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Qualitative Approach to IR Electrical Inspection

Qualitative infrared inspection of electrical components is the inspection to locate anomalies or “hotspots” without regard to electrical load. Although the qualitative approach can yield helpful electrical maintenance information, it does not provide the definition possible with a comprehensive quantitative inspection.

Advantages to qualitative approach:

  • Less time required for inspection
  • Less application and infrared knowledge required by the operator
  • Lower investment in IR equipment because temperature measurement is not required.

Limitations of qualitative approach:

  • True severity of the anomaly cannot be determined
  • Repair priority cannot be established
  • Trending is not possible
  • Greater chance of misdiagnosis
  • Cannot diagnose certain phase-dependent anomalies
  • Equipment may fail before the repair is performed
  • Repairs may be made to equipment not requiring it
  • Cannot be correlated with other inspection techniques

Don’t short-circuit the value of your infrared electrical inspection program by overlooking Ohm’s Law.

Article from “Advanced Maintenance Technologies – August 1998 By Ron Newport, President of the Academy of Infrared Thermography in Bellingham Washington

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