Instructables

CCD Eyepiece for Binoculars

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Picture of CCD Eyepiece for Binoculars
Have you ever looked through your binoculars and thought " I wish I could get this on tape" ? Well now you can. In this Instructable I'll show you how to build a cheap CCD eyepiece that will fit most binoculars.
You can use it with any camcorder that has a video input to capture whatever you can get a view on with your binoculars.
 
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Step 1: Materials and tools:

Gather the following, but note nothing is critical. Here and there I'll tel you how you could do it differently.

Tools:

saw, soldering iron, pliers, electric drill with hole saw, sharp knife, 4mm threading tool.

Materials:

- 1 cheapo binoculars (mine cost me +-8 euros, but they are quite good.)
- about 12 cm of PVC tubing , inner diameter must be a larger (1cm is ok) than binocular diameter. (I used 40mm diameter, 1.8 mm wall thickness, thicker is ok too).
- 6 nylon 4mm 12..20 long screws.
- RTV silicone or other adhesive.
- 1 CCD camera module. I used what I could get, which was a module cheap B&W module intended to go in a security camera. It cost me <20 euros. If you have the possibility use a color module with a decent number of lines, as this will give you a better result in the end.

-Some electronic components to power and attach the CCD module. This really depends on the module you can get.
Mine needed 5V, so:
- 78L05 Voltage regulator
- 10uF 16V capacitor
- 10uF 35V capacitor
- 220 ohm resistor
- red 3mm led.
- 1N4148 diode for protection against power-reversal,
- connector to go to a wallwart
- cable with video connector that matches the camcorder/monitor/videorecorder you want to use.
- a piece of perfboard.

optional: AA-size battery holder and switch, if you want a portable power source.

I couldn't find the exact datasheet of the CCD module I bought (they didn't even have it in the shop), but here is a datasheet of one that looks just like it, and had the same connections.

Incidently, you could do this hole thing also with a gutted webcam and use a laptop to record what you see through your binos, while you're on the road.
ITM-M-SC-N.pdf(595x842) 72 KB
mweston5 years ago
I did this with a telescope not to long ago, it might be an instructable soon...
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Kajnjaps (author)  mweston5 years ago
Hey, post some images! Is that a color CCD?
It is color, and the lens is zoomed in all the way (to act like the eyepiece that magnifies it for the human eye). It has great color too, looking at stars the blues come out really well, greens and reds are solid too. Its really easy to focus, so the result is always really pleasing! Here are some more photos, some might be blurry because I had to hold the camera with one hand while positioning the... other camera ~P.S. to mount it I used a little piece of rubber that I glued onto the camera and then inserted it into the focusing tube and tightened it down with the eyepiece set screw.
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MadScott5 years ago
This is a great basic tutorial for putting video in nearly any optical device from binoculars to microscopes and on to more unusual things like interferometers and spectroscopes -- would be very useful in school demonstrations and the like too.
Kajnjaps (author)  MadScott5 years ago
Thanks! About a year ago I mounted a CCD on an Abbe comparator (an instrument to measure the spectral lines of stars, as recorded on a photographic plate). I just put the camera on a stand on the table, so it had to be positioned in front of the eyepiece of the instrument by moving the stand. Always thought there had to be a better way...
rofus5 years ago
make something for a memory stick so you can take it on the go
Kajnjaps (author)  rofus5 years ago
Easiest way to do that would be to make the tube have screws on both sides, then use it to connect a digital camera directly to the binoculars, Hey! another Instructable!!
smabber5 years ago
very nice. ill have to give it a go
Kajnjaps (author)  smabber5 years ago
Be sure to use a good quality CCD, with a decent number of lines.
iBurn5 years ago
Kajnjaps (author)  iBurn5 years ago
Thanks! I guess I'm popular now. Finally, my life has meaning! :-)
totally digging the amber monitor. Nice instructable.
kd1uc5 years ago
I love the thinking going into this. Not sure if I would go through all of this because I can buy a ready made pair for about 40 USD and you don't loose one eye. Again love the idea.
Knex Guru5 years ago
Coule i put this on a sniper optic?
Kajnjaps (author)  Knex Guru5 years ago
Hi Knex Guru, yes, that should work to. It depends a bit in the diameter of the sniper optics you have.
A 4 x 15 about the diameter of a dollar coin.
Kajnjaps (author)  Knex Guru5 years ago
can be done, for sure.
Kajnjaps (author) 5 years ago
Hi everyone, Thanks for the positive feedback. Some more ideas: - you could also do this with a webcam (I already mentioned this in the Instructable, but would really like to see someone do it). - Some of these CCD's are very sensitive to infrared, since used in security cameras. Hence night vision would be possible too. Just build an infrared floodlight. The combination would make some awesome (and cheap) spy gear.
V-Man7375 years ago
Favorited!
love it.
rimar20005 years ago
Good idea, thanks. Well done.
finfan75 years ago
I once got something like this for free from a bank for opening an account. I should find that thing.
lennyb5 years ago
this is a very good idea