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Thread: Help ID PVS-4 Night Vision unit?

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    Help ID PVS-4 Night Vision unit?

    Perhaps some folks here can help ID this PVS-4... I went to look at it at a local shop. I am not interested in buying it at this point, but the owner is a friend and was hoping to help clarify a couple of things.

    It's definitely a PVS-4. Sticker on unit for serial number seems to have been added later. And there is a 'sticker on the sticker' with the serial number 1100. There is also a serial number on the AA Battery housing (that looks like it may have een added later) of 2430.

    Most interesting (and disturbing) is that the sticker on the unit lists manufacturer as "Optic-Electornics". Not a typo. ElectrORNics.

    The two rings (focus and zoom, I believe) rings are both fairly loose. I just thought they were 'slopppy' compared to most Milspec units I have handled.

    Unit has part number cast into main housing: SM-D-650110-1 which equates to a component number.

    I did not test the unit, but owner says it works fine.

    Any input/feedback I can provide to the shop owner? After reading the mis-spelled sticker, he is concerned and does not want to mis-represent the unit when he sells it. Oh, he acquired it from someone who brought it in the door. No more info I can provide on that front.

    I am wondering if its a Pak or Israeli unit? Anyone have any good info?

    Cheers, Sirhr.
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    Re: Help ID PVS-4 Night Vision unit?

    pictures would really help to answer your question.

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    Re: Help ID PVS-4 Night Vision unit?

    I know, didn't have camera with me. It's definitely a PVS-4. But I can't tell which tube type, etc. The mis-spelled label was kind of amusing. Hoped that would tip someone off.

    I will see if I can get him to post a pic.

    Cheers, Sirhr.
    Quidvis recte factum quamvis humile praeclarum

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    Re: Help ID PVS-4 Night Vision unit?

    Contact Vic at TNVC. He's a member here and at ARFCOM.
    The beatings will continue until morale improves.


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    Re: Help ID PVS-4 Night Vision unit?

    Originally Posted By: Sirhrmechanic


    The two rings (focus and zoom, I believe) rings are both fairly loose. I just thought they were 'slopppy' compared to most Milspec units I have handled.

    I am wondering if its a Pak or Israeli unit? Anyone have any good info? Sirhr.


    An AN/PVS-4 has three focus adjustments. One is to focus the projected reticle on the photocathode of the tube. It's not a user adjustment. The second is the ring about the middle of the tube housing. That focuses the scene being viewed on the tube's photocathode, equivalent to to the objective focus on an optical scope. The third is the ring just in front of the rubber eyepiece shield which is just a diopter adjustment to match the users eye to the phosphor screen. There is no "zoom" feature or adjustment.

    The AA battery holders were added later and fit on the top original battery holder. There is a second battery holder on the right side. Good original batteries are very hard to find. The scope requires 3 volts to operate. The two small knobs on the left side of the tube housing are tube off/gain and reticle off/brightness.
    The windage and elevation knobs are on the left and top of the lens assembly.

    All Israeli PVS-4's I've seen are US units were sold or given to Israel and made by one of the US manufacturers. The way to tell it's been to Israel is generally by the characters projected by the reticle. Mine is made by VARO but several companies made the instruments and/or the tubes. I don't believe Israel ever manufactured tubes, optics, or housings, just reticles and mounts.

    If the unit has a loose objective focus knob that probably means someone has opened the tube housing who didn't properly re-assemble it. In my opinion a complete PVS-4 with a bad tube is worth about $800. A good Gen II tube is worth around $1000.
    A good Gen III tube is worth $2000+. I wouldn't take anyone's word that a tube is good without testing it under starlight only conditions myself. There are a lot of working but gassy tubes for the PVS-4 on the surplus market, many still in factory boxes. Gassy tubes aren't repairable.

    At least on my unit the only serial nubmers are on the factory sticker and on the tube itself. Opitc-Electronic was a an early developer and manufacturer of the AN-PVS-4.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AN/PVS-4

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    Re: Help ID PVS-4 Night Vision unit?

