Wednesday, December 2, 2015
Product review: FLIR Systems MR160 Imaging Moisture Meter
This camera works well detecting wet areas as well as heat leaks. This is not surprised because it works by measuring the surface temperature of different areas. Wet areas are cooler than other areas, heat leaks also show up as a different surface area from areas that are well insulated.
One key thing to know about this thermal camera is that it works by measuring the SURFACE temperatures. It cannot penetrate walls. Its imagery shows the differences between temperatures on the surface - the cooler areas are shown in blue. In addition to the over the air measurements, the meter includes an external pin probe. The pin probe can measure moisture to the depth of 0.75".
The package include a thick manual, however the reason it is so thick that it covers a very large number of languages. Only three pages for each language. A more detailed manual is included in the internal memory of the camera itself under "DOCS" directory and "User Guide" subdirectory.
The camera comes with built-in memory card. The memory card is not removable. To get images from the camera you need to connect the camera to the PC using a USB cable (included). The camera does not support wireless operations.
The camera runs on 3.7 V Rechargeable Li-ion polymer battery. Note that to replace it the camera needs to be mailed backed to manufacturer. Seems like a bad idea, but maybe it is because the camera is waterproofed.
The camera takes still photos and produces small files in BMP format. The photos appear under DCIM subdirectory with names that look like this: "FLIR0001.BMP" The photos are pretty low res as you see in my video, but enough to see what is going on. The camera does not take video, there is no timer for lapse photos, each photo requires a button push.
The camera operates at pretty good distance I was able to get reading from 30 feet away.
The camera comes without a case. It has an odd shape and I have not found a good case for it yet and storing it in a nylon bag. It size is 5.75" tall x 2.75 wide x 1,5" thick. It weighs 11.1 oz.
The camera has no screw for a tripod, you have to hold in your hand when taking measurements.
So what is the bottom line? About 10 years ago we had done a professional thermal analysis of our house which helped us add extra insulation in the right areas. When I pulled out the old report I noticed that photos were taken by FLIR system, although a different model. This camera worked almost as well (the other model provided the actual surface temperatures as it was designed to be a heat leak detector rather than moisture detector and had more colors). I looked at the area which we did not fix because it was hard to get to, and this camera showed the same leaks as the professional report. The professional report cost us several hundred dollars, so even though this camera is not cheap using it a couple of time would put us ahead of hiring someone to do the reading for us.
This camera is provided by FLIR.
You can find it on Amazon by following this link.
Ali Julia review ★★★★★