Author Topic: (Solved) Mystery thermal imaging core - Fraser has been buying toys again :)  (Read 1033 times)

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Offline Fraser

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I purchased a thermal imaging core that is claimed to be functional, but with no data on its make or connectivity.

Why did I buy such an anonymous imaging core ? you may ask. Well that is just what I do to entertain myself and learn about the technology. I shall now embark on a little adventure trying to identify the core manufacturer, model and connectivity detail. That can sometimes be a relatively simple exercise, sometimes not. I also like what I saw with this cores design. It is not a budget assembly.

So what did I see when looking at this anonymous core ?

1. The assembly is classic 'linear in line' format that is common in many versatile cores intended for use in handheld equipment, weapon sights and other weapon systems. That is to say, it is a compact design.

2. The assembly uses a relatively complex and rugged aluminium microbolometer mount assembly

3. The core appears to incorporate the optical block, or at least part of it.

4. The FFC shutters sit in front of the lens block. Note that I said the plural "shutters" as the unit uses two ! This is unusual and not to be found on cores that are built down to a price. I am not certain why two FFC shutters are being used yet. There must be a good reason for it though.

The above caught my eye and the price was right, so I bought it. Resolution and frame rate is not known as this is, after all, a mystery core  ;D

So if anyone recognises the core as similar to one they have seen, please let me know  :-+ Remember the unusual twin FFC shutter and solenoid design. That is not common. Pictures attached.

Best Wishes to all

Fraser
 
 
« Last Edit: November 26, 2019, 10:43:46 am by Fraser »
 

Offline Fraser

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Re: Mystery thermal imaging core - Fraser has been buying toys again :)
« Reply #1 on: November 24, 2019, 10:39:40 pm »
Having studied the witness marks on the cores aluminium front flange and the lens that the seller also has for sale, I believe that the lens was in use with this core.You can see the contact points on the aluminium from the three grub screws and their inverse cone tip.   Thankfully I do have one of these lenses that I bought a few years ago  :)

The lens is describes as follows:

---------------------------
"LWIR (7-14um)  Davin 15mm F1/0.8  Germanium high quality lens assembly (4 elements).
Lens entrance pupil is 19mm mm diameter. It came  from Raytheon cameras.

Lens body has M34x0.75 mounting thread. It includes a threaded ring to tie lens  to camera's body."
---------------------------

But that core does not look like a Raytheon core to me. I may be wrong though.

Fraser
« Last Edit: November 24, 2019, 10:48:41 pm by Fraser »
 

Offline Bill W

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Re: Mystery thermal imaging core - Fraser has been buying toys again :)
« Reply #2 on: November 24, 2019, 11:47:17 pm »
Is this a 3 element lens, and the seller has left you with one and removed the other two forward elements ?

Bill

Offline Fraser

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Re: Mystery thermal imaging core - Fraser has been buying toys again :)
« Reply #3 on: November 24, 2019, 11:49:17 pm »
Bill,

I am really not sure. That could well be the case.

I have the same lens in stock though. They appeared on the market last year and looked good quality.

Fraser
« Last Edit: November 24, 2019, 11:57:25 pm by Fraser »
 

Offline Fraser

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Re: Mystery thermal imaging core - Fraser has been buying toys again :)
« Reply #4 on: November 24, 2019, 11:55:48 pm »
A development ...... the friendly seller just confirmed that the Davin lens did come from the core and that I bought one of those exact lenses from him previously ! Hence why I recognised it :) He does not know where the core was originally deployed.

Apparently the seller has supplied a couple of these cores to his friend who is a member of this forum. This friend managed to get the core running and it apparently displays a temperature measurement along with the thermal image.

So if Mr (redacted) reads this, please PM me as I will need your kind help to get the core up and running :)

Best Wishes

Fraser
« Last Edit: November 25, 2019, 11:30:13 am by Fraser »
 

Offline Fraser

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Re: Mystery thermal imaging core - Fraser has been buying toys again :)
« Reply #5 on: November 25, 2019, 12:13:51 am »
I have been thinking about the two FFC shutters and think I may have jumped to a wrong conclusion here. It is possible that one solenoid drives an FFC Shutter whilst the other is, in fact, an aperture plate that acts as a range extender for the microbolometer in the same way that an iris can. That would make sense to me and more so if, as Bill suggests, the two ‘shutters’ are actually positioned within the lens block and associated optical path.

