Author Topic: HELP WITH THERMAL IMAGER CORE FROM A BOSCH MIC412. (FORWARD VISION)  (Read 722 times)

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Offline dreamc

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Hi everyone.

I have a MIC 412 Thermal imager module and the PCB and was wondering if anyone can help me making it work standalone without going through the nMIC412.

Long story short I have a mic 412 in bits as it was badly damaged.. I thought these things were supposed to last the harshest of environments...

I really wanted to build a housing for it, maybe 3d print or whatever and make it work as an attachment for maybe a drone or something else. or even just stick in a CCTV camera enclosure and have a fixed thermal imager for my back garden :)

Can someone help?

Cheers

Marco
« Last Edit: April 30, 2017, 05:47:06 AM by dreamc »
 

Online Fraser

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Re: HELP WITH THERMAL IMAGER CORE FROM A BOSCH MIC412. (FORWARD VISION)
« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2017, 07:31:44 AM »
The Thermal camera core in the MIC412 is a FLIR Photon in bare chassis format.

If you register on the FLIR support web site you can download the Photon core manual and all the information that is needed to connect the camera as a simple power in, video out setup. Communications with the camera is via RS232 protocol at UART levels. It provides composite video out.

Read my TAU repair thread on this forum for details of how I interfaced with a TAU which is very similar.

The utility to control and configure the Photon core is available for free download from the FLIR support pages.

Hope this helps

Fraser
« Last Edit: April 30, 2017, 10:50:46 PM by Fraser »
 

Online Fraser

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Re: HELP WITH THERMAL IMAGER CORE FROM A BOSCH MIC412. (FORWARD VISION)
« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2017, 11:15:06 PM »
With regard to the ruggedness of the Bosch MIC cameras........ they are extremely rugged. They are made from Billet aluminium and the head shell is almost an inch thick ! The 'cap' slides onto the head with such precision you can hear the air being pushed out before the O ring seal is reached. Once fully down into the head, the cap is hard to remove.

The faceplate is a vulnerability as it is a flat plate with O ring seals and relatively thin glass/Germanium windows. To break such you would need a hammer though. The seals around the head pivots are what you would expect to find on a mini submersible and are of Stainless steel with O ring pivot seals.

During testing the cameras are vacuum tested for leaks and full submersed in a water bath. They are rated as submersible but I cannot recall the depth rating or duration.

Any ruggedised enclosure can fail in service. Paint coatings can be breached allowing corrosion to form underneath and O ring seals can age or fail. Like any high performance ruggedised product, they all need some level of condition monitoring and maintenance to ensure the longevity of the service life. Military tanks, weapons and deep sea submersibles all need maintenance and inspection.

Any MIC that is in a terrible state of corrosion or that has suffered seal failure has not been monitored or maintained. Such is not uncommon in 'set and forget' situations where casual access to the camera after installation is very difficult or dangerous. Oil Platforms are often an example of such decisions. The camera is used until it fails or degrades and is then replaced as part of a major maintenance uplift. The value of the Camera is depreciated over it predicted life of approx 10 years and then it becomes scrap.

I do not know the history of your cameras but the fact that the camera modules still work suggests that at least the head seals did not fail completely as water inside the head globe would damage the thermal camera optics quite quickly.

Sadly equipment that is ruggedised is exposed to very harsh working conditions and so used examples can be in very battered condition.

One of my MIC412's was standard fitment  on our armoured  fighting plarforms in Iraq, so the 412 is rugged enough for Military deployment on armoured vehicles. That says a lot for its design.

The down side of the 412 is its size and weight. Small and light it is not ! This may explain their low value on the secondary market. I paid £400 for one.

The thermal camera module is not the usual compact FLIR Photon mini camera module that we often see inside CCTV housings etc. It is an open chassis design that would need to be placed inside some protection for use outside the 412. I assume the chassis was used as the heavy duty head casing provides all the required dust, moisture and impact protection.
The Photon is not a bad little camera though :)

Fraser
« Last Edit: May 09, 2017, 06:41:45 AM by Fraser »
 

Online Fraser

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Further to my last on the damage to your MIC412 camera shells.

