L3 Unfilmed White Tube Question

Burke888

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Hi Everyone,

I'm new to the night vision hobby and am looking to educate myself regarding night vision tubes that are available commercially on the US civilian market. Based on my understanding the top tier tube right now is manufactured by L3 (the EoTech company) and are Generation III Unfilmed.

For the commercially available tubes, can anyone confirm that these are basically tubes that have failed to meet some sort of specific metric set forth by the US Military?
For example, if I were to buy an assembled RNVG with L3 Unfilmed White tubes, the tubes would basically consist of Milspec rejects? I'm assuming they are rejected for missing a metric, such as a zone 3 blem? If this is true is there anyway for a US civilian to purchase a set of non-rejected tubes? Or am I completely misunderstanding and the civilian L3 tubes are in fact straight from L3?

I really appreciate the help and clarification.

Thanks!
 

wtfshane

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Milspec doesn't always mean quality. From my limited understanding, I think they're pretty much the same tubes.
 

LSUbeatUby40

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No the tubes did not fail any mil-spec tests. They are (to my knowledge) new tubes and the same ones that military gets. They will not be SOCOM rated tubes most likely as those (again as i understand it) reserved for those guys.

hell in some cases, you might get a better tube commercially than an issued tube. Luck of the draw.
 
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TheHorta

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Like beef, NV Tubes fall into different quality groups. Tubes with issues — blemishes in primary zones, underperforming specs in some categories — places them into well predefined quality groupings.

The only thing about “.MIL” spec is the DoD lays out minimum specifications in each category. If a tube meets or exceeds these minimum specs across the board, it can be shipped as a military contract tube and Uncle Sam will buy it. They also have a similar system for SOCOM with even more rigid specs.

Many commercial tubes meet or exceed .MIL specs as well, and in some cases come close to or meet even SOCOM standards — **IF** existing contracts have been fulfilled. A few dealers are buying genuine 24UA tubes from L3 now, and I’ve seen some L3 UWP tubes with near 3000 FOM, zero blems, and tiny Halo and EBI numbers.

These are the tubes collectors, like myself, wait for — and pay handsomely for as well. :giggle:
 

TheHorta

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Milspec doesn't always mean quality. From my limited understanding, I think they're pretty much the same tubes.
“Milspec” — at least when applied to NV tubes — means a guaranteed minimum quality... a known minimum. After that, all bets are off. Some may barely squeek by, others could be stellar SOCOM rejects that missed the cut by 0.1 EBI. It’s entirely luck of the draw at that point. Some lucky grunt might well get a 3000FOM tube and not have a clue.

As a side note... do you know why they don’t include spec sheets with .MIL tubes?

To prevent cherry-picking by troops. When no one knows the specs, no one cares and it’s a non-issue.
 

Will-1

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Yessir, high spec L3Harris filmless is the best performing tube available period.

Disregard “Mil-Spec” when it comes to tubes because an actual mil-spec tube is one that goes to a contract and will be labeled on the tube as such.

The commercially available tubes can have the same or higher specs than the “mil-spec” minimums or they can be lower. It depends on the actual tube p/n.

For example, the 1701 tubes are commercial tubes and can have some outstanding high specs however their minimums can be fairly low in some areas such as resolution below 64 and EBI up to 5.0. They failed for any number of reasons that made them a 1701 instead of a 18UM, 20UM, or 22UM. 22UM/UA has the highest minimum specs however 18UM/UA tubes or 1701 can have higher specs so it’s no guarantee if you’re ordering based on part number only.

Spots, fixed pattern noise, and blemishes in the image are the most common reasons from what I’ve seen.

The best bet to get the best performance possible is to be able to pick your tubes based on the specs you want or to request a hand selected tube. Due to the high demand for them many dealers are back ordered on tubes so they can’t guarantee specs.
 
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WhereNow&How

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Nothing like letting your enemy know right where you are at night
Yeah, I hear that all the time. With Thermal out there, if they don't already know I'm there, I will have known they out there for a long time.

With the prevalence of Thermal out there, IR light discipline is becoming less of a thing.

In today's world it would be pretty safe to assume anyone running NV has Thermal capabilities as well or at least you should assume that.

IR is quite often needed to make PID decisions when nothing else can. So point being when it counts, IR counts, just make sure you are in a good position before activating.
 
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BigBurkeyBoy

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A few dealers are buying genuine 24UA tubes from L3 now, and I’ve seen some L3 UWP tubes with near 3000 FOM, zero blems, and tiny Halo and EBI numbers.
Could you let us know which dealers are getting genuine tubes? I'd much rather go with one of those companies if I'm going to spend near $10,000 for a set of RNVGs knowing I am getting a higher quality tube.

Thanks!
 
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WhereNow&How

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Could you let us know which dealers are getting genuine tubes? I'd much rather go with one of those companies if I'm going to spend near $10,000 for a set of RNVGs knowing I am getting a higher quality tube.