Thanks for the hint on the lens construction Bill W  :-+

Such an ‘attenuator’ for a thermal camera core could suggest that the core operated in a scenario where very high temperatures are expected in the thermal scene. Fire fighting would be a common scenario that comes to mind. This could well be the core out of a fire fighting camera. But which camera ?

Fraser
« Last Edit: November 25, 2019, 12:15:39 am by Fraser »
 

Offline Vipitis

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Re: Mystery thermal imaging core - Fraser has been buying toys again :)
« Reply #6 on: November 25, 2019, 01:24:19 am »
can you get any of the chips serial numbers to get close in on the date? The apparently circular sensor packaging indicates that this is either older ULIS or SCD. Have you been able to dismantle it further and get a clear shot at the detector?

E: as we as some measurements of size?

Semiconductor Devices uncooled product references(there are also older models):
http://www.scd.co.il/Templates/showpage.asp?DBID=1&LNGID=1&TMID=84&FID=1288
 

Offline Fraser

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Re: Mystery thermal imaging core - Fraser has been buying toys again :)
« Reply #7 on: November 25, 2019, 10:45:52 am »
The unit is en-route to me as I only bought it yesterday. I understand it may use a ULIS microbolometer.

Fraser
 

Offline Fraser

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Re: Mystery thermal imaging core - Fraser has been buying toys again :)
« Reply #8 on: November 25, 2019, 10:54:16 am »
I am not certain of the microbolometers format as I think there is a convex lens in front of it. From the pictures I have uploaded that does not look like a flat microbolometer window, but maybe it is an optical illusion ?

Fraser
 

Offline Fraser

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Re: Mystery thermal imaging core - Fraser has been buying toys again :)
« Reply #9 on: November 25, 2019, 11:03:08 am »
Well thanks to a communication from Mr (redacted) I now know more about the cores heritage and a pinout for the control board.

The core is a custom build by ISG for their “K22 Elite” (K200 series) product circa 2006. The bad news is that the controller PCB is missing from the unit I have just purchased :( I doubt the core can be made to work without that board. You win some and you lose some  :-//

Fraser
« Last Edit: November 25, 2019, 12:16:59 pm by Fraser »
 

Offline Ultrapurple

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Re: Mystery thermal imaging core - Fraser has been buying toys again :)
« Reply #10 on: November 25, 2019, 12:06:31 pm »
Look on the bright side - you've got a nice piece of germanium to add to your tiny-but-growing lens collection ;) and something to talk about at the next meeting of Camera Collectors Anonymous.
Rubber bands bridge the gap between WD40 and duct tape.
 

Offline Fraser

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Re: Mystery thermal imaging core - Fraser has been buying toys again :)
« Reply #11 on: November 25, 2019, 12:15:47 pm »
All is well  :-+ The seller is a fellow forum member and he has very kindly located a controller board for my core. What a top notch gentleman he is  :-+

This core may well live again  :)

Fraser
 

Offline bap2703

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Re: Mystery thermal imaging core - Fraser has been buying toys again :)
« Reply #12 on: November 25, 2019, 12:46:34 pm »
The threaded rods are "a bit a bit how ya doing" (been watching Dave too much :D)
 

Offline Fraser

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Re: Mystery thermal imaging core - Fraser has been buying toys again :)
« Reply #13 on: November 25, 2019, 01:01:53 pm »
Agreed, but not that uncommon in my experience.

Fraser
 

Offline Fraser

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Re: Mystery thermal imaging core - Fraser has been buying toys again :)
« Reply #14 on: November 25, 2019, 01:38:27 pm »
For those unaware, ISG cameras had a lot of manual assembly in their production process. These fire fighting cameras were specialist and built on a production line more like a ‘Cottage Industry’ than the mass production assembly lines seen for consumer products. For this reason they can look a little ‘home made’ in places  ;)

This article gives an insight into ISG back in 2007. I attach pictures from the  article and you can see Erin assembling the ISG Elite core that is the topic of this thread :) The pictures are sadly very low resolution but gives an idea of the conditions in which the cameras were manufactured. It did mean that ISG could fully support their products down to component level though.

https://www.fireapparatusmagazine.com/2007/04/01/isg-thermal-systems-providing-sight-in-zero-visibility-conditions/

Fraser
 

Offline Fraser

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Re: Mystery thermal imaging core - Fraser has been buying toys again :)
« Reply #15 on: November 25, 2019, 01:47:28 pm »
As an update to that US article, I am sad to say that ISG Infrasys have effectively ceased developing their own thermal imaging cameras and will now be ‘badge engineering’ products instead. That means some very clever and knowledgeable ISG designers, techs and assemblers are out of a job  :(

