09
Dec
14

Tri-Illuminator Low Cost IR Illuminator Review

Commercial grade illuminators from Raytec, Illuminar and Axton work very well, but in many cases, costs more than the camera  and this has been the barrier to adoption for many. I came across the Tri-Illuminator from Wrightwood Surveillance that works as well as the high end solutions for a fraction of the price and in a small well made package.

The Tri-Illuminator sells for under $60 including the power supply and contains three 2-watt quality LEDs. It’s powered by 12V (600 ma) and can be purchased with or without a 110V to 12V power adapter. Has about an 18″ pigtail with a 2.1mm jack which is a common size. It uses 8W of power and much brighter than any built in IR illuminator in a camera.

It feels like a quality piece in your hands and it’s very compact compared to the higher end illuminators I’ve used in the past. The light spread is about 60′ degrees and even. If you have a very wide angle lens on your camera, you may want to get two to get the wider coverage. For my typical 4 and 6mm lens cameras, the coverage was about right. This picture to show you size relative to my hand.

Here’s a problem area in my backyard. This is using a Hikvision ds-2cd3332-i with a built in IR LED that’s fairly bright, but you can see that the area on the left was not well lit and grainy.

I added the Tri-Illuminator about half way from the camera to the side fence to provide additional lighting in the dark area. First I tried a very low cost solution from Amazon, the IR3 from CMVision. You can see that it provides some light but despite it’s claims, the lighting angle was narrow with a hot spot in the center some call the flashlight effect.  It didn’t solve the problem for me.

This is with the Tri-Illuminator. You can see that’s it’s much wider and brighter as well as being more evenly lit. The area has much less noise and the objects are crisp and clear.

About the same time, I had readers ask me what they can do brighten up a scene and reduce noise. There’s only so much that can be done in camera as built-in IR LEDs tend to be underpowered because of heat build-up in cameras as well as power restriction of PoE. So I recommended this solution to a customer and with his permission,  he provided images from his home.

This is the “before” image. You can click on this image to see the original size. The image is not terrible, but does have noise and dark areas. You can see the IR from the camera was not very powerful as the landscape lighting is actually providing most of the light which is useless because the light shines on the ground, not on a suspect.

After adding the Tri-Illuminator, you can see crisp detail and the shadows from the bushes show that the IR LEDs are brighter than the landscape lights. There’s also a lot less noise and blur from noise reduction algorithms. Noise not only compromises detail, but also uses more network bandwidth and disk space on recordings.

Conclusion

If you are not happy with your night images, or getting motion blur due to having to set a longer exposure, having illuminators is essential. I’ve tried inexpensive illuminators in the past but have been disappointed because they are either too dim or have a flashlight effect like the IR3 from CMVision or they failed after a short time. It’s good to see a solution that’s not only effective and well made, but priced affordably.

You can get the Tri-Illuminator from Wrightwood Surveillance by clicking HERE.

 

 

 

 

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34 Comments on "Tri-Illuminator Low Cost IR Illuminator Review"

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Justin
Justin
1 year 8 months ago

What I’d like to know is whether these things hold up any better than any of the other illuminators out there. It seems they all overdrive the emitters and burn them out rather quickly. Half the LEDs on my Hik 2032 cameras are dim now. Almost six months later, how are these holding up? Are you still using them?

Seth
Seth
1 year 11 months ago
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[…] Here is a review of an illuminator from a reputable site. […]

Mitchell Tuckness
Mitchell Tuckness
1 year 11 months ago

What are your thoughts on this?

CMVision Wide Angle IRD50 – 84 LED 120 Degree IR Dome Illuminator with Free 12V 500mA Power

I am looking for a dome IR illuminator that I can put into my ceiling to fill out my living room so the IR cameras I have get a better picture of the dark areas that the cameras built in IR illuminators do not hit.

I just don’t know about the quality of CMVision and frankly, don’t know much about IR Illuminators. I looked at Raytec, but they are expensive and don’t offer a dome style illuminator. I was wondering if you had any thoughts or recommendations on good, reliable brands of illuminators for this purpose?

