Introduction: Floppy Disk IR Camera Hack
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.