Open IP Camera Forum

Development => Hacking & Modding => Topic started by: Skyking on June 17, 2012, 09:42:14 pm

Title: Disable FOSCAM IR LED Illuminators
Post by: Skyking on June 17, 2012, 09:42:14 pm
Folks,

I have a mix of wired and wireless cameras, mostly FOSCAM, on my rural ranch property.  The FOSCAM IR LEDs do a fine job in many applications, but outside there are some practical considerations.

IR illuminators tend to fall into two spectrums, the "near visible" 850-880nm range and the "almost invisible" 940nm range.  FOSCAM uses the cheaper 850-880nm range LED technology and that is what creates the issues in my application.  Insects can see this and they are attracted to it.  Bats may be able to see it, but maybe it is the insects it is attracting, so bats will make circuits in view of the camera triggering motion activated recording and alarm functions.  Finally, in the complete darkness of rural applications the "near visible" is very visible when you are straight on the bore axis of the camera lens and the IR illuminators that surround them.

Why this treatise on spectrum?  Two items:
The flood versus spot is important to know because for a gate approach a person might want to use one, two, three, etc., flood lights to cover a wide area.  A spot version could be used to illuminate a specific item at a longer distance.

Any sharpies out there wish to address these points?

Thanks,

Phil
Title: Re: Disable FOSCAM IR LED Illuminators
Post by: celem on June 18, 2012, 01:39:10 pm
When I attempted to use my waterproof Foscam camera outdoors to capture photos of bears at night, the motion of bugs attracted to the IR lights caused images to be constantly mailed to me. Reducing sensitivity didn't help because, up close, the bugs are huge to the camera's sensor. I have a 850nm floodlight that I could place away from the camera, combined with turning off the camera's LEDs, which should solve the problem. The bugs will flutter in front of the floodlight, well away from the camera. I haven't tried this but expect it to resolve my problem. The IR Floodlight that I use works well and only costs around $11. Search eBay for " Illuminator light CCTV 48 IR Infrared LED"

If you can read French, there is a very good website that describes how to modify a Foscam to control the IR LEDs via the WebUI. It is HERE (http://tinyurl.com/7cv9sf8).

A user at the French site, gyls29, posted a link to photos of his modification on PicasaWeb (https://picasaweb.google.com/113106084817225497072/CommandeLedIRParRelaisEtProtectionLEDIR#). His post describes the mod as "I turn the IR LED with Switch ON, I put it out with the Switch OFF I put a 22 ohm resistor (I had it on hand) and I deliberately placed on the base PCB to avoid having to disassemble everything if we had to change ... Despite resistance of 22 ohms, I do not really see the difference in range of the IR by the effort to reduce heat."
Title: Re: Disable FOSCAM IR LED Illuminators
Post by: Skyking on June 18, 2012, 03:13:37 pm
celem,

I used a Firefox French-to-English plug in to translate the text.  The salient part is:
Quote
Paillassou [mode hacker ON]

As this has to have IPCam (clone) disassembled, I took the opportunity to implement my little trick of extinction IR LEDs (I speak in the first page)

    I soldered two long son in / / the LDR "R1" [side chip]

http://lh5.ggpht.com/_SmPqoQH6S8Q/ [...] 060651.JPG

    I passed this pair of son (added) with all other existing cabling
    I soldered the end of this pair of son (from the LDR) on the main PCB board, in / / the contacts 1 and 2 (relay)


=> I can now order, successfully switching on and off the IR LEDs (in darkness) via the relay control available on the webui ;)

Paillassou [mode hacker OFF]

This isn't entirely clear to me, but it looks like he is soldering a resister in because he was having a problem with the IR LEDs overheating his camera.  Completely unclear to me is how the WebUI could then be used...  But, it does appear to confirm the ability to turn the LEDs off and on is a hardware issue and not something that can be done with a firmware hack.  Anybody else have any thoughts on this?

The crazy part is I know many, many, users would like the option to turn off the LAN lights (a feature of their FI8918W) and and the LEDs for the reasons I listed, so why they wire the daylight sensor in series with the LEDs is beyond me...

Thanks again and I continue to be interested if anybody else has ideas about how to solve this.

Phil
Title: Re: Disable FOSCAM IR LED Illuminators
Post by: celem on June 18, 2012, 03:46:44 pm
Re "...Completely unclear to me is how the WebUI could then be used... " He is wiring the LEDs through the the relay output of the camera. He operates the relay via the WebUI to control the LEDs. His goal is to reduce a transformer from overheating but the outcome is the same - control of the LEDs.

