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UK, Europe and US these cameras sometimes appear on sale through eBay etc. although many are still in use with the civil fire services. Three models were produced although the 'BST' sensor variant dominated. Early cameras were sold under the Marconi Applied Technologies name but later as e2v following the demise of Marconi, e2v becoming independant in 2002.
Production ended abruptly with the EU 'RoHS' legislation banning lead solder in commercial products, compared to the normal tailing off slowly as customers would prefer 'another one the same' to avoid retraining and maintain installation compatibility.

   

Data Table for P4467 Argus3

   
Sensing Method Ferroelectric effect in BST ceramic material. Temperature changes from the scene cause charge to build up / decay on the pixel readout capacitor.
Sensor Type / Size Raytheon BST core 320x240 48um pitch. Controlled sensor temperature using Peltier.
Lens Parameters 15mm f/1 giving 50 field of view. Fixed focus by moving inner lens elements at build
Dynamic Range / Control 50C, automatic iris in lens.
Display 3.5" colour LCD, driven with video
Sensitivity (MDTD) <100mK
Power Source Camcorder battery (5 x NiMH 4000mAh) as standard but an 'AA' cell cartridge was also available.
Power System Battery voltage converted initially to 10V using SMPS, camera ~5W depending on Peltier loading.
Video Output BNC hidden under front panel. This was normally at 60Hz / 525 line NTSC but later models could be switched to 50Hz / 625 line PAL by the user.
Image Processing 'Chopped' with spiral shutter and a 1-field digital image store to give a constant image. The chopper wheel was clear / diffuse as opposed to opaque resulting in the signature dark halo around very hot objects. Additional circuits outside the bought-in Raytheon imager core added spot temperature, image storage, image zoom, battery indication and iris control. 8 colour palettes were provided.
Manufacturer Status Obsolete, no longer serviced
Number and Years Built Mid 1000's from 2002 - 2006
Export Status Dual use controlled under Wassenaar Arrangement today, although more complicated during manufacturing years.
Publicity Argus 3 datasheet
Argus 3 brochure
Argus 3 brochure
Argus 3 user manual
Camera Customer CD Argus 3 Customer CD. More background information, part identification and customer software
Customer Software Argus 3 customer software to change camera settings and download images. Requires serial port on computer

Derivatives

The P4466 model was produced in the mid 100's using a Raytheon A-Si bolometer detector core (160 x 120 pixels at 30m) as this was not export controlled at the time. These are recognisable by blue trim and only provide NTSC 60Hz video at 20 fps.
Datasheet Link

Also offered, although built in very limited quantities, was a model using the Lockheed (BAE) Vanadium Oxide bolometer (320 x 240 pixels at 46um, 18mm lens for 44 field of view). These are recognisable by orange trim.
Datasheet Link

Accessories

Several options of video transmitters which were built-in giving a large number of model variants for each national requirement.
Truck mount to charge batteries via contacts on the camera base.
Camera supplied with user software on CD for image download and setup of features.

Hobby user information

Despite using commercial camcorder rechargeable batteries, the fitment inside the camera makes it fussy over the exact type. Original Varta V217 and Duracell DR11 were fine but current evidence is that the only packs now available are Chinese clones which no longer fit the camera battery pocket due to clumsy simplified case welding. It may be possible to modify these or the camera to allow fitment, or a hobby user might choose to convert to another battery shape or fit cells directly.
Common faults are stuck iris in the lens and broken battery contact springs. Hard useage can also damage the germanium window protecting the front lens element, but these can be replaced or even removed for hobby use.



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Heritage TICs e2v Argus3 page 25 June 2017  All tradename © respective owners