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SasquatchPA
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I have been testing four thermal units and thought I would share some of my thoughts.

 

This is by no means a truly technical review. I am just sharing my thoughts on these units. Thermal units are a significant investment so if this helps someone to make a choice that is right for them great.

 

My personal favorites of the group are the Trijicon units. They seem to have better image control and presentation. Even if you 2x digital zoom to get roughly the same resolution as the Pulsar the image seems better. The image in my opinion is also better then the Flir Scout with the same 640 resolution.

 

 

From top to bottom:

Flir Scout 640 35mm 1X

Trijicon IR-Patrol 640 19mm 1X

Trijicon IR-Hunter 640 60mm 4.5X

Pulsar Trail XW30 384 30mm 1.6X


 

Flir Scout 640:

The GOOD:

  1. Lightweight
  2. Simple to operate
  3. The image is pretty decent.
  4. Video output to record to a DVR
  5. You do not need to manually cover the lens during calibration
  6. Red hot option.

 

The BAD:

  1. Close focus sucks
  2. no digital recording on board
  3. The automatic calibration doesn’t happen often enough for me and the image suffers for it

 

The UGLY:

  1. I fear for the long term serviceability of this unit as it has no user replaceable battery. It must be sent back the factory when it needs to be replaced.

 

 

Trijicon IR-Patrol:

The GOOD:

  1. Great image
  2. Incredible build quality
  3. Easily replaceable battery
  4. Can take still images
  5. The front element has a focus ring which allows for a fairly close focus range.
  6. You can add a battery extension tube that allows you to add an additional battery to extend battery life.

 

The BAD:

  1. Battery life
  2. Expensive to replace the download cable.
  3. You have to manually cover the lens for calibration
  4. No internal video

 

The UGLY:

  1. A little on the expensive side 

 

 

Trijicon IR-Hunter:

The GOOD:

  1. Great image
  2. Incredible build quality
  3. Easily replaceable battery.
  4. The 4.5X and 60mm objective is fantastic for things that are further away
  5. Can take still images
  6. You can add a battery extension tube that allows you to add an additional battery to extend battery life.

 

The BAD:

  1. Expensive to replace the download cable
  2. You have to manually cover the lens for calibration
  3. No internal video

 

The UGLY:

  1. The price

 

 

Pulsar Trail XW30:

The GOOD:

  1. Decent Image
  2. Incredible build quality.
  3. Optional AA battery pack available. An available app
  4. Internal video and stills
  5. The ability to record directly to your iPhone using the app and screen recording. 

 

The BAD:

  1. Standard lithium battery pack is proprietary 

 

The UGLY:

nothing really 

 

 

 

 

 

1056DA03-E028-49AA-B66D-2A88EC627F5B.jpeg

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31 minutes ago, SasquatchPA said:

I have been testing four thermal units and thought I would share some of my thoughts.

 

This is by no means a truly technical review. I am just sharing my thoughts on these units. Thermal units are a significant investment so if this helps someone to make a choice that is right for them great.

 

My personal favorites of the group are the Trijicon units. They seem to have better image control and presentation. Even if you 2x digital zoom to get roughly the same resolution as the Pulsar the image seems better. The image in my opinion is also better then the Flir Scout with the same 640 resolution.

 

 

From top to bottom:

Flir Scout 640 35mm 1X

Trijicon IR-Patrol 640 19mm 1X

Trijicon IR-Hunter 640 60mm 4.5X

Pulsar Trail XW30 384 30mm 1.6X


 

Flir Scout 640:

The GOOD:

  1. Lightweight
  2. Simple to operate
  3. The image is pretty decent.
  4. Video output to record to a DVR
  5. You do not need to manually cover the lens during calibration
  6. Red hot option.

 

The BAD:

  1. Close focus sucks
  2. no digital recording on board
  3. The automatic calibration doesn’t happen often enough for me and the image suffers for it

 

The UGLY:

  1. I fear for the long term serviceability of this unit as it has no user replaceable battery. It must be sent back the factory when it needs to be replaced.

 

 

Trijicon IR-Patrol:

The GOOD:

  1. Great image
  2. Incredible build quality
  3. Easily replaceable battery
  4. Can take still images
  5. The front element has a focus ring which allows for a fairly close focus range.
  6. You can add a battery extension tube that allows you to add an additional battery to extend battery life.

 

The BAD:

  1. Battery life
  2. Expensive to replace the download cable.
  3. You have to manually cover the lens for calibration
  4. No internal video

 

The UGLY:

  1. A little on the expensive side 

 

 

Trijicon IR-Hunter:

The GOOD:

  1. Great image
  2. Incredible build quality
  3. Easily replaceable battery.
  4. The 4.5X and 60mm objective is fantastic for things that are further away
  5. Can take still images
  6. You can add a battery extension tube that allows you to add an additional battery to extend battery life.

