How wrong can my temperatures be?

I have often been asked this question by students, and it does surprise them when they find out. The accuracy of high quality cameras is +or- 1 degrees or 1%, whichever is the greatest (low quality cameras it can be +or- 5 degrees). This means then under most normal conditions the camera will only ever be off by 1 degreesC, however, the operator can be off by hundreds of degrees, if he has not input all the settings in the camera correctly.

Screen Shot 2012-09-15 at 13.49.00

The image above displays the correct temperature of 74.6 C, using all the correct camera inputs.

Screen-Shot-2012-09-15-at-13.49.31

Changing just one camera input, changes the displayed temperature to 132.3  C. This would cause a measurement error of 57.7 degrees C, far more than the specified accuracy of the camera system used.

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