Author Topic: Homebrew/DIY Night Vision/NV Build  (Read 1050 times)

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Offline IceBlerk

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Homebrew/DIY Night Vision/NV Build
« on: May 05, 2017, 07:45:59 PM »
With a lot of help, support, suggestions (some of them clean), advice and encouragement from other members of this illustrious Planet I have built my own Night Vision (NV) kit.

I'm not an engineer, I'm a novice with electronics, I knew nothing about night vision until I started this project and yet ......... within a couple of weeks my first prototype was up and running and after a few small tweaks the end result is (in my humble opinion) bloody good.

If you wish to jump to the punchline there are pics of the finished article at the end of this post.

Anyway, here's how I did it.

After asking a few questions of the Planet and doing a little bit of research (Google) my list of ingredients was complete: a camera, a screen, a torch, mounts, wires, batteries and something to keep stuff tidy.

These are what I went for:


I got the high mounts and piece of rail from All Guns Discounted but I can't give details because it involved a fair bit of scratting about in a cardboard box of bits and a little bartering on price.

So, let's assume that I ordered all the right parts and got everything together in my workshop ready to go (the truth is that this final design uses a second project box (the first was botched) and I did my work at the kitchen bench (apologies to the wife) or in the garden). Here's the recipe.

  • Charge the batteries (seriously, you could sit for ages checking wires for no reason).
  • Connect the camera to the screen using the BNC to phono connector.
  • Connect the camera to the power supply splitter.
  • Connect the screen to the power supply splitter.
  • Connect the 12v battery to the power supply splitter.
  • Switch the battery on.
  • At this point you should be able to see the camera image on the screen (if you can't, check the connections are correct and check that the battery is charged up!!!!).
  • Focus the camera at 10yards (I did this because I was told to and it worked).
  • Make a note of the orientation of the camera (^this way up^).
  • All good? Switch the battery off and disconnect everything.
  • Pop the camera in the camera mount (remember "^this way up^?) but don't screw the cover on just yet and put it to one side.


    (If you've reached this point; well done! You've completed your piece of real assembly of the project.)


  • Time to start work on the project box so put the battery in there and mark out ON THE BOTTOM OF THE BOX where the switch and power socket will be. Also mark where the bolt will go to attach the box to the rail AND where a second hole will go to pass the power cable back into the box.

    Here's a pic of what mine looked like (the second time I did it because I learnt from my mistakes with the first project box):



    The bolt hole is the smaller one on the right.

    Here it is with the battery in place:



    And here another view with the battery and power cable in place:



  • One of the design requirements was that it could ALL be dismantled and all components replaced if anything breaks. One issue I had to overcome was how to afix the screen to the project box. One suggestion was glue. I nearly went that way (again, I refer to the demise of the first project box) but a mate suggested four little screws to make posts onto which the screen would attach as it would attach to its supplied stand.

    So I found four small screws (Yay! The discarded first project box has not been completely wasted!) and widened the holes in the back of the screen EVER SO SLIGHTLY and used a template to transcribe their position onto the removable front of the box.

    Also use the template to mark out the position of the screen cable and the menu buttons.
  • Drill where the template indicates. Big holes for cable and buttons, tiny pilot holes for the screws.
  • Screw the screws in (not too much, not too little, but just right to hand the screen securely).

    Here's a pic:



    And another from the inside side:




    (Wow! We're motoring along here, eh? You should be proud of yourself.)


  • Thread the screen cables through the hole and hang the screen on the screws.

    Pic time!



    (Yes, it's upside down but gives a monkey's?)

    Here's another (they're coming faster than buses!):



  • With the battery in place, bolt the box onto the rail.



    You'll notice that I have removed part of the mount (because it was getting in the way). You may need to make small mod's like this yourself depending on your mounts, rails, scope, preferred positioning (oo-er!).

  • Thread your camera cables through the hole into the box. I disconnected them from the camera because those ends were smaller and threaded them INTO the box.
  • Connect all your cables.
  • Switch the battery on and make sure you have a picture on the screen.
  • If all is OK use some Velcro to tidy things up.

    We haven't had one for a while so here's a pic:



    You'll notice that there's a cable (top right of pic) that looks as if it's going to get in the way but it's not; that's the cable running from the screen through the box lid so it's actually inside the box.

  • Attach the lid to the box using the four supplied screws.

    Here's a pic without the screen:



    And one with it:



    (Do you know what you've got in front of you now? Yes, a fully funtional, tidy, modular NV rig.

    Here's a pic to prove it:



    Seriously, all you have to do now is mount it on your scope.)

