Introduction: 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

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.