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Link Posted: 2/26/2012 1:17:02 AM EDT

Originally Posted By jjj133:
Has anyone mounted one of these home built scopes to a rail for use behind say an aimpoint or other NV compatible device? Is something like this possible to do?? Would the image get screwed up?

Yes, it can be done. It works fine. I have some pictures somewhere and it looks very comical.

But honestly, even in Australia where Gen3 is difficult to get, it's not worth the effort. It was fun to try however.

Regards
David
Link Posted: 2/26/2012 4:06:59 PM EDT
What do you think of this lens? http://www.ebay.com/itm/FUJINON-ZOOM-1-1-2-12-5mm-75mm-C-MOUNT-LENS-/260962256635?pt=Camera_Lenses&hash=item3cc29006fb
Link Posted: 2/27/2012 5:01:28 AM EDT

Originally Posted By davidr2ese:
What do you think of this lens? http://www.ebay.com/itm/FUJINON-ZOOM-1-1-2-12-5mm-75mm-C-MOUNT-LENS-/260962256635?pt=Camera_Lenses&hash=item3cc29006fb

Hard to tell, but it looks OK in the pics - At least the price is reasonable :)

Regards
David
Link Posted: 3/1/2012 1:29:02 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/1/2012 2:39:39 PM EDT by AJ_Dual]
Well, my eyepiece and the tube came.

I think half the Negev desert is in the eyepiece. And there's some fungus/foxing on some of the internal optics, so if anyone has disassembly instructions on the Varo eyepiece to better help me clean it without wrecking it, I'd be appreciative.

However, despite it's rough shape, the eyepiece works, and the way it slots into the rear rubber rings of the tube is just the cat's ass. This will aid in assembly immensely.

And BTW, there is ANOTHER lot of SEVEN of the VARO eyepieces up for sale from the same seller!

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Lot-7x-Mil-Spec-Lens-VARO-Night-Vision-Eyepiece-Device-/130622756475#ht_2319wt_1314

Considering I paid $60 for mine, if even TWO of these pan out and work, they'll be worth it. These are the same ones and they have ridges that mate up exactly for the tube in the first post in this thread.

The tube from the UK is spotless, looks brand new as far as I can tell. Staring into it is unsettling, it has depth to it, like an actual animal's eye or something.
(Edit)
Okay, I think I've got it figured out. The eyepiece retainer ring just unscrews, and focus knob around the outside slides off it's groove where the tracked stud that adjusts the focus rides.

What do you call the kind of tool or wrench where it's two widely separated points that go into two small holes to turn the object? I need one of those to undo the clear polycarbonate rings that mate with the intensifier tube, and on the stud on the side that holds the sliding inner focus sleeve in it's track.

(Edit #2) It's called a PIN Spanner.
Link Posted: 3/1/2012 4:28:56 PM EDT
Second post to elaborate on what's going on with the eyepeice:

Bad news first.

Well, I've disassembled the VARO eyepiece, and unfortunately, what I thought was just dirt or maybe fungus growing on the inside of some of the lens elements seems to be some sort of permanent etching or scratches.

It did clean up appreciably with some Isopropyl alcohol and a soft dust free cloth, but whatever it was that got in there seems to have eaten away at the AR coatings of the lens elements and/or left it physically etched. Whether this was dirt, moisture, or some IDF conscript cleaning it with something they shouldn't have, I don't know. And some of it is hazing that's crept inside the actual moving focus-able lens element, which is two elements held together in a sleeve with the retainer ring and a spacer. The larger element appears to be two different lenses glued together into a single element, and the hazing has crept inside of that. No way to fix that at all...

Good news:

As I stated above, the lens elements inside DID clean up a bit. Whatever dirt was trapped in the etched area of the lenses, or was maybe oxides of the ruined parts of the AR coating did get cleaned off and a bit clearer.

Better news: I held the eyepiece up to my LCD monitor and dialed in it's focus so I could see the individual pixels. (In true Arfcom fashion, I even made a green scribble on a dark green background in MS-Paint to simulate the screen on the tube. ) The focal plane is such that you're focused past all the crud in the lenses. So as long as it's mostly clear, it doesn't really matter. Just like how a flat-top AR with a scope, but a fixed front sight tower, the scope just focuses way past it and sees "around" the obstruction.

All in all, I think these eyepieces I listed above are still worth it. They'll be dirty, and even somewhat messed up, but IMO, they have to be REALLY messed up before you can't see through them, and how the're purpose made to mate with the end of the tube is priceless.