  • Attach the high mounts to the scope. Your rails and personal preference will dictate where you do this.
  • Attach the torch mount to the scope. Your rails and personal preference will dictate where you do this.
  • Attach the box rail to the high mounts.
  • Attach the camera mount to the eyebell of the scope. You may need to fiddle a little to get the crosshair central in the screen.
  • Attach the torch to the torch mount.
  • Sit back and wait for darkness.

    And while you're doing that, admire the wonderous piece of kit you've added to your arsenal:








Things to note:
  • The camera I chose in preference to the other popular camera people use (the KPC E700) because of price and delivery times.
  • Whichever camera you choose it MUST have the Infrared (IR) filter removed. If it doesn't, what you end up with is a piece of kit that works well in daylight but is a paperweight in darkness.
  • I selected the screen over other "reversing displays" because it DOESN'T have red/yellow/green hatching on the display to aid maneuvering.
  • I could have kept costs down by using "FloPlast" piping and things for the camera mount but I like neat and the Printed Vision mount was, in my opinion, worth the investment.

Many, many thanks to everyone who offered advice and helped and a particular bunch of thanks to Baggawind who came up with some great suggestions born of experience.

Offline Gambo

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Re: Homebrew/DIY Night Vision/NV Build
« Reply #1 on: May 05, 2017, 08:31:41 PM »
A most excellent thread Mr Blerky, thanks for taking the time and effort to post it...........it's much appreciated.

I hope you enjoy the applauds as much as you do using your new creation. ;)

Offline rabbit sniper

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Re: Homebrew/DIY Night Vision/NV Build
« Reply #2 on: May 05, 2017, 09:24:38 PM »
That looks bob on mate  ;D
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Offline seagate

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Re: Homebrew/DIY Night Vision/NV Build
« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2017, 09:28:04 PM »
 Can you get Netflix on it :D.

  You've probabley saved a few hundred quid on making your own.Well done young man.
I plink , therefore I am.

Offline Baggawind

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Re: Homebrew/DIY Night Vision/NV Build
« Reply #4 on: May 06, 2017, 11:40:00 AM »
Well done Blerky, knew you could do it. Don,t forget to take a spare torch battery with you . If the screen starts flashing on/off that means the battery is getting low. Am I right in saying you bought a single mode torch ? If you have it will drain the battery quicker than a three mode item. Now get out there and bash some rats  8) 8) ;) Another piece of advice, buy a decent charger for the torch batteries . One from Nitecore is best. A lot safer than the little thing that comes with the torch.

Offline IceBlerk

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Re: Homebrew/DIY Night Vision/NV Build
« Reply #5 on: May 06, 2017, 01:20:52 PM »
I hope you enjoy the applauds as much as you do using your new creation. ;)

Wow! Look at 'em all! Thanks.

Offline IceBlerk

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Re: Homebrew/DIY Night Vision/NV Build
« Reply #6 on: May 06, 2017, 01:41:49 PM »
  You've probabley saved a few hundred quid on making your own.Well done young man.

I think the total costs (once I've removed the price of mistakes and second attempts) would be in the region of 150. And it COULD have been cheaper if I'd used FloPlast pipe and not been so concerned about everything being neat.

Well done Blerky, knew you could do it. Don,t forget to take a spare torch battery with you . If the screen starts flashing on/off that means the battery is getting low. Am I right in saying you bought a single mode torch ? If you have it will drain the battery quicker than a three mode item. Now get out there and bash some rats  8) 8) ;) Another piece of advice, buy a decent charger for the torch batteries . One from Nitecore is best. A lot safer than the little thing that comes with the torch.

Thanks, Baggy. Yes, I always have a spare battery for the torch (which is good because I often forget to switch the torch off!).

Yes, it's single mode. When it's on it's on and all I can do is focus the beam.

I bought the torch batteries separately from the torch itself as none were supplied with it. They came with a charger and, whilst it is slow, it does the job for now.

Offline seagate

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Re: Homebrew/DIY Night Vision/NV Build
« Reply #7 on: May 06, 2017, 02:21:56 PM »
I hope you enjoy the applauds as much as you do using your new creation. ;)

Wow! Look at 'em all! Thanks.

 You're applauds are quickly reaching that dreaded number that daren't speak it's name. :D
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Offline Gambo

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Re: Homebrew/DIY Night Vision/NV Build
« Reply #8 on: May 06, 2017, 03:03:14 PM »
Well yours are just 1 over it!!! :-\ :-\ :-\

Offline seagate

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Re: Homebrew/DIY Night Vision/NV Build
« Reply #9 on: May 06, 2017, 03:18:40 PM »
   Just :D
I plink , therefore I am.