1. Q: What are the differences between Generation I, Generation II and Generation III night vision devices?
A: The main difference between various night vision devices is the intensifier or photocathode tube. Generation I devices use a photocathode tube which amplifies ambient light by accelerating electrons and striking the phosphorescent screen which in turn provides an image that is magnified and easily viewed by the night scopes ocular or eyepiece. Generation II devices use a micro-channel plate to achieve lower image distortion as well as higher light amplification characteristics. Generation III adds Gallium Arsenide to the Intensifier tube and a special protective film on the micro-channel plate, which increases the life of the tube. Generation I devices are the most reasonably priced Night Vision products and thus provide the greatest value to consumer and other enthusiasts seeking night vision capabilities.
2. Q: What is the effective viewing range of the Night Vision Device?
A: It varies anywhere from 10 to 400 ft. The maximum viewing distance depends on the conditions of use. Overcast conditions, fog, rain etc. may reduce the effective distance of a night vision viewer. An Infra-red illuminator will increase your viewing range, especially in enclosed spaces like a warehouse, garage or other enclosed parameters.
3. Q: Can I use a Night Vision device in extremely low light, or absolutely no light conditions?
A: While it is true that your Night Vision device needs some available light to work, it is still possible to see a bright image in low light or no light conditions with the use of an Infrared Illuminator, which can be either built-in or attached to the device. On most of the Cobra product line, the Infrared Illuminator is either standard, or available as an option.
4. Q: What is the maximum effective distance of the Infrared Illuminator?
A: It varies from model to model, but typically, anywhere between 75 and 250 ft.
6. Q: What type of light source can be harmful to a Night Vision Device?
A: Your night vision device is designed to be used to assist your viewing in the dark. It may be harmful and will likely damage the device if you use it during the daytime or whenever there is sufficient light to see the object. Also keep in mind that strong direct light, such as projectors, car headlamps, strong flashlights and so on, may be harmful to your night vision unit if you direct you device at the source of these intense lights.
7. Q: How do I generally focus a Night Vision Device?
A: It is recommended to start focusing from the eyepiece (ocular lens) and then move to the front lens (objective lens). You may have to adjust each lens several times before getting a sharp image.
8. Q: Are Cobra products shockproof?
A: No. Night Vision products are sensitive to impact and should be treated as, for example, a photographic camera, or a camcorder.
9. Q: Can a Night Vision device and/or Infrared Illuminator be harmful to an individual?
A: Night vision products produced by Cobra Optics comply with FDA regulations in terms of safety for an electronic device, similar to other electronic devices such as televisions, and radios. Individuals with sensitive eyes such as those who experience eye fatigue while watching television, may experience the same sort of fatigue if they use their night vision viewer for a prolonged time.
10. Q: Can I replace the objective lens in my Night Cobra monocular (binoculars) with stronger ones?
A: While it is technically possible to replace the objective lens, please note that the standard factory lens is adjusted to align precisely with the position of the Intensifier Tube, so that the unit can be focused correctly for both close and far distances. Any replacement may jeopardize the correct focusing ability of your Night Vision Device and may also limit its light amplification properties thus making the device less bright during nighttime use. Therefore it is not recommended to change the objective lens of your device.
11. Q: When I am operating my Night Vision Device, I sometimes hear buzzing sound. Is it normal?
A: Yes, the "buzzing" sound is quite normal, and, unless it is affecting the performance of your Night Vision Viewer, it is not considered to be an imperfection. It is the power supply working to produce an image on your intensifier tube, which is then picked up by the ocular so that you can see what you are looking at.
12. Q: Can my Night Vision Device be used as a Thermal Imager?
A: Night Vision devices are passive and operate as a light amplifier, which assists you in viewing in dark conditions. It cannot detect heat, which is the technology behind thermal imaging.
13. Q: Is it harmful to pass a Night Vision device through an airport's X-ray checkpoint?
A: It is absolutely safe to pass your Night Vision device through the baggage security check at airports. Also note, first generation devices can be taken out of into many countries without a license including the U.S. Second and Third generation night vision devices are regulated by the State Department in the U.S. Other countries also restrict their movement around the world. Please consult the proper authorities when you travel with a Gen II or III night vision device.
14. Q: What type of batteries do Cobra devices use, and how long will they last?
A: Cobra devices use commonly available batteries, such as 1,5V AA type, or 3V Lithium type. Generally the device will last up to 15-20 hours of continuous use if the Infrared Illuminator is in OFF position. If used with the lluminator, expect 30-40% less operating time.
15. Q: What is the warranty-coverage on Cobra Products?
A: Every Cobra device comes with a one-year limited warranty on parts and labor. This warranty does not cover exposure of the device to excessive light, which is discussed in more detail in your owner's manual.