FAQ

Where are you located?

We are located in Luxembourg in the heart of the European Union

Which services do you offer?
We can repair, maintain, clean, purge, modify and/or upgrade most every night vision device out there.
Additionally, we can design and develop systems especially for your needs.

How can I become a distributor of your products?
Just go ahead and send us an email.

What tube manufacturers do you have?
We use either Photonis or Harder.

Can you give me details about your tubes?

Please read our image intensifier info page:
https://www.actinblack.com/faq/image-intensifier-tubes/

Can I mount your systems on a rifle? Up to which caliber are they rated?
All Clip-On systems like the CO-MR and CO-X can be shot up to .300 Win Mag.
We are working on getting our Gen 3 tubes rated to this caliber as well.
Right now all night vision devices with Photonis tubes are rated up to .300 Win Mag – this includes PVS-14 and MUM/Mini-14.

What would damage my night vision device?
Intense “warm” light and IR light sources such as older non-LED car lights (close range) or an IR laser will most likely do permanent damage to your night vision device.

Are there any restrictions buying these as a civilian in the European Union?
As a citizen of a country within the European Union and being in the EU, you can purchase any device without exception from us. Please check your local laws as some countries prohibit the use or ownership of some night vision devices.

Can night vision devices be exported?
All devices can be sold to anyone within the European Union without any paperwork required.
However, there might be paperwork required by your own country if you reexport your device (including a just a hunting trip to another country). Please check your local laws regarding those rules and applying paperwork.

We also export to following non-EU countries with non or limited paperwork:
Australia, Switzerland, Canada, New Zealand, United States of America, Norway and Japan
We might also export to other countries than those listed above, please contact us for that.

Are your products made in the US?
Some, like the MUM/Mini-14, actually are, but
none of these are ITAR-restricted.

How long is warranty for your products?
Two years.

I am not happy with my product. Can I return it?
You also have the right to return every item within 14 days after you received it for a full refund. In order to avoid this, please contact us upfront and get advice on which product will fit you and your needs best. We do our best to get the best device for you and your budget.

What does Automatic Brightness Control (ABC) mean?
This allows the tube to protect itself from overexposure. It keeps the image within a certain brightness range with upper limit, meaning there is a limit to how bright a tube can get to prevent damage.

Autogated PSU?
This is nothing else then PWM but for image intensifier tubes. Offering the tube better protection and preventing resolution loss in high light conditions.

Black Spots?
Almost every tube has them, bigger or smaller. These are dust-particles trapped in the tube during the manufacturing process and are almost impossible to avoid.

Bright Spots?
This is a defective MCP, meaning electrons are being released even if they shouldn’t. This is
a common phenomenon in well used older tubes. Their visibility can vary depending on the light exposure conditions.

Biocular?
Using a single image intensifier tube with both eyes.

Binocular?
Viewing a scene through two image intensifiers; i.e. one channel per eye.

Blooming?
Loss in visibility due to a bright light source. Common in Gen 0 and Gen 1.

Chicken Wire?
A
pattern of dark thin lines in the field of view either throughout the image area or in parts of the image area. Under the worst-case condition, these lines will form hexagonal or square wave-shape lines. This is due to the structural bundles of with either the MCP or the fibre optic.

Diopter?
The unit of measure used to define eye correction or the refractive power of a lens. Usually, adjustments to an optical eyepiece accommodate for differences in individual eyesight. Most systems provide a +2 to -6 Diopter range.

Distortion?
There are two types of distortion found in night vision systems. One type is caused by the design of the optics, or image intensifier tube, and is classical optical distortion. The other type is associated with manufacturing flaws in the fiber optics used in the image intensifier
tube. Optical Distortion: Optical distortion occurs when the design of the optics causes straight lines at the edge of the field of view to curve inward or outward. This curving of straight lines at the edge will cause a square grid pattern to start to look like a pincushion or barrel. This distortion is the same for all systems with the same model number. Good optical design normally makes this distortion so low that the typical user will not see the curving of the lines.

