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Passive IR security cam

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#1 kathyastro

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Posted 21 April 2019 - 10:02 AM

I currently use a regular webcam in my observatory as a security camera.  I have an alarm system that will turn on the lights if an intruder enters, so it serves the security function just fine.  However, I would like to be able to use a camera to monitor the equipment remotely during a photo session.

 

Does anyone have recommendations for a passive IR USB cam that has reasonable night vision without emitting any IR light?  Maximum range inside the dome is 14 feet corner-to-corner.  Would it do any good to remove a filter from a visible-light webcam?


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#2 ngc7319_20

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Posted 21 April 2019 - 10:47 AM

As far as I know, all of the webcams rely on an IR illuminator for the light source.  None are sensitive to so-called thermal IR.  Maybe you can find some camera that can take 10sec exposures and use that to monitor with ambient light?  Removing the filter will extend the sensitivity into the 700nm to 950nm range, but wont get to thermal IR.


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#3 Richard O'Neill

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Posted 21 April 2019 - 11:14 AM

To adequately monitor a nighttime scene without adding IR will require an image intensifier. 


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#4 TeslaTrek

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Posted 21 April 2019 - 05:29 PM

Look for very low light cameras with a lux of less that 0.05

 

This Dahua has 

 

Minimum Illumination:
         0.006Lux/F1.4( Color,1/3s,30IRE)
         0.05Lux/F1.4( Color,1/30s,30IRE)
         0Lux/F1.4(IR on)
S/N Ratio:More than 50dB

 

Not sure if this will work well enough:

 

https://www.amazon.c...k/dp/B07DRC93S8

 

I find very useful information on the https://ipcamtalk.com/  forum.

 

Hope this helps.

 

 

 

 


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#5 RossW

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Posted 21 April 2019 - 07:29 PM

Do you have Internet into your dome or have wifi access there?

 

For not much more than a good quality USB webcam you can purchase a dedicated security cam that has inbuilt infrared capability, zoom, pan, and tilt, wide-angle lens (as opposed to the very narrow views of most web-cams), wifi and wired networking, etc.

 

I am still building my ROR but I have already installed this IP cam:

 

https://www.ebay.com...r-/401707275073

 

It comes with a wide-angle (2.8mm) lens so I can easily see both scopes simultaneously, and the quality of the night-time monochrome infrared view is almost as clear as the daytime RGB video. Here is an infra-red frame-grab:

 

IRCamera.png

 

If you don't have Internet access to your dome you may be able to connect the camera directly to your PC via ethernet. I use the free ISpy software to remotely record video if movement is detected, and this system works wonderfully for something that costs only $70. Worthy of consideration I feel.

 

Cheers,

 

Ross



#6 kathyastro

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Posted 21 April 2019 - 08:48 PM

It looks good, but I presume it has built-in IR illumination.  From what ngc7319_20 said, it sounds like there aren't any reasonably-priced IR cams that use ambient light.  I don't want illumination, since that would interfere with imaging.


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#7 iwannabswiss

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Posted 21 April 2019 - 09:10 PM

I use a HikVision camera, model DS-2CD2342WD-I, it's been an excellent and reliable camera.  It does have IR, but can be turned off.


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#8 PHO

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Posted 21 April 2019 - 09:28 PM

"I would like to be able to use a camera to monitor the equipment remotely during a photo session...a passive IR USB cam that has reasonable night vision without emitting any IR light?"

I am puzzled (and intrigued) by this thread.  There seems to be a catch-22.  All cameras work by receiving light from the objects being observed.  The equipment must have some light reflecting off it, either visible or near-IR (0.7-1.7 microns), or it must be emitting mid-IR thermally (wavelengths 5-10 microns), which all objects do at room temperature.  So, for a camera to detect near-IR light, there has to be a source of that light to reflect off objects, and normally that source is the camera itself. There is a tiny amount of near-IR light coming in from the sky, which is quite faint (i.e. dark) of course.  So, I am having trouble understanding why the near-IR is desirable to monitor the equipment in a dome.  The only notion that occurs to me is that if you are observing visible wavelengths with your telescope, you can afford to allow your camera to spray near-IR light inside the dome and let the camera detect the reflected light off your equipment.



#9 phonehome

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Posted 21 April 2019 - 09:55 PM

Although pricey, there is the other end of the spectrum with UV and near UV enabled or only cameras.  Don't know if your trying to image in those bands but I doubt it so that is a viable option but again it's more $$$.

