Pros: 20 LEDS seem to be the ideal amount of infrared light needed, discrete
Cons: Camera glare can occur when reflecting off metal or glass objects.
Do you have a video surveillance system at your home or office that does not have very good image quality at night? If so then the Clover IR010 20 Illuminators LED night light for surveillance systems is a product you need to try. I have used several of these illuminators underneath porches to shed some extra light on otherwise dark areas that only raccoons or cats would dare tread at night.
The Purposes Of The Clover IR010 Night Light
Video Surveillance cameras with night vision often come with their own infrared LED lights built-in. However, these lights are not always as bright as needed to fully cover the dark regions under a porch roof. To solve this problem, the Clover IR010 can be used to supplement the night lights of your video camera to brighten the field of vision by as much as 50%. The device seems to have little effect on the power draw requirements. I use these illuminators on the same power feed as my cameras.
Video surveillance systems should also be fully operational 24/7 especially at night. If you splice these illuminators into your camera power feed and have the entire system running on a UPS battery back up then if the power goes out at your home the video will continue recording. Having these illuminators on will help keep your home secure even with the street and porch lights completely out. Yes, I have seen situations where the power was cut and the surveillance lights never missed a beat!
Mounting The 20 LED Illuminator
The IR010 Infrared LED illuminator measures approximately 6" tall x 4" wide x 4" deep when placed on a desk in the upright position. The all black base of this illuminator is sturdy enough for the task it was intended for. You can rotate or pivot it to point at any location within its 180 degree field of motion. Keep in mind that the mounting bracket will not let you point behind the wall or ceiling that this is attached to.
To mount, I usually use 2" wood screws and pre-drill a hole to run the 12VDC power feed through. Luckily, all my security camera systems run on 12VDC, so you will find that I splice the power feed for this illuminator into the power line of my SIAMESE video cabling. As an extra precaution, I also place silicone sealant at the power feed to the illuminator and around the seam of the body of this device. Silicone sealant keeps out most of the humidity which can corrode the electronics as the years go by.
Problems With An Infared Illuminator
In total darkness, you can see the red lights of this Clover product. They appear to glow a dim red but do not illuminate the area around them because humans cannot see infrared light. I wanted to note this because some animals can see this light and might be distrustful of an area which is bathed in this sort of illumination. If you are wanting to observe wild game, you may wish to use a motion activated flash source instead.
Burglars also know to look for these lights and will know immediately that a video surveillance camera is nearby. My experience with video surveillance cameras has shown that upon locating one of these illuminators, trespassers will quickly look for the camera and then leave the area.
Finally, the biggest problem with this illuminator is its ability to create a bright white glare on any object less than 5' away from it. The glare can be so obtrusive at night that it will mask the face of anyone nearby or the license plate of their car. The glare is similar to shining a flashlight at your video camera. For example, a few months ago a truck backed into an observation area which had this illuminator. The light from the illuminator reflected off the glass of the cab and into the Sony CCD of the video camera and temporarily blocked the video stream. To solve this problem, you should mount this light in the same general region as the camera to reduce the possibility of unforeseen glare angles. Trial and error in video surveillance camera positioning is an ongoing maintenance task.
A Note About Clover Electronics Model Numbers And LED Count
The item listed in this review and on the vendor pages linked at the top and bottom of this same review is actually the 20 LED version. The Clover Electronics IR010 has just 20 LEDs, not the 30 indicated in the product listing.
The 20 infared LED lights in the Clover IR010 illuminator do have an effect in boosting the recording capability of your CCTV video cameras. The case has proven itself outdoors with at least year of service in the high heat and humidity conditions of the Texas and Louisiana Gulf Coast regions. I have at least four of these LED illuminators in continuous service and like their ability to run on 12VDC. The light output is in the infrared spectrum so it cannot be easily seen by the casual subject walking or strolling by. Still, if your goal is to deter theft or vandalism then the Clover illuminator will send a strong message to anyone entering your property with harm in mind.
My only problem is the price of this product. At the $35 price I paid, it was over $1 per LED for the limited effect. I would only recommend buying this if you wish to monitor an area that has no street or building lights on at night. The end of driveway or porch would be the best location to install this device.
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