The FLiR Dev Kit includes a breakout as well as a Lepton® longwave infrared (LWIR) imager. With this kit you will be able to bring FLiR’s thermal imaging reliability and power to your Arduino, Raspberry Pi, or any ARM based development tool all in an easy to access breadboard friendly package. All you need to do to get this kit set up, simply attach the Lepton® imager module into the provided breakout, connect the headers, and you will be seeing in full darkness in no time!
The Lepton® LWIR module included in each FLiR Dev Kit acts as a sort of camera and packs a resolution of 80 × 60 pixels into a camera body that is smaller than a dime and captures infrared radiation input in its nominal response wavelength band (from 8 to 14 microns) and outputs a uniform thermal image. Meanwhile, each breakout board in these kits provides the socket for the Lepton®, power supply’s, 25Mhz Crystal Oscillator, 100 mil header for use in a breadboard or wiring to any host system. A few things to consider about this kit: the breakout board will accept a 3-5V input and regulate it to what the Lepton® wants, to read an image from the lepton module all you need is an SPI port, and to configure the camera settings you also need an I2C port, although this is not required.
Note: This kit comes in two separate parts and will need to be assembled once received. The Lepton® module is extremely sensitive to electrostatic discharge (ESD). When inserting it into the breakout board be sure to use proper personal grounding, such as a grounding wrist strap, to prevent damage the module.
If you are curious what version of the FLiR Lepton comes with this kit, it is the Lepton 50° unshuttered camera.
Breakout Board Dimensions
The FLiR Lepton’s Breakout Board Dimensions are:
width = ~25.11 mm length = ~24.10 mm length (with pins) = ~30.21 mm depth (not including pins) = ~11.20mm
Here is an image of the dimensions:
Heat Signatures through Clear Acrylic?
We tested a case out using a clear acrylic, FLiR attached to Raspberry Pi, and a Peltier Cooler. The FLiR sensor will not be able to see any heat signatures behind the acrylic. However, if you are heating the acrylic material sufficiently (like we did with the hot side of a Peltier Cooler), this will transfer heat to the other side facing the FLiR sensor. The FLiR sensor will pick up the heat as soon as enough heat has been transferred to the other side.
Changing Window Size
If you want to change the window size, follow these instructions => http://www.appropedia.org/How_to_install_FLIR_Lepton_Thermal_Camera_and_applications_on_Raspberry_Pi#Video_size in order to change the …/LeptonModule-master/raspberrypi_video/main.cpp file in lines 21, 36, and 41:
myWidget -> setGeometry(400, 300, 340, 290); . . . myLabel.setGeometry(10, 10, 320, 240); . . . button1->setGeometry(320/2-50, 290-35, 100, 30);
to 2.5x the size of the original :
myWidget -> setGeometry(100, 100, 850, 725); // window position coordinates, video pixel size . . . myLabel.setGeometry(10, 10, 850, 600); // ..., pixel size of the image . . . button1->setGeometry(850/2-50, 725-35, 100, 30); // button position coordinates, ...
The window was bigger but the image was still pixelated after re-making the files and opening the program.
Update in GitHub Repository has Changed the “leptonSDKEmb32PUB” directory
It looks like the directories have changed for the leptonSDKEmb32PUB folder [ https://github.com/groupgets/LeptonModule/tree/master/software ] so this tutorial is slightly outdated. You will need to go to the directory “…/downloads/LeptonModule-master/software/raspberrypi_libs/leptonSDKEmb32PUB” in order to make the files. Once you go to the “…/raspberrypi_video” directory, you would still use the qmake && make command to make the executable.
Arduino and FLiR Lepton
SparkFun has only tested the FLiR Lepton with the Raspberry Pi. The documentation linked in the product page for the FLiR Lepton module has some example code for an Arduino => https://github.com/groupgets/LeptonModule/blob/master/software/arduino_i2c/Lepton.ino . The note under the GitHub repository by “Pure Engineering” states that:
This example shows how to read the i2c ports using an Arduino. Note that most Arduino hardware does not have enough memory to buffer the thermal image. 80602 = 9600 bytes. Some of the Arm based units will work.
