Photovoltaic thermography from the air

Supplier: Bestech Australia
21 August, 2013

The 350-gram thermoIMAGER TIM LightWeight thermal imaging camera can be mounted to a quadrocopter to carry out defect analysis on solar cells.

Defective solar cells can destroy an entire module. Thermography is therefore a great method of preventative maintenance on photovoltaics installations: any noticeable differences in temperature can be used to reliably detect electrical, mechanical, installation and processing-related defects, including short circuits, inactive cells, moisture, and poorly soldered joints. As part of scheduled maintenance operations, thermography can provide valuable information for resolving warranty claims.

Inspections using infrared cameras are performed in a non-contact, non-destructive manner from a safe distance. Bestech Australia introduces the new miniature thermoIMAGER TIM LightWeight IR camera from Micro-Epsilon that is an ideal choice for use on a quadrocopter (similar to a small, remote-controlled helicopter with 4 blades). Design factors to consider when using an IR camera as part of flight operations include low weight, autonomous control and sufficiently high camera resolution to ensure high quality IR images. 

The new system supplied by Bestech Australia consists of a miniature IR camera and the NetBox mini PC. With a total weight of just 350 grams, the TIM LightWeight is the perfect choice for flight applications. IR videos can be launched directly through a button on the camera housing; the recording is stored on a microSD storage card in NetBox. The high resolution infrared camera offers an optical resolution of 382x288 pixels, with a thermal resolution of up to 40mK.

"The thermoIMAGER TIM LightWeight is the lightest thermography system for flight applications available on the market," explains Manfred Pfadt, Product Manager for IR Sensor Technology at Micro-Epsilon.

Bestech Australia is the exclusive representative for Micro-Epsilon in Australia and New Zealand.