TRACT Optics

DIY Open Source Night Vision

The #1 community for Gun Owners of the Northeast

Member Benefits:

  • No ad networks!
  • Discuss all aspects of firearm ownership
  • Discuss anti-gun legislation
  • Buy, sell, and trade in the classified section
  • Chat with Local gun shops, ranges, trainers & other businesses
  • Discover free outdoor shooting areas
  • View up to date on firearm-related events
  • Share photos & video with other members
  • ...and so much more!
  • ToolAA

    Active Member
    Jun 17, 2016
    9,384
    God's Country
    My runcam was finally delivered tonight. I need to dig up my adapter cables or just plug it into one of the RC plane VTXs to see how it looks. I'm busy tomorrow but should be able to get to it early next wk.

    The V760 Eyepiece shipped and should arrive late next week so once I get it we’ll
    Find a day to pair them up.

    Did you get the Night Eagle Cam?


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     

    erwos

    The Hebrew Hammer
    MDS Supporter
    Mar 25, 2009
    13,230
    Rockville, MD
    I'll have to look into this. I actually have some Runcams (Eagles? but not the night version) on my RC quads so I think I know how this is working. I'd be up to buy one set of the electronics to test out. I have gen2(?) Enosa NV scopes I could benchmark against. If its decent quality, those quad setups could be pretty cool.
    Man, I broke out my Enosa (it's a gen2) during the great power outage of 2022, and it performed surprisingly well. Easily well enough to see what was going on up and down the block, in fact. I think it was enough to finally sell the wife on getting a decen gen3 bino setup.

    The idea of open-source digital NV does make a lot of sense (esp given potential AR applications), but I think latency will always be the elephant in the room. It's a lot easier to say "zero latency" with digital than actually deliver it. Short-term, I think we'll see SLS used for housings and other parts that don't typically have a ton of stress applied to them.
     

    ToolAA

    Active Member
    Jun 17, 2016
    9,384
    God's Country
    Man, I broke out my Enosa (it's a gen2) during the great power outage of 2022, and it performed surprisingly well. Easily well enough to see what was going on up and down the block, in fact. I think it was enough to finally sell the wife on getting a decen gen3 bino setup.

    So your wife gets a Gen3 setup and you are stuck with the crappy gen2 NOGS. Man, that’s love.

    All joking aside, my purpose of these discussions is to really discover how useful something like this could be. There is no doubt that having gen2/gen3 NV is going to outperform a DIY system, but to what degree. I’m interested to see how close to zero latency a digital system will be. Having a low budget alternative for say $300 that performs at gen1 resolution isn’t a bad alternative as a backup or perhaps for additional family members.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     

    smdub

    Active Member
    MDS Supporter
    Nov 14, 2012
    3,992
    MoCo
    Did you get the Night Eagle Cam?
    Yes

    Man, I broke out my Enosa (it's a gen2) during the great power outage of 2022, and it performed surprisingly well. Easily well enough to see what was going on up and down the block, in fact. I think it was enough to finally sell the wife on getting a decen gen3 bino setup.

    The idea of open-source digital NV does make a lot of sense (esp given potential AR applications), but I think latency will always be the elephant in the room. It's a lot easier to say "zero latency" with digital than actually deliver it. Short-term, I think we'll see SLS used for housings and other parts that don't typically have a ton of stress applied to them.

    Check out this video


    I have the 2nd(?) setup on many of my FPV rigs (FPV = First Person View. Fly like you're in the aircraft.) Runcam swift + Fatshark HD goggles. 17ms (and thats going through a video transmitter & receiver too). You are basically up against the refresh rate. Practically undetectable. You can weave though trees at warp speed like the speeder bikes in star wars. There is more of a delay from your brain to your fingers (on the transmitter sticks) flying the thing. WAY more than adequate for a human running though the woods or down hallways w/ gun in hand.
    But it all depends on the specific components. That video shows how some combinations have 100ms+ lag. Will be interesting to test the new night eagle w/ ToolAAs display.

