View Full Version : Common PVS14 questions -mounting, general use, accessories, etc.

08-21-2020, 01:53 PM
PVS14 common questions or customer issues with use-

1. The PVS14 ships with the "daylight cover" aka "the pinhole cover" in place on the front lens. This is the BLACK cover that has a tiny pinhole in the center of it. It is for protection of the tube, testing during daylight, etc. We have had customers call up thinking the unit "wasn't very bright"- they were trying to use the unit at night WITH THE PINHOLE COVER IN PLACE. Of course the unit won't look very bright with the pinhole cover on- the pinhole cover is BLOCKING LIGHT.

2. Their are focal adjustments on the FRONT AND BACK of the PVS14. If you ASSUME that you only have to make one adjustment you will not see things at a distance well, or you won't see things close well.

3. Our PVS14's have a manual gain control knob that allows you to make the tube brighter or darker depending on light conditions. Similar to older TV's where the "contrast" knob was used to make the TV screen darker or lighter. However If you start randomly turning things on your unit while it's off (not realizing you are adjusting the gain every time), the tube may begin to look DARKER every time you use it- as the knob is being turned to MAKE the unit darker. It's not that their is a problem with the tube, the problem is in improper use of the gain control- simply turn the knob the other way to make the tube lighter! Also, EVERY light condition and night is different, so make it part of your normal procedure when you use the unit to adjust the gain control for optimal use.

* We commonly get asked if taking the black pinhole cover aka daylight cover off the front of the unit will "damage" the PVS14 if taken off at NIGHT. No it will not. Now obviously don't go out and stare at the sun with the PVS14, but checking the unit inside your house with lights on inside the house will not affect it. These autogated units are VERY WELL PROTECTED, they are NOT harmed by an occasional : muzzle flash, a flashlight shined towards them, etc. Don't be afraid to get out train with and use your PVS14, it's MUCH MORE DURABLE than you realize.

*Focusing the unit- as mentioned in the "quick user guide" in the "Order and tracking" email, the unit has focal adjustments on the FRONT AND BACK of the unit. Failure to focus BOTH of them will cause your focus to be off. In general you don't want to focus to where you can read a book in your hands with the unit, but rather that you could say read a license plate on a vehicle that was parked 10-20 yards away. Keep in mind everyone's eye sight is different as well.
On the FRONT focal adjustment- sometimes the first time you turn this it can be TIGHT. Give it a SLIGHT bit of force when turning to overcome this. That's usually all it takes and then it turns smoothly after that.

*Gain control- the gain control knob is located at the front of the unit. It functions similar to the way the "contrast" knob on old TVs did. Turning it will either brighten the view or darken it. This feature is extremely handy on brighter nights because you will have to actually turn DOWN the brightness of the tube at times. Inexperienced people often think if a little is good a lot is better and end up turning the gain control way up. Turning the gain up too much will however begin to distort the clarity of the view. You will need to find that sweet spot and every night and lighting condition is different.

*Blemishes- much like a diamond, no NV tube is flawless. Almost all have minor imperfections in the tube commonly called blemishes or "blems." These appear as tiny black spots. Depending on the model and grade of the tube you purchased, the amount of these will vary as this along with the test specifications on the tube, is how the tubes are graded. These tiny blemishes DO NOT affect the serviceability or the longevity of the tube. There should be no large blemishes in the CENTER of the tube, but there may be smaller blems on the outside periphery of the view, this is perfectly normal. Take the unit outside and view without the pinhole cover on- sometimes the pinhole cover/daylight cover will make it appear as if their are more blems than their really is.

On White Phosphor tubes, blemishes seem to be easier to see. This is similar to if you took a blank sheet of white typing paper and put a tiny pencil mark near the outer edge of the paper. Your brain would focus on the black speck not on the 99.9% of the paper that is clean.

*IR illuminator- the PVS14 comes with a short range on board infrared illuminator. Most of the time you will likely never need to use this function. However it serves to be able to add an additional "light source" (via IR) to help the PVS14 under really bad conditions. IR is invisible to the naked eye but visible to ALL generations of night vision. Therefore use your IR illuminator sparingly and do not leave it on for long periods of time. When the IR illuminator is on, you will see a small red light inside YOUR view of the 14. This is similar to a "dummy light" in your car that warns you that the gas door is open, or that you forgot to put your seat belt on, etc. Just keep in mind anyone using ANY generation of night vision will be able to see any IR source you use, therefore use it sparingly.

*Batteries- I can't tell you how many emails I've received from people thinking their unit stopped working due to bad batteries. If your unit doesn't power up or only powers up briefly, get some new store bought batteries (not old storage batteries) and try them. I've personally seen batteries I've had in storage for just a few years fail to power up my personal 14s or only power them up briefly. If you think their is a problem, be sure to go and buy new store bought batteries and check it with that. One customer went through 10 old storage batteries trying it in his 14, then went and bought new store bought batteries and it worked fine! Checking voltage on batteries is fine, but you will need to try fresh, recently bought at the store batteries.

AN IMPORTANT NOTE REGARDING BATTERIES- ALWAYS, I repeat always remove the battery from the night vision device after using it. Even if you know your going to be using it the very next night, get into the habit of removing the battery every time you are done using it. This is the only reoccuring service issue we see and it's a USER ERROR not a problem with the unit. I don't care if they are Lithium batteries or any other special battery, remove it after you are done every night and you'll never have a problem with a battery corroding after being left inside your unit too long.

