In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.
God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness.
Then some crafty buggers decided to see in the darkness. Which is where we come in.
This post is a compilation of threads discussing various forms of illumination for night vision devices.
Digital NV requires illumination and Gen I & II tubed night vision can benefit from it.
Illumination is provided by shining an infrared light on the target area. This reflects back into the viewing device.
Near Infrared is a wavelength of light that the human eye cannot see very well. Nor can most of the things we want to shoot at. Some will respond to 850nm IR, but not 940nm IR.
Illumination can be in the form of LED torches, incandescent lamps with an filter that only allows IR through, or Lasers that emit in the near infrared.
Incandescent lamps are inefficient as much of the output is in the form of visible light that then has to be blocked by the filter. They also tend to be large.
Lasers tend to have a 'dirty' image, with inconsistent brightness. Lasers are also dangerous, coherent light can blind, reflected coherent light can still damage the eyes. Infra Red lasers are potentially more dangerous because the eye does not 'see' the beam and the pupil does not contract. Visible lasers are considered unsafe if over 5 milliwatts output. Some IR lasers have 500 milliwatts.
Eye safe lasers exist, they have a honeycomb filter in front of the laser to break up the beam. This creates a very speckled image and limits the effective range. Some shooters remove the filter to improve the image. This means you cannot be sure that an 'eye safe' laser is actually safe unless you have maintained possession of the unit from factory new.
Never shine a laser into your eye or at any form of reflective surface.
LED torches emit light in a narrow band, so they are much more efficient than incandescent lamps. They are also more eye safe than lasers, but are not truly eye safe. The better LED IR torches will throw a beam 500 meters. Shining a 500m capable white light into ones eye would be considered the height of stupidity. Doing the same with an IR torch is asking for eye damage as the same amount of energy is falling on the rods and cones of the eye.
Never look into an LED IR torch to see if it is on. Use an NV device.
Phoenix tests the output of various commercial and custom made IR torches.
LED focused spot size compared between common IR torches:
Clive Wards field test of his NV torches:
Commercially available torches:
Chinese source for T20, T38, T50, T67 torches:
74mm Rolson torch conversion by Poppy mae:
Cutting a torch body down and fitting to a project box with a bushing:
Cutting a torch body down and fitting with a 12 volt conversion:
SunnyDlight by Sunndog:
SunnyDlight V2.0 by Sunndog:
50mm Aspheric lens, Maglight head and push to zoom Cree torch conversion.
78mm T20 conversion by Sunndog:
T60 - T20 with Sony Doubler lens:
Sunnranger conversion of the T20:
UKNVF member Sika Stag produces Markylight designs for sale, along with Crelant Head conversions of the T20 & 74mm aspheric lens conversions of the T20:
Crelant Head illuminator, Markylight style:
UKNVF member Marky610 produced a number of custom IR conversions prior to the T series torches becoming popular.
Maglight, aspheric lens and 12 volt conversion:
Original Rangerlight with lens scavenged from a Yukon Ranger:
Rangerlight T38 conversion with Yukon head. Similar to SunnRanger:
Before the Markylight there was the Lardylight designed by Lordlardofftherams and copied by others:
Lardy also did the development that led to the IR Nightmaster 800:
Aspheric lens discussed:
Pulsar L808 laser vs Dipol N1000 laser:
Red & white LEDs for primitive lamping:
Tracer and Cluson Interceptor gun lights for really primitive lamping:
Using an IR pass filter to reduce red glow at the torch:
Image flicker caused by driver in torch:
Flashlights, IR illuminators. Projects, reviews and queries. DIY 'stickies' here too.
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