Inventors: Raymond Earl Garvey, III, Robert Darrell Skeirik

Original Assignee: CSI Technology, Inc

**Patent number:** 8003942

**Filing date: **Jan 31, 2011

**Issue date:** Aug 23, 2011

**Application number:** 13/017,573

A system and method for enhancing inspections using infrared cameras through in-field displays and operator-assisted performance calculations. A handheld infrared imaging system typically includes an infrared camera having a programmed computer and an interactive user interface suitable for displaying images and prompting response and accepting input from the infrared camera operator in the field during an inspection. An operator may designate at least one thing of interest on a displayed infrared image; and the programmed computer may uses a performance algorithm to estimate performance associated with the thing of interest. The programmed computer may extract information or parameters from previously measured data. The programmed computer may vary the way in which it displays new measurements based on the information extracted from the stored data. One or more of the parameters extracted from the IR image may be adapted to provide an automated alert to the user.

**Claims**

What is claimed is:

1. A method for estimating a time to failure of a component using a programmable infrared camera having programmed logic, comprising:

(a) inputting into the programmed logic a limit life for the component;

(b) inputting into the programmed logic a high alarm delta-T for the component;

(c) measuring a first temperature of a faulty component with the programmable infrared camera;

(d) measuring a second temperature of a normal component with the programmable infrared camera;

(e) subtracting the second temperature from the first temperature to provide a delta-T temperature in the programmed logic;

(f) using the programmed logic to divide the high alarm delta-T by the calculated delta-T temperature to obtain a ratio; and

(g) using the programmed logic to multiply the limit life by a function of the ratio to estimate the time to failure of the component.

2. The method of claim 1 wherein the programmable infrared camera has a display with a first cursor and a second cursor, and

step (a) comprises measuring the first temperature of the faulty component with the programmable infrared camera by positioning the first cursor over a first image of the faulty component on the display; and

step (b) comprises measuring the second temperature of the normal component with the programmable infrared camera by positioning the second cursor over a second image of the normal component on the display.

3. The method of claim 1 where in step (e) comprises using the programmed logic to multiply the limit life by an exponential function of the ratio.

4. The method of claim 1 wherein step (e) comprises using the programmed logic to multiply the limit life by the ratio cubed.

5. A method of advising a safe distance from an arc-flash hazard to an operator using a programmable infrared camera having programmed logic and a display, comprising:

(a) programming the programmed logic with a formula employing at least one variable for calculating a safe distance from an arc-flash source;

(b) inputting the at least one variable into the programmed logic;

(c) using the programmed logic to calculate the safe distance; and

(d) displaying the safe distance on the display.

6. The method of claim 5 wherein the programmable infrared camera comprises a user interface for inputting the at least one variable into the programmed logic and step (b) comprises prompting the user to use the user interface to input the at least one variable into the programmed logic.

7. The method of claim 5 wherein step (b) comprises inputting the at least one variable into the programmed logic as an assumed value.

8. A method for estimating an actual electrical impedance of an electrical component in a system drawing an electrical current, the method using a programmable infrared camera having programmed logic and comprising:

(a) inputting into the programmed logic a normal impedance for the electrical component;

(b) inputting into the programmed logic a normal above-ambient delta-T value for the electrical component;

(c) using the programmable infrared camera to input into the programmed logic a measured above-ambient delta-T value for the electrical component;

(d) subtracting the normal above-ambient delta-T value from the measured above-ambient delta-T value to provide a delta-T variance in the programmed logic;

(e) using the programmed logic to divide the delta-T variance by the normal above-ambient delta-T value to obtain a variance ratio; and

(f) using the programmed logic to multiply the normal impedance by the variance ratio, wherein the electrical current drawn by the system is assumed to be a constant that is independent of the actual electrical impedance of the electrical component to estimate the actual electrical impedance of the electrical component.

9. A method for estimating an actual friction resistance of a mechanical component using a programmable infrared camera having programmed logic, comprising:

(a) inputting into the programmed logic a normal friction resistance for the mechanical component;

(g) inputting into the programmed logic a normal above-ambient delta-T value for the mechanical component;

(h) using the programmable infrared camera to input into the programmed logic a measured above-ambient delta-T value for the mechanical component;

(i) subtracting the normal above-ambient delta-T value from the measured above-ambient delta-T value to provide a delta-T variance in the programmed logic;

(j) using the programmed logic to divide the delta-T variance by the normal above-ambient delta-T value to obtain a variance ratio; and

(k) using the programmed logic to multiply the normal friction resistance by the variance ratio to estimate the actual friction resistance of the mechanical component.

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