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Can somone make an instructable for working night vision goggles? Answered

can somebody PLEEEEAASE make an instructable for actual night vision goggles? if one already exists can someone post it to this question?
Okay, I know this question was very vague, but when I said actual night vision goggles, I meant actual, physical goggles. Not a camera effect or dress up goggles.



Best Answer 7 years ago

(Minor edits and reposting)

True "night vision" means photon amplification. This is generally done using a micro-channel plate. You are not going to make an MCP yourself unless you have access to a good machining lab (university level). That level of fabrication at home is probably another few years away.

Once you have a pair of micro-channel plates in hand, you need a compact power supply (good battery with high total energy, or "mAh", like a cell phone battery) and a voltage multiplier to provide the few kV needed for the MCP amplification. The voltage multiplier can be done with SMD on a small board, since you're only dealing with uA or lower currents.

All in all, it may be easier to buy and refurbish some used NV goggles from a military surplus store, than to try to make them from scratch. Having said that, the from-scratch project would be extraordinarily cool, and would get you a whole lot of Web-cred from the DIY community.

If you don't know the terminology above, I recommend you go to Wikipedia and look them up.

wow thats a really good idea!! thank you :)

To add on, true IR or passive night vision amplification depends on the generation. First generation used multi-alkali, second generation used multi-alkali or some tri-alkali formulations. Generation 3 uses gallium arsenide. The difference between 1 , 2 and 3 is also present in it's photoresponse curve. Gen 3 see's best around 800nm to 900nm, but it can't see much around 400nm or less. It's blue blind because the photocathode color is actually deep blue! Generation 1 and 2 depends, but most gen 1 photocathodes are sensitive up to 900nm, but are sensitive all the way to 400nm and less. They are not as efficient as gen 3 or 2, because they can't produce high energy electrons from photons, but they can increase the energy level if you triple the gain like my three stage intensifier. Generation 2 is more sensitive in the 500-800nm range, usually they appear to be a slightly teal or very light green color. It all depends. There are many different generation 2 photocathodes because much work and research has gone into this generation from many different countries. Generation 3 is almost exclusively a united states endeavor, but larger nations have generation 3 technology in their military now.

To correct upon what kelseymh stated, it appears some of the information was slightly fabricated or pulled from somewhere on the internet like wikipedia. Anyone can look up this information, simply research "intensifier tube."

Inside the intensifier tube, there is several simple components that are difficult to manufacture. The photocathode, the micro channel plate, electrostatic inverter or fiberoptic twist, and a phosphor coated metal anode. Intensifier tubes are under an ultra high vacuum, as there can not be any free form gas molecules. This will cause the formation of positive ions which are highly destructive to the photocathode. It causes a chemical change in the crystal material that photocathodes are composed of, turning it into a different structure. This difference will prevent the release of electrons. Most intensifier tubes contain only ONE micro channel plate, because only one is necessary. There isn't enough signal in most cases and the micro channel plate will generate electrons that aren't related to signal because of over voltage. Adding an additional micro channel plate will multiply this electron by the thousands--causing unwanted noise covering up weak signal. Intensifier tubes also require around an average of 3-5kv, unless it utilizes an electrostatic inverter. This requires around 5kv or more depending how big the intensifier photocathode is. These types of tubes will use up to 8kv or more, but not to exceed 10kv. Any higher and it will begin to produce x-rays because an intensifier is a vacuum, and it hurls electrons into a solid surface. The photocathode converts photons into electrons. A voltage potential is applied at the positive anode, which releases the electrons from the photocathode. They are accelerated through the vacuum and IF the tube contains a micro channel plate, they are also multiplied. From here, the electrons continue to the phosphor or they will first undergo electrostatic inversion and then strike the phosphor. The electrostatic inversion process does not accelerate electrons, it only inverts the electron image so it does not appear upside down to you. If the tube does not use electrostatic inversion, the phosphor will be connected to a fiberoptic twist. This is a very difficult to produce component that directs the light into a 180 degree twist so it's inverted. It was decided to use this method because it reduces power consumption inside the vacuum tube and doesn't cause pincushion distortion like an electrostatic inverter. It also shortens the length of the tube, which further drives down the voltage potential required to move the electrons.

That is in a nutshell, the inner workings of an intensifier tube--the heart of night vision devices.

Intensifier tubes can not be made easily, at least within the realms of even advanced DIY'ers, because it requires an ultra high vacuum. So, in order to make an instructable about true night vision, the best source of information is for you to cruise over to the nightvisionforums website, we make our own devices built around the intensifier tube and we are as up to date about night vision as it gets. You can buy intensifiers on eBay or directly from companies like TNVC, AEOptics, Morovision, ITT, and many more. The cost to procure one of these tubes depends greatly upon many factors. One of the difficulties in finding out what you need and what price is fair takes a lot of market watching, and experience. I can tell you right now that a generation 3 intensifier from this era will run you well over $2,000 new. These are small enough to fit into a goggle setup, but building your own goggles would be another challenge all together. Most people just buy a housing and an intensifier that they can afford and put it inside. It's like picking a cpu for your motherboard. The motherboard directs traffic but the cpu processes the traffic. Not all intensifiers are swappable between housings so you have to be careful which one you buy. Again, it's going to take a few years of experience before you can truly understand all the factors to making your first passive night vision scope. I built my first passive scope using a p8079hp made by EEV (english electric valve.) It's actually a generation 1 and most people scoff at it because they are led to believe that all generation 1 devices are weak. Mine is a three stage, i.e., it has three intensifiers feeding the output to the input of another in a river fashion. It has close to 100,000x gain which is higher than even the newest intensifier tubes of the latest generation but it's a little long and heavy for goggles. It's about 7 inches and around 3 inches in diameter, but I can see millions of stars with it, and it's got the cleanest signal compared to anything pre-year 2000. Mind you, these tubes were produced for the Vietnam war! Very old. Overall though, the project cost me less than $100, and the tubes are still available from starlightnv. That's far cheaper than the $3,000 price tag to get a new pvs-14 which will perform better, but not more than a magnitude or so. It does have a much smaller and lighter form factor though.

If you are still interested in producing your own goggles, i'd recommend heading to the nightvisionforums website. Just google it and browse the forums. You'll need to sign up to see most of the photos. I'm a regular over there and many people would be glad to help lead some noobs through a cascade scope building project. I love to. Good luck!


7 years ago

Once I did a comparison between a $149 'Night owl' night vision device and an old Sony camcorder with nightshot. Looking at stars, there was not very much difference.

Do you mean IR goggles, or true night vision ?

The answer to an "or" question is not generally "yes." Could you pick one of the two different options (and edit your question text to be more specific)? If you don't know the difference, then you may not know what you want.

oh okay. sorry . i mean true night vision.

Okay, then you should edit both your question text and your keywords. The latter include both "IR" and "infrared", which are not "true night vision," which means the amplification of visible-light photons.

oh yea thats a good idea. thank u.

but the only ones i have found are either non functional or dont have enough pictures. mostly its just non functional.

. Try using the search box in the upper right corner of the page. "night vision" seems to work well.

it seems like the only things that show up are those of cameras or the ones that dont work.