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Old May 19, 2012, 10:19 PM
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Adding Navigation lights to your V911

Somone asked if it would be possible to add navigation lights to the V911.
Now I knew it was possible, but rather than just answering the question, I decided to go out and buy the parts and do it.

The following posts (see comments to this post) are my experience/directions.

Note: These directions are for a 1S 3.7V LiPo system.

First the red tail beacon (blinking LED)

Then the bright white headlight and red/green nav lights.

Here's two videos to entice you.

First is in fading daylight, the second in darkness.

V911 Helicopter navigation lights (0 min 40 sec)


V911 Helicopter navigation lights in darkness (0 min 6 sec)
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Old May 19, 2012, 10:36 PM
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V911 Blinking Red LED tail beacon

I used parts that should be stocked at your local Radio Shack.

Warning: This modification will be difficult if you've never done small soldering before. I'd strongly suggest having a firend who's soldered help you.

Tail beacon parts:
Radio Shack - 276-0036 Flashing RED led

The LED is designed to run on 3.5V-5.0V with no resistor.
It can be run directly from the V911 battery.

I used 32(?) AWG varnished "magnet wire".
It's real thin stuff. and the insulation doesn't add anything to it's thickness.
I used a piece 28AWG wire-wrap wire as a fish-snake.
I forced the wire wrap wire from the tail end of the tail tube to the front end.
I needed a needle and tweezers to grab the end.
I CA glued the magnet wire to the wire wrap wire and pulled it very carefully through.

You might be able to get two wire-wrap wires through.
If not, it probably wouldn't be too bad cosmetically to carefully glue the wires to the bottom of the tail tube. Or wrap them in a spiral around it.

Clip the leads on the LED about in half - keeping the longer one longer than the shorter one.
I glued the LED to the bottom of the motor mount.
I had trouble getting CA to stick to the motor mount, so later reinforced with thread and ca (wrapped it around).

Solder the wires to the LED. Tin both the wires and the LED leads first.
If using magnet wire, the insulation is burned off by touching to a tinned soldering iron.
Solder the "red" (or whatever color you have - but keep track of it!) wire to the longer lead.
Solder the "green" (or whatever color you have) to the short lead./

Solder the other ends to the pads at the top of the RX PCB where the battery leads attach.
"red" to RED, "green" to BLACK.
It matters what way you wire it. Do not do it backwards!

Plug in a battery and bask in the glory of your new blinking tail light!

NOTE: 08-27-12
The LED kept breaking off in the slightest crash.
I ended up wrapping the leads of the LED to the tailboom whith thin braided thread, then soaking the thread in CA.
It has not been a problem since.
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Old May 19, 2012, 11:00 PM
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V911 Headlight

Next, LED headlight
I used parts that should be stocked at your local Radio Shack.

Parts required:
CA
LED
Resistors
Wire
Small soldering iron
Fine solder
Steady hand.


Warning: This modification will be difficult if you've never done small soldering before. I'd strongly suggest having a firend who's soldered help you.

The left/right nav lights are mechanically difficult to layout and solder.
I don't think they added that much to the appearance of the helicopter.
Unless you really want them, I would do only the headlight.

Resistors used for the LEDs.
Radio Shack 100Ohm, 1/8th watt 271-0005 ($1.19 for the 5 pack)

White headlight
Radio Shack 276-0017 5mm Round White LED ($2.19 for 2 pack)

I used Red and White 28AWG wire-wrap wire.
You can use different colors, but keep track.

Headlamp:
Clip the leads on the LEDs
Clip the short lead to about 1/4" and the longer one a bit longer.

Hold two resistors (100 Ohm) in parallel (side by side) and gently twist the leads together at both ends.
Solder the leads together to tin them.
Cut the leads so you have about 1/4" at each end.
Tin the leads of the white led.
Solder one end of the resistors to the longer lead.
Cut about 10" of both wires.
Solder the "red" wire to the other end of the resistors.
Solder the "white" to the shorter lead.

Remove the battery from the helicopter.

Solder the other end of the wires to the battery wires at the top of the RX PCB.
Red to red, white to black.