    Somewhere near 3:20 in the video he tests the new DJI 100% digital end to end transmission. 23ms. FPV folks have been raving about this. I've seen them in the goggles but haven't flown anything with them yet.

    I have 2 Enosas. Got lucky. Both work, though one of the reticles didn't come on execpt at MAX. I fixed that one w/ a new pot. (I didn't find an exact replica knob but its pretty close.) The other had a BADLY scratched objective lens (basically everything looked a little fuzzy compared to the good one.) I replaced that successfully w/ the objective half from a PVS4 and that one is really clear now too. Its been a while but IIRC, the reticle from the PVS4 was different and I need to fiddle with it again to get it working. I might have to swap the little LED in the end from the scratched up one. Or maybe the internal connector didnt line up. Can't remember as its been a while. I just wanted to test the replacement lens. Yet another project on the LONG list of stuff to be tinkered with...

    I need to make it out to some NV shoots to compare setups.
     

    ToolAA

    Active Member
    Jun 17, 2016
    9,384
    God's Country
    Yes


    I have the 2nd(?) setup on many of my FPV rigs (FPV = First Person View. Fly like you're in the aircraft.) Runcam swift + Fatshark HD goggles. 17ms (and thats going through a video transmitter & receiver too). You are basically up against the refresh rate. Practically undetectable. You can weave though trees at warp speed like the speeder bikes in star wars. There is more of a delay from your brain to your fingers (on the transmitter sticks) flying the thing. WAY more than adequate for a human running though the woods or down hallways w/ gun in hand. But it all depends on the specific components. That video shows how some combinations have 100ms+ lag. Will be interesting to test the new night eagle w/ ToolAAs display.


    The display just arrived today. I wanted to test it out and see how it performs. It has a standard phono jack for video input and a separate connector for 3.3-5vdc power.

    The build quality seem pretty solid. It’s got an aluminum body. I made a quick video connecting it to my cable box. It’s the only device I own with a standard NTSC output port. Shooting with my phone looks a bit fuzzy but the image is clear. There is a little signal interference which may be due to how I’ve got it wires up.

    630060e675f91e7636b64cbf48f37488.jpg


    a8dd4cf8ad5a91c3f7758a6e0420a165.jpg


    3118f12c0eb7f972f02b42ecab4c399d.jpg


    e29145cefe4f92f455f5cc7301cde197.jpg





    I could get together Thursday or Friday after work or sometime later next week. I’m going to be away Sat-Mon helping my parents at their house.
     
    Last edited:

    smdub

    Active Member
    MDS Supporter
    Nov 14, 2012
    3,992
    MoCo
    Cool. The runcam only came w/ the tiny cables. Not the adapter for RCA video. I have one around here somewhere but have to find it. Can't find my bag of crimp connectors to make the adapter either. That got stored somewhere 'safe'. So safe I can't remember where it is :(
     

    ToolAA

    Active Member
    Jun 17, 2016
    9,384
    God's Country
    Cool. The runcam only came w/ the tiny cables. Not the adapter for RCA video. I have one around here somewhere but have to find it. Can't find my bag of crimp connectors to make the adapter either. That got stored somewhere 'safe'. So safe I can't remember where it is :(

    I've got a crimp tool and some various types of connectors. Do you know the pin pitch of the runcam connector and pin size?
     

    ToolAA

    Active Member
    Jun 17, 2016
    9,384
    God's Country
    Little Update on a different NV Build style.

    There are folks on AR-15.com who have been using them to make magnified NV Scopes and spotters. Here is a LINK explaining some of the DIY Build Designs. They use a Cascade Type of intensifier which has a series of 3 Gen 1 tubes within one tube. So each tube boosts the signal from the previous one. This is old tech, but surprisingly still pretty good. I think I found a source for some of these military surplus, for less than $100 each, and I'm probably going to try to pick up a few and make a build. I've asked him how many he has left, if anyone else wants to pick one up, PM me, and we'll work out a deal to save on shipping. They come from the U.K.

