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Mystery of the melting binocular

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#51 Binojunky

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 10:20 AM

One thing  you can do to help prevent this is to pick up a pack of the light cotton gloves you can get from hardware stores, you often see them used on TV  when old books and artifacts are being handled, any sweat or other contaminants are kept off the binocular surface, D.



#52 blc111

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Posted 31 May 2017 - 05:10 AM

I like the DEET theory here and I'll tell you why. I own 3 pairs of Canon IS and the ones that are 10x30 stay at home but the 18x50 travel with me all the time to the ranch where I use DEET liberally or I'll get eaten alive from chiggers. I also handle and listen to my little Grundig radio while stargazing.  Both have signs of degradation on the rubber where there has been skin contact.  Additionally DEET is such a good solvent for plastic that auto mechanics suggest it to clean and clear plastic headlight covers. Oh! how I would like to go back to glass covers for headlights.  This is what happens when you attempt to coerce private companies into meeting EPA fleet MPG standards.



#53 Binojunky

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Posted 01 June 2017 - 10:41 AM

I like the DEET theory here and I'll tell you why. I own 3 pairs of Canon IS and the ones that are 10x30 stay at home but the 18x50 travel with me all the time to the ranch where I use DEET liberally or I'll get eaten alive from chiggers. I also handle and listen to my little Grundig radio while stargazing.  Both have signs of degradation on the rubber where there has been skin contact.  Additionally DEET is such a good solvent for plastic that auto mechanics suggest it to clean and clear plastic headlight covers. Oh! how I would like to go back to glass covers for headlights.  This is what happens when you attempt to coerce private companies into meeting EPA fleet MPG standards.

Funny you should mention the Grundig radio ,I have had two that went sticky regarding the black rubber covering, and I never went near them with Deet or anything else for that matter, one got tossed the other I gave it a Armor All treatment and salvaged it, my theory about this is that the rubber is defective when mixed before use? Dave.


Edited by Binojunky, 01 June 2017 - 12:50 PM.


#54 BillP

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Posted 01 June 2017 - 01:14 PM

I have an old night vision device I've had for about 15 years now.  Have not used it in the past 5 years and has just been in a box.  Recently moved and on unpacking found it and opened it up, and the rubberized housing was all sticky and gooey.  Used lots of alcohol to clean it off.  Not gooey any more but can't get the surface to not be sticky to the touch.  So I know what you mean.

 

And I have a Grundig shrotwave radio that the same thing happened to after 5 years.

 

While the NV device has been out in the field at night and where people may have sprayed bug repellants, the Grundig has only been indoors.  I generally do not use bug sprays, and when I do never anything with DEET.


Edited by BillP, 01 June 2017 - 01:17 PM.

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#55 blc111

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Posted 04 June 2017 - 01:43 AM

With my units, I believe it was the repellent. I've has two other IS units 10x30 that I've owned much longer but haven't been exposed to hands bathed in DEET and they are just fine.  However DEET it is one of many solvents that can affect rubber/plastic compounds. I remember when I was a kid the cord on my microphone  started melting down to a liquid, not a stickiness like we are discussing here but a liquid. I later read an article about certain bacteria that attack or I should say feed on plastics with this as a symptom. I had no idea that they did that at the time of the incident.



#56 Eric.TB

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Posted 04 June 2017 - 10:52 AM

My theory is that there are no external factors causing the "melting". I think that something at sometimes, may go amiss in the "mixing" of the rubber compound during manufacturing. Certain batches may not come out perfect, for whatever reasons. I think that's why there are some owners who probably have 2 different IS models, and under the same usage, one is normal, and one is "melted".

 

A good example are the old Super Nintendo video game consoles. Certain batches of them would turn from grey to "yellow" over time, due to something not right in the mix. One Nintendo would be grey like normal, others would turn yellow and look a lot like it sat in a smokers house.



#57 blc111

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Posted 04 June 2017 - 01:01 PM

I have a science background and have observation skills that are second to none and you can throw in a Ph.D in the sciences for good measure and although I can not unequivocally state that it was the DEET and not one of the other solvents in the formulation, I'm quite certain that  in my case it was from using the Deep Woods Off. Why? It was because of the gradient effect in that behind the focusing barrel there was not any breakdown in the rubber at all and as you moved forward from behind the barrel the stickiness progressively got worse which is what one would expect if it was from skin contact commensurate with a solvent which would react with this type of rubber. The fact that both items were effected simultaneously while I was using the DEET as a result of an outbreak in biting mites (chiggers), is pretty darn good evidence to suggest it was the DEET. So short of conducting a field experiment with controls etc.using varying amounts of DEET, we will never absolutely know for sure, but in this case let's just say I'm 99 percent sure it was the OFF.  I'm done beating a dead horse here as I'm sure I'm dealing with people that don't have the same equivalence in observation skills that I have or the science background.  I have enjoyed hearing from the other folks and their unique situations causing rubber/plastic breakdown but it doesn't apply to me.  Perhaps the gentlemen with storage issues might look into ozone as the causal agent for his plastic breakdown or perhaps a micro-organism for example. In short i was only speaking to my situation not others which had problems under completely and vastly different conditions. Are we all comprehending this? I sure hope so.



