TC-50 thermal clipon from PRG Defense

wigwamitus

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Wow, this looks INTERESTING.

A 50mm thermal clipon that supports up to 8x on the day scope, with a 1024x768 display for $3,500 shown price ... BOOM !!!

https://www.prgdefense.com/thermal-imaging/thermal-clip-on-systems/prg-defense-anaconda-tc50-micro-thermal-imaging-clip-on-system



I've seen the character string 'TC-50' in relation to a couple of generations of N-Vision Optics thermal clipons (pre-Halo and hard to get) but this TC-50 looks totally different. I will call on this one and try to get more data.

The downside seems to be that it has a diopter on the back instead of collimating prisms. But it seems to have objective mounting, so might work for 5.56 and below.
 

elwarpo

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Interesting, looks like a non US design due to the 50 instead of 60 hz. I like the screen and price, but am worried about resolution on the screen due to the 384x288 resolution on the sensor being projected on a 1024x768 screen. Compare this to a REAP IR which has a 640x480 sensor and a 640x480 Screen.
Be interesting to see some pictures.
 

Frog05

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Is there any chance that the two holes in the bottom could be used to adapt to rail mount? I’ve never ran a clip on but I am not keen on hanging something off of my day scope. I’m sure it’s fine, it just makes me nervous.
 

wigwamitus

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Ok, I just got off the phone with PRG.

I had already guessed it was a ulis core. Look at the focus ring (match to the apex) look at the hz .. 50 .. match to the apex ... look at the 384x288 resolution ... match to the apex ... and the folks I talked to on the phone confirmed it was a ulis core.

PRG has just gone into the business of making their own thermals in AZ and this is the first one and the office folks in VA got a bit overwhelmed by my 157 questions. They want to get one of their manufacturing engineers from AZ on the phone with me later to dig into the details, but I invited the VA staff to listen in so they can get ejumacated as well. So we will try to do this as soon as we can. They seemed interested in getting the info out to the world and learning more about these gadgets as well.

And I challenged them on verifying that the $3,500 price was correct for the 50mm unit. The 35mm unit is discussed in the product description, so I was worried there might be an error and the $3,500 price might be for the 35mm unit. They started looking at their data but before I quote them, I want to give them some more time to check it out on their side. But let's just say they are verifying the pricing of the 35mm and 50mm units.
 
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wigwamitus

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... Is there any chance that the two holes in the bottom could be used to adapt to rail mount? ...
Absolutely, I'm sure it can take a mount ... BUT if it has no collmating prisms on the back end ... and a diopter instead ... then life is full of trade-offs ... and mounting on the scope should remove the alignment issues without prismatic collimation. Otherwise, the day scope mount might have to be changed to minimize optical center alignment issues with the clipon.

And the scope itself is not the weak point in such a mounting system, it is the mount itself that has been the issue in my experience and I've talked to the scope manufacturers I've mounted such on before mounting to make sure.
 

Frog05

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You and your trade offs..... 😝

Now on an optic like this that is attached to the objective of your day optic, is tightened finger tight via thumb screw (which it appears to be)?

Or is it a something with an Allen head that must be torqued the same each time for consistency (or does torque consistency even matter in a case like this?)
 

wigwamitus

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I used to toruqe my PS-22 to my L&S mk4 3.5-10x TMR. I called L&S and they told me 25-30 i/p would be fine.

So I used 25 and this was on Sig762(16) and it worked fine for 6 months, then the ps-22 objective mount (aluminium cup thing) cracked and I had to get a new one. ATN said NO NO NO do not torque, only hand torque. But I then torqued to 15 i/p to get consistent "hand tight" and it sort of worked. But I needed to tighten it each night before I went out or it would come loose. So, either do that or only run it on 5.56 and below and you should be fine. But check with the manuf on both sides of the line. The scope and the clipon before deciding what torque to use.

I think torque consistently matters so that results are predictable :)

I don't want sh^t falling apart to be a surprise !!!
 
