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Who wants a Vectronix PLRF / Vector IV remote trigger ?


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Hiya Matt!

Good find on the pinouts - and I suspect that the reason it differs to mine is that I may have started counting at a different place - I called the pin in line with the index / datum pin number 1 and counted clockwise from there, but if we go counterclockwise then what I called pin 5 would be pin 2, etc - in which case it all lines up :)

Of the sets you have I personally would find the Rockwell set more useful based on the engraved reticle - that's one thing that the PLRFs have that is most useful compared to others that have an electronic reticle.

I had a reasonable idea regarding the serial data format - the distance was too long so I figured there was a checksum at the end, and the other 2 fields were placeholders (mine don't have the compass) which I figured would be filled on units that did have the requisite hardware. I didn't specifically want to do anything with that - I was just seeing what each pin does when the range button is pressed :)

The keying is a pain - Vectronix used a less common keying - had they used the usual "G" keying rather than the "B" keying, there likely would have been more in stock. Hey ho. I was reluctant to use a key-less plug, just in case it got inserted the wrong way by accident - something that is avoidable by using the right keying :)

Cheers,

Pat.

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Pat,

Good stuff.

Agree, definitely think it's worth having the reticle simply because it means you still have some ranging capability either beyond max laser range or when the batteries are dead.

Your earlier comments about using the buttons to remotely control the 3dis setting got me to thinking that it could be rather straightforward to use an Arduino (or similar uC) to either provide dedicated switches for various modes by sending the requisite number of button presses, or you could go further and use the serial data and build a small remote display for the received measurements.

I have come across a number of vendors offering "fake" or rather non OEM Lemo connectors cheaper than the OEM part No's, but I'm not sure how trust worthy they are.

Cheers.

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Matt,

The etched reticle means it is possible to accurately position the RF before you press any buttons - having to have the electronic reticle on can be a pain since then most rangefinders will want to take a measurement. The PLRFs I believe will hold off the ranging until you let go of the button, so you can light up the electronic reticle (when darker) and align, but it always struck me as interesting that not more manufacturers etch reticles on rangefinders.

I suspect there will be commands that can be sent to the unit to tell it to switch modes etc - just haven't seen any docs for those (yet). Though you could of course use something like an Arduino to automate "pressing" the buttons. And yes, you could certainly use the output from the RS232 for some useful purpose. That thought had crossed my mind - maybe a cheaper Serial <> Bluetooth interface to then connect to an App, say. Trouble is that Apple locked down their BT and you need their auth chips to talk to them! Should be fine on Android though :) Re-reading your post, the idea of a remote display (as connected directly over RS232) is a pretty cool idea - that way you could collimate a PLRF with a spotter with reticle, and you would not need to aim with the spotter then swap to the PLRF for the answer, just taking your eye off the spotter would allow you to see the display. Mmmmm :D 

There are indeed Lemo copies out there, but Lemo UK were most helpful and the pricing was sensible enough that there was no good reason to risk an inferior product. I went with the straight rather than the right angled body - for the intended purpose it should be fine and they are a lot less than the (admittedly nicer) right angled ones. Lemo are already better priced than the Deutsch connectors (though I do like the AS series).

Cheers,

Pat.

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The Deutsch AS connectors are rather Gucci bits of kit but as you say are £££. I just wish Lemo offered these particular connectors with crimp pins, my soldering of anything that small leaves rather a lot to be desired 😂

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Matt,

The Deutsch DT(M) series are nice insofar as they use good pins, but then a cheaper plastic housing - so if you don't need the ruggedness of the AS type but still want the high quality contacts then they could be a good compromise.

Lemo crimp wise, I would suggest that FGB-0B-305-CYCD42 would be a suitable crimp version of the mating connector for the PLRF. The "usual" solder version is the CLAD version, but if I am reading the catalogue right then CYCD would be a crimp version of the same connector. You will likely need a nice crimp tool though. When I'm not shaking like a dog relieving itself, I can happily solder 0.5mm pitch devices, so I just went with the solder variant.

Cheers,

Pat.

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Pat, cheers for the heads up on the crimp version of the connector, actually quite helpful to know. Seems they only do it in straight plug and not the fancy 90º which works better on the binos as it's less likely to snag (see pic, that cable is the GPS interface cable, has an HD15 on the other end that plugs in to various military GPS RXs)

As you say a good crimp tool would is definitely required - as well the correct turret/positioner. Out of curiosity I looked through my crimp turrets and found a Lemo one; I got all excited for a minute but turns out its the turret for the matching female contacts 🙄.

IMG_0986.jpg

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Matt,

The right angle version is indeed tidier but it is also a lot more expensive from Lemo. Sure, if you need it to be that way the  fair enough (and I doubt that Safran Vectronix were too concerned about the cost of the connector given the intended market).

Those crimps look very familiar - I have a set in blue with a positioner for AS pins :) And a larger set with adjustable positioner for the DT / DTM pins.... it is a PITA when you find that you have the wrong positioner though :(

Cable seems to be doing a decent job - it is now "trivial" to range telegraph poles against the sky at around 1000yds without missing and "ranging" thin air - a good fluid head on a tripod works wonders for that. Really easy to hold rock steady on the thing you're trying to range as no force needs to be applied to the unit :D Ranging daisies at 500yds is also trivial - but one does need to bear in mind the beam divergence is somewhat wider than the reticle subtension at the aim point!

Cheers,

Pat.

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Hey Pat,

Good point re the tripod and head; as in photography (and life in general), good support makes a world of difference 😂 Also really good point about beam divergence, on my Vector/Viper the stated divergence is ≤ 2x2 mrad which at longer ranges is starting to be quite a big dot! Don't forget the target albedo either, I've found this to massively affect measurements.

I'm guessing you work in motorsport or similar if your working with AS/DT/DTMs on a regular basis? I only picked up my crimp tools because I have some surplus mil avionics panels I wanted to wire up and so needed something that could crimp the 39029 contacts (eBay has some good bargains on nice tooling from time to time).

Do let me know when you get more connectors in stock; at the prices you mentioned back in your earlier posts I'd be interested in a one or two cables with all the contacts brought out to flying leads - I'm thinking of knocking up a couple of break out boxes or maybe some modular cables so I can connect straight to a GPS, or a tablet, or a trigger, or whatever really rather than having to have a dedicated cable for each device.

Thanks again.

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Matt,

A good support can make a HUGE difference, though when it has to be ULTRA stable (whilst still being portable) then I find that a Tri-pier is about as solid as you can sensibly get - beyond that you're actually anchoring things into the ground. When you need to track 15.041 arcseconds per second and any error exceeding 0.3 arcseconds causing issues, you being to appreciate solid support :)

Beam divergence is a real PITA. You can of course trade beam diameter against beam divergence but I'm not sure that helps (need to run the numbers to be sure).

Target albedo will have a considerable impact on ranging capability - though of course you can mitigate that with higher pulse energies - with (say) Nd:YAG lasers you can get a 10J pulse lasting 1 nanosecond - would be fascinating to see what Vantablack or similar coatings would do with a 10GW pulse (maybe just ablate - a bit brutal but you might get a ping off it, LOL).

Regards the AS connectors, I've been known to hang around some interesting vehicles, yes, but few will spend on things like AS and DR25.

I'll certainly update the thread when the balance of connectors arrive - and I can indeed sort out a "flying lead" or two for you :)

Cheers,

Pat.

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