I'll make a small tutorial vid on how to take these apart if folks here buy some of these eyepieces and need some help.
Link Posted: 3/1/2012 6:21:37 PM EDT
Originally Posted By AJ_Dual:
Second post to elaborate on what's going on with the eyepeice:

Bad news first.

Well, I've disassembled the VARO eyepiece, and unfortunately, what I thought was just dirt or maybe fungus growing on the inside of some of the lens elements seems to be some sort of permanent etching or scratches.

It did clean up appreciably with some Isopropyl alcohol and a soft dust free cloth, but whatever it was that got in there seems to have eaten away at the AR coatings of the lens elements and/or left it physically etched. Whether this was dirt, moisture, or some IDF conscript cleaning it with something they shouldn't have, I don't know. And some of it is hazing that's crept inside the actual moving focus-able lens element, which is two elements held together in a sleeve with the retainer ring and a spacer. The larger element appears to be two different lenses glued together into a single element, and the hazing has crept inside of that. No way to fix that at all...

Good news:

As I stated above, the lens elements inside DID clean up a bit. Whatever dirt was trapped in the etched area of the lenses, or was maybe oxides of the ruined parts of the AR coating did get cleaned off and a bit clearer.

Better news: I held the eyepiece up to my LCD monitor and dialed in it's focus so I could see the individual pixels. (In true Arfcom fashion, I even made a green scribble on a dark green background in MS-Paint to simulate the screen on the tube. ) The focal plane is such that you're focused past all the crud in the lenses. So as long as it's mostly clear, it doesn't really matter. Just like how a flat-top AR with a scope, but a fixed front sight tower, the scope just focuses way past it and sees "around" the obstruction.

All in all, I think these eyepieces I listed above are still worth it. They'll be dirty, and even somewhat messed up, but IMO, they have to be REALLY messed up before you can't see through them, and how the're purpose made to mate with the end of the tube is priceless.

I'll make a small tutorial vid on how to take these apart if folks here buy some of these eyepieces and need some help.


That's the DIY spirit. The wrenches are called spanners. Harbour freight has them if you can find them in those messy ass stores.
Link Posted: 3/1/2012 6:45:28 PM EDT
At this point, you're just an objective lens away from having an awesome spotter project completed :)

Pics are mandatory of course :)

Regards
David
Link Posted: 3/2/2012 12:59:57 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/2/2012 1:14:58 AM EDT by AJ_Dual]
Here it is, the eyepiece on the tube, and the 75mm C-mount f1.4 CCTV lens.



Now I just need 6V of battery, some wire, a switch, and something to adapt a C-mount to the front.

Originally Posted By b_rogers:

That's the DIY spirit. The wrenches are called spanners. Harbour freight has them if you can find them in those messy ass stores.



I thought they were called spanners, but, that just got me a ton of search hits on regular crecscent and box wrenches.

When I finally just started flashing through millions of photos on Google Image Search, I found some hits called "Pin Spanners" and then searching on that was much more profitable.

However, I was too impatient, so I just bent the tips of a cheap no-name Chicom long needle nosed pliers with my tougher Leatherman pliers and made my own. Worked beautifully. While I think those eyepeices are a deal, I think taking them apart for at least a basic cleaning will be a MUST. They have just too much Israeli dirt and grit in them and will most likely grind themselves to death if you don't dust them out first.
Link Posted: 3/3/2012 1:36:58 AM EDT
CJ, great thread!!

Couple questions...

What sort of expedient ocular lens would you suggest that's compat with old PVS-5 tubes.

How would you make a relay lens to a common video camera for a PVS-5 single tube asm?
Link Posted: 3/3/2012 6:37:24 AM EDT

Originally Posted By EXPY37:
CJ, great thread!!

Couple questions...

What sort of expedient ocular lens would you suggest that's compat with old PVS-5 tubes.

How would you make a relay lens to a common video camera for a PVS-5 single tube asm?

