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A newbee's experience with the NV monocular

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#1 SeymoreStars

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Posted 04 November 2017 - 08:31 AM

Just bought a NVD (night vision device) about a month ago and it is my most used astronomy equipment. Small, convenient and easy to use. It's an ABnightVision Monocular(brand name) Mod-3, with a c-mount and ENVIS lens (this is the case). The tube is L-3 WP (white phosphorus) Filmless tube.
Always wanted an NVD but cost and lack of knowledge prevented me buying one. Coming close to retirement it was now or never and the EAA forum provided the needed
knowledge and motivation. After reading everything I could, peppering the group with many questions, I took the plunge. No buyers remorse here. It was very cool from the beginning, but when the baader 7nm Ha filter was employed, that was my holy smokes moment. It was funny, I was like "what's that and what's that" and had to run inside and identify the objects in stellarium to know what I was seeing.   I never viewed NGC7000 (north American Nebula) or IC1318 or the Veil Nebula, but now at 1X magnification, there they are, holy smokes.
 
I predict that this technology will be intergrated into our hobby in the years to come, it's too good to ignore.


Edited by nicknacknock, 23 June 2020 - 02:18 AM.

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#2 aeajr

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Posted 04 November 2017 - 10:06 AM

Sounds exciting.   I know nothing of these devices.   Does this go in the focuser?

 

You say it is a 1X mag.  Is there a way to increase magnification?

 

I could go wander in the forum but since you posted this I would like to hear it from you.  Also a link would be appreciated.



#3 SeymoreStars

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Posted 04 November 2017 - 10:37 AM

aeajr this is what the NVD (on the left) looks like and there's 3X multiplier (on the right).

20171006 125517

 The NVD by itself is 1X magnification, attach the multiplier and you get 3X. I use 1X 90% of the time because of the wide FOV. Those DS objects I described are big and pop out with the Ha filter at 1X.

 

Can these devices be used in place of eyepieces - Yes but see the EAA forum for more details (I did this for the first time last night).


Edited by sink45ny, 04 November 2017 - 10:38 AM.

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#4 bobhen

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Posted 04 November 2017 - 11:41 AM

Sounds exciting.   I know nothing of these devices.   Does this go in the focuser?

 

You say it is a 1X mag.  Is there a way to increase magnification?

 

I could go wander in the forum but since you posted this I would like to hear it from you.  Also a link would be appreciated.

HERE is a link to a NV user's website that will tell you what you need to know to get started.

 

Bob



#5 bobhen

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Posted 04 November 2017 - 11:46 AM

Just bought a NVD (night vision device) about a month ago and it is my most used astronomy equipment. Small, convenient and easy to use. It's an ABnightVision Monocular(brand name) Mod-3, with a c-mount and ENVIS lens (this is the case). The tube is L-3 WP (white phosphorus) Filmless tube.
Always wanted an NVD but cost and lack of knowledge prevented me buying one. Coming close to retirement it was now or never and the EAA forum provided the needed
knowledge and motivation. After reading everything I could, peppering the group with many questions, I took the plunge. No buyers remorse here. It was very cool from the beginning, but when the baader 7nm Ha filter was employed, that was my holy smokes moment. It was funny, I was like "what's that and what's that" and had to run inside and identify the objects in stellarium to know what I was seeing.   I never viewed NGC7000 (north American Nebula) or IC1318 or the Veil Nebula, but now at 1X magnification, there they are, holy smokes.
 
I predict that this technology will be intergrated into our hobby in the years to come, it's too good to ignore.

I have been doing NV astronomy for about a year and a half and had, and still have, the same reaction as you: what’s that! Never saw that before! I need to check that!

 

Bob


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#6 Eddgie

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Posted 04 November 2017 - 04:39 PM

Sounds exciting.   I know nothing of these devices.   Does this go in the focuser?

 

You say it is a 1X mag.  Is there a way to increase magnification?

 

I could go wander in the forum but since you posted this I would like to hear it from you.  Also a link would be appreciated.

I am going to qualify some of the responses.

 

Not all night vision devices can be used in place of a standard eyepiece.  There are three devices currently on the market that are popular with astronomy users specifically because they can be used in place of an eyepiece. These devices all share a common trait, and that is the presence of a C mount interface.  Two of these devices, the Night Vision Depot Micro, and the AB NightVision Mod 3 "C" come standard with this, and the ubiquitious PVS-7 military goggle can be easlily fitted with an C mount adapter, avialable for around $60. 

 

There are other C mount devices on the used market.

You don't have to have C mount if you are comfortable using eyepiece projection, but this will restrict you from doing things like using filter wheels and of course now you need to have standard eyepieces.  If you are OK with that, then almost anything made in theory could work, but hey, if you get the C mount, you can still use it afocally if you want, or you can use it at prime focus, so you have a choice.

