Monday, November 4, 2013

$995 Thermal Imaging Camera - 'Upgraded' to 320x240 by a Firmware Hack!

Okay, you've always wanted a thermal night-vision camera, right?  But them things is spendy.  And the cheesy FLIR E4, with its junky 80x40 resolution does not inspire you, right?
Mike, our hacker hero, with an "upgraded" E4!

Well, via our friends at Hackaday, Ol' Backwoods has learned of a firmware hack done by a fellow from the UK called Mike, that turns the $995 FLIR E4 into the $5,995FLIR E8 with 320x240 resolution!  And the upgrade can be accomplished in just a few minutes with the program in this zipfile.

The reason this hack works is that the E4 and E8 share a common hardware architecture.  Ol' Backwoods suspects they save money by not testing every single E4 to the 320x240 resolution.  Testing costs a LOT of money, because it's labor, but CMOS far-infrared sensor arrays?  Cheap.

Here's how you do the "upgrade".

First, download this zip file, and unzip it into a folder.  (If y'all can't do that, then this hack is not for you.)

Then, follow these instructions.

Open E8.cfg in a PC text editor (not anything that will mangle linefeeds etc.!)

At the end of the file, replace xxxxxxxx with the 8-digit serial number of your camera.

Save the file (Make sure there is exactly one CRLF at the end of the file)

At a PC command prompt, run:

CRC01 E8.cfg (on the edited file)

This will display a line in the form
# CRC01 xxxxxxxx

Add this line to the end of the E8.cfg file, 
so it now looks like :

# ID xxxxxxxx
# CRC01 yyyyyyyy

where xxxxxxxx is your serial number and yyyyyyyy is the generated CRC  (should be exactly one CRLF after the CRC)
"CRC" is case sensitive - must be upper case. "01" is zero one

Save the file as flashfs\system\appcore.d\config.d\e8.cfg

Create a zip file containing the flashfs folder tree and camera.cmd
Rename the file from .zip to .fif

Install FLIR tools
Turn camera on and plug USB in

Go to the <FLIR install folder>\bin

Run FLIRInstallNet.exe

Browse to your .fif file

Click Run FIF

Unplug USB, remove battery and replace


If anyone does this, I'd like to hear about it in the comments.
Ol' Backwoods would love to have one, but with this Noo Yawk trip coming up, I ain't got the silver to drop on it.


  1. Having spent most of yesterday hacking and optimizing the firmware for the new Dexter Industries Thermal IR Sensor, I thought I would go ahead and make something fun with it today. Fluke TI32 price

  2. anyone know if the hack is still working on newly purchased units? hate to get one and not be able to upgrade.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. It works!! My E4 runs faster with new features. Thank you so much! I cant stop showing off my camera now. Thank you!!!

  5. Any way to get around with the firmware because anything that I find its with the 2.0 firmware. Any way around this?

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

  7. Does Anyone know, if I buy one just now, it will still work the haking? Thanks in advance

  8. Does this work on a e5 with firmware 1.19.8?

  9. Just worked on E4 firmware 1.19.8

  10. Doesn't seem to work with E4 1.1L software 1.21.0 Loaded fif without errors but camera information still says E4 1.1L