1. A PVS-5 lens is good. Or a PVS-14 lens - or if you want to make your own, get a nice cheap $20 plossl 25mm lens from ebay, with a big diameter lens, and cut that to size :)

2. Unless your video camera is missing a lens, just put it right up to the eyepiece -

Hope this helps :)

Regards
David
Link Posted: 3/4/2012 10:03:53 AM EDT
Here is a scope i built 18 yrs ago, using russian optics 4x and 10x loupe for eyepiece, this is a 40mm tube with external 9v powersupply adjustable.The illuminator is a 150mw 780nm laser adj focus which will light up out to 1000m. I use a red laser with low, med, and high (push both for high) switches on pressure switch to control brightness. I mounted this to my ar about 2 weeks ago and 11 hogs no longer give the farmer any problems The mount need to be improved to quick detatch for spotting /shooting.Its a heavy beast but effective.

http://i1073.photobucket.com/albums/w381/Hard_ware/NVScope1.jpg
Link Posted: 3/4/2012 10:36:16 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Hard_ware:
Here is a scope i built 18 yrs ago, using russian optics 4x and 10x loupe for eyepiece, this is a 40mm tube with external 9v powersupply adjustable.The illuminator is a 150mw 780nm laser adj focus which will light up out to 1000m. I use a red laser with low, med, and high (push both for high) switches on pressure switch to control brightness. I mounted this to my ar about 2 weeks ago and 11 hogs no longer give the farmer any problems The mount need to be improved to quick detatch for spotting /shooting.Its a heavy beast but effective.

http://i1073.photobucket.com/albums/w381/Hard_ware/NVScope1.jpg


Love the mag light laser illuminator. Hell I like the whole thing. Is it a gen1 Russian tube? You said 40mm, I'm not as up on tubes as some are..

Brent
Link Posted: 3/4/2012 10:46:59 AM EDT
Us TVS4 tube i think, cascade. When I get a chance I will take some photos thru it. Laser module from aixiz $35, reverse the batteries as the laser module is + gnd. The 780 nm is visible at the source,but the hogs don't complain
Link Posted: 3/10/2012 1:56:36 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/10/2012 3:11:27 PM EDT by davidr2ese]
Got the parts all taped together. Seems my father had a Varo eyepiece laying around. Imagine my surprise!
I am flabbergasted at how nice the image is! This project has bean great fun so far.
Thanks David!

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=3506843469336
Link Posted: 3/11/2012 12:38:17 PM EDT
Originally Posted By davidr2ese:
Got the parts all taped together. Seems my father had a Varo eyepiece laying around. Imagine my surprise!
I am flabbergasted at how nice the image is! This project has bean great fun so far.
Thanks David!

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=3506843469336


Dad rules!
Link Posted: 3/23/2012 2:20:58 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/23/2012 2:22:27 PM EDT by AJ_Dual]
Has anyone found a good off-the-shelf solution for mounting a C-mount lens to one of the tubes yet?

I'm hoping to keep the outside profile as small as I can, and looking as "machined" and commercial/manufactured as possible. I'll go the PVC pipe rout if I have to, but something that looks a bit more polished would be my preference. But not going as far as the big Australian machining project either.

I had some vague hope of finding some sort of railed fore-end tube for some firearm that was 80mm+ in inner diameter, but that's pretty big, over 3" and I guess no such beast exists that I can find.

I've found some stainless exhaust tubing at a decent price, and it's sold in 3.5" OD with 16ga walls, which are .065" each, so the ID should be 3.37", and I believe the 80mm tube comes to 3.15" OD, so that leaves a bit of room for wires, and maybe something like three or four pieces of thin rubber cord inside as a sort of shock mount/spacer between the tube and the outer tube I'd use as a body. and maybe some clearance so I could have room for some small machine screws that mount it to a tripod head, or maybe even a cheapo Airsoft Elcan base/rail adapter that's got elevation and windage adjustments.

The main thing though is getting that objective lens spaced and mounted. Anyone seen a lens adapter that would get me most of the way there? There's tons of C-mount adapter rings/plates on eBay, but I don't know what the outer diameter is to make a guess as to how I could mount it.

Or, should I give up and just find someone with a lathe who can make what I need out of aluminum?
Link Posted: 3/23/2012 4:57:40 PM EDT
Originally Posted By AJ_Dual:
Has anyone found a good off-the-shelf solution for mounting a C-mount lens to one of the tubes yet?

I'm hoping to keep the outside profile as small as I can, and looking as "machined" and commercial/manufactured as possible. I'll go the PVC pipe rout if I have to, but something that looks a bit more polished would be my preference. But not going as far as the big Australian machining project either.

I had some vague hope of finding some sort of railed fore-end tube for some firearm that was 80mm+ in inner diameter, but that's pretty big, over 3" and I guess no such beast exists that I can find.

I've found some stainless exhaust tubing at a decent price, and it's sold in 3.5" OD with 16ga walls, which are .065" each, so the ID should be 3.37", and I believe the 80mm tube comes to 3.15" OD, so that leaves a bit of room for wires, and maybe something like three or four pieces of thin rubber cord inside as a sort of shock mount/spacer between the tube and the outer tube I'd use as a body. and maybe some clearance so I could have room for some small machine screws that mount it to a tripod head, or maybe even a cheapo Airsoft Elcan base/rail adapter that's got elevation and windage adjustments.

