One of the services we provide here at 603 Drones, LLC is aerial thermal imaging. Because of the nature of the work we are most often asked to perform, we rarely require the capturing of radiometric data or images that would require the smoothness of a gimbal-mounted sensor. So, for our purposes, the best thermal sensor for our airframes is the Flir Vue Pro 640.
The beauty of the Vue Pro 640 (and it’s less-expensive cousin, the 336) is that it is small enough and light enough to be mounted via a standard action camera mount to the back of the airframe which allows us to capture thermal data simultaneously with standard RGB imaging in one pass over the target. This allows for less flight time along with actionable thermal data that can be correlated to visual images of the same region being captured by the thermal sensor. In order to accomplish this, of course, we on the ground need to be able to see what the thermal sensor sees from the air. Without the benefit of a manufacturer-engineered solution, this requires a custom-made solution.
Through the various social media platforms on which we share our work, we’ve been asked several times how we build our modular thermal sensor setups. To answer that question, we have put together this in-depth video that details all of the components, wiring, and ancillary equipment that we use. A full parts list is included below for easy reference. We hope this tutorial is of value to you!
PARTS AND COMPONENTS
Flir Vue Pro 640 13mm 30Hz Thermal Sensor
ImmersionRC 600mW Video Tx
Fat Shark 7.4V Battery
Fat Shark Banana Charger Adapter
Flysight Black Pearl 32CH Receiver Monitor
Futaba T8J Radio Transmitter with Receiver
Jeremy Jones is the founder of 603 Media Group and 603 Drones, LLC. He is a FAA Part 107 pilot and has experience flying multiple Small Unmanned Aircraft System (sUAS) platforms in commercial applications. He is also versed in both state and federal regulations as they relate to commercial vs hobbyist sUAS operations and helps new remote pilots to navigate these very tricky subjects.