Letter: IR Floodlights


I recently had my vehicle broken into in the wee hours of the morning. While we had video surveillance running and though it did indeed capture the image of the perp, I was entirely unsatisfied with it. The camera has built-in IR illumination, but it is only good for about 20 feet. The driveway camera is almost 100 feet from where the break-in occurred and the only reason it got a clear picture is because the dome light in the vehicle turned on illuminating the thief. The camera was unable to see his approach. A quick search of Amazon revealed just what I needed. The CMVision IR130 is a 198 IR LED floodlight that only draws 36 watts when turned on, yet it appears on camera as though I turned on a 300 watt flood lamp. (The blacked out areas are for OPSEC and are not present in the actual video feed.)


I believe the manufacturer is being optimistic when he states the lamp is good out to 400 feet, but it handles the driveway quite nice. In this photo, I have it aimed a bit too low, but by raising it just a bit, I am able to illuminate all the way to the property line (about 250 ft). To the naked eye, the floodlight only glows dim red as you would expect from the IR illumination. At 36 watts, this is feasible even for those who are completely off-grid. The light does have a photo sensor in it and does turn itself off and on in the twilight hours. The overlap with the camera’s IR filter is good, as the lamp turns on before the camera flips to IR and turns off well after the camera flips back out of IR mode.


I highly recommend a separate flood lamp for video surveillance, due to the much higher quality and intensity of light that you get. However, there are a few issues with this setup:

  1. If you use NV gear, you will need to use the pinhole cover when operating around this lamp. While you can’t see it with your own eye, it’s like a 300W lamp to the NV gear. You might also want to install these floods on a remote power switch so you can turn them off if need be.
  2. Make sure you get an IR light that is in the same IR spectrum that your cameras use. There are two main wavelengths used and getting the wrong one will make it seem like the lamp just doesn’t work. Check your camera specs for the wavelength that you need.
  3. Get some spares. The case it comes in is nice, but the firmware is cheap, and it certainly won’t survive an EMP event. It is inexpensive enough that you should be able to have a couple of spares tucked away. – R2