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Gorilla Bob's Slow Stick Night Lights Version 2 Review

A quick way to install LED lights for night flying with a Slow Stick or Slow Stick size plane. Acquired from Gorilla Bob at the Arizona Electric Festival and installed at the field in about a half hour.

Splash

Introduction


Wing Lights:White front, blue middle red back left and green back right
Rudder Lights:Amber on both sides
Horizontal Stabilizer Lights:green for right side and red for left side
Manufacturer: Gorilla Bob's RC
Available From: Gorilla Bob's RC
Price:$31.95 (On Sale, Act Quickly)

Adding LED night lights to a plane really doesn't get any easier than with this kit from Gorilla Bob's. I was able to install them onto my Slow Stick out at Superstition Flying Field in about a half hour of easy set up. In this new version, two lights have green LEDs for the right side of the plane and red LEDs for the left side of the plane, helping to make orientation easier in the dark.

Kit Contents

Kit includes

  • Tail light assembly: 2 strands of amber LEDs, 1 strand green and 1 strand red LEDs
  • Wing light assembly: 2 strands of white LEDs for the front of the wing, blue LEDs in the center both sides, green LEDs back of right wing, red LEDs back of left wing

Required To Power The Lights

  • Either a JST Y-adapter, or
  • T-plug power Tap

Other Tools I supplied

  • Clear plastic tape
  • Scissors to cut the tape
  • Zip lock ties

Assembly

All of the LED strips have self sticking backs covered with paper until ready to install. The process is simply peel and stick.

Tail

I connected the LED strand to a JST Y connector on my motor battery pack to light up the LEDs. I first installed the amber LEDs on the rudder with one strip on the right side and one strip on the left side. I peeled the paper backing off and stuck the light strip on the rudder at an angle and repeated on the other side. I did the same thing with the green LEDs on the underside of the right horizontal stabilizer and the red LEDs under the left side of the horizontal stabilizer. I then wrapped the wires around the fuselage multiple times as I moved forward on the fuselage so the main connector of this strand would be near the front of the wing and the flight battery pack. I secured the wire in place using a few zip lock ties.

Wing

I next attached the wing LEDs to the bottom of the wing. Both sides of the wing have strips of white LEDs on the leading edge and the blue strips were installed on a diagonal line towards the outside back edge of the wing. I made sure the strand with the red LEDs was on the under side of the left side of the wing and the green strand was on the right side of the wing. Using the clear tape I secured the wire between the light strips and the power plug to the wing. The wing's LEDs female connector plugged into the strand from the tail LEDs which has an attached female JST connector for the wing LEDs. There is a male JST plug that powers up all the lights as discussed below. When the wing LEDs are unplugged from the tail strand the wing can be completely separate from the fuselage just as it was before the LEDs were installed.

Completion

My Slow Stick is powered by a Li-Po pack with a JST connector. To power the plane and the LEDs I needed a JST Y-connector. I plugged my flight battery into the JST connector and one side of the connector into the ESC and one side into the LED strand connection. All LEDs were lit, and my Slow Stick was ready to fly. My total assembly time was about a half hour at the field as I was distracted several times by cool planes in flight. Assembly was quick and easy. I used a few pieces of clear plastic tape to secure the wires to the wing and the fuselage as needed. I also used some plastic zip lock ties to secure extra wire against the fuselage to keep it out of the way. Some colored tape allowed me to color code the connectors to make assembly at the field at night a simple process.

Alternative power source for the light set. If the Slow Stick is powered using a Dean's Ultra connector to connect the battery with the ESC then a special T plug power tap connector can be purchased from Gorilla Bob's to power the lights. My friends use this same plug to power their custom LED systems from the flight battery. It uses Dean connectors to plug in and connect the battery pack with the ESC and has a separate JST connector to power the LEDs. Thus there are two easy choices: A JST Y-connector or the T plug power tap (Dean's female and male connector with a JST connector attached).

Flying

My original plan was to fly my Slow Stick at the night fly portion of the Arizona Electric Festival on Friday night. I went in towards Phoenix with a couple of friends and we had a very enjoyable dinner. Two of us headed back to the field in my car on the street we had come in on and we got trapped behind an injury accident. We lost a lot of time getting clear of the accident and it was after 7:30 when we got back to the field and a lot of the pilots had already left. I started to put the Slow Stick together only to feel the wind build and build until I decided it was better to save the plane and fly it another night. Thus the night shots and video were taken not in Arizona as planned but rather at a park near my home in CA.

Basics

Just make sure you understand the lighting orientation and fly a bit closer to yourself than you might in the daylight.

Taking Off and Landing

Just as in the day time. Into the wind and do it normally. Hand toss or takeoff. Landings should be into the wind and just as in the day time.

Aerobatics/Special Flight Performance

Start during twilight when you can see the LEDs and the plane and any aerobatics you like to perform with the plane can be performed easily. Doing aerobatics at night is fine as long as the pilot has no problems with orientation.

Is This For a Beginner?

NO! While assembly is super easy I do not recommend beginners try and fly at night. Beginners have enough problems with orientation of the plane in daytime. Night flying is for intermediate or better pilots. Now for the intermediate pilot who is night flying for the first time the Slow Stick or other easy to fly Park Flyer such as the HobbyZone Super Cub are great planes for the first flight using LEDs. As mentioned elsewhere twilight is a good place to start. You can still see the plane but the LEDS really show up well.

