Thermal Images for Servers

It’s not always possible to turn off a server system to test the plugs, or even to inspect them, so alternative action must be taken.

Most PAT testing companies simply do a very basic visual inspection, which you could probably do yourself. Without being able to unplug the appliance an engineer will at most be able to look at the parts of the rack, and visually without touching or moving them, assess whether they look safe. But he can’t unplug them so how does he really know if there are any issues? He doesn’t.

Despite that the engineer will label the appliance with a pass label, which as far as anyone else knows, suggests the server is safe, when in fact he doesn’t really know. He’s done his best though, if you won’t let him unplug anything what can he do?

He could take a thermal photograph. Our engineers are equipped with thermal cameras so they can look at video of your servers, to look for spots of excessive heat, and record them in a photograph. We can then show you the image, and that is an area you will need to deal with urgently, by way of getting the component shutdown so the plug can be unplugged and the issue investigated.

A thermal survey like this is the best way to check a server is safe, without shutting it down. In most cases everything will be fine, but when its not it could just stop your whole server catching fire.

How we use Thermal Imagery to check servers

We appreciate that you may not want your server systems turning off; although preferable, many people are concerned of the repercussions if they do.

Servers should only be turned off by someone who knows exactly what they are doing, so we will never turn off your server – either you should do it or your IT department.

We also recommend that servers should only be powered down when it will not disrupt the business, such as when you are closed – this may mean testing it at a different time to all other equipment.

If however it cannot be turned off, then there is another option.

Flir plug into phone Thermal image camera

Many of our competitors will stand in front of it, have a look at it, just like you could, and then put new labels on every item, then charge you the per item rate for each sticker. They will not have checked the plug internally, the pins, the wiring, etc. as they can’t unplug it. We still can’t do that, but we can use thermal imaging to check the server parts, looking for any unusual ‘hot spots’. If we find any we’ll show you the images and recommend you get the parts checked as soon as possible by the IT department.

Thermal Imaging, also known as infrared thermography, uses the Infra-red spectrum to analyse and provide data for use in carrying out safety checks and identifying any potential problems.

Thermal Image surveys are becoming more common as a diagnosis and fault finding tool. The surveys are a non-contact technology that measure infrared wavelengths to determine temperatures from a safe distance. This makes it quick and easy to visually check surface temperature and to help identify hot spots which often indicate the existence of problems.

So remember, we won’t turn off your servers to PAT test them if we can avoid it, or you don’t want it doing. Of course we would prefer if at some point in the 5 years since they were installed they were tested just once, but we understand why you may not want to take that risk. After all it is you, who is responsible if something goes wrong so it is your choice, and we will respect that.

When using a thermal camera to check server racks there are multiple places we check, such as the mains electrical source, server racks, ventilation system, etc.

Current running through wires produces heat energy, and that’s what the thermal (infrared) camera will pick up on when we’re looking at the temperatures around the racks.

In a server system, the components work together – if one fails, it’s going to effect the rest so we survey the whole system from where the server is plugged in, right through the full system and all its connections and parts.