Author Topic: SCOTT Eagle X Fire Fighting camera - very nice unit and core - by Fraser  (Read 1389 times)

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Offline Fraser

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I recently had the opportunity to purchase some more Fire Fighting cameras. This time they are from SCOTT and are the Eagle X model.

About the Eagle X......

This camera contains a 160 x 120 pixel 60fps core that provides excellent imagery.

SCOTT bought in a core kit from BAE and created a fire fighting camera around it. Buying core kits from specialist thermal imaging core manufacturers is quite common in the fore fighting camera market. This saves the camera manufacturer the cost and effort required to design and build their own core. It also provides the confidence in the core needed for such safety related applications.

BAE are a very capable thermal camera core manufacturer who design and build weapon systems as well as civilian products. The core in the Eagle X comes from the BAE military core catalogue. It is the venerable SCC500 160 x 120 pixel 60 fps MicroIR core as found in certain heat seeking missile systems and rifle sights. The core is designed to be very versatile and provides an array of I/O ports that provide for both analogue and digital interfacing. As an example, the core may be configured to output video in analogue composite NTSC/PAL, Digital parallel and Digital serial (SDI) formats. I/O ports may be configured for certain functionality selection and even data input from external sensors. It is a very capable self contained thermal imaging core.

It is no surprise that we find the BAE SCC500 core in the EAGLE X as SCOTT used this core in other cameras in their catalogue, most notably the well known Eagle 160. Other fire fighting camera manufacturers elected to use similar cores from Raytheon, such as the 3500AS core. When a camera manufacturer purchases a 'core kit' they received all that is needed to install and configure the core in a host camera shell. The camera manufacturer provides the camera control electronics, the display and any video processing hardware that is required. Some camera manufacturers provide a graphics overlay on the thermal image video stream and the ability to apply various colour palettes.

When buying a used core like the SCC500 or a Raytheon 3500AS, there is a challenge that can be hard to overcome...... documentation, or rather, lack there of ! Without the command set for the core it cannot be reconfigured. A fire fighting camera tends to operate in 'full auto' mode and is configured as such via a serial communication port on the core. Common serial ports found use RS232C, RS422 or RS485. More recent models even offer a USB configuration port. Whilst it is easy to connect to the camera configuration port, without the command data syntax or configuration commands, you are stuck. In such a situation the camera core may only be operated in its previously configured (full auto?) mode. Even changing the temperature units cannot be achieved without the correct codes for such. Some cores use a proprietary GUI running on a PC for configuration. Finding such utility software for a core can be even harder than finding the command set document. Basically, be careful when buying a used or new thermal camera core. If it does not come with the command documentation, check if such is available. Buy wisely.

So do I have the installation and configuration documents set for the BAE SCC500 ? The short answer is yes I have them  :)
I can configure the BAE core in the Eagle X to suit my needs and can enable options that make it a more versatile camera for general use.

I initially purchased two of the Eagle X cameras. I expected them to be in pretty rough condition thanks to a hard life as fire fighting tools. I received them and was pleasantly surprised..... the cameras were in VERY clean and tidy condition  :D There was no smell of smoke on either camera, nor the common tell tail soot in the cracks. The cameras were either fire fighter training units or were used in a non fire fighting application. The Eagle X is sold for varied uses, including security and SAR duties. This might explain their good condition. The cameras were complete but sans batteries as these had been disposed of separately. More on the battery in a minute.

Having seen the excellent condition of the cameras, I asked my supplier about any others he had. He had two in similarly excellent condition and one that is missing its Germanium lens protector and battery cover. The core lens is perfect though.  I could not resist these additional cameras and the one missing parts will likely be my development platform where I experiment with the core.

I tested the original two cameras and was pleasantly surprised at the images produced. I later read in the cores documentation that all SCC500 cores output a upscaled 640 x 480 pixel image and use interpolation when in electronic zoom mode. That may explain why the images look so nice and fine grained. The core has two temperature ranges that cover up to 1000 degrees F :) The lower range tops out at 250F but provides the best sensitivity. The upper range has slightly lower sensitivity but in a fire fighting scenario this is not normally an issue.