The main thing though is getting that objective lens spaced and mounted. Anyone seen a lens adapter that would get me most of the way there? There's tons of C-mount adapter rings/plates on eBay, but I don't know what the outer diameter is to make a guess as to how I could mount it.

Or, should I give up and just find someone with a lathe who can make what I need out of aluminum?


Use rubber o rings to make a snug fit in the pipe.

Take a piece of al tubing that's extra long, weld or press on/in a endcap. Buy a c mount to cs mount ring off e pay. Make a hole and epoxy the ring in.
Attach your lens.

Make the tube so you can power it, lay it on a table or something .

power it up then scoot it forward in the housing until you can focus on a distant object. maybe point it out a window or do this outside. Make sure the camera lens can focus up close and far away using the focus ring.

Ideally you would want to be able to focus on the stars and a few feet away. Once you have that, mark the spot where the tube is and that's where the ocular should be mounted. Does that make sense?
Link Posted: 3/23/2012 8:09:58 PM EDT
Yes, the C-CS mount adapters are the ideal ring for this project - Typical cost is around $3.00 and they come in silver and black.

I'd recommend silver ( and maybe paint the inside with black before assembly ) and you can even just do something simple like drill a big hole in an aluminium plate and solder the ring in - They should solder just fine and you can get 10 sticks of aluminium solder on Ebay for about $20 though you will also need a low-temp blowtorch - something like a butane torch as well.

The spacing is well known. From the outside of the adapter when fitted, the photocathode should be exactly 12.5mm in for CS mount lenses and 17.5 mm in for C-mount lenses. If you get two adapters, then you can make it 12.5mm and use both C and CS mount lenses.

You can measure that distance with a vernier caliper's depth gauge.

Also, if you cut some pipe around 2" in diameter that's threaded, on the thread, you can make a thin ring that as you twist it, gets longer- This makes a great spacer as you can adjust it, measure it and when it's right, your focus will be perfect - enough that you can use a quality Cmount lens as a range finder by adjusting focus and reading the range off the focus ring.

Regards
David
Link Posted: 3/23/2012 10:09:12 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/23/2012 10:23:46 PM EDT by sfax39]
OK, got the tube (from Starlight NV) and the objective (Israeli one on eBay) on the way. Mulling the front lens now.
Your recommendation for a C-mount F1.4 75mm lens seemed like a good choice, and if my application differs I can always get another C-mount lens.
From what I’ve googled and ebay’d so far, lenses with this particular specification are popular among TV cameras. Using this in my search query yields a couple that i believe will fit the bill, and I’m comfortable with picking one up, but I know now that faster is better, and the smaller the number the better. Having said that, I found an f1.1 out there and was curious if this would outperform let in significantly more light as the f1.4 and f1.3 models I’m looking at?
Take a look here.


ETA:
…or will setting this thing up be more trouble than it’s worth?
Link Posted: 3/24/2012 12:52:01 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/24/2012 12:52:56 AM EDT by AJ_Dual]
Well, I got my battery box, the leads, and confirmed it was putting out 6.6V with my multimeter with the 4 AA batteries in series. I hooked up negative to the outer metallic ring on the input face, the one with the little indexing pin on it. And I connected the positive to the threaded hole in the yellow circle on the side of the body with a screw. I'm just looking to get the eyepiece screen to glow to verify function at this point, I'm not expecting an image until I get the lens mounted etc.

Lights in the basement workshop are off it's after 10pm, There is only indirect streetlight coming in from the basement windows, I turned the battery box power on.

Nothing.

Right now, I'm just assuming something is wrong and that the tube is not defective/dead.

Ideas?
Link Posted: 3/24/2012 7:04:31 AM EDT
AJ,

You want the negative lead to be on the middle ring, not the outer ring.

Dave
Link Posted: 3/24/2012 3:59:29 PM EDT
Originally Posted By davidr2ese:
AJ,

You want the negative lead to be on the middle ring, not the outer ring.

Dave


Yeah, I tried that first, because that's what I'd thought I recalled reading in the thread here. It wouldn't power up there either.

So then thinking I was mistaken, I read the .PDF at http://www.anchorsupplies.com/night_vision.htm and it stated you placed negative on the outer ring.

