Monday, February 29, 2016

How to hide the blue light on the Blink

If you read my earlier review on the Blink, then you saw one of my complaints was that whenever the Blink is recording, there is a bright blue light on the camera.  There is no way to turn the light off and this is on purpose according to Blink.  They state that the blue light is a security measure to prevent people from being recorded without their knowledge.

Although I certainly understand and respect people's right to privacy, for my purposes I don't want to draw attention to the camera so an intruder doesn't know it is there and decides to remove it.  My camera is outside on my porch not somewhere creepy like the bathroom.

So I decided to figure out a way to disable the blue light.

The easiest option is to just cover the light from the outside. There may be some ambient light, but tape or something should do the job.  However, this makes the camera look pretty crappy and the OCD part of me wanted a neater solution.

Warning:  ATTEMPTING THIS COULD BREAK YOUR CAMERA OR VOID YOUR WARRANTY.  I TAKE NO RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE ACCURACY OF THESE DIRECTIONS. ATTEMPT AT YOUR RISK.

So I disassembled the camera.




The first step is to remove the battery cover.  This is done by sliding the button on the bottom of the camera and lifting up on the lid.  Being careful not to break the plastic catches, pull the lid loose from the camera.

Pull out the batteries if they're already in there.

The battery holder is the piece of plastic with the Serial Number on it.  Using a very small flat head screw driver or your finger nails, gently separate it from the back case.  In the picture above you can see how they're two separate pieces.  The springs for the batteries will slide out of the plastic battery holder and stay with the back case.

Once the plastic battery holder is out, you're presented with a circuit board, 4 screws and a small metal clip.  The metal clip is connecting the top circuit board to the bottom circuit board. Gently push it off the top circuit board making sure you don't bend it or lose it.  The metal clip looks like this:



And can be found near the top right hand screw shown here:



After the clip is off, remove the four small Phillips head screws.  Gently pry out the top circuit board.

The bottom circuit board is held in place by two screws.  You'll have to unscrew them because you need to reach the Blue LED on the other side.  Again, gently wedge out the bottom circuit board and turn it over.  It should look like the image below.



Taking a small piece of electrical tape, cover the small metal piece labeled D5. It probably wouldn't hurt to cover D6 and D4.  I believe each of these are LEDs. D2 is the LED for the low light recording and you should not cover it or accidentally remove it like I did.



Once the D5 is covered, begin putting everything back.  The tape should be face down into the plastic back. Screw it in.

Replace the top circuit board. Screw it in.  Gently place the metal clip back on the metal film on the circuit board.  I placed mine on the bottom first and then pushed it over the top. It should latch on.

Once all of the circuit boards are in place, replace the plastic battery holder.  Pull the springs for the battery through the holes in the plastic batter holder and then push down. It'll all snap into place.

Replace your batteries, put on the back cover and you should be done.

Now you have a Blink that will record without the blue light.  If you ever want the light back for some reason, just remove the tape.



Feel free to ask me questions in the comments and I might try a video of the process later.

Edit:  Video here

3 comments:

S.F. Baker Investments said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
S.F. Baker Investments said...

thanks a lot for this -- i was able to modify my set of cameras in short order thanks to your video - - I have a quick question that perhaps you might know the answer to, or perhaps have already thought of this. My situation is this:

I'd like to set up my Blink base station outside, somewhere away from an Ethernet drop. Perhaps in my car, so as to be able to provide power, or perhaps using a battery setup.

The 3 cameras would transmit back to base station.

The Base station would save the Clips onto a USB drive, effectively making this a stand alone setup requiring no internet or AC.

Do you have any knowledge if this would work or not? Or a better way to accomplish this? (Basically trying to catch photos of a coyote)

Blog Owner said...

This is a great question. I've considered doing exactly what you're saying, except I wanted to create a cheap portable 180 degree camera for VR. The major issue is that currently there is no local storage. Without the internet, you won't be able to save any of the videos. The cameras feed to the base station which feed to Blink's servers. The servers then stream the video back to the app. If you could hack the base station or Blink puts out an update to store locally, this would be very possible.

The other possible option is to have a laptop act like the Blink servers, but this requires a lot of hacking above my skill level. Blink is supposed to release an update that will allow users to store locally, but I have no idea when that might happen.