Your cameras were providing service in a salt air environment at a Royal Navy base. Salt air and spray is a truly vicious medium for the corrosion of many metals. The baked enamel paint around the edges of your cameras ports suffered failure that lead to corrosive fluid ingress under the paint and associated blistering as the metal oxide expanded.

Your cameras actually look to be in pretty good condition from the outside. I have seen far worse condition MIC series cameras. Some that have been serving on North Sea Oil platforms have virtually no paint left on them and are covered in corrosion....... yet they still function well. The thermal MIC cameras do have a potential performance limiter in the form of the thermal camera window. Thus can suffer heavy corrosion over time in salt air environments. Eventually the corrosion will impact upon the image produced but the effect is often far less than dirt on visible light camera lenses and windows until the window is pretty much covered in flaking corrosion. Fire fighting cameras suffer the same damage over time.

Fraser
 

Offline dreamc

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Mind if I ask, how do you know how they look? ;)
 

Online Fraser

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I assumed you bought these from eBay at £250 each ...... I do not miss seeing much thermal camera kit sold through that auction site :)  Two sold recently and you just bought a pair ...... maybe yours were not the same cameras but it seemed quite a co-incidence 😉

http://pages.ebay.com/link/?nav=item.view&alt=web&id=292081157425&globalID=EBAY-GB

MIC412  cameras are not that common and I know most of the sellers of used ones in the UK. My friend in Cornwall is a major source of Ex MoD MIC cameras but he did not sell a pair of cameras together recently.

Fraser
« Last Edit: May 09, 2017, 06:46:30 AM by Fraser »
 

Offline dreamc

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Re: HELP WITH THERMAL IMAGER CORE FROM A BOSCH MIC412. (FORWARD VISION)
« Reply #6 on: July 16, 2017, 06:14:03 AM »
Hi
Just spotted that you replied to my email.

No I didn't buy those two on ebay. Some lucky guy may have done...

I got one camera of the two I had working again.. the other one was far too damaged.

Quick question..

The little glass that goes in front of the photon (Germanium I believe), is that a valuable item?

If it has loads of dots, is it still effective?

I am not sure how the technology works

Thanks

Marco
 

Online Fraser

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Re: HELP WITH THERMAL IMAGER CORE FROM A BOSCH MIC412. (FORWARD VISION)
« Reply #7 on: July 16, 2017, 07:06:51 AM »
Hi Marco,

I was contacted by the seller of your cameras. He wanted my advice on his remaining MIC thermal cameras ;) That was his auction and he sold the two cameras to a friend of mine. My friend then sold them for £700 each ! Not a bad profit when he paid £250 for them.

The seller has some more knackered 412's and some good 612's. The 612 is much the same camera as the 412 but with the later TAU thermal camera rather than the Photon. The Photon camera went obsolete. The TAU and TAU 2 outperform the Photon camera. The TAU is a new generation of compact camera 'core' with much better noise processing.

The 612 in working order sells for around £1000 but I have seen them sold for £2500 and more, depending upon condition. They are good cameras but to sell them you need a certain sort of customer. Many thermal camera users want portable cameras and the MIC cameras are not exactly portable. professional users tend not to buy used cameras on eBay or similar. They may buy from a trusted CCTV installer like my friend though as he provides support.

Faults in the MIC camera head can be expensive to repair.

Before buying these MIC series cameras, it should be clearly understood that they are specialist CCTV, non-radiometric, and often with limited colour palettes. I have recently been getting some amazing deals on thermal cameras that are better for everyday use. Most bought in the £100 to £250 range and producing better images than that of the MIC412 or 612.

