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Eyepiece cleaning woes

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#1 rgm40

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 11:19 PM

I have learned many a lesson in my 45 years of existence. Regarding eyepiece cleaning, other than learning to leave them alone and limit cleaning frequency to rare and necessary occasions, the most recent lesson I have learned is to never use anything other than a super small drop of regular Dawn dish soap, distilled water, and a cotton swab with no pressure applied, only dragging across the top lens after being saturated with the Dawn/distilled water solution. What I have learned not to do, unfortunately, is to never use "optical cleaning solution." I am not product bashing, but using pur o sol has ruined the coatings on my classic Ultima 18mm eyepiece and has left a couple of small bright spots on two others before I realized what was going on. I don't really know to what extent the damage is, because I can't tell that it has any negative effects on the view. All I know is that the 18, which is my oldest eyepiece, has several of these bright spots that I thought were just residual oil spots that were left over from the first cleaning. After about three cleanings and doubling up on the spots I figured I had done enough damage. I followed directions to the letter, using only a very light mist and microfiber lens towel. I am not a happy customer and will never let this stuff tough my eyepieces again. I am not product bashing, I can just tell you it didn't work for me, and that is a fact. It is advertised as safe for telescopes, binoculars, military optics, and a host of other things. Maybe. But it is not for me. If anyone has any idea what might have happened I would appreciate any information you would care to share. I read an article sometime ago about "contaminants" causing spots on eyepieces which was a result of the contaminant changing the composition of the coating and effectively changing the apparent color of the coating, but not actually removing the coating. This is what it looks like to me. Just lighter spots about the size of a ink pen tip or pencil lead.

#2 csa/montana

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 11:33 PM

Have you tried to reclean them with Windex?

This is what TeleVue recommends:

Cleaning eyepieces

#3 rgm40

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 11:39 PM

No but I did try to reclean it with Dawn and distilled water. No change. Thanks for the link. I should note that I do use a bulb duster to blow off loose particles (and on rare occasions a lens brush). I do this to get rid of anything that could cause a scratch of course.


#4 dpwoos

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 11:41 PM

Try fogging the lens with your breath and gently wiping it off with an unscented Kleenex.

#5 rgm40

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 11:49 PM

If nothing else works I'll try to get a picture of it. I'll post back with results of anything else I try. Keep those ideas coming :)

#6 JamesL

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 01:05 AM

The link said alcohol from the hardware store is ok.
Would that be "Isopropyl" or "Denatured" alcohol?
Acetone is used to strip finishes, paint, laquer etc. Too strong in my opinion.

#7 dpwoos

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 01:23 AM

I use 100% pure ethanol that I got from a guy I know who is a chemistry prof at a local college. Also, I believe that TeleVue knows how to clean eyepieces, and I have used acetone (as they recommend) without a problem. I wouldn't use acetone (or alcohol) on eyepieces that use plastics and/or paint, e.g. home made ones. That said, I have largely switched to ROR, finished off with a breath fogging and wiping with an unscented Kleenex. Really works well for me.

#8 Scanning4Comets

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 01:55 AM

I've been using a brush from the lens pen, then a blower bulb, to remove anything first then I use a Q-tip with my own solution, (90% isopropyl + a drop of dawn dish soap + distilled water, 1/2 & 1/2 solution mix), then a huff on the lens and a rub with a lens pen for years with excellent results.

I replace my lens pens every couple of months because lens pens gather debris and can re-deposit debris back onto a lens surface..... I only clean mine when I have to. I may go to the unscented kleenex for my final cleaning because lens pens are expensive to keep on buying.

#9 planet earth

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 04:32 AM

Just lighter spots about the size of a ink pen tip or pencil lead.


