An improved method and apparatus for classifying and quantifying lacquer and carbon deposits on internal combustion engine pistons. In the preferred embodiment of the invention, a piston is mounted on a rotating means and is rotated to expose the entire surface of the piston to a video imaging system. The piston is illuminated with indirect lighting in order to minimize reflections and to enhance the contrast of the video image. The video imaging system is comprised of a video camera which employs a charged coupled device (CCD) sensor and data storage for storing digital video produced by the camera. A microprocessor is operable to control operation of the camera and to process the stored data according to an algorithm to classify the video image into one of six categories.
Bruce C. Mather; David S. McFalls; Doug L. Michalsky