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Old 03-18-2008, 07:18 AM   #1
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It's time to buy a new toy. I have been looking at the IR laser thermometers. There is a very wide choice of brands (mostly foreign) and prices. I don't know much about them except for the concept of "spot distance". It would be handy not to have to crawl over or under to use one.
Any opinions? lol.
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Old 03-18-2008, 07:18 AM   #2
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It's time to buy a new toy. I have been looking at the IR laser thermometers. There is a very wide choice of brands (mostly foreign) and prices. I don't know much about them except for the concept of "spot distance". It would be handy not to have to crawl over or under to use one.
Any opinions? lol.
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Old 03-18-2008, 07:28 AM   #3
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I have a Raytek Minitemp MT6.

I'm completely satisfied with this model and Googling this model shows them in the $50 - $60 range.
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Old 03-18-2008, 09:46 AM   #4
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htg3 - Raytek (now Fluke) is probably the #1 manufacturer of IR thermometers. I have their ST60 and chose it because of its s\d ratio. In general I have found that the better s/d ratios cost more. You need to decide what you want/need along this line and then search for something that might meet your price range. If you go to the Raytek site you can get a lot of good information on units and decide what you want to spring for. There are some inits from China that are pretty competetively priced...about $50, but the better s/d ratios will run around $200. You can educate yourself from the URL below.

IR Thermometer
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Old 03-18-2008, 10:43 AM   #5
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I got ours about 2 years ago off Ebay.


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Old 03-18-2008, 03:42 PM   #6
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If your looking for a Non contact IR one that is pretty decent for normal uses, a friend found one on Geeks.com for a really good price.

http://www.geeks.com/details.asp?inv...RMOMTR&cpc=SCH

I have one and it is quite nice, and has a decent range of -20 to +320... May not be a fluke, or Raytek, but it certainly will work for what a DIYer needs it for on a RV. And for $25.00 I wouldn't be without it!

John
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Old 03-18-2008, 05:00 PM   #7
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Got this one at harbor freight when it was on sale. It is listed on their website

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Old 03-18-2008, 06:50 PM   #8
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$9.99

http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/cta...emnumber=93983
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Old 03-18-2008, 09:20 PM   #9
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Tom, I bought one last summer. It is accurate, compared to a buddy's expensive unit. The only caveat is distance. I found out that I must maintain the same distance from a hub to obtain accurate, consistent measurements.
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Old 03-19-2008, 05:23 AM   #10
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I have this one from Radio Shack. It works well. I checked it against one of my laboratory thermometers and it is accurate. $19.95, but I paid less, on sale, 5 years ago.

-Tom
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Old 03-19-2008, 07:57 AM   #11
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I also got the one from Harbor Freight,works well for me.

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Old 03-19-2008, 09:26 AM   #12
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How about a couple of usage questions.

- I'm always concerned about detecting tire problems. Would one of these thermometers be a reliable predictor? Has any one had a first hand experience of finding one (a tire down a few pounds and running hotter)? If I owned a thermometer, I'd pop out during rest stops and use it on all 10 tires. Is that silly? How hard is it to maintain a consistent distance on the inside duals?
- I do Dutch Oven cooking and was looking at a thermometer to help me there. The ovens are pretty large "targets" so I think this might be the easiest use
- I worry about hub temperatures. I do my own bearing packing on passenger vehicles and would like to use the thermometer to compare side to side readings. Is that reasonable?
- I do some electrical work and thought that being able to detect a "hot" breaker or other electrical item might be helpful. How selective are the thermometer readings? Would it sort among several side by side breakers or simply give me an average from them?

What are specific uses have you found (read this as my attempt to build a justification for buying one).

Just curious.

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Old 03-19-2008, 10:04 AM   #13
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I frequently check all 10 tires at a rest stop. For the inside dual, I just rest the gun on the inner edge of the tread of the outer tire.

I don't think there is a need to keep a consistent distance on the inner dual as you're looking for a temp significantly higher than the other tires.

All the tires will read a little different, most noticeably, the sunny side will read higher, and the inner duals will read higher, due to less air flow.

I have found the front tires of the toad will read higher than the back, and I believe that's from the tracking nature of the toad.

Dutch ovens, hubs, refrigerator, satellite TV receiver, hot water, just about anything can be measured.

I just read my 120v breakers and the one for the air conditioner was about 10* higher than the others which were at approx room temp.

Justification? Didn't need much, as I wanted another toy, but it is useful.
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Old 03-19-2008, 11:42 AM   #14
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One of the big factors in cost is the focus. More expensive IR Thermometers (IRT) allow you to sample the temperature of a small area from farther away. This is like a flashlight with a narrow beam.

Inexpensive IRTs usually need to be within a foot or so in order for you to be able to tell what you are measuring.

Also consider the battery. An IRT that uses a standard 9v battery or AA's is going to be easier and less expensive to power.

Accuracy isn't usually an issue for most RV needs as the most important use is looking for hot spots. One tire 20F hotter than the others? (add air). A wheel hub 20F hotter than the others? (check break springs and bearings).

The high end might be of interest but even the inexpensive IRTs will handle 400F or more and that is usually plenty high enough.

Another feature is switch for IR band. Unless you really know what you are doing, this one won't make much sense.

Form factor can make a difference whether it is handy or not. The Radio Shack (which uses an unusual battery) is convenient for the pocket. The Harbor F looks this way, too. Some of the more expensive ones tend to be rather difficult to pocket.
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