Although the inner/middle ring seems to be some rather greasy, dirty, and possibly clear anodized aluminum, so it might not be very conductive unless I scrape off a bare patch with a razor or something. I just held the lead down with a small square of electrical tape. Where most designs used a set screw or phosphor bronze spring-rippled washer to get a contact. So perhaps it needs to be pressed down hard and dug in/scratched on just a bit.

I have no interior rooms in my house, so I'll have to wait for dark to try in my basement workshop again.
Link Posted: 3/24/2012 5:22:37 PM EDT
Originally Posted By AJ_Dual:
Originally Posted By davidr2ese:
AJ,

You want the negative lead to be on the middle ring, not the outer ring.

Dave


Yeah, I tried that first, because that's what I'd thought I recalled reading in the thread here. It wouldn't power up there either.

So then thinking I was mistaken, I read the .PDF at http://www.anchorsupplies.com/night_vision.htm and it stated you placed negative on the outer ring.

Although the inner/middle ring seems to be some rather greasy, dirty, and possibly clear anodized aluminum, so it might not be very conductive unless I scrape off a bare patch with a razor or something. I just held the lead down with a small square of electrical tape. Where most designs used a set screw or phosphor bronze spring-rippled washer to get a contact. So perhaps it needs to be pressed down hard and dug in/scratched on just a bit.

I have no interior rooms in my house, so I'll have to wait for dark to try in my basement workshop again.



Why not put a bit of tape over the photocathode?

The end that goes "up" won't care...

Link Posted: 3/24/2012 6:31:13 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/24/2012 10:46:48 PM EDT by AJ_Dual]
Is it glass?

Mine was missing the protective clear sticker over it and it seems to have a few small dings in it already. Actually, it had the ring of plastic that was the die-cut outer edge of that sticker, but not the actual protective plastic in the center.

I'm going to clean that inner ring of metal that's the negative off with some acetone and scrape a clean spot gently with a razor blade and stick the battery box's negative lead on to that then.

Update:

SUCCESS! Cleaning/scraping the inner ring clean did the trick.

Put some black electrical tape over the photocathode input, pushed the negative lead down HARD onto the ring with a small screwdriver, held it in place with tape, stuck the positive into the screw hole and "BWEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE" the HV power supply started whining and the output screen glowed green.

And amazingly it was still picking up light through solid black electrical tape! It was like an X-ray of the tape, you could see darker bands where the edges of the tape overlapped and everything. And I confirmed it wasn't some sort of other artifact because I could detect brighter objects like windows and lights in my workshop.

Now to do a rough mockup just with the shipping tube and tape and the objective lens.
Link Posted: 3/25/2012 11:43:07 AM EDT
David, I might have missed it somewhere along the line, but is there anyway to optically correct/ mitigate the "fish-eye" effect, perhaps with some other/ additional lenses at the ocular end of things? The cascade tube videos I've seen on youtube seem to show a pretty pronounced degree of this. I'm not sure if this is because of how they are recording the video or if it's the "nature of the beast" as it were.

I know that Gen I gear is pretty well known for the fish-eye effect, and I can't help but think that three such tubes in a row will greatly exacerbate that effect. I also seem to recall reading that those Zeiss milsurp cascade scopes that were around a while back were said to be optically corrected. Could one do something similar in a DIY unit?
Link Posted: 3/25/2012 1:12:19 PM EDT
Here mine is in it's ghetto-cardboard shipping tube mockup.



Works great. It's really too sensitive to use in a suburban night time setting, especially if it's overcast. Can't get a photo from the eyepiece to save my life with my phone camera yet.
Link Posted: 3/25/2012 7:16:26 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/25/2012 7:17:56 PM EDT by cj7hawk]

Originally Posted By sfax39:
Take a look here.

Yep, that's a very fast lens. And a good price too. That would be a good choice if you needed max performance though since these are best used for spotters, a little more magnification is good but that lens is very OK and the price is reasonable. Note that there is no focus however, so you'll have to make your own which will be complicated - ie, You'll need to place it in a threaded adapter.

The C-mount lenses I mentioned have focus so once mounted, you can adjust them very very easily, which makes them idea for this project.

Zoomies - Yes, they can correct it completely, but they built these as they were. I have a smaller ( about half the size ) Gen1 cascade that has no visible distortion - it looks like a Gen2 in any photo's I take with it. However it's not worth the effort to correct it optically - eye placement would be very critical an the lenses would be very complicated. Besides, after a while the distortion stops bothering you and you start to ignore it.