 

The BAD:

  1. Expensive to replace the download cable
  2. You have to manually cover the lens for calibration
  3. No internal video

 

The UGLY:

  1. The price

 

 

Pulsar Trail XW30:

The GOOD:

  1. Decent Image
  2. Incredible build quality.
  3. Optional AA battery pack available. An available app
  4. Internal video and stills
  5. The ability to record directly to your iPhone using the app and screen recording. 

 

The BAD:

  1. Standard lithium battery pack is proprietary 

 

The UGLY:

nothing really 

 

 

 

 

 

1056DA03-E028-49AA-B66D-2A88EC627F5B.jpeg

Great review!  
 

I am not familiar with the XW30.  Is it a new model?

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7 hours ago, BlackRockBigfoot said:

Great review!  
 

I am not familiar with the XW30.  Is it a new model?

I fat fingered that it is supposed to read xq30. Sorry about that 

 

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So here is another option for getting footage out of the thermal units. The Trijicon IR-Patrol does not have internal video. It does have a 9 pin Fischer connector that has a video output. This is a decent feature but then you have to have a DVR tethered to it with a cable. The cable is expensive and could be fragile. 
 

A few years ago I decided to see if I could film through the viewfinder of a thermal unit using an inexpensive consumer grade video camera. I made a bracket out of plexiglass l. I cut it on my Laser engraver. This morning I wanted to see if I could do this with the Trijicon. Well to my amazement a couple of the holes allowed me to line it up perfectly. This may not be the most ideal solution but to me it’s better than a tethered DVR. I think I will make another plate that is specifically made for this pair and add a tripod base plate as well.

 

 

AEC01A2C-FBAD-496F-9F17-D5F7B234AC1D.jpeg

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59 minutes ago, SasquatchPA said:

So here is another option for getting footage out of the thermal units. The Trijicon IR-Patrol does not have internal video. It does have a 9 pin Fischer connector that has a video output. This is a decent feature but then you have to have a DVR tethered to it with a cable. The cable is expensive and could be fragile. 
 

A few years ago I decided to see if I could film through the viewfinder of a thermal unit using an inexpensive consumer grade video camera. I made a bracket out of plexiglass l. I cut it on my Laser engraver. This morning I wanted to see if I could do this with the Trijicon. Well to my amazement a couple of the holes allowed me to line it up perfectly. This may not be the most ideal solution but to me it’s better than a tethered DVR. I think I will make another plate that is specifically made for this pair and add a tripod base plate as well.

 

 

AEC01A2C-FBAD-496F-9F17-D5F7B234AC1D.jpeg

This is awesome… and exactly what we need in the In The Field forum.  
 

What are you using for a mount there?

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11 minutes ago, BlackRockBigfoot said:

This is awesome… and exactly what we need in the In The Field forum.  
 

What are you using for a mount there?

Fortunately I didn’t need to by a mount. The camera and thermal unit both had a 1/4” 20 thread that I was able to utilize. Out of pure luck the camera and thermal unit were on the same vertical plane so I did not have to shim anything.

 

I just finished making a stiffening plate out of plywood as the plex was not ridged enough. I will add a tripod base next.

 

I have also in tbe past created mounts for a Microphone so that I could use the thermal as an aiming device for the microphone at night.

 

Here are some pics of how I attached them and the stiffening plate. 

A2564F24-743E-4F75-BA50-B19ED25EA2B1.jpeg

2520F65D-896E-4E19-9161-3A6E3EDCDD14.jpeg

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  • Sésquac
BFF Donor

These type of connectors for all thread rod work for tripod mounts.

 

 

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7 hours ago, NorthWind said:

These type of connectors for all thread rod work for tripod mounts.

 

 

Thanks.

 

Not sure how I will finalize the mount yet. I have used weld nuts like these before using a forstner bit to countersink the flange. This allows you to use small screws so you get decent torque ability when attaching the tripod plate.I normally drill a clearance hole for the shaft part and countersink the back side deep enough for the shaft to be flush.

