Product Test: Bosch GTC 400 C thermal imaging camera

Product Test: Bosch GTC 400 C thermal imaging camera

Steve Hewish, Approved Electrician at Turrell Ltd (Electrical Contractors), turns up the heat as he tries out the Bosch GTC 400 C thermal imaging camera.

A large part of working in electrical inspections is making sure an installation is safe for continued use. After all, not all issues with installations can be seen with the naked eye.

In this regard, thermal imaging equipment has become a much-needed staple of an electrician’s tool-kit. Being able to find equipment, such as swithgear or motors, that’s running at excessive temperatures could mean they’re subject to fail, or even catch fire in some circumstances.

Some higher-end models of thermal imaging equipment can run into thousands of pounds, so the Bosch GTC 400 C provides an entry level route into the market, particularly for those electricians who may be new to the technology. That said, it’s functionality far outweighs it’s price point, and the resolution quality is comparable to those at the higher end of the equipment market.

One thing I particularly liked about the product was easy point and shoot method of taking thermal pictures, utlising the unit’s pistol grip design. This makes it just as easy as using a digital camera, even with a 3.5” screen showing the user their field of vision.

Having an on-board Wi-Fi hotspot is another nice feature, as this allows you to transfer the pictures from the camera whilst on-site without having a Wi-Fi connection available. Alternatively, you can simply transfer them by attaching the included USB lead to a laptop or a computer.

From my own personal work, being able to show hotspots on switchgear has been an invaluable tool these past couple of months. I’ve also been able to use this information and supporting pictures to show the client what the issue is and what they can do to remedy it.

This is particularly useful, because if it’s something that might cause a fire then that particular part of the installation can be isolated, meaning damage to a client’s premises can be minimised or downtime for a company can be reduced.

Because you can pointpoint an issue clearly, this allows you and the client to factor in a shutdown at a more convenient time. It also helps enormously with the communication aspect of the job as showing clients clear evidence of your findings is half the battle won.

ThermalThe camera comes in a tough case which is pretty-much electrician-proof and is the sort of thing you’d want to see your valuable piece of equipment housed in.

In future, I’d like to see the addition of a padded sleeve that you can put the camera into while you’re on-site as this would mean less trips to/from the toolkit when you’re out on the job. The option of being able to take a short video (maybe 30 seconds or so) would also be a useful thing to show to a client.

There’s no doubt that this is a piece of equipment that works across multiple trade disciplines, so if you have plumbing and heating engineers in your business the tool can be used to identify leaks or blockages in pipework. Builders can also use it to see where damp issues are arising or where a building isn’t adequately insulated.

All in all, the Bosch GTC 400 C thermal imaging camera is a nice bit of kit that is easy to use, very accurate and competitively priced. A great addition to any tookit.

Watch a video of the Bosch GTC 400 C in action by clicking here

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