AJ_Dual - one of the neatest first-versions I've seen - :) It would probably run forever like that but water will be a problem. Anyway, IR goes through electric tape - even 10 layers of it so try to avoid using electric tape on the photocathode for testing. Aluminium foil under tape is the best :) Black duct tape (cloth tape) is good too.

Regards
David



Link Posted: 3/25/2012 9:03:39 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Hard_ware:
Here is a scope i built 18 yrs ago, using russian optics 4x and 10x loupe for eyepiece, this is a 40mm tube with external 9v powersupply adjustable.The illuminator is a 150mw 780nm laser adj focus which will light up out to 1000m.


I just bought a 780nm 200 mW focusable laser. Could this damage the tube if I use this as an illuminator?
I'm still waiting for the tube to arrive, so I haven't even put the thing together yet to know if an illuminator is needed. I guess I'm just really excited about this project.
Link Posted: 3/25/2012 9:19:56 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Sturmgewehr-58:
Originally Posted By Hard_ware:
Here is a scope i built 18 yrs ago, using russian optics 4x and 10x loupe for eyepiece, this is a 40mm tube with external 9v powersupply adjustable.The illuminator is a 150mw 780nm laser adj focus which will light up out to 1000m.


I just bought a 780nm 200 mW focusable laser. Could this damage the tube if I use this as an illuminator?
I'm still waiting for the tube to arrive, so I haven't even put the thing together yet to know if an illuminator is needed. I guess I'm just really excited about this project.


That a VERY powerful laser and will probably burn a dead spot pretty dark quick unless the beam is spread out like a floodlight. Those tubes are VERY sensitive to light.
Link Posted: 3/25/2012 11:55:56 PM EDT

Originally Posted By b_rogers:
Originally Posted By Sturmgewehr-58:

I just bought a 780nm 200 mW focusable laser. Could this damage the tube if I use this as an illuminator?
I'm still waiting for the tube to arrive, so I haven't even put the thing together yet to know if an illuminator is needed. I guess I'm just really excited about this project.


That a VERY powerful laser and will probably burn a dead spot pretty dark quick unless the beam is spread out like a floodlight. Those tubes are VERY sensitive to light.

I planned to use it unfocused like a floodlight, that's why I went toward the high end in strength. I'm hoping to add just a bit of illumination over a wide area when using it outdoors.
Link Posted: 3/26/2012 12:09:13 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Sturmgewehr-58:

Originally Posted By b_rogers:
Originally Posted By Sturmgewehr-58:

I just bought a 780nm 200 mW focusable laser. Could this damage the tube if I use this as an illuminator?
I'm still waiting for the tube to arrive, so I haven't even put the thing together yet to know if an illuminator is needed. I guess I'm just really excited about this project.


That a VERY powerful laser and will probably burn a dead spot pretty dark quick unless the beam is spread out like a floodlight. Those tubes are VERY sensitive to light.

I planned to use it unfocused like a floodlight, that's why I went toward the high end in strength. I'm hoping to add just a bit of illumination over a wide area when using it outdoors.


Just be careful, test it outside aimed way away and with the aperture on the lens cranked down. Also with that much power even the reflections can be dangerous to your eyes.
Link Posted: 3/26/2012 12:12:54 AM EDT

Originally Posted By b_rogers:
Originally Posted By Sturmgewehr-58:

I planned to use it unfocused like a floodlight, that's why I went toward the high end in strength. I'm hoping to add just a bit of illumination over a wide area when using it outdoors.


Just be careful, test it outside aimed way away and with the aperture on the lens cranked down. Also with that much power even the reflections can be dangerous to your eyes.

Thanks

I admit I might have gone a bit overboard.
Link Posted: 3/26/2012 12:46:59 AM EDT
Originally Posted By cj7hawk:

AJ_Dual - one of the neatest first-versions I've seen - :) It would probably run forever like that but water will be a problem. Anyway, IR goes through electric tape - even 10 layers of it so try to avoid using electric tape on the photocathode for testing. Aluminium foil under tape is the best :) Black duct tape (cloth tape) is good too. [/div][div]
Regards


Ah, that's why I was still seeing a bit of light when I used it to cover the photocathode.

