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Author Topic: Disable FOSCAM IR LED Illuminators  (Read 84227 times)

  • *****
June 19, 2012, 09:04:06 pm
I conducted some experiments with a FOSCAM FI8904W IP-Camera to see how well the camera would function if the IR-LED PCB board were removed and infrared were supplied from a separate floodlight. The goal is to eliminate insects from being attracted to front of the camera due to their natural attraction to light. The 850nm infrared light is visible to the insects. By separating the illumination source, a 850nm infrared floodlight, from the camera, it can be physically removed by a suitable distance, illuminate the surveillance zone and keep the insects away from the camera's lens.

My expectation was that the camera would function identically with or without the IR-LED PCB. Given that the only connection from the camera's main logic board to the LED PCB was a two-wire power connector, J1, with 5-Volts and Ground, it seemed reasonable that the camera would be unaware of the PCB's presence or absence. My experiments proved this expectation to be true, with one caveat.

Daylight video was essentially the same with or without the presence of the LED PCB. Images taken in a darkened room with the only light source being the IR floodlight were both equally usable and essentially identical to factory illumination with the IR-LEDs in place.

My caveat is that I did additional experiments wherein I shorted the two-wire power connector, J1, with a 220 Ohm resistor to simulate a load, so, to the camera's main logic board the current draw would be similar to the case of the LEDs being in place. In this case the dark room photos were a truer black & white, losing the bluish tint present in normal factory camera configuration and also when the LED PCB is removed. The daylight video with the 220 Ohm short did not appear appreciably different with or without the resistor in place. Why this occurs is a mystery to me and I suspect not by design given that this is not the case with a factory configuration, where the blueish tint is also present.

CONCLUSION: To use the Foscam FI8904W camera without the integral LED PCB, simply remove it and substitute an alternate 850nm infrared light source and functionality will not be degraded.

I have a series of screen captures of my experiments. Each photo is labeled with test conditions involved. You may view the photos at THIS-LINK.

NOTE: THere is some variation in the daylight photos due to the passage of time and movement of the sun, such as the foreground umbrella moving into the shade.
« Last Edit: June 19, 2012, 10:40:34 pm by celem »

June 19, 2012, 11:40:44 pm
celem,

From looking at your FOSCAM, which you identify as an FI8904W but the photograph indicates it is an FI8903W v1.0 camera PCB and connection...we have completely different configurations...

Mine is an FI8904W v1.1 and since I don't know how to do as you did with your image link I set up a Flickr account and uploaded this image [Edit - I am not sure which link to load so I am loading both.  If someone clues me in which one is right or wrong I will delete the incorrect one. - Thanks]:

https://secure.flickr.com/photos/80770898@N02/?uploaded=1&magic_cookie=4d64c61c7b7b9d009b9f54cd8ae4cd1d

https://secure.flickr.com/photos/80770898@N02/7405572568/in/photostream

In addition to the two wire connector you have, I have three soldered connections.  And as I previously indicated I have tried every variation possible, from unplugging the plug to cutting each wire individually.  In every instance where the IR LEDs were disabled the camera would not change from day mode to night mode when lights were extinguished...   :-\

I do appreciate your testing and evaluation, but clearly there is a difference in the manner in which the FI8904W I have was manufactured and the way your FI8903W was manufactured.  So, what now?   :'(

Phil
« Last Edit: June 19, 2012, 11:47:50 pm by Skyking »

  • *****
June 20, 2012, 12:04:39 am
Mine actually is a FI8904W. I mislabeled it as FI8903W in a few places because that was the marking on the LED board. Later I looked in my records and saw that it was really a FI8904W. Mine is almost 3-years old. I suspect that yours is the new model that has an IR-CUT filter, which would account for the extra wires. The IR-CUT filter is a 850nm blocking filter that is mechanically switched in and out for daylight/night.

While I don't have a FI8904W e/w an IR-CUT filter I do have a EasyN FS-613B-M1661 e/w an IR-CUT filter. I don't really like it and feel that the IR-CUT filter unnecessarily adds additional complexity just to see better greens in the daylight. You can read my post about it HERE. There are photos of the camera broken down at a link in that post. There are 5 wires running from the solenoid board to the LED board but only the 5-Volt/Ground pair going back to the camera's main board. In other words, both the LEDs and the solenoid operate independent of the camera and they could both be removed, just as i did with my FI8904W, and the camera should work fine with an external IR spotlight. I suspect that this remains to be the case with your camera, as well.