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wigwamitus

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As grandmaster KSE once told me "Torque the sh^t out of it like you are goin' to wah !!!" And I follow his sage advice ... except when I don't :D
 

foxkilr89

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Basically a pulsar core fxq with an optional qd pic mount and upgraded display. I believe Cameron Gonder at thermal optics plus has one of these units.
 

foxkilr89

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Full moon optics has a pretty interesting clip on too. They offer it in a 75mm version that might be decent for long range applications.

 

wigwamitus

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... Basically a pulsar core fxq with an optional qd pic mount and upgraded display. I believe Cameron Gonder at thermal optics plus has one of these units.
And significantly use of the front end 2x .. rear end 0.5x magnify/demagnify "trick" to enable support for 8x on the day scope.

... Full moon optics ...
Yes, those were shown at SHOT. No data on when real ones will get imported into this country. I think they are made in Germany.
 

foxkilr89

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I got a confirmation from one of the owners that there will definetly be a 75mm option. He said looking at mid August but will know more after their trip to Germany.
 

LakuNoc

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Interesting. Clip on would be a game changer.
 

wigwamitus

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Ok, PRG was able to confirm that their PRG TC-50 thermal clipons are made in China.

I did get one in hand Thursday night and have been testing it and reports will follow.

My experience with Chinese thermals up to this point has been the ATN units and I was not impressed with the THOR HD model I test back in Dec 2016. On black hot, every pixel was solid white and remained so despite several days worth of efforts to change that symptom. This one one time I had actually had a decent experience with ATN CS, but alas, nothing worked and they told me to send the unit back, which I did.

So, how will these PRG branded Chinese thermals measure up? That's what I hope to find out by testing!! Stay tuned. More to come.
:)

==
Oh, and the bulk of the new thermals shown on the PRG website ARE made by PRG in AZ, the ones that look sort of like Armasight units, but that are PRG branded. Those are made by PRG in AZ. Just not the offerings around the TC50/TC35 platform, those are made in PRC.
 
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wigwamitus

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2019-06-27
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Goal: Test PRG TC50 thermal clipon

Environment: Hot, humid, breeze from the South, clear, stars totally visible.

Equipment: 7.62(20) Bravo, NF 2.5-10x MIL-R, RRS, 18 rds Hornady 155gr, RRS, PRG TC50, low lumen red head light for admin.





Activity: Mounted TC50 on gun and torqued single screw to 20 i/p. Checked for wobble, did not detect any. The clipon looked a bit high. I measured it as 1.5 center and my spuhr mount is known to be 1.3385 (34mm), so offset is 0.1615 which is enough that I was expecting to have to make adjustments. So I read thru the relevant manual section called "Electronic Accuracy Correction".

I had gone thru the menus for rudimentary familiarization while in the house. The menus are "pulsar like" in that each of the two menus (called "Quick" and "Main") are a set of icons which provide access to various setup sub-menus. All user interface with the menus is via a joystick style interface, similar to the Trijicon IR-Patrol and REAP 1&2 units.

There is a manual focus ring, which looks similar to the pulsar APEX manual focus ring.

The unit is smaller than I expected. Here it is shown beside an IR-Patrol.





The only changes I made before going out, were to set the "pallet" on black hot, turn down the brightness a couple of clicks and turn off the auto-nuc and turned up the contrast 1 click. And in the event I did not change any of those while out.





Fired six 2 rd groups at the hand warmers.
The first group was barely on paper (the 4 handwarmers were on a 14 x 14 inch piece of paper, roughly in the center of each of the 4 corners. I had read the manual enough to know that I needed to click "up" on the X coordinate to move POI right. So I guessed each click was about 1/2 moa and tried +4 clicks.

That got the second group roughly centered but way low and off the handwarmer.

From reading the manual I knew I needed to click up on the Y coordinate to move POI up, so I tried 6 clicks.

Third group was high and right but looked more like a group. I had forgotten to crank up the magnification so first 2 groups were on 2.5x. Third group was on 10x.

The manual says day scope minimum magnification should be 3x or below in order to be able to see the menus. So, I would crank down to 2.5x to make adjustments via the menus and up to 10x to shoot.

Somehow the X coordinate had gotten changed to +6 as well as the Y coordinate. I dialed X and Y both back to 5.

Fourth group still high and right. Tried 4 and 4

Fifth group finally had all rounds on the handwarmer (shown) looked centered, but a little low.





