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Who wants a Vectronix PLRF / Vector IV remote trigger ?


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Morning All!

 

One thing I found curious is the lack of a dedicated remote trigger for these units. There is a version that connects to a computer via RS232. There is another that connects to a computer via USB but doesn't have a trigger. IIRC there is one that connects to a GPS. But nothing that is JUST a remote trigger!

To this end I did a little bit of investigation and can report that it is easy (and cheap!) enough to make such a remote trigger :)

Question is - how many PLRF or Vector IV owners would like a remote trigger but never bothered because of the price and/or lack of a "simple" remote trigger ?

For those of you that have the non-"C" version, which doesn't have the aperture in the rubber on the side for the port, fear not because the port is still there and it still works!

This should cover PLRF10, PLRF10C, PLRF15, PLRF15C, Vector IV and any other model that has the same port.

It might even be sensible to make the such cables as a two-part item - one part to plug into the Vectronix, and a second part which has a hand-operated switch, or one that has a foot-operated switch, or indeed perhaps an electronic trigger in a scope-demo-stock [seemed like a novel alternative to a tripod, which will be as stable as your shooting itself - if you can't range it, you can't shoot it, LOL].

 

Cheers,

Pat.

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Morning All!

Ewen, you have PM :)

Avian - congrats on the PLFR25C! In answer to your question, the remote trigger will allow the unit to be made to make a measurement without needing to touch it. Certainly it is the case with the PLRF10/15 that it is difficult, if not impossible, to trigger a reading without having the unit move a little due to the pressure that needs to be applied to the button. This can be mitigated to an extent by having it tripod mounted, but it will still move a little. The idea behind the remote trigger is that you can force a measurement to be taken, without needing to apply any force to any part of the rangefinder, so it will remain solidly on target. The ergonomics of the PLRF25C might be better in this regard and it may not move as much.

I did not specifically list the PLRF25C in the list of compatible units for two reasons :

1) The PLRF25C is equipped with a Bluetooth interface which can be paired to a mobile device, which has the ability to remotely trigger a measurement by means of an App, hence it already has a remote trigger capability "for free" anyway so a remote trigger cable is likely somewhere between much-less-useful and useless.

2) I am not sure if the PLRF25C shares the same connector. The SEV78 / 901854 is listed as a cable for the PLRF25C to connect to a PC, it has a remote trigger and it has a connector that looks similar, but I am not sure that it is definitely the same. Rather than offer something that might not end up working / being right I felt it better to just not list the PLRF25C as a unit the cable will work with (but it MIGHT), whereas I am confident in the PLRF10/10C/15/15C and Vector IV being compatible.

The only real benefit I can think of regarding the cable in the context of the PLRF25C is that it is a "dumb" / "basic" unit that doesn't rely on batteries or software to work - if you have it in your kit bag, "it will work" :)

Cheers,

Pat.

 

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Thanks for the info.

Yes when tied into my Nomad PDA with field firing solutions software the software reads the data from the range finder.

When viewing through it on a tripod or even hand held it's very stable.

 

 

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Greg,

Duly noted. If you or Ewen have any preferences for type of switch etc then please let me know :) Also, not sure if it would be helpful, but it looks like it may be possible to remote control both of the buttons, so you could turn 3dis and gating on and off without touching the unit [doubt you'de want to change the units remotely, but you could].

Avian,

You're welcome - and looks like you have your setup sorted. Am I right in thinking that you can trigger a reading from within FFS without needing to touch the unit ? Or do you still need to trigger it manually (albeit quite stable) ?

Cheers,


Pat.

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1 hour ago, pat said:

Greg,

Duly noted. If you or Ewen have any preferences for type of switch etc then please let me know :)Also, not sure if it would be helpful, but it looks like it may be possible to remote control both of the buttons, so you could turn 3dis and gating on and off without touching the unit [doubt you'de want to change the units remotely, but you could].

Avian,

You're welcome - and looks like you have your setup sorted. Am I right in thinking that you can trigger a reading from within FFS without needing to touch the unit ? Or do you still need to trigger it manually (albeit quite stable) ?

Cheers,


Pat.

When connected to FFS I have to tiger the PLRF unit manually and the data is passed to FFS and a firing solution calculated automaticlaly and I cna then just save that target in the target list.

I tend to have it hard wired as the bluetooth turns off on the range finder after a set time.

I can get the data form the Kestrel from FSS at the touch of a button and that is connected via bluetooth.

