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Author Topic: Infra Red Modification to X10 cams.. ANYONE else done it? Its easy..  (Read 5406 times)


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I searched this forum for IR MODS but didn't find anyone stating they have done it.
I know for a fact if you use the X10 NightWatch Wireless Low-Light B/W cam and want to add IR (infra red) to them it can be done VERY EASY.
X10 has a few others that will work too but requires more than normal ability and equipment to preform.

 Either add them (I have experimented and tested both 940nm and 850nm Infra Red LEDS) to the cam (I put them Ninja pan n tilt) or put them in a location you want to light up ,,, Ive built separate IR emitters for the NINJA pan n tilt units and also incorporated them onto the cams and remote locations.Just depends on your application. MINE ARE ALL BUILT FOR OUTSIDE in the rain/ice weather.
Hard part was figuring out how to have the ability to turn the IR's on and off using the X10 vanguard software and the hand held remote control (at home and viewing remotely) and then gettin your power from the camera and OR the NINJA pan n tilt.
But adding it to their software and using a button already on the remote just took a little reading and testing and a few beers. >!

DEPENDING on the exact type of LEDS you use you can make the IR lights totally invisible to the naked eye or they can have a faint low red glow to them.
You might want to use multiple Emitting angles together, this way your getting flood and spot beam properties at the same time with only using a very few LEDS.
Ive got mine set up to cover FLOOD 10ft wide at 10ft away and Beam spot for distance 25ft wide at 30ft to 60ft away at the same time.
Even on the darkest nights it looks like very bright daylight (thru the computer monitor and Home TV).
AND foggy nights are awesome, IR penetrates the fog and doesn't bounce back at you like a flashlight,,, letting you see "INTO THE FOG" -:)

I even built a few Battery powered mini IR emitters that can be placed anywhere (in a vehicle, on a tree or fence, corner of a building) and they can be controlled by motion detection or by remote. They can stay "on" constant for about 40 hours or if you use motion detector or remote they have lasted me from 6 to 11 months.
Then just change the batteries, the mini IR units i built are smaller than a .357 mag cartridge.
I even built one LED emitting unit using SUPER BRIGHT WHITE LEDS, kinda a spot\flood light that rotates with the camera on the Ninja Pan N tilt.
Its very annoying and UNFRIGGEN real how bright it is if your outside and I turn it on and aim it at you. 380,000mcd per led and there is 15 of them tightly stacked.
 Even added a "strobe flash" pattern option to it like the Swat and Military use to disorient the enemy and added a few Ultraviolet and red/green high intensity LEDS. Pretty funny to watch the local cat or dog get STROBED and blinded then they freeze up for about 10 seconds,
then they try to run off my property but end up running SMACK head long into a tree or fence post.  B:( rofl   

But after a few nights of doing that I don't have cat foot prints on my vehicles windshields or unwanted dog turds on my lawn. :)%

The local Sheriff dept. was going door to door one night to see if there was anyone Else's vehicles that had been broken into and parked in my driveway to walk up to my front door to knock, I had the bright white strobe unit set to work from the motion sensor and he tripped it,, After it scared him and blinded him and he got calmed down and his sight came back to normal he asked about my cameras and I invited him in,
 HE LOVED IT.. He actually ordered 3 camera units with pan n tilts and had me modify and install them for him at his own house.

Make sure you order your LEDS EXCATLY as you need them ,, Here's my basic suggestion that you should start with.
#1 Source Material: InGaN  if your using them outdoors.
#2 Emitting Color or specific nm: between 800 to 1000 nm (infra red)
#3 Luminous Intensity-or MCD-or LUMENS: the higher the better
#4 Viewing Angle that is needed for your application. example (2q1/2 --  F=100mA -- would equal 40Deg emitting angle)
#5 your available power parameters
DC Forward Current 100mA
Peak Pulse Forward Current (1)150mA
Avg. Forward Current (Pulse Operation)100mA
Operating Temperature
 -40 to +100 C
Storage Temperature
 -40 to +120 C
Lead Soldering Temperature
 260C for 6 seconds
(1.0mm or 0.63 inch from Body)
Depending on your power source for them you might have to add a resistor.
But if your any kind of electronically inclined....and got a few common tools...
 It should only take you an hour or 2 to make you own INFRA RED emitter from scratch for your X10 NightWatch Wireless Low-Light B/W cam .
If you got any questions just email me or post it here.
If ANYONE else has done any IR modifications to their X10 units please let me know. Maybe we could swap info.

Mr Mike™

« Last Edit: May 16, 2011, 09:56:51 AM by MrMike »


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Sounds interesting. Can you give us some details of what actual modification were done to X10 cams? Give us some pics.


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Ive got a few pictures of the first attempts to attach an Emitter array to the pan n tilt unit.
Ill take more when the weather is better and a few at night.

