technology was once regarded as an untouchable tool reserved only for a select
group of people with specific jobs to do. But today, night vision devices are
indispensable for military and law enforcement officers, hunters, nature
enthusiasts, and security personnel, as well as people in many different
professions and with a variety of hobbies.
While the advantages they offer are clear and the technology has evolved to be user friendly and easy to operate, NVDs still require special care and handling. Safety procedures, regular maintenance, thorough cleaning, and proper storage are all necessary to keep your night vision device in working condition -- and to keep you safe.
Follow these 9 tips for keeping your night vision device protected and operational.
1. The Instruction Manual Is Your Best Friend
Most NVD units are simple to operate, but this often means users don’t think they need to read through the instruction manual before getting started. However, it is extremely important to be aware of the possible dangers operating such a device can present -- things that can damage the unit, of course, but more importantly, things that can cause harm to you. NVDs are made of delicate components, and even issues that seem minor can render the device unusable. NVDs also typically contain chemicals that are toxic if ingested, inhaled, or touched, making proper handling absolutely essential.
Always become familiar with your specific instrument’s limitations and recommendations when it comes to weather restrictions, temperature fluctuations, battery voltage, and operation to enable safe, effective use of your NVD. Instruction manuals also cover the most relevant and useful tips for using your device, so you can achieve the goals of your mission or excursion every time. So -- don’t just flip through that manual. Read it, keep it somewhere accessible, and refer to it whenever you have a question.
2. Avoid Any and All Sources of Bright Light
The bottom line? Never, ever turn on your device and remove the protective lens cover in daylight, or in the presence of lamplight, streetlights, large flames, or any other sources of bright light. The optics used in night vision devices are designed to work in environments with little to no ambient light, and subjecting them to intense illumination can cause serious, irreversible damage to the internal and external components.
You should also be cautious about using night vision devices around flashlights, headlights, campfires, and other similar sources of light, and you should never aim your unit directly at them. Bright lights can cause permanent damage to your equipment that will lead to expensive repairs and replacements -- neither of which are covered by the warranty.
3. Whatever You Do, Don’t Take it Apart
Night vision devices are complex, fragile, and constructed by a team of trained professionals. If you do not have hands-on experience working with the intricate mechanisms used in NVDs, attempting to take one apart is a mistake -- one that will prove to be costly, and that could even be dangerous If a component of your NVD is damaged or the device stops working, contact the manufacturer and arrange for repairs to make sure that your device is fixed properly.
4. Handle the Objective Lens with Care
The objective lens on a night vision device is the one positioned furthest from your eye. They are especially delicate and sensitive, and are covered with special type of coating that can be damaged easily. Do not touch it, especially with your bare skin, as the oils and microscopic debris on your fingertips can break down the coating.
When cleaning the objective lens, always use a soft, clean, and non-abrasive cloth. The user manual (remember -- that’s your best friend!) that accompanies your NVD contains detailed instructions on cleaning the optics both thoroughly and safely.
5. Always Know Your Voltage
The manufacturer of any night vision device will recommend using batteries with a specific voltage, which will change depending on how the equipment is constructed and what, exactly, it’s used for. Choose the batteries according those recommendations to ensure that your unit works properly and safely. Today’s NVDs are largely built with internal protective mechanisms that prevent you from operating them with the wrong types of batteries -- however, it’s always better to proactively prevent the risk than regret it later.
Finally, it’s important that you remove the batteries from your equipment when it’s not in use, and if you need to change the battery out, avoid doing so in humid or wet environments. Moisture can cause severe malfunctions if it gets inside an NVD.
6. Beware High Humidity
Many night vision devices are designed to be waterproof or water-resistant, but not all of them. Always be sure to verify whether your unit can withstand high-humidity conditions, rain, and fog before using it in this type of weather. you know your device well enough before use it under high humidity conditions. This type of weather can not only cause visibility issues, but can permanently damage your device if the right precautions are not taken
7. Your NVD is Not a Toy
Night vision devices are an important addition to any tactical professional or enthusiast’s collection, and the best part is that they’re fun to use. But they should never be considered toys; they’re designed with many fragile optics, delicate mechanisms, and in some cases, hazardous chemical materials. While many newer NVDs are built with shock-resistant housing, they will not protect against sharp temperature changes, extreme weather, or falls from great heights. Never drop, hit, kick, or throw them, and always use high-quality mounts and rails suggested in your user manual. When traveling with the device, always pack it in its specially-designed bags, pouches, or hard cases to best protect it
8. Always Clean Your Equipment Properly
As we’ve now said twice, the operation manual is your best friend. It always contains the necessary instructions on how to clean your unit depending on its model and features, as well as what can (or can’t) be used on it. Read it carefully to find out the best way to keep your equipment in great shape.
Remember to refrain from using detergents or abrasives, which can damage the lenses, and always use soft, clean cloths to clean your NVD.
If you have to remove dirt from the housing, make sure to use a small amount of distilled water on the cloth, and remember to dry the unit afterwards. As always, don’t allow water to get inside the device, and steer clear of any cleaning solutions that may leave mineral or chemical residue behind.
9. Follow Storage Procedures Every Time
If you are not going to use the device for a long period of time, remember to turn it off and remove the battery. Never, ever store the unit with the batteries still installed, as they may corrode, causing serious damage to the device and danger to the user (you). Keep your NVD somewhere secure, cool, dry, and well away from flammable materials, exposed electrical wiring, or high heat.
There you have it: 9 key tips for keeping your night vision devices safe and in great condition. Follow these whenever working with NVDs, and you’ll be able to enjoy top-performing gear for years to come.