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Thread: LED Helicopter Navigation Light Kit

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  1. Question LED Helicopter Navigation Light Kit 
    #1
    I know some of you have installed the LED light kit on your Blade CX. What I want to know is HOW you did it. Pictures are always nice for an anti-intelligent person like myself.

    So, bottom line, I want to know how YOU installed the kit. Can it be done without a soldering gun?

    Thank you, in advance, for your information!
     

  2.  
    #2
    Join Date
    09-05-2002
    Location
    Boregon, USA
    Posts
    0
    To answer the bottom line: yes, but you can also put a screw in with a hammer. But you wouldn't use a hammer, would you?

    Soldering is one of the staples of this hobby along with a Dremel, get them both.

    LED's are pretty easy to do on your own, they sell kits for them but I've had more trouble with the kits than building my own. The wires are always way lighter than need be and break easily, and every one I've had the lights have burned out.

    Radio Shack is phasing out their blinking lights, which sucks, but you can still get solid LED's there for now. Pick up a pack of resistors too, varying from 100 ohms to 1000 ohms. Once you have a cheap soldering iron, the resistors, a handful of the smallest red, green, and white LED's you can find, some lightweight single-strand wire, you're ready to start. I've found if you strip out the wiring from an old telephone cord, this wire is perfect.

    Also a good thing to have is a low temp glue gun, but you can use clear silicone glue instead.

    We will be powering the lights off the BX battery. I'll explain how to splice that in later, but BLACK is negative, (-), and RED is positive (+).

    OK the first thing you need to do is figure out how to wire the lights. You can wire them in SERIES or PARALLEL. I'll explain it in series because that's all you need to do for the front and rear "harnesses" of the heli. Then the two will be spliced into the main power in parallel, that is, black to black, red to red.

    You will basically create two circuits, one for the front and one for the rear. + and - will connect into the power harness coming from the 4-in-1:

    Front of heli:

    (-) ---- resistor ---- red ----- headlight ------ green ------- (+)

    Remember RED LIGHT is port (left) and GREEN LIGHT is starboard (right.) When you fly at night this is good to know. :-)

    For the rear of the heli, we will have one spotlight under the tail and one at the tip:

    (-) ----- resistor ------ spotlight ------ red -------- (+)

    The deal with the resistors is that if you power the lights off the battery without them they won't last very long. You need to use resistors based on the combined amp draw of the LED's in each circuit.

    WHAAAAAAT?

    The short story: put a 200 - 220 ohm resistor on the REAR harness and a 150-180 ohm resistor on the front harness. The resistors will have color codes on the package to help you figure out the resistance.

    If you want it quick and easy Google for LED kit - most of those come with the resistors built in. But those are the ones I have had die. And are not near as much fun to build.

    For a pictoral example of how this works, and why you need to to it, and more help on resistors and LED's, go to this page:

    LED Calculator

    You will notice when you calculate for 3 LED's, he suggests 2 resistors. Not really necessary, mine works fine with one.

    So now you solder everything together as shown above. When soldering LED's, make sure you get the polarity right or they won't light up. Look at the closeups on this page to figure out where the negative and positive pole is on an LED (A picture is worth 1000 words . . . )

    Once the wires are all soltered to the LED's and resistors, use a small hobby knife to cut the holes in the canopy, and fix the LED's to the inside of the canopy with hot melt glue or silcone glue (RED TO PORT!)

    Getting the LED's in the tail is pretty tricky - the top of the tail fin is CA'd and you have to carefully separate it a little bit to work the red light in from the inside. Allow the white to poke out the bottom of the fuselage near the tail for a spotlight.

    So now we're down to the last part, attaching the wires to the 4-in-1 main power. If you strip off a tiny bit of insulation from the red and black wires, you can wrap the two (-) wires from the front and back lights around the black, and the two (+) wires around the red, and carefully solder them in. Be sure to wrap the solder points up well, you can use electrical tape but I disassemble the harness and use shrink wrap (a bit complex for this explanation.) You want to make sure these solder points are well insulated - a lipo will explode if shorted out.

    An option here, one I like to do, is to solder a Deans micro connector to the harness and then solder the wires for the lights to the mating connector so you can disconnect the lights and remove them with the canopy/fuselage. This becomes important when you crash into the tree you didn't see in the dark.

    Plug it in and the lights should illuminate immediately. If they don't, you have a poor solder connection or one of the LED's backwards.

    In the bottom pic you can see my first experiment I screwed up and put the white light at the top of the tail. DON'T MAKE THIS MISTAKE. When you fly at night when the tail turns toward you it will blind you and you'll crash.
    Last edited by rocknbil; 08-20-2011 at 06:36 PM.
     

  3. Thanks! 
    #3
    Wow, thank you for the information! I am sure to bookmark this page for future reference. I wound up buying the quick & easy kit from superbrightleds.com. Being a novice, I felt most comfortable with that.

    I found it difficult working with such small parts having fat fingers and all. Eventually, I got it to work. I'm not real happy with the splice at the batter cable, but it's got a good solder and taped up (no heat shrink).

    My question to you is two part. How did you get the light in the top of the tail boom? Did you just cut a slice in the back and pull the LEDs up? Secondly have you noticed any decreas in flight times? I know LEDs pull very little current, but every little bit adds up!

    I have a video of the final product online. Only thing is, when I converted from AVI format to MPG, it sped the frames up. The first few seconds are in the dark, the last few are with the light on. Let me know what you think!

    Here's the link... CLICK ME
     

  4.  
    #4
    Join Date
    09-05-2002
    Location
    Boregon, USA
    Posts
    0
    Those kits are the ones I told you about, don't expect them to last. I've been through two and one-half of them, in fact that's what's pictured above. The first kit the front harness was inoperable out of the bag (they sent a replacement immediately) and the other two blinked out within a week.

    The way I got into the tail was to first cut the tiny hole in the tip for the red LED (or red/white combo above.) Then you have to CAREFULLY cut and split the seam a little along the top and back to get it to open ever so slightly. Like I said it's CA'ed in. When in position, run some CA back in the seam, and hot melt glue it into place.

    Hemostats, long sticks with tape, and lots of patience are required.

    I see almost no decrease in flight times. I still get between 12 and 15 minutes, longest was 17. It's when you start strapping cams to it the flight times drop.
     

  5. Smile led kits for cx2 heli 
    #5
    has any body got a drawing for building a flashing strobe set ???
    and what parts are needed? thanks all
     

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