DetailingWiki Newsletter
    Get free and automatic updates on new articles
    We respect your privacy. No data is used for anything other than sending the newsletter!


What is a spectrometer

Written by:

A spectrometer is a device that is capable of measuring certain characteristics of light. This is most often displayed as light-intensity, but can also refer to polarization and refractive qualities. A spectrometer can be used to determine the color of paint, very expensive models can even be capable of determining the material used.

What is a spectrometer

A spectrometer is a device that measures the light-spectrum and displays it in a form that is more easy to understand. This will help to determine the color of light around you. The spectrometer works with a type of light-sensor that is capable of reading light in different ranges. A regular light-sensor (photosensitive) only response to the presence of light, but doesn’t differentiate between different type of light. The spectrometer has a light-sensor that is capable of actually measuring the frequency and intensity of the light. This can then be display on the screen in an easier to understand graph.

Why use a spectrometer

The spectrometer can be used to measure the light you are working in. This will help to create a light-quality that displays a certain color in an optimal way. This will help to found visual differentiation in colors, for example when judging the quality and color of a respray. It can also be used to measure the color of paint, to determine what product might be best suited. Painters can use a spectrometer to measure the color of a panel accurately. Since color will start to fade as soon as the vehicle leaves the factory, there will always be a very slight difference between the original color and the current color. Fading, UV damage and oxidation can also play a part in this. Measuring the paintcolor can help to determine the current color, and will help in finding the best (mix of) products needed.

Benefits of a spectrometer

It is visually impossible to judge how much a color has changed. Even an experienced painter will have to find the perfect color-match by trial and error. The spectrometer can help to reduce the time spent on getting the color perfectly right. In showrooms, the spectrometer can be used to find a certain color combination that will bring out the most from a certain color. A type of white light with a low amount of Kelvin will be considered slightly warmer, which is very suitable for colors such as red, orange, purple or dark yellow (gold). While the spectrometer has its limits, a very strong one (professional lab-equipment) is even capable of measuring the materials used to create a certain color in the surface. For example, it will be capable of measuring the exact material in the paint is responsible for causes the red color. However, these are not likely to be found in the arsenal of a detailer due to the enormous costs.

Different related articles

  • What is paint thickness
    Detailing Miscellaneous
    Paint is a layer of coating applied to a surface in order to protect it from the elements, or for cosmetic reasons. Although the type of paint can be different, the layer of paint will still have a certain paint thickness....
  • What is a glossmeter
    A glossmeter is a device that can be used by manufacturers or detailers to measure the level of gloss on a surface. This can either be used to determine te difference in gloss before and after application of a certain product, or to determine which products gives what type of finish....
  • What is refractive index
    Detailing Miscellaneous
    The refractive index is a way of measuring how lights behaves through a certain medium. This number gives an indication of how light reacts and how light is reflected. Manufacturers use (among other things) this as an indication of how light is reflected by a protective product and how that will make the surface look....
  • What is paint repair
    Paint can be repaired in several different ways. Polishing is very popular one amongst detailers, but not the only one. Some forms of paint repair are: respray, spot-repair and filling in chips. The need for what form of repair often depends on the size of the damage and/or the location....
  • How to headlight polishing
    Headlights are often made from plastic, which can turn dull over time. Polishing will remove the matte layer and slowly reveal the clear and transparent finish again....
  • Why reflection shots don’t have to mean anything
    Detailing Miscellaneous
    Reflection-shots are very common on social media. They show a picture of the paintwork, reflecting their surroundings like a mirror. From some particular angles, it can even look as if there is no mirror at all, until they zoom out an you see the actual vehicle with the reflection in the paintwork. However, there are several reasons why this little trick doesn't have to say anything about the actual state of the paintwork....

Links to this article

There are no external links to this article. Yet.

Stay up to date with our free newsletter
Always be the first to know about new updates, articles and other informative content.
Don't miss out, opt in!
We respect your privacy. No data is used for anything other than sending the newsletter!