Thanks!
I got the answer from him, but he made me swear not to tell. :LOL:
 
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WhereNow&How

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FYI

Just because a tube is a “genuine” contract tube doesn’t mean it’s going to be any higher quality or better performing than a commercially sold tube.
Yeah, I got 2 older Omni 7 Contract overruns. They noisier than a class full of kindergarteners during recess.

But Jays Sureshot SNB filters fixed all that. :) They high spec now.
 

NateSavannah

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Like beef, NV Tubes fall into different quality groups. Tubes with issues — blemishes in primary zones, underperforming specs in some categories — places them into well predefined quality groupings.

The only thing about “.MIL” spec is the DoD lays out minimum specifications in each category. If a tube meets or exceeds these minimum specs across the board, it can be shipped as a military contract tube and Uncle Sam will buy it. They also have a similar system for SOCOM with even more rigid specs.

Many commercial tubes meet or exceed .MIL specs as well, and in some cases come close to or meet even SOCOM standards — **IF** existing contracts have been fulfilled. A few dealers are buying genuine 24UA tubes from L3 now, and I’ve seen some L3 UWP tubes with near 3000 FOM, zero blems, and tiny Halo and EBI numbers.

These are the tubes collectors, like myself, wait for — and pay handsomely for as well. :giggle:
See alot of words thrown around but not alot of numbers. any idea what those SOCOM standards are currently? or what theyve been recently?
Are the top tier guys getting 4000 fom stuff yet? or is 3000 still the gold standard of good?
Just curious. See socom standards mentioned a decent amount but no one seems to mention what those may be. totally get the need to know aspect, but also understand loose lips sink ships. and the ocean bottom is full of ships.
 

TheHorta

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I’ve only heard probably what others have, the very best performing 1% are pulled and reserved for special customers. I don’t think they’re hitting anywhere near 4000 yet (maybe there has been a unicorn, who knows) but as they refine their manufacturing process they’re beginning to yield a lot more ‘Super Tubes” — more than enough to fill contracts — and we reap those benefits.

Everything is going fusion. Hoping we see that become commercially available soon, but the consumer market for $30K NV is microscopic.

If I am elected POTUS, I will give every gun-owning American a fusion system with wireless thermal weapon scope.

Vote HORTA 2020!
 

WhereNow&How

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See alot of words thrown around but not alot of numbers. any idea what those SOCOM standards are currently? or what theyve been recently?
Are the top tier guys getting 4000 fom stuff yet? or is 3000 still the gold standard of good?
Just curious. See socom standards mentioned a decent amount but no one seems to mention what those may be. totally get the need to know aspect, but also understand loose lips sink ships. and the ocean bottom is full of ships.
Easy now, them that talk or think about talking get special visits. :LOL:

1596636979846.png
 

WhereNow&How

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I’ve only heard probably what others have, the very best performing 1% are pulled and reserved for special customers. I don’t think they’re hitting anywhere near 4000 yet (maybe there has been a unicorn, who knows) but as they refine their manufacturing process they’re beginning to yield a lot more ‘Super Tubes” — more than enough to fill contracts — and we reap those benefits.

Everything is going fusion. Hoping we see that become commercially available soon, but the consumer market for $30K NV is microscopic.

If I am elected POTUS, I will give every gun-owning American a fusion system with wireless thermal weapon scope.

Vote HORTA 2020!
We can get you elected. I just got to get up with the correct vote result riggers. :LOL:

I hear there are increasing their numbers and efforts as we speak.
 
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SkyScrapin

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I’ve only heard probably what others have, the very best performing 1% are pulled and reserved for special customers. I don’t think they’re hitting anywhere near 4000 yet (maybe there has been a unicorn, who knows) but as they refine their manufacturing process they’re beginning to yield a lot more ‘Super Tubes” — more than enough to fill contracts — and we reap those benefits.

Everything is going fusion. Hoping we see that become commercially available soon, but the consumer market for $30K NV is microscopic.

If I am elected POTUS, I will give every gun-owning American a fusion system with wireless thermal weapon scope.

Vote HORTA 2020!
Have "heard" the same in terms of refined processes are yielding extremely specific tube specs such as 40 S/N or .1 Halo .1 Ebi, but the problem is durability when you stretch the limits. They "allegedly" will make you whatever you want so long as you order 100 units, and if you want them super duper specs, you get no warranty. Again, "allegedly".
 

WhereNow&How

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Have "heard" the same in terms of refined processes are yielding extremely specific tube specs such as 40 S/N or .1 Halo .1 Ebi, but the problem is durability when you stretch the limits. They "allegedly" will make you whatever you want so long as you order 100 units, and if you want them super duper specs, you get no warranty. Again, "allegedly".
Yeah, there is another pretty knowledgeable fella that posts over on Arfcom that says L3 can "overcook" them to get high specs but that durability and longevity is an issue.
 

