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A thermal image has often been used to inspect a power distribution apparatus. The development of an automatic diagnosis method for the apparatus, which utilizes thermal images, will facilitate the inspection. To this end, a new method of diagnosing a power distribution apparatus by means of thermal images has been developed as one of the functions incorporated into a monitoring device that moves on an overhead ground wire. The method consists of both extraction of the apparatus from a thermal image and diagnosis of the apparatus in terms of the local temperature gradient. Experiments using the proposed method were conducted under different weather conditions, times, and seasons. An error rate of 3% was obtained from the experiments on the extraction of apparatus, and an error rate of 17% was obtained from the experiments on the detection of faulty apparatus. The proposed method can extract and detect faulty apparatuses except the case in which the distance between the pole and the infrared camera is so large that the sensitivity is insufficient.