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DIY Night Vision Goggles – Step-By-Step Guide & Tips

How to Make Night Vision Goggles

Night vision devices like NV cameras and binoculars are often used by law enforcement and the military. Civilians can hardly afford them as they are expensive. But with knack and patience, you can make DIY night vision goggles at home with just a few steps and at a cheaper cost. Here’s our full guide on how to make night vision goggles. 

Step 1 – Gather Your Tools 

While there are many techniques and ways to make your own DIY night vision goggles, the principle and functionality are essentially the same. Before rolling up your sleeves and start building one for yourself, make sure to prepare all the needed equipment and tools.

  • Analog camera with high sensitivity (bullet-type) or security camera
  • Mini-display with analog video input or small screen monitor
  • IR diodes or IR flashlight or custom-made PCB with LEDs and LED driver
  • Power source (four lithium-ion batteries 18560)
  • Resistor 
  • Step-down voltage converter
  • A pair of VR goggles. You can buy cheaper ones. Remove the lenses and any obstruction in the middle.
  • Two switches. 
  • Housing: ABS project boxes, PVC pipe, plastic containers, or board
  • Glue 
  • Epoxy
tools

Step 2 – Create Your Power Supply

Install batteries onto the battery pack, then connect it to the step-down converter. Adjust the output to 12V. 

The camera and the display need 12V. Four lithium-ion batteries can produce 15V, which is too high and can likely damage these electronic components. That is why you need to have a step-down voltage converter.

With good batteries, the night vision device can operate for two hours. If you use Samsung or Panasonic batteries, it could last for more than 2 hours. 

If your batteries are rechargeable, you can use a power bank as an alternative power source. Just make sure the ports are compatible.

Step 3 – Connect the Display and Camera

Attach the camera to the display. You can use an adapter if the connectors aren’t compatible. 

Connect the display and the camera to the power supply. 

Use one wire of the switch for this. 

Some people prefer a thermal imaging or security camera instead of an analog cam with video input. You can choose either. The result would still be similar, a clear vision in the dark.

camera

Step 4 – Connect the IR Diodes

Using the second wire of the main switch, connect the IR diodes to the power supply. 

Connect the resistor to the IR diodes. This is to regulate the battery voltage.

One switch is for giving power to the entire components, while the second switch is for the IR diodes. The power capacity would be enough for these two. 

Instead of the IR diodes, you can use a custom-made PCB with LEDs and a LED driver. Using the latter will allow you to adjust the LEDs’ intensity to achieve the desired level of brightness. 

Infrared light lies below the range of the visible light spectrum. Hence, it isn’t visible to the naked eyes. Cameras block or reduce IR light; that’s why they can’t capture pictures or videos in pitch darkness.[1]

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Step 5 – Make Final Adjustments

For the enclosure or housing, look for ABS project boxes, PVC pipe, plastic containers, or recycled board at home. Some use a customized monocular display mount produced via 3D printing. Others use a baseball cap and attach the components to the cap’s bill. 

If you’re using the ABS project box, drill holes in it for the camera housing, IR illuminator, and switches. Mount all the components and then glue them in place. Put the monitor or screen in the center, around the square hole, and put glue on the sides. You can also put epoxy for a more stable fit. Make sure the alignment is good. 

night vision googles

Remove the lenses of the goggles, creating a single eye piece. Attach and glue the outer portion to the larger box’s lid with an identical shape cut out. 

You can put the batteries in the front box with the illuminator and the camera. 

Your night vision goggles’ overall design may have a unique design from others, but the functionality is just the same. 

Check the final device for more stability.

Test it at night or in total darkness.

Homemade NV Goggles - Wrapping Up!

Night vision devices, including NV binoculars, are generally expensive. Although you can find cheaper NV goggle deals on the market, they’re still a bit pricey. 

There’s no need to fret over it as you can design and build your own at home at an affordable price. Thanks to the cheap and accessible electronic parts you can buy online. 

There’s more than one way to make your NV goggles. In this article, you just have to follow a series of easy steps. 

Use a good browser to find various dependable online sources if you need supplemental information about some technical things or specific parts to purchase.

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