duhmojo
Posts: 14
Joined: Mon Sep 07, 2015 6:32 pm

Noir PI Camera with IR LED IllumiPI kit takes grey pictures?

Mon Sep 21, 2015 3:44 am

Hi.

I've been working on a security setup with a PIR motion sensor, Noir PI Camera and the 48 IR LED controlled through a 5V DC relay. It all seems to work functionally, but my camera images turn out grey when in a dark room with the IR LEDS turned on.

Thing is (as you can see from the image) the Noir camera is mounted a bit recessed with the LED board bolted in front of the camera lens. Is it possible that the LEDs are blinding the camera?
IMG_3648.JPG
IMG_3648.JPG (53.62 KiB) Viewed 5578 times
I would attach a copy of the grey image, but its just grey.

Thanks in advance!

ame
Posts: 3172
Joined: Sat Aug 18, 2012 1:21 am
Location: Korea

Re: Noir PI Camera with IR LED IllumiPI kit takes grey pictu

Mon Sep 21, 2015 4:03 am

Try removing the transparent lid of the box. I expect the IR LED light is being reflected from the inside surface of the lid into the camera. This will probably wash out the image.

duhmojo
Posts: 14
Joined: Mon Sep 07, 2015 6:32 pm

Re: Noir PI Camera with IR LED IllumiPI kit takes grey pictu

Mon Sep 21, 2015 4:35 am

So a bit more playing around. Thankfully mjpg-streamer exists. With white balance and exposure on auto, streaming video does provide an image that isn't entirely grey. The distance of my IllumiPI CCTV 48 IR LED array is not great. Could it be power related?

http://www.amazon.ca/illumipi-Infrared- ... B00HSSSP2W

I measured and it's 12V DC at the LED board pins. The DC amp draw barely registers on my multimmeter. (like 0.2mA?)

The light distance is pretty poor as it is. Maybe 10'? I'm really disappointed. I must be doing something wrong.

ame
Posts: 3172
Joined: Sat Aug 18, 2012 1:21 am
Location: Korea

Re: Noir PI Camera with IR LED IllumiPI kit takes grey pictu

Mon Sep 21, 2015 4:40 am

Did you take the lid off?


duhmojo
Posts: 14
Joined: Mon Sep 07, 2015 6:32 pm

Re: Noir PI Camera with IR LED IllumiPI kit takes grey pictu

Mon Sep 21, 2015 7:55 pm

@ame: I think I mentioned this, but the plastic cover was off during testing.

In general I think there are 2 things here:

1) I originally took the pictures with a Python program that caputures all exposure options, and they all turned out solid grey. When I switched to testing with mjpg-streamer, so I could view the image while playing with the IR LED, I finally got your typical IR image. e.g. grey scale, with detail, my eyes were creepy looking.

All this means is I need to figure out what settings to use with the Python camera library. (good news)


2) The performance of the 48 IR LED light is not sufficient. I think my original suspicions were right.

The IllumiPI 48 IR LED kit is rated at 5-60V DC at up to 5 Amps. That seems like a big range and draw, but it's what the specs for the LED board are.

Right now I'm providing a 12 V DC @ 2 Amp power supply to power my RPI2, the IR LEDs, and all the RPI accessories on board. (wifi, bluetooth, some other LEDs, PIR motion sensor) The RPI gets the required 5 V DC through an UBEC step down converter. It works awesome and its cheap.

The IllumiPI kit comes with an 8 AA battery case. AA batteries are rated at 1.5V @ 0.25 Amp. For 8 AA batteries, that's 2 Amps provided to equal the performance expected of the IllumiPI kit. Anything less will of course be disappointing and I've got 2 Amps for for everything.

I'm going to take a look around for a higher amperage power supply. If I can get a 12V DC @ 4 Amps I'll be in heaven. Maybe a spare laptop power supply.

I'll update this post when I get it working with some pics of the current images and images after I've monkeyed with the power setup.

Thanks!

duhmojo
Posts: 14
Joined: Mon Sep 07, 2015 6:32 pm

Re: Noir PI Camera with IR LED IllumiPI kit takes grey pictu

Thu Sep 24, 2015 3:03 am

Ok, I'm going to take the time to post on this because it would have been helpful if I knew about this before I ordered and tested all this stuff.

For IR LED lighting in a RPI camera setup, you'll have a couple of options. Two of the ones you'll stumble upon on ebay or amazon are the:
This isn't a review of either solution, but an important point that's impossible to determine without first testing different arrangements is that camera lens proximity from the IR LEDs is important.

With the IllumiPI IR LED board you would assume that the camera would mount nicely behind the center of the board. That doesn't work at all. With the camera either as close to the front, or recessed a 1/2" back from the center of the board, there's a serious grey halo glow getting picked up by the IR LEDs. You'll see it in the pic below, but it's really noticeable with motion as movement comes into frame and leaves.

