Introduction: Making a Night-Vision Webcam

Picture of Making a Night-Vision Webcam

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:

Step 1: Open It Up

Picture of 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

Picture of 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

Picture of 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

Picture of 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

Picture of 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

Picture of 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.


Bonty (author)2017-02-19

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

conservator (author)2014-12-04

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!

christopher45 (author)2011-08-30

i want 1 dhgdhd

snelson9 (author)2011-08-04

So you wont hurt it?

Jamez Britton (author)2011-07-17

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

pennsteve (author)2009-12-27

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.

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.

Lance Mt. (author)pennsteve2010-01-02

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

jomac_uk (author)2010-12-29

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.

bicyclelifestyle (author)2006-08-28

how many brothers do you have?

more than 3 i think...

pro2xy (author)girrrrrrr22010-07-04


prokia789 (author)pro2xy2010-11-27

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

tahlorn (author)2008-09-04

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?

cclementi6 (author)tahlorn2009-11-12

 bad quality webcam? porbably a slow framerate.

zack247 (author)cclementi62010-09-09

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

11rex11 (author)2010-06-06

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!

zack247 (author)11rex112010-09-09

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

Lhtrf (author)2010-04-23

:) 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.

ShadowJesus (author)2010-02-09

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

leevonk (author)ShadowJesus2010-02-10

I do use IR LEDs, see the last step. Didn't use negative film because that blocks out everything except for infrared, so wouldn't have the option of using the camera as a normal camera if did that.

Jake Morton (author)2010-01-08

your constant use of "thing" is funny :S

solta (author)2007-11-13

I added 2 layers of film negative - will have to see how it looks in the day - I want it to be used at night. Right now I don't get enough picture for it at night. Has anyone tried this without the negative? Will I be able to see at night if I use some IR flashlight light? The picture is a bit blurry.

sparten512 (author)solta2009-12-16

yep, as long as you have a source (an IR LED matrix perhaps) you'll be able to see in the dark

Pasit (author)2007-08-03

i have tried the look into ur remote before and i can already see it, but it doesnt light anything when im in the dark. any suggestions?? and i have taken my camera apart and i can see that there is a little piece of glass at the VERY back with kinda pinkish purply tint, is this the filter??

cclementi6 (author)Pasit2009-11-12

 it probably is. They usually look clear, but from certain angles, they are red or pink.

leevonk (author)Pasit2007-08-04

yeah, the pinkish purply thing is probably the filter, that's what mine looked like. even with the filter in you can sometimes see the remote IR LED a little bit, but with the filter out you'll be able to use the remote control's LED as a small flashlight in the dark (have to hold it close to things to illuminate them with the IR).

Aunry (author)2009-02-10

do v have to take out the filter and put it back in. wat difference wud it make? :s

cclementi6 (author)Aunry2009-11-12

 you dont have to put it back in.   IR cameras have plenty of uses; you can make a  multi-touch trackpad from one.

monican82 (author)2009-05-30

its funny my dell web cam doesn't have a Ir filter. right out of the box no filter at all its fairly new

cclementi6 (author)monican822009-11-12

some cameras dont have a filter, instead, they have a coating/layer which is sprayed and dried onto the lens itself.  This is normally the case with more expensive webcams 

Kevio bro (author)2009-07-25

with this you can see through clothes right?

leevonk (author)Kevio bro2009-07-25

only through men's clothing. fat men's clothing.

Nexnaught (author)2009-06-01

my digital camera (from ebay for $5) can see the light from my remote, but it cannot see in the dark. Does it have an IR filter?

ATG (author)Nexnaught2009-06-11 wouldnt detect the ir rays frm the remote...if it had a cant c in the dark cos therz no ir light newher....use an IR LED to throw some ir light...nd then it will be able to c in the dark....

wombat_ger (author)ATG2009-06-25

It actually has an IR-filter, but these filters aren't very effective, they let a bit of IR-light through... So remove the filter and have fun!

PuddleOfMudd25 (author)2009-05-07

I have done this on my broken Kodak C533, and it works amazing! All I did was unintentionally touch the capacitor and get 300v through my system :P, take out the IR filter, put it back together, and put it in my pre-made shell with 3 IR LED's, and it works astoundingly! It was a lot easier to do than I thought it would be. I want to get a few (More like 50) IR LED's off eBay for cheap, and make it better.

zimmemic25 (author)2009-03-03

i followed your instructions, just to see that there is no filter :-P is there a way to use this for nightvision without having to carry a notebook?

zimmemic25 (author)zimmemic252009-04-14

dont have a mobile/ipod with cam.

oddmidge (author)zimmemic252009-04-12

If you have a camera phone some of them can see the Infared light like lg Kf510 without taking it apart the all you need is some ultra bright infared leds anda 9v battery.

leevonk (author)zimmemic252009-03-03

you could take the filter out of an iphone's camera. or figure out how to plug a webcam into a pocketPC/palm pilot. or take the filter out of a digtal camera and watch the LCD.

Derin (author)2009-03-15

Is glass IR proof?

computerwizard (author)2009-02-22

i have the same model camera as the instructiable shows and when i shone a remote into it (i use the web cam to check batteries in remotes) it worked fine so do i really have to take it apart to get the same results?

leevonk (author)computerwizard2009-02-23

yeah that'll work to some extent with any electronic camera, but works a _lot_ better after you take out the filter.

dave0880 (author)2009-02-23

I had tried it and it works thanks bout making it portable...

pukid (author)2009-01-04

Check out this videovideo explaining how to make a night vision camera.

jackyl764 (author)2008-12-23
Ok before tearing up one of my logitec webcams, I decided to experiment on one of the way cheap ezonic webcams I had laying around. They're cheap, like $20 for 2 at walmart. They come apart easy no filing or prying required. So, to anyone that wants to do this, it DOES work And I discovered that the Ezonic is very easy to work with. 3 screws, pop the grey face plate off, slide the board out unscrew the lens, pry the IR filter out and put it back together. I had quite a time trying to get the grey face plate back on though....
moesboy (author)2008-11-20

thats amazing im going to do that

hatae55 (author)2008-08-31

Anyone know how to do this on a built in on a macbook (preferably not voiding the warranty)

nobody394 (author)hatae552008-10-04

probably by taking two layers of black processed film and placing it over the lens this will block out visible light but to make sure your camera is sensitive to infrared take a tv remote and point the little light and the camera and press a button

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