Surgeon_Shooter

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Yeah, there is another pretty knowledgeable fella that posts over on Arfcom that says L3 can "overcook" them to get high specs but that durability and longevity is an issue.
I’d like to read this... Where could one find the thread? There’s 3 things to “turn up” in a tube module. Photocathode, micro channel plate and phosphor screen. If you over power the MCP it gets extremely noisy and can very quickly kill itself, the phosphor screen just gets brighter if over powered but no specs would change, but the PC could be adjusted via the power supply I assume. I speculate that if it were as simple as sending more power to the pc to get really high specs L3 would already be doing it.
Sounds interesting and I’d like to read about this!

Jay
 

Will-1

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I’d like to read this... Where could one find the thread? There’s 3 things to “turn up” in a tube module. Photocathode, micro channel plate and phosphor screen. If you over power the MCP it gets extremely noisy and can very quickly kill itself, the phosphor screen just gets brighter if over powered but no specs would change, but the PC could be adjusted via the power supply I assume. I speculate that if it were as simple as sending more power to the pc to get really high specs L3 would already be doing it.
Sounds interesting and I’d like to read about this!

Jay
Ah, I remember that post. It was a thread about filmless tube life and IIRC it was NSFJojo who mentioned overcooked tubes among other things such as L3 being "cucks". Let's just say he is no fan of L3, lol. I haven't seen him post in a long time so don't know if he's around.

I don't remember him referring to overcooking them to get more performance but rather that they overcook them when they don't need to. IIRC, his theory that they reduce the voltage to extend tube life but if they turned it up it would increase performance at the cost of greatly shortened life.

That thread was before info got out regarding that filmless tubes aren't technically "filmless" but rather have a "special" film barrier.
 
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WhereNow&How

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I’d like to read this... Where could one find the thread? There’s 3 things to “turn up” in a tube module. Photocathode, micro channel plate and phosphor screen. If you over power the MCP it gets extremely noisy and can very quickly kill itself, the phosphor screen just gets brighter if over powered but no specs would change, but the PC could be adjusted via the power supply I assume. I speculate that if it were as simple as sending more power to the pc to get really high specs L3 would already be doing it.
Sounds interesting and I’d like to read about this!

Jay
Yeah, it was NSFJojo. He has been a long long long time member (like 2004 IIRC) over there. Certain powers that be got him kicked off for a while (not long, not long) but he had enough stroke to get back on. He seemed to be a very knowledgeable guy, not sure of his credentials. Horta has a pretty accurate description of his postings.

He kinda has the Nostradamus effect. I know things y'all don't. So take that for what it was worth.

But I always read and re-read and re-read what he would post trying to glean fully what he was saying in his "Quatrains"
 
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WhereNow&How

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JoJo's writing kinda reminded me also of the mad scientist Doc in the Back To The Future movie. He also seemed to have some serious overseas connections with the Japanese. Tried to run that down but it got complicated so I could not pin point what his connection or role was.

My impression overall was that he is in the industry in some form or fashion. Maybe I'm wrong and he is a kook, but my gut tells me he is not.
 
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TheHorta

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JoJo's writing kinda reminded me also of the mad scientist Doc in the Back To The Future movie. He also seemed to have some serious overseas connections with the Japanese. Tried to run that down but it got complicated so I could not pin point what his connection or role was.

My impression overall was that he is in the industry in some form or fashion. Maybe I'm wrong and he is a kook, but my gut tells me he is not.
Well... he’s kooky, but definitely not a kook. 😁
 

Will-1

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Not sure if he was in the industry but I remember someone asking him and he denied it. All of the links he provided were open source and can be found on Google. He referenced Hammatsu a lot. They make image intensifiers and he linked/referenced some of their published materials.
 

wtfshane

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“Milspec” — at least when applied to NV tubes — means a guaranteed minimum quality... a known minimum. After that, all bets are off. Some may barely squeek by, others could be stellar SOCOM rejects that missed the cut by 0.1 EBI. It’s entirely luck of the draw at that point. Some lucky grunt might well get a 3000FOM tube and not have a clue.
My answer was very blunt.
 
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MarinePMI

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He would always get heated about L3 but I could never confirm anything he said so I kinda disregarded it.
He didn't perhaps work for one of the trading houses, and got screwed over by L3 did he?

I've worked with some, and those guys have long memories, and hold grudges if they feel like they were disrespected or screwed over by a company. Some of the comments I've heard always left me with the "let's make sure this doesn't blow up on them, if we wana do business here in the future" sort of mindset.

ETA: Bear in mind that "L3" encompasses a lot of different entities. Like SAIC ("Send Another Incompetent Contractor"), L-3 has varying degrees of quality with it's business entities. Some that I've worked with have been top notch (L3 and SAIC). Others...not so much. But the same goes for any of the big Defense companies, be it GD, NGC, LM or BAE... So, it could be that the guy got burned by someone in one of the divisions, but he laid blame on the entire company as a result. Who knows...
 
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