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Thread: AN/VSS-1 Searchlight

  1. #1
    Enlightened CarbonArc's Avatar
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    Default AN/VSS-1 Searchlight

    Well I figured someone needed to start a thread on this light. a bunch of us here (including myself have purchased this beast) and are trying to get them up and running. Any photos of progress or anything related to AN/VSS-1(V)2 would be great for all of us im sure. So POST away.




    Does anyone have any tech drawings or diagrams for this searchlight? any pics of connectors on remote boxes and the light? what kind of connectors/ cables would i need to make to get one of these things running? any pics or advice or any knowledge would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks
    Last edited by CarbonArc; 04-01-2006 at 12:12 PM.

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    Flashaholic ShortArc's Avatar
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    Default Re: AN/VSS-1(V)2 Searchlight

    Connectors. The connector mating the control box is a MS3106F22-23S (amphenol). Places like Powell Electronics and Newark One carry it.
    The connector “configuration” for the cable coming form the light is: (Wall Mount) MS3100E32-15S BUT is will not fit the plug as the Bessel alignment slots do not match and the thread diameter of the cable is larger (so it can not be screwed together. One solution is cutting the sleeve of the wall mount connector, which worked fine for me. Let me know if you find the proper plug.

    Willem.

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    Default Re: AN/VSS-1(V)2 Searchlight

    The lights from Peak Beam systems are supposed to come with the single cable which connects the searchlight to the tank's turret. It carries both the 2 main power and 6 control leads. The connector on the turret connected to the turret slip ring assembly which I presume rotates with the turret. The control box connected to the stationary, hull-mounted portion of the slip ring assembly. I saw a pic of one and there are a huge number of electrical connections between the hull and the rotating turret. I think the turrets could rotate continuously without winding-up anything.

    The crate was broken-open on mine and appeared to have been dropped/rolled over. The control box and cable were missing. At that point, I didn't understand the "main" cable was included! It was only after calls to Roadway Express and then Peak Beam that I got it figured out. Peak has already sent a replacement cable and control box, and the UPS tracking# says I should receive it next wed. and Peak Beam Systems and Robert!!!

    Getting it running should be straight forward. Simply cut the turret connector on the cable and break out the 2 main power and 6 control leads. Robert faxed me the schematic and pinouts for the searchlight end and the control box end. Thank you ShortArc for the connector info. (I had almost "built" the Amphenol P/N for the light's mating connector when I was told it was supposed to be included. )

    I've just started designing a motorized alt/azmuth mount for it, which hopefully will be built by the time my genset arrives in another 4 weeks. (If I wasn't lied to.)

    Larry
    So much for not being able to find my happy a** with both hands and a flashlight! (Do not look into Tank Searchlight with remaining eye!)

  5. #5
    Flashaholic ShortArc's Avatar
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    Default Re: AN/VSS-1(V)2 Searchlight

    Once you sink your teeth into is these lights are not too difficult to fire up.
    I finally powered mine after building a new cable (did not want to cut up the supplied main cable) and modifying a rectifier for power. I did have a minor issue with turning off the light via the control panel….
    All in all this light is a performance monster…no regrets I can assure you (beside the weight)…
    Larry please keep me posted on progress with the mount and send some pics !!!

    Willem.

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    Default Re: AN/VSS-1(V)2 Searchlight

    Willem,

    Your "issue" with turning it off via the control panel concerns me! If you break main power to the light per Robert's schematic, does the cooling fan continue to run on its timer via control panel power?

    Congradulations on being the first of us to get one up and running!!!!!!

    Larry
    So much for not being able to find my happy a** with both hands and a flashlight! (Do not look into Tank Searchlight with remaining eye!)

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    Flashaholic ShortArc's Avatar
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    Default Re: AN/VSS-1(V)2 Searchlight

    Larry,

    Indeed I have to figure out what is going on with the shut off.

    I am not too concerned about the cooling of the light as it appears to be designed for “emergency powerdown” but it certainly would induce less thermal stress if the fan kept running after the light is turned off (versus simply pulling the plug) . Will keep you posted.

    If I ever figure out how to paste some pics into my response, I will do so.

    Willem.

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    Flashaholic ShortArc's Avatar
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    Default Re: AN/VSS-1(V)2 Searchlight

    Here are a few pics of cable and connectors:








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    Default Re: AN/VSS-1(V)2 Searchlight

    Nice Pics!

    Yesterday, I removed the shockmount assembly which attaches the searchlight to the tank. My bathroom scale says 35+#. The manual says the complete light weighs 230#, so I guess it's under 200# now. I pulled the cowling/bezel for a look see. Next time I will have some denatured alcohol and appropriate soft cloth to give the window and reflector a good cleaning.

    Larry
    So much for not being able to find my happy a** with both hands and a flashlight! (Do not look into Tank Searchlight with remaining eye!)

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    Default Re: AN/VSS-1(V)2 Searchlight

    Hello ShortArc,

    And what does "Overdrive" do?

    Tom
    Behind every Great man there's always a woman rolling her eyes...

    Most batteries don't die - they are tortured to near death, then murdered...