47099A57-1325-442E-8175-104E44EF44F6.jpeg

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I am not able to view the above images.  This is what I do:

I often use 4 prong Tee nuts, aka T-nut and blind nut. Usually in stainless steel (cres) and thread 1/4-20 NC.  Forstner bits are nice but expensive and most bench top drill presses can't turn slow enough.  My approach is for hand drilling. Spade drill bits in 5/16" and 13/16".  The 5/16" is for the clearance hole to take the body of the T-nut. 13/16" is to counterbore for the 3/4" diameter of the T-nut flange. Depending on your lay out, you may want to drill a small diameter pilot hole ( smaller than the pilot of the 13/16" bit ). Drill with the 13/16" spade bit.  Depth adjustment is easy because you can watch the glue lines of plywood disappear and watching the glue lines helps to drill perpendicular. Open up the hole with the 5/16" spade bit, clean and press in T-nut.  The T-nuts hold fasteners well and are removable.

 

Something that I found on Ebay to try this year.  A quick release tripod mount that is small,  low profile, simple and cheap. $9.95.  Most of the 1/4" to 3/8" thread adapters are bad. Buy from photography stores.  On ebay, 

the "QR-02 quick release adapter plate".   One knob to lock position and one spring loaded knob to insert / release. I do not have a personal  rating  on this unit yet other than it makes a rubbinhg noise when rotated.

 

 

IMG_3589.JPG

IMG_3591.JPG

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Love this thread, great work on the connector plate! I’m partial to acrylic over plexi simply for outdoor longevity but I love the concept here. What laser are you using? We get a to play with an AP laser all the time, a friend of ours bought it for his funeral home, we do projects for him for free access to the unit.

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8 hours ago, Skinwalker13 said:

Love this thread, great work on the connector plate! I’m partial to acrylic over plexi simply for outdoor longevity but I love the concept here. What laser are you using? We get a to play with an AP laser all the time, a friend of ours bought it for his funeral home, we do projects for him for free access to the unit.

Thanks

I have an Epilog Helix 75 watt 18”x24” laser. Works very well for my needs. 
 

I am working on another method for recording as well. I will post my results when I get it done.

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Posted (edited)

Here is another way I decided to try filming with my Trijicon thermal units.

 

This method is not unique as it simply used the video output of the thermal unit. I bought a DVR from Amazon and used a USB power pack to power it.

 

 

I had to figure out the pinout of the 9pin Fischer connector to make a cable.
 

I then cut two pieces of Oak one to hold the thermal and the other to hold the DVR. I used a torque hinge to join the two pieces. This allows me to change the viewing angle of the DVR. I installed a weaver rail along with a spacer to the one piece of oak to attach the thermal. The battery pack is on the reverse side of the DVR.

 

This is now similar to a video camera setup.

 

 

A82AEA06-4949-46B3-94DB-BB0B8ACDE6FF.jpeg

5806434F-8763-4B8A-BCAE-8029086168FD.jpeg

FB5B01B0-6C2F-43AB-AF14-DFDEC03B3EBC.jpeg

06D1E2AD-A53E-441F-81E1-A72E34CC7162.jpeg

6D2425D1-A879-425C-8623-251F170D0CC9.jpeg

Edited by SasquatchPA
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Very clever and impressive SasquatchPA. What you're doing is light years ahead of anything I've ever thought of doing much less done. Kudos!

 

 

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On 4/19/2022 at 12:35 PM, SasquatchPA said:

Here is another way I decided to try filming with my Trijicon thermal units.

 

This method is not unique as it simply used the video output of the thermal unit. I bought a DVR from Amazon and used a USB power pack to power it.

 

 

I had to figure out the pinout of the 9pin Fischer connector to make a cable.
 

I then cut two pieces of Oak one to hold the thermal and the other to hold the DVR. I used a torque hinge to join the two pieces. This allows me to change the viewing angle of the DVR. I installed a weaver rail along with a spacer to the one piece of oak to attach the thermal. The battery pack is on the reverse side of the DVR.

 

This is now similar to a video camera setup.

 

 

A82AEA06-4949-46B3-94DB-BB0B8ACDE6FF.jpeg

5806434F-8763-4B8A-BCAE-8029086168FD.jpeg

FB5B01B0-6C2F-43AB-AF14-DFDEC03B3EBC.jpeg

06D1E2AD-A53E-441F-81E1-A72E34CC7162.jpeg

6D2425D1-A879-425C-8623-251F170D0CC9.jpeg

That's awesome!

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On 4/19/2022 at 6:26 PM, wiiawiwb said:

Very clever and impressive SasquatchPA. What you're doing is light years ahead of anything I've ever thought of doing much less done. Kudos!

 

 

 

7 hours ago, NorthWind said:

That's awesome!


Thanks guys. I will let you know how it works in the field. I am working on a light rig for my video camera next. 


Hopefully I can get out soon. It’s pretty difficult now as everyone I normally go out with schedule is crazy for a month. I guess I will just have to be patient and wait! 

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