The J-Deal/Waveshare 2 IR LED setup is actually pretty good. It doesn't require 12V DC like the IllumiPI (it runs off 3.3V provided via the camera ribbon cable itself, no extra wiring!) You can see from the pics that the lighting is pretty close but not quite as bright as the IllumiPI with a decently amped power supply (like 12V DC @ 3 amps or more). There's no IR LED glare because the OV5647 unit provided comes with a lens protruding away from the IR LEDs, and the IR LEDs are not mounted as close to being with. The lens doesn't seem to be a big deal though. It's basically the same angle, and it's screwed on, so there isn't some M12 type mount.

Anyways, pics to follow.

ame
Posts: 3172
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Location: Korea

Re: Noir PI Camera with IR LED IllumiPI kit takes grey pictu

Thu Sep 24, 2015 3:11 am

What happened to the pics? They were right there, then they disappeared.

Anyway, the paper cone was an improvement. Perhaps the paper cone still allows some IR through. Could you try something more opaque, such as aluminium foil (careful!) or black electrical tape?

The pictures will always be grey, because that's how IR works, but clearly the LEDs affect the image, so there's room for improvement there.

duhmojo
Posts: 14
Joined: Mon Sep 07, 2015 6:32 pm

Re: Noir PI Camera with IR LED IllumiPI kit takes grey pictu

Thu Sep 24, 2015 3:13 am

Here's the RPI Noir Camera mounted right behind the IllumiPI IR LEDs:
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Here's the RPI Noir Camera mounted right behind the IllumiPI IR LEDs with a paper cone trying to block the IR glare (if the cone was a mm longer it would be in the pic):
192.168.1.50-4.jpg
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Here's the RPI Noir Camera with the IllumiPI IR LED separated and held by hand (notice the bright spotting in the middle):
192.168.1.50.jpg
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duhmojo
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Joined: Mon Sep 07, 2015 6:32 pm

Re: Noir PI Camera with IR LED IllumiPI kit takes grey pictu

Thu Sep 24, 2015 3:16 am

Now here's the J-Deal/Waveshare setup:
192.168.1.50-2.jpg
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duhmojo
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Joined: Mon Sep 07, 2015 6:32 pm

Re: Noir PI Camera with IR LED IllumiPI kit takes grey pictu

Thu Sep 24, 2015 3:27 am

The camera is mounted about 14' from the back of the room in the images. I haven't mounted it outside to see how far the lighting is useful.

It's clear from the best case images that the IllumiPI with a 12V DC @ 4~ amps produces a brighter image, but from the other images the issues with mounting the Noir Camera to the board doesn't work at all. The glare is impossible. I actually wasted a LOT of time messing with the exposure levels and beefing up the LED power to get a brighter IR light, which didn't help.

The J-Deal/Waveshare camera kit produces pretty good results and doesn't require 12V. HOWEVER, the IR LEDs included with this kit each have a built in photocell that doesn't work at all. The IR LEDs are lit as soon as the RPI fires up and never turns off. Not great.

The only issue combining both (J-Deal camera + IllumiPI IR LEDs) to avoid IR glare is that the mounting holes and sensor placement for the J-Deal camera are not the same as a RPI camera. I can't mount the J-Deal camera in the center of the IR board. The screws won't line up.

If I actually work something out I'll post a follow up.

FYI, I marked out an area that I realized had a family picture after taking them.

Higgs
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Joined: Tue May 26, 2015 2:17 pm

Re: Noir PI Camera with IR LED IllumiPI kit takes grey pictu

Fri Sep 25, 2015 2:00 am

Thanks for sharing this info. I was thinking about mucking around with the NoIR cam but was exactly concerned about the illumination part.

This gives me second thoughts about the whole thing, as HD IP cameras with IR and SD storage are getting pretty cheap these days and it seems there are better ways to put the Pi's linux-based brain to use.

duhmojo
Posts: 14
Joined: Mon Sep 07, 2015 6:32 pm

Re: Noir PI Camera with IR LED IllumiPI kit takes grey pictu

Fri Sep 25, 2015 3:50 am

Totally and I haven't even given my experience with trying to stuff the camera and IR LEDs behind plexiglass yet. One thing exterior PI cameras will have worked out is performance behind a protective case.

I live in Canada so everything I ordered on this adventure came in twos just in case everything worked out great. (online shopping isn't as convenient here) I simply don't have a need for night vision cameras indoors.

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jbeale
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Re: Noir PI Camera with IR LED IllumiPI kit takes grey pictu

Mon Sep 28, 2015 8:50 pm

The RPi camera board is very small, cheap and integrates well into the Pi; but I think that is where the advantages stop if you want to operate it at night. Due to the small sensor and small lens, it is much less sensitive for nighttime use than pretty much any "IR security camera" you can buy, even very cheap ones.

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