Jump to content


Photo

Night Vision Binoviewers (MilSpec style)

  • Please log in to reply
14 replies to this topic

#1 jdbastro

jdbastro

    Messenger

  • *****
  • Posts: 479
  • Joined: 18 Aug 2007
  • Loc: W. Coast

Posted 28 July 2013 - 12:46 AM

With much inspiration and advice from a CN poster who produced this post back in 2012, I would like to share my experience using MilSpec night vision single tube bi-ocular goggles (dual oculars), namely the PVS-7 NV goggle.

There are two varients of this unit, the PVS-7A/C unit and the PVS-7B/D unit. The B/D unit is currently in production and easy to find. The A/C unit has been out of production for several years, so it's a little more difficult to acquire.

Either unit can be easily adapted for visual astronomy use by exchanging the 1X objective lens that is typically available for either goggle with a custom c-mount adapter. This adapter has been available from Aurora Tactical (for the B/D goggle) and Nightline, Inc. (for the PVS-7A/C unit). The c-mount adapter allows for simple telescope adaptablity by merely adding a c-mount to 1.25 inch (or larger) telescope nosepiece.

When connected to a telescope, either unit provides bright, pleasing TWO-eyed views of many DSO's. The oculars present sharp images across the entire apparent FOV with uniform brightness. The bi-ocular view is accomplished by an optical element called a collimator which sits just behind the output screen of the image intensifier tube. The collimator relays the image from the intensifier screen, sends it into a beam splitter (bifurcating mirror), and then onto the oculars - like this:

Attached Files



#2 jdbastro

jdbastro

    Messenger

  • *****
  • Posts: 479
  • Joined: 18 Aug 2007
  • Loc: W. Coast

Posted 28 July 2013 - 12:47 AM

Below is a pic of the more popular PVS-7B/D goggle with a respective c-mount adapter and 1.25 inch nosepiece.

Attached Files



#3 jdbastro

jdbastro

    Messenger

  • *****
  • Posts: 479
  • Joined: 18 Aug 2007
  • Loc: W. Coast

Posted 28 July 2013 - 12:47 AM

Here's a pic of the B/D unit plugged into a 155mm refractor telescope.

Attached Files



#4 jdbastro

jdbastro

    Messenger

  • *****
  • Posts: 479
  • Joined: 18 Aug 2007
  • Loc: W. Coast

Posted 28 July 2013 - 12:48 AM

One difference between the two units is that the B/D unit offers only 15mm of eye relief vs. the generous 25mm of eye relief for the A/C goggle. Eyeglass wearers consequently may prefer the A/C unit over the B/D for this reason. The anti-reflection coatings of the oculars are also much better on the A/C unit than they are on the B/D unit. So, using the A/C unit in an urban environment where streetlights are present will likely be a more pleasant experience.

Here's a pic of the A/C goggle with it's respective c-mount adapter and 1.25 inch telescope nosepiece:

Attached Files



#5 jdbastro

jdbastro

    Messenger

  • *****
  • Posts: 479
  • Joined: 18 Aug 2007
  • Loc: W. Coast

Posted 28 July 2013 - 12:48 AM

And a shot of the A/C unit connected to a 120mm refractor.

Attached Files



#6 jdbastro

jdbastro

    Messenger

  • *****
  • Posts: 479
  • Joined: 18 Aug 2007
  • Loc: W. Coast

Posted 28 July 2013 - 12:49 AM

Here's a comparison shot of both units each sporting a 50mm (2X magnification) c-mount TV lens:

The A/C unit is on the left, the B/D on the right

Attached Files



#7 jdbastro

jdbastro

    Messenger

  • *****
  • Posts: 479
  • Joined: 18 Aug 2007
  • Loc: W. Coast

Posted 28 July 2013 - 12:49 AM

And one more pic of both units.

B/D unit on the left, A/C unit on the right.

Attached Files



#8 jdbastro

jdbastro

    Messenger

  • *****
  • Posts: 479
  • Joined: 18 Aug 2007
  • Loc: W. Coast

Posted 28 July 2013 - 12:50 AM

If you're looking for a satisfying DSO binoviewing experience, you can't go wrong with either PVS-7 bi-ocular NV goggle.

Either PVS-7 housing can be acquired in new / excellent condition for under $1000. New high performance tubes (Gen 3 thin-film, MX10130 format) can be had starting at around $2K, giving a complete bi-ocular system for around $3K.

I've been using my PVS-7's for about a year now, and I find them to be a fantastic solution for providing the brightest possible real-time bi-ocular views of DSO's.

