Author Topic: 'Metal Mickey' thermal cameras and what they are ..... by Fraser  (Read 4587 times)

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Online Fraser

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Metal Mickey Cameras


I thought I would make a post about one of my favourite types of thermal imaging cameras, namely the 'Metal Mickey'. Metal Mickey was a robot character in a UK children's TV show of the same name.

What the heck is a 'Metal Mickey' camera you may ask. Well it s a specific format of CCTV camera that was originally produced by a company named Forward Vision. It's model designation contained 'MIC' and it looks like a robots head. The term 'Metal Mickey' quickly became synonymous with this type of MIC camera.

I love the design of these PTZ cameras. They comprise a very solid and rigid pan pillar with a 'Y' yoke at the top to hold the camera 'ball' The Tilt is provided via the two 'ball' mounts. The engineering is wonderful. All metal and stainless steel in appropriate locations. Colours vary depending upon the customers requirements. A polished stainless steel model was even made.

The original 'Metal Mickey' MIC series cameras were just an optical PTZ with a quality zoom equipped visible light camera and built in window wiper to ensure a clear view of the scene. These are the cameras that you will see around UK government buildings, including the HQ of the Security Services. They are a quality product that does not look unattractive when compared to conventional external CCTV cameras housings.

Forward Vision then produced a dual technology MIC series camera called the MIC1-412. This has a larger 'Head' that contains a pair of 'eyes' that make it look almost like a robots head mimicking a humans physiology. It kind of looks 'cute' to me. I am sad I know ! Behind the two 'eye' ports there are two cameras. One is a conventional visible light zoom camera with X36 Zoom capability, and the other is a Indigo/FLIR 320 x 240 pixel Photon thermal imaging camera fitted with a 50mm lens providing 17 Degrees HFOV.

Bosch Security acquired Forward Vision and its MIC cameras. They recognised the quality and popularity of the product and wanted it in their range. The cameras became the Bosch MIC-412.

 Those who already know my passion for thermal imaging cameras will not be at all surprised that I purchased one of these superb MIC1-412 cameras. The Metal Mickey may be configured for control via several industry standard protocols, including PELCO D, so driving the unit is easy. It communicates via RS485 and may even be controlled from a PC equipped with a cheap USB/RS485 dongle and the Bosch control and configuration software. The thermal camera and visible light cameras may be controlled and configured via the RS485 data link as well.

Those who know me are also aware that, as a Gemini, I like 'one and a spare' ! Well I did not buy another MIC-412, but rather a similar technology GANZ C-Allview Metal Mickey format dual technology camera. It is not as visually pleasing as the MIC-412 but if provides excellent performance. These GANZ cameras are a relatively common sight around city centres on the top of high poles and corners of buildings. I liked it enough to buy one.

Last week I had the opportunity to purchase another MIC-412 Metal Mickey. No surprises I tried to buy it and it became mine for a very low price, less than half what I paid for my other MIC-412. To say I was chuffed is an understatement ! This unit is in great condition but I suspect it has been used. The other MIC-412 was 'as new' unissued military surplus, hence the higher value ?

I am attaching some photos of my 'Metal Mickey' collection and I will be removing the top of the white MIC-412's 'head' for a view of what resides inside. Watch this space.

In the pictures you will see my sand coloured MIC-412. It is fitted with the optional and disposable plastic sun shade kit that helps protect the cameras 'head' from direct sun in very sunny environments. Such is not needed in the UK but this camera was part of the UK's spares stock for deployment in Iraq ! It is very high spec and has never been issued. The sun shades are easily removed if not needed.

The White MIC-412 is my latest acquisition and is in very nice used condition. Note that both MIC-412 cameras are configured in their 'straight up' positions where the 'Y' yoke is vertical. The 'Y 'yoke may easily  to repositioned to one of several off-vertical angles to permit the camera to look down vertically. Very nice idea.

