PRO-LAB deal on IR Camera: $2,995.

How soon do you predict the $995 IR camera to be on the market?

I’m figuring $1,995 is the low target and we won’t see IR Cameras too much lower then that but who knows. I know guys who have spent more then $995 on their moisture meters.

I talk to a FLIR rep the other day. He thinks FLIR Will be coming out with a camera that has high RES. 320 or better But without the other bells and stuff that the a HI has no need for. This will lower the cost of the a camera and produce good IR Photos.

I predict an IR so inexpensive that you will see this ad…

“Joe Schmoe’s IR Class…$995 for three days of training and certification…camera provided free.”


The cameras will get more affordable but the courses…well I believe that they will remain high. I have spent $4000 in courses allready.

“The cameras will get more affordable but the courses…well I believe that they will remain high. I have spent $4000 in courses already.”

Like “temperature,” the term “affordable” is a relative one! We’ve been providing training for 25 years. I know some feel our courses are “high priced.” I also know that most people leave feeling like they were a very good value and that the investment would bring a full return quickly.

The accumulated 250 years of IR experience and knowledge we have represented among our now 13 trainers (I’m very glad to have Paul Ogletree, a highly qualified thermographer and a NACHI HI, on board), really blows my mind. These guys don’t work for nothing.

We also have a full time support staff so that when people finish the training they can pick up the phone (toll-free) and speak with real people to get their questions answered.

We also invest heavily in the professional development of the industry, working closely with all the camera manufacturers, on numerous standards committees, and donating our time to speak at conferences, among other things. So when you take training from us, that is all part of the cost, and, I believe, the benefit.

Like many here, I have not gotten wealthy in my career but it has paid the bills and I have the immense satisfaction of knowing we’ve done good work that made a difference to lots of folks.

All that said, we are definitely looking for more ways to make our knowledge easier to access in more cost-effective ways. Our webinars are, I believe, a great value even if they are priced higher than others. We aim to make sure they are short (30-60 minute), sharply focussed sessions that deliver rich content in a clear way with lots of good examples. I’d invite any of the readers of this board to try them out.

I suspect camera prices WILL take another drop or two but I also hope all will remember that the least expensive system MAY not be the most appropriate or best one for the task at hand. In my experience, the right system, well used, will pay handsome returns. Thankfully we have some great choices these days for both cameras AND training—I hope all of you will take a look at what we offer for training and support, regardless of the kind of camera you have or are considering.

Thermally yours,

John Snell
ASNT NDT Thermal/Infrared Level III #48166
Snell Infrared



Just some thoughts

I have seen this in other hi tec industries (electronics - communications - computers etc.) as the products get smarter the training to use them becomes less

While it might hard to see from your point of view we have to bring the cost to our client down so they can afford our services

Remember some day they will be able to take their own pictures and send them off to a lab for analization.

I just had and MRI and my wife had an MRI and a mamogram and the computer images were read by someone a 1000 plus miles away maybe in India

Look at the days when a TV tec and all his test equipment came to your home

I hope some are old enought to remember this other than me

In short your indurstry is changing very fast to the point of going away

Education is now on line and very hight tec at the collage level

Knowledge is not something that can be sold any more

Every person that gets trained can be a trainer

It is almost a MLM thing
Mine did in the wireless twoway communications and other hi tec areas


Who is a level four


Mr. John Snell

Please don’t take my comments personally, I was referring to the industry as a whole. Course providers in general have a monopoly on this industry, and as such they can charge the high fees for training…I’m all for it. As a businessman and entrepreneur I fully understand and support the concept.

Thanks. No offense taken. I appreciate the opportunity to talk about the differences in qualities of the various training available. Clearly anyone can learn on their own using the web and other free or low-cost resources. I believe an investment in high quality training can get one started on the right paths much more quickly while also helping avoid the costly and often dangerous pitfalls along the way.

