Products > Thermal Imaging

Two new acquisitions by Fraser - for fans of older professional thermal cameras

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This past week was interesting for me on eBay as I spotted three thermal imaging cameras that were of interest. I bought two and missed out on the third.

Those who know me from my past posts will be aware that I no longer actively hunt for thermal cameras on eBay, but when I see something I like in passing, I can still be tempted ! On this occasion I saw a Raytheon X50 thermal scope, a Bullard Eclipse 160 fire fighting camera and a Raytheon NightSight 200 Pan/Tilt mounted thermal camera. I communicated with the sellers of the Bullard Eclipse 160 and Raytheon NightSight 200 which lead to a deal on each of them :) The Raytheon X50 had suffered severe battery leakage damage and sold for more than I was willing to spend on such an unknown patient. I wish luck to the successful bidder as important PCB's reside along-side the battery bay  :(

The Bullard Eclipse is a firm favourite of mine due to its unusual 'organic' case shape. I absolutely love that camera design. I will bid on any Eclipse that crosses my path and I do not have the Eclipse 160 in my collection. This example is located in the UK, so a no-brainer for me to buy. A mutually agreeable price was agreed with the seller and the camera is now mine. She is in nice condition with only a scuff on the polycarbonate screen to be sorted out. Apart from that she just needs a good clean.

Now the purchase of the Raytheon NightSight 200 took quite a lot of thought and pondering on my part as I would not normally jump to buy a Pan Tilt heavy duty thermal camera system. I already trod that path with the Bosch MIC412, Ganz AllView and FLIR M324 Pan Tilt cameras. I do not have a lot of need for pan tilt head thermal cameras ! The Raytheon NightSight 200 does have some appeal for me however. She is an 'Old Gal' from the late 1990's and was created for use by the military and law enforcement agencies. These cameras also found their way into civilian use on board boats for maritime use. The NightSight 200 is not a common thermal camera to find on eBay. She was deployed to organisations that likely destroyed them before disposal. I got lucky and bought a unit that is in very nice condition from a UK Police Force disposals outlet ! She does not appear to have seen much use so was likely a unit bought for evaluation. This camera was originally designed by Texas Instruments Circa 1997 and went to Raytheon when they bought the Texas Instruments thermal imaging business at the end of the 1990's. Raytheon then marketed the NightSight under their brand to the military and US Police Forces. It has a respectable resolution of 320 x 240 pixels from its high frame rate BST core and the lens provides a 12 degree HFOV which makes it a telephoto lens. The focus of the lens is remotely controlled and the camera has a human detection range of ~1500 feet. The Camera head is quite a beast, made of metal and measuring 12" x 12" x 10". She is no 'beauty queen' in the looks department but I have an interest in the unit as an early ruggedised pan/tilt thermal camera for military and law enforcement applications. I have seen pictures of this camera in some of my thermal imaging text books.She has a place in history at the beginning of the 2000's when both BST and microbolometer thermal imaging systems were being deployed for all manner of tasks, including Law Enforcement.

Once the cameras arrive, I shall update this thread with more pictures of the units. The NightSight 200 is coming to me without its little remote control box so I may be facing a challenge when it comes to controlling that camera head. I have written to a company (Aspects) who still support the NightSight 200 to see if they will help with information, but that may not lead anywhere.

If you are a fan of the older thermal imaging technology, I think the inside of the NightSight 200 may be interesting  :-+


Both cameras arrived in todays post  :-+

The Bullard Eclipse 160 is in good condition and fully operational. I think it will need new AA rechargeable cells in its battery pack but that is all on the electronics front. The camera has the optional electronic thermal throttle feature enabled which is nice to have.
The case just needs some gentle polishing and the scratch on the polycarbonate screen is shallow so should polish out relatively easily.

The NightSight is a beast ! The unit appears built to survive a war zone ! I could not resist taking a look inside the head to see what hides within. The answers is ….. a BST core with communications PCB and an unusual rectangular meniscus profile objective lens.
I will post images later  :)

Not a bad ‘haul’ and the prices were definitely too good to miss :-+


Bill W:

--- Quote from: Fraser on June 02, 2023, 04:14:00 pm ---
The NightSight is a beast ! The unit appears built to survive a war zone ! I could not resist taking a look inside the head to see what hides within. The answers is ….. a BST core with communications PCB and an unusual rectangular meniscus profile objective lens.


--- End quote ---
Analogue or digital BST ?

The original BST analogue 'dev kit' came with an olive green machined from solid chassis and a rectangular lens.  Might be a picture in one or other of the old BST threads (not from me / Argus).

the Marconi one got binned  |O   :palm:   :'(


The BST core is analogue and an early version. It is marked up as Texas Instruments and the IC’s are from 1996. The PCB looks like those found in the Argus 2 analogue version. I have not done a detailed comparison yet though. The BST FPA PCB is also marked up with Texas Instruments. From what I understand, what we know as the Raytheon BST core kit was, in fact, a Texas Instruments product that was incorporated into the Raytheon stable when they bought the Texas Instruments Infrared Department.

I have done a teardown of the NightSight 200 and will create a new thread for that in case anyone in the future is searching for NightSight 200 information. The teardown revealed a pretty standard BST core, chopper wheel and lens system design. No surprises there as it was a well designed core kit. The objective lens is an interesting item….. it was made as a standard circular meniscus lens and then cut down to create the unusual rectangular lens shape. The edges where the lens was cut are scary in terms of damage but as only the central area of the lens is being used, it does not matter. There is a darned great chunk of lens chipped out on one side, but it is out of the FPA’s view so of no consequence.

The build quality of the NightSight 200 is very good but not up to the standard that I found in the MIC412 or military gimbal mounted SeaFLIR.

With regard to control systems within the head assembly of the NightSight 200, there is a microprocessor PCB adjacent to the core and a larger, more complex, microprocessor PCB in the base of the Pan/Tilt assembly. There are two composite video outputs (monitor and VCR ?) and the video contains an overlay showing the camera Pan/Tilt direction of view relative to the monitor.

I suspect the small control box contains a microprocessor so I may have trouble finding the right instructions to control the Pan/Tilt and BST core functions. I can always hot-wire the core to get it running though  :)

Some pictures from the NightSight 200 teardown showing the interior of the camera and core .....


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