Understanding the Differences Between Visible Light and Thermal Imaging Cameras

When it comes to generator maintenance, generator thermal imaging systems make it possible to identify potential faults and assess generator operation quickly. However, the cost of thermal imaging camera systems causes some generator owners to question whether or not a visible-light camera may be a cost-effective alternative. Unfortunately, it’s a temptation that many have fallen for; and one that has significant downsides that can lead to costly failures.

Both Technologies Allow Fault Identification

Camera technology has evolved significantly over the past decade. As visible light cameras have become smaller and offer more features, many now deliver crystal clear images at high resolution that make it possible to see even the smallest detail. This allows operators to investigate potential faults further to identify which repairs are required.

Similarly, thermal imaging systems have evolved to deliver less than a 2% margin of error, increased connectivity, and faster, actionable information that allows generator operators to perform quick and effective repairs based on quantifiable data that can be tracked and monitored.

…But Only One Sees in the Dark

Visible light cameras are blind in the dark. When it’s dusk or dawn, foggy, or the lighting isn’t just right, it’s possible to miss damage and assume everything is alright simply because it can’t be seen in the picture.

Conversely, thermal imaging cameras see heat, thus are not impacted by low-light conditions. The results are equally as accurate and actionable, whether it’s mid-day, midnight, or the middle of a storm.

Thermal Imaging Cameras Are Simple & Efficient

Thermal imaging cameras are simple to use and operate correctly. Minimal training is required to create a complete and comprehensive image of a generator’s operation. And, while some visible light cameras offer thermal imaging options, these are not as robust as dedicated thermal imaging camera systems. This means the results aren’t as accurate and don’t give a proper picture of the generator’s true condition.

Further, visible light cameras require constant adjustments. If a lens falls out of alignment or a setting isn’t properly inputted into the device, it can significantly skew the image or test results. Of course, improper calibration and maintenance mean this is also possible with thermal imaging cameras. However, the inherent design of thermal imaging cameras means they are user-friendly in the hands of a trained professional. From initial setting to testing, proper adherence to established preparation and testing steps makes errors rare.

We would love to tell you more about the ways we use generator thermal imaging systems to ensure our client’s generators deliver the power that modern business needs. We encourage you to contact the team at Gen-Tech Power Generation Specialists to learn more about the advantages of thermal imaging and the services our teams in Glendale, Denver, Albuquerque, Tucson, and Las Vegas offer.

Posted Under: generator thermal imaging