The black coloured camera between the two MIC-412 units is the Ganz C-Allview. It is a different format but still very nicely designed and built. Once again it is all metal construction and the thermal camera lens protector is designed to be easily removed without opening the cameras 'head'.  It is a very good camera but due to the vertical format of the lenses, it does not have the 'face' of the MIC-412 so is not as 'cute' and could be considered more menacing :)

I am including some pictures of an old Bosch Visible light zoom camera for size comparison. The visible light cameras are half the size of the dual technology camera.

These cameras are all fully functional and I have used them for wildlife monitoring, for which they are more than capable :)

I hope this was an interesting read/view.

Fraser
« Last Edit: June 02, 2016, 03:45:18 pm by Fraser »
 
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Online Fraser

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Re: 'Metal Mickey' thermal cameras and what they are ..... by Fraser
« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2016, 03:11:22 pm »
More.....
 
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Re: 'Metal Mickey' thermal cameras and what they are ..... by Fraser
« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2016, 03:14:39 pm »
The visible light version of the MIC series cameras and a picture of it next to the dual technology MIC-412.

Note the visible light camera has the angled 'Y' yoke that may also be set on the MIC-412 after removing some screws.

Fraser
« Last Edit: June 02, 2016, 03:46:44 pm by Fraser »
 
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Online Fraser

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Re: 'Metal Mickey' thermal cameras and what they are ..... by Fraser
« Reply #3 on: June 02, 2016, 03:15:51 pm »
Datasheets for the Bosch and Ganz thermal cameras.
 
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Online Fraser

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Re: 'Metal Mickey' thermal cameras and what they are ..... by Fraser
« Reply #4 on: June 02, 2016, 03:17:31 pm »
These are pictures of the wall mounting bracket for the MIC-412.

It costs a whopping £300  :o

Fraser
« Last Edit: June 02, 2016, 03:48:51 pm by Fraser »
 
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Online Fraser

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Re: 'Metal Mickey' thermal cameras and what they are ..... by Fraser
« Reply #5 on: June 02, 2016, 05:30:23 pm »
Inside the MIC-412 'head'

It is opened by removing four stainless steel socket head screws.

The top 'cap' contains the screen wiper motor and slides over a deep riser edge that is fitted with a neoprene seal. The cap only lifts very slowly as it is a very snug fit with plenty of petroleum jelly secondary sealant and seal lubrication present.

Once the 'cap' has been removed, a single cable that feeds the wiper motor has to be unplugged in order to completely separate the 'cap' from teh camera body.

The internal construction is excellent and the thickness of the cameras outer shell, most impressive  :) The two camera lenses are protected by heavy duty windows, one germanium, one glass. 

The Photon camera is used in its 'open case' format as the protection is provided by the heavy duty sealed camera case. An open cage visible light zoom camera sits along side it and both are mounted on an aluminium chassis. The two lens protectors are easily changed by removing six cross head screws in the face plate.

The tilt motor and gearbox is visible in my images.

Quality parts are used throughout this camera,. She is a beauty  ;D

Enjoy  :)

Fraser
 
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Online Fraser

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Re: 'Metal Mickey' thermal cameras and what they are ..... by Fraser
« Reply #6 on: June 02, 2016, 05:33:03 pm »
More......
« Last Edit: June 02, 2016, 05:41:46 pm by Fraser »
 
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Re: 'Metal Mickey' thermal cameras and what they are ..... by Fraser
« Reply #7 on: June 02, 2016, 05:35:47 pm »
More......

Note the nice large Germanium objective lens fitted to the Photon thermal camera core  :D

Focus on the thermal camera is also adjustable which is great to see.

