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Ok.. I have to come out of the closet and say that I have a Night Vision Fetish and have since I first saw old Gen Zero stuff in the old "Edmunds Scientific" mail order catalogs back in the day.

Anyway In the past few years I've played (and am still) around building diy night vision stuff and cobbling together stuff for fun and recently came across a used thermal camera core that happened to have NTSC video output. So once again I took the Flea Bay challenge and started a project.

The camera core is a L3 Thermal Eye 300D and is 320x200 White Hot / Black Cold running at 30 Hz with a 45 degree FOV (which breaks down to 8.4 MOA per pixel horizontally - So it's not a long range device), and it can run on 9-28 VDC and though used / refurbished it was a good find on e-bay for $362 including shipping.

This camera is pretty large, approx. 4"x5"x3" so the built isn't very svelte for sure.

For a view screen I found a 1.5" TFT display with 320x240 resolution designed to run on 12 VDC and coupled it with a 7x photography Loupe so even my older eyes could see it clearly.

I then added a three battery holder for three 18650 LiPo rechargeable batteries (3.7v in series for a roughly 12v DC power supply)

Lastly I added piece parts for a decent case and grip as well as adding a 12v DC jack to run it on external power, an RCA / Composite video out jack so you can use an external display and the necessary switches and wiring to make it all work.

Below is the result:


.. The switches on the back are (L to R, Top to Bottom) Master On/Off, Internal (Battery) / External Power, Internal Screen On/Off, Screen Brightness (the screen I purchased had a 12 step brightness function on the PCB that I routed to the back cover), then on the bottom are the 12v DC Aux Power input and RCA Video Out Jacks.

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I bought a Foscam Infrared Camera at a yard sale for $2, but they didn't have the installation disk and I can't seem to get it to work. I just got a response from the company on what I need to get it going. When I finally get some time, I will mess with it some more.
 

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Ok.. I have to come out of the closet and say that I have a Night Vision Fetish and have since I first saw old Gen Zero stuff in the old "Edmunds Scientific" mail order catalogs back in the day.

Anyway In the past few years I've played (and am still) around building diy night vision stuff and cobbling together stuff for fun and recently came across a used thermal camera core that happened to have NTSC video output. So once again I took the Flea Bay challenge and started a project.

The camera core is a L3 Thermal Eye 300D and is 320x200 White Hot / Black Cold running at 30 Hz with a 45 degree FOV (which breaks down to 8.4 MOA per pixel horizontally - So it's not a long range device), and it can run on 9-28 VDC and though used / refurbished it was a good find on e-bay for $362 including shipping.

This camera is pretty large, approx. 4"x5"x3" so the built isn't very svelte for sure.

For a view screen I found a 1.5" TFT display with 320x240 resolution designed to run on 12 VDC and coupled it with a 7x photography Loupe so even my older eyes could see it clearly.

I then added a three battery holder for three 18650 LiPo rechargeable batteries (3.7v in series for a roughly 12v DC power supply)

Lastly I added piece parts for a decent case and grip as well as adding a 12v DC jack to run it on external power, an RCA / Composite video out jack so you can use an external display and the necessary switches and wiring to make it all work.

Below is the result:


.. The switches on the back are (L to R, Top to Bottom) Master On/Off, Internal (Battery) / External Power, Internal Screen On/Off, Screen Brightness (the screen I purchased had a 12 step brightness function on the PCB that I routed to the back cover), then on the bottom are the 12v DC Aux Power input and RCA Video Out Jacks.

