DIY – Mavic 2 Thermal Imaging Camera

Introduction

There are several options online for equipping your drone with a thermal imaging camera, but they will cost you thousands of dollars.
However, if you are not in the thermal imaging profession and you want to experiment with thermal imaging and also combine it with the fun of flying a drone, there is a much cheaper option.

The solution involves an inexpensive thermal camera accessory, a smartphone , a phone holder and a drone tripod adapter that can be attached and removed from the drone easily. I have a DJI Mavic 2 drove, so the solution is a bit more tailored towards that drone, but other drones can be used if you can find the parts.

Disclaimer: I am not responsible for any damage you cause to your drone or phone or injury you cause to any person or property. The instructions below are for information purposes only.

Parts List

 

    • Mavic 2 camera adapter, weight: 9g
      https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07H7KQ1G4  ($12.90)
    • Smartphone holder with ¼” tripod thread screw, weight: 71g
      https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B075R229KH  ($9.99)
    • iPhone 5, weight: 114g
      Any smartphone that supports the FLIR One camera will work, there is an Android and an iOS version of the camera. I choose the iPhone 5 because it is lightweight.
    • FLIR One Thermal Camera for iOS, weight: 30g
      I already had this camera, it is an older model but good enough for me.

  

 

The newer model is the FLIR One – Gen 3. Weight is probably similar and there are iOS and Android versions.
https://www.amazon.com/FLIR-ONE-Thermal-Imaging-Camera/dp/B071Z63RSL  ($169)

 

 

Assembly

 

  • Attach the camera adapter to the Mavic 2, it just snaps on, but be careful because the tabs seem fragile, don’t force it. When you remove it, again very carefully pull on the tabs. The item is plastic.
  • Configure the phone holder and screw it on the drone camera adapter. The phone can be vertical or horizontal.
  • Plug the FLIR One camera to the phone (of course you need to install the FLIR app and play around with it), then mount the phone in the holder.

That is it.

The total cost, excluding the phone, is $192.
The total weight that the Mavic will lift is 224g

The Mavic 2 will have no trouble lifting this, but the battery may not last as long as it typically does, due to the extra weight. Also, replacing the Mavic 2 battery will require removing the adapter, holder and phone first.
To see it in action watch this YouTube video: TODO

Note:  The Mavic 2 camera adapter manufacturer says:

Do not turn on the SPORT mode when using this accessory. Do not load more than 160g

I believe the reason for the speed and weight warning is to prevent the adapter from unclipping from the drone during flight. The total weight of the assembly is 224g, which is 64g higher, but as long as you go slow with the drone it will stay on without a problem. If you want, you can use some tape on each side to reinforce the grip on the drone.
Also, the phone holder shown here contains metal parts, you may select another phone holder that is all plastic and has less weight, and that will reduce the overall weight of the load on the Mavic 2.

Photos

 

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