|LEDs Per Strip:||12|
|Number of Strips:||4|
|Color of LEDs:||5 colors, pilot's choice|
|Length:||12" LEDs, 4" lead, 2" splitter connector|
|Connector on Strips:||JST connectors|
|Connector on Control Connector:||3-cell balance connector|
|Battery:||Flight Pack Lipo|
|Available From:||Gorilla Bob's|
|Price:||$20.00 Ready to Install|
I have been doing some night flying this summer with my LED-illuminated air fleet. I have been asked a number of questions about where I got my lights, so I thought I should share the information because I think the product is very good and easy to use and the guy who sells them is a nice guy. Bob BEADY AKA Gorilla Bob sells complete light sets for small planes such as the Slow Stick or the HobbyZone Super Cub for $39.95. I reviewed that system several years ago and my review can be found here:Gorilla Bob Lights Reviewed. Since that review Bob has come up with version 2 which has a green strip of LEDs for the right or starboard side of the fuselage/tail and a red strip for the left/port side. I have version 2 on my Slow Stick.
Today I want to talk about Gorilla Bob's MultiRotor light sets because for night flying you really can't have too many lights (well, most of us anyway). His multirotor sets include four strips of lights and the buyer can pick the color for each strand of LEDs. The choices are: clear/white, red, green, blue or amber. Pick any combination that you want. Each strip has its own JST connector already installed. The four strips plug into a central connector that has a 3-cell lipo battery balancer connector that plugs into the flight battery's balance connector. Bob has named the system "MultiRotor Lights" because they were designed for installing on quadcopters or multirotors but they are not just for multirotors any more. My first set is on one of my quadcopters, and I picked two strands of red and two of white for it. They really do help me with orientation both day and night and would be worth it to me for orientation alone. However, I do fly my illuminated quadcopter at times in twilight and friends really enjoy the light show.
The easiest way to power the light strips is to simply plug in the splitter into the battery balance connector on the three cell flight battery. The balance connector matches those used with E-flite and FlyZones batteries among others but it doesn't match up with all balance connectors.
An alternate way to power the LEDs is to install a JST connector on the end of the power splitter wires and then use a T-Plug power tap as pictured below. This plug in between the ESC and the battery pack with T-Power/Dean connectors. It is simply another way to power the lights off of the flight battery pack.
Make sure that the location selected for each string of lights will allow the connector to reach the splitter connector or plan on making an extension wire or wires as needed. Make sure that the surface where the LEDs are going to be installed is clean and dry. Measure again if there is any question about the wires being long enough to connect and better yet connect the wires and light them up and lay them out to make sure everything will fit as you planned. Peel the backing off of the self sticking adhesive on the back of first LED strip and install it where you want it. (Be sure you are installing the correct color strip where you want it.)
I have a very fancy set of lights on my Radian that were made by a friend of mine and allow me to change colors of the main LEDs while the plane is on the ground or in flight. Unfortunately, Bob has stopped making his lighting systems and I decided that my Radian needed some more lights to help me keep it in sight when diving towards me from altitude at night. The solution was adding two strands of Gorilla Bob's blue LEDs next to the cockpit on the front of the fuselage and two strands of white LEDs to the leading edge of my Radian's wing. The strips of the LEDs were secured in place with the self-sticking adhesive on the back of the strips and the lead wires I taped in place on the fuselage for the blue strips and on the wing for the white strips leaving enough loose wire to enter the cockpit to plug in and unplug the lights for transportation. The splitter battery connector plugs into the Radian's flight battery's balance plug and the blue strips connect to two of the JST connectors in the front of the cockpit and remain plugged in 24/7. The white LEDs plug into two connectors in the back of the cockpit. The Radian now has 48 more LEDs and can be seen in a dive towards me and the fuselage is easier to see from the front and side. On a dark night it can easily be seen with all of its LEDs from a mile away as measured on the ground. I have flown it higher at night than in the day because I can see her from farther away on a dark night.
I have purchased several more sets of lights from Gorilla Bob's. One set will be in my club's raffle at the West Coast Mini Festival of Flight coming up on Labor Day weekend and we will have night flying on Saturday night after our banquet in the hangar. I will finally be assembling my six arm Flame Wheel multirotor starting at the end of this month and I will be using multiple strips of LEDs on her and I will post pictures of her with LEDs in my review later this summer. I am thinking of adding some lights to a Blade CX4 large quadcopter as it uses a three cell battery and can carry the weight but I might wait for there 350QX coming out this fall and see if she needs extra LEDs. I also want to add some additional LEDs to my Super Cub shown above. She is great for twilight and close in night flying but I want some LEDs for the top of the wing and the side of the fuselage for late twilight/night flying so I can see her when she is in a banked turn and the bottom of the wing is facing away from me (Can't have to much light). I have put a red strip and a green strip on the top of her wing to give a small idea of how they will ad to her existing light set. I will power them with one JST split Y connector to feed its splitter connector and use a battery balancer connector on my current quadcopter set.
|Jul 26, 2013, 10:09 AM|
If you like to make your own lights there are lots of places to buy lights. But at Gorilla Bob I get a set ready to attach to my aircraft and connect to my battery without any soldering. For the multirotor lights four 12" strands of LEDs are about $12.00 at HobbyPartz and I would still need to buy and solder 4 JST connectors to them and four mating JST connectors to a central connector such as the balance plug connector. The price is about the same and I would have to do all the soldering, which is not my favorite thing to do. That is part of the beauty of this hobby. Going with long strands I would consider buying parts. We can buy parts and do it ourselves or buy a set ready to install. It is good to have options.
|Jul 28, 2013, 12:18 AM|
*edit* sorry, i missed the part where this light kit has each one on its own connector
not what i would do if i bought my own though, too much unnecessary weight.
|Jul 28, 2013, 09:47 AM|
On my Radian I have one on each wing half and two on the fuselage. I would hate to have to keep the wings on because the wires were soldered together. But even if soldering them together for a multirotor it is easier to work with the wires and cut off the connectors so the wires are the perfect lead length for you. Again, a wide way to do lighting in this hobby. Mike
|Jul 28, 2013, 07:57 PM|
What would you recommend for the slowstick, V2, or a multirotor set in order to add more lights? Maybe it's much brighter in person, but the SS sets don't look like enough lights. I have different battery connectors so I would like to power through the 3s balance tap. As I understand it, the v1/v2 sets are not plug-n-play through the balance tap. Not exactly sure what needs to be purchased and installed to accomplish this. The multirotor is actually sounding a bit easier even for a SS. I'd love your thoughts on this. I'd like to order ASAP and have everything coming that I'll need to install. Nothing worse than waiting on something only to start the work and realize you need more stuff. It would be great if I could understand what I need and order it all at once.
|Aug 07, 2013, 08:13 AM|
Very nice looking wing XtremeWingRC. A little too bright for the camera.
Hi Pecan Patch:
I am not sure that I like it more but I sure enjoy the LEDs especially in late twilight when you can really see the lights and still see an outline of the plane in a darkening blue sky that will soon be black. Mike Heer
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