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Never heard of a "thermal camera" what is its purpose???
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Never heard of a "thermal camera" what is its purpose???
They see Long Wave Infrared, where regular "Night Vision" sees visible light and short wave Infrared. The difference is that long wave infrared is radiant heat, so it the images are actually a picture of the heat radiating off of objects instead of light. They are getting quite popular in Hog and Coyote hunting at night since not only can you see the target like with good night vision, the target literally glows bright due to it's being hotter than the surrounding area. Thermal is also very valuable in industry since it can spot all kinds of things like a hot bearing on a motor, a poor electrical connection in a power panel or electrical buss and can even spot things like water leaks in walls or poor insulation in your house (in the inside picture you can see the rafters and wall studs and the black areas are where the insulation is thinner White is Hotter/Black Colder)

The disadvantages are that they are expensive (compared to Night Vision) and don't have nearly the resolution (getting better but VERY expensive). They also can't see through glass (the lenses have to be made of special materials like Germanium) though they do show residual heat so if a car has been run you can tell, you can even tell where the car was if it was parked hot then moved. The main disadvantage is $$$ for what you get compared to regular night vision though it is getting better.

Some of the high end stuff uses Gen 3 Night vision with a Thermal Camera mounted next to it that merges the images so you not only have high grade Night Vision, but hot objects are highlighted in yellow or orange which is the Cats Azz (if you can afford one).
 

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They see Long Wave Infrared, where regular "Night Vision" sees visible light and short wave Infrared. The difference is that long wave infrared is radiant heat, so it the images are actually a picture of the heat radiating off of objects instead of light. They are getting quite popular in Hog and Coyote hunting at night since not only can you see the target like with good night vision, the target literally glows bright due to it's being hotter than the surrounding area. Thermal is also very valuable in industry since it can spot all kinds of things like a hot bearing on a motor, a poor electrical connection in a power panel or electrical buss and can even spot things like water leaks in walls or poor insulation in your house (in the inside picture you can see the rafters and wall studs and the black areas are where the insulation is thinner White is Hotter/Black Colder)

The disadvantages are that they are expensive (compared to Night Vision) and don't have nearly the resolution (getting better but VERY expensive). They also can't see through glass (the lenses have to be made of special materials like Germanium) though they do show residual heat so if a car has been run you can tell, you can even tell where the car was if it was parked hot then moved. The main disadvantage is $$$ for what you get compared to regular night vision though it is getting better.

Some of the high end stuff uses Gen 3 Night vision with a Thermal Camera mounted next to it that merges the images so you not only have high grade Night Vision, but hot objects are highlighted in yellow or orange which is the Cats Azz (if you can afford one).
Thanks for that exclamation!!!!:):cool::usa2:
 

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Firefighters got the First Gen Thermal handhelds probably 20 years ago,
still using 'em, too...they are GREAT for spotting everything a FF needs to find
in a house! Kids hidden under beds, in cabinets, etc...

I'm hoping as they get smaller & better, the price will keep going down as well,
because a helmet-mount on every FF would be AWESOME!
We're talking SERIOUS speedy life-saving here!!

Normally, first team in works the fire hose, directly attack the fire...
second and third teams go look for victims, then once clearing all areas,
go back, grab a hose, and attack the fire. Since the other teams are
on OTHER trucks, never know how long it'll be before the search for victims
will take place
...but if the Irons guy has a Thermal, he can do a fast search
of all areas while the other two hit the fire. Which, honestly, we do anyway,
it just takes longer having to crawl around a house on yer hands & knees,
searching everything by HAND, through smoke, instead of with a Thermal.

Typical 4-man Volunteer Engine works like this...
Nozzleman - has the hose and does the main work of putting out the fire.
Second Man - drags hose for the Nozzleman and keeps eye out for hazards.
Irons - Entry tools, and all-around guy, usually the Big Mo that can kick a door.
Engineer - runs the pumps & make sure the water flows.

Now, imagine everyone has a mini-thermal on their helmet...
Nozzleman hits the Hottest part of the Fire first...
Second AND Irons can now scope out the areas as they go thru,
second can break off and do a fast rescue if he spots someone...
Irons then has full speed search capability...everything would get
covered 4 times as fast! Successive teams with thermal are unimpeeded
by the smoke & steam! Faster rescues all the way around!!

