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HOW TO – CVS Night Vision Cam

HOW TO – CVS Night Vision Cam

33989 L Master Modder Adds Infrared to His Favorite Disposable Camera – The basic idea is that infrared light is not visible to the human eye, but every camera has a CCD (Charge Coupled Device) and by default they show infrared light. So camera makers install an infrared filter to block the light. Then if we add several infrared LEDs to the camera, they will act as a flashlight for the camera. So let’s jump right into it. [via] Link.

30 thoughts on “HOW TO – CVS Night Vision Cam

  1. rmd6502 says:

    IANAEE, but an EE friend of mine told me that you need to add a series resistor to limit the current to 20ma for the LEDs – so use 1 less LED and add a resistor and you’ll get better light output and less risk of burning out the diodes.

  2. jcantara says:

    You definitely need a series resistor with an LED. In the theoretical world, if the voltage difference across an LED is more than the breakdown voltage of the LED, then you’ll get infinite current. Of course in the real world, if the voltage is *really close*, you might get a reasonable amount of current, but that’ll change depending on time of day, temperature, the color of your pants, etc… so it shouldn’t be relied upon. If the camera-hacker’s LEDs do infact work, it’s by luck alone.


  3. rampy says:

    dissapointed that there’s no example night vision picture =(

  4. says:

    Think this could work with fewer LEDs running off of the 3V supply allready in the camera? Anyone?

  5. OlProfBear says:

    Hey, Make, credit where credit is due!

    All of these hacks originated on

    The G4 folks seem to be mighty stingy with this information …

    IR hacks have been posted there for weeks, as well as 3D and the original camcorder hack. And that’s not even counting the still camera work.

    A whole crew of talented and determined hackers have been at work on this for months. I won’t even try to list their handles. Go read the forums!

  6. philliptorrone says:

    OlProfBear – send me the links to the direct posts/hacks and i’ll add those, update the current one and/or cover new ones.

  7. drandolph says:

    Wow, bad news travels fast! It all started when I found out that they Dugg the CVS night vision camera. I thought it was great because I read Digg just about everyday. Then I found a post by “d0rk”and I was disappointed because it appears that someone out there already did this hack back in August. So I want to give credit where credit is due.

    So I recall my self proclaimed title of “First to create an Infrared CVS Camera” and hand that off to “boodle”. I also would like it to be known that no one at AOTS or myself had any knowledge of his projects.

    He also made a stereoscopic CVS setup, but unlike some other people I see little resemblance between it and the 3D CVS camera I did. The closest I can see is that we both had two cameras to mod.

    As for the original CVS USB hack, watch the video before you say I never give credit. I mentioned on the show that I found all of the information at and it was even in the article.

    So if you visit you will find “mike””boodle”(I assume) with his articles. He also did a macro project that deserves a look at.

    I really want to give credit where it is due. If you ever find a project of mine that someone has already has done in the future go ahead and let me know.

  8. boodle says:

    Wow, thanks for acknowledging prior work!

    I actually wasn’t the first to get infrared working with these cameras, although I may have been the first to post a full howto on it (not sure if I was or not.) I think the first work with IR on the cvs camcorder was done in this thread

    The reason my 3d doesn’t appear to be similar is because I chose to use stereoscopic viewing instead of anaglyphic viewing. learjet actually took one of my videos and did an anaglyphic version in this thread. In that same thread, I posted a couple avisynth scripts to make the 3d videos. The benefit of stereoscopic imaging as opposed to anaglyphic is that you don’t need glasses to view stereographs, and the color isn’t changed from the original.

    MUOTUC has also done some work with nightvision with a 3.5 million candlepower spotlight with a visible light filter on it here.

    binaryweaver also tried a 3d setup in this thread. And did some nighvision work here and here.

    Sorry if I forgot someone else’s project, I’m sure I forgot some people…

    Here are direct links to my CVS camcorder projects:
    stereographic (3d)
    zbmConvert is a program that lets you convert some of the status screens and other graphics in the camcorder to and from a format that can be edited with paint, photoshop, etc.

  9. drandolph says:

    Wow you guys have been busy over there! I need to get my segments on the show faster so I can win the race next time! I actually pitched the idea of using the CVS cameras for 3D a day after I did the first article on installing a USB port on the CVS camera back in the middle of August but darn my procrastination.

    I built the IR version to help me out with a completely unrelated hack and the people on AOTS thought it was cool enough to use it as a project on its own.

    Give it a few days and when everyone is done posting who was working on 3D and infrared projects, I’ll be sure to post it on my website.

  10. BruceR says:

    Jesse beat me to it ..

    check here for info on what resistor you will need.


  11. BruceR says:

    regarding my last post, it was really a reply to The original article uses 7 leds so that the voltages add up right. If you want to use 3 then you need a resistor.

  12. Johnny_Action says:

    I did this hack with the led’s being powered off of the 3volt batteries in the camera.

    I used which has a led voltage calculator for resistors. For my radioshack 1.2 volt infrared leds, I used 2 of them in series with a 57 Ohm resistor because it was the closest I had to 62 ohms which the calculator called for. I used 2 sets of 2 leds in series with a resistor on the positive side for each set for a total of 4 leds.

    It works fine just fine.

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