How to Test a Catalytic Converter with an Infrared Thermometer?
Catalytic converters are devices used in vehicles to control exhaust emissions. They work to reduce pollutants and toxic gases generated from internal combustion engines, catalysing a redox reaction to minimise the toxicity of the pollutants.
Measuring the temperature of a catalytic converter can help to test and assess the efficiency of the device, and IR thermometers are the ideal tools for the job. The following steps explain how to test a catalytic converter with an infrared thermometer:
- The engine should be at operating temperature to enable an accurate reading to be taken
- Safely position the vehicle on a flat surface, where you can access the catalytic converter. Depending on the vehicle, a floor jack and support stands may be required
- Set the emissivity value on the IR thermometer if this is possible
- Position the thermometer close enough that the spot of focus includes only the part of the catalytic converter that needs measuring (as below) and not any surrounding parts which may influence the reading
- Take a reading of the inlet pipe (the pipe which connects to the front of the converter) with the infrared thermometer
- Take a reading of the outlet pipe (the pipe which connects to the rear of the converter) with the infrared thermometer
Once you have recorded the two readings, you can then analyse the results. A catalytic converter working optimally should be hotter at the rear than the front. If the two readings are similar or the reading from the front provides a higher temperature, this indicates that there may be an issue with the catalytic converter.
Can Infrared Thermometers Measure Water?
Infrared thermometers can measure water, but it is worth noting that they are only able to measure the surface temperature rather than the temperature of the liquid itself. This is because they are non-contact devices, so they are unable to detect the internal temperature due to the nature of the reading.
As a result, IR thermometers are unable to measure temperature through water or other liquids. It is also important to note that they will not accurately measure the temperature of water through tanks or containers such as glass beakers, even if the container material is transparent and visible light can pass through it. In this scenario, the device would simply take a reading of the container’s surface area rather than the liquid within it.
How Can I Measure the Temperature of Parts Inside a Cabinet?
As IR thermometers only measure the surface temperature of an object, as already mentioned, they cannot measure the temperature of parts inside. This is also applicable to clear Perspex panels, for example. To get an accurate measurement, it would be necessary to open the enclosure and point at the specific part that needs measuring. This does involve inconvenience at best, and at worst, considerable danger if high voltages are present.
Fortunately, there is a way around this. Special IR windows are available that allow you to measure the inside of a cabinet from the outside, without the need to open the enclosure.