Thermal cameras for dummies

Thermal Security Cameras for Dummies

January 09, 2017

4 Reasons to Choose Uncooled Thermal Systems

  • They cost a lot less

While thermal security cameras with cooled systems undeniably perform better at extreme long ranges in clear weather (think over 20km), most surveillance needs are more localized. For human recognition surveillance of ranges up to 10km, systems using uncooled thermal sensors can be much cheaper than systems using cooled sensors, since uncooled thermal sensors don’t need to use a more expensive cryocooler.

For security and surveillance systems that need to monitor an immediate area, like the land and perimeters surrounding sensitive infrastructure, corporate properties, and private compounds, using systems with uncooled sensors can save you major cash.

  • They need a lot less power to operate

Uncooled thermal sensors use microbolometers to detect infrared radiation, which have relatively low energy consumption requirements compared to cryocoolers, the detectors in cooled thermal systems. Put simply, uncooled thermal sensors do not require cooling, which considerably lowers the amount of energy needed to power it.

  • They need a lot less maintenance over time

While cooled cameras are the system of choice for extreme long-range surveillance needs, they do require more attention (i.e. routine cryocooler rebuilds every 8,000-15,000 hours of operation). On the other hand, uncooled systems, while quite advanced, have far fewer delicate mechanical components and moving parts to break down. This advantage gives them much longer service lives, and an experience where users can basically set up the camera and walk away.

  • At closer ranges, they see better in bad weather

Specifically, in conditions of Category II fog (visibility < 610 meters), systems with uncooled thermal sensors will outperform systems with cooled sensors because of the IR detection range of each type of sensor. Uncooled thermal sensors image in the Long wave Infra-Red (LWIR) band, while cooled sensors operate in the Mid-wave Infra-Red band (MWIR). Basically, Category II fog reduces the imaging capabilities of sensors operating in the MWIR band to that of the naked eye, making uncooled thermal sensors the only way to see clearly in such conditions.

So, to recap… for security demands that require human recognition at closer ranges (up to 10km), uncooled thermal cameras compared to cooled thermal cameras cost less to buy, cost less to maintain, need significantly less power to run, and they have serious imaging advantages in cases of bad weather. Maybe it’s time you upgrade to a thermal security solution?