Keen to get his hands on an industry ‘ﬁrst’, Damien Heath of Heath Electrical Services (MK) reviews the FLIR DM284 Thermal Imaging Multimeter.
What attracted you to the tool in the ﬁrst place?
We’ve previously usedFLIR’s thermal imaging smartphone attachment products (which are impressive), but never a standalone unit. The DM284 was particularly intriguing to me as it combines
an 18 function True RMS digital multimeter with thermal imaging capability (Infrared Guided Measurement) to assist with general inspection and troubleshooting – the ﬁrst time I’ve heard of such functionality in a multimeter. I was therefore very happy to take it for a test run and see what it could do.
The product is a nice size and very well packaged, while the layout of the controls is highly intuitive, making the unit extremely simple to use. The case is anti-slip and very robust and the unit has been drop-tested to 3m to ensure you’re not damaging the tool if it’s subject to the odd ‘dings’ and drops that can occur on-site. I was also very impressed that the unit is IP54, dust and water resistant which I’m sure is one of the major reasons behind the 10-year warranty that FLIR is able to offer.
Was it easy to operate?
The controls are really very simple to use and it’s just a one touch operation if you want to use the thermal imaging camera. To make use of that functionality you simply stand a few feet away and hold the DM284 up to your desired item of inspection and you can then quickly see hot spots caused by loose connections or other potential issues. Once the Infrared Guided Measurement has identiﬁed an issue the electrician can then make use of the voltage, current and other multimeter functions to conﬁrm and verify the problem.
What types of tasks has the unit helped you with?
There are a wide range of tasks that the DM284 can be used for and I can see it being a valuable tool for those working in a number of industries. In our work we’ve mainly used the unit to ﬁnd hot spots in distribution boards to prevent further issues, but we’ve also found that it’s great for ﬁnding cold spots on heaters as well.
Are there any features of the tool that you particularly liked?
There’s a lot of technology in this unit, but other features that impressed me include a kick-stand, an LED work light and the unit’s one touch operation. Aesthetically, my favourite element of the unit is the ruggedized over mould, which makes the tester very durable. I was also impressed with the battery life. Clearly the stand-out item is the thermal imaging capability, however, and the benefits of being able to pinpoint potentially dangerous hotspots without the need to touch any circuitry not only has major benefits for the speed and accuracy of your work, but also the health and safety of the operator.
Are there any improvements that you’d suggest?
It’s a diﬃcult unit to make improvements to but a carry case for the tester would be a good addition and also a function that allows you to record images when using the Infrared Guided Measurement. Would you recommend the tool to other electricians? The DM284 is a cracking multimeter in its own right, but the Infrared Guided Measurement capability really sets it apart. The large display and high resolution pictures are fantastic and thermal imaging is something that electricians can really make effective use of on today’s modern sites. This is a high quality product that has now become our ‘go-to’ tool for diagnostic inspection.
For more information about the FLIR DM284 Thermal Imaging Multimeter visit: www.ﬂir.co.uk/instruments/dm284/