I am using the Waveshare RPi Camera (F), which comes with two IR LED boards to enable nightvision (they look like two big eyes on either side of the camera 'nose' - at least that's what it looks like to me).

RPi Camera (F) with IR LED boards attached

Both of these LEDs get very hot. Waveshare recommends installing heatsinks (which I have); however, I would also like to turn off the power supply to the Camera Serial Interface so that it is not consuming power when not in use.

Is this possible? If so how do I do it, and would this be something I could easily incorporate into a python script to switch it on again?

I have tried simply disabling the camera in config, but power still goes to the LEDs.

There are no switches on the LED boards, they simply draw power through the camera.

I am using Raspberry Pi 2 B+ running latest Raspbian. A similar question came up in my search but no answers, so I have given some more specific information in my question.

4 Answers 4


To the best of my knowledge the CSI camera connector's 3.3V pin is connected directly to the Pi's 3.3V pin. There's no way of shutting that off in software.

From the photo you've posted, the easiest thing I can think of is adding a physical switch or relay between the LED boards and the camera board. It's just a positive and ground connection on each side, so it shouldn't be too complicated to rig a couple of bits of perfboard or similar between the sections to allow you to switch the LEDs off.

  • Thank you goobering! That's really helpful. Will work on that over the weekend. Cheers!
    – Deleuze
    Commented Feb 6, 2017 at 8:15
  • I have exactly the same question :) I wonder if the RPI IR-CUT camera gets round this? waveshare.com/wiki/RPi_IR-CUT_Camera
    – cmhughes
    Commented Nov 26, 2017 at 18:00

An inspection of the published schematics will show that the 3.3V is directly connected to the camera.

Inless the camera module includes some power control, there is no way of controlling it from the Pi.

  • Thank you - that's really helpful. Will know to hsve a look at these in the future if I have a similar question!
    – Deleuze
    Commented Feb 6, 2017 at 8:30

My colleague has solved this problem by powering the LEDs not from the camera module but from the Raspberry's GPIO pins, enabling/disabling them when needed by a Python script - I think there is a multitude of other ways to control GPIO outs. The downside to this is that you'll need a bit of additional wiring, and the LEDs have to be separate from the camera module, or you should put some non-conducting material between the LED and camera modules if you want to keep them physically connected.

  • The seems to be a way to get power problems for the Pi. The GPIOs are not designed to be a power source. For this solution to be safe, relays, or at least transistors, are needed.
    – Bex
    Commented Oct 5, 2017 at 8:16
  • Can't argue with that. I probably should have mentioned that our solution needed to take pictures from a dark location once every few minutes, and the LEDs only stayed on for a few seconds at a time while a picture was being taken. This setup has successfully worked for a few months with no consequences to Pi board or LEDs, but I can't guarantee there would have been no problems later; and this is indeed very different from a situation when LEDs are powered on for a few hours straight. Commented Oct 6, 2017 at 9:20

You usually can do this in the panel they provide if you type in console :

sudo raspi-config

If you need to do it without the panel, check this :

How can I enable the camera without using raspi-config?

  • Thanks for the answer, however enabling/disabling the camera in raspi-config does not depower the CSI.
    – Deleuze
    Commented Feb 5, 2017 at 23:19
  • Well, I can't find that even here : raspberrypi.org/documentation/configuration/config-txt.md , the only thing about cameras is the "enable/disable" red led option. Your question is so specific you should try posting on their forums raspberrypi.org/forums as there are many of their engineers answering users, also they wouldn't answer email support requests anyway.
    – qwert
    Commented Feb 5, 2017 at 23:28
  • Thanks - the Stack Exchange community have been very helpful in the past! I'll try with the forums too and will post any results. But if any users here have an answer please do post!
    – Deleuze
    Commented Feb 5, 2017 at 23:31

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