I’ve wanted a thermal imaging camera for years but the $1,000-and-up price point has scared me off. I thought about building a simple one in 2012, but there were so many little parts to buy from so many sources that I watched the development from the sidelines and didn’t start my own build. What changed was Max Ritter offering an improved model (ARM replacing the AVR, touch-screen LCD UI, LiPo battery, etc) with all the parts included as an “early bird” kit.
I don’t typically buy 100% complete kits since I often have many of the components or access to a laser cutter or 3D Printer and I can often just buy partial kits or bare circuit boards. In this case, I took the plunge and slid down the bleeding edge.
I have a lot of experience building kits, but this one was a little harder to build than most. The challenges included balancing straight header pins to mate up with surface mount pads, and a microUSB connector that didn’t tolerate much lateral force before popping off the microcontroller board (that was now fastened in place by 70 solder joints). Fortunately, I was not the first to have this happen with this microcontroller, so a ready solution was available. I hacked in a USB cable and finished up the mechanical build and celebrated with a thermo-selfie.