DIY Night Blades - RCCanada - Canada Radio Controlled Hobby Forum
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Old 10-16-2005, 12:47 PM   #1
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I am: Calvin Martini
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DIY Night Blades

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Following the examples of others, I made myself a set of 315 night blades using the Align 315 woods. They work great and it was a simple project requiring only basic soldering skills. Picking out the parts to order was the toughest part.

Here are the parts I used (all from Digi-Key):
Quantity Part Number Description
2 67-1705-1-ND LED TOP ALINGAP RED 2832 SMD Red
2 67-1706-1-ND LED TOP ALINGAP ORANGE 2832 SMD Orange
2 67-1708-1-ND LED TOP ALINGAP YELLOW 2832 SMD Yellow

I made a template for the battery holders, drilled the mounting holes through the blades, cut the covering slightly smaller than the holder and CAed the holders to the wood blades with thick CA. The holders are mounted so that their retaining circle is pointing outwards - the force of rotation and the heavy spring clips keep the batteries in place. I use 2 16mm 3V lithium coin batteries per blade for 6V.

I ran the circuits for the LEDs using the foil tape cut down to 1/8".

I soldered the LEDs in place. I found it easiest to place a drop of solder on the copper tape one each side of the LED mounting location - then I could simply hold the LED in place and heat the contacts to solder the LEDs in place. In this series configuration, the LEDs are mounted with their cathodes (negative) mounted facing the negative battery connection. I used 3 LEDs per blade (red, orange and yellow), each with the exact same electrical characteristics (2V, 30 mA). By wiring them in series and choosing LEDs with the same electrical characteristics, I didn't need a resistor (6V/3 = 2V per LED). I set the spacing to get 5 LED circles with the blades turning - the Red LEDs on the tips are mounted on opposite faces to provide optimal viewing angle with the blades rotating. The other LEDs are mounted on the leading edge with slight alternating angles - again to optimize the viewing angle.

The circuits are then protected with packing tape.

I use a small tab of clear plastic to break the electrical contact when I store the blades - it's a simple on/off mechanism. The tab slides between the batteries and the holder spring contact and is removed to activate the lights.

The cost is approximately $30 US plus once set of 315 woodies. A nice, fun little project.

There's a nice tutorial on using LEDs here. The tutorial has a link to a very useful online calculator.
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Old 10-16-2005, 09:20 PM   #2
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I am: Jeffrey T
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Nice work! Do you think it would work with the batteries mounted on the head-button?
Need something Extra? Losing your Edge?
Don't Yak all over your CAP, just Suk it up!
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Old 10-17-2005, 03:38 AM   #3
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I am: Calvin Martini
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Riverview, NB, Canada
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# of RCs: 5

Feedback: 8 / 100%
Posts: 1,404
Total Props: 7
One of the users on RC Groups (ThahnTran) uses a tiny lithium rechargable cell on the center hub and uses wire and Dean's mini connectors to connect the cells to the blades. The nice feature of his setup is that the battery is rechargable. The coin cells I'm using cost ~$4 a set (of 4) and last ~30 minutes.
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