Wednesday, August 2, 2023

Thermal imaging camera for Android phones

Every now and then I have a "need" for one of these gadgets. I look online, compare models & prices, then talk myself out of it with a "Wait, they'll only get better and cheaper later".

Of course that's true, but there's no end to procrastination with that MO.

So I took the plunge and bought a Topdon TC001 after watching several review videos.

It seems to hit a reasonable point on the Features vs. Price vs. Image Quality matrix

Here are my justifications:

  • Before & after comparisons of heat sink additions to radios
  • Heat comparison of electric hub motors on ebike (scooter)
  • Heat balance between cylinders on motorcycle
  • Heat or cold ingress around doors and windows of home

Three temperature indications are placed automatically in each image: the hottest, the coolest and a center cursor. Temperatures can be indicated in Fahrenheit or Celsius. Temperature indicated are accurate, as confirmed with a infrared thermometer.

A Google search for the camera will provide links to many reviews so, rather than repeat what's already been written, I'll let my own examples do the talking. 


Part of my house, showing where I need to add insulation. Rafters and studs warm at a different rate than the surrounding insulation so they can be clearly seen.


Elecraft KX3, powered off...


... and after a 20-minute CW QSO at 15 watts


Dual-motor scooter after a 20 minute ride


After arriving home from a motorcycle ride


10 different color palletes can be chosen


This one offers the most detail on this particular object

CW Flea QRPp transmitter after a 10-minute CW QSO. Yes, that component really is that hot!





  1. John - do a little reading on the emissivity of surfaces. Some of your images may be representing the wrong temperature on shiny surfaces. I use black tape to get the emissivity to "1".

    I haven't responded to other thread yet about the case temp vs internal temps, etc. But I will. I do a lot of thermal design but mostly for dissipators in a vacuum.


    1. Hi Dave, there is an emissivity table included with the camera but some types of surfaces aren't mentioned. I will read up on the topic.


  2. They are certainly great technical toys. Mine is really for improving the thermal performance of our house, as upgrading the insulation will have a significant benefit in reducing heating costs in the winter, but I also plan to use it for fault finding on PCB, looking for overheating components