Infrared Non Contact Thermometer

Finally, after several previous failed attempts. I placed my order and it arrived in good working condition. It was not because I don’t had budget, I was doubtful that it wouldn’t be useful enough.

infrared thermometer reading

It is a non contact IR (infrared) Thermometer. The device resembles a gun with a shortened barrel. Of course, they should not design it close to the real thing. To use, simply point it to material of interest. Press the trigger and keep it pressed to scan and release and get the final reading. It is the last reading that is registered, not the average of scanned readings. Expensive brands might have that function. It is wise to read the description carefully before placing order.

Before, I was using a dial-probe type. I need to deep it to mixture every time and wait a minute or so for the dial to travel and stabilize. It was taking a while and the probe should be wiped off clean after. It has contamination risk if the paper towel is not sterile. Oh! It is by nature a contaminant. Accidental shreds might go into food of concern.

I know it reads temperature by infrared. However, I never fully understand the mechanism.

It has red laser beam so the user can ensure he is pointing to the right surface. The sensor is underneath, deep down a wider hole.

It measures surface temperature value. It is not ideal to use on non homogeneous mixture. It cannot be used in lieu of of oven thermometers. It will give the temp value of metal and not the inside air.

In terms of GMP, non contact is one of the best measure. Measuring parameters with very minimal intervention, to point of operating a machine using a remote control.

I am using it for chocolate tempering and molding. I found it very convenient, quick and reliable. I should have bought it earlier. The time when I started practicing chocolate tempering. The number of mistakes I made and the long and steep learning curve could have been reduced significantly.

update as of November 2018

After over a year, the thermometer is still in good working condition. It has suffered several drops without any visible damage and drop in performance.  The batteries has been replaced only once. It used up the batteries included in purchase package. Then I bought two AAA as replacement.

I bought another one. Same brand and model. It was pure coincidence. Electronic devices tend to break when you least expected. Getting ready is the best solution.  I know how to temper chocolates without using one. No worries if it breaks while I am in-charge. But what if the incident happen when I delegate the task. Anyone can temper chocolate easily with its aid, else it will be a guessing game. A disaster.

The new thermometer is working. I hold it side by side with the old one. Pointed them at the same surface and gave slightly different readings.  No, huge difference. When it comes to chocolate tempering, the margin of error is small. I consider the one degree C difference already big. I should find way to calibrate both.

Marvin is the lead chocolate maker of Ben and Lyn Chocolate Inc. Has strong background in food research and development. Occasionally conducts training and lectures. Lecturer of Cocoa Foundation of the Philippines. Do coaching and consultancy services on his free time.

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