#58 caveman_astronomer

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Posted 04 June 2017 - 01:10 PM

I have seen plastic turn soggy in areas that were covered with certain kinds of plastic adhesive tape.  A solvent in the adhesive, or prolonged proximity of two unlike plastics?

 

I have also seen separate plastic parts discolor under sunlight, while other parts (same plastic?) attached to them look unchanged.

 

I read about a used Canon camera that worked fine, but the rubbery coating was sticky.  A protective case was suggested as a way to make the camera usable.


Edited by caveman_astronomer, 04 June 2017 - 01:12 PM.


#59 carolinaskies

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Posted 05 June 2017 - 11:47 AM

I've had this happen over the years with various rubberized equipment.  I believe it's a combination of factors, part of which is operator sweat.  If you've ever picked up a pair of used military optics you'll often find the rubberized eyecups will have or be deteriorating.  Some of us just sweat more and all rubber is not created equal when it comes to dealing with those who have more caustic expulsions.   The plastic of my eyeglasses take a beating too and have since I started wearing them.  I corrode metal and plastic alike... no kidding.  Remember, sweat is salt and such, which eventually will react with all but glass itself.   
 



#60 debclltx

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Posted 13 June 2017 - 09:28 PM

My experience indicates that mosquito spray is the primary culprit. I was given the binoculars (Canon IS 12x36) probably eight years ago, about the same time that West Nile Mosquitoes  became a problem. The stickiness  has gradually built to where the binocs are really an annoyance to use. I think that I will try to scape the coating off of the hard casing since I have not seen any better solution on the forum. 



#61 Bonco

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Posted 14 June 2017 - 02:22 PM

Try WD 40 to remove the goo. Takes a lot of rubbing tho.

Bill 



#62 Jarrod

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Posted 07 July 2017 - 07:48 PM

Loaned my Canon 10x30IS to my in-laws when they visited last year.  Went to use them today and the rubber coating where they were touching them has turned to goo.  I'm sure they were using DEET while they were out birding, and I didn't know to clean it off.  The rubber coating comes off with a combination of isopropyl alcohol and WD-40, but it seems like you have to commit to just stripping the entire item, because the leading edge of the area you are "cleaning" just turns to goo, expanding the affected area.

 

This is the same problem that can occur on rubberized automobile steering wheels/control panels if you use lotions, etc.  I wonder if the spray-on rubberizing products you see at automotive supply stores could be used to refurbish these areas on our binoculars.



#63 xiando

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Posted 07 July 2017 - 08:21 PM

with no pun intended, it boilss down to a poor chemical mixture in the original coating that allows it to deteriorate faster than it should. Yes, some chemicals can exacerbate it, but imo it's a sourcing and or application problem. I recall childhood silicone toys (I had some dinosaurs) that did much the same, some almost "melted over a very short period of time, exuding a slimy liquid from their surfaces that ended with the toy's deposition into the nearest trashcan. Obviously, nobody wants to toss an otherwise nice pair of binoculars into the trash.

 

It's possible (although I'm not sure it *will* help, that rubbing them with glycerin will alleviate it, or as had been mentioned, talcum, but I suspect that if they're "melting, the coating is ultimately unsalvageable and the best one can do is remove it.


Edited by xiando, 07 July 2017 - 08:22 PM.


#64 Spectral Joe

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Posted 07 July 2017 - 08:43 PM

The other day I went to use one of my digital multimeters and discovered that the little rubber feet on the bottom had turned from hard rubber to soft sticky stuff. It is about 20 years old and never showed any sign before this, last time I used it was about a month ago. Hasn't been exposed to any solvents that I know of. Similar to other experiences I have had with synthetic rubber, it's OK until it's not.


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#65 CharlesC

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Posted 07 July 2017 - 09:02 PM

My 5 year old Celestron 15x70 Skymaster binos have become sticky too.  Maybe spray painting a rubber cover would fix it?

Here is some.  http://www.rustoleum...exidip/flexidip



#66 MartinPond

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Posted 08 July 2017 - 07:56 AM

When I have tried coating over, the 'gooiness' has been contagious..

..that is, the coating gets goey, or just peels at the underlying goo layer.

 

The easiest , for me has been with a coconut-oil + baking soda paste and digging  fingernails.

Like removing stubborn bottle labels.   Then wiping dry and cleaning excess with lighter fluid.

It doesn't eat plastics like the more potent solvents.


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#67 Sky King

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Posted 05 October 2017 - 11:17 PM

When I have tried coating over, the 'gooiness' has been contagious..

..that is, the coating gets goey, or just peels at the underlying goo layer.

 

The easiest , for me has been with a coconut-oil + baking soda paste and digging  fingernails.

