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Thermal Image / Night Vision Cameras for Yachts?

Discussion in 'Electronics' started by TimL, Nov 30, 2011.

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  1. TimL

    TimL New Member

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    I see a lot of references to FLIR for night time operation. But, what about night vision? The military uses it for flying helicopters, running tanks, etc. I know thermal imaging would be better for MOB, but wouldn't night vision be better for basic operation of a vessel at night (docking, close quarters maneuvering)? I have been pondering this lately. Any input on this?
    Thanks
    Tim
  2. RVN-BR

    RVN-BR Senior Member

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    some new systems are 3-way... thermal, light augmenting and daytime... I'm not sure what they run but i'd guess around 10-15k?

    There are some videos on flir and vei systems... other brands also around... i know flir is prolly the most known but i wonder what other ones are good too? what the main differences are?

    I read that there are some that integrate with AIS/radar to track targets and show them on screen day or night...cool stuff...

    I hear it isnt too useful in terms of night-navigation... i mean you dont navigate looking at the screen... i imagine it isnt hindering to have, but it doesnt particularly aid unless you are looking at something specific. can't recall where i read this... either panbo or a nordhavn site? cant recall but i thnk it was one of the two...
  3. nilo

    nilo Senior Member

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    what is the scope for a thermal or night vision camera

    i've been doing some research lately in this respect. there are very sophisticated cameras which can identify a target at 6 miles and can cost up to 300.000 euros. no doubt they should perform very well; otherwise people should not be paying such huge sums to install them on their boats.

    so, in my opinion one should initially set the scope and then look for the suitable instrument. my scope was to have a aid for night navigation when i am entering foreign ports at night, which i am not familiar with and also try to track small craft in close to shore navigation; which are difficult to pick up on the radar.

    for such a scope one does not need the most sophisticated camera and i am settling with a flir which does not have a high resolution (high resolution may not have a smooth motions picture).

    flir is also supplying car manufacturers, and because of the large number of cameras they are able to supply to the market they have a lower unit cost.
  4. RVN-BR

    RVN-BR Senior Member

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    Hi Nilo,

    Your contribution is invaluable... i may be looking at night vision options quite soon for a boat so id like to know what you settled on and why - models, etc... main use will also be as an aid, entering ports during night hours, etc...

    My comment is mainly that no matter how good the camera may be, i doubt that most watchmen would keep their eyes focused on a screen fulltime... furthermore, the visibility angle is limited even on so-called "wide-angle" cameras... So it never really compatres to what someone expects out of human sight...

    anyways, i think they are invaluable and whatever aids we can get the better, but i agree with what I have read elsewhere that they cant and wont be used like nightvision helmets which "take-over" your sight completely...
  5. nilo

    nilo Senior Member

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    flir camera

    i've chosen m324l, because this basically satisfies my need to look for objects which i need to identify clearly while moving into foreign ports and will let me detect small boats for avoiding collision in close to shore navigation.

    fyg, i have been in contact with most camera suppliers who offered several solutions and because i have an interest in a well known yard i had the upside of getting more candid information both from the suppliers and also from the installers of navcom equipment. as a result this camera was proposed by the international sales manager of flir when i clearly communicated my scope to him and was confirmed by the party who will be doing the installation (again a well known company based in netherlands installing equipment to several high end yachts build at major yards).

    however, i would like to stress once again the scope, which is most important. there are yacht owners who choose much more sophisticated systems, because they have a different scope as safety (detecting attacks) and man over board issues.
  6. AMG

    AMG YF Moderator

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    My experience of night vision devices are that you should only use them where it is completely dark, as any light will blind out the picture. With infrared you don't have this problem, but the ones we have used are not stable enough when driving fast. So radar and plotter are still the most affordable navigation aids on boats I think...
  7. captdbg

    captdbg New Member

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    We are putting one on (thermal vision camera)and wondering if the daylight imaging is worth the extra money?
  8. chuckb

    chuckb Senior Member

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    Once you're into thermal the added cost of daylight/lowlight is negligible. Thermal can be confusing when there's significant hot spots, such as looking at a vessel against an industrial background, so the benefit of other image sources is that you can toggle between them and sort out what you're seeing more readily.
  9. Liberty

    Liberty Senior Member

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    I ran with a FLIR Navigator II camera onboard for the last 3 years. Cost about $12,000.

    It was a higher frequency (25hz) than usual, which was important. It allowed you to see a moving boat while you were moving yourself. You can't do this at lower refresh rates (9hz). At lower frequencies, you can be moving or they can be, but not both.

    The resolution was not great but you could certainly see up close. In harbour or close channels, it was amazing. Truly excellent. Stopped me running over a kayaker one evening who was paddling down the canal with no lights.

    Longer distance was an issue. The resolution/zoom wasn't good enough for you to see objects with enough warning if you are running over 15 knots.

    But none of this addresses the single largest issue of night imagery.

    A night when you turn on a night vision screen, you compromise your own night vision. Your retinas contract to the glare of the monitor and you can't see into the dark. If you turn down the brightness, then the image is unreadable. It is certainly unreadable by a single captain running on the plane at night.

    You can have your Mk I eyeball or infrared camera but not both.

    I suspect this works fine on a larger bridge where one person can watch by eyesight and another can monitor screens but it doesn't work for a single person.
  10. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    I agree to all this and have played with the FLIR on a 105' MY we used to do long transits on. I would say 12 knots is about the maximum speed I would want to go with it. And you could realistically see about 200 yards in front of the boat. The FLIR is useless unless you have a second person dedicated to looking at it, because it does totally screw up your vision otherwise.