|May 20, 2009, 09:25 AM|
I'm building some more LED light sets so I can fly on these warm summer nights. I thought it might be a good idea to pass along.
Hobby City has come out with some LEDs that are built on a strip with an adhesive back. this is the easiest method I have seen to get quality lighting on a plane. They also list glow wire but it is too dim for safe night flying.
These links are to a tutorial for LED wiring I did last year. I copied the information to this post and post #16 at the first of this thread so you can find it later, but for pictures and more information look at the links.
The Pinata and the Assassin are sister planes. The ROSWELL is a 36" delta design I have been playing with for 20 years. This video shows the Pinata and Roswell night flying with Christmas lights. The LEDs I use now are brighter. I need to shoot more night video.
LED LIGHTING ON AN RC PLANE
Many flyers are building their lights into their planes but often I want a set of LED lights to tape to a plane for that occasional night flight. I don't want to have to commit a receiver, ESC, servos and plane to a plane I fly only occasionally at night. I want the plane to also be able to be flown in the day. I don't fly often at night but want to be ready to go with very little notice.
If you know you are going to be night flying your Assassin, design a color scheme that leaves most of the foam white. The white EPP foam will catch the LED light and really glow in the dark. LED lights will shine clear through the EPP wing adding to the effect.
I wanted a more durable set of LED lights that wouldn't short out and could take some abuse. The sets shown here meet that criteria.
The LED lights are amazingly bright, far brighter than the glow wire, glow tape or glow sticks and probably brighter than Christmas lights at their best. I took them in a 20'x16' family room and they put lights on all 4 walls. These reds and blues are as bright as the whites.
These lights are like a flashlight and can be aimed so you don't have to cover the plane with lights to cover the plane with light. I taped the lights down the center from nose to tail and then back under the center of the plane on the bottom. I then went through the lights and aimed them at the outer wing so they gave maximum light and put a small dab of hot glue from a hot glue gun to keep them pointing in the right direction. They are amazingly effective and are bright enough that I can see the ground on approach which makes landing much easier.
You can color white LEDs with permanent markers to get a desired color. It seems to work for the desired effect if you can't get the color you want.
When you put a resistor on each LED and wire the lights in parallel you may lose one light but the entire set will not fail unless the wire breaks. It's more work but worth the effort. These LEDs come with the resistors anyway.
I bought MEGA BRIGHT RED, WHITE AND BLUE 5 mm lights from the following vendor on Ebay. Because he is on Ebay his prices expire but you can go to his store on Ebay and look at his present listings at:
I bought three colors (white, blue, red) of LEDs of the bright 14k-18k LEDs which are also available at other vendors.
All of the LEDs came from the seller with resistors to run them off 12V. They all look the same color and only show their color when they are on. I marked them with the a permanent marker when I took them out of the packages so I could tell them apart while building.
LEDs have different brightness ratings usually between 3000 and 18000 mcd. Some also have options for different angles of focused light. I'm not an expert in LEDs and so took the advice from a friend and got the lights listed. I also heard the brightness ratings may be misleading because the more focused lights have a higher mcd rating but not produce more light. Many flyers are satisfied with the 5000 mcd lights in their planes.
I set up two configurations for testing. One set has 2 X 60" wires. I built R and L sides and 10 LEDs on each string. I have 4 colored and six white on each side. I used the LEDs listed above. My other set has 4 X 24" strands of 6. All 6 lights in each strand are the same color with one strand of red, one of blue and two of white.
I built my LED light sets with heavier wire to make them more durable. I used 24g speaker wire that has single strand wires. I cut down the wire on the resisters and LEDs and soldered them about 3/8" apart then put heat shrink over the resister and both sides of the wire connections and solder joints on the LEDs. I can roll up the set with the lights on without risk of shorting them out.
All speaker wire is not the same. The solid core or single strand wire is so much easier to work with on this project. The multi strands would sometimes separate and were hard to fix once they came apart. I used the 24 gauge, two conductor solid core clear speaker wire from Radio Shack. One side of the wire is marked with a white line to mark polarity. A smaller gauge wire would do. The heat shrink is a hassle but well worth the effort. These lights can be rolled and twisted together and won't short out.