Now to the issue of the battery. I saw pictures of the battery used in the Eagle X camera and was pleased to see that it is just six series AA Ni-Mh 2Ah cells in a 'Toblerone' format :) The power connections are just + and - on the end of the battery pack. No temperature monitoring fitted.
I was considering building my own battery packs but remembered that I had seen similar sold for FLUKE instruments. It turns out that several FLUKE Thermal Cameras use a similar battery pack but with a cable output as opposed to contacts.
I purchased a couple for the Fluke Ti10 from Cameron Sino for £17 each. They are 7.2V/2.5Ah and look to be decent quality. I will modify the top end by adding a pair of flat contacts to mate with the cameras battery dock springs. Nice and straight forward :)

Upon testing the cameras current draw I measured around 650mA in normal 'full on' operation, and 300mA with the LCD display switched off in the special 'stand-by' display on command mode. In the 'stand-by' mode the user pushes a button to turn on the LCD display when it is needed and releases the button to drop back into 'stand-by' where only the SCC500 core continues to be powered. This was intended to significantly extend battery duration in demanding situations.

It will come as no surprise to you dear reader that I opened up one of the cameras for a look inside. This initial peek at the internal parts was really just to confirm the core identity and the internal topology. The SCC500 core sits in a cocoon of special shock absorbing and heat resistant sponge rubber. There are higher density rubber bearers that hold the core centrally in the case. All this is designed to provide the core with protection from impact during use in hostile conditions. It may also provide some thermal insulation for the core as well. The SCC500 provides the required signals to the LCD display but I have yet to expose that part of the camera for investigation.

It will be noted from my pictures that the SCC500 core has its microbolometer core PCB and optical block separate from the rest of the core and the two are connected via a ribbon cable. This is the MIM500 version of the SCC500 core that facilitates remote microbolometer head positioning to meet the needs of a complex case format. It is intended for versatility in military applications remember. There are a lot of connecting cables around the core. I was surprised to see these and believe this may just be SCOTT being lazy and using the long interconnect cables provided in the standard core development kit. It looks a little untidy but I suppose it did its job well so SCOTT were content. I have yet to work out the purpose of these cables, Some link core to core and some are core to the SCOTT provided PCB.

OK, enough of me writing about the camera..... to the pictures

There will be more internal pictures when I start work reverse engineering the PCB connectivity soon.

Fraser
« Last Edit: September 24, 2017, 08:25:06 AM by Fraser »
 

Offline Fraser

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Re: SCOTT Eagle X Fire Fighting camera - very nice unit and core - by Fraser
« Reply #1 on: September 24, 2017, 07:46:16 AM »
Internal pictures ..... just a quick peek inside for the moment !
 

Offline Fraser

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Re: SCOTT Eagle X Fire Fighting camera - very nice unit and core - by Fraser
« Reply #2 on: September 24, 2017, 07:47:47 AM »
Pics continued
 
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Offline Fraser

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Re: SCOTT Eagle X Fire Fighting camera - very nice unit and core - by Fraser
« Reply #3 on: September 24, 2017, 07:49:39 AM »
Pics continued

Note the nice seals around the screw holes :) he whole case is gasketed against water ingress.

Fraser
 
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Offline Fraser

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Re: SCOTT Eagle X Fire Fighting camera - very nice unit and core - by Fraser
« Reply #4 on: September 24, 2017, 07:52:22 AM »
The SCOTT brochure for the Eagle X and Eagle 160

Both use the same BAE SCC500 MicroIR core

Also, the SCOTT Q&A document for the Eagle X

Fraser
« Last Edit: September 24, 2017, 08:40:33 AM by Fraser »
 
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Offline Fraser

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Re: SCOTT Eagle X Fire Fighting camera - very nice unit and core - by Fraser
« Reply #5 on: September 24, 2017, 07:56:22 AM »
The BAE SCC500 MicroIR core brochure

Fraser
 
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Offline Fraser

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Re: SCOTT Eagle X Fire Fighting camera - very nice unit and core - by Fraser
« Reply #6 on: September 24, 2017, 09:08:19 AM »
The SCOTT battery Vs the Fluke Ti10 battery that I will modify.

Ignore the bulky end on the SCOTT battery, that is just for connections to the case for storage rack charging.

Fraser
 

Offline Fraser

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Re: SCOTT Eagle X Fire Fighting camera - very nice unit and core - by Fraser
« Reply #7 on: September 24, 2017, 09:15:06 AM »
Now a camera condition comparison.

First a picture of my cameras condition. Then some pictures of a camera currently on ebay that is in the condition that I would expect after serious fire fighter use over the past 6 years or so. My cameras are in great condition and were made in 2005 and 2009.

The ebay cameras are being offered at just over $300 at the moment....

http://www.ebay.com/itm/SCOTT-EAGLE-X-THERMAL-CAMERA-CHARGER-AND-BATTERIES-/282666804045?hash=item41d041234d:g:ofsAAOSwPXdZdkXm

That is not my supplier though.

