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Used ISG Infrasys Elite XRHR Firefighting Thermal Camera on Ebay

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While I was looking for thermal cameras to repair/salvage, I came across this
ISG Infrasys Elite XR, which is a firefighting thermal camera apparently. After digging a bit deeper, I realized that the camera might have a 384 x 288 50Hz microbolometer at its heart.
For less than $200, I decided to gamble. Fast forward to today: the unit that arrived was in remarkably good condition. Minor scuffing from use, but the lens was mostly scratch-free. No sign of corrosion on the battery terminals either, and the LCD appeared intact. Good start, but still need to power it on.

After searching around for a bit, I found some battery refurbishing services claiming that the battery voltage was 12V. After disassembling the camera to figure out which terminal is the positive one, I hooked it up to a RDTech DPS5005, set output to 12V, and crossed my fingers. To my surprise the camera was actually functional! Shutter(s?) clicked periodically, LCD screen had no crack or burn-in, hot-spot tracking functioned, and no artifact was displayed. The feed was remarkably low-noise (compared to my HT-19's Seek Mosaic at least), and the responsiveness was almost real-time. While I can't take stills to verify the resolution, the camera came with a "100K Hi-res" sticker, so I do believe it indeed had a 384 x 288 50 Hz core inside.

Good stuff.



Edit 1 TL;DR: Did some research on what ISG was making. Found a bunch of manuals and brochures, but not for all recent products (i.e. couldn't find anything for XRHR). See the Google Drive link for a bunch of documents.
Elite XR without 100K Hi-res stickers have 320 x 240 VOx sensor. Elite XRHR, E380, X380 definitely have 384 x 288 ASi sensor based on the X380's Operating Manual.

Link to the documents.

Edit 2: Added some more partial-disassembly pictures of the camera. See Edit 5.

Edit 3: Bought 2 more. 2 Elite XR's arrived. Partial disassembly album.

Edit 4: Consolidated all the high-resolution pictures I have taken + some other I saved for reference related to the Elite XRHR and Elite XR here.

Edit 5: Full disassembly.

After some more digging around, I found a 2015 market survey report from the Department of Homeland Security that basically is a catalog of most of the emergency-response tailored thermal cameras available on the market at the time (see attached).
This document listed the specifications of a lot of thermal cameras including the ISG Infrasys Elite XR, which supposedly had a 384 x 288 sensor.
Now, going back to the original seller with all of the ISG Infrasys stuffs, they do have a bunch of Elite XR's up for sale. What's intriguing is that all of the XR models without "100K Hi-res" stickers all have their serial numbers ending in XR.
The ones that do have the sticker, mine included, have their serial numbers ending in HR. Both variants are listed as Elite XR, so this led me to believe that the one in the DHS' report is actually the one with the Hi-res sticker.

Here are some examples:

XR no sticker:

XR with sticker:
The one I bought has serial number K1K-2279HR.


Based on Wayback Machine's capture of ISG's website (bless this service), this is my estimate of ISG's product history:

1992: Founding of ISG.

~1999: Site created.

Pre-2001: K-90 Talisman, K-90 Enforcer, Firefinder.

2001-2002: K-80 Firecam introduced. Very similar chassis to the XR. First instance of this particular platform being used.

2002-2003: K-90 Talisman XL, K-1000 Elite Firecam (Minicam?, same chassis as K-80), K6800 Spectra Scan, K-I Sentry introduced.

2004: K-1000 Elite Lite introduced. Used FFB160 sensor (160x120). K-1000 probably used the FFB320 (320 x 240) based on this, and the fact that ISG claimed the K-1000 Elite has 76800 pixels in the 04/28/2006 snapshot.

~2005: K-1000 Elite rehash?.

2008: Elite XR introduced. Looked exactly like the XR no sticker cameras from above. K-85ST came out with 160 x 120 sensor and wireless streaming.
Elite XR's Operating Manual claimed it had a 320 x 240 VOx microbolometer.
K-1000 Elite's Operating Manual from this time also claimed the same thing.
Also, first mention of Infrasys. This was probably the year they merged or started partnering.

2012: E380 introduced. First mention of 100K sensor. Operating manual claimed 384 x 288, but not what the sensor type is. E380N variant came out later, but was essentially identical.

2013: X380 introduced. Probably the same core as the E380, but with cold spot tracker and wider temperature range (down to -40C).
XRHR Introduced. Claimed to have 100K sensor as well. Suspect X380, E380, and XRHR to have 388 x 284 ASi sensors based on SD1000/K1000 manual.

11/21/2014: Scott Safety acquired ISG Infrasys.

~2014: SD1000/K1000 either were introduced, or rehashed with new sensors.

2015: Site redirected to Scott Safety.

Well done  :-+

It sounds like you have yourself a decent camera at an excellent price  :-+ Retired Fire Fighting cameras have much to offer provided they have not been abused and totally wrecked. Your camera sounds like it has coped very well with the rigours of being a firefighting tool  :-+

Enjoy :)


Bill W:
Of wider interest, the seller has quite a few similar ISG / Bullard / MSA fire service cameras in the 'battery missing' condition.  Cheap source of (probably) decent cores.

As the ISG's are from US use they could well be set up as 320x240 60Hz NTSC rather than the PAL 384x288 50Hz UK/EUR region setup.  Scope on the BNC video ?

Some, but maybe not those branded '100K', could have the ITC VOx core like this:


The E380 that they sold in December was a bargain ! The X380 was not a bad deal either.

I no longer search for thermal cameras like I used to so as to avoid temptation ! There are some excellent deals to be had on eBay when a Fire Service refresh their thermal camera kits and the old cameras go to Government auctions, then end up on eBay for us to pick through. As I have said previously, the hermetically sealed nature of fire fighting cameras often means that the cores protected within their casings are in cosmetically pristine condition, just like when they left the factory many years ago.

The missing battery situation is common as many disposal processes require that batteries be removed for recycling as hazardous waste. A pity as replacements can be rare and expensive fir some less common camera models.

I must avoid returning to my old ways of scouring eBay for such great value cameras ! That said, the UTi260B has, IMHO, become the ‘darling’ of hobbyists as it is new, compact and very capable for the price being asked in China.

I am still on the look-out for another Bullard Eclipse camera if anyone spots one of those please.



--- Quote from: Bill W on January 16, 2022, 02:04:28 pm ---Of wider interest, the seller has quite a few similar ISG / Bullard / MSA fire service cameras in the 'battery missing' condition.  Cheap source of (probably) decent cores.

As the ISG's are from US use they could well be set up as 320x240 60Hz NTSC rather than the PAL 384x288 50Hz UK/EUR region setup.  Scope on the BNC video ?

Some, but maybe not those branded '100K', could have the ITC VOx core like this:


--- End quote ---

Yea. Seller has quite a lot of thermal cameras for sale. The IR window alone is of great interest to me since I wanted to film stuffs heating up from inside a vacuum chamber.

As for the BNC output, I have no clue what I am looking at (see attached). Scope's input wasn't terminated with a 75 Ohm resistor, but I don't even think adding that would somehow make the camera's output look like NTSC or PAL. In the event that the output can't be digitalized, I guess I'll have to split the video out from the controller board onto an external RCA jack. Already drilled a hole on the chassis for an external power adapter, so it shouldn't be too hard to pass another cable through.


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