I doubt the cause was the pur o sol.
Acid dew possibly over time, storage conditions, the coatings themselves?
But yes when in doubt, change to another product/method.
My older Meade plossls have a few spots as do my old 7x50 binoculars, no effect on the view though that I can see.
Sam

#10 Starman1

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 12:06 PM

From least harmful/effective to most:
1) Water. Doesn't dissolve eyelash oils or pollen. Not recommended.
1a) Breath on eyepiece. Can't say why this is more effective than just water, but it is.
2) Pure isopropyl alcohol. Without soap added, this can't clean a lot of organic debris. Just not strong enough. Safe, though. Does a decent job on already fairly clean lenses.
3) Water/soap/alcohol mix (like ROR). Very effective to remove organic contaminants. Doesn't clean everything off eyepieces, though, without multiple cleanings. I had some thick mascara streaks that required several cleanings with something harsher.
4) Acetone. Much better solvent. Not harmful to lenses, but can dissolve plastic. If the cleaning is anywhere near a plastic baffle or rubber eyecup, don't use it. It's quite safe on all-metal eyepieces, though, and cleans off some stains that other cleaners can't.
5) Methyl Ethyl Ketone (MEK). This will take off ALL substances on the lens and requires ventilation for safety. It has removed mildew and chemical stains where nothing else would touch the discolorations. It won't harm the lenses with short-duration contact, but I only recommend it if the eyepiece has what looks like mildew or rust discoloration on the lens (likely to be a classic eyepiece being restored after disassembly).

It might interest you to know that I have tried, just for the sake of an experiment, cleaning brand new eyepieces right out of their boxes. Guess what? They got cleaner. Noticeably. It seems that many companies don't maintain perfect cleanliness in assembly one the eyepiece is put together. I've even seen a brand new eyepiece come out of the box with a fingerprint on the eye lens (!).

People on this forum are obsessed with picayune details that distinguish one eyepiece from another, but seldom address the possibility the eyepieces being tested might not be clean. Though one could become obsessed with cleaning, a judicious amount of cleaning at regular intervals or whenever anything foreign is seen on the lenses is definitely called for. Done right, no damage will result, and the eyepiece will be cleaner.

Most often, I see little tiny dots that probably are from the eyelashes touching the eye lenses or from accidentally breathing on the eyepiece lens. I don't let those sit because if left in place they can cause permanent damage to the lens coatings in time. But if there appears to be small shiny dots on the eyepiece, they are probably cleanable. The small dots I've seen that were where small dust particles present on the lenses interfered with the coating process were all invisible to the eye and only visible through a 20X loupe or microscope. I suggest you NOT inspect your eyepieces that way unless you realize that nothing is perfect.

If you get pure alcohol or acetone, make sure they are "reagent grade" or as pure as you can find. No additives. I've been able to find 90% pure IPA and 90+% pure acetone in local stores. ROR works great 99% of the time.

#11 johnnyha

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 12:50 PM

6) Human spit. Ultimate remover of organic compounds from glass.

#12 bremms

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 01:14 PM

I never use the dish liquid on lenses unless it's out of the housing. It requires too much liquid to clean it off properly.
Acetone and IPA seem to work on different oils. Maybe an IPA, acetone, and dist H2O mix. Cleaning soulutions are like talking about oils on an automotive forum..

#13 bremms

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 01:16 PM

I blow them off with filtered compressed air.

#14 frito

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 02:11 PM

electronic component stores may carry highly pure alcohol, i get mine from fry's electronics its made by MG Chemicals and its 99.9 something pure. apparently too pure for california because on the bottle it states that you must dilute it 25% by weight with water or acetone to legally use it in this screwy state :)

#15 Mirzam

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 02:31 PM

First be sure that there is no gritty material on the lens surface that could scratch the coatings. Use a Q-tip with alcohol to remove any visible particles.

Next, I use one or two Zeiss lens cleaning tissues, which come impregnated with a small amount of pure alcohol. You don't have to be super careful with these as they will not force any alcohol between the lens elements. Usually the wipes leave a bit of residue, which I remove by fogging the eyepiece lens by breathing on it, followed by wiping with a small section of Viva paper towel. These towels are soft and not contaminated with perfumes or oils. To avoid introducing oils from my own hands I am careful not to touch the Zeiss wipes or the paper towel with my fingers except in places that will not directly contact the lens.

This method has worked well on eyepiece lenses and objectives up to 8" in diameter.

JimC

#16 Achernar

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 03:42 PM

Denatured alcohol is what I use, it removes oils and other stuff without harming glass. I use clean Q-tips dipped in it, eyelash oil and film is removed and it doesn't have the plastic attacking properties that acetone does when it's ethanol mixed with methanol.

