Get the Infrared LED's for this Project HERE
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Step 1: What You Need...
Dig through your closet or ask a friend if they still have a classic full-size VHS camcorder hanging around collecting dust. Or go to garage sale or pawn shop and find one for cheap. All we need is the analog viewfinder
Step 2: You Will Also Need...
1. Twelve 10mm, 200mw triple Infrared LED's. These babies are mean! They each have 3 LED's in them and are very powerful! You can get the LED's HERE
2. A project box/enclosure from Radio Shack or any other larger size project box. This one is 5" X 2 1/2" X 2".
3. A red or any other color LED to be used for a power indicator
4. A shielded, panel mount Phono Jack
5. A SPST switch
6. (2) 10ohm resistors
7. A Super Low Lux Mini B&W spy camera that can be powered by 9 volts
8. 9 Volt batteries
Step 3: Disassemble the Viewfinder
Remove the viewfinder from the camcorder. Depending on the camcorder, this may be as easy as unplugging the connector to the camera and removing the viewfinder screws to release the entire unit. Some may be hard-wired inside the camcorder which will require more work. Once removed, take off the plastic housing to reveal the viewfinder components. Identify the ground wire. To identify the power wire, you will have to do some tracing back to a power regulator or diode. You can use an adjustable power supply (recommended) or 9 volt battery to test the viewfinder power line. After identifying the ground and power, the video libe can be located byfeeding a video signal into the other wires.
Step 4: Build the LED Array...
I used 12 LED's. 6 LED's wired in series to another series of 6 in parallel. Attach the 10ohm resistors to the positive end of the array.
Step 5: Prep the Housing...
Now it is time to drill all of the holes in the project box. I drilled 12 holes for the LED array. A large hole (using a hole saw) for the viewfinder, 3 holes for the switch, power indicator LED and phono jack.
Step 6: Install All of the Components...
Time to install all of the components and wire according to the schematic. Be sure to test each compnent along the way. Basically all grounds go to and out of the switch. The LED array, micro camera and power LED are powered by one 9 volt battery and the viewfinder is powered by another.
Step 7: Close It All Up and Test It Out!
You will be amazed at the brightness of these LED's in perfectly dark environment. With the right low-lux camera you can see in complete darkness since the infrared LED's generate light at a frequency that the camera can see. And, you can record what you see by taking the video out to a camcorder! Stealth at it's finest!