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Author Topic: VT38A floodcam modded for better night view  (Read 23778 times)

dbemowsk

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VT38A floodcam modded for better night view
« on: March 08, 2010, 02:28:51 AM »

I have a few of the VT38A floodcams that I had gotten on an ebay auction a number of years ago.  I have one of them installed above my garage door that points at my driveway.  I have seen a few posts on here on how the floodcams are basically useless at night.  The image is way too dark to be useful for anything.

I recently received my new USB video capture device and had a chance to try it out.  And what did I find?  Well I found that all of the gripes about the camera were true.  The image was truly useless at night.  This is when a lot of crime happens and is why I put the camera up in the first place.  Below is an example of what I was seeing at night from the camera.  And this is with the lights on.


I had remembered a post a while back where someone (I think it was Tuicemen) who had posted a link to someone who had modded a digital camera to be an infrared camera.  I wasn't able to find the post, but I was abale to find the article.  I figured there had to be a way for me to do something similar that would get me better night vision out of my floodcams.

I have posted an article on my website detailing the mod that I did to one of my floodcams that has significantly improved the night vision of my cam.  Below is a before and after view of it's performance.  Both images are with only the flood lights on  and no other extra lighting.


The tests I did were at night and so far these are the only tests I have done with the newly modded cam.  Over the next few days I will be testing the cam in daylight conditions to see if maybe there may be some over-saturation of the image during the day due to the sun.  The camera points east, so if anything, morning sun will most likely be the worst.  After performing some of these daytime tests, I may find that I will need some other type of filter in place for the daytime use, but I will keep you all posted as to the progress.

Hope this information is helpful to many.

Dan Bemowski
« Last Edit: October 24, 2010, 09:51:01 AM by dbemowsk »
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Dan Bemowski
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Tuicemen

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Re: VT38A floodcam modded for better night view
« Reply #1 on: March 08, 2010, 08:44:53 AM »

Nice write up Dan!  #:)
Details on your site I'm sure will be of great help to others wishing to improve their Floodcams.
I almost makes me want to get a VT38A just to play with. rofl
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HA Dave

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Re: VT38A floodcam modded for better night view
« Reply #2 on: March 08, 2010, 08:58:59 AM »

Very nice Dan (dbemowsk)!
Nice mod, nice pictures, nice description, nice Web Site too. Thank you for sharing that with us.
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dbemowsk

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Re: VT38A floodcam modded for better night view
« Reply #3 on: March 08, 2010, 09:39:37 AM »

The mod was very easy.  It can be done in less than 20 minutes if you have the right stuff to focus the camera afterwards. 

I have posted a couple of new pics of what the cam sees in the morning when the sun is just coming up.  This is the time when the camera will see the most sunlight directly into the lens.  It doesn't appear that extra filtering will be needed for this to work well in the daytime.

The next test I want to try is to use some par 30 50 watt infrared flood lights to see if I get any improved night viewing. 

As usual, I will post my findings once I get the new floods in place.

Dan B.
« Last Edit: October 24, 2010, 09:52:09 AM by dbemowsk »
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Dan Bemowski
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Brian H

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Re: VT38A floodcam modded for better night view
« Reply #4 on: March 08, 2010, 09:46:12 AM »

That was a great modification write up.
Thank you for the effort.
Helpful from me.
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Puck

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Re: VT38A floodcam modded for better night view
« Reply #5 on: March 08, 2010, 10:55:14 AM »

A very useful modification. Thanks for sharing.

 #:)
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dbemowsk

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Re: VT38A floodcam modded for better night view
« Reply #6 on: March 10, 2010, 03:19:44 AM »

I have done some editing to my article on the floodcam mod.  I have done some research on what light bulbs would be best suited for this mod.  Check out the article to see my findings on bulb selection.

Dan Bemowski
« Last Edit: October 24, 2010, 09:52:30 AM by dbemowsk »
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Dan Bemowski
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eagle

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Re: VT38A floodcam modded for better night view
« Reply #7 on: March 10, 2010, 05:52:41 AM »

Great discoveries (ir filter removal and spectral waveforms) and the mod itself.

I wonder if the x10 night cameras or perhaps all x10 cameras are built the same way.