Dialed up to x=4 and y=5 for 6th and final group. I forgot to dial to 10x on the first shot, but did dial 10x for the second and third shot.





I was winchester, so then spent the rest of the time doing 360s and looking at objects from 50 to 500yds.

Unfortunately, this phone keeps washing out the center of the image when I'm doing thru lens pics. I don't recall other phones doing that. But I was unable to get any usable thru lens pics of the image at distance. So my descriptions will have to suffice. The TC50 has a video interface and I will try to get my MDVR working with it today.

So, the main "event" was when I tried switching image "sharpness" from "normal" to "sharp". Oh boy, that was a HUGE improvement!!! I think the designers got the idea that people don't like "pixellation", so they wrote some software to try to "smooth" out the pixels instead of letting the user see the pixellation. Unfortunately that has the effect (at least in this implementation) of making the image overly fuzzy on 10x at 500yds. But "sharp" fixed it. Yes, now I could see the pixels but the image was looking way better, not a Trijicon Mk3 60mm or a BAE UTC-x like image, but more than halfway towards those guys from where it was on "normal". I could now see the bags of minerals hanging down from under the roof of the mineral feeder at 415yds. I could aim at the end of one of those bags (about a 6 inch wide target of no specific thickness since it is the top of a bag). This is the sort of aiming I could not do on "normal" since all I could see was a fuzzy mineral feeder.

I was able to see strands of barbed wire at 200yds ... branches at 300yds, etc. And the overall effect of the image was in the ball park of Apex like, on 10x ... and a bit better on 2.5x.

Summary/Results:

So, far, the device seems usable. The key capabilities I am trying to validate are "does the unit shoot straight?" and "can I detect and PID out several hundred yards?" Say at least 500yds, to make it 100% hunting usable.
These two come together in the tests I will do to try to hit IPSC(2/3) heated steel at 500yds and 640yds off the tripod. I can do this with the UTCx. The sub-tests include the ability to hit the torso period (6x6 on top, 12x18 on bottom) as well as the 6x6 inch "face" separately. There may not be enough resolution to hit the 6x6 face at 640, but I am still hopeful I can hit face and whole target at 500yds and at least whole target at 640yds. I should get to that test in a day or so.

Nucing was fine. I hope to be able to do this without having to dial magnification down and back, but not there yet. I nuced at least every 5m.

I checked the device after each group to see if it was loose and it was not. It remained tight in the mount and on the rail.

Issues:

01 - Flicker/Heat Map changes:
While I was shooting, I noticed what my brain called a "flicker" of the thermal image. I tapped on the unit, but could not induce the flicker. It looked sort of like a short. Once I started panning, I realized this was not a "flicker" but some sort of heat map change. The effect was, when looking in one direction, I would see grey objects on a white background. When panning to the left or right, the "coloration" would change more to black objects on a grey background. Continuing to pan would result in a continuous shifting of the background and foreground colors within the black grey range for hot and within the white grey range for cool. This was very unusual in my experience and also very distracting. The only thing remotely similar to this I've seen is the PAS-29 COTI "auto-brightness" which was very distracting at first, but then I learned to expect it when looking into "darker" areas. Also, on the COTI, you can turn off the auto-brightness or change its sensitivity.
I don't see a way to turn off this "heat map change" I am seeing. Maybe the designers thought this capability was a plus, but I'm not seeing this as a plus at this point.

02 - Focus knob.
The focus knob is functional and moves smoothly. However, the effect of turning the focus knob on the image is not smooth. You turn it a bit and nothing happens, you turn it a bit more and boom the image focus changes. It feels sort of like there is some "slack" in the knob. I might describe it as "mushy". Hopefully, this can be improved.


==
I will continue to shoot each night either groups at 100yds or heated steel at 500/640yds to ensure the unit can maintain zero and hit targets at distance.

I will also continue to pan around and see how the unit does in various conditions. I will take the unit up onto signal hill where I should be able to observe deer and cattle from 500-5000yds and see how it does with that sort of challenge. The UTCx and Mk3 60mm have no issues seeing cattle at those distances on most nights. Yes, at 5,000yds a cow is a dot, or a clump of cows is a blob, but you can detect them and based on location and distribution know what they are.

