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Old Jan 16, 2013, 05:21 AM
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United Kingdom, England, Bradley Stoke
Joined Mar 2001
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A first crack at lighting, tip's & advice welcomed!

Hi all,

I've been getting fed up with only being able to fly at weekends when the weather is good so i thought i'd take a crack at lighting my PicoJet i dug out of the attic a few weeks back t osee if i can fly it at night.

Something i noticed looking at alot of other's lighting is that they don't appear to make good use of the light available. Often the LED's appear mounted to make them visable and not to illuminate the plane.

I've mounted some LEd strips in stratigic locations to illuminate my whole plane with as few LED's as possible. 8 strips/24LED's is my aim.

So far i have added upper and lower strips to illuminate the wings in red & green respectively and a strip either side of the tail to illuminate it in white.

I will also be adding 2 strips of blue to light up the front of the fuselage to aid with identifying the nose.

I'd appreciate some feedback is anyone has any thoughts, maybe i've gotten it completely wrong?

Regards,
Ryan

EDIT: it's hard to see in these photos but the nights on the top of the wing are white and illuminate the tail. The lights on the tail illuminate the wings.
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Old Jan 16, 2013, 07:28 AM
Dark Yet??
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United States, VA, Narrows
Joined Dec 2009
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I think you will find it hard to see. You will have no outline at a distance and up close the LEDs will blind you because they are pointed toward you.

Take it outside at night and have some hold it and walk away from you for a vision test.

We all have our own preferences and sight abilities, you may be able to fly fine with it.
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Old Jan 16, 2013, 08:02 AM
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United Kingdom, England, Bradley Stoke
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An interesting thought about when the LED's are facing you. I wonder if some sort of lamp shade could be fashioned to keep the light on the wing and avoid direct eye contact....

or even increase the angle of the LED's so they cannot come into direct contact...
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Old Jan 16, 2013, 08:13 AM
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Bonnie Scotland
Joined Jun 2004
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Many lighting schemes are brilliant, in both the illumination and imagination senses of the word but can be rather OTT.
You don't need to see an outline but you do need to have cues as to the model's orientation. The lights you currently have are too close together for this and for distance flying. I would suggest you either add more at the tips or move the present ones to the tips if you are going for a minimalist solution.
My first night flyer was a Correx delta and had only 5 discreet LEDs in a V pattern. The Correx was good because it diffused the light and allowed me to see through the wing. The V pattern helped with orientation. All the LEDs on it faced forward which greatly helped on approach to landing as I had simply to keep them level and pointing more or less towards me.
My current night flyer is a conventional mainplane/tailplane type (AXN Cloud) and has LED strips on both sides of the mainplane, tailplane, rudder and fuselage. I cannot see the outline but I do have the shape of the model as a pattern of lights in the sky.
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Old Jan 16, 2013, 08:26 AM
Dark Yet??
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United States, VA, Narrows
Joined Dec 2009
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If OTT is Over The Top.....

I like to be able to see my plane.
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Last edited by Barn-E-Stormer; Jan 16, 2013 at 08:32 AM. Reason: pic
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Old Jan 16, 2013, 08:34 AM
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United Kingdom, England, Bradley Stoke
Joined Mar 2001
81 Posts
This is the kind of thing i was trying to stay away from. You end up flying a pattern of lights, not a plane.

I'm keen to try and stay true to the idea of lighing the plane, not the sky and see how it works out. If it's a disaster i'll have to let you know not to try it :P

I did originally plan to bathe the plane in white light and just make the tips red/green but it would of required alot more & much more expensive, LED's.
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Old Jan 16, 2013, 08:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barn-E-Stormer View Post
If OTT is Over The Top.....

I like to be able to see my plane.
With those middle two you appear to be doing what i've been to referring to as wasting the light, it's mostly being directed into the sky, not onto the plane surface.

The last one look great though, but not possible to replicate with my PicoJet.
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Old Jan 16, 2013, 09:58 AM
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United Kingdom, England, Bradley Stoke
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I do have a question, i've not see any pic's or anyone talking about it.

How are you guys dealing with the mass of wiring at the end to cosolidate it down to a single wire?

Soldering them all into a large block and out to a single wire doesnt seem like the neatest idea....
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Old Jan 16, 2013, 01:14 PM
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Read thru this build log for some ideas.
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1691644

I make a "connection board" on most models. It varies in size and complexity to suit the application.
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Old Jan 16, 2013, 01:54 PM
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United Kingdom, England, Bradley Stoke
Joined Mar 2001
81 Posts
Ok, you guys were right. I couldn't see a bloody thing

Still managed to fly it around for a bit and land but having any idea of which way it was flying or it's distance from me was nigh on impossible.

Full coverage I think if I want to night fly properly!

I'm impressed it didn't break it as usually the picojet comes back in pieces each time
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