Anyone know any sources for affordable thermal imaging devices? I am in the process of putting togather (well planning and sourcing atleast, airframe is designed) a large gas powered all composite drone (3350mm wing span) designed to conduct grid searches for missing persons/fire detection as well as mapping and such. I plan on putting regular high resolution color (10mp with digital zoom to 1200mm), IR for bad visability and thermal for detection of persons and such(all 360x180 gimbal mounted). I contacted SPI infrared (still waiting on the responce) for a pricing quote on a thermal security camera located in their 'affordable cams' section (the TSC4500-E). It has a detection range of 3000ft with a 12 degree lens with video being white on black. its a 8.3"x2 inch cylinder that weighs 20 oz. so its size and weight are perfect for this drone. runs off of 8-32VDC at 2W (12vdc being the sweet medium) so lipo power will be no problem. looking at a DLA-112 with a Biela 3-blade 25x10 to run this. plenty of power and fuselage space to carry about 2.5 to 3 gallons of fuel so long flights will be possible. the airframe desigh is similar to a IAI Heron, but slightly smaller. carbon fiber and aramid honeycomb construction with some kevlar here and there. the whole thing (empty no parts) should only weigh a few kg so the payload whould be pretty good. it may have to be catapult launched though... now i wonder how much this cam is going to cost.... i may only have to spend about a grand (rounding way up) on all the composite materials and maybe another 1500 or so on electronics and the power plant. i think this cam mught double the cost of building this thing.  anyone else out there messing around with thermal?

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You should look at the FLIR Tau line. Plan on spending at least $3,500.

Who are you building this bird for? What experience have you had building uas? 


I like those FLIR tau cores... Those could be a very real possability if the TSC4500-E is too pricy (use ones are available apparently). I guess when it comes down to it ill have to balance price with size/weight I know ill allready be in for a minimum of $5,000 for this project so wherever I can cut cost will help. The VILGA video tracker could be of use as well but I dont think its available to the civilian market. it would be great for identifing and tracking 'hot' spots on the video.

This is just a project of my own. Ive done alot of model work in the past with balsa and fiberglass. Moved on to composites a few years ago. Most of the design uses 4mm CF board with 6mm honeycomb inbetween it for the bulkheads and unidirectional CF tubing for longerons and wing spars and tail booms. The skin is 3 layer system of 5.7 oz. carbon fiber twill weave with 5 oz twill weave kevlar in the middle. All set with system 2000 epoxy and 2120 hardner, vacuum bagged and everything as well. Structural parts will be cemented with hysol.

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