The "sharp" setting was a game changer in terms of improving unit clarity. I now believe we have a chance to hit steel at 500yds and detect cattle out to maybe a mile. That's what some of my other 320 units have been able to do.

More to come.
 
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wigwamitus

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2019-06-29
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Goal: Test PRG TC50

Environment: Hot, humid, breeze from the South West, clear, stars totally visible including Milkyway, totally visible, right across top center of sky.

Equipment: 7.62(20) B, NF 2.5-10x MIL-R, RRS, 9 rds FGMM 175gr, RRS, PRG TC50, PVS-14, PAS-29, 4-wheeler, propane torch, crye precision "night cap".





Activity:
Earlier in the day I had checked DOPE at 500yds and 640yds on the rifle/scope/ammo. I was hitting a bit low. DIdn't have time to figure out why, so I just decided I would have to dial up a bit more.
I also rechecked zero at 100yds during the day and all seemed fine. First group off tripod was 5/8 inch with 2 hits on the 3/4 dot and the other near low and left.
Then from 2030 to 2130 rechecked the adjustments on the TC50 on some handwarmers and got to where all groups were stradding the center of the handwarmers. So ready to go long with the TC50.

Loaded up propane torch and went minimalist on head NODs with Night Cap, 1x14 and the COTI. Took extra batts for the TC50 and COTI.

Rolled up signal hill and fired up the COTI, no fire. Realized it had no battery. Put one in. Then I could detect my 14 calves bedded down and one grandma cow at about 500yds. I ran COTI on "outline" mode as I hope this reduces battery comsumption, but still allows me to detect anything close enough or large enough to be of interest.

Rolled to the 500yd targets and fired up the propane torch. Unfortunately, it was out of fuel. So I had to heat one target only with the "fumes" still in the can ... basically a very low intensity flame, but I hoped it would be enough.
I ran the flame over the target until it started sputtering and then offed the torch. I left it a few yards left of the targets So I wouldn't accidently loose it off the 4-wheeler. I had not bothered to strap it down tight like I do when using it to burn.

Then rolled up to the firing point. The calves had heard me driving around and were now standing up. As I was setting up, the COTI could see them approaching me. I could tell they were approaching as the silhouettes were thinner and the shapes getting larger :D
Then, inside about 100yds and the NV could see them as well. Then they arrived at the 4-wheeler and we stood there. They were waiting for treats and I had none. I was waiting for them to leave. Fortunately, grandma had hung back about 300yds. The COTI could see her. So some of the calves were still "magnetically" attracted to grandma if there were no treats ... so in less than 5 mins the mob turned around and headed back to grandma and I could get back to my shooting.
I nuced a few times and focused the sh^t out of the TC50. I could see the hot steel silhouette and the 2x4 across the top from which the steel was hanging. The wind felt minimal, so I cranked 33 clicks (3 more than indicated by AB) and fired. I saw the splash of the miss to the right of the target. Second shot I aim at the left edge of the target and heard the "ping" of a hit. 3rd shot same. Fourth shot I wobbled and missed. 5th, 6th and 7th shots were all hits, and it was getting boring. I saved 2 rounds for the return trip, just in case, as around here you never know what will happen. :)

Packed up and rolled down to the target.





5 hits and a bit of "stuff" on the target right side (our left as we look at the target) so makes me think the 4rd miss was low and threw a pebble or bullet fragment against the target. (EDIT: Upon further reflection I think that "stuff" is the result of paint burning when I was heating with the propane :) ).

While rolling home, I looked back at the calves who were silhouetted on the ridge line. The COTI couldn't see them, but the 14 could see them fine. Another example of the complimentary capabilities of thermal and NV on head :)

Results/Summary:

Well, the good news is the TC50 can support the rifles hitting the IPSC(2/3) steel at 500yds. That is not a huge accomplishment, but it is something. With the Zeus standard, I was able to hit consistently out to 500yds by working out "clicks" of the zeroing process for 100yds, 200yds, 300yds, 400yds and 500yds. And I could get decent groups also at those distances by using the correct number of clicks. Though it was a slow process to be sure. The Zeus pro was easier because it had a "mil-box" reticle and on 2x digital (8x net) out to 500yds was do-able. But this is the TC50 and actually much easier with the TC50 due to being able to use day scope with known DOPE.

