A Jeep-Mounted FLIR Camera


[Eddie Zarick] is at it again, modding his Jeep Wrangler into something that makes us all properly jealous. This time, he managed to acquire and mount the FLIR camera from an old Cadillac. It truly is an FLIR thermal imaging camera, and not just a near-infrared hack. Cadillac used this technology with a HUD, but [Eddie] decided to connect it to his in-dash screen. He also didn’t settle for simply facing it forward, but mounted it to a Golight searchlight base. He mounted the joysticks under the screen, giving him directional control.

[Eddie] spent about $500 on the project, which seems like a lot, but not when you consider the cost of a new FLIR camera. We would love to know where he found such a great deal! Maybe he hit up a local salvage yard? If you know of a good source for parts like this, let us know in the comments!

Previously we covered [Eddie’s] pressurized water tap, weatherproof keypad entry, and other assorted hacks. We look forward to seeing what he adds to his Jeep next.

40 thoughts on “A Jeep-Mounted FLIR Camera

  1. Signs we live in the future: you can get a FLIR camera from an OLD cadillac.
    Interesting that it is useable, the night-vision equipment from BMW and Mercedes is nearly impossible to use. It is tied to serial numbers and stuff in important control devices of the car, because they would have problems to get export permissions otherwise, so you need half a car just to turn the damn things on.

    1. It’s also because most car companies want desperately to kill the used part market. You are stealing from them every time you use an old part. Yes GM executives actually feel this way.

      1. or to quote IT crowd -> You wouldn’t steal a handbag. You wouldn’t steal a car. You wouldn’t steal a baby. You wouldn’t shoot a policeman. And then steal his helmet. You wouldn’t go to the toilet in his helmet. And then send it to the policeman’s grieving widow. And then steal it again! Using old parts is a crime. If you do it, you will face the consequences.

      2. Maybe, but AFAIK it’s FLIR and the export regulations that determine this. All cameras must be tracked and there is no chance of getting a new one for less than 2500$. Unless you can actually order them directly from flir AND can prove to usGov that nobody can reuse them. That means terrorists, mostly.

          1. I meant automotive cameras. Those have much higher resolution (640×480). In the end they will trickle down to consumer cars (BMW 3-series is having them now) so they will become accessible. But I know they are locked to the cars because I have a friend who is actually implementing this stuff.

      1. It doesn’t say, but I’d guess it was a self-service junkyard. You pay the guy at the gate $2, walk around the lot with your own tools, pull off whatever parts you want from any car you want, and pay for whatever you bought on the way out.

        There’s a standard fee (set by the yard) for a headlight, taillight, and just about every other part imaginable. If a headlight costs $15, it costs $15 whether it comes from a Camry, a BMW, or a Ferrari (you’re unlikely to find a Ferrari at one of these yards…) They’re in the steel recycling business, not in determining what any particular component is worth. A typical receipt from one of these places would just read “misc. electronic module” – $20 and a “display” – $20. Maybe another line for “wiring harness” – $3, etc…

      2. From the junkyard/recycler/salvage yard/tip/whatever you call the place in your locality where dead cars to go be parted out?

        If you want one for yourself, just pick up thy phone, dial the appropriate local establishment, and ask for such a part (for a 2005 DTS). They’ll either have one, or they’ll be able to get one, and their computer will be able to cross-reference what other years/makes use the same part.

        After that, just show up, pay them money, and leave with the part.

    1. Not sure what version of the golight he used, but most have two speeds, fast and slow.

      The slow is much slower than what is demonstrated in the video. It is nearly a crawl.

      GoLights aren’t cheap either. Incredibly handy though.

        1. The Cadillac thermal is directly based off of a Raytheon nv 1000 unit that was previously used by the us military in the humvee trucks and a few other vehicles. It is very old, but really an excellent camera still holding its own some 20 yes later. I’ve used them for years in various cars of mine, found in salvage yards or ebay for 200 or so dollars.

          1. FLIR chose a stupid name in that case. However, that doesn’t mean that the term isn’t ambiguous, and should be avoided. Just like the Xbox One. That’s why I will always refer to the new one as the X-Bone. no ambiguity that way (and it also spites microsoft for choosing such a stupid name)

  2. Those cameras are hard to find, most caddy’s never had them they were a special $5000 option that rarely was ordered, and junkyards try to rob people blind looking for them. Glad he found an honest junkyard to get his.

    1. It is mounted in the center of the grill where you would expect the Cadillac emblem to be. There is just a round opening with the camera mounted behind the grill. Does anybody know the wiring detail behind this? Is it simple RCA outputs? Was there any CAN-Bus intervention necessary to enable it?

  3. My brother used this same thermal unit to make a head mounted scope, about 3 years ago. He integrated it into the MW2 night vision goggles they sold with Call Of Duty. If the powers that be at hackaday have any interest i can see about getting the info sent your way.

  4. From looking at the video I can tell you that the resolution of the thermal camera is too low for it to be ITAR T2 restricted.

    If he carefully opens that thing up, he can add peltier cooling or something similar to actively cool the sensor. Depending upon the gain compensation in the image processor he can dramatically improve the sensitivity of the camera. . . but not the dynamic range, sadly.

    – Robot

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