Be sure to sign up for the weekly RV Travel Newsletter, published continuously every Saturday since 2001. Click here.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Even The Simple Things - Indirect Read Thermometer

    Temperature, so many things rely on the accurate measurement of it. Cooking, mechanical repairs, creature comforts, safety inspections....the list could possibly be endless. Also endless are the myriad ways you can find out what a temperature is. In my RV I have no less than 13 temperature gauges! Start with the ones on the dash. There's one for Oil, Water/Coolant, and Transmission. Then I have a weather station that reads inside and outside temperatures. Another, smaller one does the same thing, but is in another location. My Solar Charging system reads the temperatures of my batteries. The refrigerator and freezer have their own as well. And mounted on my range hood is a magnetic stick-on LCD one. And lastly I have 2 probe type versions that I use when cooking and BBQ-ing outside.Let's not forget the many temperature sensors that don't have your water heater automatic shutoff. Well, there's an incredibly handy type of thermometer that I now of those things you wonder how you lived without? That makes 14!

The new one really does something unique. It allows you to see what the temperature of any surface is without actually touching it! It's a pretty amazing party trick that is really useful around an RV. How's it work? "Simple" really:

        "An infrared thermometer is a laser thermometer which infers temperature from a portion of the thermal radiation sometimes called blackbody radiation emitted by the object being measured."

Yeah..that's simple. Better explanation? Every object emits some kind of heat. This device gathers that heat into a detector and then reads out the temperature in degrees on the back of the unit. It also has a handy laser pointer to aim the unit properly. So this is all well and good, but what can you USE them for? How about cooking? Ever see a recipe that calls for a temperature in a pan? Or something like "reduce the oil temperature to 350 degrees." Simply point the device at the oil in the pan, pull the trigger and read the actual temperature! You won't even have to clean it since it never touches anything.

How about diagnosing overheating issues? Point the device at various thing in the engine compartment. Like radiator hoses, thermostats, the block, the AC compressor, the radiator, the transmission oil cooler, even the transmission! Check the air temps coming out of your air conditioner! Verify that your furnace thermostat works. Figure out just how warm it gets in your RV! I use it to check and verify Tire temps before and after a trip. Takes about a minute for all of them and could save you a ton of hurt. I check my Solar Panel temps to make sure they are not overheating in direct sun. I use it to check my generator operating temps. Heck, you can even use it to check if you have a fever!

I'm always amazed at how much of the world around us revolves around the temperature of things. With this nifty gizmo, you can have a window into those workings without getting your hands dirty, so to speak. I've really only touched on the usefulness of this product. There are so many more things you could do....check for overheating wires in your electrical system for instance.... I'll wager you've thought of quite a few more while reading this article. The remote read thermometers are available all over the place and range from about $20 to well over $100. Mine was $25 online. I wanted the biggest temperature range I could find. More uses that way!

Be Seeing You...Down The Road,

Rich "The Wanderman"


  1. Hi, Rich -
    OK, I'm in love. Where do I get one of these for a mere $25?

    1. Online -- I got mine for $7 for one that reads -50 to 850F... plenty of range for what I need.

  2. How did the electric fan on the tranny cooler work out?

    1. Dugg,
      Quite well! The indirect read thermometer reads 20 degrees cooler after a long hill climb in hot weather. Good results, not much $$$.

      Rich "The Wanderman"


Thank you for your comment. Our moderator checks each one to make sure we keep the Spammers away. So the comment will likely not appear immediately.