Luckily my workshop is all fluorescent lit so there probably wasn't much IR. what was getting through certainly wasn't enough to overload the tube, at least eyeballing the screen.
Link Posted: 3/26/2012 3:10:23 AM EDT
The 200mw laser should be more than enough illumination outside. Start off with it at max defocus, and narrow the beam until you get the illumination you need. I spot small rabbits 325yds, coyotes eyes 600yds, large owls 800yds.(Had to walk over 500yds to close distance to tell was an owl.) Hogs you'll see the bodies before you get any reflection off the eyes. I have glued focus ring to not allow the laser to be adjusted to a fine focus. A 80mw IR Laser is good to 150 to 200yds, they run around $15 for the module on ebay from a US seller.
Link Posted: 3/26/2012 9:32:27 PM EDT
To those that bought from Starlight and live in the US, how long after you paid did they show up? It's been a week, I suspect it will be here before another week is up, but it would be nice to know about how long it takes.
Link Posted: 3/27/2012 12:06:06 AM EDT

Originally Posted By RyJones:
To those that bought from Starlight and live in the US, how long after you paid did they show up? It's been a week, I suspect it will be here before another week is up, but it would be nice to know about how long it takes.

I paid on March 17 and the mailman tried to deliver a package today when I wasn't home.
It's something that went through Customs and requires a signature, so I imagine that would be it. I won't know for sure until tomorrow.
Link Posted: 3/27/2012 12:18:33 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Sturmgewehr-58:
I paid on March 17 and the mailman tried to deliver a package today when I wasn't home.
It's something that went through Customs and requires a signature, so I imagine that would be it. I won't know for sure until tomorrow.


thanks. I had mine shipped to work so I wouldn't have those issues, but I'm not sure if they followed my shipping directions or sent it to the billing address - in which case, it will be a couple weeks before I get back to Idaho
Link Posted: 3/27/2012 1:19:30 PM EDT
Yep, my tube was waiting at the post office. Only took 9 days to arrive. It's beautiful, looks like new
Now I just need to wait for the weekend to get it put together and hope my loupe I ordered arrives by then.
Link Posted: 3/28/2012 4:05:51 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/28/2012 4:08:26 AM EDT by RaptorFuel]
Originally Posted By cj7hawk:

Originally Posted By sfax39:
Take a look here.

Yep, that's a very fast lens. And a good price too. That would be a good choice if you needed max performance though since these are best used for spotters, a little more magnification is good but that lens is very OK and the price is reasonable. Note that there is no focus however, so you'll have to make your own which will be complicated - ie, You'll need to place it in a threaded adapter.

[div]


I bought a similar lens to try out. I just received it. http://www.ebay.com/itm/280427128184?ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1423.l2649
I was thinking of trying to make an adapter for it using epoxy. Cover the threads in release agent and build a mold around it so it will fit up to the tube. What do you think the odds are that will work?

I also have a C-mount + adapter on order.
Link Posted: 3/28/2012 5:32:44 AM EDT
Originally Posted By RaptorFuel:
Originally Posted By cj7hawk:

Originally Posted By sfax39:
Take a look here.

Yep, that's a very fast lens. And a good price too. That would be a good choice if you needed max performance though since these are best used for spotters, a little more magnification is good but that lens is very OK and the price is reasonable. Note that there is no focus however, so you'll have to make your own which will be complicated - ie, You'll need to place it in a threaded adapter.

[div]


I bought a similar lens to try out. I just received it. http://www.ebay.com/itm/280427128184?ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1423.l2649
I was thinking of trying to make an adapter for it using epoxy. Cover the threads in release agent and build a mold around it so it will fit up to the tube. What do you think the odds are that will work?

I also have a C-mount + adapter on order.



Depends how you do it, prolly a good chance it will work.

Link Posted: 3/28/2012 5:38:11 AM EDT
Any suggestions for the epoxy or release agent?
Link Posted: 3/28/2012 4:41:07 PM EDT
Originally Posted By RaptorFuel:
Any suggestions for the epoxy or release agent?


Synthetic grease and a runny epoxy. Try on something you don't care abt.

I use fast set epoxy puddy to make connectors by embedding the pins in it.

Link Posted: 3/29/2012 9:46:09 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/29/2012 9:48:41 PM EDT by Gurn]
Hey guys,...decided to jump in on this project, but don't know if a zoom lens like this will work.
link

Please help me,...lenses are a mystery to me.

Also, Does anyone have a good source for a battery compartment or tray?

Thanks!
Link Posted: 3/30/2012 3:23:24 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Gurn:
Hey guys,...decided to jump in on this project, but don't know if a zoom lens like this will work.
link

Please help me,...lenses are a mystery to me.

Also, Does anyone have a good source for a battery compartment or tray?

Thanks!

It's not possible to tell what the aperture ratio is at 75mm, but it looks like it would be OK still. At least it's not expensive :)

Any 4xAA battery compartment is OK. Something like this is fine.

