[Marco Reps] found an HT02 thermal imaging camera in his mailbox. He found the resolution was fine for looking at big objects but worthless for examining circuit boards. So he decided to just tear it into pieces — an urge we totally understand.

Inside was a thermopile sensor that was easy to reverse engineer. So [Marco] decided to rework a Raspberry Pi robot to use the camera and turn it into a heat seeker.

The camera is relatively inexpensive compared to other similar devices and apparently uses a cheaper sensor type. However, the sensor itself was easy to use. [Marco] found a pin that is pulsed every half second to trigger acquisition. Another pin produces a few thousand pulses which is your cue to read an analog output from the device. It is really that simple.

For the right application, the HT02 might be worth the low price, although we’ve heard stories that they are not always constructed well. One feature we thought was interesting was the ability to merge a visible light image with the infrared image merged so you can get a better idea of what you are looking at.

The low cost and low resolution reminded us of an entry in the Hackaday prize a few years ago. Then again, you can take a more minimal approach and build up a scanner that works point by point.

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