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Thread: Quadcopter Lighting

  1. #1

    Popcorn Quadcopter Lighting

    I would like to add lighting to my quadcopter. The area i would like to add them is on the ends of the arms.I was thinking about cutting aluminum in the shape of the ends of the arms and useing that for a heatsink.The frame itself is carbon fiber but i dont know its chemical compound so ill use aluminum for a heatsink instead.From tip to tip is 12 inches.

    I run power for the quad on a lipo battery from 3s 1800 mah 25c to 3s 2200 mah 25 c

    I would like 2 purple and 2 royal blues with a beam and harware to run it within 150 - 200 usd.

    Weight cannot be over 250 grams.Weight is more important then heat in the build to a degree.Cooling from propellers will provide 25 -45mph wind.Flight time is 15 minutes and ill be landing on whatever i put there.

    I would like the brightest leds possible adding a lens may be diffcult mounting it to the flat aluminum but maybe theres a way around it.I have a range of 1 to 2 miles so extremely bright is what i would like.

    Help is greatly appreciated.I can offer exelent saltwater coral advice.
    Last edited by anthonysquad; 04-14-2013 at 10:36 PM.

  2. #2
    Retired Administrator Norm's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006

    Default Re: Quadcopter Lighting

    Your images are oversize, when you post an image please remember Rule #3

    Rule #3 If you post an image in your post, please downsize the image to no larger than 800 x 800 pixels.

    Please resize and repost. - Thanks Norm

  3. #3

    Default Re: Quadcopter Lighting

    Resized photo
    Last edited by anthonysquad; 04-13-2013 at 11:57 PM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Brisbane, Australia

    Default Re: Quadcopter Lighting

    Not sure what you are trying to achieve; are you after a tight-beam projection? But you also want it visible from 1-2miles; what happens if it isn't seen end-on?
    Most people lighting up quads/tris/hexs/octos/whatevers just run strips of LEDs up each arm, with differing colours to indicate orientation; but if I'm reading right, you want a focused beam projecting from each corner?
    Just trying to clarify what exactly you want to achieve.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Quadcopter Lighting

    Well i think the best place to start would be heatsinks.I have to cut them to fit the bottom of the frame.Im going to try and macth the heatsink to the flat tip area of the arms so they shine to ground.Those will be roughly 60 grams each.This will be my first approach at a heatsink but a fan powered heatsink,or a change of material to copper may be a option.I just have no idea of whats out there so im open to 60 gram heatsink suggestions but again i have to land there and it has to macth the frame nicely and i have to mount it somehow.

    So what are the brightest purple and royal blue tight beam leds i can run on a flat aluminum 60 gram heatsink?

    I dont plan on flying very far without first person view goggles or lcd.

    As for striplighting....well its sort of played out.I really dont even understand why people use it when they have alot of battery power.I just like bright i guess.
    Last edited by anthonysquad; 04-14-2013 at 10:44 PM.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Quadcopter Lighting

    62 gram "Radial D50"
    50 mm radius X 40 mm height
    Roughly 2 inch radius X 2 inch height

    Some kind of chart

    I havent received my frame yet so i dont know if these would fit nicely onto the frame or even if i would like to use them instead of cutting a flat peice of aluminum out to macth the shape of the frame but maybe this will help determine what the brightest royal blue and purple leds i can run on this weight of flat aluminum.
    Last edited by anthonysquad; 04-15-2013 at 11:15 PM.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Quadcopter Lighting

    I meant to ask this on Nano-Reef when you were asking about this, but why royal blue and purple/violet? Both are on the bottom end of the human eye sensitivity range, especially the purple/violet. Purple/violet and "bright" don't necessarily go hand in hand.

    Is the 250 gram limit for just the LED equipment, or is that for the entire machine? If it's just for the LED hardware, you might be having a hard time keeping it under that number. You are at 248 grams with 4 of the heatsinks you listed above, and that's before LEDs, the MCPCB they are mounted on, wire, screw hardware, and a driver.

