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Old January 08, 2007, 20:19   #1
BaylorHenry
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SUIT Trilux scope, tritium re-animation!!

i think there might be some other similar posts, but i made this for cetmerifles.com so i might as well post it here since afterall, this is FALfiles and the trilux SUIT is inargueably, the official sight of the L1A1/FAL.




earlier, i got a SUIT infantry scope to go with my very awesome L1A1, but like thousands of the others in the country, it's tritium vial was burnt out. so i started looking for those LED deals. looked at a few... man do they look like crap. not only do they look corny, they also function corny. so i thought i'd just find a new vial to put in. i looked around, thought about cutting one of those bow tritium vials out, but then, there, i saw them, on EvilBay!!!! for $20, i purchased one and it had arrived today, late in the afternoon. so here we go.



all i really needed, was needle nose pliers, putty and a cardboard knife... and of course, the vial itself.


use the needle nose pliers to take the retaining ring out.


look in after you take the spend vial holder deal out and you see the end of the fibre optics.


viola! done!!!














just kidding. you wouldn't see crap if you had that in a moonlit night. that's how it looks when you shine a light at the fibre optics.



after you scrape the white stuff w/ the old vial out with the exacto knife/hobby knife/boxing knife/whatever, you fill it up with putty


mash the new vial in, remember it's gonna be in a good position for the fibre optics to receive light. insert everything back in to the assembly...








and.........













day:

night:

and its' done! no batteries needed! always lit whenever i need it(for the next 10 years at least...)









so there she is. ready for combat no matter day or night, as long as she's got ammo, she'll tag anyone up to 600m. is yours ready? get the vials!!!!!

Last edited by BaylorHenry; January 21, 2007 at 03:35.
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Old January 09, 2007, 10:58   #2
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CONGRATULATIONS!!!!
Really thats a great job.
Can you give me (or us) a size/model number or other positive indication of exactly what vial you used.
I've been trying to get a source for these that will actually deliver for a looooooong time.
Thanx in advance.
BK.
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Old January 09, 2007, 23:28   #3
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Green is a little easier on the eyes than bright red eh? I might have to do this now. Also your l1a1 looks great. Really makes me want to get mine refinish on the metal and bead blast my handguards. mmm
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Old January 10, 2007, 00:09   #4
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thanks!

actually if it's low lit, the red should be better for night vision, but the thing about tritium is, green tritium stays glowing the longest, red i think glows only 1/2 as long as the green ones do... and green is also easier to find
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Old January 10, 2007, 04:27   #5
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Is it ok to handle with unprotected hands?
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Old January 10, 2007, 13:03   #6
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The vials emit nothing except light.
It's the action of the low-level beta particles exciting the phosphors on the tube that causes the glow, but in doing so loses it's own energy.
I'd exercise reasonable caution not to break one when handling, as they are fragile.
The quantiy of gas is minute, and as the same stuff is naturally present in the air we breathe, but more dilute, you probably have a couple of microgrammes inside you right now. It will be processed by your body & expelled normally, but replenished every time you breathe in.
Personally I do any work with these outside to allow the gas to disperse if released & just get back from it for a few minutes to allow this to happen.
The original color was orange, but yellow or green work well, Yellow is better for areas where there is no mercury vapour lighting, and green for areas where there is due to the color green showing against the "yellow" color of street lights.
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Old January 10, 2007, 15:29   #7
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So where do you get these vials??
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Old January 11, 2007, 16:30   #8
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i found this one on ebay.
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Old January 11, 2007, 22:20   #9
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Wud this work?>
http://cgi.ebay.com/Tritium-Vial-Put...em250070044136
Rich
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Old January 12, 2007, 01:59   #10
BaylorHenry
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Quote:
Originally posted by gunhead
Wud this work?>
http://cgi.ebay.com/Tritium-Vial-Put...em250070044136
Rich
that's the exact same one i got. careful guys, lots of people bid snipe on these.
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Old January 14, 2007, 23:54   #11
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After reading this post, I removed the still dimmly glowing orange OEM tritium "bulb" from the plug/lamp holder. It is round with a tail (it's not a tube) that looks like a micro light bulb. Remember, the tritium element is turned by the little handle on the "holder" to move the light source to or from the fiber optic to "turn" the illumination on/off (to avoid detection by NVD?).
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Old January 15, 2007, 11:19   #12
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The correct shape is a pear shaped one about 3.5mm across.
This allows for full control of the illumination during use.
The ability to dim the illumination is (I think) to prevent having the same illumination level on the post's tip as the ambient light on the subject.
If this happens then the reticule just dissappears.
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Old January 19, 2007, 13:29   #13
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I can actually get these "vials" in red, green or blue through one of our suppliers at work. They are shipped from the UK and I would have to order like 100 in the same color to get them. I have not gone as far as pricing yet - but my best guess is about $12-14 each unless I bought like 10,000. Is there any real interest?
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Old January 19, 2007, 14:36   #14
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http://www.falfiles.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=157376
Check here for the answer to that!
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Old February 21, 2007, 13:14   #15
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Old October 18, 2007, 23:58   #16
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Is there any current information on suppliers of any tritium vials?