 

The web page above will answer most of the common questions, but I would say this.  The devices themselves are just bodies that hold the tube in between the lens and the eyepiece.  Most monoculars use the same eyepiece, and most of the objectives are similar.   It is the tube that is the key to the usefulness of the device, and you can have two identical looking devices with tubes of vastly different performance. 

Do not buy something used without spending a lot of time learning about the differences in the devices, or if you see something on Ebay, I recommend not doing an impulse buy without getting some input form some of the more knowledgeable people on the forum.

 

If you buy a new top quality L3 filmless tube, which appears to be the tube of choice here on CN, then getting an excellent one is as easy as calling one of the vendors most of us have bought from and asking for a top end L3 filmless tube.  These tubes are amazing.   Used PVS-7s vary, but most later manufactured D/UV type tubes will work well for astronomy but you can't tell what kind of tube is in a used PVS-7 by looking at it from the outside, and not all Gen III tubes are the later, higher performace kind. 


Edited by Eddgie, 04 November 2017 - 04:40 PM.

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#7 pwang99

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Posted 04 November 2017 - 06:02 PM

Welcome to the club, sink45ny!  I'm so glad to hear that your reaction was just like the rest of us... "Wait, what is... holy crap. that. is. a. nebula."  Followed by, "I didn't know they were *that big*..."

 

Glad you got yours while Cygnus is still up.  Wait until you get your first views of M45 through it... 


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#8 SeymoreStars

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Posted 04 November 2017 - 06:05 PM

Thanks so much Peter, you and a handful of others are to thank for my good experience!! Can wait for night fall and the clouds to clear.



#9 Jeff Morgan

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Posted 04 November 2017 - 06:19 PM

Sounds exciting.   I know nothing of these devices.   Does this go in the focuser?

 

You say it is a 1X mag.  Is there a way to increase magnification?

 

I could go wander in the forum but since you posted this I would like to hear it from you.  Also a link would be appreciated.

 

 

If the NV device has a removable objective lens (such as a PVS-7 or Mod 3), you can get a nose piece and put it in the focuser. These are often referred to as prime focus devices. Essentially, these operate like a 27mm eyepiece. Barlows and focal reducers can be used to change magnification and field.

 

If the NV device does not have a removable objective lens (such as the PVS-14), then you must have an afocal adapter to couple it to a telescope eyepiece. By using different eyepieces, you can change magnification and field.

 

In terms of telescope use:

 

  • A prime focus device may or may not be used with an afocal adapter.
  • An afocal device requires an afocal adapter.

 

Thus, the prime focus devices are more flexible and desirable.


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#10 SeymoreStars

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Posted 04 November 2017 - 07:33 PM

 

Sounds exciting.   I know nothing of these devices.   Does this go in the focuser?

 

You say it is a 1X mag.  Is there a way to increase magnification?

 

I could go wander in the forum but since you posted this I would like to hear it from you.  Also a link would be appreciated.

 

 

If the NV device has a removable objective lens (such as a PVS-7 or Mod 3), you can get a nose piece and put it in the focuser. These are often referred to as prime focus devices. Essentially, these operate like a 27mm eyepiece. Barlows and focal reducers can be used to change magnification and field.

 

If the NV device does not have a removable objective lens (such as the PVS-14), then you must have an afocal adapter to couple it to a telescope eyepiece. By using different eyepieces, you can change magnification and field. Now it's ready to drop into the eyepice adapter of my diagonal and used in prime focus.

 

In terms of telescope use:

 

  • A prime focus device may or may not be used with an afocal adapter.
  • An afocal device requires an afocal adapter.

 

Thus, the prime focus devices are more flexible and desirable.

 

To demonstrate what Jeff just said about the Mod-3 having a removable objective lens, here a picture of the NVD with the lens (at right) removed and the 1.25 inch adapter with baader Ha filter in it's place. Now it's ready to be dropped into an 1.25" eyepiece adapter and used as a prime focus lens.

 

 

20171104 202117
 
Here's a link to the adapter on ebay - https://www.ebay.com...pe/191814589650

Edited by sink45ny, 04 November 2017 - 08:20 PM.


#11 SeymoreStars

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Posted 04 November 2017 - 08:39 PM

Removing the ENVIS lens for the first time tonight and had my second HS (holy smokes) moment when the NVD was used as a prime lens in place of an 1.25" eyepiece. It's cloudy nothing to see astronomically but 5 miles in the distance the hills were clearly visible. It's probably my fault that's is so cloudy.