Fraser
« Last Edit: June 02, 2016, 05:44:47 pm by Fraser »
 
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Re: 'Metal Mickey' thermal cameras and what they are ..... by Fraser
« Reply #8 on: June 02, 2016, 05:37:49 pm »
Germanium lens protector
 
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Offline lukier

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Re: 'Metal Mickey' thermal cameras and what they are ..... by Fraser
« Reply #9 on: June 02, 2016, 06:21:09 pm »
The visible light camera assembly (sheet metal cage) looks very similar to what I found in my Sony EVI-D80 PTZ camera. Maybe MIC used Sony OEM module. It is a nice camera and the video is even digitized to add OSD but then it is converted to crappy S-Video for the output  :(. Reverse engineering is tricky as it is Sony thus full of custom Sony parts. I would rather replace the sensor with something fully digital and add something like CY7C68013A for the USB interface + interfacing to some small MCU to control all the motors, but looming the non-original cabling through the PTZ mechanics might be tricky.

Also, if I'm not mistaken, it looks like the motors in your cameras are made by Maxon. Every time I see Maxon or Port/Escap motors somewhere it is somehow an indicator of a quality product :)
 

Online Fraser

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Re: 'Metal Mickey' thermal cameras and what they are ..... by Fraser
« Reply #10 on: June 02, 2016, 06:35:52 pm »
Yes quality motors can be a good sign. Many quality thermal cameras use Maxon or Faulhaber high quality long life motors.

Fraser
 

Offline frenky

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Re: 'Metal Mickey' thermal cameras and what they are ..... by Fraser
« Reply #11 on: June 03, 2016, 06:38:25 am »
If it's not a secret for what price did you get the last one?
I did ebay search and cheapest is about 1720 GBP + shipping...
 

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Re: 'Metal Mickey' thermal cameras and what they are ..... by Fraser
« Reply #12 on: June 03, 2016, 09:13:55 am »
Frenky,

£480

The camera you mention for £1700+ is to to avoided at any price. Take a close look at the visible light camera lens protector. Looks like it is full of silt! I looked closely but it does appear that the contamination is on the inside of the lens protector. This is most unusual as these cameras are submersible ! How dirt got inside the faceplate I do not know.

As the seller cannot state that the camera is working (no surprises there) the price is plain crazy. My friend normally sells excellent condition units , tested and working for around £1200. That is what I paid for my first Metal Mickey, but then it was unused and like new. The Ganz C-Allview cost me £700 from him, which is around half normal price.

These metal Mickey type cameras are around £15K new.

Fraser
« Last Edit: June 03, 2016, 09:24:14 am by Fraser »
 

Online Fraser

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Re: 'Metal Mickey' thermal cameras and what they are ..... by Fraser
« Reply #13 on: June 03, 2016, 09:22:02 am »
There is a very nice MIC sales video to be found on You Tube. it shows testing and applications it is used in. The model is the latest 612 version that has an updated thermal camera as the Photon core is now obsolete.

Interesting viewing.



Fraser

 

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Re: 'Metal Mickey' thermal cameras and what they are ..... by Fraser
« Reply #14 on: June 03, 2016, 09:35:53 am »
Here is the auction. That we are discussing with the significant images showing the weird contamination behind the lens protector. That would need investigation before parting with any money.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/322018008401?_trksid=p2060353.m1438.l2649&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT
« Last Edit: June 03, 2016, 09:40:52 am by Fraser »
 

Offline defence2882

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Re: 'Metal Mickey' thermal cameras and what they are ..... by Fraser
« Reply #15 on: June 23, 2016, 08:43:31 pm »
The visible light camera assembly (sheet metal cage) looks very similar to what I found in my Sony EVI-D80 PTZ camera. Maybe MIC used Sony OEM module. It is a nice camera and the video is even digitized to add OSD but then it is converted to crappy S-Video for the output  :(. Reverse engineering is tricky as it is Sony thus full of custom Sony parts. I would rather replace the sensor with something fully digital and add something like CY7C68013A for the USB interface + interfacing to some small MCU to control all the motors, but looming the non-original cabling through the PTZ mechanics might be tricky.

Also, if I'm not mistaken, it looks like the motors in your cameras are made by Maxon. Every time I see Maxon or Port/Escap motors somewhere it is somehow an indicator of a quality product :)

Think the Sony modules are the FCB-EX480CP units. Would like to exchange for a good IP camera if possible!
 