  11. #11
    Flashaholic ShortArc's Avatar
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    Default Re: AN/VSS-1(V)2 Searchlight

    Tom,
    Overdrive kicks the current draw up from approx 100 amps to 140 amps and increases the output substantially. The light can only remain in overdrive for a timed period.
    Willem.

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    Default Re: AN/VSS-1(V)2 Searchlight

    Larry,

    I am going to remove the shock mount assembly tonight! My back thanks you!

    In the next several days I will try and get the light out of the barn and take some beam shots.
    Willem.

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    Default Re: AN/VSS-1(V)2 Searchlight


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    Default Re: AN/VSS-1(V)2 Searchlight

    Mine arrived with the original May 1977 manual that JumpMaster posted a link to above. The manual has excellent photos with nomenclatures and drawings for how the infrared/visable and wide/narrow works. Some specs in a nutshell:

    Type of light................Visable or infrared.
    Type of lamp................Xenon, short arc.
    Output candlepower:
    Normal......................100 million.
    Overdrive..................150 million.
    Beamwidth
    Narrrow.....................0.5deg to 0.75deg.
    Wide.........................7.0deg.
    Input power requirements:
    Voltage......................28 volts dc.
    Current:
    Nominal....................100 amperes
    Overdrive.................140 amperes

    Some text from the "Basic Principles" section:

    "Three voltages are applied to the xenon lamp to produce the three sequences: 40-kilovolt (kv) radio frequency (rf) pulses, 55 volts dc, and 28 volts dc from the power source. The 40-kv rf pulses cause the initial ionization of the xenon gas and start of lamp conductance. The 55 volts dc increases the temperature of the xenon gas and increases the level of conduction so that 28 volts dc from the power source can maintain lamp conductance for continual illumination. After 3 seconds, the components and assemblies used for the initial ignition of the xenon lamp are shut off. The sequences will automatically be repeated if the xenon lamp is not lighted within the initial 3 seconds."

    The searchlight housing is two aluminum castings. I thought it was wrought/welded when I first looked at it. It is forced-air cooled and has some kind of heat exchanger that keeps the lamp cooling air isolated from the environment. The "cowling" (bezel) which mounts the window is gasketed and removes with 4 latches for routine maintenance such as cleaning the reflector and window.

    Hell of a "flashlight" for $600!!!!

    Larry
    Last edited by tvodrd; 03-14-2006 at 08:42 PM.
    So much for not being able to find my happy a** with both hands and a flashlight! (Do not look into Tank Searchlight with remaining eye!)

  15. #15
    Flashaholic ShortArc's Avatar
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    Default Re: AN/VSS-1(V)2 Searchlight

    Ahh....$600...you have just started! Hell of a deal no matter how much invest before everything is done!

    A few more pics...sorry the quality is not that great.










  16. #16
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    Default Re: AN/VSS-1(V)2 Searchlight

    Here are the operating modes:


  17. #17
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    Default Re: AN/VSS-1(V)2 Searchlight

    Bump
    Last edited by CarbonArc; 03-12-2006 at 05:57 PM.

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    Default Re: AN/VSS-1(V)2 Searchlight

    Excellent pics! I see your refractor lens also seems to have "6deg" molded into it.

    My light is an AN/VSS-1(V)1 which has a "black IR filter, which is used with IR viewing devices. The black filter emits a glow which may be visable out to 100 meters....The AN/VSS-1(V)2 uses a pink IR filter, which can be used with IR viewing and image intensifying devices. The pink filter emits a glow which may be visable from 800 to 1000 meters." (From the manual.) IR "viewing devices" were used in the Korean War. Image intensifiers/"starlight scopes" didn't come along until the Vietnam War. I recall hearing of them referred to as "pink lights."

    Here's one mounted on the proper PSU:


    And the "warning label":


    Larry
    So much for not being able to find my happy a** with both hands and a flashlight! (Do not look into Tank Searchlight with remaining eye!)

  19. #19
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    Default Re: AN/VSS-1(V)2 Searchlight

    Now we're talking !
    Gentlemen ... I request pics of this "thing" in action! I'd appreciate some pics where it destroys lights like the Maxabeam, X990 et al.

    bernie
    There is a type of perfection that transcends the quest for lumens. Buying a $250 1-cell light for "lum factor" is like buying a $250 single malt Scotch for the alcohol content.
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    Default Re: AN/VSS-1(V)2 Searchlight

    Bernie, I don't know about "destroying" my Maxabeam (hanging on the right) or X990 (top left.) It does give an aperature size comparison.



    Larry
    So much for not being able to find my happy a** with both hands and a flashlight! (Do not look into Tank Searchlight with remaining eye!)

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    Default Re: AN/VSS-1(V)2 Searchlight

    Oh ... it is ... well ... BIG
    There is a type of perfection that transcends the quest for lumens. Buying a $250 1-cell light for "lum factor" is like buying a $250 single malt Scotch for the alcohol content.
    - paulr


    It's always darkest just before it goes pitch black.
    My shoes are too tight. But it doesn't matter, because I have forgotten how to dance.

