Night vision FPV cameras?

I thought that ardupilot is quite suitable for securing agricultural crops from theft at night. Has anybody tried this in practice? Are there any low cost night vision FPV cameras known to work well with ardupilot?

use a normal cctv camera without IR filter and 2-4 10W IR leds :wink: very cheap and works great.

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  1. Can you, please, post a link on a step-by-step guide on how to accomplish this, if you have?..

  2. My FPV camera is - Foxeer Razor. Can I use it instead of a cctv camera and only buy IR leds or is cctv completely different from my FPV camera for this purpose?

A FPV camera should be able to see IR just fine if you can remove the IR filter. Removing the IR filter on a camera is easier on some models than others. Google brings up several tutorials on removing the IR filter. Unfortunately, there’s not one universal way to do this. I think some IR filters are coating on the physical sensors but I’m not sure.

I’d suggest testing this out with an inexpensive camera first. The camera can still be used in normal light but the colors will be off.


I have pointed my IR remote control onto my FPV camera and I could see its IR led blinking via my goggles. I don’t see it when I look on it directly. Does it mean that my FPV camera doesn’t have an IR filter? Which means I only need to attach some powerful IR leds to the drone to enable night vision?..

Most digital camera will see the IR from a remote. Most digital cameras can also be used with IR LEDs at night. Removing the IR filter just makes the camera see IR easier than with the filter.
You could certainly try just adding IR LEDs and see how it goes.
Most “night vision” which uses IR LEDs don’t have very good range. You need some pretty powerful IR LEDs if you want to see more than 10 yards (or meters) away (this distance is a guess on my part, I’m not sure of the actual limit).

Have investigated this some time ago and conducted range experiments with a GoPro with the IR filter removed.

Even with a 40W IR LED illumination the range was 15m
Range with 20W IR LED is 15m
Range with a 5W IR LED is 15m

The goal was a cheap night vision setup with at least a 30m range but not achievable with standard cameras.
I have some board cameras that are rated ‘starlight’ cameras, off the top of my head about 0.00001LUX
The issue becomes frame rate, so once your down to a frame per second its not much use for navigation.

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No matter the power you always got 15m range? Strange…

Is it possible to focus the IR light using mirrors and lenses to improve the range?

yes it is, i can get usable 40-50m range with ir illuminators and a fpv camera with ir filter removed. i use those leds (2-3):

and you can use those lenses (test around!)

(not sure on those lenses, never used them as i use selfmade lenses)
Make sure you have enough cooling for the LED!

also make sure that no direct ir light goes into your fpv camera lense. it depends on your use case but indirect light is the key there. if you want to know more pm me.

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I have an 4S Lipo battery. How should I connect the LEDs to power supply? Via FC? Via receiver - Jumper R900? Or directly to the battery (with voltage reduction) somehow?

Use something proper like meanWell LDD-700L

  1. and this thing I attach directly to the battery?
  2. in parallel?

You do need to read the datasheet, to understand how it works. And if you need:

  • more current there is the 900mA variant
  • less current there is the 500mA and 600mA variant

I will try to help more with the IR LED tomorrow.
I just wanted to share an alternate camera I recently found.

It is listed as an accessory to the Pixhawk flight controller.

Check the accessories picture in the link above.
Seeing the cool Flir camera made me think of this thread.

FWIW, I think this is good advice. There are lots different LED drivers and the MeanWell devices look like they’re a good option.

You don’t want to power the LED directly from your receiver. It would likely destroy the receiver. You can purchase switches which are controlled from a RC channel. If you want to be able to turn the LED on and off with the radio one of these switches is one way to do this.

Keep in mind the LED is going to get hot. You’ll likely need a heatsink of some sort attached to the LED. The more air flow the heatsink get the cooler it will keep the LED.

If you need help deciphering datasheets, post a link to the datasheet here and you’ll likely get help.

As long as your LED driver can handle the voltage of your battery, you should be able to power it in parallel with the rest of your gear.