TOPDON iPhone Thermal Camera
By Ryan

March 14th, 2024

TOPDON sent me this device for review. All opinions are my own.

The TC002 thermal imaging camera is a handy little gadget that hooks right up to your iPhone or iPad (it’s also available for Android devices), making it super easy to check temperatures around your home. Whether you’re looking at insulating your attic better, figuring out if there are any hot spots in your electrical wiring, or just making sure your heating and cooling are working right, this camera gives you clear pictures with detailed temperature info.

Design and Build Quality

The TC002’s design is straightforward and practical, with a sturdy aluminum body that feels ready to handle everyday use. Its compact size makes it easy to attach to an iOS device without feeling cumbersome. The grey finish gives it a no-nonsense look, and the camera’s positioning on the device is intuitive, not interfering with its functionality or connectivity. There’s a clear focus on durability with this design, which should reassure users that it can withstand the odd drop or bump. The branding is subtle, which is a nice touch for those who prefer their gadgets to have a minimalist style.

The TC002 also comes with an extension cord so you don’t need it connected to your phone. You could use this to get in tight areas, and more comfortably operate the phone while taking readings.

Technical Specifications

The camera’s resolution of 256×192 pixels may not seem like much compared to your standard camera, is actually quite high for a thermal imaging device. This resolution means that the thermal images are clear and detailed, allowing for easier identification of hot and cold spots. This level of clarity is especially useful when looking for insulation leaks or checking electronic devices for overheating components.

The temperature detection range of -4°F to 1022°F (-20°C to 550°C) with an accuracy of ±3.6°F (2°C) is broad, covering most scenarios you could need a thermal camera for. Whether it’s checking freezer temperatures or ensuring that a pizza oven is at the right heat, this camera has the range and accuracy to give reliable readings.

As for power consumption, the TC002 is designed to be energy-efficient, drawing only 0.35W. When connected to an iOS device, it doesn’t drain the battery significantly. In my use, I found that it had a minimal impact on my phone’s battery life, allowing for extended use without the constant need for recharging. This is a real plus for professionals who might be using the camera throughout the day and for anyone who might need to use it in situations where a power source isn’t readily available.

You can even see your foot prints with this device!

Features and Functionality

The TC002 thermal imaging camera has two main modes. The first is called “Thermal imaging mode”. This mode is just like the camera app on your iPhone, except it gives you three temperatures. It gives you the temp of the middle spot of where you’ve pointed the camera, and show two spots where it’s detected the highest temp and the lowest temp.

Here you can see a draft beneath a closet door.

The TC002 thermal imaging camera’s quick visualization feature is particularly effective in detecting moisture and drafts in a home. When scanning walls, ceilings, or floors, the camera’s sensitive temperature readings can reveal cooler spots indicative of dampness or incoming drafts. This is because moist areas will typically be cooler than their dry counterparts. In my experience, the camera’s color palettes make these differences stand out almost immediately—the cooler areas show up in blues and greens, contrasting sharply with the warmer yellows and reds of dry areas. This instant visual cue can be a game-changer for identifying hidden water leaks before they cause significant damage or pinpointing draft sources for better insulation. For any homeowner looking to improve energy efficiency or prevent moisture-related issues, the ability to quickly and accurately spot these problem areas is incredibly valuable.

Here you can see a possible moisture spot beneath the sink.

The other main mode is ” Temperature Monitoring”, which offers three temperature reading dimensions – Point, Line, and Surface – which are incredibly practical for various applications. The Point mode is great for spot-checking a specific area, the Line mode is useful for scanning along a pipe or wire to identify temperature gradients, and the Surface mode provides a comprehensive temperature map of a larger area, like an electrical panel or a section of a wall.

The variety of color palettes available for temperature display is another feature that stands out. You can choose from 11 different color gradients to visualize the temperature data. This customization not only makes the readings more visually accessible but can also help in highlighting the nuances in temperature differences, which can be critical in certain situations, like ensuring even heating or cooling across a space.

Another handy feature is the adjustable temperature range, which allows you to set specific temperature thresholds. If temperatures go beyond these limits, the camera visually alerts you. This is especially useful when monitoring temperature-sensitive processes, like fermenting brews or setting up a terrarium, where maintaining a specific temperature range is crucial.

The TC002 also provides continuous temperature readings, which can be plotted over time in the TopInfrared app to create a waveform graph. This function has been invaluable for tracking temperature changes over a period, which is essential for processes like checking the efficiency of a heating system throughout the day.

All in all

The TC002 thermal imaging camera for iOS devices is a neat tool that bridges the gap between professional and consumer grade thermal imaging equipment. Its high-resolution imaging, combined with sensitive temperature detection, offers clear insights into a variety of practical problems, from energy inefficiency to hidden leaks. The user-friendly interface and robust app features, such as multiple temperature reading dimensions and color palettes, enhance its usability. Whether for home improvement enthusiasts, DIYers, or professionals in need of a portable thermal solution, the TC002 stands out as a valuable addition to any toolkit.

Win it: TopDon will provide one winner with a thermal camera! The winner will be able to choose between two models, the TC002 if they have an IOS device, or a TC001 if they are an android user). This giveaway is open to the US, Canada, Australia, the Uk and EU countries. This giveaway will end 3/29/2024 at 11:59pm EST. Enter using the GT form below. 

Entry Form

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