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DIY Thermal Camera: Build your Own Infrared Imaging Device with ESP32 and MLX90640 Sensor

Ditch X-ray vision, thermal cameras are the real industrial superheroes! They don’t just see light, they see heat, making them masters of uncovering hidden energy drains, pinpointing overheating gadgets, and even aiding soldiers in the dark. They’re invaluable in industries like tech repair, where they sniff out shorted circuits like electronic bloodhounds. The only catch? Their price tag can be a bit frosty. But hey, technology is always evolving, and soon, thermal vision might be just as common as your phone camera! So remember, that seemingly ordinary camera might just be packing some extraordinary heat-sensing powers.

A few months back I have created such a thermal camera with easy to find components. Here I’m sharing that project with you hoping some of you may find this helpful. So, in this project, we are going to find some solution for that by making a DIY thermal imager using much cheaper available components. The cheaper thermal imaging sensors we have considered are the AMG8833 from Panasonic, MLX90640 and MLX90641 from Melexis. Even though the AMG8833 is the cheapest of them all it only has a resolution of 8x8, while MLX90640 offers a resolution of 32x24 and MLX90641 offers a resolution of 16x12. Since the MLX90640 offers the best resolution in the price range we choose it for our DIY thermal camera.

- Image sensor resolution: 32x24.
- Sensor field of view (FoV): 55°x35°
- Temperature measurement range: -40 to 300°C
- -40 to 85°C operational temperature range.
- Adjustable refresh rate – 4Hz – 32Hz.
- 10 different colour pallets.
- 5 different interpolation modes.
- Easy to use GUI.
- 2.4” TFT display with 320x240 resolution.
- Save thermal image to SD card.
- Built-in battery and charging circuit.
- Open source”

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