Based on this information, we do not believe that the Arduino Uno with the Atmega328P microcontroller is powerful enough to stream a thermal image like the Raspberry Pi example. This is due to a limitation of the ATmega328P microcontroller and the FLiR Lepton’s requirements [ https://forum.arduino.cc/index.php?topic=266361.0 , https://groups.google.com/forum/#!searchin/flir-lepton/arduino$20uno%7Csort:relevance/flir-lepton/itC5lotSkNY/6Y88KwLWGQAJ , and http://www.pureengineering.com/projects/lepton ] . You can probably get it working with an ARM based microcontroller (like the STM32 microcontroller listed in the GitHub example code or an Arduino Due) or a single board computer (like the Raspberry Pi, BBB, etc).
Doing a search online, it looks like someone was able to get an Arduino Due to work using the FLiR Lepton camera and MatLab [ https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/flir-lepton/JJVf4crDpYw ]. The Arduino Due code [ https://github.com/josepbordesjove/FLiR-lepton ] processes the data from the FLiR Lepton and passes it to your serial terminal. To view the thermal images, you would need to take that data and display it using MatLab. This seems pretty tedious. We recommend using a Raspberry Pi, which is more reliable compared to using it with the Arduino Due.
Here is a good link for setting up the RPi2 with the FLIR, and the RPI2 workaround for ‘red box’ https://medium.com/@groupgetscom/visual-installation-guide-for-pure-lepton-breakout-board-on-raspberry-pi-2b-3b13a3e0e17d
This is “The Frank solution”. it’s the widely accepted and Pure endorsed fix for the “red box” error on Rpi1 (b+&b) https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/flir-lepton/GWHD1KMVYaE
Here is a monster sized guide for tweaking and tuning your FLIR http://www.appropedia.org/How_to_install_FLIR_Lepton_Thermal_Camera_and_applications_on_Raspberry_Pi
If a board needs code or communicates somehow, you're going to need to know how to program or interface with it. The programming skill is all about communication and code.
Skill Level: Competent - The toolchain for programming is a bit more complex and will examples may not be explicitly provided for you. You will be required to have a fundamental knowledge of programming and be required to provide your own code. You may need to modify existing libraries or code to work with your specific hardware. Sensor and hardware interfaces will be SPI or I2C.
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If it requires power, you need to know how much, what all the pins do, and how to hook it up. You may need to reference datasheets, schematics, and know the ins and outs of electronics.
Skill Level: Competent - You will be required to reference a datasheet or schematic to know how to use a component. Your knowledge of a datasheet will only require basic features like power requirements, pinouts, or communications type. Also, you may need a power supply that?s greater than 12V or more than 1A worth of current.
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Based on 26 ratings:
12 of 12 found this helpful:
This is a very cool device, but the software is still very rough.
This product is in desperate need of the sparkfun how-to/example-code treatment. As is, I’d agree with the difficulty/skills assessment, but I’m not sure it needs to be like this.
Getting the hardware connected to a Raspberry Pi was pretty straight forward. Getting the software installed/working was challenging, but when I had to hack the video example to splice in code to toggle the CS/GPIO line I got the video working, then the magic happened!
Seeing invisible stuff was super cool. But I have to say 80x60 pixels is way smaller than I was ready for. I mean that’s the size of a typical icon these days. But seeing the invisible is awesome.
PS It isn’t hard to get the module into an unresponsive state where you think you’ve blown it up. For example, I accidentally interrupted the power to the Raspberry Pi, which rebooted, but couldn’t talk to the module anymore. Take a deep breath, shut it all off, and wait for 5 minutes. Power back up again and you should be ok.
4 of 4 found this helpful:
This FlIR system will work with almost any controller. I doubt I’d want it to work directly from an Arduino but pretty much anything SPI and an i2c channels.
Unlike a previous reviewer, I would have dropped it a star or three if they had hooked this up with has Raspbery Pi Hat. Even though I like the Pi, I doubt I’d have bought thi/ thinking it’s only an expensive pi camera.
