For the past seven years, I've had a broken digital camera lying around. It is still able to take pictures, but it is almost impossible to use on account of a broken screen. The fundamental problem is that sometimes the menu will accidentally get turned on, and not being able to see the screen, I can't turn off the menu and take pictures (without removing the batteries to reset the camera). I've been trying to figure out what to do with this camera as long as I can remember.

For a while I was considering converting it to a near IR camera, but I was reluctant to make another one after having already made one for 62 Projects to Make with a Dead Computer (p. 200). However, I changed my mind about this when I learned that it was possible to use the material inside floppy disks as a visible light filter (for viewing near IR light). This sounded really cool and so I decided to give this a try. Not only does this totally work, it also adds another level of computer reuse to the version demonstrated in the book (as it provides a way to reuse floppy disks in addition to cameras).

It has been fun going around shooting pictures and discovering all of the interesting results when I upload the photos at home.

Step 1: Go Get Stuff

You will need:

A (somewhat) broken (or antiquated) camera
A floppy disk
A mini screwdriver set

Step 2: Make a Visible Light Filter

You can make a visible light filter using a the plastic inside most floppy disks.

Rip apart the floppy disk and be careful not to get your fingerprints on the plastic disk.

Take the disk and cut a small plastic square that is slightly larger than your CCD.

Tip: To make sure your floppy disk lets IR light through, go to a window and look outside with the plastic held up to your eye. You should be able to see through it.

Step 3: Open the Case

Open up your camera case. Place your screws aside somewhere safe.

Step 4: Locate the Lens Assembly

Once the case is open, locate the lens assembly on the front of the camera.

Step 5: Find the CCD

Carefully detach the lens assembly from the circuit board to find the CCD chip. Set aside these screws somewhere safe as well.

Step 6: Remove the IR Filter

The visible light filter is a thin piece of glass located either directly atop the CCD or behind the last lens of the assembly. It is easy to spot because it looks reddish to purplish and changes color when it is rotated.

Simply pick it free with your fingers (being careful not to touch the CCD/lenses).

Your camera will now let more IR light through.

Step 7: Attach Your Visible Light Filter

Place the visible light filter that you just made over top of the CCD.

Using your pin, place a few tiny drops of glue in each corner to hold it in place.