Fraser
 

Offline Fraser

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Re: Mystery thermal imaging core - Fraser has been buying toys again :)
« Reply #16 on: November 25, 2019, 01:54:08 pm »
I just remembered, I own a Monroe HeatFinder Jr that is in truth an ISG Elite K series camera supplied to Monroe under a custom order for a building survey thermal camera. The case is grey and the functionality tweaked for building survey needs that are somewhat different to those of fire fighting. Security surveillance versions of the Elite K series were also produced.

https://www.instrumentcompaniet.no/files/DIVERSE_Datablader/MonroeInfrared_Heatfinder.pdf

One of the joys of being the designer and manufacturer of a thermal camera is that you can create specific versions to suit differing markets with relative ease. Badge engineered products are often a very different story.

Monroe now appear to sell FLIR products for building surveys

https://monroeinfrared.com/products/

Fraser
« Last Edit: December 07, 2019, 06:58:17 pm by Fraser »
 

Offline Bill W

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Re: Mystery thermal imaging core - Fraser has been buying toys again :)
« Reply #17 on: November 26, 2019, 12:20:24 am »
To add to Frasers' comments, ISG Infrasys was the US arm while there was a parallel setup in Basildon UK which started first (ex EEV people) and carried on until last year.  They had been bought out by Scott and passed to 3M when closed down.

The X380 series cameras are still built at the Scott factory near Wigan UK, but as Fraser says no UK product development. 

Scott are doing their camera development in the US (with one screwdriver  >:D )
In both cases you need to opt to be in the US website to see the products.  A UK customer does not see any thermal cameras from 3M-Scott.

Bill

Offline Fraser

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Re: Mystery thermal imaging core - Fraser has been buying toys again :)
« Reply #18 on: November 26, 2019, 12:51:35 am »
How sad it is to see ISG Infrasys relegated to the "screwdriver" brigade and using the less than stellar performance FLIR Lepton and SEEK Thermal cores  :(

Fraser 
 

Offline Fraser

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The ISG thermal imaging core has just arrived in today’s mail :)

It turns out to be an interesting little unit. It uses a VOx microbolometer from L-3 Communications InfraredVision Technology Corporation (ITC)  :-+ I was very pleased to hear that it was VOx as in 2006 ASi was still a little bit more noise prone.

As I suspected, the two shutter flags are for different purposes. One Is the FFC shutter and the other is a high temperature range fixed aperture that may be brought into the optical path as an attenuator. This core very likely came from a thermal camera specified for fire fighting duties.

The seller kindly supplied the controller board that was missing in the auction pictures and another forum member has very kindly supplied the controller board pinout so I can get on with testing the core. It may be good, or may be faulty, we shall see. I have the correct lens for the core so it should be capable of producing an image without having to modify a lens to fit it  :)

Upon closer inspection I see that my thoughts on a lens being present in the aluminium lens mount were wrong. I was just seeing the reflection of the camera lens taking the auction photo in the reflective microbolometer window  :palm:

More once I have had time to test the core  :)

Fraser

« Last Edit: December 07, 2019, 04:33:38 pm by Fraser »
 

Offline Fraser

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Some technical details of the microbolometer fitted to the core.......

Manufacturer : ITC
Production Year : 2004 onwards
Technology : VOx Microbolometer
Model : ITC-1000 Radiometric
Resolution : 320 x 240 Pixels
Pixel size : 37.5um
NeTD : <60mK (F1.0 goal is <35mK)
TEC : Yes - built in Peltier temperature stabilisation available

So not a bad little QVGA microbolomter  :-+

These ITC1000 microbolometers are to be found in several brands of thermal camera, including NEC AVIO, ISG, i2Tech and military products.
« Last Edit: April 26, 2020, 11:42:23 pm by Fraser »
 

Offline Fraser

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Just a quick update on this little core.

I got around to connecting it up and fitting the Davis lens. After applying power I was rewarded with a very nice low noise thermal image :) The high temperature range is working as well :) The core is providing Degrees F measurements as it is from the USA. I hope to find a clean video output without the overlay graphics.

Pictures attached that I quickly took of the core feeding my CCTV monitor.

Fraser
« Last Edit: April 27, 2020, 02:22:04 pm by Fraser »
 


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