The night vision capability is one of the crucial features if you want your CCTV system to continue working at night. But does the feature really need the infrared LEDs to work? Well, this is one of the questions we’ll be answering as we show you how to hide infrared lights on security camera systems.
But before then, let’s look at some of the benefits of the infrared lights in a security camera. Or else the features you’ll lose after disabling the infrared LEDs on your security camera.
What’s the Role of the Infrared Lights on a Security Camera?
In general, a great night vision security camera is the answer if you want to keep an eye on your property all the time. While all CCTV systems now come with the feature, they differ in performance in low-lighted conditions.
Meanwhile, the major determinant of how a security camera performs in the darkness is the built-in radiant infrared (or IR in short) lights. The illuminators usually emit infrared light, which will illuminate the objects detectable by the image sensor.
So, the first major role of the infrared lights on the security camera is to enhance the night vision capability. That’s, allowing you to see the would-be burglar as he tries to sneak into your property through the darkness.
Secondly, the IR LEDs can help you make the most of your continuous recording security camera. That’s you can record decent footage even at night. Thus, ensuring around-the-clock protection.
Speaking of protection, many burglars in the community are usually opportunists. So, they’ll more likely skip your property when they notice the red lights (IR LEDs) from your security camera. Hence, the deterrence benefits.
FYI: radiant infrared lights enable imaging at night without relying on an external source of infrared energy/ radiation (as with the thermal cameras).
Can a Security Camera Work without the Infrared Lights
Typically, a security camera will have the image sensor separate from the infrared lights. If you actually take apart an analog camera, you’ll notice these lights don’t exactly connect directly to the main motherboard. They’re usually on a block that will connect to the camera’s motherboard via a removable 5-pin connector plug cable.
So, in other words, your security camera will still be able to work even after disabling the infrared lights. But then, you’ll lose the three nighttime benefits we mentioned above unless the device has a built-in spotlight.
That’s right. Spotlight security cameras are able to capture images (in color, actually) when the infrared lights are off. In fact, you’re not supposed to use the two at the same time. You’ll have to disable one to benefit from the other.
Other times you might want to disable the infrared lights on a security camera include when:
- You want to keep bugs away from security cameras at nightand prevent them from impeding visibility.
- You want to monitor your property discretely without alerting potential intruders with the visible red light
- You want to fully take advantage of your color night vision security camera. Otherwise, leaving the infrared lights on will still give you infrared (black & white) image.
- The security camera is for monitoring and tracking the wildlife as the visible infrared lights will scare them away.
- The security camera is for monitoring the nursery and would like to keep an eye on your baby without intrusion
- You want to use your wireless security camera without water protection behind a window. Otherwise, leaving the infrared lights on will leave you with an unusable blurry video due to reflection.
How to Hide Infrared Lights on Security Camera
Here are the various ways you can effectively hide or disable infrared lights on a security camera.
Use the invisible (940nm) Infrared Lights
Indeed, you can get a security camera with the invisible (950nm) infrared light from the start if the intention is to remain discreet. That’s when you want to monitor your property without alerting the intruders where you have the camera.
Also, the invisible IR light can help you keep an eye on your baby’s room without being intrusive. The intrusion in this case is the fact that the visible 850nm IR lights might scare the baby (if he doesn’t under it) or keep him up late before sleeping (if he finds the light cool to watch).
The Wyze Cam V3 is a perfect example of a security camera with invisible infrared lights that you can use in either of the two scenarios. But the Wansview Q5-W Baby Camera could be more convenient in the nursery from the added pan-tilt design.
Note: You can also get an invisible ( (940nm) IR LED module to replace the existing 850nm IR lights (visible RED light) on your camera. But do bear in mind the 940nm infrared lights usually have a shorter night vision range.
Under the Camera’s Setting
Usually, security cameras have night vision as a default setting- comes with the feature already enabled. However, many also have the option to disable the infrared lights in the camera software or mobile app. Thus, allowing you to monitor an area without attracting attention, attracting bugs, or disturbing your baby/ animals.
When you disable the IR lights, you can also use the security camera behind a mirror without the glare and blurring issues. Then, you can also fully take advantage of your color night vision security.
As for the question of how, you can disable the IR lights on your security camera under the software (client/ mobile app) settings. This applies to both wired and wireless security cameras, such as Wyze Cam (WiFi) or ANNKE and Reolink NVR systems.
Covering with a Thick Duct Tape
If your security cameras don’t have a way to disable the infrared lights from the software, you can improvise with duct tape. The whole idea’s to block the light coming from infrared LED, thereby will need to place a piece of duct tape directly over it.
If the IR light is still visible, place a second piece of the tape or more. But while doing all that, make sure you don’t block the other built-in features, including the lens, microphone, and motion detection sensor.
Blocking with an Infrared-Cut Filter
As you may know, all night vision security cameras usually come with an infrared-cut (IR-cut) filter and an automatic switch. The filter usually works by blocking or allowing the transmission of the IR light.
So, a DIY IR-cut filter can come in handy if the reason you want to hide the infrared lights is to continue recording in color at night.
The hack can also be useful if your security camera happens to record in black and white during the day. But in this case, it means the automatic switcher is the issue. So, you can check out the add-on IR-cut dual switcher filter that can improve both the daytime and nighttime image quality.
Physically Disconnecting the Infrared Light
Indeed, you can also hide infrared lights on a security camera by physically disengaging them from the camera’s motherboard. As was mentioned earlier, the lights are just one of the components of the camera connected via a removable connector plug cable.
So, all needed is to carefully take apart your security camera. Then, locate and disconnect that short cable from the main circuit (motherboard) and the IR lights won’t work anymore.
If the IR LEDs block has been soldered to the motherboard (instead of the pluggable connector), you can cut that wire connection. Only be aware it might be difficult to reconnect it back in case you change your mind.
Whether you want discrete monitoring or colored recording, the five methods above can help hide infrared lights on your security cameras. However, the ability to disable the infrared lights from the camera’s settings is the most effective as you can freely put them back on if you change your mind.
As you disable the infrared LEDs, though, do remember the image sensor still needs to get enough light to process images. So, consider leaving your property light on if you still want the security camera to record clear nighttime videos.