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Old Nov 09, 2005, 12:15 AM
delorno is offline
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Night Flying Slow Stick Build


As winter approaches and the days get shorter we (Delorno and Chimaera) have had to take more drastic measures to insure we get enough flight time. After looking for information on how to make our planes ďnight worthyĒ we were left somewhat disappointed with the information available on how to go about illuminating our planes. As a result we have developed some of our own methods and gleaned a few ideas from the forums and have come up with what we think is an awesome solution.

Since detailed information is not readily available, we decided toput together this build thread. We will be using a Slow Stick in this thread, but other planes might work as well. (Night flying can be dangerous, especially if a light failure occurs. We Do Not take any responsibility for any harm or damage to persons or property that occurs from using this information or following our advice. Use at your own risk.)

Supplies Needed:

1. LEDs (light emitting diodes) http://superbrightleds.com/
2. Resistors matched to your LEDs. http://led.linear1.org/1led.wiz
3. Small gauge wire (~28). We used the stranded wire from a printer
cable.
4. Straws ~5mm
5. Heat shrink tubing
6. Small switch
7. Deans micro connector set
8. Packaging tape

Tools

1. Hot glue gun
2. Soldering iron
3. Wire strippers
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Old Nov 09, 2005, 12:17 AM
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THEY MOSTLY COME OUT AT NIGHT
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First


Start by soldering the correct resistor to each LED. We used the neg side (flat side & short leg) of the LED, but the forums say it doesnít matter. Just be consistent. We used the following web site to calculate the correct resistor for our LEDs. The LED supplier should supply the needed information http://led.linear1.org/1led.wiz . We bought our LEDs from http://superbrightleds.com/.
Old Nov 09, 2005, 12:20 AM
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Wiring


To solder the individual LEDs, a small section of the wire insulation was melted away with the soldering iron then the melted insulation was cleaned away from the exposed area of the wire. This reduces the chance of having a soldering joint failure that could take out multiple lights. Use this technique whenever possible to reduce the number of possible failure points. Occasionally you will have to join in new pieces of wire to run to the stab, rudder, etc. Just make sure you have a clean and solid joint.
Old Nov 09, 2005, 12:23 AM
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THEY MOSTLY COME OUT AT NIGHT
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Wing


We started by hot gluing an LED into the end of a straw. We recommend placing the LED in the trailing edge end of the straw facing forward. This gives a flared look in the air that looks very sleek in the night sky. (Picture shows leading edge placement that was later moved to the back end.) Tape straw onto the end of the wing. Make sure that it is centered on the wing edge so that the straw can be seen from both the top and bottom of the wing.
Old Nov 09, 2005, 12:27 AM
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Leading Edge


The wires were not cut at any point along the entire wing, except at the centerline where the Deanís plug was placed to make the wing removable. Start by placing marks at points where you will place LEDs. We used 4Ē centers. Start at the wing tip and place one of the pre-soldered LED/resistors at the first mark. Melt away the wire insulation as described above and solder the LED/resistor in place making sure to wire them with the correct polarity. Work towards the center of the wing by repeating the above steps for each LED. Repeat for both wing halves. We also placed LEDs on the top of the wing. This can be done by running wires down the joint and tying them into the circuit at the Deanís connector. Connect leads from both wing halves to the micro Deanís connector and fasten securely to the wing. Make sure the wires will not rub anywhere when the wing is in place. Hot glue the LEDs in place so that they reflect the maximal amount of light across the wing bottom. Tape the wires to the wing between each LED.
Old Nov 09, 2005, 12:33 AM
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THEY MOSTLY COME OUT AT NIGHT
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Stabilizer and Rudder


The stab and rudder are a little trickier. Our installations are not as clean as they could be, but we have since come up with some ideas that we are currently working on. These will be posted later. We used soda straws to outline the tail. We found that placing an LED in each end of the straw makes them much more visible, but itís not required. Again tape the straw on the edge so that it is visible from the top or bottom of the plane. We have started experimenting on embedding the straw in the tail surfaces by cutting a slot through the foam surface that the straw sits in. This gives a much more aerodynamic installation and looks better. It also makes it visible from both sides. If you do this, you may need to reinforce the stab with a small carbon fiber spar. You may want to place an additional straw between the wing and the stabilizer on the underside of the fuselage. Run the leads up the fuselage to the nose of the plane. Leave plenty of wire for now.
Last edited by chimaera; Nov 09, 2005 at 10:52 PM.
Old Nov 09, 2005, 12:36 AM
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Front end


We powered our lights directly from the battery and the resistors were calculated using a 3-cell battery at 11.1 V. Some people recommend using a spare channel from your receiver because it is 4.8 volts and requires smaller resistors. You could also use a separate BEC to run just the lights. We wanted a direct connection to the battery to eliminate as many possible failure points as we could. This uses a little more power, but we have found it is not that significant and as long as the battery still has life, the lights will be on.

