Considering the only tools that I had at my disposal was an X-Acto knife, wire cutters and a pair of scissors, I think the most difficult thing to make out of this entire project was the case.
For the hole where the LEDs are “mounted” (electrical tape hardly counts as a mount of any kind), I used the sharp edge of the X-Acto knife and the flat edge of the wire cutters to cut out a circle big enough for them to fit through. I did the same thing for the lens of the camera.
For the LEDs, I bought this “CCTV 48 LED Illuminator light CCTV Security Camera IR Infrared Night Vision Lamp TYA” from Wish.com and scrapped the outer shell. I thought this was pretty ingenious on my part until I realized that they required a 12V 1A DC Wall Adapter. Unless I had one of these Portable AC Outlet Battery Packs, this little thing would be useless on the go. This is one of many design flaws that I will need to work on before this will be something worth keeping.
For the camera, I dismantled this Logitech C270 Webcam and taped it on top of a folded up piece of polystyrene cloth (?) to prevent any short circuiting. With the LEDs, I didn’t have to worry about this too much as the bare metal circuitry to each of the 48 LEDs were facing into the tin. However, since they weren’t “friction-mounted” into the hole (the hole being a tad bit larger than the LEDs), I tried my best to tape up the backside as best as I could.
So how well does it work?
Yeah… let’s just say that you won’t be snapping any good pics for your private Snapchat stories any time soon with this contraption… Not unless your followers like washed-out, blurry dik dik pics.
The only place where this thing sort of shines is in mid-range scenes. For example, if you’re trying to discreetly film a mid-sized room, this setup will work perfectly for you… that is, if you don’t mind having to plug into into wall power and have something constantly recording or beaming it’s output to somewhere.
One of the biggest problems that I have with this contraption is the fact that these LEDs run super hot with prolonged usage. The LED array has a light sensor in the middle to turn them off when there’s enough light, but seeing as how this contraption was (poorly) designed to be used in near pitch-black environments, this feature is next to useless. The black electrical tape being used to essentially hold the device together only serves to insulate this heat, which means that I need to unplug it every 15 minutes or so to cool.
Other than all the major gripes that I have with this, I think it was a fun little side project that sort of worked. Of course, everyone’s free to determine what “sort-of worked” means, but I’ll give this first project that I’ve ever done a solid 4/10 stars.