Q Do my binoculars need regular servicing?
A Simply put, yes. After you have been using them for a while dirt will build up on the outside. In a porro prism design binocular, this dirt can ingress under the eyepieces and fall onto the prisms. In all designs the build-up of body oils, from your hands or from your eye region, onto the binocular rubber, will eventually cause the rubber to deteriorate.
Q. What is the difference between a service and a restoration?
A. This is a good question! Let's break this down into age, if you have great Grandpa's old field glasses where the leatherette is missing on one side and the rest falling off and the brass is green, then that's a restoration. If you have Grandpa's binoculars from the early 1900's that too will be a restoration. If you have Dad's binoculars from the 1960's or 1970's, that may qualify as a restoration if there is evidence of the aluminium oxidising (white powder on the body or under the leatherette) then that's also a restoration. Then, if your binoculars have NEVER been serviced and/or they are over 30 years old, then you will be getting on towards needing a bit of both!
A service: Think of it like having a service on your car. When you need your 10,000km service you take it to the mechanic who changes your oil, checks your washer fluid, checks your radiator, tyres and checks the rest of the car for faults. For your binoculars, the focus assembly will be cleaned of old grease and relubricated, the operation of the binocular will be checked, the right hand dioptre checked, the rubber eyecups cleaned of 3 years of facial oil and makeup, the leatherette cleaned and the optics cleaned externally. That should be done every 3-5 years depending upon usage. It takes about 45 minutes to an hour depending upon the model.
A major service: With a major service the mechanic will change the oil, retension the timing belt, change the brake pads, check your airconditioning and adjust your handbrake. For your binoculars you may have dropped or knocked them so they are stripped of the major parts, the focus assembly will be cleaned of old grease (and in some cases grass seeds and grass as well) & relubricated, the rubber eyecups cleaned of 5 years of facial oil and makeup, any dirt or dust blown out of the body, the hinge checked for cleanliness (and in some cases grass seeds and grass as well) and correct operation, the prisms are removed and cleaned and reseated, the objective lenses are cleaned internally and externally, if the field lens of the eyepiece needs cleaning then that is done as well. Then they are reassembled and collimated. It takes about and hour to and hour and a half depending upon the model.
A restoration: You inherit Greatgrandpa's 1920's car and it needs stripping and repainting, new tyres, new leather seats, a new fuel tank, new belts, new carpet... you get the drift, as well as all the other things mentioned above. That's the same for binoculars, new leatherette, sometimes new prisms (you can imagine they're hard to get after 90 odd years), all the optics cleaned, all the old grease removed and changed, sometimes they are sealed with pitch, which makes for a fun time when it's right up to the edge of the optical elements! The retaining bolts will, nine times out of ten, be burred where previous attempts at servicing were done by an incompetent technician with the wrong screwdriver! Sometimes they need to be drilled out and the thread recut. Then new bolts have to be located (not easy after 60 odd years, no manufacturer keeps parts that long!). Aluminium oxide will have to be cut out of the body and the body resealed. And on an on it goes and includes the rest of the major service!
Q Why am I seeing two images?
A This means that your binoculars are out of collimation. Your binocular type will determine as to how long collimation will take. Some designs do not make collimation an easy task, but all binoculars can be collimated.
Q I have scratches on the lenses, can this be repaired?
A No. Once a lens is scratched it needs to be completely replaced. You cannot regrind and polish the surface and maintain the specification of the lens.
Q I have lost/broken a part of my binocular, can I get this part from you?
A ROPTR does keep quite a large quantity of spare parts of all types. We have the ability to fabricate some parts as well should the need arise.
Q When I look through my binoculars they appear foggy. Or: My binoculars have a fine lacework looking pattern on the lenses. What?s gone wrong?
A This is an indication that moisture has somehow worked its way into the binocular. This can cause mould to grow on the surface of the prisms or lenses. If not taken care of within a reasonably short period of time, the mould will permanently damage the surface of the optics.
Q. My waterproof gas filled binoculars have got mould growing on the prisms can that be removed?
A. So they're waterproof are they? Mould grows in the presence of moisture, nitrogen filled huh? If moisture can get in, nitrogen can get out! I will purge binoculars with nitrogen, but I will never guarantee that they are waterproof!
Q How much is a collimation going to cost me?
A That will depend upon the reason for the misalignment of the optics. If internal prisms have moved, then it will be more expensive as the binocular has to be disassembled and the prisms reseated before a collimation can be done.
Q When I look through my scope it appears foggy. Or: My scope has a fine lacework looking pattern on the front lens. What?s gone wrong?
A This is an indication that moisture has somehow worked its way into the telescope. This can cause mould to grow on the surface of the prisms or lenses. If not taken care of within a reasonably short period of time, the mould will permanently damage the surface of the optics.
Q I have managed to drop my spotting scope and it now rattles when I move it. Does this mean I have to buy a new scope?
A It does depend upon the severity of the drop. Best to bring/send it to ROPTR for evaluation.
NEVER apply cellotape/stickytape to leather!! When it is removed it will take the polished surface of the leather with it!! I do not retan leather!
How do I pay you?
I accept three methods of payment, by cash (pick up only), secondly direct deposit and lastly cheque. If I am returning the repair to you by post, then I require payment prior to mailing. Direct deposits normally clear through overnight and cheques, with my bank, take two days to clear. Please do not send cash by post!
CARING FOR YOUR BINOCULARS
Over the years many instructions have been given in the caring of binoculars and many of these are ignored by those that own them! Instructions are given so that you do not damage your binoculars and so that they are maintained at a reasonable standard.
Firstly there are many things to know about how to handle the binoculars, a bit like a baby in that you don't drop them, submerge them in water or knock them about, so firstly handling.
Cleaning and maintaining that cleanliness is essential. You just don?t leave your breakfast dishes lying on the sink and reuse them day after day without washing them. Binoculars need to be kept clean and there are certain ways of doing this so that you do not damage them. So here?s some tips on what to do.
Transporting and storing your binoculars is not as simple as you may think. Binocular collimation can be affected by many things; heat, cold, vibration, knocks, drops and moisture. We have covered the last one earlier, now for the rest.
These instructions should help you maintain your binoculars for many years and, except for normal wear and tear, keep them in next to pristine order.