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Night lights for r/c plane...

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Hello..I am new to this forum and just read the writeup on installing LED lights on r/c planes..I noticed that the suggestion is to not go over the current supplied by the battery/BEC..which is 5volts...unfortunately it seems that if one wants to use the best/brightest lights for this project..your basically stuck to a maximum of 2 LED"S is there anyway around this?..like perhaps not only using the 1 empty jack of the planes reciever..but also wiring into the 2 other servo jacks by soldering into the wires coming off of them..which would allow for a total of 6 of the brightest lights??...Im new to this project and would appreciate any help/advice to get me thru this project and be succesfull..My plane uses a 9.6V 1650 mah-nimh battery pack...thanks...Id also like to know the best colors as far as brightness and visabilty in the night sky..and if possible..I really wanted to use LED"S that would stay on constant for the front of my plane and use flashing LED"S for the rear..to better help with orientation while flying..this is necessary for me since I am severely color blind..and using different color LED'S may not be enuff in my case to help with plane orientation...

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...unfortunately it seems that if one wants to use the best/brightest lights for this project..your basically stuck to a maximum of 2 LED"S is there anyway around this?..

How did you come to the conclusion that only 2 LED's max were possible? Generally speaking, more are easily accommodated on any spare or shared servo jack. The LED's draw under 25mA each, so the max count is related to how you are powering your Rx (BEC vs. raw battery).

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I thought it said to try and stay under the voltage amount put out by the bec..which is normally 5volts..and the best/brightest bulbs seem to need 2-3 volts a piece...so arent these numbers added up if the bulbs are put in series??...

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The bec output provides a regulated voltage of about 5volts..which your reciver can share with a couple LED"S...this is a quote from the material I read on this site...and thats why I assumed it was only feasable to power 2 LEDS succesfully..did I misread something here??..

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The word "couple" is not meant as a hard number. It is a general statement. If I said that a few (or several) could be connected, someone would eventually try to install twenty of them and then complain that their model crashed. So, I chose my words carefully.

Basically, the user needs to review the current of the combined LED's and the rating of model's BEC (if an ESC is used). If you read on to the articles very next lines it says:

"However, do not overload the BEC with too many lamps or you may loose control of your model during flight. The number of LED's you can connect will depend on the BEC's current rating, cell count, number of servos, and LED current draw. Please do not ask me for advice on how many LED's your ESC can handle -- I will not know. "

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Update: I have removed the word "couple" from the text. That should fix the confusion problem.

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It's the current you need to watch. 5V is your input voltage, the number of LEDS that you can illuminate is based on the max current your BEC can supply (if powering from the BEC) minus the consumption of other onboard electronics being powered by the BEC (normally the servos and rx, although the rx is nominal).

That said, I fly my Picostick running a Feigao brushless using a Castle Creations Phoenix 10 ESC with the BEC supplying power for the onboard electronics only. I have 13 LEDS on this plane, and have been nightflying it for months (many hours) without any issues. Just make sure to use the LED calculator on rc-cam.com to determine proper resistor values for the forward voltage of your LEDS. (BTW, as a reference to the consumption of the LEDS I get between 20 - 40 minutes of flight time on this plane from an E-Tec 1200mah 2S pack, depending on throttle management.)

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Update. I now have also built an unpainted GWS Pico Tiger Moth for night flying as well. This plane has 11 leds on it.. 6 are constant on, and 5 are wired to a nav light "blinker" board using a PIC controller. I'm using another Feigao on this plane with a Phoenix 10 as well, and it powers everything onboard like the Picostick (no extra pack to run the LEDs). I'm using E-Tech 1200mah 2S packs for flying, and I'm only consuming slightly over 600mah out of them on 30 minute flights. This is flying around half throttle most of the time, however higher throttle amounts are used during the flight for aerobatics and climbing out. I have 5 hours of flight time on this plane now and the consumption is consistent. I'd bet you could run 20 LEDs on a plane and still get considerable flight time! :D :D :D :D

I'm also getting 0 glitches, so it doesn't appear that either the LEDs or the nav light controller board (built from a kit. The schematics/instructions are here: http://www.micro-heli.co.uk/njelectronics.htm ) are doing anything unacceptable to the avionics. A friend of mine is also using a 3ft piece of EL wire from http://elbestbuy.com/?OVRAW=el%20wire&OVKE...&OVMTC=standard and running that with a single lipoly cell... very visible!!! I think this is the same as glowire but cheaper. I'm not affiliated with either company above btw, just included the links for anyone else that may be interested in setting their plane up with a proven nightfly lighting method. :D

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