This pocket-sized, portable thermal camera project combines an AMG8833 IR Thermal Camera FeatherWing with a PyGamer to provide a full-featured thermal imaging camera. CircuitPython will be in charge of reading and displaying the thermal image as well as interacting with operator controls.
A thermal camera can be very useful for finding home heating leaks, looking for electrical circuit hot spots, troubleshooting printed circuit board components, and for knowing when your tea is just right for sipping. The initial reason I built one was to watch the rate of heat buildup along a length of clothes dryer exhaust duct.
The camera displays a thermal image or histogram and sports a shutter button to freeze the image. The focus feature fine-tunes the display's temperature range to match the current image's maximum and maximum measurements. A settable alarm flashes lights and beeps when the camera sees a temperature at or above the threshold. The setup function is used to set the temperature display range and the alarm threshold. An editable configuration file contains the camera's power-up settings.
The heart of the camera is a thermal imaging sensor with an 8 by 8 thermopile array that reads temperatures from 32°F to 176°F (0°C to 80°C) with an absolute accuracy of +- 4.5°F (2.5°C) and resolution of 0.9°F (0.5°C). The sensor array's 64 elements are too few to see a lot of detail, but are sufficient for many uses around the home.
This version of the camera displays numeric temperature values as degrees Fahrenheit. Converting the displayed values to Celsius is possible but is left as an exercise.
Other than the AMG8833 Thermal Camera FeatherWing, the following kit contains the parts for this project including a nifty carrying case.
Thank you to the CircuitPython community for unfailing support and encouragement. Thanks to Anne Barela for insightful advice and help with the overall guide content/readability.
Special thanks to Melissa LeBlanc-Williams for her expert Displayio tutorial -- it was the catalyst for my initial breakthrough in understanding and applying Displayio. Her techniques also shaped some of the display principles used in this learning guide.