Okay so, I'm currently working on a final year project about vein visualization with Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ and a NoIR camera V2. An infrared light source is required to capture clear vein image. I've tried connecting a 3w IR LED module with adjustable resistor to my camera board by it doesn't seem to work on NoIR V2. So I found an alternative for the IR light source as below. Is there any way that I can power this 24pcs infrared illuminator board using GPIO pins with pulse control through pwm? Thanks!

24pcs LED IR Lights 850nm 50 Bullet Camera Infrared Illuminator Board

The specification of this board is as follows:

Product size: 44x17mm

Light light: Infrared

Infrared power: 2W

Waterproof: No

Input voltage: DC 12V

Current: 150mA

Structure: PC board

Light angle: 90 degree

Night vision distance: 20-30 meters

Wavelength range: 850nm

Adaptive lens: 3.6mm, 6mm, 8mm, 12mm, 16mm single board machine small lens.

LED cup angle: 15, 30, 45, 60, 90°

Compatible Shell: 50 Bullet Camera

  • Hi @emily, Ah, let me see. So your IR LED spec seems to be: 850nm, night vision 30m, 12V, 150mA. You can search Amazon/AliExpress using the above parameters. If 940nm can do, the answer to the following question might be helpful (see long answer updates and references): (1)raspberrypi.stackexchange.com/questions/103452/…
    – tlfong01
    Oct 17, 2019 at 3:11
  • Hi @emily, For PWM, newbies can use Rpi UART/serial IR transceiver modules (see web links above). In my answer, there is a newbie friendly, Plug n Play (no libraries required), fully debugged, comprehensive, minimal, verified python program example. You can modify the python functions to suit your experiments. By the way, do NOT bother to study the newbie scary LIRC stuff, because they are for hackers only. And as my answer suggests, you don't need any python to start you experiments, you can use Win7/10, Rpi3/4 puTTY/TeraTerm/RealTerm to do the preliminary feasibility study. Nice proj!
    – tlfong01
    Oct 17, 2019 at 3:33
  • Hi @emily, And in case your find the 940nm wave of the IR module I suggested does not meet your projects, you can easily find cheapy 850nm through hole LEDs to replace the LED on the module. See Ref 40 of my answer for more details.
    – tlfong01
    Oct 17, 2019 at 3:49

1 Answer 1


I can't comment on the specific devices, BUT there are some general principles.

You definitely can't power a 3W LED (or anything else) from GPIO 3W => 1A; GPIO can source 16 mA!

Depending on the Pi model you can draw ~800mA from the 3.3V regulator, so you couldn't power from the Pi.

Even powering from the 5V rail would be pushing the friendship.

As the module pictured is labelled 12V it kind of suggests it needs 12V to run!

You probably could control by the Pi using suitable external power and suitable circuitry, but without knowing the detail it is impossible to say.

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