Currently on Ebay there are some offerings but it is in quantity of 3 or 10.
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Old October 19, 2007, 08:07   #17
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Try this:
cyko24@hotmail.com
The #3, 2X10mm
The #4 3X10mm
Seem to be the best choices for fit.
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Old November 20, 2007, 17:24   #18
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Tag

Great Post!

Thanks,
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Old November 24, 2007, 04:40   #19
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Can't find any #4 3x10mm vials. Would two #3's side by side be o.k.? What is the maximum length that would still fit?

Thanks,
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Old November 24, 2007, 05:09   #20
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Quote:
Would two #3's side by side be o.k.? What is the maximum length that would still fit?
10mm is the max length as this is the width of the recess inside the plug.
The recess is kind of oval, so you can fit several side by side, as long as the 10mm isn't exceeded. I did this for one member who wanted 2 colors, and could only find thin red ones, but it was a bit tricky lining up the two cylindrical vials while keeping them flush.
You absolutely do have to keep the vials flush with, or below the surface of the plug, or they'll break when re-inserting the circlip.

2 side by side don't seem to be as bright as a single bigger one, but it is brighter than just one thin one.
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Old November 24, 2007, 08:32   #21
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Brownknees,

so, you are orienting the vials width wise while BaylorHenry placed his vial length wise into the putty, is that correct?

Thanks,
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Old November 24, 2007, 16:37   #22
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Yes, thats how I did the first couple.
There's no "rule" about orientation, I've even done one diagonally! All that's needed is to have them directly over the top of the reticule at some point.
Diagonal is actually my preference as it allows very controllable illumination.

One thing you do NOT need to do is go more than 1/2 way down the length of the cutout, if you do then you can't totally "turn off" the illumination.
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Old November 29, 2007, 05:46   #23
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Tritium, ah but where to obtain it!

Great post BaylorHenry!

I have a SUIT sight en-route to me and it has a red LED in it and want to swap that out for a vial of tritium.

I have searched high and low for tritium vials:

I have been on CandlePower forums and their site wont even let me register - I have tried using two different browsers, on 2 different operating systems (Windows and Linux) and used 3 different email addresses (work, my dad's and home). All I get is the annoying "Your email address is banned" - which their FAQ states is down to my email client - a bit odd as I am using my web browser and its the reg. form on the site throwing the error?!?

I have also emailed addresses listed in this thread as sources, but no joy there either.

I have also hunted high and low on EBay and no joy there either.

Am I right in assuming the correct size is either 10mmx3mm or 10mmx4mm?

..Did I read correctly the original color of the L2A2 sight was orange / red?

Anyone else got any ideas on sources for this stuff?

TIA...

James.
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Old November 29, 2007, 09:41   #24
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You're discovering why this is the project from hell, I'm afraid.

The vials are "regulated",a lot of the manufacturers won't even talk to you, trust me, I tried.

The most reliable source I found was the one listed in post 17 further back in the thread.

It's sporadic, but he does have what you need sooner or later.

You have 2 choices to do this, either add a vial to the existing LED unit, or get a "dead" plug & re-install a new vial.

I don't know how much detail you put into your browsing of this thread & the ones it's linked to, but I'd suggest going back & rereading the whole thing, there is all the information here, including the blind alleys we went up earlier.

Good luck, with a stubborn attitude, you'll get there, but it does take saome determination.
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Old November 29, 2007, 10:21   #25
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I followed all leads in the thread and emailed the addresses specified Im afraid and no replies, and "stock" levels were zero via CandlePower.

Ah well. I'll keep an eye on EvilBay from time to time. The posts tend to make out they appear there every so often.

