Installing IR illuminator

The Infrared Illuminator is key to ensuring that we can read license plates at night.

Correct installation is not hard once you know what to do.


  • Installed and running camera
  • IR Illuminator and power supply
  • Low voltage garden light cable
  • Tacks for attaching cable
  • Mounting Screws
  • Heat shrink tube


  • 110 Volt outdoor extension cord
  • Hammer
  • Screwdriver
  • Soldering Iron & Solder
  • Lighter or Matches
  • Orange Cones or Neighbors with Flashlights


  1. Determining Optimum Location for IR Illuminator (during darkness)
    1. Make sure it is dark enough that the camera has switched to night mode.
    2. Use the extension cord to power the IR Illuminator
    3. Using the Camera web-interface – Disable Motion detection upload in order to get a responsive Live view.
    4. Go to Camera live view and size it to fit the screen.
    5. Place a Vehicle with reflective license plate right where you want to capture the license plates during the night.
    6. Setup Cones or Neighbors for safety to avoid anybody hitting the vehicle.
    7. Adjust focus to ensure optimal focus on the license plate.
    8. Place the IR Illuminator next to Camera, point it at the License plate. Notice how the License plate letters and numbers are completely washed out in white.
    9. Slowly move the IR Illuminator away from the camera (while keeping it pointed at the license plate) until you can read the letters/numbers on the license plate clearly.
    10. The stronger the IR illuminator is the further is has to be moved away.
    11. If you cannot find the exact spot where you can read the license plate start reducing the amount of Infrared light that hits the license plate. Cover part of the IR light or point it partially away from the License plate.
    12. Once you have determined the optimal location and direction for the IR Illuminator – mount it.
    13. Remove the vehicle from the street.
  2. Install the IR Illuminator low voltage cable.
    1. After determining the best location for the IR Illuminator (see above) it is time to run the cable.
    2. Determine the best path for the low voltage garden light cable from the power source to the IR Illuminator.
    3. Depending on the length of the low voltage cable you might have to get a bigger Power supply. For a 12 Gauge Low voltage cable the voltage drop is 1 volt per 200 Feet. e.g. if the power supply is 400 feet from the 12 Volt IR Illuminator then you will need a 14 Volt DC power supply. (You can get DC power supplies with adjustable Voltage at Radio Shack.)
    4. The IR Illuminator comes with a plug allowing you to unplug the low voltage cable. It is recommended that the plug it protected from the weather. Therefore I usually insert the 12 Gauge low voltage cable between the IR Illuminator and the Plug. (Not between the plug and the power supply)
    5. The low voltage cable has distinct makings differentiating the two strands (sometimes one cable is round and one is square), make sure you keep the red strand from the power supply connected to the red strand from the plug even after inserting the low voltage cable, as the IR Illuminator requires correct polarity for the LED to work.
    6. Join the small strands from the Power supply and the plug with the big strands of the low voltage cable in a secure weather proof way. I prefer to solder the wires together and use heat shrink tube of different thickness to first seal the individual wires and then seal everything. Don’t be afraid to add an extra layer of electrical tape in the end. Instructables on how to solder wires together.
    7. Run the low voltage cable using the tacks to attach it.
  3. Finish up!
    1. Ensure that the license plate can still be read – Adjust Focus as needed (Note auto focus usually does not work at night, assume you will do a few clicks on the focus adjustment to make very small modifications)
    2. Adjust the night motion sensitivity to the new situation with the IR Illuminator
    3. Enable Motion detection Upload on the camera.
    4. Pad yourself on the back for a job well done.

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