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I got a gift card for Christmas for some geek stuff, and thought I could turn it into a more advanced rev lighting.  I figured this could be a fun project with my skill set.

I've a strip of fully programmable lights (5 meters, 300 lights), an acceleration + gyro chip, a bluetooth chip so I can control it by my tablet, and a 9v battery attachment, all plugged into an Arduino board.

I've spent a few hours the past two weekends getting the parts figured out and a mockup made, and I've got some simple patterns identified and programmed.  As typical, videos of light shows aren't nearly as pretty as the actual light shows.

 

I also have a "sudden stop" that flashes red for a quarter second, not shown in the video.  Those are the patterns on the slowest speed, moving one pixel at a time. They can be made MUCH faster.

 

I'm planning on attaching the patterns to acceleration forward/back and left/right to pull the lights to the side as long as the speed is increasing, then return to neutral. That should give long arc-wise turns throwing the lights to one edge, and launch/landings to have the lights bounce around. I want the circles attached to bicycle spins.  And sudden stops on ground or midair will have the red flash.

Any other ideas to program in to the thing before I start attaching it to a real kite?

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I've done a little with lights, and back then I thought fully programmable lights would be MUCh better.  Even static lights look amazing, and color-cycling lights look cool, so responsive lights would be that much more fun.

I've got some acceleration data, but the math for acceleration at an angle is tricky.

There is a chance I'll make the 6-hour drive to SPI and maybe show them off.  Unfortunately I'm guessing my work schedule won't turn out well, but there is a chance...

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This will be one of the coolest kite things I've seen. Maybe a green flash when kite starts either from ground or hover.

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A bunch of us are using lights developed by Mario di Lucca from Island Quad, a team from Canada. They are set on your verticals, form a sort of "magic stick" style stand off, and back light the kite. Plain white LED's so far and no sequencing, changing colors, etc, but pretty solid. Older models had everything electronic on an exposed breadboard. Over the last 2 years, they have improved it a bunch - all components snap on the vertical ( light standard, battery), and a fancy loop that goes out to the end of the LE. Remove the cap, place loop over rod, put cap back on. The older models pretty much made you dedicate a set of verticals just for them. About the batteries - he uses 3.7 Lithium Ion, same size as a double "AA", you need 2, one for each vertical. Think I got 4 batteries and a dedicated charger for $20, the lights around $75.

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9 hours ago, Wayne Dowler said:

Think I got 4 batteries and a dedicated charger for $20, the lights around $75.

I've seen that type.  They're neat.

The whole collection of parts for me was $68, plus time for developing the code behind it.  The lights were by far the most expensive part, at $36.

I'm struggling with the best way to attach everything. Snapping onto spars is good.  For this, I think I'm going to use some strong tape around the edge. It may leave a bit of sticky residue, but should be fine.

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Mario is having some parts of his - 3D printed.Not sure if the battery holder and light standard are, but parts for sure. I have his older style lights and he had a certain part printed as a replacement for what he had used originally. Made setup much easier.

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Didn't get video, but the first flight attempt wasn't great. Let's just say I learned things.

I talked with Mario a bit at SPI festival today, and he had some ideas. He said his lighting rig is around 30 grams, but it is much simpler. With the microcontroller and breadboard and backer and large battery and the long light strip, mine is over 300 grams and feels like a tank. I can probably drop 50-75 grams easily, but the battery will be my biggest issue. I need at least 700 milliamps on 5 volts so a USB battery works perfectly, but the things are heavy.

I tried it again here at SPI, but light winds made it impossible to launch.

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Weight and durably affixed are the 2 most important issues, Mario will have a east  coast version for sticks after testing sessions at SPI pointed out our concerns clearly, excited too!

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I can get the light strip down to about 100 grams by removing the waterproofing, and I can get down to 74 grams for the microcontroller, gyroscope, and bluetooth by using soldering things together rather than plugging to a breadboard.  To attach it I was using 2" clear packing tape around the border, which probably adds single-digit grams.  With the battery that puts me about 260 g, but I need another weekend of progress to build it out.

Still to heavy for a standard rev?

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not too heavy, just severely limiting the opportunities to use the rig, unless it's windy & steadily blowing

forget the lights, just apply the battery weight to the leading edge and see how it flies.  Can you take an SUL single skinned Rev down to 5mph and still do your stuff?  What happens if you moved the battery weight to the top of the down-spars (behind the leading edge and sail)?  Does that matter to your flight dynamics?

If it is super powerful visually, it is probably heavy too, can you circumvent the flaw and keep the glory?

Lights force you to use a lighter weight frame and a sail with less venting, .... or NONE at all, even when you know you should!

The lightest weight set-up for all conditions is your buddy with a 5 mil candle-watt powered spot-light following you across the sky on your holographic mylar sail 

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At 260 gr, you are almost doubling a stock quad's weight! Most come in at 9 - 12 oz. As Paul said - not a complete deal breaker, but severely hampers the performance. 

I would definitely try playing around with the balance and shed as much weight as possible.

There was a fellow up here in Salem, OR that has done something similar to what you are doing. I only see him at WSIKF in August. Never seen his rig sitting on the ground, only flying. Pretty cool looking setup in the air, just not sure how he did it.

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Does Mario di Lucca sell the lights himself or does he go thru a re-seller?  Would enjoy getting a set to play with.

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there's a web-site he has, but I can't remember the name of it.  I'd rather support my favorite retailer/re-seller even if it means a higher cost overall to my family.  Mario had some at SPI in Bill and Susie's kite shop, but not designed for application on magic sticks specifically.  I'm "in" when those are ready though.

5 of us beat a kite unmercifully night flying for an hour, so Mario knows exactly what our expectations are for durability, slack lining and rolled-up into the lines on the sand face down (glowing crab's eyestalks?) as he was "crew" on his baby.  Heck the next day he shared revised plans for 3D printing the parts!

Not the lightest weight solution, but super bright, even thru a black sail backlit,

and sissy-stick users don't need a second stick or his support structure 'cause that crap's there already

excited, thanks Mario and your team!

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