Thanks for the info.
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Old November 29, 2007, 21:25   #26
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Did you try searching under "betalight"?
It's an alternate name for tritium illumination.
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Old November 30, 2007, 05:01   #27
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Ah! Right, I will try and have a bash at that now! Thanks!

On another note, I got an email from a chap from another site / forum and he is introducing me to a contact of his that has hopefully got some vials, so fingers crossed!

Thanks again.
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Old November 30, 2007, 05:53   #28
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You'll find that sometimes this is a sloooooow process.
You'll probably get there in the end, but it takes a while.

BTW If you're lighting up the LED module the ideal vial size is different from the plug supplied originally.

The idea there is to run the vial vertically up inside the plug, missing the internal parts as you go. You have to go this way to allow enough room for the components inside, unlike the plug where there aren't any!
If this is what you're doing then you need a short, fat plug as the light will be coming out of the end, not the side. In this case 3mm dia is the minimum to light up the post fully, but length is unimportant so the shorter the better..
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Old November 30, 2007, 05:57   #29
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I was aiming to get a 10mmx3mm - that ok?
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Old November 30, 2007, 06:12   #30
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That should work fine. When the LED arrives measure from the bottom face of the "plug insert" to the bottom of the inside of the battery compartment.
That's you absolute maximum. Then back off a couple of thou for safety sake when drilling the hole. Otherwise you'll drill right thru the connection for the battery
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Old November 30, 2007, 23:56   #31
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Would the vial from a pistol or shotgun night site work?

Say remove the vial from this.....

Meprolite Shotgun Sight

Retails for $34 and delivered to your door. Just don't know if its enough light for this application.
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Old December 01, 2007, 09:15   #32
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It might, if you can get the vial out of the housing undamaged.

Betalights aren't like lightbulbs BTW. The "light" is the same for a given color regardless of size pretty much.

The big issue with a SUIT is that you must evenly cover the entrance to the fiber optic pipe (reticule post), so the diameter IS important.
I used the vial from a Tru-Glo archery sight for one I built.

The model # was TG-40, and I got the one with the largest diameter vial I could find.
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Old December 01, 2007, 09:41   #33
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The Meprolight shotgun bead dot will be just about perfect to reanimate a SUIT due to its ideal size. Based on my comparison of green vs. red tritium tube reanimation of three SUITs, the only thing "wrong" is the green light color. The original color is red, and it (in my opinion/observation) provides better night use under varying illumination and backgrounds at night than green. But, that said, green still works very well as long as you properly match illumination level (by turning the "light bar" to the proper position over the SUIT fiber optic sight pin) to the conditions - its easy to get it too bright, otherwise. The Meprolight shotgun bead is basically a drop-in - just "putty it up" in the illuminator plug and install.
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Old December 01, 2007, 14:28   #34
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I can only find 12x2mm vials. Would a 12mm length work if placed diagonally into the putty from bottom to top?

thanks,
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Old December 01, 2007, 16:12   #35
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2X12 should fit diagonally, there's plenty of extra length in there to play with.
I would NOT go "bottom to top" if you're thinking on angling it vertically (part buried & part showing) but angled along and across the oval should work as I did something similar with an early one I was messing round with.

The original color was "amber", not red, but like you I never did find a source for "amber" vials. I found & tried yellow & green and ended up picking green as it lasts longer because of the phosphors used, and shows up better than yellow in street lighting.

Also I never had a fully working original to compare to. Maybe my build can be made too bright, but with street lighting being one possible place to need the reticule I find the extra illumination not a problem, specially as I can reduce this with the rotating plug.
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Old December 01, 2007, 17:40   #36
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Well, the supplier that has the 12x2mm vials is in the UK and won't ship to the U.S.

I tried Brownknees supplier and he is out and so is his supplier.

If we were in the UK we could just visit our local tackle and bait shop and pick up betalights, but then we couldn't own L1A1/FAL's.

I think I will look into the Meprolight shotgun bead sight.
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Old December 01, 2007, 19:55   #37
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Being I don't own one of these, but was thinking of picking one up. What is the problem with using the LED? I mean other than batteries. Just wondering if there were major issues with the LED that was fitted to these scopes.

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Old December 01, 2007, 20:43   #38
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Major issues, no.
Minor ones yes.
Big & bulky (and pretty darn ugly), and the turn "ON" turn "OFF" switch is exposed & fragile.

The unit's also not even remotely "water resistant".

