Fluke FLK-VT04 Visual Infrared Thermometer Review

Jun 14
Fluke VT04a infrared imager Review

Thermal imaging has, for a long time, been used in heat mapping and visual image construction from basic home-based applications to advanced military bids. The Fluke VT04A is a modern visual infrared thermometer, designed to blend heat overlays with digital images to accurately capture the temperature in any given area. It also allows you to differentiate hot and cold spots in the  field of view and is a good concession between an entry-level thermal camera and an infrared thermometer.

See more, Find more:

With thermal images 4X sharper than its siblings, the Fluke VT04A uses digital images with thermal overlay technology to allow the user to see an image showing the area’s temperature patterns. This is particularly helpful in detecting flaws and intermittent problems in industrial work. The visual IR thermometer has found major uses in such applications as smoke checks in fire-prone areas, qualitative analysis in refrigeration, finding lose connections in electrical cabinets, detecting mechanical flaws in the automotive industry, and many more.

Product Specifications:

At its very basic exterior, the Fluke VT04A is a mid-level lightweight IR thermal imaging camera that employs a rather modest design. Weighing less than 1 pound, the thermometer is made from hardened plastic and is powered by four AA batteries. Thinking about the ergonomics, the product adopts a slim almost pocket-sized design, allowing you to carry it around very easily.

Lets dig into some of the technical specs of this infrared thermometer. First, there is the wide temperature range (-10 °C to +250 °C (14 °F to 482 °F) and then there is the tight 28° x 28° field of view which  lets you see more detail on the 2-inch display screen. There are two alignment options: NEAR (<23 cm) from target and FAR (>23 cm) from target. These modes allow the user to align both visual and thermal lenses to accurately detect potential problem areas on the target. The thermal imaging camera uses either .bmp or .is2 file formats to store the images on the 4GB micro-SD card.

Features:

The Fluke VT04A is a state-of-the-art visual IR thermometer that uses a built-in digital camera with thermal heat overlay to accurately detect flaws on vulnerable areas. The camera uses five blending modes (0%, 25%, 50%, 75%, and Full Thermal) to blend the heat map with digital images, allowing you instantly trace the exact location of prevailing defects on the location. The built-in visual camera allows you to visualize the images with the help of the heat map and the PyroBlend Plus optics help add more details to the images.

Fluke VT04A Infrared Imager with  Hard Carrying Case

Along with the visible light images, Fluke’s definitive thermal heat map lets the user see  the temperature patterns that translate to potential issues on the target. It also comes with a center-point measurement box that displays the area of temperature measurement without background reading errors. With the help of heat markers, you can accurately track the hottest and coldest areas in the field of view and easily pinpoint higher or lower temperatures on the captured images.

Automated monitoring features are also a huge selling point for the Fluke VT04A. You can set your own custom threshold temperature limits above or below which an alarm is automatically triggered to alert you. The auto-monitor alarm also allows you to automatically capture images of the target area whenever the set limits are exceeded to give you insight of the area when the alarm is triggered. You can also capture images automatically at custom-set time intervals with the inbuilt time-lapse image capture function that lets you monitor temperature patterns with time.

The advanced visual IR camera uses a downloadable reporting software, Smartview, to process the collected images. With Smartview, you can analyze the images, optimize them for better resolution, export them to other programs in various formats, and create detailed reports on the data collected. You can store up to 10,000 optimized images per 1GB on the micro-SD card and generate professional reports communicating the areas of risk identified on the images.

Fluke VT04A Infrared Imager with  Hard Carrying Case

Applications:

The Fluke VT04A Visual Infrared Thermometer finds a wide range of applications in various industries. In electrical applications, it can be used for detection of overloaded circuit breakers, fuses and consumer unit panels and serve in maintenance work. In mechanical engineering, the thermal imaging feature of the IR camera allows the detecting of overheating motors, pulley belts and ball bearings. In High Voltage applications, it can also be used in the thermal analysis of AC condensers, expansion valves, cold air dampers, and vents in hard to reach areas. The thermal imaging camera also finds comprehensive uses in detection of both air and moisture leaks in construction sites and buildings.

PROS:

  • Slim, pocket-sized, ergonomic design that makes it highly portable
  • Compact design with an intuitive interface making it easy to use – no technical manual required for the average user
  • Accurate alignment of visible light and thermal lenses in both Near and Far modes
  • Automatic temperature monitoring system for scheduled image capturing and error alert
  • Smartview software for detailed image processing and reporting
  • Four times sharper images than previous models with an exceptional field of view for a 2-inch display screen
  • Active thermal image blending in five different modes to allow exact detention of potential flaws on the target
  • Fairly cheap for an entry-level quality thermal camera

​​​​CONS:

  • Low resolution compared to other high end professional grade thermal imaging cameras

Accessories:

A purchase of the Fluke VT04A Visual IR Thermometer from a certified dealer or online retailer gets you several accessories to allow you to exploit the full functionality of the Fluke. Along with the Fluke IR Thermometer, you get a hard carrying case, a hand strap, the Smartview software on a CD, a micro-SD card and its adapter, Lithium Ion batteries and a micro USB charger, a printed quick start guide, and a detailed user manual on CD.


Final Thoughts:

The VT04 is easily the cheapest, yet most practical, thermography tool that combines the power of a good thermal camera with that of a heat map blending tool to offer a fully functional thermal imaging device. It’s easy to use and the simple sleek design makes it portable for your daily maintenance routine checks. If you are looking for an advanced thermal imaging camera that is fairly low in price but still have the features you need, this is a great choice.