Plug in the battery and see if it works.
If the LED does not light up, immediately remove the battery and check your connections.

I used my soldering iron to pilot drill a hole in the nose of the canopy and then used a reamer to widen it until the LED was a snug press fit.

Important - Remove the battery!
Press the LED into the canopy from behind (you'll need to use needle nose pliers).
Make sure the leads of the LED did not get shorted together.
Plug in the battery to test.
If the LED does not light up, immediately remove the battery and check your connections.

Install the canopy.

Plug in a battery and bask in the glory of your new head light!
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Old May 19, 2012, 11:18 PM
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V911 Red/Green Navigation LEDs

Finally, red/green LED nav lights

I used parts that should be stocked at your local Radio Shack.

Parts required:
CA
LEDs
Resistors
Wire
Small soldering iron
Fine solder
Steady hand.


Warning: This modification will be difficult if you've never done small soldering before. I'd strongly suggest having a firend who's soldered help you.

The left/right nav lights are mechanically difficult to layout and solder.
I don't think they added that much to the appearance of the helicopter.
Unless you really want them, I would do only the headlight.

Resistors used for the LEDs.
Radio Shack 100Ohm, 1/8th watt 271-0005 ($1.19 for the 5 pack)

Red/Green nav lights
2 X Radio Shack 276-0012 2-Color LED ($1.69 each)

The LEDs are bi-color.
You are going to use two of the same part, but wire them "backwards" of each other.

I used Red and White 28AWG wire-wrap wire.
You can use different colors, but keep track.

In the pictures, you'll see that I did the healdight and nav lights together, but I don't suggest that. It was mechanically very difficult.

Clip the leads on the LEDs
Clip the short lead to about 1/4" and the longer one a bit longer.

Cut the leads on two resistors to about 1/4"
Tin them with solder.

You are going to wire the two LEDs "backwards" from each other.

Cut about 10" of both wires.
Cut about 2" of both wires.
Tin both ends of both pair of wires.

First LED.
Solder a resistor to the LONG lead on one LED.
Solder one end of both RED wires to the other end of the resistor.
Solder both ends of the WHITE wire to the SHORT lead of the led.

Second LED
Solder the other resistor to the SHORT lead on the other LED.
Solder the other end of the 2" RED wire other end of the resistor.
Solder the other end of the 2" WHITE wire to the LONG lead of the LED.

Remove the battery from the helicopter.

Solder the other end of the 10" wires to the battery wires at the top of the RX PCB.
Red to red, white to black.

Plug in the battery and see if it works.
If the LEDs do not light up, immediately remove the battery and check your connections.
One should be RED, the other GREEN.

Take note of which is which.
You want the RED on the LEFT side and the GREEN on the RIGHT side.

I used my soldering iron to pilot drill a hole in the nose of the canopy and then used a reamer to widen it until the LEDs were a snug press fit.

Important - Remove the battery!
Press the LEDs into the canopy from behind.
Make sure the leads of the LEDs did not get shorted together.
Plug in the battery to test.
If the LEDs do not light up, immediately remove the battery and check your connections.

Install the canopy.

Plug in a battery and bask in the glory of your new navigation lights.
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Last edited by RicksterRC; May 19, 2012 at 11:24 PM.
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Old Jun 13, 2012, 05:56 PM
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Hi Rickster

Thanks for posting this, this is exactly what I've been looking for, this is brilliant!..

does the voltage of the led have to match the battery of the heli

I just want to add a realistic flashing red LED to the tail of my T-34 and keep the front search light and just get rid of the others.. but will I need a red flashing LED that is 7.4V?

Thanks for this

M
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Old Jun 14, 2012, 11:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Merlinz View Post
Hi Rickster

Thanks for posting this, this is exactly what I've been looking for, this is brilliant!..

does the voltage of the led have to match the battery of the heli

I just want to add a realistic flashing red LED to the tail of my T-34 and keep the front search light and just get rid of the others.. but will I need a red flashing LED that is 7.4V?

Thanks for this

M
Is your T-34 7.4V?
The design values I layed out are for a 1S 3.7V LiPo.


For your 7.4V system we'll need to change things up.