Flight Video/Photo Gallery












Downloads

Conclusion

These LEDs are perfect for the Slow Stick or any Parkflyer of a similar size. The is no soldering required! As stated above just peel the protective paper off of the LED strips one at a time as they are installed. The new version 2 with green LEDS on the right and red on the left makes orientation easier then ever. Easy to install and two methods to power up the lights without any soldering or separate battery pack for the lights. The price is just a little more than half the price of my original version 1 set on my Super Cub that I bought a couple of years ago. I strongly encourage the first flight be made in a large field at twilight when the plane can still be seen but the LEDs are bright and effective in aiding orientation. Gorilla Bob has other lights/LEDs available for more complex projects as well so check it out. If you have questions contact him as he is a good guy and supports our hobby. Most of the guys in my club in Modesto prefer to fly twilight rather than full night and it is very much like flying in the daytime concerning the ease of orientation of the plane. Spectators especially love to see the planes flying at twilight or night as the LEDs and color add an all new aspect to the visual presentation of RC flying.

As one friend said: "Lights double the amount of time you can fly in the winter." A twilight flight can be the end for the perfect day and a predawn patrol flight is a great way to start the day. In darkness I can fly my planes higher than during the day I can see them higher in the sky than during the day. However, I do not fly them out as far to the horizon as I sometimes do during the day.

Pluses

  • Light sets are affordable
  • The LEDs are very easy to install
  • Wing and body remain two separate pieces
  • Leds are nice and bright
  • Version 2 with red and green LEDs makes orientation easier

Minuses

  • Some pilots become easily disoriented when flying in darkness
Last edited by Angela H; Feb 23, 2012 at 08:29 AM..

Discussion

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Old Feb 23, 2012, 06:03 PM
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branflakes's Avatar
Joined Jan 2011
2,310 Posts
I agree completely I have the exact same setup

grilla bob's was prompt in shipping
I'll be ordering 2 more sets to piggyback on top of the 1 I already have

plus the adhesive on the strips can be removed and reapplied several times!
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Old Feb 24, 2012, 07:27 AM
KK4NOP
Mike Freas's Avatar
United States, VA, Virginia Beach
Joined Aug 2005
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I'm really glad I found this as I need to build a night flyer for my son to fly at SEFF.
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Old Feb 24, 2012, 09:03 AM
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That's very slick.
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Old Feb 24, 2012, 09:17 AM
When pigs fly rc
rcrich's Avatar
USA, NY, Chester
Joined Apr 2008
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nice review
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Old Feb 24, 2012, 03:31 PM
Smoke me a Kipper
fritzdecat's Avatar
Cedar Grove North Carolina
Joined Oct 2006
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light
em up
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Old Feb 24, 2012, 07:43 PM
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These can be seen at least three miles away when at alt

One handy thing to do for night orientation is to place white leds on front leading edge of wing

Red/green strips trailing off blue strips can be placed on top/sides of main wing

at night you can tell it's all white light when the plane is heading toward you

When its flying from the sides these red/green winglet lights appear and no white can be seen

Lastly, the turnigy Rc on/off switch is perfect for these

Turn them on/off, flash in air etc
what a ride
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Old Feb 24, 2012, 07:45 PM
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I have relocated the adhesive strips five times, nice sticky formula for sure
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Old Feb 26, 2012, 09:33 AM
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Ottawa, Canada
Joined Nov 2001
16 Posts
My old Slow Stick morphed into my first float plane. This now sits in a corner at our cottage gathering dust, since I now fly a Polaris off water.
Instead of tossing the Slow Stick into the garbage this article has inspired me to light up my Slow Stick and give it a new life.
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Old Mar 02, 2012, 07:59 PM
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This is two light sets ran in parallel

its not perfectly even on one side but its so bright in flight it doesnt matter

This is my night fpv slowstick its easily seen from my station even when at distance
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Old Mar 02, 2012, 08:01 PM
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The on/off switch makes it flash with stick right/left
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Old Mar 02, 2012, 08:31 PM
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Stockton, Ca. USA
Joined Apr 2001
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Nice job Branflakes, thanks for sharing! Mike cHEERios
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Old Mar 13, 2012, 09:00 PM
TEAM TWISTED
ROLLING CIRCLE's Avatar
United States, MD, Middle River
Joined Dec 2011
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With very little soldering you can add strips of different colors to each other on one run by tacking a jumper wire from the + - dots on one strip to the next in parallel. When they stop sticking, hot clue or CA are always options...
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Old Dec 09, 2013, 01:22 PM
Promoting Model Aviation...
Murocflyer's Avatar
United States, CA, Tehachapi
Joined Nov 2005
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Can these lights be used with a 2s battery or will I need to add a very small 3s battery on my plane?

Thanks,

Frank
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Old Dec 12, 2013, 02:08 PM
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Michael Heer's Avatar
Stockton, Ca. USA
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Hey Frank I just spotted your post. I will check them out with a 2-cell by Saturday at the latest. Mike Heer
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