Homebrewers Association | AHA Forum

General Category => Equipment and Software => Topic started by: tschmidlin on March 02, 2012, 09:18:21 AM

Title: Cheap IR thermometer
Post by: tschmidlin on March 02, 2012, 09:18:21 AM
Anybody try one of these?  I don't know if I really have a use for one, just curious.

http://www.amazon.com/HDE-Temperature-Infrared-Thermometer-Laser/dp/B002YE3FS4/ref=cm_cr_pr_pb_t
Title: Re: Cheap IR thermometer
Post by: tygo on March 02, 2012, 11:33:54 AM
At that price it would be a fun toy to pick up.  Use it to check oven temps maybe. 
Title: Re: Cheap IR thermometer
Post by: bo on March 02, 2012, 11:49:28 AM
They're fun to have around, but of little use for brewing. Great for looking at insulation lacking, hot spots in your walls, ceiling, etc. FYI They don't work well on shiny surfaces.
Title: Re: Cheap IR thermometer
Post by: richardt on March 02, 2012, 12:51:38 PM
HVAC (aka Heating and Cooling) guys use these types of things all the time.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/search/ref=sr_nr_n_4?rh=k%3Ainfrared+thermometer%2Cn%3A3741521&keywords=infrared+thermometer&ie=UTF8&qid=1330692602&rnid=2941120011#/ref=sr_st?keywords=infrared+thermometer&qid=1330692610&rh=i%3Akitchen%2Ck%3Ainfrared+thermometer%2Cn%3A3741521&sort=price (http://www.amazon.com/gp/search/ref=sr_nr_n_4?rh=k%3Ainfrared+thermometer%2Cn%3A3741521&keywords=infrared+thermometer&ie=UTF8&qid=1330692602&rnid=2941120011#/ref=sr_st?keywords=infrared+thermometer&qid=1330692610&rh=i%3Akitchen%2Ck%3Ainfrared+thermometer%2Cn%3A3741521&sort=price)

I got one of these on ebay for less than 5 bucks.  works great to verify temps in the fridge, etc.
Title: Re: Cheap IR thermometer
Post by: bluesman on March 02, 2012, 12:57:37 PM
I have one of these that I use for checking fermentation temps.

http://www.google.com/products/catalog?hl=en&gs_nf=1&tok=5iWJvZkYIXvHH6VdaITesw&cp=10&gs_id=2o&xhr=t&q=fluke+ir+thermometer&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.,cf.osb&biw=1920&bih=985&wrapid=tljp1330692895664044&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tbm=shop&cid=2007091637019562912&sa=X&ei=kMNQT_j8AYS00AHy8NTYDQ&sqi=2&ved=0CLEBEPMCMAQ#
Title: Re: Cheap IR thermometer
Post by: mabrungard on March 02, 2012, 01:13:23 PM
I've had a similar IR thermometer from Harbor Freight for years.  I use it primarily to check tire temperatures when I take my bike to the track.  I have no idea how accurate it is.  I consider it a relative or comparitive measure for the most part.  I also recognize that its measuring only the surface temperature and that may not be indicative of the true internal temperature of what I'm measuring. 

I've used it to check temperatures in our kitchen oven and found that the measured temps were higher than the temp indicated on the control panel.  The problem is that I don't really know which is correct.  The cooking results suggest that the IR thermometer is more correct than the control panel. 

I don't know if these instruments have a place in the brewery, but they do give you some indication of temperature.
Title: Cheap IR thermometer
Post by: cheshirecat on March 02, 2012, 01:46:24 PM
I bought the same one off amazon and have used in quite a bit. It is pretty accurate (within a degree of two), cheap, easy to use, and also makes a great cat toy :). I use it a lot for cold side temp readings when I don't want to be sticking things in my wort or beer anymore but don't need a super accurate reading. Ferm temps (to check that my controller is correct), checking the wort when cooling, checking starter temps when cooling, etc. For $15 it has been very handy. It doesn't how every work well on the mash or hot side stuff.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD
Title: Re: Cheap IR thermometer
Post by: jeffy on March 02, 2012, 01:52:03 PM
I use one to diagnose cooling system issues in cars.  Like bo says, they don't work well on shiny surfaces, so pointing it at a boil kettle isn't accurate.
Title: Re: Cheap IR thermometer
Post by: richardt on March 02, 2012, 02:08:53 PM
I've occasionally used it to check surface temp of the wort after chilling--occasionally the BK thermometer probe sits too high to be useful (i.e., not in the liquid) for the batch size I'm brewing. 

