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How to Use a Solderless Breadboard
Written By: John R. Sewell

Every now and again we come upon the need to know the surface temperature of something. Our concern here is the targeting or “Gun” type IR Digital Temperature meter most widely used in industry not The smaller units used for medical use. With this context, we usually want to know the how hot the motor, Transistor, breaker or other component is. With the advent of economical IR (Infrared) Digital Thermometer also known as LASER Thermometer, Gun type thermometer or Non-Contact Thermometer this has become much easier. Handheld I/R Thermometer All IR Digital temperature devices read the surface temperature of the object and detect the radiation of heat in the form of IR Black Body radiation. Every thing has a characteristic Black Body radiation called “emissivity”. In our applications with the common Digital Temperature Devices, the adjustment for target emissivity is fixed so unless the object is ultra flat black or a shiny surface the emissivity error will be minimal. Basic aim, press the trigger, hold for a few seconds and read the display; BUT here again there are a few basic things to understand about their operation. The IR Digital Temperature meters have a light source for targeting, an IR detector for measuring the heat, a converter and an accurate time gate. The LASER/LED provides a light source to aim, the detector receives IR signal and the time base drives the analog to digital converter for the display. The detector has a cone of view meaning that as it is moved, the detection area changes. The larger the distance between unit and object, the detection surface area increases. This is the D/S ratio (Distance to Spot) and is usually listed or drawn on the unit or in the manual. Be sure that you have enough surface area so that the spot from the LASER targeting covers the area of interest. With most of today’s economical IR Digital temperature meters with LASER or light targeting the D/S ratio is 8/1 to 12/1. For instance; a 12/1 ratio means that at 12in. the detection surface area is 1in. therefore at 24in. it is 2in. diameter zone. To obtain the most accurate readings you should keep the detection zone as near the size of the component to be analyzed and measure for a couple seconds. Objects to be measured should be allowed to stabilize in operation before readings.
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