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Direction strobe lights for better flight control

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by jguerriere, Oct 23, 2013.

  1. jguerriere

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    Location:
    Charleston SC (N 32° 46', W 79° 55')
    Hi there

    Wondering if anyone has experimented with this idea.

    I very quickly get disoriented when the bird gets a certain distance away. The green and red lights are not visible at a distance in the day time rendering them useless. The led strobe sometimes is visible but that is very hit or miss.

    So I was thinking about trying to create a hack. I would like to install a narrow beam strobe or laser, maybe red pointing forward, and green backwards. This would allow to easily tell front from back at a distance while grabbing footage.

    Real airplanes have strobes. 2 simple strobes would allow me to not get disoriented. Seems like a chip shot solution.

    Has anyone tried something like this?

    This is for daytime usually over the water.

    Thanks in advance.

    John
     
  2. PhantomFan

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    I am frustrated by the fact that DJI chose the color scheme of RED as nose and GREEN as tail. The every-day experience is that tail lights are RED. As of right now I'm keeping the Phantom close at hand while I polish and recover my heli flying skills which are quite rusty after a 22 year hiatus.

    That being said, I am awaiting delivery of one of these "headlights" myself - mostly because I thought they were cool. They may in fact serve a second function of assisting in orientation and, as a distant third, look wicked at dusk or at night although I can't imagine flying at night...never done that in my life, ever.

    PF
     
  3. miskatonic

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    Hi John,

    I have found these to be beyond awesome for orientation: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Upgraded-Re...pt=Radio_Control_Vehicles&hash=item258401600d

    These lights work with the prop guards for best results but can be mounted directly to the boom arms. If you have lost orientation then the chances of seeing a strobe are not all that great. I can maintain visual orientation with these lights at over 200 meters day or night.

    If you get into FPV you should also get a mini IOSD. The IOSD will relay things like orientation and battery levels.
     
  4. miskatonic

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    Phantom Fan

    The first time I flew with the upgraded navigation lights I had about 20 people from the surrounding neighborhood asking me what the hell that thing was, most thought they had seen a UFO. The upgraded lights can be seen from hundreds of feet away and overpower the normal navigation lights an can be switched around so that red is in the rear. Just tape over the ESC lights. ;)
     
  5. Peter Patricelli

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    I have an LED array of white lights on the battery door. That has helped a LOT an I wouldn't dare fly without it. But I think a rapidly flashing strobe would be even better, and have been looking for something along that line.
     
  6. PhantomFan

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    Now >>>THAT<<< is wicked!!! Nice job on the video! Pretty sure the appearance of an object like that would result in a flurry of 911 calls in my neighborhood. Does that lamp require its own battery power? If that's an LED, it is the brightest I've ever seen.

    WOW!!!

    PF
     
  7. BostonC75

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    That is a pretty good light...your neighbors will think the local PD now has a helo...
     
  8. martcerv

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    I wonder how a pair of dive lights would go, may be a will try a nite FPV flight in the trees with a pair of very bright wide angle lights. Cant do it around houses as I dont want to be upsetting any of the neighbors shining bright lights through peoples windows and this is also why I think lasers are a very bad idea.

    As I fly mostly FPV these days I dont really need any more orientation lights for LOS flying, I can do ok as is in the phantom more using the rear LED as my orientation light if I cant see it I know im facing forward. ;)
     
  9. PhantomFan

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    FPV. That's a good point. I'm going to be doing a self built model over the winter and will keep practice-flying my Phantom as much as the cold and/or wind will allow this winter. I'm virtually certain that I'll be using FPV (FatShark??) on the self-built kit quad...so maybe I'll just stick it out with a stock Phantom in the meanwhile.

    As often happens when one enthusiastically joins or returns to a hobby after a long hiatus, that enthusiasm results in spending a lot of money "gearing up." :oops:

    PF
     
  10. jguerriere

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    Location:
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    Thanks for all the replies. I will be doing FPV but this is an interim/additional thing I am working on.

    What do you think of something like this:

    http://www.flytron.com/rc-light-systems ... green.html

    Thinking single flash strobe on front and 2x flash on back. Maybe I can rig these to mount in the space of the existing and pretty useless factor LEDs and just make sure they are directionaly limited.