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Hi Pat , Just spoken to Callum and I know who you are now ..... Sorry but can you explain in laymans terms what the options are please 😂 I have the PLRF 10'S

Greg

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Sean,

It really depends on how steady you can hold it to start with - I find that there's always some motion when you need to exert some force on the unit to "make it go"... others' mileage may of course vary :)

Avian,

thanks for the heads up on the FFS procedure. Given that you do need to manually trigger, a remote trigger cable might still be useful if you find the bluetooth to be troublesome - but I can't be certain that the PLRF25C has the same connector. You're welcome to post a pic to compare.... the PLRFs have a 5 pin connector...

Greg,

We have a mutual acquaintance / friend in Callum :) It seems we are interested in similar disciplines....  :) In terms of options, the sky is the limit - so I'll keep it to just a small selection...

(D)SLR remote triggers such as the following link work well for photographic setups (which can have similar low/no-wobble requirements), though they have a locking function (keeps button pressed) so require a little attention.

Then there are other hand held buttons such as this link - these tend to be non-latching (on while pressed) with less chance of keeping them on accidentally.

You could go with something foot operated like in this link - that keeps both hands free to operate a phone / PDA or indeed a rifle. It would also be more practical when using a scope-demo-stock in place of a tripod (you can "aim" normally and press this with your foot when on target. Alternatively such a scope-demo-stock could be equipped with an electronic trigger (re-purposing bits of a Daystate or perhaps Etronx type trigger).

Finally, as mentioned, it should also be possible to replicate both buttons, using something like in this link [there are likely cheaper options out there, but this gives you an idea]. I don't know quite how useful having the second button available as well would be, but I believe it is an option.

If you're on the PLRF10 (as opposed to PLRF10C) then your port is likely hidden below the rubber cover, so it would probably be sensible to get a cover for the port - unless planning to remove the rubber every time, you'de want to create an access hole. I have had word on those so that should be easy to sort as well :)

Cheers,

Pat.

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Thanks Pat,

The problem would be that I already have a cable plugged in so as to connect it to the Nomad PDA.

I seem to be steady enough when on a tripod, for example at home I can range the front porch of farmhouse at 4.5k then move to the main house wall to the side of that and it will accurately measure the difference , I went to the house and measured it and it's spot on.

I'm overseas at the moment but when I get back I'll send you image and what details I have on the cable connection as someone else might want one in the future.  I'll also  take a look at the FFS software on the PDA as it may well have a method of getting the range reading as it seems to do everything else under the sun 

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Avian,

Yeah, if you are connected via cable to your PDA then this cable wouldn't help per se. It would be possible to make one which is a pass-trough or "Y" piece - so you plug your cable into this cable (using a cable-mounted socket) and then this into the PLRF, but I'de need to check availability on the cable-mounted sockets. That being said, I am surprised that your cable doesn't have one - though that may make perfect sense if FFS has that ability anyway (and as you say, it does pretty much everything else, so it is likely to do this too).

The measurements at 4.5k are impressive :) It looks like the beam divergence on the 25C is listed as typically 0.7x1.7 mrad, so it is a little wider and slightly shorter than the PLRF15 but fatter than the PLRF10 in both dimensions. That should then cover an area 3.15m wide x 7.65m tall at 4.5k - sounds about the right size for the type of measurement you were trying to do - indeed that is backed up by the results!

Enjoy your time overseas and we'll catch up when you're back :)

 

Incisor,

Duly noted. Looks like I need to make a list :D

 

Cheers,
Pat.

 

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Made a first test cable tonight and it does what it needs to do :) Pics of it attached, detached, and packed in the case with the PLRF attached to this post (hopefully)....

Cheers,


Pat.

20210428_195224_resized.jpg

20210428_195309_resized.jpg

20210428_195425_resized.jpg

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That looks like a great option Pat 👍 ....... What solution did you find for the rubber housing as no picture shows the connection  ?

Greg

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Greg,

I used a set of verniers to measure the distance to the hole in two planes, then marked the inside of the rubber cover, then made a small hole. With the cover back on I then knew in which direction(s) to expand the small hole until large enough to accommodate the connector. It is not as tidy as it could be because I didn't have the right tool for the job. Ideally a punch like you'd use on a belt would be just the ticket, so for now my hole is still a little rough round the edges, but functional.

In order to protect the connector when not in use, I have some covers inbound. I am hoping they should arrive in the next few days :)

Cheers,

Pat.

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Okay ... Do we buy this from you Pat  ?  My unit has been taped up for quite some years now so removing the tape should leave the rubber like new but I must say I never knew the connector hole existed  🙃

Greg

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Greg,

If you want one then let me know what preference (if any) you have - I can make another like the one pictured, or I can make it differently.... you can have any length cable you want etc. You can choose a particular switch etc.

I was originally going to go with a 2 core silicone cable (nice and flexible, and will likely do so for future cables) but when there were 2 pins that could trigger a reading I made this cable with 3 cores and heatshrink so as to cater for both possibilities (or indeed two buttons). I can use either type, just let me know...

