Project: Night Vision // roninUAV Sohei Mk2 145 sub250

By the.ronin on Jan 25, 2022

29  703  12

I'd always wanted a legit sub250 night vision build. So that ruled out the CJLTech IIR Night Flyer module which weighs a whopping 74g. I'd also tried so called "starlight" cameras which were at best ... eh. Here's some night footage using the recently released Foxeer Digisight v3 Starlight on the HDZero digital FPV system. This camera is spec'ed at 0.00001 lux!! I'm thinking I should be able to see pretty well with some ambient street lights in a dark park, right?

Honestlly, if I didn't know that park like the back of my hand, I'd been stuck up in a tree pretty fast. I don't really consider that very "strarlighty."

So I decided to go all in and remove the IR filter from the camera and make use of some IR LEDs to hopefully give me some legit night vision. Afterall, these filters are typically just a small piece of film covering the sensor or bottom of the lens and easily removeable. Ok, not so much with the Digisight v3. It is a freeging separate lens lol wtf man.

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I needed to literally hack at that thing little by little with a pocket knife, micro screwdriver, xacto knife, and whatever else I had on hand to remove it. It took a while.

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For the IR LEDs, I didn't want to fuss with resistors and maths so I just opted for these Raspberry Pi IR LEDs since they were already all wired up and ready to go. I'm powering them with a Matek Micro 5V BEC hooked up to the lipo. I designed a holder which I printed from TPU.

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This was meant to just be a proof of concept so I didn't spend much time on designing the mount hence the ghetto velcro strap approach. I'm sure a more efficient design can lower the weight.

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For a pair of IR LED modules that can take direct 5v with no fuss for less than $2 (assuming you're willing to wait on China) and a little elbow grease to remove that IR filter, I was kinda blown away by the results!! Sam Fisher would be proud!! LOL

I plan to spending some time redesigning the mount so it's just a little bit cleaner. If there's any interest, I'd be happy to share the STL files.

And if you are wondering what an IR sensitive camera looks like during the day ... that is super trippy in itself! It turns anything green into a white-ish pink-ish hue. IR photography was used heavily in Vietnam to sus out enemy positions. Here, see for yourself ...



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alwaysbless   Feb 10, 2022  

Sick build. You got another link to the IR parts you had used? Any plans to share the TPU parts on thingivese?

the.ronin   Feb 10, 2022 

Thanks! I plan to post a build log along with links and downloads for STL files over at ... I'll respond back here once it is posted up.

alwaysbless   Apr 05, 2022 

gave up on releasing the details?

Badfrog   Mar 27, 2022  

very cool! just ordered the lights from china... be sure to let us know when you have your .stl file up.
what is the point of the ir filter you had to remove? why is it there?

the.ronin   Mar 28, 2022 

Thanks!! I've been a bit busy but I do plan to get the STL files as well as a more detailed build log up at some point. Since you are using IR LEDs, leaving the IR filter on would filter out that light. It there to provide proper color in sunlight. See the video at the very bottom of the post where I flew in daylight without the IR filter.

Responsible_owl_fpv   Mar 03, 2022  

How did you wire the lights up? Looks like you put some nylon spacing and screws in and then attached - to - and + to + and then wired to the BEC. I had this build in mind as well and found this guide so any suggestions would be appreciated.

the.ronin   Mar 28, 2022 

Sorry for the late reply. The nylon spacers are there just so the +/- terminals on the LEDs don't short. They were meant to be mounted to a Raspberry Pi IR camera project board and not designed for this application. To power them, I just tapped lipo with a micro Matek BEC set to 5V between them.

-X3-   Feb 04, 2022  

I did a similar build last week. Tadpole 2.5" with light 1103 motors, 16x16 iflight stack (analog VTX) and a Baby Ratel. I smashed the IR filer behind the lens, and made a small IR projector with a reflector, Osram 5W 850nm LED, and 1.5A driver. It's nimble, powerful on 3S, have a good flight time (5min cruising) and is quiet enough to be flown at midnight in my garden :-). Oh, and for a full "under the radar" effect, I blacked out every LED on the FC (but put some RGB LEDs with a switch on the radio so I'm able to recover the quad when I crash !)

the.ronin   Feb 07, 2022 

So funny you mention that. I just designed a 2.5" tiny tank and wondering what motors. I was leaning towards buying some RCInpower 1204s but would prefer to use some TMotor 1103s 8000KV I already have lying around - also 3S (I'm thinking 450mAh). But I plan to use a Goku whoop AIO FC and a HDZero whoop VTX onboard. And would be nice if I can carry a Go v1 cam lol. The fact you carried some projector housed LEDs gives me hope! Thanks! :)

-X3-   Feb 09, 2022 

Oh you can totally carry an Insta GO V1 on a 2.5" Tadpole with 1103 motors ! If I were to always fly with the Go I would prefer 1204 though. 450mAh 3S is the good choice too.

the.ronin   Feb 10, 2022 

Thanks X3. Yea I couldn't resist and picked up a set of RCinpower 1204s 5000kv. Tattu 3S 450s. They are going on this 2.5" prototype ...

Currently   Feb 01, 2022  

Super unique! I love it

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