People ask can you use rechargeable batteries in your PVS14. I've never personally experienced a problem nor heard of a customer having a problem running a QUALITY rechargeable battery in a PVS14.

*Aftermarket J arms- I have heard on no less than about 50 occasions over the years of issues with the Wilcox J arm and especially the Wilcox J arm with the "on/off switch" not operating correctly with PVS14. The auto shut off when flipped off feature of the PVS14 WILL LIKELY NOT WORK WHEN YOU DECIDE TO USE AN AFTERMARKET J ARM.

*Sacrificial lens/filter- clear plastic piece with black rubber ring around it. Put it on the front of your PVS14. Protects against damage to the front lens.

*Daylight/pinhole cover- this is the black cover with the little pinhole in the center that comes installed on your unit when you first open the package. It is for testing the unit in DAYLIGHT conditions. If you attempt to use the unit with this on AT NIGHT you will be greatly restricting the light coming into the unit and hence the image will appear dark. Also, whether day or not, using the unit with the daylight cover on will distort the viewing image somewhat. You may see debris in the cap that you will assume is in the tube- take the daylight/pinhole cover off for clear viewing if you think this is a problem.
In general, there is no reason to be overly paranoid about turning the unit on briefly during the day to check it. Obviously don't go out and stare at the sun with the daylight cover on! The new autogated tubes are very well protected.
Note- you cannot use the sacrificial window and the daylight cover AT THE SAME TIME and that would be totally unnecessary.
If your using the unit with the daylight cover on, not only will you not be able to see as well, but you will also see dust on the daylight cover and you will think these are blems in the tube. REMOVE THE DAYLIGHT COVER!!!

Mounting- The swing arm assembly aka J arm is used to attach the PVS14 to the head mount or to a helmet mount. On the long part of the arm there is a large thumb screw. That thumb screw screws into the threaded hole on the PVS14. The J arm goes into the front of the head mount or helmet mount and the little squeeze clothespin like lever is used to release it.


It's a good idea to ALWAYS TETHER the PVS14 to the helmet or the helmet mount when running it helmet mounted. PRACTICE pulling the Rhino arm and PVS14 down from the up position when helmet mounted with your hand in more of a "U" shape than a "C" shape and grasp the helmet mount itself and rotate that down.

*Changing the J arm from left to right side or vice versa - to change the J arm from one side to another- so you can switch which eye it sits over- release some of the tension on the arm via the big knob at the front of the assembly. Then grasp the long part of the arm and flip it to the other side of the short part of the assembly. Make sure you take it all the way over and lock it.

*Helmet mounting- you will need a base plate or shroud for your helmet, then the Rhino arm and the J arm/swing arm assembly that came with your PVS14 from JRH Enterprises.
Attach the base plate or shroud to your helmet. This is usually done via screws and is pretty straight forward. Older style helmets like the original PASGT helmets will use a more strappy type set up with a tension rachet. Either way, you will end up with a base plate on the front of your helmet. The Rhino arm will snap into the base plate. You'll notice that the front of the Rhino arm has an opening similar in size to the head mount opening. This is for the J arm to lock in.
Helmet mount flip up auto shutoff feature- this ONLY RELATES TO HELMET MOUNTING THE 14- The auto shutoff feature when helmet mounted is the least reliable feature on ANY PVS14. It's a good habit to get in to always turn the unit off manually before flipping up in the helmet mount. There are two circular pieces of silver colored metal by where you screw the J arm into your PVS14. If you do not want to be bothered by that feature, simply place a piece of black electrical tape over those little silver circular pieces. Read the note above about the use of aftermarket J arms.

*Problems with chinese **** knock off helmets- You WILL likely experience a problem mounting up a military spec helmet mount (all we sell) to an aftermarket chinese knockoff helmet. This includes from the $50. rothco airsoft look alikes up to the (chinese) "veterans hard head" types. The little plastic shroud on those helmets is the problem NOT the military issue Rhino arm. The plastic shrouds on those helmets are almost always out of spec. I know because I tried several of them myself. The problem lies in the knockoff helmet, NOT the military spec Rhino mount!

*Demist shield- you will not need this item 90% of the time. If you have fogging issues remove the rubber eye cup by squeezing and pulling off and run the unit out a little farther from your face on the helmet mount. Understand that every item you place in view- demist shield, sacrificial filter or aftermarket "IR Cut" filters, etc. will somewhat distort the image quality. Use as little as possible.

*Weapons mounting- will most people new to using the PVS14 think this is the best way to use the 14, it is the least ideal application of the PVS14 in our opinion. However the PVS14 can be mounted and used on rifles up to 5.56mm in recoil. The weapon mount is very easy to use- the thumbscrew on the reverse side of the mount screws into the 14 in the same manner that the J arm/swing arm assembly does. From there the thumbscrew on the side of the mount is used to tighten the mount to a rail.

We do not advise mounting a PVS14 to a rifle for many reasons. Most users once they get out and actually train with their unit realize it's easier to head or helmet mount the PVS14 and run an IR laser on your rifle to use as a aiming point for the night vision. This cuts down on arm fatigue issues and potential safety issues if working around other people also.