FOA Guide

Visual Tracing And Fault Location

Using Cell Phone Cameras To See Infrared Light In Fiber Optics

The camera in that old cell phone hidden away in a drawer somewhere can be useful. The older cameras (circa 2000-2005) in cellphones are sensitive to infrared light - lots more than your eye - and can detect light in an optical fiber or from a transmitter. Newer phones have cameras that are not sensitive to infrared light.)

IR view  IR View

Camera phones sensors are very sensitive at 850 nm but less so at 1300 nm, like all semiconductor detectors. This phone could still see 1300 nm sources at around -20 dBm, making it very useful even for LED sources, and of course, perfect for lasers.

Our experience is that earlier cell phone cameras are better than new ones which are optimized for photography. We recommend you dig out that old cell phone from 2000-2005 and try it. If you don't have a fiber system or test source available, try the IR remote to your television to see the camera's sensitivity.

We keep one of these old cell phones in our toolbox!

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