Fraser
« Last Edit: September 24, 2017, 09:18:36 AM by Fraser »
 

Offline Fraser

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Re: SCOTT Eagle X Fire Fighting camera - very nice unit and core - by Fraser
« Reply #8 on: September 24, 2017, 08:21:43 PM »
Another quick comment regarding the SCC500 core. This core normally comes with a 3 PCB stack (excluding the Microbolometer PCB) and has the option of a video pass through fourth board. I suspect that optional board may be to add overlays to the thermal image.

My SCC500/MIM500 comprises a four PCB stack. This would explain why all of the cores I/O ports are jumpered up to the optional video pass through fourth PCB. Only the required ports for the Eagle X are connected from the fourth PCB to the SCOTT 'backplane' PCB that provides connectivity to the push buttons and LCD display.

I will know more once I have studied the core in more depth.

The cables that connect to the core definitely resemble those supplied by BAE in their core kit. It looks like SCOTT decided to not produce bespoke shorter cables or a ribbon interconnect cable. The BAE cable kit is basically a number of pre terminated white and black jumper wires that are inserted into the connector shells as required to create a bespoke cable set.

Fraser
« Last Edit: September 24, 2017, 08:48:13 PM by Fraser »
 

Offline Fraser

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Re: SCOTT Eagle X Fire Fighting camera - very nice unit and core - by Fraser
« Reply #9 on: September 26, 2017, 07:04:59 AM »
The strip down of the camera has been completed so here are the pictures of the various parts  :)

Fraser
 
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Offline Fraser

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Re: SCOTT Eagle X Fire Fighting camera - very nice unit and core - by Fraser
« Reply #10 on: September 26, 2017, 07:07:26 AM »
Pics continued...
 

Offline Fraser

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Re: SCOTT Eagle X Fire Fighting camera - very nice unit and core - by Fraser
« Reply #11 on: September 26, 2017, 07:12:06 AM »
Pics continued...
 

Offline Fraser

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Re: SCOTT Eagle X Fire Fighting camera - very nice unit and core - by Fraser
« Reply #12 on: September 26, 2017, 07:13:38 AM »
Pics continued...
 

Offline Fraser

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Re: SCOTT Eagle X Fire Fighting camera - very nice unit and core - by Fraser
« Reply #13 on: September 26, 2017, 07:16:53 AM »
Pics continued...
 

Offline Fraser

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Re: SCOTT Eagle X Fire Fighting camera - very nice unit and core - by Fraser
« Reply #14 on: September 26, 2017, 07:18:16 AM »
Pics continued...
 

Offline Fraser

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Re: SCOTT Eagle X Fire Fighting camera - very nice unit and core - by Fraser
« Reply #15 on: September 26, 2017, 07:21:38 AM »
Pics continued...
 

Offline Fraser

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Re: SCOTT Eagle X Fire Fighting camera - very nice unit and core - by Fraser
« Reply #16 on: September 26, 2017, 07:23:34 AM »
Pics continued...
 

Offline Fraser

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Re: SCOTT Eagle X Fire Fighting camera - very nice unit and core - by Fraser
« Reply #17 on: September 26, 2017, 07:25:34 AM »
Pics continued...
 

Offline Fraser

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Re: SCOTT Eagle X Fire Fighting camera - very nice unit and core - by Fraser
« Reply #18 on: September 26, 2017, 07:28:18 AM »
Pics continued...
 

Offline Fraser

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Re: SCOTT Eagle X Fire Fighting camera - very nice unit and core - by Fraser
« Reply #19 on: September 26, 2017, 07:29:44 AM »
Pics continued...
 

Offline Fraser

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Re: SCOTT Eagle X Fire Fighting camera - very nice unit and core - by Fraser
« Reply #20 on: September 26, 2017, 07:31:24 AM »
Pics continued...
 

Offline Fraser

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Re: SCOTT Eagle X Fire Fighting camera - very nice unit and core - by Fraser
« Reply #21 on: September 26, 2017, 07:33:34 AM »
Pics continued...
 

Offline Fraser

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Re: SCOTT Eagle X Fire Fighting camera - very nice unit and core - by Fraser
« Reply #22 on: September 26, 2017, 07:35:16 AM »
Pics continued...
 

Offline Fraser

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Re: SCOTT Eagle X Fire Fighting camera - very nice unit and core - by Fraser
« Reply #23 on: September 26, 2017, 07:36:41 AM »
And .... all back together again
 

Offline Fraser

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Re: SCOTT Eagle X Fire Fighting camera - very nice unit and core - by Fraser
« Reply #24 on: September 26, 2017, 07:47:55 AM »
The PCB stack as I disassembled it......
 


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