This VSS-3A mirror thing is driving me nuts.

eyesonfire

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This VSS-3A mirror thing is driving me nuts. If I look at it in normal light it looks very reflective as any mirror would look that is very clean. But if I take a flashlight and shine it up close at different angles I see very fine scratches on the reflector. Are those scratches going to affect much of the original light?
From about 1 foot away from it looking straight on I don't see the scratches only with the flashlight.
Maybe I need to take a break from these darn lights.
 

BVH

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Don't worry about it until after you've fired it up and pointed it a something far in the distance and seen the result. Not just an "air" shot but at something 1000 yards distant, safely away from humans. I've found on a number of occasions that I get too deep into some aspect of a new light and spend lots of time and sometimes money to make it perfect when it doesn't need to be.

PM sent
 
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Onestep

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What is the intended usage? Is someone's life on the line due to the performance of the light or is this just for fun?
 

eyesonfire

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What is the intended usage? Is someone's life on the line due to the performance of the light or is this just for fun?

Having fun is a serious matter.
You're right though, it is just for fun.
Good way to look at it...
 

get-lit

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How closely are you scrutinizing it? If it looks like a clean mirror when shining a flashlight on it from three feet away, it's completely a non issue period.
 

funboat

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These searchlights were usually rebuilt at a service depot every 150-300 hours of operation. They didnt replace the reflectors unless they were blown apart during a catastrophic envelope failure (the bulb exploded) which was not uncommon. The beam focusing mechanism drives the bulb assembly in and out on a rack and pinion motor drive and simultaneously warps the reflector to maintain a good beam pattern at any focus setting. Since the reflector is being flexed to accomplish this task, it develops cracks in the reflective finish. BTW, the VSS-3A has an absolutely superior beam and better range than the best nightsun because of this reflector system. In fact nightsuns are garbage compared to the worse VS3. Ive owned several.

To answer your question: no, the imperfections will not have a perceptible impact on the the beam or its beam pattern. I bought a pallet of these lights several years ago and they all performed about the same. From ones with horrible reflectors to brand new ones, I couldnt tell them apart. All were freshly rebuilt at a depot so they were focused within spec. Does yours have a yellow tag affixed to it? If you open it up, you will find a small hour meter that should tell you how many hours are on the unit since the last depot rebuild. The meters had at least 3 possible mounting locations where they might have been mounted, so dont believe what you read in the manual. (Also, PM me if you dont have a manual and I can send you a PDF doc) If you dont see the meter right away, keep looking... its there and sometimes requires a mirror to read it. As a precautionary measure, always treat the bulb and front of the light as a loaded weapon. Ive been told that the hardened aluminum case isnt to protect the insides from damage but to contain the explosion of the bulb to prevent injury to the crew. I had one let lose and completely destroy the entire reflector and lens... completely gone. So when you handle it (whether on or off), always keep it pointed away from people.
 

funboat

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Also, you cant get even close to max performance with a pair of large 12V cells in series. You need a full sustained +28.8V with at least 60 amps to make this bird sing as intended. Any less and lumens drop off like a rock falling over a cliff.
 

BVH

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Funboat, I've searched for what seems like forever for the VSS-3"A" equivalent of the VSS-3 manual entitled:

DS,GS,AND DEPOT MAINTENANCE
MANUAL INCLUDING REPAIR PARTS
AND SPECIAL TOOLS LIST
SEARCHLIGHT SET
INFRARED AN/VSS-3
(NSN 5855-00-058-1293) (I have this manual)

I also have the the -3A the following:

OPERATOR'S AND ORGANIZATIONAL
MAINTENANCE MANUAL
INCLUDING REPAIR PARTS AND SPECIAL TOOL LISTS
SEARCHLIGHT SET,
NSN
NSN
INFRARED
AN/VSS-3A
5855-00-177-3529
5855-00-405-0404

and the:

TECHNICAL MANUAL
PLASTIC LAMINATED DIAGRAMS FOR DIRECT
SUPPORT, GENERAL SUPPORT, AND DEPOT MAINTENANCE
SEARCHLIGHT SET, INFRARED AN/VSS-3A
(NSN 5855-00-405-0404)

But I have never found the Depot repair manual for the VSS-3A. Was there one published and if so, do you have a copy? The Depot manual has so much more technical repair and operational data than the operators manual.
 

funboat

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Those are the two manuals I have scanned on PDF files. I think they also include the supplements. I posted them online around 15 years ago, so I suspect they are what have been circulating ever since. I had repair manuals for the depot but I dont have them any longer. As I recall, they were a 3 volume set in green vinyl ring binders. Its to bad I didnt scan them but I never had a need for them.
 

BVH

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Eyesonfire, you can solve your stress and anxiety issues by sending your reflector and mounting hub to Phoenix Electroforms (CPF advertiser) in Lake Elsinore. I'm picking up a couple Rhodium coated units for my new ORC lights. Each one is $250 and the cost for removing and replacing two hubs is about $100. Add shipping and there you go.
 

eyesonfire

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Eyesonfire, you can solve your stress and anxiety issues by sending your reflector and mounting hub to Phoenix Electroforms (CPF advertiser) in Lake Elsinore. I'm picking up a couple Rhodium coated units for my new ORC lights. Each one is $250 and the cost for removing and replacing two hubs is about $100. Add shipping and there you go.

Thanks for the help Bob. They are located quite close to me. The scratches are really not as bad as i thought, they bugged me more then anything, but that is a fair price to have a new coating of Rhodium. Question. Do they re-coat over the existing Rhodium or strip down to the bare aluminum first? Also when you say the hub, do you mean the aluminum ring attached to the reflectors center? Thanks again. I will post progress pics tomorrow.
 

BVH

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That is for a brand spanking new reflector, not a re-coat. They can't strip the Rhodium without damaging the Nickel substrate (not Aluminum). They will remove the Alum ring/hub and re-attach to the new reflector.

How are the fittings/cables coming?
 
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