How to care for Your Night Vision Equipment

Caring For Night Vision

If you take care of you NVG, it will take care of you.

Care for your night vision:  If you own a set of night vision goggles (NVG), a night vision scope, or, are lucky enough to own a thermal scope, then you know two things:

  1. Your night vision device gives you a serious advantage for hunting, home security, protecting your livestock, security, and a host of other things.
  2. Your night vision device was very expensive.

You need to be able to protect your investment and care for your night vision devices when they’re not in use. 

Maintaining Night Vision

Here are some steps you can take to maintain excellent performance and thus prolong your enjoyment of the advantages of night vision.

Follow Instructions

The components that make up a night vision device are very delicate.  Even the smallest bit of damage may completely render the devices ineffective.  Other than damage the equipment, it may endanger the lives of the user and others within the vicinity if you’re talking about a night vision or thermal riflescope.

To avoid such costly mistakes, follow the instructions provided on the operator manual.  Minor damage might mean that the device can no longer be used.  Pay attention to weather, temperature, and run-time that the manufacturer’s manual suggests.

Fog and humidity

Rain should be obvious but fog and high humidity can ruin some devices too.  Like many electronic devices, night vision equipment is not friendly to water, and requires some sort of weatherproofing.

Some night vision devices are particularly vulnerable to fog

Knowledge Bombs

While they can tolerate moderate exposure to these humid conditions, they are likely to get damaged when this exposure is prolonged.  User manuals have instructions on caring for your night vision equipment.  These instructions must be followed to avoid damage, such as,  distortion of images and overall functionality.  There are devices with improved water proofing which enable you to operate normally on wet and humid conditions.  Know your device.

Wet batteries

You don’t think about it but changing batteries in a wet environment can cause the moisture to bypass weather proofing on many non-military devices.  Some devices have seals for the battery compartment but not much more than that.

Keep your batteries in a weather proof case like the Modular Battery Case from The Tactical Medic or the Thyrm CellVault Battery Storage.  These will ensure the batteries are at least dry when you go to swap them out.

Thrym CellVault Battery Storage Modular Battery Case from The Tactical Medic

Impact

Because night vision devices are designed for use at night, their construction typically is hardy.

This does not give you the freedom to beat them up.

Sensitive parts are also usually covered with materials that absorb the impact if the equipment falls so you can probably get away with dropping them a few times form reasonable heights.  Handle the NVGs with care and avoid unnecessary risks.

Use handles, hand straps, and mounts appropriately and mount on areas that are designed for it, like weaver rails or helmet mounts.  When moving around and not in use, pack the equipment safely away in pouches made for night vision devices to ensure that it does not knock on vehicles, trees, debris, or other hard and sharp surfaces.Tactical Tailor Night Vision Pouch

A good case/ pouch is the Tactical Tailor Night Vision Pouch.  This case is originally designed to carry military PVS 14 devices but it shoudl handle most comparable NVGs.

Jelly Roll Lens Scope Bottle Padded Case w MOLLE by Hazard 4The Jelly Roll Lens/Scope/Bottle Padded Case by Hazard 4 is a great option too.  The important thing is to have a padded pouch.  When you’re bebopping around you don’t want your investment bouncing off of nearby treat trunks, large rocks, of even the bed of your truck.

A hard case like this Pelican 1170 is good but I realize it may not be practical for many applications like hunting.

Pelican 1170 Case With Foam

Bright light

Most of the lower end Gen 1 and Gen 2 night vision devices are damaged by bright light.  This is why many tactical users will not use their goggles during the day.  Some even say that you should only protect your device from exposure to the sun.

Light can damage equipment depending on its source, intensity, and period of exposure.

Some of the light sources you should be cautious of include car headlights, flash lights, and, other bright sources.

Cleaning your equipment

Many devices get damaged during cleaning.  Each device comes with instructions on cleaning and maintenance so read the manual carefully.  The use of detergents and abrasives is highly discouraged.  The outside of the devices can be cleaned with a damp rag typically.

The lenses used are very delicate and easy to scratch.  Once the lens is damaged you might need to replace the entire device.   Follow the instructions and treat the equipment with the attention you provide other accessories like cameras.

You can used compressed air to remove some debris.  If you’re going to use water for cleaning then think about using distilled water so there is no mineral or chemical residue.Nikon 8175 Moist Lens Cleaning Cloth  There are actual wipes designed for camera lenses and such which may be beneficial like the Nikon 8175 Moist Lens Cleaning Cloths.

Carson makes the C6 Disposable Lens Cleaner with Nano-Particle Cleaning Formula which has good ratings as well. Carson C6 Disposable Lens Cleaner with Nano-Particle Cleaning Formula

Before using anything to clean your night vision or thermal device always check the user manual or the manufacturer.  ALWAYS!

Nothing replaces using lens covers!  Use them and use them often.  Always use them when the device is not in use.

Storage

If you are not planning to use the equipment for some time, it is always advisable to remove the battery.  Store the equipment in the condition specified in the user manual.  Use a care like the Pelican 1170 mentioned above.

Close the aperture or switch off the device whenever it is not in use to preserve the life of your tube. 

In case of any challenge using the device, consult the manufacturer on care for night vision device.

Taking care for your night vision devices isn’t hard.  It’s tedious at times but it is also necessary if you want them to work when you need them most.

Remember, we’re counting on these devices to work when we need them to.  Take good care of them and they will take good care of you.