With regard to the port - yes, because there is no hole in the rubber, it is easy to assume they don't exist. There if definitely mention of it in the manual for PLRF10/15, but that's about it. Of course the PLRF10C/15C have it exposed... part of the reason for this thread is to raise awareness that this feature does exist :D

Indeed your rubber should have been well protected :) [ahem...]

Just a heads up with regard to supply - right now I still have 2 connectors here with more on the way but I am advised that they are due in June. That's not to try to push people into committing, it's to avoid disappointment if someone says "yes please" once these two are gone.

I ordered 9 in total (long story), but I can get more. Also, I'm not doing this to make money - I was just able to get more connectors for the same price as buying one, so if that can be of use to others, then it's a win-win.

Total price for the pictured cable is likely in the UKP 25 region - I used parts (like the switch and cable) I had lying around so don't recall specifically what each element cost right now, but it should be "safe" at that. The bulk of that cost is of course in the connector (Vectronix weren't worried about that, with the intended audience, LOL).

Cheers,

Pat.

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As a heads up / courtesy, the two connectors I have here are now spoken for. More are on the way, so it is still possible to get one, but they will be available in June (unless the connector manufacturer delivers sooner than promised, of course!).

Cheers,

Pat.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi there @pat. Very interesting to find this post (signed up to the forum so that I can reply). I have two Vectronix binoculars  that use the five pin Lemo connector. Presumably the remote trigger simply pulls the relevant pin to ground to trigger either dist or azi readings? These are pins are enumerated in the manual but the manual doesn't illustrate how to use them ? Would potentially be interested in a cable, are you able to produce one that simply goes to flying leads rather than to a button ? I have GPS cables, Serial Cables but would like something I can integrate into my own remote solution.

 

Cheers,
Matt.

Edited by VectorIV
edited for clarity
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Hiya Matt!

I was somewhat frustrated that it wasn't possible to buy just a trigger cable on its own, without the serial or USB, which I didn't need. Seemed sensible to just make one :)And I'm not at all jealous that you have two Vector binos! ;)

You are correct in the assumption that the remote trigger pulls the relevant pin to ground. I originally was testing with 1k for safety, but since there appears to be in the region of 82k pullup it seemed quite safe to just ground it. That certainly works for the cables I have made thus far.

Interesting that your manual enumerates the pins - that was not the case for the PLRF manual(s). I had to work it out by measurement. Would be interesting to see if your manual concurs with what I found.... Pin 1 is the "function" button, Pin 2 is RS232 Transmit, Pin 3 is RS232 Receive, Pin 4 is Ground, Pin 5 is the "range" button.

I can certainly make a cable that is un-terminated at the other end, though I would need to know which pins you would be interested in - these cables (bar my first prototype which has 3) have 2 cores, one for the range button and one for ground. This is a highly flexible silicone cable - but I can do a twisted triple, quadruple or quintuple if you need access to more of the pins.

Please be aware that I am currently awaiting delivery of more of the connectors (Lemo UK only had 3 in stock at the time), they are predicting that they should be with me in June.

Cheers,

Pat.

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Hey Pat,

 

I've attached some photos from the various manuals I have tracked down on line that show the pin outs as well as the data formats in case this is helpful to anyone. Looks as if the data format and the electrical interface is fairly standard across their products (the Vector 21s and 23s use a 12 pin Fischer connector with only 5 pins documented which makes me wonder if anything else interesting is lurking on that connector; sadly I don't have £20K spare to buy a pair to find out).  

The Vector binos I have are the Leica Locator which is basically a limited functionality Vector 1500 made for GIS and surveying applications and clad in a light grey and orange housing. They don't have all of the functions of the mil spec vectors and don't have the engraved reticle bit they do have the same optics (which are amazing). The other pair I have are Rockwell branded Vipers which are to all intents and purposes Vector IVs but  branded to (I assume) be compliant with US Berry act. These have the reticle and the 4-6Km ranging performance of the IVs as well as all the other functions.

The cables that I have for each interchange with one another so would I would have thought that it likely be compatible with the 5pin PLRFs but according to your research the pin assignments are different 🤔)

I purchased the serial cable from a Chinese company on eBay called tdx-surveying; it was a data cable for a Leica total station and had the wrong keying for the binos but this was easily rectified by sanding off the lugs from the connector (😝) but was otherwise electrically compatible.

Cheers,
Matt.

Vectronix_Vector_Manual_Mod_B_Vector_23 (1).jpg

LL_manual_en.jpg

Data Format.jpg

Data Format LL.jpg

Vector21_23.jpg

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