This is a small video camera with video out (RCA), a lens which passes both visible and infrared light, and a Lee 87C filter which then removes the visible light. The filter is secured inside the modified lens cap which can also be slipped off for visible spectrum operation. Use your own 6V 5.5x2.1mm center positive power supply or buy one here.
Infrared cameras detect light energy in the range just beyond visible light on the red end of the visible spectrum. The infrared filter on the camera starts to allow transmission at 775nm so wavelengths greater than that pass the filter, including the light from 850nm and 940nm LEDs. The sensitivity of the camera itself starts to taper off as the wavelength gets longer so the the illumination from 850nm LEDs is "brighter" than that provided by 940nm LEDs. Hot burning objects emit energy in the infrared range. This includes the sun, incandescent bulbs, matches, your stove top, etc. And, of course, a scene may be illuminated by LEDs which intentionally emit energy in that band. Security camera infrared LEDs, for example, fulfill that role. Those LEDs illuminate the area and can also be directly seen glowing by this camera. An infrared camera is different than a thermal imaging camera although the principles are similar. A thermal imaging camera detects energy in even larger wavelengths and only requires something to be "warm" to be seen.
Generally, when not using the sun's natural illumination (or incandescent bulbs which also emit in the infrared range as mentioned above) an external infrared source is required to illuminate a scene. This camera will pick up both 850nm and 940nm infrared with the following tradeoff: LEDs emitting 850nm will cause the picture to appear brighter compared to a 940nm LED consuming the same power; however 850nm LEDs also have a slight red glow perceptible to human vision. External infrared illuminators are available on eBay and Amazon. If you wish to go the DIY route, 5W 850nm and 940nm LEDs are also available here. These require a little design work and a power resistor or a constant current circuit to use.
Outside in daylight. Green foliage shows up white.
Inside with no illumination and the stove top on. To our eyes the stove top has only a small red glow.
A pitch dark basement with around 3W of 850nm infrared LED illumination.
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