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Night Flying Discuss night time aircraft illumination, methods and equipment.

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Old 11-28-2011, 01:39 AM   #1
troynh
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Thumbs up Adafruit's Digital, Addressable RGB LED's

Thought I'd share what I've been working on. These LED's are controlled via a sketch uploaded to a 5 volt Arduino Pro Mini. It's powered by a 2s 800 mah lipo going into a 5 volt UBEC that then plugs into the Arduino.

I'm planning on mounting these onto a "UFO" Quadcopter. Should be fun!

Here is the link to the LED's: http://www.adafruit.com/products/306
Here is the tutorial: http://www.ladyada.net/products/digi...rip/index.html

-Tim

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Old 11-28-2011, 06:39 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by troynh View Post
Thought I'd share what I've been working on. These LED's are controlled via a sketch uploaded to a 5 volt Arduino Pro Mini. It's powered by a 2s 800 mah lipo going into a 5 volt UBEC that then plugs into the Arduino.

I'm planning on mounting these onto a "UFO" Quadcopter. Should be fun!

Here is the link to the LED's: http://www.adafruit.com/products/306
Here is the tutorial: http://www.ladyada.net/products/digi...rip/index.html

-Tim
Wow, that project is quite interesting. What assembler, programmer are you using? I've been reading about this Arduino unit in the Nuts and Volts magazine. $18 each is a little expensive though.

Never thought of that, using a shift register for controlling LED's. Company I worked for used an LCD display driven by a shift register for their high voltage circuit breaker controls. Managed to cut out a number of those LCD displays/shift registers, and use them for home projects.

I've been playing with various microcontrollers since the 1990's, starting off with a Motorola chip that were pretty primitive back then. You had to burn the chip, pull it from the programmer, try it, find it don't work, erase it with a UV light, and try again. Nowdays, I've been using a variety of Microchips PicChip line. Been using machine code since it's what I'm familiar with, Microchip provides its assembler free, and I'm to old to learn "C". (Plus that Microchip "C" program is a lot of $$$$, same for their other advanced programs like basic.) All of these PicChips are programmed with a PicKit3 programmer, available for about $50 or so. The higher powered PicChips also allow single stepping your PicChips with the PicKit3, reading all the registers, break points and so on. $50 for a poor mans emulator on these things. Not bad. You can program your PicChip on board, run it, single step it, read all the registers, break point it, find your mistakes, erase and reprogram, repeat many thousands of times on one chip.

Now, you can simply buy a LCD display with built in ASKII interface for $10 and up. Just completed a simple interface between a Spektrum Receiver servo output and a series of LED's for the wingtips on a new Cessna 182 model airplane. Also has a built in flasher for the tail LED. It uses a PicChip 16F690 chip. Trying to do this with a few 555 timers would be an absolute nightmare. The project uses the PicChip 16F690, a couple of resistors, a small transistor, and two power MosFets to drive the LED's. (they pull some 300 milliamperes total) This chip has built in 1 Mhz oscillator, PWM, 10 Bit Analog inputs and a lot more. Its manual is near 400 pages. You can buy 10 of the PicChip 16F690 chips for under $20, about two bucks each.

One project with the 16F690 is an onboard monitor for the electric planes that records total flights, total flying time in hours, minutes and seconds, total ampere hours , and either ampere hours for the current flight or actual current when the motor is running. It can read up to about 90 amps or so. It weighs about an ounce without wires, and I've built a dozen or so of them.

I've also used a number of other PicChip stuff, including a Pic18F458 unit for higher powered projects.

These PicChips are pretty hard to kill. (All inputs or outputs are static protected) But if you succeed to kill one of these, you're only out the price of a cheap hamburger at your local fast food place.

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Old 11-28-2011, 02:28 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by kyleservicetech View Post
Wow, that project is quite interesting. What assembler, programmer are you using? I've been reading about this Arduino unit in the Nuts and Volts magazine. $18 each is a little expensive though.
Arduino has it's own free software to write code and upload it to their i/o boards. http://arduino.cc/en/Main/Software
The 5 volt Pro Mini Board: http://www.sparkfun.com/products/9218
5V FTDI Board (One time purchase to communicate from your computer to the Arduino via a USB cable) http://www.sparkfun.com/products/9716
Straight Header Pins: http://www.sparkfun.com/products/116
Right Angle Header Pins: http://www.sparkfun.com/products/553
Jumper Wires: http://www.sparkfun.com/products/9389
5/6V UBEC: http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/s...23v_Input.html

Limor Fried has been kind enough to share the basic Arduino sketch's for the LPD8806 chip here: https://github.com/adafruit/LPD8806

All you have to do is upload it to the Arduino via it's free software and start playing with the sequencing of the effects in the sketch. (i.e, timing, RGB color codes, etc...)

http://vimeo.com/32540993

-Tim
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Old 11-28-2011, 05:23 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by troynh View Post
Arduino has it's own free software to write code and upload it to their i/o boards. http://arduino.cc/en/Main/Software
The 5 volt Pro Mini Board: http://www.sparkfun.com/products/9218
5V FTDI Board (One time purchase to communicate from your computer to the Arduino via a USB cable) http://www.sparkfun.com/products/9716
Straight Header Pins: http://www.sparkfun.com/products/116
Right Angle Header Pins: http://www.sparkfun.com/products/553
Jumper Wires: http://www.sparkfun.com/products/9389
5/6V UBEC: http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/s...23v_Input.html

Limor Fried has been kind enough to share the basic Arduino sketch's for the LPD8806 chip here: https://github.com/adafruit/LPD8806

All you have to do is upload it to the Arduino via it's free software and start playing with the sequencing of the effects in the sketch. (i.e, timing, RGB color codes, etc...)


-Tim
Thanks Tim
Think I'll be buying an Arduino system to play with during the snow season around SE Wisconsin!

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Old 11-28-2011, 05:59 PM   #5
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They're a lot of fun! If you're looking for a really fun winter project, check out the MultiWii Copter. www.multiwii.com - http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1261382
  • 1 hacked Wii Motion Plus board: $17 used at Game Stop
  • 1 Arduino 5V Pro Mini
  • 3-8 motors and esc's
  • some wood, hot glue and wire
Hacking the Wii Board:
Cruising around the back yard:
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Old 12-01-2011, 01:53 AM   #6
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Here's the UFO Quad on the floor. I need to tweak the colors and get a night flight video.

-Tim

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Old 12-02-2011, 03:06 AM   #7
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Okay, here's the maiden night flight. It transitions from dusk to dark at around the 38 second mark.

-Tim

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Old 06-07-2012, 09:31 AM   #8
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I recently bought the same but much cheaper LPD8806 digital RGB light strip, I tested the strip and had some really nice results.
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