Step 8: Put It Back Together

When the glue has dried, reassemble the camera using all of the screws that you set aside earlier.
I picked up a samsung 10mp point and shoot camera with a slightly broken lens mechanism on ebay for a steal then repaired it and did this floppy disc modification to it. results have been great! photos are very surreal and it is fascinating to see a things all around that your eyes cannot see. Finally those old AOL floppy discs have come in handy lol
<p>WOW... those are truly amazing... nice shots... I have to do this now.</p>
<p>WOW... those are truly amazing... nice shots... I have to do this now.</p>
These images are awesome! Thanks for sharing. I'm glad this worked out for you.
Thanks! I was surprised how much of its focusing ability the camera retained after I modified it, I guess because the IR cut filter on this model is very thin, only a tiny bit thicker than the floppy disc section that replaced it. I did tweak the contrast, levels and saturation a bit in these photos, but other than that they are pretty much unmodified. The first two I took above at Cal Poly Pomona are probably my favorites. The camera is a Samsung SL202 and it was very easy to disassemble and modify. Tried to do it to another point and shoot I had lying around first but it seems that the IR cut filter was coated right onto one of the lenses instead of on top of the CCD like this one and yours.
<p>The filter over the CCD sensor is actually a polarizing filter. It let pass the reflected light (polarized) while blocking the direct light (non polarized). It improve contrast in high luminosity environment. An IR &amp; anti-reflective coating is likely to be included on the front side of this filter</p>
<p>Thanks for the tutorial! This is awesome! :)</p>
<p>has anybody thought of making an IR laser sight with this? have the laser sighted in like a normal laser sight, but only you will be able to see the dot because you have the screen. I've been working towards a hunting-capable blowgun, so I wanted to know if anyone could advise me on that. </p><p>Thanks</p>
<p>I modded my xbox live vision webcam i got from the thrift store originally for my raspberry pi... the normal picture was taken with my integrated webcam, the gray one was taken with my modded webcam... where did the design go?!?!? (you don't have to tell me, I know).</p>
*rushes to ebay for the cheapest digi camera possible*
So, does this make it a thermal imaging camera?
does anyone know of a way to get this effect with a DSLR?
could i do this with a disposable camera?<br>
To my knowledge, this would not work with film, so for a disposable camera? no, it wont work.
This is, I think, exactly what I was looking for. I have an old Sony Cybershot F717 from 2003. However, the CCD chip is bad, I believe. (It used to take glitchy pictures, but now it's just black...except for the menu.) I am a video artist and am interested in hacking it for creative purposes....with the CCD chip dead, will this hack you posted still produce an image? I'm new at hacking this stuff, so please forgive any silly questions.Thank you SO much. Any advice is appreciated.
These are some pics i took with the floppy disc taped over the lens without taking the camera apart. the first two where taken with a 10mp Panasonic Lumix and the second two where taken with my HTC touch 2 smart phone
... but in this way you don't allow IR to get the CCD sensor..... you are using the floppy like a whatever filter.....
So I've seen a few comments on people getting shocked when they open up the camera. Is there a way to avoid that?
Hi,<br>i think that the best is not to get scared of the technology :)<br>Greetings
Yes. In cameras there is usually a large capacitor. This thing is usually charged, so when you see it, discharge it by putting the tip of an INSULATED screwdriver between the contacts. do this two or three times, and it will be safe. By common practice, also make sure that all batteries are out of the camera before you dissassemble it.
I made this hack to my old 2mpx camera but photos are blurry. I don't know if now it can't focus well or if the problem it's the 2mpx. (can't remember the quality of the photos...) Someone can give me an advice?<br>Thanks
I am going to do this for my senior project with an old Canon Powershot camera I have.
It just occurred to me, but when using IR Film you need to adjust the lens focus.<br><br>So on an older fixed focus point and shoot digital the photos will be blurry at first. You need to find someway to adjust the focus on them because it will need to be changed ever so slightly.<br><br>It's easy to do this on many cheap point and shoots.
<br> I wasn't sure about this until today, when I bought a Kodak Easyshare cx6200 for 50C. I saw it on the shelf and knew what I had to do with it.<br> <br> Mind you I've already found it's limitations (it's very bad at infinity/anything past a certain distance) and the 2mp is just a bit lower then I'm used to dealing with.<br> <br> Either way I've taken a few photos. I didn't like the brownish tint so I tried to edit them, not knowing how they should really look.<br> <br> http://img62.imageshack.us/img62/4236/1008617s.jpg<br> http://img844.imageshack.us/img844/5452/68780899.jpg<br> <br> I'll just assume it's so blurry because of the camera itself.
will this work in the dark? possibly with the help of some IR LEDs
If you know what the vivid festival in sydney is, you could tahe a photo of the opra house or the projectors.
kirkland brand batteries... ahh, i love costco.
Costco FTW!
good to know that i can use that stuff... i've still got some spent film for these ir filters, but that disc would give more material in one piece than a 35mm strip does.<br><br><br>and to hivoltage: well, now i know someone here lives in my area... i recognised that sundial-looking building instantly. i had a friend who was a chem professor at cal poly. as a sidenote, keep ahold of that picture. i read somewhere that they're tearing that complex down. (the &quot;sundial&quot; and the building next to it)