    As for a tight beam, you won't find that on most high power LEDs. The vast majority are in the 80-135 degree range, with some Chinese LEDs offering as tight as 60 degrees. Hardly what I would consider tight. You would have to add secondary optics to the LED, which again will add weight.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Quadcopter Lighting

    Edit complete....
    I just like the way the colors mix thats all...more relaxing i guess.

    I found out the carbon frame will probally see some effects at 212 degrees or 100 celicus.

    I realize im up to 248 grams so far.The other componets i know will add some weight and im ok with that but chooseing
    a lighter component when possible is prefered.

    I guess i could scracth the idea of a a ten watt to keep a tight beam.That would help with weight for the heatsink.I think a star led might do.They only go up to three watts i think but im haveing trouble finding a purple one.
    Last edited by anthonysquad; 04-17-2013 at 05:03 AM.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Quadcopter Lighting

    Last edited by anthonysquad; 04-17-2013 at 04:19 AM.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Quadcopter Lighting

    Any recomendations for 3 watt blues and 3 watt purple?Are 3 watt purple goning to be safe i read some have uv in them bit i dont know of it is a old style.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Quadcopter Lighting

    The only LEDs that have UV in them is either, UV LEDs (<400nm), or certain white LEDs using a UV die as the pump for the phosphor. These aren't that common any more, and are rarely seen in the high brightness LEDs. "Purple" LEDs are usually in the 400-440nm range, and don't contain any significant amounts of UV.

  12. #12
    Flashaholic* AnAppleSnail's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    South Hill, VA

    Default Re: Quadcopter Lighting

    They can still lead to painful symptoms similar to UV exposure, as can royal blue LEDs. I find purple and blue LEDs VERY difficult to focus on. This makes it tough to track motion and range. Is that your goal? Or is eerie UFO-style effect the idea?
    My biggest light-hog is my camera.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2012

    Default Re: Quadcopter Lighting

    Perhaps you could explain the purpose of your modification?

    Are the lights to see WITH, or, to be SEEN?

    If to see WITH, what are you trying to see, and, at what range?

    If trying to be seen, is it decorative, or, safety related?

  14. #14

    Default Re: Quadcopter Lighting

    The lights are just to be seen and decrotavie giving a errie ufo glow.its not safety related but i still need to tell the front where the two blue will be and the back where the two purple will be.Right now just trying to find out who makes the best 3 watt royal blue star and 3 watt purple star.ill order from different places if i have to.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Quadcopter Lighting

    As others, not sure what your trying to accomplish but a 2200Mah 3s on a quad a little over 300mm is only going to give you about 8 or 9 mins of fly time as is. I'm thinkin any of the current Crees at about 250-500ma would give you enough light for following etc. without raping your Lipo. If you want beams, which most want to scatter for light in every direction, you can epoxy inexpensive optics to ea. And just a sq. in. of 1/8 alum would be plenty for h/s because you will have more than enough airflow.

    The Dji Phantom has 3 leds on each leg and I'm thinking of installing an alternate mode so they aren't so bright at night as to washout my video on a gopro3 so bad you can barely see the quad. ')
    I'll prolly do that when I swap two of the esc's so that I will have the standard FAA style lights which make the most sense, and is easiest to learn to recognize.

    Here's a link to a fellas youtube who has been flying at night for over 40 yrs. Needless to say he knows what he's talking about. He also has his own website with lots of tips and info on the subject.

    As it happens his nic is NightFlyyer and has done many articles in RC mags etc.

    After you know what you want, then this (CPF) is the place to get info on where to find it and how to use it.

    Good luck with your project.
    Hope this was useful.
    So much to learn, so little time.. ')
    DFW Texas Spring Fling CPF and LPF Flashapalooza, TBA? ')

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Feb 2014

    Default Re: Quadcopter Lighting

    I just use 4 5mm led's from Radio Shack (276-0017) wired in parallel to a 1S 3.7v 500mah battery on my Blade MQX. They have a 30 degree viewing angle but are very bright and great for night flying.

    And yes I would recommend you watch NightFlyer on YouTube.

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