Making a Night-Vision Webcam

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Introduction: Making a Night-Vision Webcam

About: www.leevonk.com

how to change your webcam so it can see in the dark. The CCDs of all digital cameras are responsive to infrared light (IR) as well as visible light. However, most webcams come with a filter installed to block out IR light. This makes the image less washed out but it keeps you from being able to see in the dark (using IR illumination). This intructable shows you how to remove the filter from a "Logitech quickcam chat". Removing the filter from other webcams will probably be a bit easier, but they all follow the same procedure.

This is where I first learned you could do this:
http://www.hoagieshouse.com/IR/

Step 1: Open It Up

unscrew the webcam case, see the screw hole? This webcam (logitech quickcam chat) had only one phillips screw holding it together.

The two halves will come apart and out drops the circuit board with wire/etc attached.

Step 2: Unscrew the Lense Assembly

unscrew the lense assembly from the circuit board. When you unscrew this, the CCD (the Charge Coupled Device is an array of photosensors on the green PC board) will be exposed.

Side Note:


I'm not sure but I think maybe the CCD can be harmed if you shine bright light directly at it (without a lense assembly in front of it) so I hid it away under a piece of paper while doing the rest of the steps.


Pull the lense assembly out from the surrounding knobby thing (the blue ring that you turn to adjust the focus)

Step 3: Get in There

Some people just pry off the lense with a screw driver to get to the IR filter, but in my webcam model, this was not so easy. There is a black plastic ring glued above the lense and plastic donut shaped holder which was also glued in.

To pry all of these away without snapping the lense would not be easy, so I filed away on a side where the threading is to have access to the edges of all the layers (lense, plastic thingy, etc).

Step 4: Pry Everything Apart

very carefully using a very small, fine screwdriver or strong flat thing, pry off each successive layer. You may have to chip at parts that are attached by glue (or I guess you could use acetone to dissolve the glue, but I thought that might damage the lense).

I did this very slowly and carefully as I had heard horror stories of people cracking their lense in half.

Step 5: Yank Out the IR Filter

the IR filter is just a little square piece of glass, pull it out. Then, bend a piece of wire or paper clip or something into a square and put it in to replace the filter (so everything will fit back together correctly afterwards).

Then pop all the layers back on (make sure that thin black circle thing isn't blocking the lense). everything popped back together securely so I didn't use glue or anything.

Then put the lense assembly back into the blue ring thing and screw the whole thing back ontop of the CCD. Screw back the case, you're done.

Step 6: Test It Out

to test it out, look at your remote control while you click it, you should see the IR LED blink. You can use your remote as a flashlight for the camera in the dark. You can buy IR illuminators or make your own out of a bunch of IR LEDs and voila, you can see in the dark.

Try not to use this for anything creepy.

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    127 Comments

    Just a spelling heads-up: you've used "lense" throughout this; - it's spelled "lens" by the way!

    You've done a great instructible, thanks for posting!
    God! It is really difficult to get the camera lens out of the assembly! I have 2 similar webcams, and I was planning to use them, following your instructible, as a stereoscopic infrared camera to install it in the car. I have tried many times but have not yet been able to get it out! I was wondering if we can replace the lens assembly altogether instead of taking out the filter. It would be much easier I think. Of course, getting a pair of new webcams with the filter behind the lens has also come to my mind, but then I wouldn't be doing justice to my username!
    Cheers!
    Feroz

    temp_-1028990188.jpg

    So you wont hurt it?

    It just so happens that my uncle gave me this exact webcam with a small flat-based tripod mount.

    I have a logitech webcam.  I just turned it on and turned off the light.  The picture was black of course, but when I used my remote control, it picked up the light flickering very good.   Does this mean if I turn on some IR lights, my webcam can be used as a night vision cam?    I didnt take anything apart on my camera.

    2 replies

    It will work (sorta) but try turning off your lights, then shining the remote anywhere, and seeing if the cam pics up any glow. it probably won't. removing the filter allows more ir light in.

     well.. yeah. But if quality is really bad maybe its a really bad quality filter

    My camera is a very cheap IKASU with a lens assembly pretty much the same. The Infra red filter is nearest the CCD. Unfortunately, the way its assembled, all of the components are put in from the outside, ie the Infra red filter first, small spacer, a lens, big spacer and then the outside lens is glued in.

    I discovered that the Infra red filter to be very fragile, i managed to shatter it with a jewellers screwdriver. Then it was a simple matter to prize the small bits of glass out of the lens assembly, wear safety glasses when doing this!

    The IKASU has 6 white LED's on the front which are operated by a photocell, im tempted to replace these with 6 Infra red LED's to see what the results are like.

    more than 3 i think...

    hahahahaha!!!!!

    after i took out my webcam`s r-cut filter the image was blur...but after i took out the objective lens..it became clear..how is this possible??i thought that the webcam needed the lens to help it focus?

    I followed this, and got it working. Thanks! Only thing is, my image is wobbly. When it moves, it wiggles like I am looking through water, and stabilizes after I stop moving. Any ideas on this?

    2 replies

     bad quality webcam? porbably a slow framerate.

    i have some bad quality "kids camera" i got from one of my friends. it does the same thing.

    i have the logitech quickcam messenger and before i did this i tryed to see if my cam would see the light from my tv remote and it did without taking anything apart same with my cell phone and cannon camera Do i still have to take the filter out? I hope you can help or someone else can cause i dont want to tear it apart for no reason!

    1 reply

    you dont have to, but it sees more IR light without the filter

    :) A pet rat!!! I had one too for 3 years, everyone was like "eew" but my only response to them was: if you don't like it, don't look at it. I hope you give it normal food and not just that dry crap, because damn do rats love chocolate.

    Why didn't you use negative film and ir leds?