As it is I can hook it up to whatever I’m using for my robots this week.
It can do very simple things such as telling me the hottest parts of an image, which are almost always point of interest.
By using OpenCV I can immediately tell where the faces are unless people are wearing masks.
For robotics, this device is a blessing.
I’m thinking about hooking it to my Pi first beaus that’s where the sample code is. Perhaps I can improve it.
One thing that surprised me is how small this really is. It should be able to be hidden anywhere on a robot.
My only minor complaint is the price, but as I spent my own money to get this, I can’t think it was too expensive.
5 of 5 found this helpful:
Let me say that I had no problem installing this microscopic device on a custom shield on my Raspberri PI …no problem at all.
Now I’m combining the raspberry campera images (luminance) and FLiR Lepton Camera images (crominance), only with resize+color mapping (using a gradient), with stunning results!
In this way the lower resolution of the Lepton Camera don’t affect the image resolution (only the crominance). Only at minimal distance (camera-subject) I feel the need of a distance sensor that could drive an orizontal-offset between luminance and crominance, to reduce parallax error.
2 of 2 found this helpful:
Works well, does exactly what is says it will do.
I do wish someone get get a fix out there for Red X issue on inital boot.
I also wish someone made a nice form fitting plastic case for the breakout board and camera to help protect while in use.
1 of 1 found this helpful:
First off for those on the fence about buying this product. I will list a few pros and cons.
Pros: 1. Small size 2. Fairly easy to hook up 3. Sample code on github
Cons: 1. The wiring calls for the board to be wired to either CE0 or CE1 on the raspberry pi. It took me a week to realize it was not necessary in my case. 2. Sample code is very basic and takes a lot of work to get it working decent. 3. Does not have radiometry read out support. Radiometry will give a temp reading of the hottest object it is pointed toward. This should be added to the pros maybe. You can make your own rudimentary radiometry feature. Get the camera capture script to work and accurately give the max pixel value. When it is doing that grab a thermometer and boil some water. As the water cools take the temp reading and capture a photo with the camera. Correlate the max temp with the actual temp. Then just create a profile in the photo capture code that will translate the hottest pixel data to an average possible temperature reading. Run the boiling water test several times from 212 F down to 32 F, this will allow you to average values and be more accurate. 3. Some times the camera or video capture will only output a red block in a corner, you have to physically pull the camera head out of the socket and plug it back in
3 of 3 found this helpful:
I used a Raspbery Pi 2, the official 7" DSI Touchschreen, a Pi camera and the FLiR sensor to assemble a thermal camera system. I used the Pi camera’s ‘raspistill’ command to overlay the real image with the FLiR sensor’s data. I installed all components into a 3D printed case and use a portable 2600mAh charger/battery pack to power the unit. Initially, the Display and Touchscreen was rotated 180 deg and I had to reinsert the FLiR module after every OS restart to make it work. The last apt-get update/upgrade fixed these problems.
1 of 1 found this helpful:
I got this working on a Raspberry Pi 2 B and the official touchscreen with the provided sample code with next to no effort. So far I have not run into the the red square bug or any real issues other than two vertical lines on the picture on startup, but that is quickly fixed by running FFC while pointing the camera at a wall.
1 of 1 found this helpful:
What a fantastic little thing. Had some initial problems with a red box on the feed, but when I switched to Python on my Raspberry Pi, the problem evaporated. Temperature data came in a nice array. Next, I had some flickering in the images: The unit records ~10 images pr. sec. but can send ~26 images pr. sec. It will just resend the same image until it is ready with a new one. So when I started to discard images that were resent, this problem also disappeared. Now, it is just continuously sending me nice, sharp, fast responding thermal images.
4 of 5 found this helpful:
Wish I could give “four and a half” stars. Only down side on the hardware is having to use single jumpers to wire the pins from the board to the Raspberry Pi – a small, special “HAT” (Raspberry Pi parlance for what Arduino calls a shield) to allow a ribbon cable jumper going to the camera would make it less error prone. I think that the value for this is excellent. I’ve only had the opportunity to play with $5K+ thermal imagers for a couple minutes before.