 

Ed



#10 phonehome

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Posted 21 April 2019 - 10:05 PM

So here is a relatively inexpensive 2MP industrial UV only USB version camera.  It will need an illuminator of the correct frequency band.

 

https://maxmax.com/s...y_pathway-9506t

 

Haven't used this product so no experience/advise to offer.

 

Ed


Edited by phonehome, 21 April 2019 - 11:28 PM.

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#11 RossW

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Posted 21 April 2019 - 10:59 PM

It looks good, but I presume it has built-in IR illumination.  From what ngc7319_20 said, it sounds like there aren't any reasonably-priced IR cams that use ambient light.  I don't want illumination, since that would interfere with imaging.

I think IP cams that have active illumination (most of them) emit IR at around 850 or 940nm. I assumed that at those frequencies there would be no measurable leakage when using any LRGB or narrow band HOS filter. Have you heard otherwise Kathy, because if so I may need to rethink my use of a standard IP cam.

 

I can see how planetary imaging using IR filters may be a problem though.

 

Cheers,

 

Ross



#12 ngc7319_20

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Posted 21 April 2019 - 11:25 PM

I think IP cams that have active illumination (most of them) emit IR at around 850 or 940nm. I assumed that at those frequencies there would be no measurable leakage when using any LRGB or narrow band HOS filter. Have you heard otherwise Kathy, because if so I may need to rethink my use of a standard IP cam.

 

There have been several recent posts by imagers with bad problems that were eventually traced to their IR security camera. I don't recall the details of which filters were being used. Some filters have leakages in IR, etc., and the IR illuminators are very bright.

 

Here was one of them:

https://www.cloudyni...s/#entry9223268


Edited by ngc7319_20, 21 April 2019 - 11:31 PM.

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#13 phonehome

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Posted 21 April 2019 - 11:35 PM

Maybe this will be of help:

 

 

Attached Thumbnails

  • UV vs IR.jpg


#14 lambermo

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Posted 22 April 2019 - 05:00 AM

I use a passive IR camera (no LEDs). It's not USB though, and it requires configuration but it has ethernet; it's a Raspberry-PI with the Raspberry-PI-NOIR-camera (NOIR means it has the IR filter removed). It can take up to 6 second exposures and you have complete control over the settings.

I use one inside my observatory with a 90 degrees lens, and another outside with a 180 degrees lens as allsky-camera.


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#15 ngc7319_20

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Posted 22 April 2019 - 08:29 AM

I use a passive IR camera (no LEDs). It's not USB though, and it requires configuration but it has ethernet; it's a Raspberry-PI with the Raspberry-PI-NOIR-camera (NOIR means it has the IR filter removed). It can take up to 6 second exposures and you have complete control over the settings.

I use one inside my observatory with a 90 degrees lens, and another outside with a 180 degrees lens as allsky-camera.

If you dont mind, can we see a sample picture?  Are they very noisey or can you see details?



#16 Alex McConahay

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Posted 22 April 2019 - 09:07 AM

This question was asked at the end of the program on The Astro Imaging Channel. The answer was to definitely get one without IR illuminators or one that can turn the illuminators on and off. Simply turn off the illuminators except when looking at whatever you want to look at, and not while imaging. After all, not use having the thing on while the scope is working. There is not much to look at. The only value of full time illumination is if you want to record all that is happening, and how useful would that be?

 

Alex


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#17 RossW

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Posted 22 April 2019 - 09:30 PM

Some filters have leakages in IR, etc., and the IR illuminators are very bright.

 

Thanks for this info. I'll now need to test for IR leakage with the filters I use.

 

Cheers,

 

Ross



#18 gotak

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Posted 22 April 2019 - 09:58 PM

Check out the wyze cameras. They allow turning off the IR LEDs and still lifting the IR filter. Works ok for a lot of people. However, wifi only and only with their cell phone app.


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#19 TeslaTrek

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Posted 23 April 2019 - 11:11 PM

I found this Dahua camera that may be of interest.  It uses what they call "Starlight+ Technology":

 

For challenging low-light applications, Dahua’s Starlight Ultra-low Light
Technology offers best-in-class light sensitivity, capturing color details
in low light down to 0.0005 lux. The camera uses a large pixel sensor,
smart imaging algorithms and a set of optical features to balance light
throughout the scene, resulting in clear images in dark environments.

 

0.0005 lux is pretty darn dim!!  See.