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Re: 'Metal Mickey' thermal cameras and what they are ..... by Fraser
« Reply #16 on: February 16, 2020, 04:24:15 pm »
Some extra info about the connector pinout on the MIC300/400 (and probably others). I did not have the cable, but did some reverse engineering. It is a 12-pin M16.
(A good mating connector is this one: https://be.farnell.com/amphenol-sine-tuchel/t-3636-002/circular-connector-plug-12-way/dp/2347359)

This is the pinout I learned:
A: Video signal
B: GND (video)
C: ?
D: GND
E: GND
F: ?
G: RS485 1B
H: RS485 1A
J: RS485 2B
K: RS485 2A
L: Supply
M: Supply

?= Washer pump or tamper switch most likely. Mine doesn't have this option so can't measure.

The RS485 1 Bus seems to be used for transmission in full duplex mode. It also sends the camera boot messages at 9600 baud. The boot messages contain the currently configured protocol and address.
The RS485 2 Bus is used for reception in full duplex mode, and is the only one used in half duplex mode.

Supply input has a rectifier in front, so camera can be fed AC. Official spec is 15V AC / 18V DC. The one I have has linear regulators for 5 and 12V. With 15V DC input they have enough margin.

Please see attached picture for connector pin labeling (this is standard for all M16 12-pin)
« Last Edit: February 16, 2020, 04:28:37 pm by BertoldVdb »
 

Offline Ben321

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Re: 'Metal Mickey' thermal cameras and what they are ..... by Fraser
« Reply #17 on: February 16, 2020, 11:40:37 pm »
Most of the thermal + vis mounted camera pairs I've seen look more like this, 2 separate cameras mounted in a T shape, with the vertical part being the motorized mount, and then each camera mounted near the top of that, making the T shape. Each camera looks like it's in a standard outdoor weather-proof security camera housing.


Some even have an extra device mounted on top (not sure what it is, maybe an SWIR or MWIR camera, or other exotic wavelength camera of some kind).
« Last Edit: February 16, 2020, 11:43:15 pm by Ben321 »
 

Online Fraser

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Re: 'Metal Mickey' thermal cameras and what they are ..... by Fraser
« Reply #18 on: February 17, 2020, 12:45:20 pm »
Ben321,

Such observation cameras come in all manner of formats to suit the use scenario. The Metal Micky design is most often deployed in civilian scenarios and was intended to be robust, but of relatively low visual impact. There are visible light Metal Mickey’s deployed all over London atop tall poles. They are relatively low impact on the scenery.

The multi-head camera systems are often used where their larger appearance is of little concern. They are often a heavy duty pan tilt mount onto which the customers choice of cameras is mounted. The basic deployment may be a single visible light zoom camera and a thermal imaging camera, either fixed lens or zoom capable. In military circles there is sometimes a need for greater capabilities from the ‘head’ so things like laser rangefinders, laser target painters, Image intensified cameras and multiple visible light cameras may be bolted onto the same pan tilt mount. It is all about versatility :)

Fraser
 

Offline Bill W

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Re: 'Metal Mickey' thermal cameras and what they are ..... by Fraser
« Reply #19 on: February 17, 2020, 01:35:38 pm »
Some even have an extra device mounted on top (not sure what it is, maybe an SWIR or MWIR camera, or other exotic wavelength camera of some kind).


If you look up the model number from the image that you posted, you will find all the system component specifications.
Code: [Select]
Flir-HRC-Border-Security-Surveilance-Infrared-Thermal-Camera.jpg

Bill

Online Fraser

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Re: 'Metal Mickey' thermal cameras and what they are ..... by Fraser
« Reply #20 on: February 17, 2020, 07:09:08 pm »
https://www.flir.co.uk/products/ranger-hrc/

https://flir.netx.net/file/asset/11072/original

Brochure of FLIR systems

https://flir.netx.net/file/asset/653/original


Ben321,

From what I can see, the top mounted module is an LRF

Fraser
« Last Edit: February 17, 2020, 07:17:54 pm by Fraser »
 


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