Wingnut Tech Night Radian LED Controller Review

This LED controller is a replacement for the stock controller in the Flite Test Night Radian. It allows control over the LED lights from your RC transmitter.

Splash

The Ultimate Night Radian LED Light Controller

This LED controller is a replacement for the stock controller in the Flite Test Night Radian. It allows control over the LED lights from your RC transmitter and if that was all it did, it would still be worth the $35 price tag. It does more and I was very excited to get one installed in my plane to check it out.

What's in the Box

In the package you find just two items, the LED control board and a male to male servo lead. It comes wrapped up and well protected.

Installation

There's not a lot to do here and it should only take a couple of minutes to get it installed. The first thing you have to do is remove the existing LED module. It's easier to go ahead and remove the bottom hatch by squeezing near the hinge and pulling the door off. Now you can grab the LED module and wire bundle and wiggle back and forth to break loose the glue holding it in place. Once it's free, disconnect all the wires. Now find the lead that goes to the nose and attach the male to male servo lead that came with the new lighting module. I used some clear tape for this. Now pull the old wire from the nose carefully to bring to the male to male lead up to the receiver.

Remove the old lead and plug the new one into an open unused channel on your receiver. Now you can connect the other end to the new LED board. Note that there are two ports it can be connected to, RC Channel 1 or RC Channel 2. These do not correspond to the channel from your transmitter so don't let that confuse you. There are two ways to scroll through the light shows, using either a switch or a knob/slider. If using a knob, connect the servo lead to RC Channel 1 on the board. If using a 2 or 3 position switch, connect the lead to the RC Channel 2 port on the LED board. After that you can connect the LED light connectors to the LED board, making sure to get them into the correct port on the board. Once connected, I just placed the board in position without needing to use any glue to secure it, plus you may want to have access to the programming buttons on the bottom in the future. With the hatch re-installed, I was ready to go flying.

How it Works

It's pretty simple really, when you plug your battery in to the ESC, the lights come on. Now you can change the light patterns from your radio in one of two ways. If you want to use a switch, you connected the wires to RC Channel 2 on the LED board. When you flip the switch, the board will scroll through all the light shows pausing on each one for a few seconds before moving to the next. When you find one you like, you flip the switch back and it will stay on that light show until you flip the switch back to start cycling again.

If you are using a knob or a slider, you connected to RC Channel 1 on the board. Each little movement of the knob changes the light show. You can quickly scroll through the shows back and forth and just leave the knob in the position for the specific show you want to have going. It's the way I prefer to use as you can control them quickly and go back and forth easily. Using a switch works just fine, but it can take some time for it to auto scroll through the shows in order.

You can use the buttons on the bottom of the board to enter programming mode. Doing this will allow you to scroll through the different light shows on the board and disable any shows you don't like. You can also re-enable shows in the same manor. The instructions found online explain well how it works.

What I really like about this new controller besides being able to change lights while flying, is that it treats all the light strips as separate units and it can control lights on each strip independently. This allows the plane to have a light show going, while also leaving the wing tips (just the last few light on the top and bottom) act as navigation lights showing red and green along with strobe effects. It's really cool and helps with orientation too.

All that alone is worth the $35 price of the unit, but it has some other tricks up its sleeve that are pretty neat. The board includes a pressure sensor and that allows the lights to indicate roughly what altitude above ground the plane is flying. With this active, no wing LEDs are turned on while the plane is at ground level, as you climb, the wing will start to light up and increase the amount of lights that are on, up to all of them being fully lit at 600ft. It can also indicate vertical changes like visual vario. When active, it makes the tail lights change color based on what's happening, so they are white when flying level, green when climbing and red when descending. Pretty cool stuff!

Video

Conclusion

If you have a FT Night Radian, I'm going to say this is a must have accessory for it. For only $35, you get better lighting patterns, the ability to change them from the ground and more to play with. It's well worth the price and you'll be very happy you pulled the trigger on this one. Installation just takes a few minutes and then you are ready for some fun, day or night. Be sure to click the link below to head on over to Wingnut Tech's page.