Fiber Optics Distortions: Two types of fiber optics distortions are most significant to night vision devices: S-distortion and shear distortion:

S-Distortion: Results from the twisting operation in manufacturing fiber-optic inverters. Usually S- distortion is very small and is difficult to detect with the unaided eye.

Shear Distortion: Can occur in any image tube that uses fiber-optic bundles for the phosphor screen. It appears as a cleavage or dislocation in a straight line viewed in the image area, as though the line were “sheared”.

Eye Relief?
The distance a person’s eyes must be from the last element of an eyepiece in order to achieve the optimal image area.

Field-of-View?
The angle of the visible area you see through your night vision device.

Figure of Merit (FOM)?
Image Intensification tube specification designation, calculated on line pair per mm x signal to noise. (FOM=lp/mm * SNR)

Gain?
Also called brightness gain or luminance gain. This is the number of times a night vision device amplifies light input. It is usually measured as tube gain and system gain. Tube gain is measured as the light output (in fL) divided by the light input (in fc). This figure is usually expressed in values of tens of thousands. If tube gain is pushed too high, the tube will be “noisier” and the signal-to- noise ration many go down. Military Gen 3 image tubes operate at gains of between 20,000 and 45,000.

Gallium Arsenide (GaAs)?
The semiconductor material used in manufacturing the Gen 3 photocathode. GaAs photocathodes have a very high photosensitivity in the spectral region of about 450 to 950 nanometers (visible and near-infrared region).

Highlight Shutoff?
An image intensifier protection feature build in to the housing, incorporating a sensor, microprocessor and circuit breaker. This feature will turn the system off during periods of extreme bright light conditions.

Interpupillary Adjustment?
The distance between the user’s eyes (pupils) and the adjustment of binocular optics to adjust for differences in individuals. Improperly adjusted binoculars will display a scene that appears egg- shaped or as a reclining figure-8 and can cause headache and eyestrain.

Interpupillary Distance?
The distance between the user’s pupils (eyeball centers). The 95th percentile of US military personnel falls within the 55 to 72mm range of IPD.

IR (Infrared)?
Area outside the visible spectrum that cannot be seen by the human eye (between 700 nanometers and 1 millimeter). The visible spectrum is between 400 and 700 nanometers. Image intensifiers operate in the near infrared spectrum and thermal devices operate in the far infrared spectrum.

Lp/mm (Line Pairs per Millimeter)?
Units used to measure image intensifier resolution. Typically, the higher the line pair, the better the image resolution. Generation 3 tubes generally have a range of 64 – 72 lp/mm, although line pair measurement does not indicate the generation of the tube. Some Generation 2+ tubes measure 28-38 lp/mm, (Gen 2+ at 54-59 lp/mm typically), while a Generation 1+ tube may have measure at 40 lp/mm.

MCP (Microchannel Plate)?
A metal-coated glass disk that multiplies the electrons produced by the photocathode. An MCP is found only in Gen 2 or Gen 3 systems. MCPs eliminate the distortion characteristic of Gen 0 and Gen 1 systems. The number of holes (channels) in an MCP is a major factor in determining resolution. Modern MCPs have about 10 million holes or channels compared to the previous standard of 3.14 million.

Milliradians (mrad)?
A unit of measurement used to determine the divergence of a laser beam. The miliradian is equal to 0.001 radians and corresponds to an error of 1 meter at 1,000 meters.

MOA (Minute Of Angle)?
Used in the shooting world as a point of reference, a Minute Of Angle is 1.047 inches at 100 yards. Normal shooter application uses the simplified 1” at 100 yards. For perspective, the difference between using the exact 1.047 and 1” is 0,47” at 1,000 yards. So, if a reticle has a 1 MOA dot, the
dot would cover 1” at 100 yards. MOA is also relative to the click adjustments on scopes and iron sights. Scopes with 1/4MOA clicks would require 4 clicks to shift the bullet impact 1MOA (1”) at 100 yards. The same adjustment would move the bullet impact 1MOA at 200 yards, which is 2 inches. A simple way to calculate MOA at ranges less than 100 yards is to use the 100 yard adjustment and doubling the number of clicks for 50 yards and doubling again for 25 yards. For example, if a scope has 1?2 MOA click adjustments, it will require 2 clicks to move the bullet 1” at 100 yards, 4 clicks to move the impact 1” at 50 yards and 8 clicks to move it 1” at 25 yards.

