Turtle Tough TT400C Thermal Imager

Industrial Precision Instruments (IPI), established in 1994, is a provider of thermography sales and service throughout Australia and nearby countries. Over the past 25 years, their inhouse thermographers have used virtually every brand of thermal imager on the market to provide our thermography inspection services to customers primarily in Power Generation and Transmission, Utilities, Mining and Manufacturing. Their thermographers are routinely involved in the inspection of major plant and equipment as well as the electrical distribution systems that support these. “It is fair to say we look at everything from pumps, motors, conveyor systems, ball mills, gearboxes, pipework, heating and cooling system, ovens/furnaces… all the way through to HV electrical systems and LV distribution,” says Brenton Ward, Director and level III Thermographer at IPI.

“Over the past two years, the inspection team has transitioned to using several Turtle Tough TT400C Thermal imagers for our professional inspection work. There has been an overwhelmingly positive response from our thermographers in using the TT400C” says Brenton. “The TT400C packs a whole host of features into a very innovative design that makes this camera exceptionally user friendly in the field and allows our technicians to work more efficiently”.

The thermal imaging provided by professional service providers is a whole lot more demanding on a camera than simply using one for periodic plant maintenance. The camera is used continuously, often for 8-12 hours a day and it must perform faultlessly throughout. A series of highly repetitive tasks are performed on the camera and it must be streamlined enough not to slow the operator down or frustrate the process of accurate data collection. Counter to this, it must have a suitably complex suite of tools and functions that allows the operator to capture and analyze imagery for a wide variety of different conditions and systems.

The TT400C strikes a perfect balance of powerful
made possible by the Android operating system
which is both powerful and intuitive.

Add to that, there are dedicated “physical” buttons all over the camera. Brenton notes “this can be a bit overwhelming at first, as there are at least a dozen buttons. However, after a while, they start to make sense and their purpose becomes indispensable… they allow operators to quickly access important and repetitive functions instantly.” One look at the camera and it is evident it has lots of buttons. This comes at a time where most manufacturers have all but eliminated the physical buttons, instead of relying heavily on touch screen interfaces to perform the majority of camera functionality. Often the buttons are limited to just 3 or 4 functions, primarily directional navigation and enter. Often, accessing a function can be tedious when one needs to leave an operating mode or scroll through submenus to be able to access something. Instead, the TT400C has picture modes, laser, zoom, video capture, menu, back button, auto/manual scale, internal viewfinder and a user-customizable button physically located on the hand controls. Buttons are also unaffected by sweat and dirt which can often plague a touchscreen with unreliable behaviour.

Another unique aspect of the TT400C is the internal LCOS viewfinder. “One of the first things that captured our attention was the internal viewfinder” sites Brenton Ward. “Internal viewfinders for outdoor use have all but disappeared from virtually every model on the market”. Glare from the sun is a real issue when having to work outdoors, and most external LCD screens perform horribly in direct sunlight, making them near impossible to use. The TT400C has a large clear internal viewfinder which is available at the touch of a button. It remains off when not use to conserve battery power.

The internal viewfinder is just one aspect of the incredibly unique ergonomics for a thermal imager. Brenton notes that “the camera most closely resembles that of a professional SLR camera.” The large rear 5-inch-high resolution screen is capable of pivot and swivel and neatly tucks back into the body for safe and secure use. The lens itself tilts through almost 70 deg to provide some of the best ergonomics we have seen from a camera to date. It suits virtually any operators’ unique working style as well as the variety of situations they find themselves in.

As to the image quality, Brenton remarks “it’s brilliant and great value for money. With the super-resolution function, the TT400C satisfies virtually all our indoor work and these serve as the bulk of our fleet. If we are doing large structures or outdoor work, we always have the option to use our TT640C, but this is rarely required for most of the day to day operations. The TT400C provides extremely crisp and sharp imagery with very minimal noise”.

One of the most important aspects for the company is reliability. Adam Carr, level II thermographer and long time IPI technician is responsible for supporting the whole team.

“Our team works in very remote and harsh places. We are often at mine sites in the middle of the desert, where cameras must operate for long periods of time often in extremely hot and dusty conditions. We can’t afford for anything to go wrong”.

Adam who is an IT specialist remarks “I particularly like the dual onboard memory… a removable SD card and internal hard drive. If the card ever lets us down the camera immediately reverts to the onboard memory, and this has saved us on more than one occasion. The camera is wellengineered and from my years of maintaining and servicing cameras a lot of the weak points have been engineered out of this design.

There are very few things I have to worry about breaking in the field.” Adam adds “I am happy to say that so far, the cameras haven’t missed a beat. They have been extremely reliable, and we have had no issues”

“Overall, I am extremely happy with our decision to use the TT400C” concludes Brenton Ward. “They’re well priced, have incredible image quality, are extremely reliable and the guys like using them”.