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Sep 10, 2007, 09:27 PM
Lee / RC Enthusiast
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LED Night Flyin' Foamy

A couple of pilots flew at night during last year's BEST 2006. It's that time again and BEST 2007 is less than a month away. I want to be a part of this event so here is my entry.

A fellow member, UAVPILOT, is the one who inspired me. He attended last year with these incredible night flying foamies. I'm opting to build a non-3D foamy using an old AMA kit as a guideline.

Assembly notes:

- MPJet Blue outrunner
- Midwest Cellfoam 5mm and 3mm
- Depron (underbelly and top sheeting of wing)
- 3S LiPo for power
- 1S LiPo for LEDs
- 7 white LEDs in fuselage
- 12 white LEDs in wing
- 2 red, 2 green LEDs in wing tips

The build so far...
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Sep 18, 2007, 08:54 AM
Lee / RC Enthusiast
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Wing update

Still a slow process...but I got some work done on the wing earlier this week. I opted to use a spruce spar on the bottom and a balsa spar on the top. It adds a little more weight but I wanted the strength.

I'm waiting for my LEDs to show up before I can proceed.
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Sep 19, 2007, 10:34 PM
Lee / RC Enthusiast
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LEDs from Hong Kong are in and I picked up all my resistors from EPO (Electronic Parts Outlet) here in Houston. If you live in Houston and need electronic parts, EPO is the place! Their LEDs are on the pricey side so I opted for eBay to save money. Got a bag of 125 multi-colored LEDs for $6...all high intensity. I'm running the LEDs off an old 1100mAh 1-cell LiPo (4.2 volts). Only needed 47 & 100 ohm resistors to complete the setup.

I've got the wing tip lights (red/green) in place. I'm using three (3) on each tip. These lights are REALLY bright! I doubt I'll have any trouble seeing this plane at night. Five (5) white lights in each wing panel. I'm not sure about placing lights in the center joint yet...we'll see.

Three (3) lights have been added into the firewall aiming forward. Four (4) white lights are in the fuse aiming back & downward. The idea behind "downward" is that I want to light up the bottom sheeting of the plane, not the inside.

As for the tail, I'm still playing with that. I think I'm going to carve out small holes in the tips of each stab. The LED will be placed 'sideways' pointing outwards inside the hole. I purchased 1/16" shrink tubing to run the wires through and back to the fuselage. I could tape down the wires but I wanted it to look a bit nicer.

My weekends are booked for the next few weeks so I may have to take a day off to finish this darn thing. Photos soon.

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Sep 27, 2007, 02:45 PM
Lee / RC Enthusiast
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(for those few still reading this)

wow....this project is killing me. I hate to think I didn't plan well enough but this is NOT going very smoothly. And it really is just the little things. The two main problems:

1) WIRE: The 28 gauge magnetic coil wire I'm using is a [email protected]#$ to strip. UAVPILOT used a razor blade which does work the best...but it takes forever. And, if you don't pre-measure the wire (who would?) BEFORE putting it in the airplane, it is really tough trying to strip the wires with only 5-6" to spare on the outside of the plane. This wire was mainly used to save weight but I'm seriously thinking my next aircraft is going to use insulated wire so I can just strip the excess faster. HINT: Do NOT use a blow torch or lighter to melt the insulation on magnetic coil don't work!

2) TRUE CUTS: <sigh> My fault entirely. A few of my formers were not measured properly and my plane is out of whack. Not by much, I'm sure it'll fly...but it looks bad. The tail is not entirely level with the wing even after I measured it 3 or 4 times before gluing.

Soldering the resistors is a snap. Putting the LEDs inside the plane, easy peezy. Wiring...not so much fun.

Next up: glue wings together, sheet top of wing, sheet bottom of fuselage, wire pushrods, install landing gear, electronics.
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Oct 03, 2007, 09:59 PM
Lee / RC Enthusiast
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I guess I can be thankful that in my rush to complete the plane, I ran into only a few minor problems and, overall, the plane is in nice shape.

I spent about 4 hours today finishing the wings, including the toughest part of preparing the ends for bullet connectors. Sanding the wings was also a task....not to mention forming the wingtips.

When I was nearly done I checked the CG.....PERFECT! No weight to add anywhere. How lucky is that?

So...after finishing it up, I took it out about 15 minutes ago to the park for a test flight. She wasn't able to take off from the grass so I had to use a sidewalk. She was a bit jumpy at first (only rudder, elevator. No ailerons) but once in the air, she "floated" gracefully over the field. It was a real joy to see how slow and steady she flew. She does not like making slow, tight turns and nearly snap rolls if you're not careful. This ain't no acrobatic aircraft anyway so I'll just have to use some caution, especially when there is wind.

...and did I tell you how bright she is? 25 LEDs powered by one (1) 1100mAh lipo cell! Super sweet!

With a 2-cell TP2100 LiPo, she only needed about 75% throttle for adequate flying. She does drop her nose with the throttle off...but only slightly. The airfoil on this sucker is HUGE so she does climb when throttle is applied.

I've got some touch-up work to do but, other than that, she is ready for the big show this weekend! Yee Haw!

Last edited by YarSmythe; Oct 03, 2007 at 10:13 PM.
Aug 01, 2008, 02:08 PM

I found this cool thread and i would like to make similar model...I have all for power system and leds too...If I can ask you, how was wingspan and lenght and weight of your model? Or have you got any plan for it? Pleeease
Jan 10, 2009, 07:45 PM

My New Depron Led Trainer...

Hi yarsmythejr...
I am not sure, you remember me, but you sent me scan of your plan for LED FOAMY few months ago...And here is my new depron led foamy trainer...this is my own design...1200mm wingspan...just some corections and will be ready for maiden flight...i will send you a video and better photos, these are from mobile phone camera...Thanks for idea...PAJLOTMATO
Last edited by pajlotmato; Jan 10, 2009 at 07:54 PM.

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