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Hot Spot Hotshot

Aug. 23, 2019
This year’s winner brings the power of thermal imaging to any Android or iOS device.

EC&M’s 2019 Platinum Award goes to the FLIR One Pro LT Series smartphone thermal camera from Wilsonville, Ore.-based FLIR Systems, Inc. The device, which is powered by the manufacturer’s Lepton thermal microcamera core, allows anyone — from plant engineers to professional electrical inspectors to electricians and technicians — to see heat invisible to the naked eye from an iOS or Android device.

“The FLIR One Pro LT smartphone thermal camera is targeted at a wide set of professional users working with, for example, building inspections or predictive maintenance of electrical systems,” says Victoria Lind, product manager – FLIR One Series. “It can help you find insulation deficiencies, detect possible moisture damage/water intrusion, and troubleshoot HVAC systems. It can also find hot spots in electrical systems and troubleshoot mechanical equipment, such as motors and bearings.”

Developed over an 18-month period, the camera features thermal sensitivity needed to detect temperature differences down to ±3°C, image resolution of 4,800 pixels, and temperature measurements up to 120°C (248°F). Via the proprietary OneFit connector, users can attach the device to a smartphone through most popular phone cases. Furthermore, smartwatch compatibility with the Apple Watch and select Android smartwatches provides the ability to stream live thermal imagery to see around corners and take images or video.

According to Lind, major design considerations included a ruggedized physical product that was fit for industrial environments, which means the device is rated to take a drop from 1.8 meters. Another design consideration included creating a new version of the FLIR One app that offers advanced software capabilities, such as such as multiple spot meters, level/span controls, and reporting through the FLIR Tools Mobile App.

“In addition, the redesigned app includes our VividIR technology, which is a video signal processing technology that enables improved thermal image quality and clarity,” adds Lind. “The product also includes MSX technology, which combines the image from a thermal and a visual camera to produce a better-quality image with greater detail and readability.”

Starting at $299 (regional prices may vary), Lind says development of this model was prompted by the desire to offer a variety of professional users a more affordable camera.

“For inspection firms, having a thermal camera increases their competitiveness and improves their communication with customers while demonstrating problems and effects of fixes,” she says. “In a production facility, thermal inspections can help save large amounts of money by avoiding expensive downtime.”

Introduced to market in July 2018, Lind says users are most impressed by the camera’s image quality and compact size (it measures just 2.7 in. × 1.3 in. × 0.6 in.).

“The FLIR One is an easy-to-use product, and the compact size makes it a convenient tool to carry with you,” says Lind. “On top of that, it comes at a very affordable price.”

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This year’s first place runner-up comes from the power distribution equipment category. With an all plug-on design that exceeds UL safety standards, the Leviton Load Center includes branch wires that all terminate at custom lugs in the panel, making wiring easier and neater. GFCI and AFCI/GFCI circuit breakers feature reset lockout technology to ensure ground fault protection against electric shock is always working. Offered in a white enclosure with an optional window, at-a-glance diagnostics make it easy to identify the trip condition and type of fault without the need to reset the circuit breakers. Line side powered electronics ensure LED indicators remain lit, even when tripped.



From the tools (hand) category, this year’s second place runner-up is Klein Tools’ 7-in-1 Nut Driver, which is designed to provide easy, one-handed driving and seven common hex sizes (¼ in., 5/16 in., 11/12 in., 3/8 in., ½ in., 7/16 in., and 9/16 in.) in one tool. Features include a heavy-duty handle with wrench-assist that the company says exceeds the torque performance of regular nut drivers. Additionally, the hollow shafts found on the ¼ in., 
5/16 in., 3/8 in., 7/16 in., and  9/16 in. sizes help drive nuts deep onto bolts and threaded rod.

The EC&M Tradition Endures

Established in 2000, the EC&M Product of the Year competition recognizes excellence in new product development for the electrical industry. Honoring inventiveness in product design, as well as improvements in safety and efficiency, the competition’s two-fold judging and voting process determines the most ground-breaking products of the past year that allow electrical design professionals, installers, and maintenance personnel to perform their jobs more efficiently and effectively.

Products eligible for this year’s competition were those introduced to the market between Jan. 1, 2018, and Dec. 31, 2018. A hand-picked panel of judges ranked the 110 products entered into this year’s contest based on a uniform list of scoring criteria, ultimately selecting 35 category winners for the first phase of the competition. These category winners were then narrowed down to just three through an online poll available to our readers on the EC&M website. By casting their votes, EC&M subscribers determined the platinum, gold, and silver award-winning products of the year.

Voting Winners

EC&M would like to congratulate the following three readers who each won $100 for voting in this year’s competition:
    • John Hudacek, an electrical engineer with PA DHS in York, Pa.
    • Glen Osteen, a journeyman electrician for Nana Management Services in Wasilla, Alaska
    • Johnny Rhodes, a master electrician for the City of Waco, Waco, Texas.
The EC&M editorial team randomly drew these names from the list of qualified voters who cast their vote in the online poll.

About the Author

Stefanie Kure | Content Producer - EC&M

Stefanie Kure is the senior associate editor of EC&M magazine. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Kansas and has more than 20 years of experience in the B2B magazine industry. In addition to EC&M, Stefanie has worked on Transmission & Distribution World magazine, Broadcast Engineering magazine, and Power Electronics Technology magazine.

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