“Free knowledge” certainly has a place in learning but it can also come at a rather steep cost. I can’t pretend to see the future clearly other than to know we will ALL be working hard to learn more effectively and in less costly ways and I welcome those challenges as well as examples from others.

More coffee.jpg


If I were trying to sell something that my client had to get educated on how to use said product and that cost was to slow down my sales, I would start training for a reduced price

Remember I want to sell product

The quality of the training is very hard to judge. Yes a student will say the training was very good but remember when one puts big $$ on the table most people do not want to tell their friends that they were stupid and wasted their money. It is just human nature

If I were to try to educate a client in the use of my product I would take the instructor out of the picture and design the training into the product.

Look at the computer of today. Suppliers have installed a lot of education in the product. They even talk to you. Airplanes today are easer to fly because of the installed electronics. GPS makes it hard to get lost. It is even in you cell phone. Cameras are so smart that one can give it to a kid and he can take pictures right out of the box.

Back to IR. When an “IR” print is made and some one says what it is put it in the memory of the camera. The next time the camera sees something close it will tell the user what might be the problem.

Example – “This is a normal reading” - “Possible reflection” - “Active roof leak” - “Missing insulation” - “HVAC energy loss in flex” - “Bad Breaker”

In past life I was involve with some audio sampling of equipment. The computer is better that any person once trained.

The future is very close at had and I would expect to see smart IR cameras on the market before one has to replace the battery pack on the product that they buy today.

Just look at the software that is included with the cameras now

If I were in the IR education field today I would be building courses to educate the camera not the user

The picture is clear. You have the knowledge do it for us and many will beat a path to you door.

I would buy

Teaching people to be smart is hard. I know I am married and we have two sons.




What your suggesting is to eliminate the human [inspector] element from the use of the camera…respectfully, that doesn’t work for me!

I know I am really getting close to the edge, here, and will likely piss off Nick and every vendor on down from him…but I have to ask.

We are all familiar with Professor Henry Hill, the visitor to River City who was a teacher in music and seller of band uniforms…and we are familiar with to what extent he went to convince the town they needed to have a marching band.

We have also experienced…right here on our own board…how, within months of purchasing their own…a few of our members jumped on the teaching bandwagon to develop training programs — and, subsequently, a long series of arguments favoring the absolute triumph IR technology has over the industry.

No doubt, if I spent $5K and up for a device like that, I would also be waving it over my head and making claims as to how my inspection reports will better describe certain issues, etc…It’s human nature.

But when the camera reaches the same price as my Delmhorst moisture meter and becomes just another valuable tool to help me conduct an inspection in accordance with my SOP…what value will there be to the $2K class or the $5k camera? The SOP is the SOP, and a report is a report.


The inspector is still there and will always be there. It is just that the tools of the trade are getting better. Not to long ago the IR camera was not $3,000.00 but $30,000.00

Back in my audio inspection of equipment days (Subs SSN types) the problems were detected with an educated ear. Advanced electronics came into the program and spotted the problems 24/7 far better than the educated ear could ever.

The computer uses in the area of Sonar and Electronic Counter Measures (ECM) is nothing short of science fiction and that is still true today

The car that you drive has a computer to monitor fault conditions far better than you the driver could ever. Something goes wrong and it will tell you. Many times it will go into a safe mode so you can get home or off the highway. In the old days your motor was all over the the street.

A smart IR camera will spot things that you can not and tell you what the problem is rather than trusting your mind.

Remember in a training class you will not retain 100% of what is presented and you will also be given a lot of information that is not relevent to your needs thus waisting your time and money. So what do you get for your $$?? In short very little for some letters after your name. You probably could get the same knowledge on this BB for free.


