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Sep 16, 2019, 12:43 AM
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Build Log

DIY "Super Afterburner LED, Gear Sequencer, Strobe & Landing Lights" unit

The next logical extension of the DIY Afterburner LED unit was to ADD more functions. Seeing a microcontroller can do a LOT of things... it may as well be set up to do all the common things you might want or need.

1) Afterburner LED system - with two Modes of operation.
Mode 1: Off, or Afterburner ON = Flicker constantly (for older era jets)
Mode 2: Off, or Afterburner ON via a short Flicker (for AB ignition) and the ON Solidly (for more modern jets)

2) Strobe Light Outputs - for Three different timing version Strobes.

3) Super Gear Sequencer.
a) Two modes - Main Gear Doors close after Gear Extension.... or they stay open.
b) All Servo Endpoints can be individually set, so that the Doors are accurately opened and closed.
c) Door Operation Speed can be altered.
d) 'Memory' of the last used state, so that it can resume the same state on the next power up
e) Tracks the state of doors and retracts so that any decision to change gear direction part way through a cycle still 'reverses' everything in a correct order so there are never any 'collisions' of Doors/Retracts.

It has some Options. Such as:
- The afterburner can have a trim pot added to allow real--time setting of the AB/Throttle Trigger point.
- A Pin Header jumper to enable/choose Mode1 Afterburner (it defaults to Mode0).
- A Pin Header jumper to select the Gear Doors operation mode

It is 95% all done - the coding is done and works, but I have not made up any document(s) for it yet.
I am also still pondering over how to 'build' and mount it as it is an Arduino microcontroller, but needs quite a lot of Pin Headers for inputs and outputs. Somewhat like an RX Receiver has/needs.
At the moment the quickest(?) easy way is to use a generic prototyping PCB and just run 'vertical' Pin Headers - much like in a Freewing "Blue Box" type setup. The box/case can be 3D printed. Or otherwise no case at all, like the Freewing F-14 setup has.
And then a slim to fair chance I could make up a custom PCB design for it, that you order them from China cheap.... eg JLPCB. If it is your first ever order it would be about $2, otherwise more towards $10 or so. (but you would be getting 5 or 10 boards!!). So I will see if I do that - design one.

It is aimed for using:
Arduino Nano (not too costly, a bit bigger than the next two, but has USB on-board. This is probably the best choice!)
Arduino ProMini (no USB so this is a bit messier to set up and maintain later - but this Arduino is very cheap)
Arduino ProMicro (small like the ProMini but too costly really - but it has USB on-board)

So whichever is chosen, you can mount it to the protype board piece, and wire up to the Pin Headers you choose, want, need, to have on yours.
I would advise adding the male Pin Headers to the Arduino AND then also a set of female headers for the protoype board to plug the Arduino into. Everything else soldered/wired in permanently.
I will build one up in the next few days and post pics etc.....
Last edited by PeterVRC; Sep 17, 2019 at 07:27 AM.
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Sep 16, 2019, 12:59 AM
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Landing Light & AB Mode PWM control addition

This INO version includes the Landing Lights addition, and a PWM Afterburner Mode control.

The Landing Lights output turns on AFTER the Gear is fully extended. It turn off right before the Gear begins to retract.

The AB_Mode control Input defaults to "Mode 0" = DISABLED if nothing is connected to that Input pin.

If there is a jumper, then jumped to Gnd it is Mode 1 = Constant Flicker when Triggered, or if jumped to 5v it is Mode 2 = Solid On via a Flicker when triggered.
This Mode Control ONLY operates at startup - not real-time - so to change the Mode jumper and change Mode you need to reboot the unit.

If there is a PWM signal (from the RC RX etc) on the AB_Mode control input then it operates in real-time.
A low uS command signal sets Mode 1, a high uS command signal sets Mode 2, and any mid range uS command Set Mode 0 (AB operation OFF). Note that turning it Off is not really the same thing as just sending a low Throttle value, because you will pretty certainly need to KEEP using the Throttle over its full range to fly anyway!
Last edited by PeterVRC; Sep 17, 2019 at 07:39 AM.
Sep 17, 2019, 07:48 AM
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Unit Assembly

I will sort out the "way" to build this up in a tidy, easy, way over the next days.
I will use generic prototype PCB and once I work out the size and 'delicate bits' that need protecting, I will see what case/box or other idea is suited to it,
It needs something like 8 Pin Header sets - some 3 pin, some 2 pin - plus couple of 'permanent' leads/plugs, to make sure those are only ever connected to their correct other items! Power...AB LED...

I am not overly fussed about the size - it won't be too big, though it will be something in the region of a Freewing BlueBox sort of size.... probably just narrower.
Sep 22, 2019, 01:03 AM
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Board and Case

I have made up my first fully working unit. I used some prototype PCB to build it using an Arduino Nano. Then a 3D printed Case for that.
It is all very neat and reasonably small.
Future versions will use Ardunio ProMini which is cheaper and smaller - but has all the same capabilities of a Nano/Uno.

The ProMini needing a FTDI adaptor to program it is effectively a 'zero' effort, and buying one is only $2 or less anyway.

The big set of pins are the PWM inputs and the PWM Gear Sequencer outputs.

The AB LED and Power parts are the "L" section. (two connections... a 2 pin and a 3pin).
The other 3pin connector there is the AB Mode PWM input, or use a jumper.

The 2x4 set or the 3x Strobes and Landing light outputs.

I am tidying up the latest firmware version and then will post it here....
Oct 01, 2019, 01:51 AM
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V4.20 Firmware

This has various updates/fixes to the prior versions.
For the program Unit version - which will be V5.xx - I will do a new thread, and it will probably be a long time to do! The Program Unit is much more complex to do than the Control Unit itself!
Oct 03, 2019, 03:35 AM
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F-18C Hornet - Freewing 90mm - Servo Driven Door system (2 min 19 sec)

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