View Full Version : Tip: diagnosing remote functioning using digital camera

Mark Lanctot
2006-08-28, 08:35
I had heard that digital cameras are sensitive to IR from remote controls so I decided to try it out myself.

You need a darkened room so that the camera's aperture is opened as wide as possible and so that the IR won't be washed out by stronger sources.

Well, I tried it out and it worked much better than I expected. Not a faint glow at all but a bright purplish beam. See the attachment.

This is the late SB2/early SB3 remote, the power button. I also noticed as I held the button down it strobed and that the viewing angle was very small - when I tried to get a shot of it lying on the counter so that you could see the spread of the beam, I couldn't pick up anything. The beam needs to be pointing more or less directly at the camera. I'd estimate the viewing angle at about 15 degrees or so.

You can see a typical LED structure - the element chip's back end partially shading the beam as it reflects off the parabolic mirror at the base of the LED. You also see a bit of the element lead on the right. This was with my eyes seeing absolutely nothing.

If you're having remote troubles and no way to diagnose, lock yourself in the bathroom with the lights out, the remote and your digital camera. :-)

P.S. Think I could submit this to a UFO sighting website?

2006-08-28, 08:43
done this in the past. Depending on the camera, you can get away with doing it in a daylight filled room and still get a bright white dot. Most new DigiCams have an IR filter over the sensor, but older ones don't always (like my old Olympus C-2020z)