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International Automotive Technicians Network
Battery failure confirmation with FLIR thermal camera
Posted to Tool & Equipment Forum on 11/5/2015 50 Replies

In mid September 2015 Roger Suranyi posted how he used a thermal image camera to help identify the root cause for a battery draw


After that Post I purchased a FLIR E5 thermal image camera and have been testing some of its capabilities.

I use it for diagnostics, but also use it to help convince customer's of my thought process with a visual proof of my diagnostics.

Earlier today a fleet customer came in with a 2012 Freightliner Business Class M2 with DDC13 12.8L diesel. The driver's complaint was a strong odor of rotten eggs.

I quickly removed the battery cover and could hear a sound of "boiling water". I grabbed my FLIR E5 thermal camera and captured these two images: [Rotten Egg (sulfur) odor, battery failure, Flir E5] [Regular image of failed battery] Notice how you can't see liquid/wet evidence of loss of electrolyte, but the thermal image quickly shows what battery has catastrophically failed.

I then used the software included with the FLIR E5 thermal camera to generate a report for the fleet maintenance coordinator. This report with further testing of battery condition helped the maintenance coordinator agree to replace all three batteries.

[Battery failure with thermal image report]

With the expertise and creativity of the experts here on iATN, you can probably offer suggestions and post to this thread with your ideas for other uses of the thermal camera.

Be creative, share your ideas with the rest of us.

Mark Sarlo
Tri-State Diagnostics
La Junta, Colorado, USA

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