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Making the Phantom more visible?

Discussion in 'Phantom 1 Help' started by GoodnNuff, Jun 20, 2013.

  1. GoodnNuff

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    I've only been flying for a little over a week, and so far here in the Pacific Northwest, I'm flying against our usual grey/white/other-shades-of-grey skies. This makes it really a challenge to see the white Phantom when flying against such an equally colorless sky.
    I've seen skins on eBay, not sure if they would help? Or adding brighter LEDs?
    What have others done who fly in skies the color of the Puget Sound's to make their Phantoms more visible?
     
  2. TickTock

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    Completely disassemble it, and spray paint it the color of your choice. I find that black shows up very well in the sky (much better than white) but almost any color would (except, perhaps, grey). Just take lots of pictures of the connectivity and make sure you get all the motors connected back properly in the right locations.
     
  3. Roadkilt

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    I added the VGE led headlight (ebay for $15) drill a hole in the battery door, glue the led disc, the size and weight of a dime, and plug into the battery balance plug on the main battery. No significant power draw but blinding bright white light that is visible far past the distance the quad is visible. Plus you know it's pointed at you. And cheap. A great add on and looks awesome at night, like search and rescue!

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/DJI-Phantom-Qua ... 1e784985d6
     
  4. howardmaryon

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    I am spraying mine dayglo orange to show up better when landing in tall grass or similar. Might do black underneath and orange on top, ugly but visible. And a big flashing strobe on the underside, behind the camera.
     
  5. GoodnNuff

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    I've looked at that light as well as others on eBay. How does that bright light affect the GoPro mounted right below it?
    Does the light cause any glare or washed out effects on videos?

    I've also considered the LED tape lights that wrap the body like this one:


    http://www.ebay.com/itm/DJI-PHANTOM-Mul ... 7103190%26

    But then the orientation would really be a challenge to figure out.
     
  6. Roadkilt

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    Led was not seen by the gopro. You can't see the colored LEDs, or the flashing LEDs on the backside, but you sure can see the bright headlight
     
  7. gardenroute

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    The best would probably be a very powerful LED flash beacon, such as this STROBON:
    To make it really visible even in daylight, and it was possible to detect the orientation of the aircraft on the LOS.
     
  8. DeweyAXD

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    Does anyone in here know of someone really good with electronics? Personally I would love to get some of those multi colour LED's that wrap around the Phantom like this:

    http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/DJI-PHANT...adio_Control_Control_Line&hash=item1c31d2f15a

    BUT... what I want to know is how easy (if at all possible) it would be to wire the status LED output to control them.Then you get good visibility and you know if your battery is on its way no matter what Yaw angle you are at cause the whole **** thing flashes red!
     
  9. GoodnNuff

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    Now this is an excellent idea! Would love to know if that is possible to do?

    I like that IR controlled light package - it would be as fun to fly at night as it was to fly kites with glow sticks at night back in the '80s! LOL
     
  10. DeweyAXD

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    Thanks.... I was looking at them because I have a BIG fireworks display in July at night that I want to film (from a long way away) and thought the same thing. It bugs me that you have to bring the Phantom back to you to see the LED status so I thought this was a perfect resolution. Sadly I'm just too **** rusty on elecronics to be brave enough to make the mod myself. Might give it a go but i really don't want to fry my MC or Naza so I thought it better to through it out to the masses!

    EDIT -- Now i look at the NAZA M tech specs I see there is a 4 pole plug marked LED... if that equates to Red, Green Yellow, Ground then wiring up a simple 3 colour strip would be a piece of cake... i'll look into it.
     
  11. BruceTS

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    Was thinking about flying through a fireworks display, taking a chance that my Phantom doesn't get hit by one of the shells exploding. If I do, I'll cover all external lights and FPV it all the way.
     
  12. DeweyAXD

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    Yes it would be a bit risky going right over one. Especially a big one.
    I'd be a little worried about the shockwaves that the big bangs produce too. You can feel them from the fround so I bet they could throw the little Phantom about a fair bit. There is also always that unknown factor of how many saftey/organisers are below you at the time should it 'go down in flames' so to speak.