There are a couple of mod versions discussed there. I haven't tried to figure out his exact wiring but it appears that Paillassou is using pins 1 & 2 of the internal relay to short across the photoresistor to turn the LEDs off. Here is more info:
Quote
The more light, less the resistance of the photoresistor and vice versa.
So no light = IR = low resistance, IR = dark = high resistance
If you put a relay contacts in parallel with the photoresistor
  open = resistance of the photoresistor: normal
  closed = zero resistance <=> light: no IR
So you activate (close) the relay to turn off the IR

Also, he is using a Heden camera, not a Foscam, but they are extremely similar.
Title: Re: Disable FOSCAM IR LED Illuminators
Post by: Skyking on June 18, 2012, 11:45:05 pm
celem,

OK, that makes more sense.  The FOSCAM FI8918W has an audio input and output, so maybe that could be used, but my cameras are a mix of FOSCAM FI8903Ws, FI8904Ws and FI8905Ws.  None of them has any type of output trigger that I am aware of.  When I think of output trigger I think in terms of an output to an alarm or audio or some such thing.  If there is a trigger out on the circuit board that turns the LEDs on and he is essentially shunting them out with the resistor, I am still unsure if that leave the camera able to correctly change from daylight to dark mode.   :o

Can anybody shed any more light on this?  Pun intended.   :-[  And wow, what a lot of work just to get the LEDs turned off...   :-\

Phil
Title: Re: Disable FOSCAM IR LED Illuminators
Post by: celem on June 18, 2012, 11:53:05 pm
There is an icon on the webui that you click on/off to operate the internal relay whose contacts appear on the port on the rear of the camera. The French guy is wiring to the relay contacts directly on the PCB.
Title: Re: Disable FOSCAM IR LED Illuminators
Post by: Skyking on June 19, 2012, 12:00:47 am
celem,

OK, so with no port on the back of my cameras this isn't a solution that would work for me, right?   ???  I don't mean to come across as an idiot, but I am not seeing how this translates to a solution to the question I posed.  If I am missing something, my apology...   :-\

Thanks,

Phil
Title: Re: Disable FOSCAM IR LED Illuminators
Post by: celem on June 19, 2012, 12:31:07 am
In Foscam's newer firmware there is a CGI "set_extra_io.cgi" that lets you set bits on the pca8574 8-bit I/O expander. With a soldering iron and some research you could wire to this.

For a simple solution, why don't you just short out the photoresistor with a low value resistor, forcing the lights off.
Title: Re: Disable FOSCAM IR LED Illuminators
Post by: Skyking on June 19, 2012, 12:57:33 am
celem,

Thanks for all the hand-holding on this, I do appreciate it.  I opened a camera up and carefully cut one wire, tested, reconnected, cut another, etc., until I had tested them all.  I found the sensor and LEDs appear to be wired in series because when I got the LEDs to not light, the camera would stay in daylight mode in complete darkness.  I have wondered at just twisting the two LEDs closest to the sensor off at the PCB to break the connection, but absent a wiring diagram I am hesitant to take such drastic steps. 

I could just mask the lens opening and a spot over the sensor and shoot black spray paint onto the glass over the LEDs, but then I have to line it up precisely when I screw it off and back on.  I also wondered about light emitting around the sensor, behind the glass, leaving a glow and perhaps fooling with the sensor, so I haven't tried this.

If someone has a wiring schematic for the PCBs used in these three cameras I could figure out how to disable the LEDs.  Without a diagram I hate semi-destructive testing, which is what it basically is when you disassemble one of these things and start cutting this and that and then try to put each thing back as it was.

Maybe someone else will see this post, have had the same issue and they will have either a simple solution, or a step-by-step process that they have used.  And they can provide all of that with easy to understand English.   ::)

Thanks again,

Phil
Title: Re: Disable FOSCAM IR LED Illuminators
Post by: celem on June 19, 2012, 01:02:51 am
For a simple solution, why don't you just short out the photoresistor with a low value resistor, forcing the lights off. It is non-destructive and reversable.
Title: Re: Disable FOSCAM IR LED Illuminators
Post by: Skyking on June 19, 2012, 01:25:57 am
calem,

You are certain the day/night switch feature of the camera would continue to work if I did this?

Thanks,

Phillip
Title: Re: Disable FOSCAM IR LED Illuminators
Post by: celem on June 19, 2012, 10:59:59 am
Your goal, as I understand it, is to illuminate the area of surveillance but not have insects and bats attracted to the lights located on the front of the camera.

