A 3 Watt (3000 milliwatt) IR illuminator should blast past 150 to 200 feet and well beyond. If yours is not performing to this distance, there are a few factors to consider. If your IR illuminator has a very wide flood pattern, it will not reach as far as a spot pattern, but a true 3 watt illuminator should still reach out to 200 feet. You mentioned that this light is a 3 watt LED; is it a white LED with an IR filter, or is it a true IR (or near IR) LED?
A true IR LED (very rare) will not produce any visible light at all unless you are looking through night vision
. A near IR LED will produce a faint red glow to the naked eye if you look directly into it. A 3 watt white LED produces a very bright white light that you do not want to look into. White LED lights do not produce much light in the IR spectrum, however, and if you put an IR filter on a white LED you will only get very short range use from it. If the last is your setup, any of the IR illuminators that we sell will be a great improvement over what you have.
Is your light truly a 3 watt IR illuminator? While the LED itself may be rated at 3 watts, a cheap light may not fully power the LED leaving you with a much shorter range than the LED is capable of.
How many hours are on your night vision
? Based on the fact that you are asking this question to begin with, I can assume you have a generation 1 night vision
unit. If you have had it for several years and you use it frequently, your tube may be wearing our. This is pretty rare, but possible. If you have used the night vision
device for longer periods of time in conditions that are too bright, you can greatly reduce the life of the tube. Even a quick flash of sunlight can cook a tube.
As I previously stated, the focus of the light also plays a big factor. A wide flood beam provides excellent lighting at close ranges, but does not penetrate far. A tight spot beam is excellent for a long throw but can be too concentrated and bright in a small area for close range use. A 3 watt flood from a true or near IR LED should still throw out to the distances that you are reaching for. Have you checked the power of the batteries
The most powerful IR illuminator that we currently offer is made by Night Detective
, and is available here
. This is rated out to 250 yards.