Has anyone disassembled an x10 camera and can confirm this?

r,
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nybuck

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Re: VT38A floodcam modded for better night view
« Reply #8 on: March 12, 2010, 11:22:06 AM »

Eagle,

I disassembled the Wide Angle Lens of the XCam2.  (Sorry no pictures)  :-\

Upon unscrewing the lens assembly, the square filter was immediately visible.  It was held onto the inside of the lens assembly with 4 drops of glue in the corners.  A quick application of an xacto blade, and voila!  One IR filter for spare parts!    ;D

Upon removal, I saw immediate improvement on low-light and IR-enhanced brighter picture.  I have not experimented a great deal on whether it will allow too-much light, or outdoor full-sun performance, although I have discussed this on another thread http://forums.x10.com/index.php?topic=19924.0 and no one has suggested any huge issues, other than the camera seeing IR light, and therefore possible getting a picture that is "too hot" or too light.

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>!

eagle

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Re: VT38A floodcam modded for better night view
« Reply #9 on: March 12, 2010, 12:10:59 PM »

Thanks nybuck for taking on the research.  :)

A Helpful Rating from me.

r,
eagle
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IPS

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Re: VT38A floodcam modded for better night view
« Reply #10 on: May 10, 2010, 08:29:16 PM »

I wish I could say what you all are saying.
 I got a new Floodcam last month. After reading all the above threads, I tried without any success. May be the newer ones have a very tight fitting lens. I just could not pry out the lens. No place not even a tiny separation between the retainer and lens housing.

Any suggestions? Any one.

Thanks
IPS
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dbemowsk

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Re: VT38A floodcam modded for better night view
« Reply #11 on: May 10, 2010, 10:42:41 PM »

I am guessing that you.unscrewed the lens from the front of the camera. Did you cut the glue points holding the retainer ring? If so, did you try pushing the lens out with a toothpick? You mention prying out the lens, I do not recommend even prying on the retainer ring. The whole lens assembly including the retainer ring should push out with the toothpick. Yoy may need to push with the toothpick on multiple spots on the outer edge of the lens, but it should come out.
I have not tried this with a new camera, but I cannot imgine it is much different. 

Let me know if the suggestions help. If it does not and you can post pics of your lens assembly, we may be able to help more.
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glacier991

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Re: VT38A floodcam modded for better night view
« Reply #12 on: May 14, 2010, 08:04:20 PM »

Just to add to this discussion, I recently picked up a flood cam, and noticed the very thing that IPS commented on. However, my plan had been to see if a wide angle lens would work in the flood cam. Here is what I found out.

The sensors in a WA cam and a normal cam appear identical. The difference, besires the lens itself is that the threaded lens barrel is considerably longer and the threads come out to the front of the camera (hence farther) in the WA camera.

I could get the WA lens to focus in the shorter barrel of the flood cam, but it was hardly one thread into the mount at the focal point. You could likely put some glue on it and focus it and rest assured that it would stay, but you'd want to be darned sure of your focus first !

Hope someone finds this of value.
« Last Edit: May 26, 2010, 08:47:35 PM by glacier991 »
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heatvent

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Re: VT38A floodcam modded for better night view
« Reply #13 on: May 25, 2010, 10:14:01 PM »

I am guessing that you.unscrewed the lens from the front of the camera. Did you cut the glue points holding the retainer ring? If so, did you try pushing the lens out with a toothpick? You mention prying out the lens, I do not recommend even prying on the retainer ring. The whole lens assembly including the retainer ring should push out with the toothpick. Yoy may need to push with the toothpick on multiple spots on the outer edge of the lens, but it should come out.
I have not tried this with a new camera, but I cannot imgine it is much different. 

Let me know if the suggestions help. If it does not and you can post pics of your lens assembly, we may be able to help more.


I think what IPS is saying is his floodcam, like the one I just received, does not have the same barrel as in your writeup.  The current version has a very tightly sealed barrel with no visable glue spots.  Short of hacking apart the plastic housing, it is not clear how to get the lens apart in a clean way.  If I get a chance I will try to post a picture.  If anyone is familiar with what I am talking about, have you had any success with the newer style barrel?

I AM ATTACHING A PICTURE...
« Last Edit: May 25, 2010, 10:29:31 PM by heatvent »
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dbemowsk

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Re: VT38A floodcam modded for better night view
« Reply #14 on: May 26, 2010, 12:08:25 AM »

I see your point.  Any way to access it from the front?
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Dan Bemowski
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