Photocathode?
The input surface of an image intensifier tube that absorbs light energy (photons) and in turn releases electrical energy (electrons) in the form of an image. The type of material used is a distinguishing characteristic of the different generations.

Photocathode Sensitivity?
Photocathode sensitivity is a measure of how well the image intensifier tube converts light into an electronic signal so it can be amplified. The measuring units of photocathode sensitivity are micro- amps/lumen (
?A/lm) or microamperes per lumen. This criterion specifies the number of electrons released by the Photocathode (PC). PC response is always measured in isolation with no amplification stage or ion barrier (film). Therefore, tube data sheets (which always carry this “raw” figure) do not reflect the fact that over 50% of those electrons are lost in the ion barrier. While for most latest 3rd generation image intensifiers the photo response is in the 1800 ?A/lm (2000 ?A/lm for the latest Omni VI Pinnacle tubes), the actual number is more like 900 ?A/lm.

Picatinny Rail/ Mount?
Named after the Picatinny Arsenal in New Jersey, where it was developed, the rail comprises a series of ridges with a T-shaped cross-section interspersed with flat “spacing slots”. Scopes et al. are mounted either by sliding them on from one end or the other; by means of a “rail-grabber” which is clamped to the rail with bolts, thumbscrews or levers; or onto the slots between the raised sections. Picatinny rail sections are the current standard attachment methods for weapon accessories among US and NATO forces.

Resolution?
The ability of an image intensifier or night vision system to distinguish between objects close together. Image intensifier resolution is measured in line pairs per millimeter (lp/mm) while system resolution is measured in cycles per miliradian. For any particular night vision system, the image intensifier resolution will remain constant while the system resolution can be affected by altering the objective or eyepiece optics by adding magnification or relay lenses. Often the resolution in the same night vision device is very different when measured at the centre of the image and at the periphery of the image. This is especially important for devices selected for photograph or video where the entire image resolution is important. Measured in line pairs per millimeter (lp/mm).

Reticle (Reticle Pattern)?
An adjustable aiming point or pattern (i.e. crosshair) located within an optical weapon sight.

Signal-to-Noise Ratio (SNR)?
A measure of the light signal reaching the eye divided by the perceived noise as seen by the eye. A tube’s SNR determines the low light resolution of the image tube; therefore, the higher the SNR, the better the ability of the tube to resolve objects with good contrast under low-light conditions. Because SNR is directly related to the photocathode’s sensitivity and also accounts for phosphor efficiency and MCP operating voltage, it is the best single indicator of an image intensifier’s performance.

Scintillation?
Also known as electronic noise. A faint, random, sparkling effect throughout the image area. Scintillation is a normal characteristic of Microchannel plate image intensifiers and is more pronounced under low-light-level conditions.

Screen?
The image tube output that produces the viewable image. Phosphor (P) is used on the inside surface of the screen to produce the glow, thus producing the picture. Different phosphors are used in image intensifier tubes, depending on manufacturer and tube generation. P-20 phosphor is used in the systems offered in this catalogue.

Stereoscopic Night Vision?
When two views or photographs are taken through one device. One view/photograph represents the left eye, and the other the right eye. When the two photographs are viewed in a stereoscopic apparatus, they combine to create a single image with depth and relief. Sometimes this gives two perspectives. However, it is usually not an issue because the object of focus is far enough away for the perspectives to blend into one.

Variable Gain Control?
Allows the user to manually adjust the gain control
(basically like a dim control) in varying light conditions. This feature sets the PVS-14 apart from other popular monoculars that do not offer this feature.

Weaver Mounting System?
A US weapon mounting system used for attaching sighting devices to weapons. A Weaver Rail is a weapon-unique notched metal rail designed to receive a mating throw-lever or Weaver Squeezer attached to the sighting device.

Zeroing?
A method of
bore sighting an aiming device to a weapon and adjusting to compensate for projectile characteristics at known distances.