IR illuminator placement question

105437

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In relation to the camera, is it best to put the IR illuminator above or below the camera?
 

105437

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I usually mount auxiliary IRs off to one side on the same plane as the camera. All that's needed is a foot or so separation.
Thanks, I have several IRs at each corner of my house where I have cameras mounted on the soffit. Those IRs are as you stated, off to the side by foot. The ones I'm asking about today are for cameras mounted on two different trees along my driveway. The built-in IR is real bad about reflecting spiderwebs and raindrops etc. so I have made the decision to install separate IRs for these cameras as well. If my choice is above or below, what would you think?
 
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I'd go with below, again by a foot or so. Trees, cameras and bugs are problematic. I have two tree mounted cameras and don't use IR with either of them, enough ambient light from street lights, and still have bugs crawling on them. The heat attracts them as the weather cools down.
 

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Thanks, I'try below first. Easy enough to change it if it doesn't work as expected. I wish I had ambient light. I'm in a rural area, very long driveway and no street lights.
 

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For the benefit of others who may wish to do the same a few comments as it relates to using separate IR housing. The following information will be stated in more generalities vs specifics so others can chime in and offer their own feedback.

- Beam pattern: There are flood versions which offer wide area coverage but limited range / distance. Focused beams allow extreme distance to highlight a specific position when needed.

- IR LED: 850 nm is what the vast majority of cameras use and is visible when on. It gives off that red / pinkish hue at night. 850 nm depending upon number of LED, type, power output offer more coverage.

940 nm is not visible when operating and enables complete stealth when needed. This wave length also casts a much lower coverage when comparing the same to 850 nm. The vast majority of security cameras either can not see (use) 940 nm effectively so trial and error is your only recourse if your goal is true stealth.

If the technical documents do not mention anything relating to 940 nm don’t expect support or below performance using the same. Having said this many have had great results in deploying 940 nm for close quarter observation.

Height: Elevation as it relates to any form of light is critical only second to placement. IR lighting should be mounted at least 8~12 feet for low power units. More powerful IR lights can be mounted 12~25 feet above the ground. All of this obviously impacts the distance you’re going to be able to highlight and thus leads to the next topic.

Power: If you purchase a 1 watt IR vs 10 watt IR you can’t expect to see and obtain the same area coverage or distance given all parameters are equal and the same. As noted up above flood vs focus, number of LED, lens, all play a role in the final output.

The vast majority use 12 VDC barrel jacks to obtain power. I call this out as there are POE versions of the same that connect via Ethernet cabling. This can be addressed using a POE splitter if required but will say great care must be used if you go this route!

Meaning if your network installation uses every Saturday night special from AliExpress/ Banggood and your infrastructure isn’t to industry standards you have a very high possibility of burning up a injector, switch, camera, house!

Day / Night: Most IR hardware incorporate a ambient light sensor to turn on the unit for night time use. If not you’ll need to add a method to turn it on to reduce electricity costs. Test the sensor to see if it works and at what level so you know if there’s a condition that won’t be covered.

Meaning if the camera has poor low light ability and is locked to day only mode. If the IR night sensor isn’t very sensitive you might see nothing until it comes on and miss an incident! This exact scenario happens everyday and results in loss of property, time, money.

Test, validate, don’t guess!

Runtime: Every LED has a operational runtime before it dies. Look closely as to how many running hours the vendor has declared. If there is no LED runtime don’t expect more than a few years of use before burn out.

If it offers a runtime take that value with a grain of salt especially those found on AliExpress etc. The vast majority of American made IR systems absolutely meet their runtime specifications so consider the phrase buy once - cry once!

Meaning this should be considered an investment and will pay for itself by offering you not 1-2 years but 10-15 years of faithful service.

IP Rating: The vast majority of installations are under cover so direct water exposure isn’t a huge problem. For those installs where the unit is exposed to the elements the IP rating is very important. Water and heat are the two major factors in hardware failing. If the unit you purchase offers no seals, gaskets, double walled channels you have a ticking time bomb.

If the hardware uses a plastic lens vs glass don’t expect long term performance as it will turn yellow at some point. Double check the leads coming out have water tight glands and if not apply silicone sealant to secure the same.

Enclosure: Normally I wouldn’t even call this out but the internet offers dozens of examples of plastic IR housings! Do not buy any IR light assembly using plastic. These devices generate a lot of heat and thus a metal housing uses the same as a heat sink to draw it away while increasing its lifespan.

I don’t know why this specific issue has come up but the marketing normally states the unit won’t rust?!? I suppose if you live by the ocean that could be a valid use case. But outside of that the hardware would either have to run cool by design or offer very little power output / draw.

Things for others to consider . . .
 
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