Topdon TC001 TCView Thermal Imaging Camera Review

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Now you might think it’s strange for a car review website to feature a thermal imaging camera, but they can be handier than you think when it comes to DIY mechanicing.


What is it?

The Topdon TC001 is a thermal imaging camera that can be plugged into an Android smartphone or a Windows PC via a USB-C or a regular USB port. It allows you to see the heat signatures of various objects and measure their temperature with high accuracy and resolution.

It can be used for a wide range of applications, such as inspecting electrical systems, finding heat or water leaks, detecting fire hazards, checking the insulation of your house, monitoring the health of animals and plants, and even having fun and seeing the world in a new way.


How does the Topdon TC001 work?

The Topdon TC001 works by detecting the infrared radiation emitted by different objects and translating it into a visible image. The device has a resolution of 256×192 pixels, which is higher than most of its competitors in the same price range. It also has a refresh rate of 25Hz, which means it can capture smooth and clear images in real time.

The temperature range of the device is -20°C to 550°C, and it has a spot meter that shows the temperature of the image’s centre point. The device has a power consumption of 0.35W, which means it won’t drain your phone’s battery too much.

The TC001 is compact and lightweight, measuring 2.80 x 1.65 x 0.55 inches and weighing just 30g. It has a plastic metallic outer shell and comes with a nice carry case, cleaning cloth and USB to USB-C extension cable (which is also handy if your phone or tablet has a case on).


What’s it like?

The Topdon TC001 works with two apps: the Topdon Thermal app for Android and the Topdon Thermal Viewer for Windows. Both apps are easy to use and offer various options and features, such as adjusting the colour palette, the emissivity, the span, and the level of the image, taking photos and videos, adding text and voice annotations, and exporting files to other formats.

The apps also allow you to switch between the smartphone’s or PC’s thermal and the visible camera to blend the two images together for better contrast and detail. The device is suitable for both DIY enthusiasts and professionals, such as electricians, home inspectors, HVAC, car mechanics, and more. The device is also fun to use, as it can reveal things that are invisible to the naked eye, such as the heat patterns of animals, plants, and humans or the hot spots of electronic devices.

When it comes to cars, spotting high temperatures on various engine parts can help determine where faults are. Is the blower motor overheating, and that’s why it’s running slow? Does it sound like the exhaust is blowing, but you can’t quite find where because it’s up against the chassis?

We didn’t have any particular fault finding currently, but we used it to investigate how hot the exhaust was getting along with the engine bay. While we can’t vouch for the temperature accuracy, the colours make it easy to identify hotspots.

It’s also pretty handy to have to image your house, especially in winter. You can see where heat is escaping. Is your roof looking warm compared to a neighbour’s? Some more insulation will help. Are the windows particularly bad? If so, a set of curtains would let less heat out.


Topdon TC001 Conclusion

The Topdon TC001 is a brilliant thermal imaging camera that offers high resolution, accuracy, and performance at an affordable price.
It’s easy to use, versatile and can help you identify and solve various problems independently.

It’s not perfect, and it has some limitations, such as the lack of a built-in battery, the incompatibility with iOS or Mac (but you can purchase the Topdon TC002 for iOS devices), and the absence of a feature like MSX, which is a technology that enhances the thermal image with the visible image for better clarity and detail.

However, these are minor drawbacks compared to the benefits of the device.


Where can I buy the Topdon TC001?

Amazon is your best bet, they’re currently £239.99 due to a £40 voucher.



Owner / Editor of Carwitter


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