Thanks

Mitchell Tuckness
Mitchell Tuckness
2 years 3 days ago

Looks like Wrightwood is all sold out. I wish I would of got more than two. Any idea where we can get these other than from Wrightwood? I need 2 more 🙂

Seth
Seth
1 year 11 months ago
Mitch
Mitch
2 years 12 days ago

I got two of these and they work great, but I saw this on Amazon and wondered if this is something you have looked at or tested?

http://smile.amazon.com/CMVision-IR3-WideAngle-Degree-Illuminator/dp/B008GTAPSO/ref=sr_1_96?ie=UTF8&qid=1420739725&sr=8-96&keywords=hikvision

CMVision IR3 WideAngle 60-80 Degree 3pc Power LED IR Array Illuminator

Lee
Lee
2 years 16 days ago

Thoughts on how this would compare to a CmVision IR110?
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003ZX1M88/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1

I have one coupled with my E33, but noise it still prominent beyond 25’…. and used 24 watts in the process.

thanks

CH
CH
2 years 16 days ago

I have this one, it really lights up the night out where it is posted, but after a few months it already had some lines of lights burn out. They say I can send it back and they will fix it, but no mention of who is paying postage. It wasn’t that cheap either. Since we don’t need any IR all summer (Alaska) I forgot about it and never sent it in, now that it is dark again I don’t want to take it down, it is still providing quite a bit of light.

I have pictures, but don’t know how to post them here.

Greg
Greg
2 years 21 days ago

I emailed Wrightwood Survalance about what the LED life hour rating is. And he is still unable to get back to me, and it has been over a week. He also will not provide the manufactures information, probably due to the fact we would just purchase directly.

I have done a lot of research on illumination, and there are a couple of good ones out there. The problem is, is that their LED’s are only rated for 10,000 hours, with environment conditions likely to see 5,000-8,000 hours. So 2 years of use if used for 12 hours a day. To me this will not work, and need something that lasts at least 50,000.

I did find one that has 48 LED’s, but the coverage, and usefulness is unknown. But the LED’s are rated for 100,000 hours. This will give 22.8 years of expected life if operated for 12 hours, and not counting environmental conditions.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dL7CGZcRZvQ
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0067S8IZ8/ref=oh_details_o01_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

It would be beneficial if you could do reviews on more Illuminators in the future. Of if anyone has experience with good coverage, and long lasting LED’s i guess just leave a comment to get in contact with me.

Eric
Eric
2 years 1 month ago

I have my 2 side garage door lights on all night. They are each 100 watt cfl bulbs at 5000k so they are super bright. Am i better just having them on than getting more IR lights?. Also I have Lorex LNB3153 2MP 1080p cameras but they just dont look as clear as your videos do on youtube. I was looking to get 1 20xPtz auto tracking camera for side of my house. Can I get Hikvision to work with my Lorex LNR100 DVR? Or some other brand? Thx.

Greg
Greg
2 years 1 month ago

I guess that im not making my self clear.

So you have a PoE switch. The Ethernet cable has power over it at 48VDC so it can go the full 100m length.

You then connect a PoE splitter, that can pull the power out of the Ethernet line. This device: (http://www.tp-link.com/en/products/details/?model=TL-POE10R), it has a selectible power output port, from taking the power from the ethernet, at 12 vdc,9vdc, or 5vdc. I select the 12vdc output, and plug the iluminator into this power output from the PoE splitter. Then illuminator has power. There will not be any camera connect to this Ethernet cable, just an illuminator. The cmaera would be connected to a different PoE injected Ethernet line.

Does this make since, or sound possible?

Go
Go
2 years 1 month ago

Are they very noticeable at night? The typical IR illuminator has a red glow, but I’ve never been sure how much that would actually catch someone’s eye.

Greg
Greg
2 years 1 month ago

Is it possible to power these from a PoE switch, with a PoE splitter, then run a longer DC plug extension cable from the PoE splitter, so the splitter can be left inside the house, and the DC power cable can be run to the outside of the house?

My main issue is with Fog, and Rain, Spider webs every day, need to come up with some solution for this.

Eric
Eric
2 years 1 month ago

Will they work with cameras that already have IR? I just bought lorex system from BJ’s and I get same white out faces and red eyes at night. How do you power them? Also my lorex 1080p cameras appear to be trying to focus even thopugh they are fixed lenses.Is that normal? Thx.
Eric

Mike
Mike
2 years 1 month ago

It’s great to see a good review on an affordable illuminator.
I too would be interested in seeing how it looks with motion video of a person walking through.
I hope this may be a good solution with poorly lit residential installations.
Personally I try to steer people toward good visible lighting (particularly with LED flood lights) but sometimes they just don’t want to do it and it is easier to get low voltage lighting like this installed.
My customers just don’t want to pay for Raytec. Hopefully this product covers it.

CH
CH
2 years 1 month ago

How do people look passing through? I have a problem with my Hikvision cameras making everyone’s face white out or just too grainy despite all my efforts at changing settings and any motion at night leaves people and animals a ghostly blur. My IRs are casting shadows and some of them overlap so it would seem I am getting enough light.

My still images are almost as nice as yours there with the extra light, can you show someone walking through that light so we can see if it can capture details?

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