Montana Ghost Hunter

Tag: illuminator

IR Flashlight Illuminator – Refraction Lens Modification

by on Oct.12, 2009, under Equipment

So a while ago, I posted a how-to on building a simple IR (infrared) illuminator using a flashlight and colored gels. This is a great, easy way to add additional infrared light to your night shot cameras.

Recently, I was at a investigation at Rankin Hall, and this was my first test of these IR illuminators. Overall, they worked great, but I felt that the light beam was too focused and it created a large spot on the wall when pointed to it. I wanted to ‘wash’ that out and cause more of a ‘flood’ effect. Doing some brainstorming and asking other nerdy friends, a friend came up with the idea of using a fluorescent light cover. I thought this was absolutely brilliant idea, since the flood lights had ‘nubbed’ surfaces causing the light to refract on multiple points on the surface.

I went to Ace hardware and picked up a 2×4 sheet of this material (approximately $7) and took it home. Here are the steps I took to complete this project (this is starting with a functional IR illuminator).

I laid the material on the floor and took apart my flashlight to use the reflector as a stencil.


I used a utility knife to outline the reflector. There is a flat side and a nubby side. I scored the plastic on the flat side. Be careful with this material, it’s very brittle and can crack easily.


Next, I used a Dremel tool with a cutting wheel to cut out a square around the circle. This will give you a more manageable piece to work with. Once that is out, you can cut on your score mark easier. Try not to damage the surface, and stay with in the outline. I used a sanding bit to smooth the edges, but a file would probably work as well.


Next you lay the additional lens in the lens holder. It should be a sandwich. Refraction lens, gels and the actual lens. I kept the nubby side towards the light source.


Here is what the light source looks like.. pretty cool!


I wanted to show you the before and after conditions of the IR illuminator as well. These shots were taken with the IR converted digital camera, using the IR flashlight as the light source. Here is the shot without the refraction lense modification.


As you can see, there is a intense center point. Sorry the photo is slightly blurry, the IR camera should have been on a tripod, since it’s still shooting in low light, but I just wanted to illustrate the ‘spot’. Next is with the modification.


You lose a bit of distance, but the area is more covered with IR light. The beauty with this modification, if you need a beam, you just remove the refraction lense. Very quick.

Let me know what you think!

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PVC IR Illuminator!

by on May.23, 2009, under Equipment

p5220069So this was a fun project. Our paranormal group was looking for a way to get some more IR light for or our static video cameras and/or for our rooms that could use a bit more for the hand held cameras. We were trying to determine what would be more cost effective.. buying illuminators or building our own. I already played with converting a flashlight using gels with good success, but I wanted to give IR LEDs a shot.

Searching the internet I found a few IR kits, and settled on a kit with 36-850nm LEDs providing a viewing angle of 50 degrees.

I’m a nerd by nature, so the idea of soldering a bunch of LEDs to a circuit board.. is fun!

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New Projects

by on May.21, 2009, under Equipment

First of all, I wanted to say that if anyone is out there… reading this blog, let yourself be known. Comment or contact, I’d love to hear from you. I definitely would like to meet more people with similar interests. If any of the projects I described here worked for you or if you have any adjustments/enhancements, I’d like to hear those as well!

I’ve been working on a few projects. I recently converted a SVP DC-12DX 12 Mega Pixel digital camera to be a IR camera. The quality is much less then the Digital Concepts project, so I’d like to hear some opinions as to what went wrong with this. I should have that project how-to in a few days.

The other project I’m working on is a IR  illuminator kit. I purchased a IR LED illuminator kit where you need to assemble/solder the parts. I also figured out how to wire AA batteries in series to generate the 12 volts to power the illuminator. I’ll be working on the case for it today. As soon as I have a fully assembled the unit, I’ll be writing a post about it. That project has been especially fun for me.

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Build a simple IR (infrared) illuminator

by on May.16, 2009, under Equipment

p5140010In a previous post I converted a digital camera to be a infrared digital camera. This allows you to take some very cool photos, and you can utilize ‘night shot’ can capture still images in the dark. To do this, you’ll need a IR light source, the built in flash will be useless.

Various video cameras have night shot IR and I was initially testing the ability of the digital camera to see in the dark using the beam from my video camera. You can purchase various IR illuminators, but I knew there had to be some simple DIY (Do It Yourself) techniques to do this.

After Googling for a bit I found various techniques where you can create a filter for a normal flashlight and create a large IR beam to illuminate a room.  I was able to create a very effective IR illuminator and I’m more than happy to demonstrate how I did it.

The entire project cost around $35 dollars including the purchase of gels and flashlight. I have enough gels to convert several flashlights as well as a few filters for another camera project I’m working on.

Okay, here is what you’ll need to get to convert a flashlight into a IR illuminator:

Flashlight – I used a Brinkmann 6 volt Krypton Lantern. You can purchase this for about $6 at Walmart, etc. I wanted something with a large beam. My goal is to fill a room with IR light.

Congo Blue Gel Lighting Filter (Rosco #382). You can purchase this at B&H here

Red Gel Lighting Filter (Rosco #27). You can purchase this at B&H here

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