It is my belief that the IR lights operate completely independent of the camera. This is why there is no control of the lights from the webui and that they are instead independently controlled by a photoresistor located on the same PCB as the LEDs themselves.  The light's sole function to illuminate the scene with 850nm IR light to which the camera's sensor is sensitive. Note, however, Foscam's newer camera, the FI8918W does have the ability to control the IR lights via the webui, so obviously, a hardware change was made in that newer camera version - probably just a power control to the LED board.

During the day the sun is the illumination source. At night an artificial illumination source is required. That can be (1) the IR lights built into the front of the camera; (2) IR lights separate from the camera pointed at the area of surveillance; (3) full-spectrum light (ordinary floodlight) pointed at the area of surveillance.

The absolutely simplest solution would be to unplug the power cable from the IR lights in the front of the camera and substitute an external illumination source, either IR or visible light. If the external light is adequately separated, physically, from the camera, yet still illuminating the area of surveillance, then insects and bats should be far enough removed from the camera so as to not activate the motion detection.
Title: Re: Disable FOSCAM IR LED Illuminators
Post by: Skyking on June 19, 2012, 11:27:49 am
celem,

You are % correct in what I am trying to accomplish (With the addition of attempting to reduce the ability of vandals to see the camera to disable it.) and how I am trying to accomplish it.  The issue for me is it appears the day/night sensor and LEDs share a series power connection.  Disabling one disables the other.

I have so far not found a means to disable the LEDs without the camera day/night sensor failing to function.  Once the LEDs are unpowered the camera fails to change from daylight to darkness mode when the lights in the testing room are extinguished.  Checking via the LAN confirms the camera remains in the day mode (i.e. color) and is essentially blind as a result.

So, I am seeking a solution, if there is one, and hopefully a simple one, where myself and other interested persons can disable the LEDs without disabling the day/night sensor.  FOSCAM Technical Support suggested I remove the filter from the little plastic tube that surrounds the sensor, but when I followed up and asked them to clarify wouldn't that just keep the camera in the day mode I never got a reply.

Thanks,

Phil
Title: Re: Disable FOSCAM IR LED Illuminators
Post by: celem on June 19, 2012, 11:43:07 am
It is my belief that there is no day/night function within the camera itself, only the sensor getting adequate illumination within its visible frequencies. However, I will break open my Foscam outdoor camera and do some tests - maybe later today or tomorrow.
Title: Re: Disable FOSCAM IR LED Illuminators
Post by: Skyking on June 19, 2012, 11:54:22 am
celem,

Wow, you are going above the call of duty!   :)  Thanks much.  I believe the sensor, with an IR filter in front of it, is used to turn on the LEDs and switch the camera from day to night mode.  From testing it appears FOSCAM powers a series connection to both.  I actually had one camera completely disassembled and had drilled the back of the case and installed an on/off switch so I could jumper the LED power through it giving me the ability to manually turn them on and off, when I determined there appeared to be no way to disable them without also disabling the day/night sensor switch, rendering the camera useless at night.  If you figure something out, particularly something easy to accomplish, when we are done please send me a PM and I will send you something for your trouble.   8)

Best Regards,

Phil
Title: Re: Disable FOSCAM IR LED Illuminators
Post by: celem on 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 (http://www.flickr.com/photos/23036115@N03/sets/72157630199786706/).

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.
Title: Re: Disable FOSCAM IR LED Illuminators
Post by: Skyking on 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
Title: Re: Disable FOSCAM IR LED Illuminators
Post by: celem on 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 (http://www.openipcam.com/forum/index.php/topic,124.0.html). 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.
Title: Re: Disable FOSCAM IR LED Illuminators
Post by: Skyking on 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
Title: Re: Disable FOSCAM IR LED Illuminators
Post by: celem on 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.
Title: Re: Disable FOSCAM IR LED Illuminators
Post by: celem on 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/ (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!
Title: Re: Disable FOSCAM IR LED Illuminators
Post by: celem on 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/ (http://dzrmo.wordpress.com/2012/12/03/light-dependent-resistor-tester/)
Title: Re: Disable FOSCAM IR LED Illuminators
Post by: Remensongalli on February 04, 2013, 10:22:01 pm
Hi,
Looks like an interesting discussion, and much more to learn from all people experiment.
Title: Re: Disable FOSCAM IR LED Illuminators
Post by: Remensongalli on 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.
Title: Re: Disable FOSCAM IR LED Illuminators
Post by: Remensongalli on February 20, 2013, 05:23:22 am
Through this discussion your problem must be solved now or still you are facing a same problem.
Title: Re: Disable FOSCAM IR LED Illuminators
Post by: bglee on 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.
Title: Re: Disable FOSCAM IR LED Illuminators
Post by: Remensongalli on 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
Title: Re: Disable FOSCAM IR LED Illuminators
Post by: AmillenBlake on 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.