 

https://us.dahuasecu...FN_v001_005.pdf

 

However the price is about $2k.

 

https://www.bhphotov...tvision_ip.html

 

Or you could try the more affordable regular Starlight series.


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#20 lambermo

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Posted 24 April 2019 - 04:20 PM

If you dont mind, can we see a sample picture?  Are they very noisey or can you see details?

It's enough for me to see where the scope is pointing, and if the roof is fully closed.
It's not bright as Ross' Lake Biwa Astro interior earlier in this thread, but it is in color ;-)

I've downscaled the image so that it fits CN rules, but left the quality at 100% to limit the jpeg artifacts.

 

20190424-rpi-noir-6s-800x600.jpg

 

Made with 

raspistill -v -n -ex verylong -mm spot -t 1000 -ss 6000000 -q 100 -ISO 800 -o obs.jpg

The room is completely dark to my eyes, the red light from the mount control panel is very dim.

At the top center you can see a yellow area which is from a induction sensor that signals whether the roof is closed.

 

Alex makes a fair point "or one that can turn the illuminators on and off" , I still have a 'Bright Pi' kit 

https://uk.pi-supply...ht-raspberry-pi board that I want to add which has IR LEDs which the RPI can switch on and off.
With that much IR light I expect the RPI can be used in film mode, which might be useful when the roof closes or opens.

 

-- Hans


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#21 lambermo

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Posted 24 April 2019 - 04:48 PM

I mostly use another raspberry pi camera though, one with a wider lens. It's one of the waveshare series, https://www.waveshar...Pi-Camera-G.htm which shows the entire room, sadly does have an IR filter but at 6 seconds is still sensitive enough to show the entire room :

 

20190421-observatory-cam-moonlit-800x600.jpg

 

I should swap that lens onto the NOIR camera someday.

 

-- Hans


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#22 ngc7319_20

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Posted 25 April 2019 - 10:36 AM

 

 

The room is completely dark to my eyes, the red light from the mount control panel is very dim.

At the top center you can see a yellow area which is from a induction sensor that signals whether the roof is closed.

 

Thanks.  I guess it is a question of having the right illumination -- dim enough not to interfer with imaging, and bright enough to see stuff in 6 sec exposure. 

 

Maybe a visual camera is better than IR.  A potential issue with IR webcam + illuminator is that those nice black surfaces everywhere might not be black at 900nm.  I'm thinking of the black anodizing inside the scope and camera and everywhere else.  I found these plots that show black anodize stops being black around 700nm, and by 900nm -- where these IR illuminators operate -- black anodize is a pretty good reflector.  Probably better just to have a dim visual illuminator.  At least you know the blackening in the scope and camera will be black.

 

black anodize.jpg


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#23 gotak

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Posted 25 April 2019 - 10:16 PM

Check out the wyze cameras. They allow turning off the IR LEDs and still lifting the IR filter. Works ok for a lot of people. However, wifi only and only with their cell phone app.

RTSP supporting firmware has just been released so wyze can be used with any camera software that uses RTSP now.



#24 gregj888

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Posted 26 April 2019 - 12:54 AM

The silicon based cameras all cut off at 1.1 - 1.2um.  Longer wavelength cameras can work but you probably need something >7um if you want to image with black body radiation.  Looking at a cold scope instead of a hot body needs longer wavelength.

 

 https://www.flir.com...CSABEgIKavD_BwE

 

There are other bolometer based cameras, some cube style but they are not $100.

 

Silicon cameras will probably need a LED or an image intensifier ($$).   You can filter out the LED's light but you'll need to know the wavelength and you'll loose some sky.  Get as long a wavelength as you can (980nm or 1020nm) and use a short pass filter with the cut just above it.   Another option might be to use a Light Pollution filter and get a few LEDs in the cut bands (you can get about any wavelength anymore, check Digikey).   https://www.digikey....le-emitters/94 

 

If you want to see where your scope is pointed, another option is an electronic finder and use plate solve.


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#25 GraySkies

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Posted 29 April 2019 - 06:12 PM

My friend just built himself an all sky camera using a ZWO, c-mount fish eye lens, and a Raspberry Pi, I’m sure you could use something similar to watch your observatory.

If the observatory is open you will see things from the reflection of the sky (mind you it’s dark and the feed is 1 Frame very 10 seconds or so.

I was looking at having one made myself and look at getting a PTZ swivel for orientation.

Edited by GraySkies, 29 April 2019 - 06:13 PM.



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