<br>Great hack. Now i just wish i had saved some floppy disks. Oh well, off i go to see if Fry's still stock these things.
Now this looks like a somewhat simple project for a movice like me. I have an old Sony Mavica laying around, some old floppies (the Mavica stores stuff on the floppies) so pretyt much everything needed . . . <br> <br>Might need to try this on the weekend :-) <br> <br>Thanks
Whenever I try to look through the floppy disk, I just see dark red with a spec of light from the sun and other really strong lights. I cant really see much. And yeah, Ive taken apart a disposable camera before and was too lazy to discharge the capacitor first, and after getting shocked 3 times it was pretty much discharged by me anyway lol...
Guys!!!! This is the most awesome instructable for cold winter evenings (like we say here in Czech Republic). You can easily check the functionality with your TV remote!!! Also good for tracking the surveillance cameras in the street. COOOL!!! LET THERE BE LIGHT!!!
Thanks a bunch Walis! I tried that test on my phone's camera and what do ya know! Two dots of light appeared. Covered the camera lense with the floppy disk and viewed it live through my phone camera. Only by viewing this through camera did the IR light from my remote show up. This is fun. Like someone else said, I think I'm becoming a &quot;ible&quot; junkie! 8--]
I will definitely do this with an old camera that I have lying around. Also, you can make them look better by removing the red in Photoshop/GIMP, like this.
It looks like a post apocalyptic world. D:
My friend had an old 1 megapixel Kodak dc3200 that I did this to. It took me a while to get out the visible light filter because it had plastic surrounding it that I had to cut it out of. In the end, I amazingly got it back together with only breaking the menu button. So far the results have been awesome.
I'm wondering what kind of images you would get if you removed the IR filter and made no other changes to the camera... would you get full color images with IR ghosting? That might look interesting... then add either an IR filter or a visible light filter as needed.<br><br>Thoughts?
Liked your instructable as you have helped me in finding a source of a normal light blocker for my Sony video camera. Many, many thanks.<br><br>You may have made a small error with regards to testing the opacity of the floppy film, I think you meant that you should see &quot;no&quot; light through it.....but that was a small unimportant error to my mind......maybe yyou could just read it through again and correct in some way.....<br><br>I do believe I am correct in saying any (video as well) camera with a IR &quot;Night shot&quot; type of ability (needs no lighting and usually looks a &quot;ghostly&quot; gree with no proper colours, like my Sony video camera for example, does not have the normal light filter you mentioned, so the camera does not need to be dismantled to remove it.....(I am not going to take it apart, just to find out though!! Sorry!!) But I would guess that if it had the filter, it would not be able to do Nightshot!!<br><br>When I have tried it out and it does not work as I hope, I will come back and post again....correcting my errors......<br><br>By the way, I am slowly turning into an &quot;instructables Junky&quot;!!! Keep them coming.....<br><br>Many, many thanks for each and every one of them......all are really really good.<br><br>regards<br><br>Andy
hah, nice hack!<br /> once iopened a camera and I started getting shocks from it...so be carefull!<br />
But wasn't it thrilling?
oh sure it was!!
Also, go to any store that processes film and get them to give you some of the negatives with nothing on them--they get zillions of rolls of film that are half blank and they are perfect for this, as they are IR transparent but almost totally visible-light opaque.
Could I just add that you're looking for bits of negative that look black to the naked eye. I know you've pretty much said that, but some of the people in these shops won't understand words like opaque.<br><br>I find film negatives are a better IR filter than the floppy, the IR transmission on it is better, the visible blocking is about the same.<br><br>Other good filters are: <br>Soft black plastic drink bottles, Tango used to come in one.<br>Playstation 1 discs, the bit near the middle that has no printing on.<br><br>A few interesting things to look at in IR are trees, rainbows, CRT and LCD TVs/Monitors, bottles of Coke, coloured glass and paper money.
Nice instructable will try this when i the next backpacker leaves a camera on my bed.
would it not have been better to just make a lens cover out of the floppy disk instead of having to take the camera apart?<br>Then you can removed the cover anytime.
You need to remove the filter from the inside of the camera that blocks most IR light from passing through to the CCD sensor.
&quot;Tip: To make sure your floppy disk lets IR light through, go to a window and look outside with the plastic held up to your eye. You should be able to see through it. &quot;<br><br>Incorrect. The human eye cannot see IR so this test is invalid.
Most discs that let IR through will be semi-translucent to the naked eye under intense sunlight (you should be able to see a faint hazy red light source on the other side).<br /><br />From my experiments I found that most opaque discs won't let through IR LEDs from a remote control, whereas the slightly-translucent ones will very well. I stand behind this.
But the whole point was to be able to detect IR light being transmitted through the disk--your eyeball cannot detect the IR light, except in veeeeery tiny amounts. Any visible-light will overpower the tiny amount of IR light, making it invalid.<br><br>Plus, as in my other comment, it's easier to get film for free from a photo processing store. And you won't ruin a floppy disk.

About This Instructable




Bio: My name is Randy and I founded the Instructables Design Studio. I'm also the author of the books 'Simple Bots,' and '62 Projects to ... More »
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