The window in front of the Photon lens is made from Germanium. It becomes pitted due to water induced corrosion. The putting will eventually become so severe that it effects image quality due to loss of the essential AR coating. A badly pitted window is pretty much scrap. A pitted window has little or no value to a user of a thermal camera. Scrap prices for pure Germanium are around $1/g but thermal camera lenses and windows have an AR coating that is considered contamination. You are unlikely to find a buyer for shall quantities of Germanium lenses or windows and even if you do, they will pay nothing like 1$/g. Been there, done that :)

Fraser


 

Offline dreamc

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Re: HELP WITH THERMAL IMAGER CORE FROM A BOSCH MIC412. (FORWARD VISION)
« Reply #8 on: July 18, 2017, 05:20:32 AM »
Thanks for that..

I ended up buying all the cameras the guy had.. the 412's and the 612's..

I think I made a terrible deal as the 412's were so bad, there is not one single board, screw or nets, part that can be recovered.. not one..

The 612's look clean on the head but not tested yet because I don't really have a cable.

Now that I think of it, I don't have a power supply for the 612..
is the 412 power supply good for the 612?

 

Online Fraser

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Re: HELP WITH THERMAL IMAGER CORE FROM A BOSCH MIC412. (FORWARD VISION)
« Reply #9 on: July 18, 2017, 05:52:21 AM »
Wow !

I wondered why he was asking me about repairing them and then I heard nothing more. I wanted to buy a 612 but I can understand him wanting to shift the lot as one.

What does it look like happened to the 412's ? They have good waterproof seals. Had water entered around the pivots of faceplate I wonder. Even full submersion does not normally kill them as they are designed for that and tested during production.

I saw another seller asking £1700 for a 412 that very obviously had become flooded with water inside the sphere head. The rust was all over the inside of the visible light cameras front glass window. I advised the seller of such yet he still continued to offer it for sale with no mention of the damage. He did sell it in the end for around £1400 ! I feel so sorry for the buyer. Likely total scrap. Bear in mind I paid £400 for a near mint 412 only weeks before.

Ok, to your cameras. So even the camera modules in the 412's are destroyed? If so, that was where your residual value would have been. What about the 50mm lenses ? Corroded ?

IIRC, one of the 612's has a faulty tilt function. You can power a 612 from a 412 power supply. As stated, the only real difference is the use of a TAU camera in place of a Photon.

Best Wishes

Fraser
« Last Edit: July 18, 2017, 06:04:39 AM by Fraser »
 
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Online Fraser

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Re: HELP WITH THERMAL IMAGER CORE FROM A BOSCH MIC412. (FORWARD VISION)
« Reply #10 on: July 18, 2017, 06:05:50 AM »
I forgot to ask, are you aware that the software to configure and control the cameras is free and available from the Bosch web site ?

Fraser
 
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Offline dreamc

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Yes, I am a bit upset with this deal regardless of it was a good deal or not as I feel I was was deceived.
'I believe it wasn't intentional as the guy that sold them to me sounds like a serious person, running a decent business, do want to believe he didn't do this on purpose.

I emailed him and I think he got a bit upset and started questioning my motives and dealings in ebay, but the truth is the product he sold me wasn't good to sell, give away and the dump would probably be offended if he had them dropped off lol...

He sold them to me as had a bit of water ingress, with a picture showing some signs but when I opened it it was a big shock
'There is not one screw, not one part, not one board. The lenses are completely gone, the photons, one gives a gray picture (shutter stuck) and the other one gives image but very foggy.. testing with a working 412

I am happy with the purchase as I am hoping the 612;s are good. Waiting for a cable to test as the 412 cable doesn't;t work.

If they don't work then I wasted a lot of money...

Right now I have 3 x 412;s completely in bits, 2 ready to dump and 1 that I might be able to put together in the future if I find the parts I am missing.
1 working 412 that need the tilt adjusting as it rotates motor for a few seconds before actually moving the head.
2x 612'a both with mechanical problems.. hopefully easy to fix.


The optical cameras on the last two are straight to bin.

The 612's are still current cameras, and I want to use them.

The 412;s if I get a couple photons working. I want to build my own drone with ptz optical/thermal :)

Ultimately, this is my objective...
May become useful one day :)

M
 

Online Fraser

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Oh dear :(

Fraser
 


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