You need a cross head jewler's screwdriver to replace the battery.

Other than those it does work, untill the battery goes bum up.
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Old December 01, 2007, 21:42   #39
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Brownknees: Thanks for the information. I haven't got one, but I see them offered in the market place. I thought they might be nice to have and figured on picking one up.


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Old December 01, 2007, 23:49   #40
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Quote:
Originally posted by brownknees
2X12 should fit diagonally, there's plenty of extra length in there to play with.
I would NOT go "bottom to top" if you're thinking on angling it vertically (part buried & part showing) but angled along and across the oval should work as I did something similar with an early one I was messing round with.

The original color was "amber", not red, but like you I never did find a source for "amber" vials. I found & tried yellow & green and ended up picking green as it lasts longer because of the phosphors used, and shows up better than yellow in street lighting.

Also I never had a fully working original to compare to. Maybe my build can be made too bright, but with street lighting being one possible place to need the reticule I find the extra illumination not a problem, specially as I can reduce this with the rotating plug.
A 12 mm vial WILL NOT work. The No.4 vials (10 mm x 3 mm nominal size that actually measures 0.433" x 0.121") barely work and require careful dremelling of the lampholder's interior slot/opening in order to open it up enough (about 35 thousandths, as I recall) to accept the No.4 vial. You can't fit it at an angle and get enough light output to the aiming pointer since there is greatly reduced light output from the vial ends.

Fig. 1 of the "User Handbook for SIGHTUNIT INFANTRY TRILUX", NSN 1240-99-964-7647, calls the light source "RED TRILUX LAMP". But, in the third paragraph, the lamp holder is referred to as "containing an orange/red Trilux lamp...." One of the three original Trilux lamps I have (literally shaped like a micro light bulb) still glows at about the 50% level. It is usable but not a bright as it should be (it was removed and replaced with a No. 4 red tritium vial (10mm x 3 mm - THE best size in red). I will try to get a picture of it in the dark with some No. 1 & No. 2 red tubes. The original lamp @50% illumination level appears to be very close or even the same color as the new red vials (which is not perfectly red as it has the slightest orange character). No. 3 vials (10mm x 2 mm) should work fine and be slightly easier to fit. NO. 1 and No. 2 vials can be used, and one vial is okay in green, but you need two in red. I've only used No. 4's in red in final installations, although I've experimented with multi-tube installations using No.1's and No. 2's.

For now, if you want to reanimate, the best way to go is the Meprolight shotgun bead in green. Having done direct comparisons with green and red vials, the reds are much better in any/every light condition - why did the Brits and Israeli's use red (?) - it wasn't because they couldn't make them in green!

If you want your SUIT reanimated in green (it's good but not as good as red, but way better than nothing or a fragile red LED - keep the red LED and compare the two to see which you like better) send me your removed Trilux lampholders or your SUIT with OEM lampholder (NOT the LED thingie), and I will supply the Meprolight shotgun bead and reanimate the lampholder/SUIT for $55.00 plus return shipping ($4.75 for lampholder only and $9.00 for the whole SUIT). PM me for info. Thanks.
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Old December 02, 2007, 01:29   #41
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Quote:
Originally posted by Cyclic
Would the vial from a pistol or shotgun night site work?

Say remove the vial from this.....

Meprolite Shotgun Sight

Retails for $34 and delivered to your door. Just don't know if its enough light for this application.
From your link to Brownells, the cost delivered is $38.75 ($34.00 plus $4.75 shipping), if you are a dealer, the cost is $26.75 ($22.00 plus $4.75 shipping) for one Meprolight green tritium shotgun bead.
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Old December 02, 2007, 08:45   #42
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I'm going to differ in a couple of points here.
With a "stick" type vial you should NOT be using the ends, but the side of the cylinder.

I've sucessfully used a 12mm vial (possibly from a different source?) but as mentionaed you will need to remove a small amount of metal at the radiuses of the recess to make it fit. a 13mm IS too long there'se just not enough space.
(This should give you an idea how little leeway there is in fitting 1mm makes the difference!)

Red vials will allow for better retention of night vision as this is the color least likely to cause the eye to respond, but the phosphors used to make the glow "red" are both the lowest light level, and the shortest phosphor life.

As observed the original color was something between pure red & amber, this explains the varying definitions of the color.

I tried both the yellow & the green, the yellow is more representative if you're trying to make a replica, but the green is both the brightest, and longest lasting phosphor, so that's what I ended up with. The red I found very unipressive, but that's just my opinion.