On the software side, though, it has a LOT of “room for improvement” (think “gymnasium-sized room”). Had to use Google to find that I could use “scrot” to do a screen capture – seems to me that at least the ability to save the image to a file would be “basic function”. Upside is that the software is Open Source, so maybe if I can find another “round tuit” I’ll make a few improvements, and see if I can whittle a bit off the room…
All in all, I’m very excited about the gadget! It’s one of the most exciting thing I’ve gotten from Sparkfun, and I’ve bought quite a bit from SF.
2 of 3 found this helpful:
and it has introduced me to the Raspberry Pi 2 which I chose to run it… after years as a dedicated Arduino fan. I was able to reverse engineer the design of the 2-element lens and choose a germanium lens to make a close-up image of a small optical element. But determining the temperature of an NIR-transmissive component in a field of gold-plated metal surfaces proved… difficult. Do not expect this device to be a non-contact temperature probe unless you are looking at real black-body surfaces. I knew just enough to think I might get away with it… but if we knew what we were doing… it wouldn’t be Science.
1 of 2 found this helpful:
HI I’M PY2RPD WAGNER I WILL USE IT FOR SKY IMAGES I THANK YOU BY THE PRODUCT 73
This device performed beyond what I was expecting. I literally punished this device (vibration, heat, and other environmental factors) and it continue to function without issues. Way to go Sparkfun and FLiR
The camera is very easy to interface and use.
If you get red square in a blank window: shut the pi down and turn off power because it is not fully seated in the socket. Carefully take it out and put it back in until its just a hair above the socket. Needs just a little bit of extra pressure to fully seat it in the socket. Drove me nuts for an hour trying to figure out what the problem was. After that it works great.
So easy to connect and using. I’m using it for the thermal vision system on RasPi base. It needs in some improvement but only from the program side. Cool stuff!
I am running this on a Raspberry Pi 2B and it was very easy to setup and get working. I followed the directions and it worked. I would suggest purchasing some ribbon cable and headers to simplify hookup.
It feels like gaining a superpower when I can see something that used to be invisible. The examples for image capture on Raspberry Pi were straightforward and I learned a thing or two about Linux and C++ in the process (raspberry_qt from the github samples). I am delighted that the input half of my current project will be able to jump off from such a high point.
Thanks for the product. A horizontal black line appears across the image. It works ok with RPi 3. Not an excellent product. I am able to see the thermal image, but I can’t find any helper on github on how to display the temperature together with the image. In fact I can’t output the temperature from the sample code. I only need to retrieve the temperature value every 15 seconds (to save into my PC’s SQL database) that’s all (the image is not important to me), but it seems like the codes do not cater to this simple thing. God bless.
Sorry to hear about the issues with the Lepton module kit. Have you reached out to our technical support department @ email@example.com - they’re pretty good at helping resolve issues like these, though I know that to be able to get the FLIR lepton to represent true temperatures instead of relational temperatures you actually will have to get the algorithm from FLIR.
Up and running in no time - works well.
0 of 1 found this helpful:
How to prove that a lens was not delivered? ;(
The product itself may run great if received according to other reviews posted here.
The lens is very small, therefore we hand pack them in pink bubble wrap in each box. However, human error is still a possibility. I would recommend contacting our technical support team, they should be able to assist you with this.
Works OK with Raspberry PI, good sensitivity! Problem with the socket, sometimes you have to play with it in order to make contact. At least, once it makes contact the image appears, you don’t have to restart the program.
I’ve owned FLIR cameras that are based on this chip, and the chip works just as well as the cameras do. The project is not for the faint of heart, however. I’m not a complete noob to Arduino, but it took me several hours of fussing and lots of help from the Google group to get started. Kudos to PureEngineering and group members for their generous support. But now I have an Arduino Due sending images reliably to my computer (read and displayed by LabVIEW).