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How can I turn a Sony Handycam w/nightvision into a Thermal Imaging cam with temp? Answered

I want to View Electrical Wiring and motors for hot spots and lose connections. I have a Sony Handycam with the night vision that I can use. It is going to be used in a Vocational High School for Teaching Students electricity


Steveastrouk is correct, thermal imagers usually use semiconductors other than silicon and are actively cooled, silicon just doesn't respond to radiation at that long of wavelength.  The infrared that the sony nightvision uses is much closer to visible, and uses an infrared LED to provide a light source.

You can't view thermal IR with any conventional camera - thermal IR wavelengths are MUCH longer than the IR reception range of a silicon sensor. Usually, Thermal imaging sensors are cooled below ambient.

 I agree with Re-design.  There's a section on digital infrared photography in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infrared_photography that tells a little more about it.

There is another problem: hot spots in your circuit--unless they are burning hot and you'd see the smoke--only put out far infrared, to which your camera isn't sensitive at all.  If you think about it, if a camera was sensitive to warm objects, on a warm day when the camera got warm the detector would be swamped by the heat and all your pictures would be fogged.  

I believe far ir cameras use chilled detectors.

I don't think you are going to have much luck in converting  your camera.

You will have to remove the ir filter that is sitting just before the sensor.

The sensor is designed to be sensitive to visible light and what you are looking for is a sensor that is designed to be sensitive to ir which is past the visible spectrum.  The sensor you have is somewhat sensitive to ir  but not very much so.

You need a deep red filter that filters out all of the visible light or that will fog your image.

Also ir focuses differently than visible light so you will have to focus manually or any image you do get will be out of focus.

If you don't mind maybe ruining your camera and not accomplishing your goals it's worth a try.  If you're not ready to take the gamble you might try renting a camera a few times until the school sees it's a worthy project and allocates you some funds for a purchase.

Good luck.