    Good idea? Bad idea? Thanks in advance.

    John
     
  11. rsfoto

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    I think they did it due to the folowwing reason

    RED = Danger When you see red coming towards you it is dangerous+

    So when you see GREEN then it is safe because nothing can hit you

    :?:

    I put 4 10mm Ø leds on the Battery door in series and use the integrated wire DJI has there dor DIY. The 4 Leds dra a total of 25mA and i can see them maybe 450 feet away. I out then i an angle of about 30° shining downwards so when you are high you still see them and the lEDs have a 40°.
     
  12. MILLER4PRESIDENT2020

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    if your stupid enough to hit yourself with your own phantom, lights arent gonna help and you probably should own one anyways.
     
  13. PhantomFan

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    That makes no sense. For example: You could be pulling back on the stick and the green would be coming towards you. The fact of the matter is, a quadcopter can approach you in ANY random orientation depending on the stick input.

    PF
     
  14. Peter Patricelli

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    "Thinking single flash strobe on front and 2x flash on back."

    From my experience, I would not do this. As far as I am concerned, all I need to know when the bird is way out there is when it is facing toward me. If I have lost orientation I hover and rotate in a yaw until I see my solid white light and then retrieve with a push forward of the stick. Or I can rotate 90 and proceed without getting any further away. If I put a strobe on it, I would only want the strobe on one side....the front.

    Trying to distinguish between one strobe for front from two strobes for back only introduces uncertainty and danger. If one rear strobe malfunctions...you see one...and push the stick hard forward...and face complete confusion at sorting out front one from back one. Or....a partial or incomplete rotation might allow you so only see one of the back two...and react inappropriately. In my mind, all or nothing is much better and safer.

    BTW, I suspect the rear-green and front red choice has a lot to do with the LED signaling. The red flashing low battery warning stands out much better if all one otherwise should see in the rear is green...GPS flashing...or white Atti. If the rear LEDS were red, the red warning light would get lost.

    For me, I want the maximum visibility signal on the front only, and maximally visible in a narrow arc in front. KISS.
     
  15. Guondersub

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    Location:
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    The only point I see is that red light is the lowest visibility one of them all; it is used to accommodate to night vision. If you want to have better chances to see the light, white or either blue or green will work better.

    Alberto
     
  16. fizzviic

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    Being both a high time pilot and sailor, I am totally conditioned to Green=Starboard, Red=Port that I find the Phantoms lights confusing. So, I have a large "headlight" and avoid flying at night.
     
  17. DronePhone

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    This has been my experience as well. I have a single bright white LED array on the battery door, powered by the balance plug. It is invaluable for directional control at longer ranges (more than 100m).

    Soon though I will do a long range test with my DronePhone GPS tracking system over the lake, with a safety spotter, of course.

    http://www.dronephone.net

    The data rate is good enough to steer the craft by (about 1 second between position updates while flying) and because it uses the internet over 4G, it works regardless of range throughout the coverage area. The cell phone has a 720p video camera, high accuracy GPS, and only costs $99 at WalMart.
     
  18. rsfoto

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    Sorry for having posted an opinion.

    Why do you not just ask DJI why they decided to put the lights like that

    ... and have a bit more respect to what others write ... It was just a GUESS

    have a nice day

    I have seen that in RC forums the people are quite more aggresive in answering and the language is more rude then in Astronomy forums ...

    Perhaps because everything here is about fastest, highest and thickest :?: :?: :?: :?: :?: :?: :?: :?: :?: :?:
     
  19. Sac D

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    These are what I use:

    http://www.sierrarc.com/index.php?main_ ... cts_id=226

    I have a pair of blue ones on the front of my Phantom, and I can spin it around and see these from a very very long distance.

    They are cheap, require no additional power source, and also come in red, white, or green.
     
  20. Txfirecop

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    Sac D , can you elaborate on how you mounted and power the strobes? I just received a pair of blue ones and need advice on installing and powering. If you could help me I would appreciate it.

    Mark C.