Anybody ever fly at night?

Discussion in 'Cinestar Misc' started by Morgan Friedland, Sep 17, 2013.

  1. Morgan Friedland

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    My sons Cub Scout pack needs a drone for a ceremony during our big fall camp out. They need sound and lights and no camera. I mounted a big jambox under the bird (no gimbal) and it is pretty loud. Working on rc switching led lights for skit purposes.

    But I am nervous about doing this. I feel like I need some bright landing lights or something to help bring it down. Maybe I'm just looking for excuse not to do it.

    M.
     
  2. Brad Meier

    Brad Meier Active Member
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    Flying at night isnt too much of a problem but you have to be aware of your surroundings and obstacles. In your situation I would be more concerned about the flying over a crowd of Cub Scouts.
     
  3. Steve Maller

    Steve Maller UAV Grief Counselor

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    Pardon my saying so, but this is a really dumb idea. I'd get a couple of extension ladders and lash them together. Or rent a bucket lift. You're not going to be limited in time, and it's going to be way safer. And you get to watch the ceremony.
     
  4. Morgan Friedland

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    It is not to be used as a remote PA system. The aerial portion of the skit is probably 5 minutes long and as to do with Explorers, future, time machine, blah blah. Of course I would never fly over the group. Would probably be 25 meters down wind and maybe 5 meters high. I'm not thrilled about doing it either but it would fulfill a lot of my volunteer duties for the year;)

    I have been thinking about changing the lights to conform more to aviation/nautical standards. Has anybody found a LED bulb that would slip into the end of a boom and provide a more narrow field of view like a 30-45 degree arc. The idea being when the UAV is flying low and level to my head, I have a hard time seeing the boom lights. Having additional lights shine straight out the boom would be beneficial.
     
  5. Gary Haynes

    Gary Haynes Administrator
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    Morgan you can get lights from rc-lights.com. Stop at the hardware store and get some plastic plugs for the end of the booms. Drill appropriate hole in the plug to mount the lights. I've got 2 reds on the back boom, 3 has a red and 7 has a green. I use them for orientation in flight and the two reds are visible in bright sunshine. If you don't have led position strips on your booms it would be hard to see. But if you do shouldn't have a problem. Jeff Scholl has some great night videos of the ski area where he lives. Way cool. And since you won't go over the crowd it ought to be a fun flight.
     
  6. Adam Paugh

    Adam Paugh Distributor

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    I had my first night flight a few weeks ago. The main thing I would recommend is be aware of how your eyes adjust to the LED lights on the kopter. I have lights on my hexa that face down and some that face out. At power up the outward facing lights were blinding. I gave myself a few minutes to adjust and took off. The flight was 10-12mins and during that time my eyes adjusted to low light again. When I came into land at low battery warning the LEDs were blinding again...it was terrifying.

    The flight was over a small pond and the visual display was pretty cool, however next time I would land nose in b/c the hi-intensity green on the tail almost botched the landing.

    There is an urban legend when driving a car at night to close one eye when lights from oncoming traffic approaches to avoid losing night vision. Maybe this would hold true in this case as well, but I did not try that.

    Greetings,
    Adam
     
  7. Morgan Friedland

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    Thanks for the great ideas guys. I bought some RC switches at rc-lights.com so I can turn-off and/or dim the lights for take off and landing.
     
  8. Shaun Stanton

    Shaun Stanton Active Member

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    I actually find flying at night, sans a lot of obstacles way easier. Most of my initial flights were at night from the roof of my studio. I use a switch also and I bought some small LED lights that have their own battery source to stuff inside the booms so I can shut the main lights off in flight and not get bleed over into the cameras one of the first realized we had to do.

    I use these I just cinch them in between the motor wires in the boom tips. I found that I could discern the copter at night with these at 400 feet in alt and about 500 feet away from me. I consider these my inert lights that allow for night navigation while not disrupting the camera sensor. I have the Overts that I can switch on at any time in an Emergency or if I need to see the aircraft better.
    [​IMG]
     
  9. Shaun Stanton

    Shaun Stanton Active Member

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    Here is a night video that we shot early in our infancy with this stuff. It was our first Radian test flight :) My cam ops pan stick reversed and he let me know after I landed :mad:

     
  10. Shaun Stanton

    Shaun Stanton Active Member

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    Maybe a light controller in the synapse? A setting where you can dial in intensity on a 3 position switch like Off, Medium, full bright or an option to use a vario knob and set it similar to a cars dash lights where you can dial the intensity as you go. Since I only have a DX8 I am wasting a good position just to turn them on and off. It would have been cool if MK had a middle position for them.

    Shaun
     
  11. Andy Johnson-Laird

    Andy Johnson-Laird Administrator
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    Or just tape some ND gel over the LEDs?

    Andy.
     
  12. Shaun Stanton

    Shaun Stanton Active Member

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    I suppose so, although its nice to have the flexibility to dim them or shut them off for the camera and turn on the necessary brightness as needed.

    Shaun
     
  13. Andy Johnson-Laird

    Andy Johnson-Laird Administrator
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    For a long time I've been wondering whether, with the MK Extension PCB and the OUT 1 and 2 masks in MK Tool you could vary the duty cycle of the boom LEDs so that they would appear to dim. Anyone tried it?

    Andy.
     
  14. Shaun Stanton

    Shaun Stanton Active Member

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    I might try that and see I thought played with it before and didn't notice anything I thought about putting an arduino nano in between to control the pulse width for the lights.
     
  15. Andy Johnson-Laird

    Andy Johnson-Laird Administrator
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    If you've already got the Extension PCB and the MK FC, then you can control the pattern and the timing of the LEDs....but I'm not sure you can effectively do the kind of PWM that you'd need.

    Andy.
     

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