Turn an Old Cell Phone into a Night Vision Camera



You can create a rudimentary but effective night vision camera from an old phone and some basic materials in a matter of minutes. While this trick won’t give you the same level of power or quality that professional or military grade night vision goggles provide, you will be able to see better in the dark. See how you can avoid wasting batteries or giving away your position with flashlights simply by modifying a phone that you are no longer using.


The first step is to purchase some small infrared LED light bulbs and their connectors. These are very cheap and readily available at electronics and hobby shops as well as online. You will need about four of them to provide enough light for this to work on most phones. You will notice that each bulb has two pieces of metal leading from either side. Connect the bulbs together by twisting the right piece of metal from the first bulb to the left piece on the second. Repeat the process until they are all linked together. Tape each of the connections so that none of the wires or connections are exposed. The finished product should have one wire exposed on the left and one exposed on the right.


Screen Shot 2015-06-18 at 8.42.44 AM


The next step is to connect the LED lights to a switch and then to a 9 Volt battery. The easiest way to do this is to find a small and cheap switch that includes wires. Attach the left switch wire to the LED wire and repeat the same process on the right side. Some switches will have additional wires that can be used to attach the battery. However, chances are that you will need to wire the battery into the circuit that leads directly to the LED lights. Cut the positive wire and wrap both ends around the positive terminal on the battery. Secure the connection with duct or electrical tape.



Screen Shot 2015-06-18 at 8.41.32 AM

Now you can mount the components to your phone. Make sure to place the bulbs in a horizontal line below the camera, and bend them outward so they are perpendicular to the phone. Securely tape them in place. Try to arrange the battery to sit horizontally below the bulbs. This will make it easier to hold the phone while also securing the entire assembly. Finally, tape the switch directly beneath the battery, but let it jut to the left or right side of the phone so that it can be easily accessed and activated.


The next step is to decide whether or not to create a scope that you can look through or to simply look directly at the screen of the phone. Creating a scope will mask the light that radiates from the phone so you can have stealthier capabilities. However, it can also be cumbersome and unnecessary if you can cover the light with your free hand. If you decide to make a scope, all that you really need is some cardboard and more duct tape. Simply fold a piece of cardboard into a square and attach it to the phone over the screen. The length of the scope depends on your preferences, but you should make it least a few inches long to assist in masking the light.


Press the switch to activate the LEDs and the camera will pick up the light and use it to illuminate its field of vision. The quality and range of this system will depend on the strength of the bulbs as well as the sensitivity of the camera, but you should be able to see across a room with little difficulty. The best part is that LED infrared light is undetectable to the human eye, so you can scope out a location without being seen. Try this trick out for yourself and feel free to make modifications based on the principles that are outlined here. The possibilities are endless, and this is a great way to put yourself at a tactical advantage out in the field without paying a lot of money for expensive equipment.



Pin It on Pinterest

Share This

Share This

Share this post with your friends!