Check out the Wingnut Tech Night Radian LED Controller here

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Last edited by Jason Cole; May 14, 2020 at 08:39 AM..
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May 14, 2020, 08:32 AM
RC plane addict ;-)
startazz's Avatar
Great bit of kit and thanks for sharing Jason as it's very much appreciated mate.
May 14, 2020, 08:58 AM
Registered User
IAI80's Avatar
So the Wingnut was plugged into channel 6 above on an AR636A that comes with the BNF version. Can you explain exactly how you activated channel 6 on this receiver to accept inputs from the transmitter to control the device?
May 14, 2020, 09:58 AM
RCG Admin
Jason Cole's Avatar
Thread OP
I don't have the programming cable, so I just swapped the receiver out, but if you get the cable you should be able to make it work.
May 14, 2020, 10:15 AM
Registered User
Really Cool Jason, mine should be here Friday!
May 14, 2020, 11:25 AM
JohnVHRC
JohnVH's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason Cole
I don't have the programming cable, so I just swapped the receiver out, but if you get the cable you should be able to make it work.
So this wont work with the stock rx without having to buy a programming cable?
Latest blog entry: Freewing Mig 29 Maiden flight!
May 14, 2020, 11:29 AM
Registered User
IAI80's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason Cole
I don't have the programming cable, so I just swapped the receiver out, but if you get the cable you should be able to make it work.
So just to confirm for your review —- if you own the BNF version that comes the AR636A receiver, you will also need to buy the Spektrum programming cable in order to get the Wingnut controller to work properly. The pictures showing an AR636A should mention that. I wouldn’t fly it at night without SAFE or some other stabilizer type functionality.
May 14, 2020, 11:53 AM
RCG Admin
Jason Cole's Avatar
Thread OP
I’m not sure. It certainly doesn’t need SAFE or AS3X to safely fly at night. Perhaps channel 5 is open and available. I really haven’t messed much with that receiver.
May 14, 2020, 12:09 PM
Registered User
IAI80's Avatar
SAFE has to occupy its own channel so it can be turned on and off with the transmitter. On mine with the AR636A it occupies channel 5 (gear channel). I believe it was programmed this way at the factory because all we do is assign SAFE to whatever switch we want, not to a particular channel. I think that the two unused / locked out channels are 4 (rudder) and 6 (Aux1). As I understand it, the programming cable is required to “activate” those 2 channels since they come programmed to an inactive state. Once that is done, the Wingnut can then function from either channel 4 or 6.

I just ordered the programming cable as I’m going to put wing flaps on it for the heck of it. I guess I’ll figure out for sure what the deal is.
May 14, 2020, 02:11 PM
Registered User
Jason, thanks so much for the review, I really appreciate the exposure you're giving the product. Let me know if you have any questions about the LED controller.

Brian
May 14, 2020, 02:14 PM
RCG Admin
Jason Cole's Avatar
Thread OP
Thanks Brian, no I don't have the programming cable needed to unlock the channels, so I just ended up using a different receiver to get the review out.
May 14, 2020, 02:15 PM
JohnVHRC
JohnVH's Avatar
So its not plug and play, why wouldnt HH make the whole RX work out of the gate? Thats kind of a bummer. May want to think about a package deal with this board to come with a programming cable?
Latest blog entry: Freewing Mig 29 Maiden flight!
May 14, 2020, 02:22 PM
RCG Admin
Jason Cole's Avatar
Thread OP
Yeah I'm not sure why they have it locked.
May 14, 2020, 03:07 PM
Registered User
IAI80's Avatar
Out of curiosity I tried plugging both the rudder and elevator into channel 4 (rudder channel) on my Night Radian AR363A. There was a momentary servo jitter when plugged in so there is power there. When moving the rudder stick, nothing happens. So there is power but no signal. Same thing with channel 5 (set to SAFE) and channel 6 Aux1. Momentary jitter when plugged in (power) but no surface movement when the corresponding switch is moved (no signal).
May 14, 2020, 06:58 PM
www.gunnphotoservices.com
Matt Gunn's Avatar
Definitely want one for my night flier!!
Latest blog entry: www.gunnphotoservices.com


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