First the headlight:
LED's are "non-linear current" devices and need current limiting resistors.

Follow the instructions in my previous post, but use 300-Ohms resistance.
You can wire 3 x 100-Ohms if that's all they carry at RS.
If you want maximum brightness, use two in series, in series with two in parallel.

Radio-Shack 276-0017 is rated at 3.3V, 25mA.
That means that in operation it should have 3.3V across it at 25mA (or less - I'll shoot for 20mA).
Your 7.4V system, fully charged is probably up to 8.4V
So, take 8.4, subtract 3.3 and get 5.1V that we have to remove at 20mA
V=IR gives V/I=R
5.1/0.020 = 250 Ohms. If you can't find that value go bigger (like 300).
You can use 3 of the 100-Ohms I found at RS in series.

Next, the blinking RED beacon
Unfortunately, as you guessed, the Radio Shack - 276-0036 "Flashing RED led" I chose is rated for 3.3-5.0V, 5.0V Max.

Since it blinks on and off, we can't use a simple resistor to drop the voltage. When the LED is off, the current stops (or I suspect pretty much stops, though I don't have one here to check. If it doesn't stop, things would be easy).

I know a way that will work, and a way you can try if you feel adventurous.

First experiment:
Put 4 100-Ohms in series across the 7.4V.
Tap the center (200 above, 200 below) and run to the 5V blinking LED.
This should protect the LED, but it will probably not be full brightness especially when your battery gets discharged.
Put the resistors at the battery end of your cable (so if things get shorted out in the long wiring, you won't burn up your battery).

If you try this, let me know how it works out!

Will definitely work:
Get a 7805 regulator.
This will nicely convert your 7.4V to 5V with no resistors involved. And it will let the blinking beacon automatically run at full brightness.
RS has 276-1770
http://www.radioshack.com/product/in...ductId=2062599
They also come in smaller packages, but it looks like RS doesn't carry them.
Wire the regulator near the battery (again so the long wires are downstream of the regulator to protect the battery in the case of a short).
Here's a datasheet for the part in case RS packaging doesn't show how to wire it.
http://www.fairchildsemi.com/ds/LM/LM7805.pdf

Feel free to ask any questions. I kinda' do this for a living
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Old Jun 15, 2012, 10:10 AM
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Wow! Thanks RicksterRC for all that info and for taking the time to explain it all, I really really appreciate it.. and Sigh!.. mannn I wish I understood it all (I am trying though) simply because you took the time to explain, but it's not making a whole lot of sense presently as my knowledge of electronics is pretty much limited to wiring a plug and messing around with phone leads etc.. but your in depth explanation is vastly appreciated!.

but It's something I would be well to learn, and what you wrote is a great starting point.. I keep readig and re-reading it etc.. and bookmarked it all.

Really for now I just want a basic slow flashing Red Tail light I with the little white plug on the end that I can put in place of the other LED's that were already there etc. I've been trying to find one ready made sort of thing to buy but not able to yet.. and like you said, the voltages and amps all different..

but the T-34 already had a load of LEDS on it, which just hooked up to a small pcb board. I will take some pics later of what I mean, so was figuring I could just get a different led and the wire/plug etc and pop that in instead.

heh, not sure if you can make the leads but I be happy to buy one if you happen to have any available (in the UK) not sure where you are..

but Also I do have a lot of future projects in mind though too, so what you posted here will be VERY helpful as I really need to learn this would make things much easier. sooo I really really appreciate this and thanks for the breakdown of it all (I don't quite understand it all yet) but in small enough chunks I will eventually.., I may have a few questions heh, but going to try and source the parts and get my head around it all again

Thank You



M
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Old Jun 15, 2012, 01:21 PM
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Ah - I found a Blinking Red LED that can run on 3.3V - 10V!

http://www.parts-express.com/pe/show...ource=googleps
Same thing from amazon, might be cheaper with shipping only a single item?http://www.amazon.com/Bright-Blinkin.../dp/B002BG2LYE

Wire this up just like the Blinking Red LED in post #2.

Should be no fancy stuff invloved.