For a few more pics of PVS-7's, check out this link.

#9 PEterW

PEterW

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 770
  • Joined: 02 Jan 2006
  • Loc: SW London, UK

Posted 28 July 2013 - 03:16 AM

DIY BIPH. Mx10130.... Not the more common? 10160 then?

Cheers

Peter

#10 jdbastro

jdbastro

    Messenger

  • *****
  • Posts: 479
  • Joined: 18 Aug 2007
  • Loc: W. Coast

Posted 28 July 2013 - 04:26 PM

DIY BIPH. Mx10130.... Not the more common? 10160 then?

Cheers

Peter


Yes, using a MilSpec PVS-7 housing for binoviewing is similar to a 'DIY BIPH', however the optical system of a PVS-7 is quite different from a BIPH. A PVS-7 has interpupillary adjustment like a conventional astro binoviewer and diopter adjustment for each ocular.

The MX10130 format image intensifier is specifically designed for the PVS-7 goggles and a few other NV items. Although 100's of thousands of PVS-7's have been produced, the availability of MX10160 tubes is greater since these tubes fit a wider cross section of NV housings, e.g. various aviator goggles, the Micro Monocular (new), Collins I-cube, others, plus the core module in an MX10160 tube is also used in the MX11769 tube which differs in that it has an external wiring harness for manual gain control. The MX11769 tube is used in the popular PVS-14 NV monocular.

The core module in an MX10130 tube differs from the MX10160, MX11769 in that the MX10130 output is non-inverted vs. the MX10160, MX11769. Image inversion is accomplished via a fiber optic bundle that has a 180 degree twist. The twist is not present in the MX10130 tube.

Nonetheless, MX10130 tubes are still readily available.

I have no hands on experience with the BIPH unit, though I understand this unit takes the MX10160 tube.

#11 jdbastro

jdbastro

    Messenger

  • *****
  • Posts: 479
  • Joined: 18 Aug 2007
  • Loc: W. Coast

Posted 03 August 2013 - 03:40 AM

Just wanted to provide an update. I recently discovered the other day that the c-mount adapter for the PVS-7B/D unit is no longer carried by the supplier that I indicated (Aurora Tactical).

But, it can be purchased from the OEM (fabricator) who is: B.E. Meyers.

Both c-mount adapters that are shown above, are professionally machined out of aluminum and black anodized. These adapters are the key to turning either PVS-7 goggle into a versatile, bi-ocular night vision device for binoviewing with a telescope or low power bi-ocular views with a wide variety of lenses adapted to c-mount.

#12 jdbastro

jdbastro

    Messenger

  • *****
  • Posts: 479
  • Joined: 18 Aug 2007
  • Loc: W. Coast

Posted 23 August 2013 - 01:35 AM

Since the respective c-mount adapters are the most important component in converting either PVS-7 housing into a binoviewer, it seems worthwhile to offer up a pic showing each adapter before it's connected to its respective housing.

The adapter on the left is for the PVS-7B/D housing (adapter by BE Meyers). The adapter on the right is for the PVS-7A/C housing (adapter by NightLine, Inc.) Both adapters are CNC machined aluminum and black anodized.

Attached Files



#13 cnoct

cnoct

    Vostok 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 196
  • Joined: 02 Sep 2010

Posted 29 August 2013 - 01:45 AM

If there where such a thing as post of the year for image intensifiers, this would be they post to take that honor.

jdbastro, this post/posts on "MIL-SPEC" image intensified bi-ocular viewers is outstanding. There's just not a whole lot of information out there on quality image intensified systems for astronomy, something that your post helps to address. I'm glad to see such a thorough and up to date post on such a long overdue topic that sheds some light on some truly outstanding systems. Thank you for documenting and posting on these image intensified bi-ocular systems.

For those looking to wholly immerse themselves in the viewing experience, the systems jdbastro documents in this thread "U.S. MIL-SPEC AN/PVS-7(A/C or B/D)" are ideal.

#14 jlegere

jlegere

    Sputnik

  • *****
  • Posts: 48
  • Joined: 03 Jan 2011

Posted 01 September 2013 - 05:05 AM

even unmagnified,these were great in the field for viewing Andromeda. Not entirely sure what else we were seeing, but what ever it was the other item we were looking at formed a planetary disk, but was too large for an unmagnified object. No, not the moon :)

#15 PEterW

PEterW

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 770
  • Joined: 02 Jan 2006
  • Loc: SW London, UK

Posted 01 September 2013 - 05:16 AM

Yes, too many stars to know what you are looking at, makes urban observing more satisfying.

Peterw






Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics