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Old 03-30-2011, 10:48 AM   #1
RCPlanesGuy
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High Intensity LED Strobes


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It’s true, there are many RC Plane lighting systems out there but not too many that give a realistic “double flash” strobe effect and will support high current draw for multiple super bright 1Watt LEDs that can be easily seen in the sky on a sunny day!

I wanted to add five 1W (300ma) High intensity LEDs to each wing of my RC plane and have a strobe effect – flash flash – off…. Flash Flash-off etc. I wanted to be able to see these LEDs in daylight when my plane is in the air so I wanted something BRIGHT!

I searched and really couldn’t find any ready-made flashing modules that would support up to the 3 amps which is what I needed to drive the 10 X 1W high intensity LEDs at 300ma each .

So, I thought I’d share this idea with you.

Most systems run low power LEDs directly from the receiver. But with my desire to run 5 1W LEDs per wing tip for a total of 3 amps, I could never run the LEDs directly off my receiver as that would take all the power from my servos and probably damage the receiver.

And, most importantly, I did not want a simple on/off type strobe – I wanted a double flash then off for about 1 second, then double flash again.
So not being able to find what I needed and a decent price, I decided to get creative and develop my own system.

After a lot of trial and error, I have come up with a system that works great. On each wing, I have 4 Horizontal 40 degree LEDs and one pointing down. So you get a very bright strobe from all directions.

The Flashing circuit and the power set-up is actually a combination of flasher that I using 2 555 timers, a separate 6A, 5V BEC that powers both the flasher and the LEDs (allows me to use this on a 2S all the way up to a to 12S lipo) and a transmitter controlled remote switch which has a 10A solid state relay built in. So no need to worry about interference from magnetic relays and I have lots of power to run my high-power LEDs!
The system is simple. There is a servo type lead coming out of the box with only 2 wires- the ground and the signal. The receiver is not providing any power to anything here. There are 4 more wires coming out -2 for battery and 2 for LEDs. You plug the servo lead into a spare channel on your receiver (that is switched – i.e the gear channel) . Power is pulled directly from the Lipo (spliced them into the Connector that feeds my ESC) and the other 2 wires feed my LEDs . Note- the output voltage is standard BEC 5V but the LEDs are rated at 3.6V. So, I’ve added two 6A diodes in series with the LEDs to drop the voltage to 3.8V ( yes, I am running these at 0.2V higher than spec which is a small risk but not too worried as it’s a strobe and lots of time for heat to dissipate in the off cycle.) . I am also running all the LEDs in parallel without individual resistors… Yes, I know… not the best design and there is some risk if the forward voltage of each LED is not identical. But considering they are strobing, the risk is too low to worry about and the simplicity of just tying the leads together on the LEDs offsets the risk for me! (these LEDs are only a couple bucks a piece – I suggest you do it right with resistors if you use $20 Luxeons)

Operation is simple – As mentioned earlier, rather than powering the remote switch / solid state relay directly from the receiver, I am powering it from the output of the 555 timers. The ground and signal wires of the remote switch are connected to the receiver but not the power feed. When I flip the switch on my transmitter, it signals the relay to close but the power feed is from the 555 which is pulsing and not constant power. i.e., the 555 begins is pulsing power to the remote switch which in turn closes the solidstate relay each time it gets a pulse thereby strobing the LEDs. !

I am very happy with the results so far! Looks great in the sky!

In summary, this design….
[LIST][*]Drives multiple High Intensity (Daylight Visibility) 10mm LEDs with up to 6 Amps power draw in total.[*]Has it’s own BEC for Power (will not pull power away from your servos)[*]Is powered directly from your Lipo (3S to 12S)[*]Unique realistic strobe effect – FLASH FLASH OFF… FLASH FLASH OFF etc.[*]Controlled directly from your transmitter on a spare channel (On/Off)[*]LightWeight and small [*]All Solid State – no moving parts or mechanical relays that cause interference[*]Made to be very simple to install and hook up

Video on youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uJ4K5I3KNDI


Cheers!
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Last edited by RCPlanesGuy; 03-31-2011 at 08:37 PM. Reason: updated video link
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Old 03-30-2011, 12:53 PM   #2
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Re: High Intensity LED Strobes

Let me know when done, would like to see this in action, or give us your YouTube account ID and I will search your uploaded videos.
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Old 03-30-2011, 03:43 PM   #3
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Re: High Intensity LED Strobes

I am using a dimension engineering controller, running Cree Xpg leds, and they have a double flash. They are fully programmable with the de controller.

Something else to think about.

http://www.dimensionengineering.com/...tarterKit.html
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Old 03-30-2011, 03:59 PM   #4
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Re: High Intensity LED Strobes

Intresting, that one sure has a lot of features, question RCPlane Guy, how many lumens is your setup?
(Brightness/intensity factor of light being emitted)
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Old 03-30-2011, 04:00 PM   #5
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Re: High Intensity LED Strobes

Yea, I am sure there are multiple ways to get the end result. Unfortunatly when it comes to electronics, I am very limited in my ability and knowledge. I know the very basics like what a resister is and a capacitor but nothing about programming IC chips. So that's why I opted to go with something I could figure out with my limited knowledge and the help of a youtube video showing how to wire up a 555 chip! How ever it is achieved, having a double flash strobe is really cool !! Thanks for the comments !
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Old 03-30-2011, 04:19 PM   #6
Gooseman240
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Re: High Intensity LED Strobes

Nothing like "doin it urself", you can have pride in that!
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Old 03-30-2011, 07:55 PM   #7
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Re: High Intensity LED Strobes

Good stuff! Definitely visible!

Always seems better when you can design it yourself.
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Old 03-30-2011, 11:34 PM   #8
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Re: High Intensity LED Strobes

Would love to see some form of schematic on this one. Did you source the parts through Digikey or Electrosonic?
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Old 03-31-2011, 08:52 PM   #9
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Re: High Intensity LED Strobes

I don't know much about schematics but there are basic schematics on line for 555 chips that I used. I'll post instructions below and the combination of resistors and Capacitors I used etc.

What you need

555 TIMERS
2 X 555 timers (I got these for $1.00 each from a surplus store. They are about $5.00 at Radioshack / the source)

CAPACITORS
1000 Microfarad Capacitor
100 Micro Farad Capacitor

RESISTORS
390 ohm Resistor ( Orange White Brown Gold Resistor)
330 ohm resistor –Orange Orange Brown
680 ohm (Blue Gray Brown Gold)
120 Ohm (Brown Red Brown)

Relay – Remote switch
I use the Turnigy Remote switch from Hobby King – switch is rated up to 10 Amps!

NOTES
The basic idea behind this is that the first 555 time is set up to be about 1 Second on and 1 Second off. During the 1.5 Second ON, it feeds power to the second 555 time which is set up to rapidly flash (Strobe) the LEDs. So basically the second 555 is being turned on and off at 1 second intervals and while ON, it blinks the LED.

Build the first standard 555 timer circuit but use Capacitor and resistors below

Components Required:
555 Chip
1000 Micro Farad Capacitor
R1 -330 ohm resistor –Orange Orange Brown
R2 – 120 ohm – Brown Red Brown Gold
A couple of short 1 inch pieces of wire to use as jumpers.

1) Connect Black Wire to 1 (This is the Negative )
2) Connect Red with to 8 (This will be the positive)
3) Run a jumper between 4 an 8 AND A Jumper between 2 and 6
4) Connect 1000 Capacitor between 2 and the Black Wire (negative of capacitor to Black wife)
5) Connect R1 resistor between 6 and 7
6) Connect R2 resistor between Positive Red Wire and 7
7) OUT PUT POWER TO FEED SECOND 555 WILL BE between terminal 3 (Positive side) and Black wire
Battery goes on Red and black wire


Build the SECOND 555 timer circuit but use Capacitor and resistors below:

Components Required
555 Chip
100 Micro Farad Capacitor

R1 - 680 ohm Blue Gray Brown Gold
R2 –390 ohm Resistor ( Orange White Brown Gold Resistor)
A couple of short 1 inch pieces of wire to use as jumpers.

1) Connect Black Wire to 1 (This is the Negative )
2) Connect Red with to 8 (This will be the positive)
3) Run a jumper between 4 an 8 AND A Jumper between 2 and 6
4) Connect Capacitor between 2 and the Black Wire (negative of capacitor to Black wife)
5) Connect R1 resistor between 6 and 7
6) Connect R2 resistor between Positive Red Wire and 7
7) OUT PUT POWER TO FEED SOLID STATE RELAY WILL BE between terminal 3 (Positive side) and Black wire
POWER FEED FROM FIRST 555 CHIP - POSITIVE ON Red ( and black wire on 1
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