DIY Thermal Scanner: How to Build a Thermal Scanner

DIY Thermal Scanner: How to Build a Thermal Scanner

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By Shane Garcia

Today, constructing a DIY thermal scanner doesn’t need to be a tough task. All of the components you’ll need to create a camera are readily available on the Internet, and so is the information. Process Parameters provide all the information you need about thermal scanners & is a good place to start if you’re looking to build your own scanner.

In this post, we’ll discuss where to look for the right components, the uses and the best guides.

So, what hardware do we need for this project? Most of the items required are probably lying around in our drawers o can be bought at any local digital store. This DIY project could cost less than $100, while professional thermal imagers can cost up to a thousand USD.

Main Components Required to Make the DIY Thermal Imager

  • A thermal camera (MLX90640)
  • An SD card
  • Raspberry Pi DSI screen
  • Raspberry Pi
  • Power Supply

With the above items in place, you can proceed to download the skin temperature scanner and a cloud account to manage the Pi.

Step 1: Join the screen to the Raspberry Pi

Using the two black latches of a display cable, connect the Raspberry Pi to your screen controller and secure it.

Step 2: Connect the controller to the Raspberry Pi

Use the header pins on the controller to link it to the Pi. Only the power (Red) and the ground (Black) pins will be used for this connection.

Step 3: Connect the thermal camera to the GPIO

To join the thermal camera module to the GPIO, use the 4 pins on the MLX90640 pin and connect them to the GPIO board pin. An extra pin on the camera labelled as ‘INT’ will not be used.

Step 4: Proceed to software set-up.

Now that the hardware is intact download a temperature scanner application. This application will deploy the project as it already has pre-set configuration settings.

Step 5: Add Device

Click the add device option and ensure you select the specific device you are using. If you are connecting to a wireless network, set up the WiFi SSD at this step.

Step 6: Flash and connect your SD card.

Flash your SD card to ensure it is clean and blank, then connect it to the Raspberry Pi. You can then connect the Pi to a power supply.

Start your device, and immediately the app begins to run, you will be able to see thermal images on the screen showing temperature changes. You might need to make slight adjustments based on preference. If the thermal data keeps refreshing, you can reduce the speed by changing DT parameters found under the device configuration section.

You may want to troubleshoot the software and application using the troubleshooting guide offered by the application host. Keep troubleshooting and testing your device until you start getting accurate readings.

DIY Thermal Scanner Final Thoughts

Thermal scanners are very effective and necessary, especially now during the Coronavirus pandemic. With an Arduino thermal camera scanner, you can scan your family and detect fevers early enough without constantly going to a medical facility.

A thermal camera can also be used to perform home inspections and detect electrical faults before they cause damage.

Shane Garcia


3 Thames Street BOLTON, BL1 6NN

01204 456413



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