I put my 30 W soldering iron in a vise to leave my two hands free to make the mini solder joints. It is much easier and faster than holding the soldering iron. I used flux and pre-tinned the leads so I could keep the soldering time and temperature down while working with such small leads on the resistors and the LEDs since both can be ruined with too much heat. I did destroy two of the bulbs I was working with by overheating the wires while soldering. Considering I soldered 48 bulbs and am learning to work with LEDs I thought this wasn't too bad.
It is time consuming but worth the effort to get the sets of lights to lay flat. It is also a good idea to put the power plug in the middle of the light set and have 2 or 4 wires exiting the power plug for easier attachment on the plane.
This is the process
I cut 20 pieces of 5" wire.
I found the polarized mark on the speaker wire
I soldered the marked polarized wires to the red battery lead plug and heatshrinked the connections
I repeated with the ground or black battery wire and the other side of the speaker wires.
At this point I have 2 speaker wire leads out of a plug.
I prepared the all of the LEDs before starting to wire them by:
Bend the LED leads out in opposite directions
identify the flat side of the LED and cut off the other side to about 3/8"
Cut one side of a resistor wire down to 3/8"
poke both wires to be soldered into the flux
Pre-tin the wires by briefly touching them each to the tip of the soldeing iron with a small amount of solder on it
solder the resistor to the LED.
I then would work on one side at a time and I would:
slide on a 3/4" piece of heat shrink tubing
then cut the length of each side of the speaker wire so the LED wires could lay flat.
strip off 1/4" of insulation on each side of the speaker wire.
flux and pre-tin the speaker wire
cut the wires to the desired length on the resistor and LED
flux and pre-tin the wires.
then would solder the resistor side of the LED to the positive or red battery side of the wire
then repeat with the flat side of the LED wire to the black battery lead side of the wire
I would then cut the next 5" wire end lengths so the LED wires would lay flat making sure to maintain polarity
I would then solder it to the next 5" extension of wire and
slide on a 1/2" piece of heat shrink for the flat side connection.
I pushed the 3/4" heat shrink over the resistor and
the 1/2" heat shrink against the flat side of bulb
using a lighter shrink the heat shrink.
Repeat until desired set is built. Last bulb is on the end without an extension wire.
Once I got up to speed I would twist the wires together before soldering the source and extension wires to the resistor and LED ends which was much easier. The most difficult parts are to get the wires the right length and remember to put the heatshrink on the wire before soldering.
As a comparison the 20 Christmas lights as discussed in other posts, that I used in the past, would weigh 1.8 oz and would require 1.4 A and are more fragile so the LEDs outshine them in most ways.
It was a enjoyable project but with all of the soldering and heat shrink it took me 2-3 hours to solder it all up.
Total weight with the plug, 10' of speaker wire, 20 x 5mm LEDs, 20 resistors and 40 pieces of heat shrink is 1.0 oz. The set uses 0.34 A. I am pleased.
Went night flying agiain last night. I am really enjoying the night flying. It's cooler at night even when it's hot in the day and the local ball fields are available after dark.
I have learned that having a complex pattern a colors isn't always good for orientation. On my fist attempt I have red white and blue on both top and bottom. At a distance it is hard to tell the difference although it is obvious close up. After getting slightly disoriented in snap rolls and rainbow rolls I put just red and blue on the top and white on the bottom on the second plane I set up.
I like the white on the bottom because it helps me to see the ground on approach and take off. This plane does not have the obvious plane shape to help with orientation at night. The lights are in a box shape no matter what angle you look at the plane from.
This is still my favorite night flyer and I do wild aerobatics even in the dark which most night flyers won't do because they are more sane than I am.
The worst problems I have had is forgetting to turn off my head lamp when taking off and having a whole flock of moths and bugs in my face while I am trying to both fly the plane and turn off the headlamp.
|May 20, 2009, 09:26 AM|
I have been asked how you loop a 41" 72 mHz antenna on a 36" wing for maximum range.
I forgot to mention we have used the base loaded antennas for years with good success on the flying wings in combat. These antennas effectively reduce the antenna length to 8" to 12" and we tape them to the wing without a loop.
