The Fluke 279 FC is the world's first "thermal multimeter," incorporating a thermal imaging camera into a full-featured digital multimeter. This allows for quick visual troubleshooting, "spot checks," and confirmation that repairs have been effective--just check the heat vision!
The "FC" denotes compatibility with Fluke Connect, a powerful cloud-based software suite that allows for wireless remote readings, networking multiple tools, trending data, and much more.
Below: Early conceptual sketches centered around the camera implementation and general ergonomics. Key question at this stage: is this a camera with an added meter, or a meter with an added camera?
We decided on the latter--the 279 would be a true "Fluke-Tough" meter that brought new capabilities to our core users, not a precious thermal imager that lived in a protective case on a shelf.
Below: as the key internal components were developed, we began to hone in on the form language. We wanted the 279 to draw a clear parallel to our existing catalog--it had to "look like a Fluke"--but at the same time, it had to be visibly distinct, to show that there was something new and exciting under the hood.
A key challenge was managing the size of everything. The thermal camera unit itself was fairly compact, but if you're going to add thermography to a tool, you want to have a big, clear display to view it on. So we gave it one. But then you have a camera and a big display to power, so you want to give it a big, beefy, rechargeable battery pack that will last longer than a single job. So we did.
Now you've got all of this in a rugged case that still needs to fit into the user's hand. So it became a game of cutting away unneeded space, and adding some strategic bevels and rounds. The end result is that despite the meter's size, you have a "contact area" with the hand that is significantly smaller and comfortable to handle.
Another key concern: battery access. Since the user would need to remove it regularly to recharge it (and likely swap in a spare), we designed the case to expose the battery door beneath the kickstand. This way the user does not have to remove the yellow rubber holster (the norm for replacing batteries in a meter like this).
The 279 is also the first Fluke multimeter designed to work with the iFlex series of current sensors, which are very popular among Fluke's clamp-meter users.