Been trying to figure out how to post the pictures on here.



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I give up on trying to attach pictures on here either by attachment or just cut n paste or drag n drop.
I cant get it to work, couldn't find any help on "how to"

If I figure it out then ill post them.
In the meantime if you want pics leave me a email address that i can send them to.

When you say what actual modification were made..???
I pretty much already covered that.

Just a suggestion, if your not very good at fabricating/modifying, and dont have soldering iron, wire, basic electronics know how, and if you are not a person with patience then dont even try this.
Just spend $$ and buy some that are already made by another company. LOOK ON Ebay.

Heres more detailed "how to" using the Nightwatch low light black/white cams ONLY!!
 You can also modify other x10 cams but you better have alot more knowledge and job specific equipment.

If your using a wired Nightwatch low light black/white cam then just add a 2wire conductor from camera/ light emitter back to where ever you want the on/off switch.

If your attaching to wireless Nightwatch low light black/white cam
I attached Super intense bright white leds to the pan n tilt unit of the camera and used the pan n tilts own power source to power the leds.
Basically the easiest way it to make the Emitter array as an "removeable" add-on  without making any MODS to the X10 cam itself.
Test your powersupply and order your leds with as close to the same power input needs (voltage and mAh).
If you cant find an exact match then just use one of 100's on-line led resistor calculators to figure the proper resistor(s) to use.
My flood light unit is built on a small project box then mounted to the pan n tilt unit.
The police/military strobe-disorienting flash pattern:
I bought a few cheap Programable IC chips and copied the pattern from available ON-LINE information. programmed them and installed one of them in each unit I wanted to have this ability.
They are FRIGGEN SWEET!! really destroy your tergets or enemies natural ability to see and move in "less than high noon" daylight for about 10seconds with a little daylight to at least 1 minute or more at night, and you see these horrible blue/white Square dots where ever you look for at least 3 to 5 minutes.

ALSO be carefull, if your a person that is prone to epilectic sezuires caused by eratic light flashes then DONT EVEN PLAY WITH any kind of strobe high intensity lights.
AND if your a person like me that hopes the "intruder/enemy/un-invited" does have this problem then "oh well" They shouldnt be sneaking around my private property without first asking me and being escorted by me.
While their blinded and disoriented The first click they will hear is the door,,, the next click will be the last thing they ever hear..

You can use the same method as above.
I actually mounted the leds into the housing of the pan n tilt unit and added a wireless remote "on/off" switch unit.
Depending on what nm of IR led you get will determin if they are totally invisible to the naked eye or if they will have a faint low red/pink glow that can be seen at about 20feet on a really dark night.
I prefer the totally invisible ones.

I have also found if you make a "hood or shroud" for the top of any and all of the x10 regular cams it really helps with rain/snow,
and if you also hood or shroud the lights from the camera so that it doesn't see the lights until the light is at least 5ft away from the camera lens it really helps too.

easy way to make a fast shroud.. take paper towell tube , slit open longways, spray inside and out with flat black heavy type spraypaint or brush paint, let it dry, repeat many times, build the paint up so it protects the paper tube from moisture and adds a more rigid property.
then cut the tube to 2 inches longer than upper (outer black) housing of the camera lens.
trim the end  that's over the lens like and old cars style headlight visor.
Use a little fast dry epoxy ( that doesn't use cyanoacrylate.. that can cause unwanted white blooming) to attach it.
You can do the same to isolate or shroud the lights from the camera lens.

If your wanting to make a off camera or portable remote IR or flood light emitters, just use correct voltage micro batteries and either attach a micro wireless remote switch or attach to a motion sensor.
As the tiny batteries will last from 6 to 11 months using motion sensor or manual on off switch.
I ordered some Li-ION rechargeable batteries and fabricated the emitter unit so I can take it inside and recharge the battery of the portable light emitters I made about every 9 months for about 30 minutes (usually the first and last time I mow my lawn every year).

You can get some very tiny day/night motion sensors pretty cheap and then get rid of all that plastic they are housed in and make it even more "micro tiny"

As far as modifications to Vanguards software..
Well that might be a legal issue, don't know how they view their intellectual property pattens.
You can "lawfully" modify it for "your own personal use as an individual" and offer to sell the modified software back to the owner.
But "legally" you cant tell others how you did it, how to do it, sell it, or distribute it.
It sucks but their is a huge difference between "legal and lawfull".
And I don't want to be on the screwed side of a lawsuit.
Now if they were give explicit written permission then OK.

leds cost about $12 for 20 IR leds (only need 4 - 5 per camera
                      $15 for 15 super bright white leds (the more the brighter the better)
                      $10 for super tiny motion sensors
                      $5 per Programmable IC chips
The cost of building your own "see in total darkness" and "see into fog" add-on security....  PRICELESS!!!

Have fun..

Mr Mike™
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