    I'll be staying well clear from the actual show I'm seeing (like a mile away) but its big enough to be able to see it clearly from that range. I have no idea how it will come off but got to be worth a try!

    If you could get well above the display it could be an amazing view. Plus if it is a big organised event they have to get permission for it so there should be clear sky above it! Worth talking to the organisers maybe?
     
  13. weven

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    http://www.bikevis.com/

    I have these white ones on my Motorcycle, can be seen for hundreds of metres. I have two reds :oops: on the way, will post pictures when I have fitted them. Big advantage they are real small which means a very small hole in the shell and super bright.

    Also emailed Dan and if we get a few people together would do a special Green Version. :mrgreen:

    Steve
     
  14. martcerv

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    Though this may seem a little counter productive, but painting it black has made it much more visible for me. When I painted it I took off the landing LED lenses and also painted that area black. Now when I fly in daylight the red and green LED's are much more visible then they were when my phantom was white. I always found it easier flying in lower light before when the LED's stood out more but now they are much easier to see even in bright light. ;)

    I was originally going to paint the underside of the front arms red and battery door to contrast against the black back. But after a few test flights I find it much easier to get LOS orientation simply from my red half landing gear and the bottom LED's.

    [​IMG]

    I do have an FPV setup now too but I use a screen so do go from FPV to LOS quite a bit during flights as its very easy to do when not wearing goggles.
     
  15. DeweyAXD

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    To be honest when I get around to buying a second shell (just for modding) that almost certainly be going black. When I had my scary *** 'LOS' moment a few months back it was because I was because the sun was low and shining on the white casing. With the blue sky behind it there was no problem as the white was glowing bright. Then i flew in front of a cloud and just lost sight because it blended in so well. I am sure a black paint job would have helped there.... plus it looks great! (I'll go for matt paint myself).
     
  16. GoodnNuff

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    I started this thread because I was having a difficult time seeing the white phantom against our mostly cloudy Pacific Northwest skies, and hopefully I've now accomplished the visibility goal.

    Great paint job btw, martcerv. I almost went with black as well.

    About 10 days ago I was flying with a new battery for the first time, slightly larger and longer connecting wire to tuck away. The battery door popped open about 80'-100' above the ground and the battery and the phantom came crashing to the ground.
    Long story short I had to buy a new shell due to a bent prop arm.

    I painted the bottom half of the shell and the landing gear bright orange, and the top of the shell flat gun metal grey. The front motor mounts are orange and the rear ones gun metal. And I bought a 500 lux LED (white) to mount on the battery door to designate the front. I like the color scheme, it should show up quite well against our skies. Based on my experience flying RC planes, and other fixed wing guys I've asked, black, orange, bright yellow or red are the most visible colors against our skies.

    Now if I knew how to post a photo here I would...

    All the innards survived the crash, didn't even indicate it needed calibration after the body switch, but of course I did anyway. And the shell swap was much easier than I anticipated.
     
  17. GearLoose

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    GoodNnuff: I'm looking forward to your flight report. I'd prefer not to have to paint my Phantom but with visibility such a problem here I need some kind of help.

    Can you also give details, please, on the light you've added?

    I've just added fpv and it saved me from a serious problem on one of my first flights. I clumsily allowed the Phantom to fly behind a curving tree line, quite a distance away. I panicked and went to Home Lock, then realized the return path would intersect a line of tall trees... back to GPS and (hopefully) a hover while I grabbed the goggles. Once I had the goggles on I could see that the Phantom was pointed toward the trees, so I yawed to a safer direction and flew home safely.
     
  18. weven

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    What do Y'all think :?:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  19. GoodnNuff

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    GearLoose, here is a link to the eBay seller I purchased the headlight from. It mounts on the battery cover, and I've cut a slot for the wiring to pass through.
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/DJI-PHANTOM...Control_Parts_Accessories&hash=item1c3401f3d5
     
  20. GoodnNuff

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    Nice colors weven, that should be very visible!
    I like it.