Except for the extra two wires, your LED PCB looks the same as mine. The yellow wire is tied to 5V and I suspect that the white wire is to sense that the LEDs are illuminated (current flowing), to operate the solenoid and switch out the IR-CUT filter.
« Last Edit: June 20, 2012, 12:11:50 am by celem »

June 20, 2012, 12:24:50 am
celem,

After looking that other post over I have a proposal for you.   ;D  Please drop me a PM.

Thanks,

Phil

  • *****
June 20, 2012, 12:26:41 am
I just re-read your statement "In addition to the two wire connector you have, I have three soldered connections.  And as I previously indicated I have tried every variation possible, from unplugging the plug to cutting each wire individually.  In every instance where the IR LEDs were disabled the camera would not change from day mode to night mode when lights were extinguished."

Now, go back and read what I said "both the LEDs and the solenoid operate independent of the camera and they could both be removed, just as i did with my FI8904W, and the camera should work fine with an external IR spotlight."

It sounds like you disabled the LEDs but left the IR-Cut filter in place. That will not work. The IR-CUT filter and the LED PCB would both need to be removed. This is because if you disable the LED board but leave the IR-CUT board in place, the 850nm IR blocking filter (IR-CUT) will still be covering the lens, with the solenoid disabled, blocking all infrared light, including that of your external IR-floodlight.
« Last Edit: June 20, 2012, 12:15:42 pm by celem »

  • *****
August 30, 2012, 06:14:51 pm
FYI - the final outcome of this thread is documented in a post on my blog. I ended up designing a new PCB to replace the existing LED PCB. I have placed the plans into the public domain. I also have some leftover PCBs available. See:
http://dzrmo.wordpress.com/2012/08/30/foscam-fi904w-ip-camera-ir-light-modification/

Excerpt:
Quote
Skyking’s solution was to cover the IR-LEDs with black electrician’s tape. This is a perfectly reasonable solution but, to me, a more elegant solution would be to replace the IR-LED PCB with a new one that lacked IR LEDs but retained circuitry to control the  IR-CUT solenoid unit. Another excuse for me to design and build some printed circuit boards!
« Last Edit: September 11, 2012, 11:33:39 am by celem »

  • *****
December 04, 2012, 12:14:15 pm
FYI - I have done some experimentation on the characteristics of the GL5528 LDR used in Foscam, et al cameras. See:
http://dzrmo.wordpress.com/2012/12/03/light-dependent-resistor-tester/

February 04, 2013, 10:22:01 pm
Hi,
Looks like an interesting discussion, and much more to learn from all people experiment.

February 14, 2013, 08:31:25 am
You need to disable the day and night switch. After that you will be able to see the things clearly. I also faced the same problem. My friend suggested me to do so and my problem is solved so try it.

February 20, 2013, 05:23:22 am
Through this discussion your problem must be solved now or still you are facing a same problem.

February 23, 2013, 04:08:18 pm
I know this thread has a hardware focus, but I found a solution that might work for any Linux users out there.  I wanted to turn off IR every evening and because it will sometimes reset on its own, to keep turning it off periodically.  I scheduled a cron job with the following:

0,30 0-6,17-23 * * * curl -u admin:password http://camera_ip_address/decoder_control.cgi?command=94

The "curl" command allows me to send the username (admin) and password to the URL that corresponds to turning off IR.  In this particular case, I turn it off every 30 minutes, between midnight and 6:00am and again between 17:00 (5pm) and 23:00 (11pm).

While I would rather not have a job that has to run all the time.  This resolves my issue.  It is possible to do something similar on a Windows PC, (i.e. curl for Windows), but I've never tried it.  This does require that your machine run all the time.  Not an issue for my situation, but it might not work for anyone else.

March 13, 2013, 06:49:16 am
 Chip Lasky and John Chapman conducted a series of tests with the mandate to gather realistic data in order to 1) determine the effectiveness of commonly available nightvision when utilized in real world circumstances; and 2) utilize this data to determine a minimum level of capability appropriate for domestic law enforcement and homeland security missions.
Visit this link may be you will find your solution. http://www.ar15.com/forums/t_6_18/329958_Night_Vision_Generation_Comparison_Guide.html

April 18, 2013, 06:45:05 am
Hey everyone, I am new to the forum and would like to participate in the discussion. It really seems interesting to me. I would love to learn new things from the discussion.