We placed a small switch on the front of the plane and connected the fuselage and taillights as well as a Deanís connector through it. This allows us to turn the lights off during the day, if we ever wanted to go back to daytime flying J. The Deanís connector is obviously setup to feed power to the wing.
Old Nov 09, 2005, 12:43 AM
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THEY MOSTLY COME OUT AT NIGHT
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Finished Product- Night Stick


Here is my Night Stick.
Last edited by chimaera; Nov 09, 2005 at 12:49 AM.
Old Nov 09, 2005, 12:45 AM
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My Night Stick (Christmas Tree)


And here is my plane.
Old Nov 09, 2005, 02:39 AM
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Holy crap that looks good. You guys truely went all out, and I commend your efforts. This is WAY better than simply having a couple of LED's mounted on the wing tips.

That having been said, some ppl have used EL wire with some pretty good results, but I think you guys have bested anything I've seen on these forums yet. Until someone proves me wrong... hehe.

Good work, gentlemen, keep it up. Got any videos?
Old Nov 09, 2005, 03:59 AM
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This is real cool.. nice looking plane, you can even suspend it in the living room at Xmas time and save yourself a Xmas tree

Here are a few observations:

- Do not power LEDS from the receiver 4.8 V. The current you take from there may add up, and with a limited power BEC, it may shut off and down goes the plane.

- Since you are using an 11.1 volt battery and each led is 2 volts in average, you can use 4 leds in series and calculate the line resistor for 3 volts. This way, you'll be using more of the current for light instead of generating heat through a resistor that has to drop 9 volts.

- If you want to bypass the electric set-up of the plane altogether, you can power the led system with a 9v battery. It`s not at all heavy for the plane to carry. Drawbacks are 9 volts batteries are not designed to output a large amount of current, although 3 or 4 lines of 50ma current is not all that much. Rechargeable 9 volts are actually less than 9v and have a lower capacity than alkalines but they can be recharged. On the other hand, a 3 pack of 9v alkalines from Wal-Mart or from the dollar store is not that expensive.

- Use a flashing LED in one of the 4 series line for that nice UFO effect

Cheers
Last edited by Cubber; Nov 09, 2005 at 04:12 AM.
Old Nov 09, 2005, 02:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikey C.

Good work, gentlemen, keep it up. Got any videos?

We have some videos, but need to convert them. Will try to get them posted this week.
Old Nov 09, 2005, 03:12 PM
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Wow, I just got a SS for my niece, and since then the winds haven't died down during the day. Seems like the only time it's calm is after sunset, about 7-8 pm. I've got a bunch of led's I used in an old car of mine, maybe I should try this out so I can get her in the air. Great idea, although not the first, but I've never seen or thought of using straws to give the stick effect. VERY NICE!! Good job guys.

Todd
Old Nov 09, 2005, 03:28 PM
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Guys, looks great. Thanks for the build thread.
Old Nov 09, 2005, 03:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cubber
This is real cool.. nice looking plane, you can even suspend it in the living room at Xmas time and save yourself a Xmas tree

Here are a few observations:

- Do not power LEDS from the receiver 4.8 V. The current you take from there may add up, and with a limited power BEC, it may shut off and down goes the plane.
Our thoughts exactly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cubber
- Since you are using an 11.1 volt battery and each led is 2 volts in average, you can use 4 leds in series and calculate the line resistor for 3 volts. This way, you'll be using more of the current for light instead of generating heat through a resistor that has to drop 9 volts.
There were different resistors required for the different colors, so we decided to add a resistor to each LED. This does take more power, but with a Slow Stick, it can take on alot of weight. I use a 2300mAh 3 cell & I get about 50 min flight time. I have 21 LED's & according the Watt meter, they draw 6 watts.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cubber
- If you want to bypass the electric set-up of the plane altogether, you can power the led system with a 9v battery. It`s not at all heavy for the plane to carry. Drawbacks are 9 volts batteries are not designed to output a large amount of current, although 3 or 4 lines of 50ma current is not all that much. Rechargeable 9 volts are actually less than 9v and have a lower capacity than alkalines but they can be recharged. On the other hand, a 3 pack of 9v alkalines from Wal-Mart or from the dollar store is not that expensive.
We decided to do it the simple way. When you get to the field to fly, it only takes 3 steps to have the lights ready. 1) Attach wing LEDís with one Deans micro plug. 2) Plug the main battery in. 3) Flip the switch to turn on the lights. Were now ready to fly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cubber
- Use a flashing LED in one of the 4 series line for that nice UFO effect

Cheers
This among others ideas are on the drawing board


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