    Thanks! I looked at it again and it definitely is Israeli unit. It has a 5.56 and 7.62 'christmas tree' reticle, with Israeli markings on the reticle. Looked at the reticles on Wiki and it doesn't match any of them.

    Owner let me bring it home to play with it over the weekend and let them know what I think as far as condition and function. Again, I am not looking to buy it, but it's a neat old unit. If it had a Gen III Tube in it, I probably would buy it in a heartbeat.

    Thanks for all the info. Cheers Sirhr
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    Re: Help ID PVS-4 Night Vision unit?

    Originally Posted By: Sirhrmechanic
    Thanks! If it had a Gen III Tube in it, I probably would buy it in a heartbeat.


    Don't knock Gen II tubes. I consider them better than a Gen III in weak moonlight which is present about half of all nights. They're also good within about 30 miles of a city. Gen IIIs are superior when the main illumination is skyglow and stars as both are strongest in the infrared.

    What's important is if the tube is free of "snow" Some grainyness and occasional sparkles is normal for good tubes.

    What's the price? Maybe someone else here would want it if you don't.

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    Re: Help ID PVS-4 Night Vision unit?

    Originally Posted By: Lou Boyd
    Originally Posted By: Sirhrmechanic
    Thanks! If it had a Gen III Tube in it, I probably would buy it in a heartbeat.


    Don't knock Gen II tubes. I consider them better than a Gen III in weak moonlight which is present about half of all nights. They're also good within about 30 miles of a city. Gen IIIs are superior when the main illumination is skyglow and stars as both are strongest in the infrared.

    What's important is if the tube is free of "snow" Some grainyness and occasional sparkles is normal for good tubes.

    What's the price? Maybe someone else here would want it if you don't.


    While I always state to at least purchase a Gen 2 system and do not waste your hard earned dollar with Gen 1's...I do not agree with your statement here at all. Modern Gen 3 systems clearly beat Gen 2 Intensifier tubes in brightness, resolution, and in all other categories. They all have Auto brightness control and the PVS-14 has manual gain. If you're implying a "weak moon" also is a detriment to a Gen 3 system, I also have to disagree here as well.

    Also, "sparkles" that you mention are ONLY seen when the NVD is fighting for light in extremely LOW LIGHT environments. Gen 2 scopes will see this scintillation phenomenon much much, more over a Gen 3 system. Hope this helps.

    Vic
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    Re: Help ID PVS-4 Night Vision unit?

    Originally Posted By: Lou Boyd
    What's the price? Maybe someone else here would want it if you don't.


    Sure... first, I tried it out last night for a few minutes. New AA batteries. Lit right up. Reticle came right up. Both adjust well. Very clear tube. No issues that I could see. Half moon and clear out to about 200, which was as far as I was really looking. At 50 yds, was able to (just) read a license plate, but there was a bit more light coming from the house. Could definitely have discerned make/model of car out to 100+ yds w. no problem looking at grille. I read the PVS-4 manual online last night and it showed none of the issues listed in the manual's troubleshooting section.

    One thing that concerned (then amused) me was these little blooms that kept popping up at random all over the place... but that turned out to be a big firefly orgy down in my field. Every time one of the bugs lit up, he glowed like, well, a firefly! Those were detectable out to 200 no problem...

    I didn't test fire it, but am sure it would have done fine. Other than one ring (main focusing ring) feeling a bit loose, it worked great. It also has what looks to be a brand new ARMS mount and it has a daytime cover. It went on an AR flat-top in seconds, no problem.

    To answer your question above... I don't want to violate advertising rules, so if anyone is interested, PM me and I will send a link to the shop that has it. There are photos on the site and contact info there. Owner is asking $1565. I don't have a use for it, so won't be buying it. But it would make someone a good unit, I think.

    Cheers, Sirhr.
    Quidvis recte factum quamvis humile praeclarum

    Oderint dum metuant

    "You went full nerd with that reference." Thanks, I will wear that as a badge of honor!