Just my .02 cents :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Oh, my camera works a little differently. The lens is surrounded by infrared LEDs. They send an IR beam out and the camera picks up what they reflect off of.
If what you're describing is what I think it is, it sounds like digital night vision... Which is very different from traditional Night Vision and Thermal.

Digital NV uses either a more traditional digital camera sensor which can by it's nature see into the near infra red range (most of which normally have what is called a "Hot Mirror" that reflects near IR that is out of the human perception range away from the sensor so the color of the image appear natural - in digital night vision this feature is either missing or selectable since you want to pick up all of the light available and amplify it) So far this is pretty limited but digital sensors are in the works that someday might well eclipse traditional night vision.. This is also why the lens is surrounded by "IR" Led's (which usually are 850nm wavelength and produce a dim red glow in the visible range).

Traditional NV (Gens 0, 1, 2 and 3 - which is a whole other topic of discussion!) takes in Visible and Near IR light and amplifies it by using Photons (light) to release electrons and amplify them using special materials, physical structures and high voltages with the resulting electrons being converted back to photons by impacting a phosphor screen (similar to an old fashioned TV with a Tube).. I think of it more like Alchemy than anything else.

Thermal uses something like a CCD.. but it's sensitivity is entirely outside of the visual range and senses what we would call heat (Short, Medium and Long Wave Infrared - though most use long wave) to create an image. It's been around for a while, but is rapidly improving in both resolution and function, and it is (slowly) getting more affordable.

I'll try and add more later... but off to work I go!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
information: fun stuff

KipKay's Night Vision instructable:
https://www.instructables.com/id/Super-Nightvision-Headset-Hack/

Longwinter's Steampunk Night Vision Periscope build:
https://www.instructables.com/id/Working-Night-vision-Periscope-Steampunked/

Lucidscience (50 Spy Gadgets for the Evil Genius) Night Vision build:
http://www.lucidscience.com/pro-night vision viewer-1.aspx

Alex1M6's IR Night Vision illuminator:
https://www.instructables.com/id/Infrared-LED-nightvision-box/
Used to be that you could find a fair amount of folks who built night vision and tutorials using old Gen 1 stuff etc, but a lot of that has dropped off the radar. Now like the links in your post most are building devices using CCD Camera's (which can see a little into the near Infrared range, especially if the Hot Mirror which is a filter that reflects IR light out of the camera to create images only in the spectrum we can see has been removed), but not so much people making stuff with the real deal, which to me is more akin to electro Alchemy than electronics. I've never built anything using CCD's as currently the technology is too limited compared to traditional night vision, but I have two home built Gen 2 devices using MX-9644 image tubes (same tube that the AN/PVS-4 weapons sight and VVS-2 Armored Vehicle night vision systems used)

The first one I built was a viewer using an assembly out of a VVS-2 which was big and heavy (I didn't know that I could break it down further as the Intensifier tube was in another enclosure with a big hunk of fiber optic glass) To give an Idea of the size the body was a piece of 3 1/2" PVC, and I used the front end of an old Pentax 35mm film camera for a lens mount and old low f camera lenses to top it off, so I could swap out lenses for different uses.

The second one was more ambitious and I used an MX-9644 out of an X-Ray imager (when they first started going electronic on X-Rays they had a screen that was lightly phosphorescent when exposed to X-Rays then used the image intensifier to amplify the image if I understand it correctly), For that one I wanted to try and make a Rifle Scope. I ended up using the Imager body (highly modified) as the housing and added the same interchangeable 35mm Pentax film lens setup on it with an IR Laser sight mounted on top to use for an aim point. Overall I'm pretty happy with the results though I've not mounted it on a rifle and put it into use (would be hesitant to use it on anything with much recoil due to using photographic lenses), so It's more of a proof of concept than practical. The only part I never solved was how to adapt a proper reticle which is why I went with using an IR Laser. I did do a video of that one as well, have to say I'm pretty proud of my handiwork on it, Link below...

 
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