Like removing stubborn bottle labels.   Then wiping dry and cleaning excess with lighter fluid.

It doesn't eat plastics like the more potent solvents.

Thanks! This worked for me! Took a lot of rubbing, so I used a microfiber cleaning towel and this paste to get down to just plastic. The towel pulled the paste and sticky off well. The plastic looks and feels great! Thin layer of the sticky stuff, but it takes this stuff to remove it. I started on the bottom in case it made a mess, but when I saw that it worked I worked my way around the body. Will try the lighter fluid next.Thanks!



#68 chiptex

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Posted 16 February 2018 - 09:03 PM

The plastic case on my Canon binoculars became tacky, then melt, such that the material smudges and comes off on my hands.  No amount of cleaning fixed the problem. Cannon's plastic binocular covers are unstable. Once this starts, the plastic will continue to deteriorate.

 

Of the excuses listed - "insect spray" etc. none of them are applicable to my case. I called Cannon Customer Service and the Help Line operator admitted that mine was not the first complaint. I sent the binos in to Cannon's repair center asking for a replacement case and got a repair estimate back to replace both left and right prisms for $350 - when there is nothing wrong with the optics - just the melting plastic case. Meaning Cannon is not going to stand behind the design flawy in these binoculars. They picked an unstable plastic to make the case. Buy another brand. like-button.jpg cool.gif  Not just because Canon picked the wrong plastic - but they know they picked the wrong plastic and won't support their product. 


Edited by chiptex, 16 February 2018 - 09:22 PM.

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#69 junomike

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Posted 16 February 2018 - 09:23 PM

The plastic case on my Canon binoculars became tacky, then melt, such that the material smudges and comes off on my hands.  No amount of cleaning fixed the problem. Cannon's plastic binocular covers are unstable. Once this starts, the plastic will continue to deteriorate.

 

Of the excuses listed - "insect spray" etc. none of them are applicable to my case. I called Cannon Customer Service and the Help Line operator admitted that mine was not the first complaint. I sent the binos in to Cannon's repair center asking for a replacement case and got a repair estimate back to replace both left and right prisms for $350 - when there is nothing wrong with the optics - just the melting plastic case. Meaning Cannon is not going to stand behind the design flawy in these binoculars. They picked an unstable plastic to make the case. Buy another brand. like-button.jpg cool.gif

I also send my Canon IS's in for a cosmetic repair (eye guard) and got an estimate back for $500 for new eyepieces?

They are fine as long as you buy new and still have a warranty.

 

For now try the Talcum Powder "Fix" as it seems to work for a few others. 


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#70 chiptex

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Posted 16 February 2018 - 09:38 PM

Thanks. Will try that after I get them back from Canon's ReSnare Center 

 

Caveat emptor  confused1.gif 


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#71 Ant1

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Posted 17 February 2018 - 05:58 PM

I once owned a car, after a few years the whole dashboard turned gooey and sticky over the whole surface. There was most likely a problem in the curing of the plastic material they used.
Dealer kept telling me it was due to cleaning chemicals but I know I used none.
Never bought this brand again. Period.

Regards
Ant1

#72 chiptex

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Posted 17 February 2018 - 06:01 PM

Didn't know Canon made cars. lol.gif 



#73 Alan French

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Posted 22 February 2018 - 11:21 AM

My 12x36 IIs have done this. They are not tacky, but parts of the covering have become pliable and have taken on a slightly melted appearance. I've had them for years and they are well used, but this happened fairly recently. I very rarely use insect repellents, especially around any optics.

 

As you can see it "remembers" fingerprints and little pushes with fingernails. Debating about getting them recovered (not by Canon), but it does not change their performance.

 

A chemist friend suggested it was a problem with the formulation of the rubber covering.

 

Clear skies, Alan

 

 

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#74 Sky King

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Posted 22 February 2018 - 12:21 PM

As I mentioned in my previous post I found the method to get this goo off in this thread. A coconut-oil + baking soda paste, and a microfiber towel and a lot of rubbing. "A chemist friend suggested it was a problem with the formulation of the rubber covering." I agree, you are removing the sprayed on rubber covering and getting down to the plastic. Here is a picture of mine, half way finished. Usable again because I can hold them without the goo getting on my fingers. It does take a lot of work, do a little at a time.

IMG 1206
Album: Bino repair
1 images
0 comments

 
(Picture is in my Gallery, not sure how to publish here.)

Edited by Sky King, 22 February 2018 - 01:17 PM.


#75 Alan French

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Posted 22 February 2018 - 12:37 PM

This is clearly less severe than your problem. It is not goo and it is not at all tacky. It does not come off on my fingers.

 

Since it causes no problems beyond its strange appearance, I see no need to do any work on it. If it eventually bothers me enough, I'll send them out for a new covering - but I'll keep your advice in mind in case it becomes necessary, or I'd like to improve their appearance without spending money. Thanks.

 

Clear skies, Alan




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