Short lyrican digression in the beginning.
Another hobby of mine is airsoft. It is especially interesting when airsoft game is mixed with LARP elements.
What is LARP? It is: Live-Action-Role-Play.
For 5 years in a row, we have held a STALKER - airsoft / larp event in Lithuania.
A series of games created based on the books of the brothers Strugatsky and the game for the PC – STALKER.
The game usually
lasts from two to 5 days. And it carried out on an abandoned formal
soviet missile base. Perfect place for a such game.
And in this game I
got the role of Burer - a small, evil monster with telekinesis
ability and strong mental abilities.
All the info about
the series of games are posted here: https://www.stalker.events
So I will not go
deep to the story.
In 2017, before the
game, the idea appeared in my head: why not to add my Burer's suit
with Night Vision device, so that players wouldn’t relax to much at
The idea with the
factory made device was dropped immediately, since the price is too
So there were only
one way, to do it by myself. After a brief search on the Internet, a
project of a night vision device based on an analog camera, a mini
display and VR googles was born.
For this project you
1. Analog camera
with high sensitivity, for example this one with SONY matrix.
2. Mini display
with analog video input (for example, rear view camera).
Didn’t find one I
bought. But this one above quite similar. And mine one is without
3. IR flashlight
and / or IR diodes for illumination, because the camera will not see
At first I wanted to
use an only IR flashlight for illumination, but I was afraid that the
flashlight was too heavy. That is why I took 9x3W IR diodes.
the end, I put both torch and IR diodes :).
4. For the power
source, I used 4x3.7 lithium-ion batteries. 18650.
Both the camera and the display are powered by 12V. That is why wee need to reduce power voltage with step-down converter. 4 li-ion 18650 batteries gives about 15V fully charged. Such voltage “highly likely” will kill the camera.
6. Two switches.
One is for switching the power. Second for switching IR LEDs separately
7. Cheap VR goggles
from China is used like a chassis for all components. Almost any will be ok. I paid around 15$ for something like this:
In fact, it's easy to connect everything.
1. Connect battery pack to step-down converter. Adjust 12V on the output of the converter.
2. Connect the camera to the display. You may need an adopter, like me.
I used the adapter because of both: the camera and the display came with RCA connectors.
3. Connect the display and the camera to the power supply (output of the step-down converter).
I used one line of the main switch for this. Second line is reserved for IR diodes.
Cover of the battery pack
ON / OFF switch
4. Mount IR diodes (if you would like to use it ). Connect them to the power supply.
I connected them via second line of the main switch directly to the battery pack. I decided that may be it is better to separate those powerful diodes from the camera and the display. Also connecting diodes directly I do not loose any power on step-down converter. Four batteries gives aprox. 15V. And this is ok for diodes.
The white thing on the top - is a 5ohm 5W resistor for reducing current via diodes.
I was more or less
satisfied with my NV during the game. I was able to see targets from
about 15 m in open space. It is more complicated to see something in
the forest, due to a reflection of infrared light from leaves and
grass. But unfortunately it is impossible to run, because of it is
like you have only one eye with black and white picture :), plus
the viewing angle is different from your eyes used to see.
My device runs more than 2 hours on cheapest batteries from China. With IR
diodes switched on about 45 minutes.
I was missing video capture capabilities. Therefore, as a result, a project of a
digital NV able to capture video based on Raspberry Pi was born. But this is the
story for the next project :) .