect cycling every 10 seconds to maybe a minute. Reading the app reviews, it seems this is very common, so itís hard for me to believe FLIR was not aware of it when they shipped.

I contacted FLIR support and they gave me a list of things to do. It was the usual cycling of power, do a hard reset, reinstall the app, try it on a different phone blah, blah, blah, useless stuff to get you off the phone. I did all of that, and the behavior is still the same. So rather than going down the rabbit hole with FLIR getting a replacement and trying to debug this thing, Iím just returning it for a refund. Maybe when the app reviews start to show a product that consistently operates for more than 10 to 60 seconds at a time, Iíll buy another one. Iíd really like to have one, but it needs to at least stay turned on.
__________________
www.MVTanglewood.com
twistedtree is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-23-2017, 12:47 PM   #19
Senior Member
 
kchace's Avatar
 
City: Brookline, NH
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Blue Heaven
Vessel Model: Albin 43 classic double cabin, twin 135 Lehmans
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 476
I bought a similar device for my iPhone from a company called Seek Thermal and have used it a lot with no issues at all.

Compact | Seek Thermal
kchace is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-23-2017, 01:12 PM   #20
Guru
 
High Wire's Avatar
 
City: Englewood, FL
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Irish Lady
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 1,139
Its on my Christmas wishlist. Next best thing to X-Ray glasses!
This is better than the $40K cam we had at work 20 or so years ago. Even at that price, it saved us millions of forced outage dollars by finding ONE bad connection in our 500Kv yard before it failed completely.
Finding bad 12 VDC battery bank and shore power plug connections BEFORE they give you trouble is worth the cost alone.
__________________

__________________
Archie
1984 Monk 36 Hull #46
Englewood, FL and Cape May, NJ
Enroute St. Augustine FL
High Wire is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off





All times are GMT -5. The time now is 11:49 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Search Engine Optimization by vBSEO 3.6.0
Copyright 2006 - 2012