The Blichman recommendation to put the thermometer six inches above the bottom of the kettle may save the thermometer (I'd suggest using a heat shield, as well), but it also renders it less than useful if you're boiling less than 10 gallons in a 20 gallon BK.

The wort is dark enough that I've not had problems getting a reading with the IR if it is held 3 inches away.
I do like the no contact aspect of it (one less thing touching the sanitized wort).
Title: Re: Cheap IR thermometer
Post by: bluesman on March 02, 2012, 02:31:14 PM
I don't know if these instruments have a place in the brewery, but they do give you some indication of temperature.

+1

I agree with this. I don't recommend using them for measuring mash temps as it measures the surface temp and not an internal temp.

They are good for ballpark measurements.
Title: Re: Cheap IR thermometer
Post by: tschmidlin on March 02, 2012, 11:46:40 PM
It might be good for looking at insulation and stuff around the house, that makes sense.  My wife is always concerned about the ductwork leaking hot air into the crawl space, this will let me check.
Title: Re: Cheap IR thermometer
Post by: tygo on March 03, 2012, 01:03:20 AM
It might be good for looking at insulation and stuff around the house, that makes sense.  My wife is always concerned about the ductwork leaking hot air into the crawl space, this will let me check.

Good story, I like it  :D

I went with checking oven temps initially but I'll be sure to pull out the insulation thing after she rolls her eyes at the new toy.
Title: Re: Cheap IR thermometer
Post by: tschmidlin on March 03, 2012, 01:06:40 AM
It might be good for looking at insulation and stuff around the house, that makes sense.  My wife is always concerned about the ductwork leaking hot air into the crawl space, this will let me check.

Good story, I like it  :D

I went with checking oven temps initially but I'll be sure to pull out the insulation thing after she rolls her eyes at the new toy.
We have a warm spot on our roof I noticed after a frost earlier this year.  I need to check that :)
Title: Re: Cheap IR thermometer
Post by: bluesman on March 03, 2012, 01:13:27 AM
It comes in handy for checking my hot water temp and drafty spots around the house not to mention checking my fermenter temps. I initially bought it for my side business but wound up using it more around the house than for my business.
Title: Re: Cheap IR thermometer
Post by: chezteth on March 04, 2012, 10:56:30 PM
Like Martin I have one from Harbor Freight.  The one I have is reasonably accurate at cooler temps.  When trying to measure hot water ( strike water temps ) it seems to be off by a few degrees.  I like to use it but only for a round about measurement.  If I want to get a more accurate temp I use my instant read thermometer.
Title: Re: Cheap IR thermometer
Post by: punatic on March 05, 2012, 12:21:02 AM
A friend gave me one of these as omiyage for keeping an eye on things while he was on the mainland:
Harbor Freight IR thermometer. (http://www.harborfreight.com/non-contact-laser-thermometer-96451.html)

It's a fun toy.  Not extremely accurate, but good for trending temperatures and finding heat leaks.  My son and I use its laser to play with our cats too.

This is what I take with me when I explore the active lava flows:
Metris extra long range IR thermometer (http://www.allhandsfire.com/METRIS-PROFESSIONAL-GRADE-INFARED-THERMOMETER-501)

It's good to know what you're getting into before you get there.
Title: Re: Cheap IR thermometer
Post by: euge on March 05, 2012, 03:40:34 PM
I have one of the HF jobbies. Find it to be surprisingly accurate but not very practical for brewing as others have stated. Used for checking surface temps and will read the top of the fermenting beer pretty close. Still prefer the Thermapen for that though! Useless for mashing.

I use it primarily for HVAC checking ducts and wall etc...
Title: Re: Cheap IR thermometer
Post by: ccfoo242 on March 12, 2012, 02:17:12 PM
Just thought I would chime in with my experience using these types of thermometers.

Yesterday I thought I would do a quick check of my grain temp before mashing and used an IR thermometer, it read 81F! My house AC was set to 72F. I checked the temp of the wall next to my thermostat and it read 72.3F, so it was accurate there. Using another thermometer I verified that the grain was 72F.

Not sure why it would read almost 10 degrees higher when pointing it at the grain.  The grain was in a paper bag and had been sitting in my living room over night.