Note:
It's a clear non-diffused LED.
That means it won't "look" red when it's off.
It may also not be as wide angle as you would like (it doesn't say the beam width).
It is really bright.

You may be able to improve all of these factors by very lightly sanding the glossy plastic.
That tends to make them much more diffused.

They also have a supoer cool looking Red/Blue one that I may have to buy myself!
http://www.parts-express.com/pe/show...number=070-561
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Old Jun 15, 2012, 05:30 PM
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Thanks Rickster.. Gonna check the links out now, Thank You.. whoooch! it's frustrating in a way because there is LED stuff I want to do, but just wish I had the knowledge like you do, so kind of have to do everything in steps.. so thanks for all of this.

What it's for basically, I've done a paint job on my T-34 (not brillliant) but I didn't like the orange and yellow.. and I used up some old decals from some of my old models etc. I took all the LEDS off it, apart from the search light at the front, and now I just want a realistic (ish) tail light. and some black blades, but will probably spray the white ones.

Still very much a work in progress, but I plan on doing a few more helis and fitting decent lighting etc, which is why It;s good to get my head around all this. so Thanks again



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Old Aug 20, 2012, 10:25 PM
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I found several sources of Ultra Bright White LEDs that may be more available and/or cheaper in bulk for you:

I bought some from sparkfun
$0.95 each https://www.sparkfun.com/products/531
Bag of 25 for $7.95 https://www.sparkfun.com/products/9850

Or search on EBay for "Ultra bright 5mm white led"
Don't settle for less than 10000 (10 thousand) mcd (millicandela)
Here's a few today:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/50-Round-LED...item4169b0b4d4

The "free" resistors that come with some may not be the correct values for 3.7-4.2V batteries. Tell them you have 4.2V supply and see if they send you the right ones. Or just ask for what the other post uses.

See my post above for instructions: http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showp...78&postcount=3
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Old Aug 29, 2012, 11:11 PM
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Hey Rickster,

Excellent writeup! I'd like to add lights to my V911. I have a question though, and keep in mind I'm a dummy when it comes to this stuff. You use resistors for the white headlight but not for the red tail light, why is that? Are the resistors needed if I was just to use the head light without the side marker lights? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
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Old Aug 31, 2012, 12:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big_Kid View Post
Hey Rickster,

Excellent writeup! I'd like to add lights to my V911. I have a question though, and keep in mind I'm a dummy when it comes to this stuff. You use resistors for the white headlight but not for the red tail light, why is that? Are the resistors needed if I was just to use the head light without the side marker lights? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
For most all LEDs, resistors are needed to regulate the current consumed by the LEDs. Without them, they would burn up immediately.

You'd need resistors on the headlamp, even without the side markers.
Buy a pack of 5 100Ohm 1/8th watters at RadioShack ($1.15)

The red tail lamp is cool.
It has an integrated circuit that regulates the current and does the blinking. It can handle (from memory) 3-5V.
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Old Aug 31, 2012, 09:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RicksterRC View Post
For most all LEDs, resistors are needed to regulate the current consumed by the LEDs. Without them, they would burn up immediately.

You'd need resistors on the headlamp, even without the side markers.
Buy a pack of 5 100Ohm 1/8th watters at RadioShack.

The red tail lamp is cool.
It has an integrated circuit that regulates the current and does the blinking. It can handle (from memory 3-5V).
Thanks Rickster, that explained the difference between the red and white LED's.
That red tail light IS the bees knees Thanks for your time!
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Old Jan 02, 2013, 02:05 AM
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Nice work. I think I will be adding some lights to mine as well.
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Old Mar 03, 2013, 08:39 PM
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RicksterRC, first of all, thanks for posting instructions on the installation of LED'a onto the V911. I've been searching all over the web and this is exactly what I was looking for!

I am having some trouble getting the magnet wire through the end of tail boom that is mounted onto the body's frame. It seems that the glue used to secure the boom onto the body has plugged up right inside the opening. Do you have any knowledge or advice that would help me open up the glue plug so i can get my wiring through? I would rather not have to hook up the tail light via the exterior of the boom, but its looking like that is the only thing i could do now.
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