Issues:
Focus: The main issue was the focus. On about 2 out of 3 shots, the unit would go out of focus and I would have to refocus. Also I was nucing about every other shot, and even nucing starting causing loose of focus. So, I was refocusing a lot ! :)
But, I could always bring the unit back into focus and see the steel and the 2x4 which was plenty enough to be able to get hits, when I did my part. And getting hits was the goal of this exercise.

I will continue to test. I will test zero retention of the TC50 and I will try to get to 640yds on steel as well.
But the next main area I want to concentrate on is long distance image. What can I see and at what distance with what magnification? I might take another gun with me with the UTC on it and a range finder and set the TC50 gun up side by with with the UTC gun to compare and also so I can know the distances. That's the next new test.

I've been doing software for my whole career ... and when we test, the GOAL is to find issues, so in testing the TC50 I not only expect to find issues (it is a new unit) ... I HOPE to find issues. And that includes major issues. This is a new unit. I have no idea who tested it or how. But I will test it to the best of my ability in the conditions that exist around me right now. Regarding the focus issue, it is a major issue, BUT there is a work around ... and that is to refocus. So, in my experience an issue with a workaround is one level down from an issue with no workaround. An issue with no workaround stops testing on all dependent test scripts. An issue with a workaround allows testing to continue. And testing will continue !
 
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Geeb

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Thanks for the great write up!!
I've been considering the PRG TS-50 for a helmet mounted scanner; you're comparison pic to the trijicon patol really put it in perspective for me, I thought the PRG's were much smaller than what they are. Thanks
 
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wigwamitus

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Goal: Test PRG TC50

Environment: Hot, humid, breeze from the South West, slightly overcast, stars visible.

Equipment: 7.62(20) B, NF 2.5-10x MIL-R, RRS, 9 rds FGMM 175gr, RRS, PRG TC50, PVS-14, PAS-29, 4-wheeler, crye precision "night cap".

(same as last night)


Activity: First I fired 4 three rd groups at 100yds at 4 handwarmers off the tripod. All group were centered on the center of the handwarmer. Group size varied from 1.25 - 2.00 inches. I think this is because I'm having trouble focusing the unit on the handwarmers. After I fired, I had the idea that I should actually try shooting groups on lwer magnification. I've been using 10x. Perhaps 8x or even 5x would be better as this would give me a smaller target to aim at! I'll try that next time.

But the groups were centered on the center of the handwarmer, so that indicates no POI shift, i.e. unit retained zero and that was the purpose of tonights test.

I nuc'd after each group and refocused after each round. I also used the illum in the NF reticle for the first time ever and I think that helped because aiming a red x at a black blob (the hand warmer) is way easier than aiming a black x at a black blob :D

Then, I grabbed the NC with the 14 and COTI and loaded onto the 4 wheeler and headed thru turtle creek gate up to signal hill. The 14 calves and grandma were just over the ridge and they kept me company the whole time I was up there. I guess I can't say no one comes out shooting with me at night ! :)

So, set up the tripod and started doing 360s. There were cattle in all directions and I got some pics. I've learned how to mitigate the bright light that was washing out other pics. So these aren't great, no thru lens pics are (if taken by me), but they are better than many I've taken with this camera. You can click on the pics to make them larger. These were all 2.5x I usually scan on low power. But next time I will try cranking up the magnification more to see what it looks like.

Calves at 25yds


Cows at 800yds to the South


Cows at 1200 to the North



Cow at 3,000 to the NE



The PRG TC50 can see stuff at distance, cattle out to 3,000yds no problem and that was the furthest I saw any tonight.

Results/Summary: I was surprised and impressed with tonights results. I guess the results exceeded my expectations. But that is not bad !!

The unit retained zero. That is really good. I did not make any adjustments from tonight and this gives me more confidence I can get to 640yds. A 12 inch wide target at 640yds is 12/6.4 = 1.875 IPHY ... should be do-able.