Here is a link to several examples available from Hobby-Lobby:
Do not buy this shorter antenna with a limited range which is not recommended for outdoors.
I would appreciate input from others familiar with the base loaded antenna. I had a link to plans on how to build the base loaded antenna but my link is not working any more. I am holding an old 72 MHz base loaded antenna I made in my hand at this time but I no longer have the plans or the expertise to give instructions on how to make the homemade version. I made at least 5 of these and used them exclusively in the combat planes.
Links and help would be appreciated for those with the 72 mHz radios.
The one I am looking at is attached to the original Berg microstamp 4 receiver antenna cut at 4" from the receiver soldered to a RF Choke with a 6" tail of wire after that. I have flown this configuration in combat and at far distance without problems for years, but I followed someone elses directions and don't know the technology that makes it work.
The colors on the RF choke are (wide) Silver (narrow) brown, green, red, gold
Now for the disclaimer: Here is a link to an article where someone actually tries to prove the claims of the micro antennas. They say that some designs retain as much as 90% of the original range. Many of us have used the base loaded antennas for years without problems but there are no guarantees that you will have the same results although I still use them without problems if I dust off the old 72 MHz radios to fly some of my old planes that haven't been converted over to the 2.4 radios yet..
I was using one of the base loaded antennas when I flew off of the top of a 12000 foot mountain in the video below.
I had been telling my kids for years I was going to fly off the top of that mountain. There were four of us who took planes up to fly. We flew at a lower site at about 10,500 feet and all of us had a motion sickness type of feeling where we were standing facing out over the valley and there was also a drop off behind us. The sensation was so bad that we all decided not to fly off the top.
One of my sons was hiking with us and kept saying I would regret going to the top and not flying. He was the one who put enough pressure on me that motivated me to make the flight in the video.
Because of the problems we had at the lower site I decided to sit while I was flying which meant I had to be real careful where I flew so the plane didn't fly out of my vision. I had decided that if the plane went over the cliff I wouldn't try to retrieve it. It is really a dangerous rock slide area with some real nasty cliffs. I must admit it is was very disorienting to fly off those cliffs. Every time I look at the mountain I think of those flights. Glad I did it but I doubt it will ever happen again..
The Pinata was a modification of the Assassin design. These videos are from a hike we took to fly the Pinata off the cliffs at 12000'. One of the main reasons I originally designed this size and weight of plane is to make this single trip. There were wild brush fires in California and the smoke you see was blowing clear from Southern California to our valley in Utah. We flew in three locations on the way up. first in the meadow to see what the planes would do at altitude in video #2 then we flew off the Saddle in video #3. This is where we had the vertigo and I about chickened out. Video #4 is off the top. I have a bad knee and ended up having to have surgery after this hike, so I doubt I will try it again. Many thanks to Ron for shooting the videos.
|May 20, 2009, 09:27 AM|
How to make a bomb drop on your Assassin.
Our latest stainless steel motor mount is designed to help you put a bomb drop on your Assassin.
We have had a lot of fun with the bomb drops. Try it we have already done part of your work with the new motor mount.
We were concerned that a bomb drop on a pusher prop plane could be the equivalent of a meat slicer. This is only true if you are full throttle or if you have a very light bomb that blows back with the wind.
Most heavy bombs drop away without even coming close to the prop.
My favorite bombs are empty water bottles, pop cans and streamers that unroll after being released.
|May 20, 2009, 09:28 AM|
It takes a lot to break one of our planes but it doesn't take a lot to fix one of our planes. Here are some tricks!!!!
If you wreck a combat plane ...... calm down, eat a sandwich, go to a movie. Do not start ripping off the tape a laminate! Secondary damage of a frantic repair can be worse than the primary damage. The EPP foam will return to it's original cut shape. Rarely is there wide spread damage. A surgeon doesn't rip off all of a patient's skin to fix a broken bone, he makes the smallest hole possible.