  22. #22
    Flashaholic ShortArc's Avatar
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    Default Re: AN/VSS-1(V)2 Searchlight

    Connectors: I thought I mentioned it before but www.newark.com or www.powell.com are two sources.
    IR: I heard the lights being called “Pink Eye” and the troops were not all that happy about it either!

    Larry, love those pics…just don’t turn them against each other…that could be trouble or melt down!



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    Default Re: AN/VSS-1(V)2 Searchlight

    Hello Willem,

    140+ amps is a reasonably high current draw...

    Let's see, using 3700 mAh sub C cells, if you put together a 24S45P pack you could probably get an hour of run time... With a 100 amp charger you could charge it back up in around 3 hours.

    Do you think you can bounce a beam off the reflectors on the moon?

    Impressive.

    Tom
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    Most batteries don't die - they are tortured to near death, then murdered...

  24. #24
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    Default Re: AN/VSS-1(V)2 Searchlight

    Willem, do yoy have Newark's cat# for the control box mating connector? The MS number is a bust on the Newark and Amphenol search functions. (Powell's price seems a little high, as Newark lists a 22 shell for ~$13. It's gold on ITT/Canon's site and in stock a couple of places I've never heard of. Also, that number seems to be the connector without the cable clamp. I understand CarbonArc's consternation. Specifying those things can be a PITA.

    Larry
    Last edited by tvodrd; 03-12-2006 at 07:01 PM.
    So much for not being able to find my happy a** with both hands and a flashlight! (Do not look into Tank Searchlight with remaining eye!)

  25. #25
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    Default Re: AN/VSS-1(V)2 Searchlight

    Let me confirm tomorrow but this is a cut and paste from my quote:ITEM DETAILS:
    -------------
    Newark InOne Part #:86H3031; MIL SPEC:MIL-C-5015 A/B/C; BODY MATERIAL:METAL; SERIES:MS3106A; INSERT ARRANGEMENT:22-23; NUMBER OF CONTACTS:8; CONNECTOR SHELL SIZE:22; CONNECTOR TYPE:INDUSTRIAL CIRCULAR CONNECTOR; CONNECTING TERMINATION:SOLDER
    Quantity: 1 @ $45.780 = $45.78


    ITEM DETAILS:
    -------------
    Newark InOne Part #:96J7137; MIL SPEC:MIL-C-5015 E/F/R; BODY MATERIAL:METAL; SERIES:MS3100E; INSERT ARRANGEMENT:32-15; NUMBER OF CONTACTS:8; CONNECTOR SHELL SIZE:32; CONNECTOR TYPE:INDUSTRIAL CIRCULAR CONNECTOR; CONNECTING TERMINATION:SOLDER
    Quantity: 1 @ $67.920 = $67.92

    ORDER TOTAL:
    -------------
    $113.70
    Tax and Freight will be shown on the invoice, if applicable.

  26. #26
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    Default Re: AN/VSS-1(V)2 Searchlight

    ShortArc and thank you Sir! I would have had to wait until the replacement control box arrived to "build" the cat# from Newark. (I didn't know it was 8-pin. until you posted your control box pic.) If it is out of stock, I will get it from Powell for $6 more,
    Edit: Newark's site says out of stock- lead time 89 days! (Why I favor Digikey! )

    Thank you again, Sir!

    Larry
    Last edited by tvodrd; 03-12-2006 at 08:46 PM.
    So much for not being able to find my happy a** with both hands and a flashlight! (Do not look into Tank Searchlight with remaining eye!)

  27. #27
    Enlightened CarbonArc's Avatar
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    Default Re: AN/VSS-1(V)2 Searchlight

    Does anyone know what pin H on the control box does?

  28. #28
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    Default Re: AN/VSS-1(V)2 Searchlight

    Here is a link to a useful PDF, explaining Amphenol nomenclature a little better.

    When ever possible I try and use E or F series connectors.

    http://www.amphenol-socapex.com/pdf/MIL-C-5015%20Rear%20release.pdf

    Also don’t be surprised if the connectors come with parts missing (pins, strain relief, etc)

    Almost no supplier stocks these and inventory usually refers to Amphenol’s. Lead times for non-stocked parts reflect build time and are usually expedited a lot quicker. It may not be a bad idea to call your regional Ampenol Rep and get specifics on lead time.

    Cheers.

  29. #29
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    Default Re: AN/VSS-1(V)2 Searchlight

    Might as well complete my post by adding a few pictures of the power supply.

    The first picture shows a 60A/28VDC linear power supply weighing roughly 90lbs. On the right is a 150A/28VDC switching power supply (weighing 25lbs) used with the VSS1. The rest of the shots just show the modification to it.








  30. #30
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    Default Re: AN/VSS-1(V)2 Searchlight

    This thread boggles my mind!

    These things look super cool !!!!!
    Too bad they weigh so much, just that light itself weighs 200 lbs??? wow

    The $600 for it seems like a steal, but it seems you will have another $600 just to power it.

    Cant wait to see more updates!!! Keep the pics comming pleeeease!

    ~John

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