 

I must put in a plug for my NVD vendor, Pete Lesbo, he picks up the phone (while out of town) on a Saturday night to explain to his customer how to remove the ENVIS lens and doesn't give me the bum's rush either, great guy.

https://www.isquarednightvision.com/

https://www.instagra...i2technologies/

 

So here is tonight's configuration, straight through because there was not enough in-focus with a diagonal.

20171104 212304

Edited by sink45ny, 04 November 2017 - 09:07 PM.


#12 Eddgie

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Posted 04 November 2017 - 10:08 PM

I am surprised that it would not reach focus.   A 1.25" diagonal should fix that.


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#13 aeajr

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Posted 04 November 2017 - 10:53 PM

I took a look and these Type 3 or Gen 3 or whatever things cost $Thousands.   Not something I will be doing any time soon.


Edited by aeajr, 04 November 2017 - 10:54 PM.


#14 ccs_hello

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Posted 04 November 2017 - 11:02 PM

Cheap, sensitive, quality, can only pick 2.



#15 Eddgie

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Posted 05 November 2017 - 08:54 AM

I took a look and these Type 3 or Gen 3 or whatever things cost $Thousands.   Not something I will be doing any time soon.

A good used PVS-7 often turns up for $1500.  A top end monocular can cost over $4000.

 

The next time you are reading a post about someone that is using a 20" dob and is describing how he could see the horse head nebula from his high desert dark sky site that he drives 50 miles to get to and you find yourself wishing you could see it too, but don't have the money for a 20" telescope, don't want to manage a 20" telescope, and don't have a high desert site within 50 miles, you have to remember that none of these things will actually stop you from seeing the the Horse Head Nebula (and so much more) and a good NVD might start to not look so expensive.

 

I am sure that everyone here struggled with the price, but to a person, most consider it the best money they ever spent.

 

This entire setup cost me $2400, including the scope, the mount, and the PVS-7.  I could see the Horse Head Nebula from my red zone sky....  Did not need a 20" dob, did not have to move a 20" dob, and did not have to drive 50 miles.

 

Comet Catcher mounted.jpg

 

(And many people decide that regular eyepieces are now boring and get some of their money back by selling stuff they know they will never use again.  The first day after using my NVD Micro, I knew I would never use the 20 odd eyepieces littering my Astro gear collection again, and started selling them.  I have 3 conventional eyepieces left, and the only reason is that they were gifts from the Assistant Astronomer and she would be hurt if I sold them.  I also sold several telescopes that I simply could never see anything in anyway, and were to slow for my own needs anymore.)


Edited by Eddgie, 05 November 2017 - 08:56 AM.

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#16 Solar storm

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Posted 05 November 2017 - 10:00 AM

I will second that regular eyepieces are boring now.  I did a big sell off and have only the 21 Ethos and Leica Zoom. Both sit lonely in their case.  DSO’s will never be the same after you look into a night vision device.  Glass IS boring now.



#17 Jeff Morgan

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Posted 05 November 2017 - 10:30 AM

Amen Eddgie!

 

With a NV eyepiece I have seen the HorseHead with a 90mm Maksutov direct vision, from the suburbs. Under those skies it is invisible with conventional eyepieces in my Zambuto 16" scope. With faster scopes like the Comet Catcher or Epsilon it is even better.

 

 

Admittedly, spending that kind of money was a leap of faith. Large expenditures usually are. Heck, at this moment I am grumbling about having to spend money to duplicate my 1-1/4" filters in the 2" format so as to experiment with the TVNC adapter for focal reduction ...

 

But in hindsight, the $3800 I spent on the top-end L3 tube was the most cost-effective investment I have made in this hobby. Smarter than Tele Vue. Smarter than Zambuto. Smarter than Astro-Physics.

 

NV doesn't necessarily cure aperture fever (the HorseHead with NV in the Z16" is even more amazing), but NV is the essential enabling element.

 

Conversely, in terms of cost-effectiveness the money I had tied up three dozen conventional eyepieces was absolutely the worst investment I ever made in astronomy.


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#18 SeymoreStars

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Posted 05 November 2017 - 10:41 AM

I will be offering some awesome eyepieces very soon in the classified section.


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#19 MarkMittlesteadt

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Posted 05 November 2017 - 11:13 AM

NV is something I will definitely be looking into (and through...;)) in the future. As much as I would love to do it now, I can't afford it. But at some point selling a lot of things off can get me close to a used setup. 

 

I think that's the part people don't realize in terms of the cost of NV. We've grown so accustomed to buying mounts, scopes, EP's, finders, dew controllers, etc. that the cost is spread way out over time and we don't even think about the totality of our purchases. This leaves us having "sticker shock" with the cost of NV much akin to that costly apo refractor we drool over but can't afford either. And that apo we drool over still won't show us what an NV device will.