    Here is a YouTube video comparing the resolution of Gen1 Cascade to Gen2 Skip to around 23:00.
     

    wbw2123

    Member
    Nov 19, 2012
    863
    Little Update on a different NV Build style.

    There are folks on AR-15.com who have been using them to make magnified NV Scopes and spotters. Here is a LINK explaining some of the DIY Build Designs. They use a Cascade Type of intensifier which has a series of 3 Gen 1 tubes within one tube. So each tube boosts the signal from the previous one. This is old tech, but surprisingly still pretty good. I think I found a source for some of these military surplus, for less than $100 each, and I'm probably going to try to pick up a few and make a build. I've asked him how many he has left, if anyone else wants to pick one up, PM me, and we'll work out a deal to save on shipping. They come from the U.K.

    Here is a YouTube video comparing the resolution of Gen1 Cascade to Gen2 Skip to around 23:00.
    I have a pretty nice pvs 2 which uses the gen 1 Cascade tube you're looking at. Let me know if you want to try it before you buy. What a county has been selling the tubes for $160 for a while so that's a pretty good deal if they don't have blemishes.
     

    ToolAA

    Active Member
    Jun 17, 2016
    9,384
    God's Country
    I have a pretty nice pvs 2 which uses the gen 1 Cascade tube you're looking at. Let me know if you want to try it before you buy. What a county has been selling the tubes for $160 for a while so that's a pretty good deal if they don't have blemishes.

    Thanks for info. I never heard of this company before. They still have them for $160 https://whatacountry.com/pvs-2-image-intensifier-tube.aspx I'm hoping to pick them up from the U.K. source for less than $100.

    What I do think is interesting is that they also sell the PVS-2 housing only, with the F1.2 Objective lens, for only $99. That's probably cheaper than I could buy a decent C-Mount f1.2 Lens.
     

    wbw2123

    Member
    Nov 19, 2012
    863
    Thanks for info. I never heard of this company before. They still have them for $160 https://whatacountry.com/pvs-2-image-intensifier-tube.aspx I'm hoping to pick them up from the U.K. source for less than $100.

    What I do think is interesting is that they also sell the PVS-2 housing only, with the F1.2 Objective lens, for only $99. That's probably cheaper than I could buy a decent C-Mount f1.2 Lens.
    Yeah, you could pick up the pvs 2 for around $350-400 for the better part of the last decade. What a country may still have them too. I bought mine private party and it has the m16, m14, boresight, and 1919 mounts but I'm missing the 1919 dovetail. It's updated by the Israelis and has bdc reticle for 5.56 and 308 but that may be original. They're hefty though even with c battery conversion. I think there's still a guy on Etsy that rebuilds them where you may be able to source qualified tubes. I hear the Zeiss gen 1 is even better but I missed that window.
     

    Attachments

    • IMAG2161.jpg
      IMAG2161.jpg
      153.9 KB · Views: 17

    smdub

    Active Member
    MDS Supporter
    Nov 14, 2012
    3,992
    MoCo
    IIRC, they are JST-ZH. 1.25mm pitch. The are tiny. I used to crimp them under the Mantis microscope at the office. If I can find my spare cables, I'll cut one of the connectors off and solder an RCA on (if I don't have one already.)

    I've ordered from WhatACountry before. They are legit.

    I got both of my Enosa NV scopes running today. :) I had left one in completed condition and the other I had to take back apart a little to fix the reticle adjustment.
     

    ToolAA

    Active Member
    Jun 17, 2016
    9,384
    God's Country
    Ok the source in the UK got back to me on the Gen1 Cascade Tubes. He has at least 10 available they are only $50 each. Shipping is $100 so effectively $60.

    I think I want 6 so if 4 others want to join in, please respond here or PM me.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     

    wbw2123

    Member
    Nov 19, 2012
    863
    Ok the source in the UK got back to me on the Gen1 Cascade Tubes. He has at least 10 available they are only $50 each. Shipping is $100 so effectively $60.

    I think I want 6 so if 4 others want to join in, please respond here or PM me.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Are they A tubes or B tubes with the auto brightness control?
     

