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Infrared LED nightvision setup

Discussion in 'LEDs and Optoelectronics' started by IHOP, Apr 29, 2012.

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  1. IHOP


    Apr 29, 2012
    Hello, all. I'm constructing a DIY Night vision setup and I require some expertise.

    From watching some videos on the subject on youtube, all I really need is a digital camera that can pickup IR light, and a source of IR light such as an IR lamp/flashlight.

    Just today I removed the IR filter from an old digital point and shoot and tested with the IR LED on my TV remote. This is just a start, as i may look into a higher quality camera later on. This one ( Nikon Coolpix 4600 ) has a pretty crappy display. I also messed up somewhere taking this apart as I have an extra 7 screws and 2 little metal brackets sitting here and when I zoom in far enough, it says lens error and requies me to restart the camera.

    But, that's not the reason I'm here. I need help with the IR LEDs. I do not know how powerful of LEDs I should get (1w? a couple hundred mw?). I do not know if I'll need resistors, if so, what kind, how many? and I don't know what kind of power source I'll need. if at all possible, I'd like to able to wire it up to a lipo battery and deans connectors so I can just use my IMAX B6 charger to recharge it. (This would be used for night games for airsoft, so if I can utilize a power source I already have, that'd be great)

    I'm looking at these LEDs:
    I just saw these are 12-15mw. I doubt that would be enought to see anything from a distance. I guess that one is rules out automatically, but I'll mention it.

    These ones look better:

    These look the best as they're 1w, so they're the most powerful.

    Again, I'd need assistance figuring out what to do with regards to setting this up properly with ohm resistors, power output, and power supply, etc.

    My goal for visual range on this is 50 feet at the least. At first it was 100ft, but I think that was too much of a stretch. Anything over 50 ft is a bonus now.

    If anyone has suggestions for either the camera setup or the IR light source, please let me know. I know I'll probably need a new camera if I want to see any good results.

    I would like something similar to the device built in this video:

    Thank you in advance for any and all help. I'll be glad to answer any more questions needed to help you help me.
  2. donkey


    Feb 26, 2011
    you could google "infared floodlight" and check the webpages that come up, then you modify a helmet to incorporate this.
    there is approximately 3ft to a metre (about 3 and 1/3 feet) so that will get very close to the initial 100ft you wanted. then you have to figure out battery packs.

    also going back a few weeks there was this post on our forums
    that might offer you some insight as well as a video clip to review.
  3. CocaCola


    Apr 7, 2012
    There are plenty of dirt cheap LED flood lights on Ebay, I just actually purchased one to provide better visual on the baby monitor at night...

    As for the camera most all cheap baby monitors and even spy cameras will detect the IR spectrum you don't need a high quality device, it's the LENS you have to really watch out for most all lenses have a IR filter built in so that the colors don't go all whacky in full light... Remove that filter and or get a lens that doesn't have an IR filter you should be good to go, most cameras will filter the IR because it will produce color shifting...

    50 feet should be trivial, just choose the right lens and remember the IR light source does not need to be at the camera it can be locked somewhere else, or all around...

    And last but not least you can always look at the cheap 'fake' night vision goggles sold for kids in the kid store, they have the camera, display and even a few IR headlights... Heck the one I got for $30 even has a USB port and will record snap shots of low quality video...
  4. IHOP


    Apr 29, 2012
    Thanks for the replies.

    From this video:

    It seems that with a more powerful LED and a lens like the 20 degree he used, there's a more focused beam so less LEDs would be required. A 3 watt IR LED from Dealextreme in a flashlight with the right angle lens would be good for this.

    Since my airsoft gun has rail mounts, I can easily mount flashlights and lasers on the gun. That way, the light is aligned with the barrel, so I can focus the light on the target.

    I'll look into some of these:
    But a point and shoot camera with a view finder attached like in the last youtube video in my OP would be the most ideal to rig up for a goggle-like setup. The cameras linked above would work, but then how would I see what's in front of me? I need real time. Any recording ability is a bonus.

    After I got my camera back together the quality of the picture went down the drain. I didn't touch the lens. I just pryed off the IR filter with a blade and reassembled. I could find an LCD screen to rig up to the camera from one of those CCTV cameras and put on the view finder.

    I've looked into 1 or 2 of those toy NVGs. I bet it wouldn't be too hard to modify a pair of those with a more powerful LED.

    Keep in mind I need to wear eye protection when I play airsoft so I don't get my eye shot out.
  5. CocaCola


    Apr 7, 2012
    It can be an external source as well, like you said an IR flashlight will provide supplemental light for the camera...

    But, be aware that you will look like a car headlight to anyone else that has a similar setup...
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