 

Not having an NV device, I can only imagine the experience for a first time user seeing things they've previously only dreamed of seeing, and chasing after more and bigger equipment that in the end only let's them down anyway...and at just as large of an expense as the NV setup.

 

With light pollution only getting worse, someday NV might be more commonplace, and the price might come down a little. Either way, I know it will be a part of my astronomy future. It's not a matter of if for me, it's just a matter of when.


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#20 SeymoreStars

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Posted 05 November 2017 - 07:29 PM

I am surprised that it would not reach focus.   A 1.25" diagonal should fix that.

I had a little used low profile 1.25" to 2" adapter that did the trick.



#21 Eddgie

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Posted 05 November 2017 - 09:48 PM

 

I am surprised that it would not reach focus.   A 1.25" diagonal should fix that.

I had a little used low profile 1.25" to 2" adapter that did the trick.

 

Excellent.  Yes, some 2" to 1.25" adapters can be as much as 10mm thick.

 

My own Mod 3 would also not fully seat in my 2" to 1.25" adapter because the battery cover and the gain switch would hit the adapter.

 

I attacked an old adapter with a grinder and put in relief cuts for the battery cap and the gain switch so now the face of the Mod 3 goes all the way flat to the adapter.  I also used a 1.25" nose that did not have a rim on it.  Together this probably saved 7-8mm.


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#22 Eddgie

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Posted 06 November 2017 - 10:04 AM

Here is my modified 2" to 1.25" adapter.  Back story is that I had replaced my stock focuser with a Feathertouch when I was binoviewing because the stock focuser was not really sufficient for the weight load and I needed the lower profile.

 

I have kind of lost interest in planetary observing these days (the only think I kept the Binotron for) so I decided to sell the binoviewer and focuser and convert my dob back to the factory focuser.

 

Now the concern was that the stock focuser was just enough taller that I would not be able to reach focus, but as it turned out, I could, but it was close.   What bothered me though was a problem that I had with the focuser adpapter itself, which was that my device would not fully seat in it due to interference from the gain knob and battery cover.  I took this opportunity to mod up the 2" adapter so the device would sit flush at the flange to the top of the adapter.

 

I just used a grinding wheel to hog out the unwanted material and kind of smooted it with a hand file. 

 

Crude, but now my device sits flush to the top of the adapter.

For someone that is only a few millimeters short of focus, going to a nose with no ridge at the top and modding the 2" to 1.25 adapter might do the trick.  The Scopestuff C mount might too, but I think it has the same issue with the gain control knob.

 

This 1.25" nose has a flange which takes up some back focus:

 

https://www.ebay.com...c4AAOxyf1dTHxbt

This one does not have the flange, but now your problem is that the gain knob and battery cover can hit the top of the adapter:

 

 https://www.ebay.com...B4AAOSw4shX5IsO

 

And here is the modified 2" to 1.25".  This one has M48 thread, so you can mount either 2" or 1.25 filters, and is a lot cheaper than the Scopestuff unit. though the Scopestuff one gets you a bit more in-travel.

 

Mod.jpg

 

And here shows the clearance of the gain knob.  I can roll the knob with the curve of my finger.

 

I make no excuses for my crude workmanship other than I have come to value function far more than form.  I used to think that how something looked was somehow relevant to how it would satisfy me, but now I don't care and what matters is that it works.  Some of my NV configurations are but bass ugly and weird looking to others, but I spend little time looking at my stuff and far more time than ever before looking through it.. LOL.

 

mod 2.jpg


Edited by Eddgie, 06 November 2017 - 10:05 AM.

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#23 SeymoreStars

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Posted 06 November 2017 - 10:35 AM

Fortunately I was able to cobble together a solution from existing parts which fits into my 2" diagonal or straight through if desired, no dremel tool necessary. This covers all my scopes.

 

I purchased a Computar 25mm F1.3 1" C-mount BMPCC Machine-Vision TV Lens CCTV  for ebay, I wanted an alternative lens when I show friends. I will reserve the ENVIS for my use.


Edited by sink45ny, 07 November 2017 - 08:01 AM.


#24 SeymoreStars

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Posted 14 November 2017 - 02:05 PM

The Computar 25mm F1.3 1" C-mount arrived today. She a cute little thing. I wonder how she will perform?

 


Edited by sink45ny, 14 November 2017 - 02:06 PM.

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#25 chemisted

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Posted 07 December 2017 - 09:51 AM

The Computar 25mm F1.3 1" C-mount arrived today. She a cute little thing. I wonder how she will perform?

 

Did you ever try this out?  Is there an adapter available that will allow 1.25" filters?




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