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Cheap thermal system for monitoring fires?


New Member
Feb 18, 2021
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Salina, KS
Hi all

Just discovered this page, definitely going to swinging by more often.

I work for a non-profit conservation agency and we are looking at potential thermal solutions to monitor prescribed burns (we typically do ~15-20 per year, and they only cover maybe 100 acres at most).

I'm aware of the Mavic 2 Enterprise Dual that has a thermal sensor, and the Parrot Anafi, both of which are fairly cheap ($3500 and $1900). If you noticed the "non-profit" and "conservation" part of where I work, you know money can be a little tight, so definitely looking at all options.

I came across a custom solution at suas.com where you can buy a small FLIR camera to mount on an existing drone (we have a Mavic 2 Pro and P4P already), so for the ~$600 or so, it looks like it could be a good solution for the little bit we would use it, and we don't need a radiometric sensor or anything, just something to help us identify hotspots from the air.

Anyone have any experience with suas.com or similar custom builds? Anything specific I should be wary of, or specific things to consider other than battery life, range, and potentially needing a secondary receiver?

I've been emailing support and they recommend the Boson system since it's a little better quality:

but also looking at the Lepton as a slightly cheaper option

Thanks for any ideas you all have
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Reactions: BigAl07
With FLIR sensors you generally get what you pay for. IMO get the highest resolution you can possibly afford.

I cannot see the res on the Boson but the Lepton with a res of 160 x 120 in my opinion will be disappointing at anything more than a hundred feet away or so if the hot spot is less than the size of a human.

In FLIR resolution is everything, and you pay for it. Personally I would not buy anything less than a 320 res sensor, preferably a 640, but you are talking about $6-$7K to get there. I'm referring to the new Mavic Enterprise Advanced that was just announced. If you can afford it I do not think you will be disappointed and according to the spec's this will be a game changer in this price range.

It would also help to know how high you will be flying, how far away you want to be able to see these hot spots and how big a hot spot you need to be able to see.
The Mavic 2 Enterprise Dual will soon be the end of life. They are great aircraft but come April the new version will be available. So if the price is the only thing you are looking at I would think about that. But like CactusJakeSlade said the resolution is important. If you can spend the 6240 for the new Mavic 2 Enterprise Advanced... Well, it would be the best bang for the buck.

Mike D

We also have those coming to a store near you... and if you mention the forums we can get you special forum pricing.

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