Do an IR scan on a refrigerator and have you picture auto labled “possible bad door gasket” and then scan a wall an get “possible WDO issue in wall”

Remember your instructor might not have presented the above because he did not have the time or never personaly saw the problems so you would miss it but a smart camera was trained and remembers 100%

Today would it not be nice to send all you IR images to a team of experts and have them look at them for free. That is the smart IR camera

Don’t stand in the way of progress – help it

Mario, are you one of the the ones that has spent the time and money to be on the cutting edge? Just remember that your knowledge and EXPERENCE will be in the IR camera’s next memory card

So help – don’t sit there and say that you can’t see it becoming realty and that you do not like it. Help by demanding from you IR suppliers nothing but the best in equipment and education. Let them know that what they supplied for the $$'s that you spent was not enough

Do not be one of those people to say “everyone else spend big $$ and get trained just like I got suckered into doing and the people that do not get trained as I did should not be allowed to use an IR camera”

As a profession we are being sold the “marching band of knowledge” for too much money. We are starting to think that it is the knowledge of the inspector that makes for a good inspection when in fact it is the tools that we use

Words like “I have 20**** years of doing what I am doing” do not show a client that you are the best inspector. Your tool bag shows the client that you are the best inspector

Our military is not the best in the world because we have the best people in it. It is the best in the world because it is the best equipped

Just got off the phone with a client that said “you have got the job” — Reason – I told him that I could not quote him until I saw the home and I would call him back. Went to the home – Inside and out – called him on cell and told him that he had some electrical issues that would take some extra inspection time. Quoted him a price that was proper but higher than a “best guess” and he said “'you have the job”

Lesson learned – The cell phone and my car got the inspection not my knowledge. Just tools in the tool bag

The SMART IR camera of the future will put the well trained IR inspector out of busness just like the IR camera of today is putting the old HI out of busness

Look at it this way — You got an IR camera because it did a better job of finding issues in a home than you could do without it. The tool made you a better inspector - not your knowledge.


Look at all the letters after your own name

Now take away you tool bag and do an inspection

What is in your tool bag

Computer and software
IR Camera
Many meters
Hand Tools
Mold Sampling equipment
First Aid Supplies
NACHI membership


:shock: :shock: I’m confused?

Huh? The knowledege of how to USE the tools and interpret the results are what make a good inspector. Tools, help, but knowledge is the key.
From what you’re saying I could give my 7-year old all the latest, greatest tools and he would be the best inspector.

What if I don’t know how to operate the tools? Moisture meter, IR camera, computer? Tools in and of themselves show that you had the money (or credit) to buy them.
Who would you rather have working on your car (house, boat, person, etc) a new kid fresh out of “training” with all the latest high tech tools or someone who has been at his trade for 20 years with half the tools but 100X the knowlegde?

So, why not gather up all the homeless and all the prisoners and draft them into the military. With all that great equipment, we should see no drop off in performance. And solve more than one problem.

Your knowledge - that you had to go see the property first - got you the job. We all have cell phones and cars. I have yet for my cell phone to book an inspection without me answering it.

Again, tools are good and can help make you better, but without the knowledge of how to use the tool, the tool itself is worthless. You could put me in the space shuttle (a fine tool) but I wouldn’t be able to fly two blocks, let alone to the ISS.

Your argument of tools make the inspector is seriously flawed IMO.

John Snell writes:

I was thrilled on Friday to get an accounting report from NACHI.TV showing that our training shows have finally gotten under the $400 per minute production mark.

Yes, that’s $400 per minute!

I think that observing the house before quoting an inspection fee is absurd.

You inspect in accordance with an SOP. The same steps, with usually only minor deviations, are taken in each inspection.

Those who sell the tools and the education as to how to use them will argue vehemently for the need of both. No sense in our trying to steal away any of their thunder.

Whether you find the soft wood in the attic with your IR, your moisture meter, or your eyeballs and a scratch awl…it takes a good inspector to know when and how to use these tools, where to look, and how to interpret what he finds and communicate it in a report. If all that were necessary were the tools themselves, you would find legislation requiring them.

Agreed, but I don’t know the details of this particular inspection, so I thought I’d give him the benefit of the doubt there ;-). I know for sure the phone in and of itself was not the reason he got the job.

If it was, that phone should sell like sunscreen in Maui!