Bent motor mount .....The reason we use stainless steel instead of aluminum is so you can bend it back to it's original shape if it gets bent. Multiple bending will weaken the mount but we have never seen one break. We design the bottom of the wing to be at a right angle to the mounted motor so just take the mount off the plane and even remove your motor if you think you might damage it and take a hammer and tap the mount back to the original shape. You can then remount your motor and attach the motor mount to the plane and go flying. Some minor bending or changing of the angle of thrust of the motor can be done without removing the mount from the plane.
If there is a tear or several tears ..... gently pull the tear(s) open farther and use a glue gun at low temperature or gorilla glue or Goop to fill the tear and push it back together and let it set. Make only the smallest cut possible to get access and glue into the tear. Decide if the tear needs structural reinforcement so it doesn't happen again. Put 6" strips of reinforced tape across the tear and put laminate over the top. Use your iron and re-iron the wrinkled area. Many wrinkles can be removed. Try to blend it in with the original build.
Simple laminate tears can be patched at the field with clear 2" packing tape. There have been holes in a couple of my planes that have been there for years but they don't affect the flying or the strength of the plane. Since I use the planes for combat I hope I can do more trauma to the plane so I don't put permanent patches on very often.
If the shock cord gets cut ..... It rarely will break but it is possible to get a prop cut that cuts the cord too. Apply a 6" strip of reinforced tape top and bottom over the cut and laminate over the reinforced tape to keep it from breaking down in the sun. Try to blend it in with the surrounding tape and appearance. This usually isn't hard if you are using the same tape and laminate as the original build.
If a spar is broken ..... do not rip out the old spar or start pulling off the tape and laminate. Take a soldering iron and melt a 12" slot through the old laminate and tape along the old spar with 6" on each side of the break and insert a new 12" spar and glue it in place. Place a piece of clear tape or laminate over the repair and no one will notice you even had to fix it. Total repair time, 15 minutes and very little secondary damage from tearing into the plane.
|May 20, 2009, 01:36 PM|
Wow Lee, very informative thread thus far, that looks like a very fun flier, still hard to get past the idea of no winglets but the vids show very little sign of waggle in the turns so the drag cuts are really working! Very neat idea.
Great work on the Kit and great presentation!
|May 20, 2009, 01:59 PM|
$49.50 + $8.50 shipping
Looks like foam only is $30 + $8.50 shipping.....
|May 20, 2009, 05:35 PM|
Here is a link.
I know that there is a fair amount of curiosity and it is a great plane. I want to keep this as an open forum for ideas not a sales line for the plane. I'll go back and add a link to the first post so at least people will know where to go for more information.
|Jun 02, 2009, 02:29 AM|
Joined Jul 2006
Finally found a US vender for the motors:
From their add on RCgroups, looks to be a great price... and then you click on the link and no such thing!
|Jun 02, 2009, 04:46 PM|
|Jun 06, 2009, 11:31 PM|
I got a simple Velcro idea from a friend. It is a fast way to secure the battery and ESC and wires with one strip of Velcro.
I will post information also at the first to keep the data and videos together so you don't have to search for them. That is why i save all of the extra posts.
|Jun 08, 2009, 11:04 AM|
This video shows the stability of the 36" EPP Assassin in the wind at very low speed. It shows it really is as stable as a wing with fins. Notice how quiet the motor is.
I have a new camera it is a flash drive that downloads in seconds from the card reader to the computer rather than having to play the video to get it ready to edit. The camera is the Panasonic S26. It is not HD. I did not shoot in the highest quality mode which I will do next time. The camera has a 70X zoom which gets close and personal very fast. It is hard not to shake when you are zoomed in on a moving object like a plane but this camera does as good as any I have seen. I noticed that we almost got too close at times. I like plane videos where you can actually see the plane. With this much zoom you can almost smell it. It has optical image stabilization which I recommend for any camera that is shooting RC. This is the first video I have posted with the camera. We will do better next time.
Editing was done on Pinnacle Studio 11 which I like because it will add the sound track automatically after you choose a theme. It doesn't have a great choice in music but it does the job. I have received several notices of possible copyright infringement for using popular music as sound tracks on my videos so I now just use sound loops like this.
Late note: I noticed that the Vimeo is jumpy on my old computer in the 16x9 format where it wasn't on the original. Hope this is viewable for you.
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