Taras

#17 wky46

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 05:54 PM

Don, those are all excellent points (as always). Especially the one you make regarding evaluations between ep's that may not be clean. I've often wondered about this too. Maybe any future reviewers, whether it be a shoot-out between several ep's or simply a review of a single ep, should state they've all been cleaned first (regardless of how they 'look'). I've played many and have owned several high-end guitars in 40+ years of playing and MOST critizisms of tone directed at certain guitars are usually (I'd bet money on it) the result of strings that are old and have lost their tone and timbre. Anytime I read a review now of guitars (acoustic generally) I want to know if their using new strings (unfortunately something which they never say)

#18 GeneT

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 06:26 PM

Regarding eyepiece cleaning, other than learning to leave them alone and limit cleaning frequency to rare and necessary occasions,


This is difficult lesson for all of us to learn regarding all of our optics. There are times optics should immediately be cleaned. However, too often more problems occur from over cleaning than cleaning too little.

#19 tag1260

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 07:55 PM

What about the eyeglass lens cleaning solutions that are available to clean your glasses?

I'm not a chemist but here's the MSDS of the stuff I'm talking about.

http://www.calaccess.../MSDS_Sheet.pdf

#20 bremms

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 10:41 PM

Really just water with a little alcohol and photo flo.

#21 Paul G

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 02:18 PM

I take the other approach and inspect and clean my eyepieces after each night of use. A small speck or spot that would be insignificant on the objective can affect a noticeable portion of the image if that same spot is on the eyepiece. The other reason to clean regularly is that some surface contaminants can become much more difficult to remove once they have been sitting there for a while.

As Johnny posted I would try saliva on the pad of your finger, it will clean organics off the glass that nothing else removes and the clean pad of your finger is very soft and friendly to glass. Just be sure to clean the saliva off before it dries or it will leave a difficult to remove stain.

If that doesn't work, try Kodak lens cleaning solution, Zeiss lens cleaning solution, acetone, methanol, or MEK (in that order).

#22 tomcody

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 10:01 AM

I have seen the small spots you refered to when cleaning. They have always been the result of contaminated cleaning cloths, the most recent example, ( I start cleaning by blowing off the lens with a bulb blower followed by brushing the surface with a Edmund Optics lens brush to loosen any particles along the edge of the lens, then blowing again), was caused by ( eyelash oil? ) contamination on the brush. Cleaning the brush with alcohol fixed that issue. I would be very suspicious of any lens cleaning cloths that were not new out of the package. Purosol is a very good cleaner but remember, any cleaner just suspends the oil or grease and that can find its way onto the cleaning cloths etc to be re-deposited again.
Rex

#23 Starman1

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 10:48 AM

I have seen the small spots you refered to when cleaning. They have always been the result of contaminated cleaning cloths, the most recent example, ( I start cleaning by blowing off the lens with a bulb blower followed by brushing the surface with a Edmund Optics lens brush to loosen any particles along the edge of the lens, then blowing again), was caused by ( eyelash oil? ) contamination on the brush. Cleaning the brush with alcohol fixed that issue. I would be very suspicious of any lens cleaning cloths that were not new out of the package. Purosol is a very good cleaner but remember, any cleaner just suspends the oil or grease and that can find its way onto the cleaning cloths etc to be re-deposited again.
Rex

Which is why new q-tips, disposed of after one wipe of the lens surface, remains the easiest way to clean an eyepiece lens: guaranteed clean upon application to the lens, quite absorbent, and easy to manipulate into the "corners".

#24 BillP

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 02:17 PM

6) Human spit. Ultimate remover of organic compounds from glass.


Exactly!!! Did this last evening...no solvent was getting the spots off, until I put some spit on it...then right off it came :D

One also has to remember when there are "spots" to be removed to be patient. Don't expect instant gratification by applying and then immediately taking off. Put a dab of the alcohol or saliva on and let it seit for 30 seconds or more, then wipe. takes some time for the chemical/enzyme reactions to occur and loosen things up.

#25 ibase

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 04:26 AM

Quite surprised to read the original post on this thread because I've been using Purosol to good results on my EP's. So I experimented and did exactly as described by the OP with my own Ultima 18mm (old classic) just like the one cited on the OP; here's the result:

Posted Image
Ultima 18mm newly cleaned with Purosol

There were no bright spots or anything not normal on the Ultima 18 eye lens after being cleaned with Purosol, just clean glass with its coatings perfectly intact as has always been the result when I clean my other EP's using Purosol. Really puzzled what happened to OP's Ultima 18mm/other EP's.

Best,






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