    ToolAA

    Active Member
    Jun 17, 2016
    9,384
    God's Country
    Are they A tubes or B tubes with the auto brightness control?

    Ok here is his response:

    I don't fully understand, we mainley deal and dealt with Gen 3, Photonis, supergen, Hypergen and now Intense tubes. they are P8079HP, definitely autobrightness in its form back then, pretty undestructable unless a pure idiot gets one, turn off in high light levels like daylight, not flares or military illuminants.

    Light gain and intensification still phenomenal, will easily work in Starlight.



    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     

    ToolAA

    Active Member
    Jun 17, 2016
    9,384
    God's Country
    Ok Update 12/9.

    We have 3 other MDS members who want to go in on the Group By for the Gen 1 Cascade Tubes. That makes 11 so far. The guy has plenty so if anyone else wants in, pm me tonight. I plan on finalizing by Sunday. They are $50 each plus shipping which should be about $10 each.


    Also big thanks to Smdub we checked out the RunCam Eagle camera and compared it to both of our NV gen2 tubes. It’s surprisingly clear and definitely usable.

    He let me take it home to do some side by side comparisons.

    First off this thing is really small. Smaller than my thumb.

    69f0a7a9d28f598602fd485ad264e99a.jpg


    I rigged up a simple stand so that I can compare my NV-14 directly next to the RunCam under the same exact lighting conditions. Don’t laugh, it’s functional.

    988a019cb72ccc854f9e6c852d9e5c66.jpg


    00cab13d7bc286e25ef52db385a99d0a.jpg


    It’s 7:20pm out behind my house with a full moon so not totally dark but dark enough for a decent comparison. There are many settings that can be adjusted on the RunCam, and I didn’t explore any yet, but just using whatever the defaults are seems quite good.

    98d3fcf99cd9a18bdd2c6f58120cf518.jpg


    cc9b9f6f1643db58b62928db35df25df.jpg


    I took some video too, but I’ve got to get some stuff around the house done and I’ll post those later or maybe tomorrow morning.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     

    ToolAA

    Active Member
    Jun 17, 2016
    9,384
    God's Country
    Ok here is a video comparing the RunCam Eagle 3 with the Armasight NV-15 Gen2 NV goggles. It’s pretty interesting.

    The first thing you’ll notice is that the field of view on the RunCam is much wider than the NV15. The RunCam specs are about 75° FOV horizontally using 4:3 format. Human vision is about 55° so it appears that the NV-15 is closer to normal human vision.

    The image on the RunCam is a bit blurry and you can see the text from the RunCam OSD is slightly out of focus. This problem is not a limitation of the RunCam or the OLED display. The image looks clear to me when looking into the OLED display. The problem is that the phone camera is not precisely focused on the OLED display. However that being said I do think the Gen2 image is better than the RunCam.

    Next, the RumCam image seems to have less contrast. This is something Smdub noticed. The iphone recorded image is slightly worse than the live image because I believe some of the light from the OLED ocular is reflecting off the iphone camera lens and back onto the eyepiece. We tried to adjust the camera settings but I didn’t have time to really examine the difference.

    Overall it’s fairly impressive and proof that the concept really does work and is functional on a basic level. I am ordering a RunCam for myself to do more testing.




    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     

    smdub

    Active Member
    MDS Supporter
    Nov 14, 2012
    3,992
    MoCo
    Looks great!

    The runcam image is too 'contrasty'. This is typical for their cameras. To fly FPV w/ them we usually turn the contrast way down so the highlight/shadows don't blow out. I'll search online for how to adjust that thing. Oscar Liang might have a 'best settings' tutorial on it (note to others: we went through the menus but couldn't find the contrast settings.)

    Its interesting to see that even w/ a much wider field of view the grass appears to be much better resolved on the runcam.
     

    Users who are viewing this thread

    Latest posts

    Forum statistics

    Threads
    264,586
    Messages
    6,804,453
    Members
    31,185
    Latest member
    dreadysuperhero

    Latest threads

    Top Bottom