And I was even more impressed with the ability to see out to distance. The UTC-x and mk3 60mm can see out there, but I wasn't sure whether this critter could, but he could and that's great !

No new issues discovered tonight.
 

Geeb

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These particular thru-lens pics look pretty good to me.
I am impressed by the clarity of the TC-50, for a low cost/low resolution thermal it appears to have an awesome pic. Thanks for the write up
 

deersniper

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Can you get some side by side pics that the Tc50, the UTC, and a LWTS or something similar.
 
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wigwamitus

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Since I had to go on a day job trip last week, I sent the TC-50 back to PRG to give them a chance to fix the focus issue. If they send it back for more testing after fixing it, I'll be happy to run it side by side with the UTC-x. But I'm fresh out of LWTS or equivalents :)
 
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Eliteuas

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Wig, any Updates? PRG is now AGM global vision and they have a 640 core TC50. I might get to test one or I might not... not sure at this point as the company restructured... Would you personally dish out the coin for this thermal? For 3-4k or so more one can have a trijicon snipe Ir... which leaves me wondering...
Regards
Felipe
 

wigwamitus

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The 384 units I was testing is still in the shop getting worked on ... I'm supposed to get it back to retest after it gets fixed. I heard 640s were coming ... but I don't have any news about getting one. I've tested the SNIPE, but can't compare it to a 640 TC50 without testing it.

Glad to see you back !! :)
 
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NightSightTeamThermal

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Good evening,
I was not able to find anything in relevance to the name switch of PRG now to AGM. For those continuing to do your research to gather info. They are now under the name of AGM Global. Also take your time and check out the TS-50 micro along with its small companion the TS-35 micro as dedicated weapon sights.

Thanks Scott Eby
Night Sight Optics
 
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Eliteuas

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Good evening,
I was not able to find anything in relevance to the name switch of PRG now to AGM. For those continuing to do your research to gather info. They are now under the name of AGM Defense. Also take your time and check out the TS-50 micro along with its small companion the TS-35 micro as dedicated weapon sights.

Thanks Scott Eby
Night Sight Optics
AGM global vision. AGM is the initials of the three owners.
 

wigwamitus

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Haha, its a long story ...

01 - We lost it (in manufacturing in AZ)
02 - We found it and fixed it (in AZ)
03 - We shipped the wrong unit (a dedicated scope - not the clipon) back to Virginia (home office).

But they keep giving me updates, so I'm hopeful. Though now there is also a 640 version and I'd like to test that one as well !
 

The Durk

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Any updates? I'm following this thread closely due to legislation in my home state, to make Thermal/NV hunting legal, and I'm ready to take on some coyotes.
 
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Eliteuas

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Me too. I’m hoping PA is added to the list of legal nightvision /thermal hunting soon. My dual WP mum14s need to start being used!
 
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The Durk

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34
Pittsburgh PA
I went on my first coyote night hunt on Sunday, and I will say beyond a shadow of a doubt, thermal would be worth it. I could have tagged 3 coyotes but they wouldn't come out of the tree line so I could see their body shape with my stupid high powered red light.
 
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Eliteuas

Advanced Air Marksman
Belligerents
Minuteman
Jul 3, 2018
501
132
49
Grantville, PA.
Yeah red lights are no fun, but it’s looking like this fox season I’ll be using my wicked lights red light instead of my NODS. When the new legislation goes into effect, I plan on picking up a thermal wether it be the trijicon unit or one of these.... not sure yet. My mums are from AGM (formerly PRG) and they seem to be great little units, time will tell but the Harris thin filmed WP tubes that are in them are quite nice. This week I should have the adaptor ready I’m working on designing to be able to bridge mount them with the RQE M clips.
 
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Flip#1

Private
Hessian
Belligerents
Minuteman
Feb 25, 2018
100
34
34
Definitely awaiting your review on a 640 unit.
 

Crews

Sergeant
Belligerents
May 11, 2017
610
250
69
Anyone have any thoughts on the TS50/35 micro associated with the same folks? Seems like a pretty good option on paper, wondering if it's worth the gamble to pick one of these vs a Pulsar.