Light weight led setup - RC Groups
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Oct 04, 2012, 12:54 PM
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Vince Herman's Avatar

Light weight led setup

I have plans for a built up flying wing.
I made one, the Wing Thing, some years back ising the IPS motof from a lite stick (pico stick)
With today's smaller electronics, I thought I would scale it down and use an AR6400.
I want to put lights on it to use at the NEAT Fair night flying next year.

What light weight LEDs are available?
Has anyone had success removing the lights form the Night Vapor wing?
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Oct 04, 2012, 01:08 PM
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nemoskull's Avatar
how psyco are you? the 3mm leds and 1/4 watt resistors will give you a decent setup. there is a guy here selling some that come in about the 2 gram mark, no connections.
you can also go with the surface mount 0805 leds, but that will require a steady hand and some magnet wire, or the 36 gauge stranded HK sells.
i never tried, but 0603 *might* be possible.

the ones i have done, with three 0805 leds, with 20mah resistors and connector (ar6400 servo or PZ 1s battery) and 10 inch leads, come in at just under a gram. would work well for a um p51 mustage.

for another gram, you could get strobes and nav lights. i had this setup on a plane to test my code, it never flew, as i had no spare channel and did not see the point of it, but i had nav lights at 1/3, and strobes at 2/3. in the dark it worked very well, but the strobes were drawing close to 40 mah each!.

i did not try a soic-8, tho the weigh savings is ther (dip8 = .12g, soic8 = .08g) but i might give it a try. i just got in a 2gram BL (dont laugh) and ive been itching to go real small.

but i guess im rambling again, not good, where your only 29!

these are 3mm's running at full power (20mah for long life). planes in teh 24inch WS area. the smaller you get the less light you want. this light was later used on a 30inch ws plane and flown at night as afar as i would fly in the daylight.
lighting kit (0 min 15 sec)
Oct 05, 2012, 05:18 PM
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Vince Herman's Avatar
Well, I just ordered a zillion 1206's in red, white, blue and green.
I think that these will be solderable, although I can lean on my brother (assembled hearing aids under a microscope for a time)
I have a collection of small resistors already, so when they show up, I will hit the resistor calc pages to see what I need. I want to see how much light these provide so that I can decide how many to put in each bay in the wing.
Oct 05, 2012, 05:23 PM
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nemoskull's Avatar
yeah, the 1206 should be pretty easy. i can do 0805 even when my hand shake a bit.
id really recomend this wire:

its great stuff, i used it all the time. might as well be as light as magnet wire, but much stronger, tho the coating does not like heat (i flame shrink my heat shinrk).

balsa wing? i love balsa.
Oct 08, 2012, 10:24 AM
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Vince Herman's Avatar
Here is a page with some pics of the Wingthing
Al did a nice job on his. I can't find any pictures of the one I made.
As I said, i will be scaling this down a bit using electronics and power from a UM plane.
Oct 08, 2012, 05:03 PM
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I R Irv's Avatar
If you put the leds on the inside of the plane, cover it in white MicroLite it bet the hole plane lights up.
Oct 09, 2012, 10:24 AM
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Vince Herman's Avatar
Originally Posted by I R Irv
If you put the leds on the inside of the plane, cover it in white MicroLite it bet the hole plane lights up.
I was hoping for this effect. Seeing the night flight birds at the NEAT fair really got me intrigued. Rather than a few points of light like I had seen on night flyers before, there were some really great setups. Foam planes with the LEDs pointed inwards to make the foam glow. Builtups with a zillion LEDs inside. zillion might be a low figure.

My aim will be light weight, so just a few LEDs, but it will be small, too.
Oct 09, 2012, 03:38 PM
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MikeRx's Avatar
I have seen tiny amounts of reflective foil give the effect of more light when placed properly, and pass-throughs that allow light to travel and illuminate other parts.. all in an effort to minimize the amount of light hardware needed.

I have a Great Planes Tudor (wood) kit and some clear SO-Lite covering that I will experiment this with. I plan on hitting a home run for my first effort, so follow my threads over the next couple months for the results..
Oct 11, 2012, 10:16 AM
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Vince Herman's Avatar
I just got the LEDs from
I got the 1206 SMD in red, blue, green and white.
Boy these are small. And they hurt your eyes when you power them up!
I need to order some SMD resistors to save weight. But I am encouraged by just getting one of them to light up. I think 2 in each wing bay might be enough!
Oct 11, 2012, 05:06 PM
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nemoskull's Avatar
pics please! ive had trouble finding really bright reds, as the eye does not like to see red. the most ive seen is 220 mcd.

where did you get them? now you got me intresteed int 1206's. i never gave them a second thought...
Oct 12, 2012, 12:56 PM
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Vince Herman's Avatar
I ordered 200 LEDs from
Luminosity/Brightness is 120 mcd

Mostly, I wanted to know if I could solder these. I just stick one end in some FunTak, soldered one wire, flipped it over and soldered the other. Easier than I had imagined. I do use a magnifying light to help see. Wish I had a microscope.

I also just ordered a bunch of different value SMD resistors. I used what I had for my test (see the pics) but for the flight package I want the SMD. DigiKey for those.

Looking at the plans I posted earlier, there are a total of 8 bays. I plan on putting 3 or 4 of these LEDs in each bay. My calcs say I should get 20 minuted of light on a 160mAh battery (separate from the flight battery) Red in the left 2 bays, green in the right 2 and white in the center 4.

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