Finally I guess I shoul clear up any confusion by what I mean when I say "diagonally".

I'm referring to placing the vial across the opening in the plug from the "top left" to the "bottom right", not going up into the recess fron top to bottom.

(Yes this does involve a little creative removal of metal from the plug.)

If you're adding to the LED unit the maximum is less both because you're locating the vial vertically and you heve a different internal setup.
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Old December 02, 2007, 11:36   #43
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Quote:
Originally posted by brownknees
........................Red vials will allow for better retention of night vision as this is the color least likely to cause the eye to respond, but the phosphors used to make the glow "red" are both the lowest light level, and the shortest phosphor life..................................I tried both the yellow & the green, the yellow is more representative if you're trying to make a replica, but the green is both the brightest, and longest lasting phosphor.........................................
I respectfully disagree with the proposition of "longer lasting phosphors". The phosphorus compounds are not consumed other than through the natural decay of a certain species of phosphorus atoms (Phosphorus 40?)at a relatively long half-life compared to that of tritium. The tritium is consumed as it undergoes beta decay releasing electrons that excite the phosphorus molecules producing light (as I recall, since I left nuclear engineering in 1971).

Confusion cleared on diagonal vial installation, and total agreement on non-use of vial ends to produce usable light. In addition, I wouldn't bother trying to animate a LED illuminator assembly with tritium - not good.
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Old December 02, 2007, 19:00   #44
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In addition, I wouldn't bother trying to animate a LED illuminator assembly with tritium - not good.
I'm curious, why not?
Some folks here only have the LED module.

BTW the information on illuminance levels & life of phosphors comes from the manufacturer's website, maybe it is incorrect, but I assumed that the vendor was correct in his technical specs for the product.
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Old December 02, 2007, 21:47   #45
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Well, much to my chagrin, there ain't no phosphorus in tritium tubes/vials. The tubes/vials (borosilicate glass) are coated with thin films of various PHOPHORS, which is a term for a wide variety of mainly zinc sulfide compound mixed with an array of other metals to provide various colors, sensitivities, etc. You can read about this stuff for hours.........Tritium, Phorphors, Trasers, et al
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Old December 03, 2007, 09:26   #46
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Now you have me totally confused!
Here's the first para from your link.

Quote:
Tritium lighting is made using glass tubes with a phosphor layer in them and tritium (a hydrogen isotope) gas inside the tube. Such a tube is known as a "gaseous tritium light source" (GTLS).
I think we're confusing terminology here, phosphorus Vs Phosphors?

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Old December 03, 2007, 13:27   #47
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I'm not confused (now); "phosphor" is a confusing, archaic term for materials that glow when excited by various means. Supposedly, it all stems from some German dude that discovered the elemental metal, phosphorus, (extracted from his urine - doh!) that he thought was glowing. It wasn't really glowing, but the phosphorus emiting light from its slow combination with oxygen - literally doing a "slow burn" with no perceived heat or flame. So, we are stuck with the term "Phosphor" for any damn thing that glows when excited (don't go there), even through there is almost always no phosphorus present.
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Old December 04, 2007, 05:56   #48
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Vial into Red LED?

..and as far as fitting a 10mmx3mm green tritium vial into one of the red LED compartments, above the post states "not good" - but what if that is all a person has? Is it still do-able?

Thanks in advance..
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Old December 04, 2007, 09:17   #49
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I'm not sure why it's "not good", I've put one in here myself with no problems. Perhaps we can get a bit more info from the poster on this.

It's not as good as using the metal plug for a couple of reasons, neither totally horrible.

First you need to carefully see how much depth you have within the unit, because if you "overshoot" while making the hole to hold the vial you'll run a drill thru the battery housing for the LED, that'll ruin it.

Secondly you have to use the end of the vial, not the side, so you don't get the best light output.

I did this as an early experiment when I couldn't find the original plug & it did work. However I used the vial from the Tru-Glo bowsighting pin, and IIRC it was a bit shorter than the 10mm you'r thinking of.

I'd measure the depth availiable within the plastic shaft bottom, stopping at the bottom inside of the battery chamber. If there's a 10mm+ distance then you're good to go provided you drill slowly & carefully.
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Old December 04, 2007, 09:37   #50
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I was wondering about locating an original compartment cover.

Does anyone know where these are available?
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