Enginursday: Designing a FLiR Pi Camera

Watch and learn: a video about the design process for a mobile camera

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My New Format

I've created a mobile, Pi-based FLiR camera for our engineering team to use for testing and troubleshooting. Really, I want to show the process of engineering rather than the product, so this week it's a video!

The project files are hosted as a FLiRPiCam GitHub repository, which will be updated as I continue the process outlined in the video and add features like MOSFET switching for my batteries and a fully developed user application. Even so, the project is fully buildable from the GitHub, including 3D printing models, code and hardware -- though it is an advanced project.

FLiRPiCam Features

  • FLiR Lepton module
  • Raspberry Pi 2
  • 7-inch touchscreen
  • ~1 hour battery life
  • Rechargeable
  • Battery monitoring into Linux
  • Button interface for capturing screenshots, mounting and unmounting USB
  • Buttons can trigger custom shell scripts, which can be edited from the OS

Next time I'll be demonstrating how to use the camera to test circuits -- and showing off a fancy new body for it!

Stay inspired,

Comments 10 comments

  • Member #1342886 / about 6 years ago / 1

    Hi. Nice to watch your FLiR Pi cam project and may I ask for more information about the connection between the Raspberry Pi and Arduino?

  • Member #142165 / about 8 years ago / 1

    I built one a year or so back via the Lepton groupget. I used a PSOne screen via composite out. I'd tried an SPI-based screen, but there's not enough bandwidth for both the screen and the sensor.

    It works fine as an amusement, but is limited by the lack of the calibrating shutter. Sensor nonuniformity is visible and detracts from the image when the sensor is set to auto-scale the data to visualize small temperature differences.

    Given the cost, I would just opt for the finished product with the calibration shutter.

  • ameyring / about 8 years ago / 1

    I did a similar set-up with a frame of wood supporting the Pi, camera, and Pi touchscreen, but powered off mains. Helped me see interesting heat-leaking spots during winter.

  • As a thank you for watching, I'm going to peel this sticky off for you.

    I feel like a weight was lifted off when you did that.

  • Member #812723 / about 8 years ago / 1

    I was wondering if the FLIR lepton module was worth the price tag. I wanted to build something similar but I was thinking of using a smaller screen. I cant wait to see what you do with it.

    • They are pricey, but I find myself using our event demo FLiR setup all the time, so having one on hand will be great, especially with no additional keyboard and mouse required. I was going to use a smaller screen too, until I saw how beautiful this touchscreen looked and works without consuming a lot of IO. I'm glad I did because I ended up using the rig to do some time lapses of the case prints with a USB camera, and it was nice to have the full screen. Like I say, stay tuned as I'll be exploring what things look like with current running through them for my next video.

      • Member #812723 / about 8 years ago / 1

        I will keep that in mind when I start my build. Thanks for putting this online.

    • ME heat o nator / about 8 years ago / 1

      I don't want to be a buzzkill but FLIR cameras are available that will hook to a phone for a relatively low price. If you want to develop on it than the model offered here is great!

      • Member #812723 / about 8 years ago / 3

        I know I could get the FLIR One (?) but there is something about making something on your own. I like that part a lot. I think you get a hands one experience with the device you wouldn't get just buying it completed. Anyway thanks for the information,

        • ME heat o nator / about 8 years ago / 2

          I didn't want to discourage that spirit. I have considered it and even discussed options with the boss a few times. My problem was I had access to a nice FLIR camera and no reason to do any more. I am jealous.

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