Regards
David

Link Posted: 3/30/2012 11:31:39 AM EDT
Hi all. Was wondering if there is any way to make a smaller NV device? Are there smaller tubes available in a similiar price range? Or do the large 'pringle cans' go along with the cascade design? I'd love to have NV that was small enough to add to my helmet mount or one that looked 'right size' behind an Aimpoint on the AR. But paying $1000-2000.+ right now to get a decent one isn't in the cards.

One other question... has anyone figured out this project to the point they could build and sell a unit? I'm no good with camera equipment or electrical at all. Do OK with mechanical though. And have a friend that's really good with stainless. But I think I'd be pulling my hair out if I tried to build one of these!
Link Posted: 3/30/2012 2:16:54 PM EDT
Originally Posted By jb2c:
Hi all. Was wondering if there is any way to make a smaller NV device? Are there smaller tubes available in a similiar price range? Or do the large 'pringle cans' go along with the cascade design? I'd love to have NV that was small enough to add to my helmet mount or one that looked 'right size' behind an Aimpoint on the AR. But paying $1000-2000.+ right now to get a decent one isn't in the cards.

One other question... has anyone figured out this project to the point they could build and sell a unit? I'm no good with camera equipment or electrical at all. Do OK with mechanical though. And have a friend that's really good with stainless. But I think I'd be pulling my hair out if I tried to build one of these!


The next cheapest option that isn't giant is a mx9916 tube and shell from a pvs5. You can find those from 200-500 and strap a 3v power supply to it. A little creativity and you can rig it to a helmet. I have pics of mine somewhere I'll try to dig up.

Link Posted: 3/30/2012 4:13:48 PM EDT
Getting the spacing right for the objective lense is a real pain in the ass.
Link Posted: 3/30/2012 5:28:57 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Sturmgewehr-58:
Getting the spacing right for the objective lense is a real pain in the ass.


I wish mine would show up
Link Posted: 3/30/2012 6:49:02 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/30/2012 10:05:58 PM EDT by Sturmgewehr-58]
Won't win any contests, but it's functional.
I still have to add the illuminator when it arrives and give the case a couple coats of paint.


Link Posted: 3/30/2012 7:45:57 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Sturmgewehr-58:
Won't win any contest, bit it's functional.
I still have to add the illuminator when it arrives and give the case a couple coats of paint.

http://i563.photobucket.com/albums/ss75/ALOrihuela/0330121748.jpg

The handle is an awesome idea. Don't forget to paint the plastic inside and out with black paint to help keep the light out - otherwise scratches become a huge problem - You don't need much inside - just around the end that the photocathode is located.

When it comes to serious NV, cascade tubes are the only option. There are some tubes about 1/2 the size, but they are still huge - and very hard to find though the best ones have no distortion.

Once you understand how to make a NOD from parts, you can use any tube though. Gen3 tubes go around the $1000 mark on ebay while Gen2 tubes in the US tend to go under $500.

I won't pretend it's a viable alternative, because the risks are too high and the benefits rarely justify the outlay. For $200 to $250 which is what most people pay for a cascade system, you get something that compares well to Gen3 even if it's very older and has other issues ( size, weight, distortion ) - And it still works well as a spotter.

But you can be sure that everything you want from a tube the US government wants and it's been doing this for over 80 years... These big tubes were state of the art in Vietnam and even then people wanted more so the PVS-4 was made, though that was only first used in Desert Storm.

But even the US government gave up on cascade technology in the end - and moved to Gen2 devices that were not as good - because size was the key thing missing from cascade tech.

So I'd encourage people to do this project with the following objectives.
1) It's fun.
2) It's cheap.
3) You learn a lot about NV - more than you realize because you can easily assemble Gen3 after this project.
4) It works well so you will get a spotter you can use.
5) It helps you understand where the practical "starting point" is for gain requirements, because when you compare a cascade to a normal Gen1, you learn a lot.

FWIW, industry is rediscovering cascade tech... And the very top end of NV is something called a hybrid - A gen2 or gen3 tube that uses a gen1 gain stage.

In the long run, having some functional NV helps you set your goals too. Many who make a cascade spotter will come to realize over time that gain and weight are important and will ultimately go for a modern PVS-14 or will use their knowledge gained and buy a modern MX10160A tube and assemble a micro housing for it as a cheap alternative.

But I still keep the cascade on the shelf and try it out at times :) And if someone is watching stuff from a hide, size and weight don't matter so much. It's still a viable way to have a friend help spot for you and these old tubes still work on the darkest nights.

Regards
David

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