AC Holic


HeliLIghts Mini Build Plans

by on Aug.09, 2009, under Hobbies

Here are the HeliLights schematics, pcb layout and HeliLights Mini hex file for those who would like to build one for their models.  If you do, please drop me a note in the comments.  I would love to see a picture of the model that you incorporated this into.

HeliLights Mini Schematic

parts placementPCB Top

Build Notes:

  • The pcb layouts should be printed at 300 dpi to generate actual size patterns.
  • R4 = 3.3K for 2s Lipo battery, low battery warning is set at 6.35 volts.
  • Pin 2 of the 3 pin header (SV1)  is to be connected directly to + of the battery, it is NOT part of the servo plug that goes to the reciever.  Pin1 and 3 should be plugged into the reciever’s Gear/Aux channel.  1 being ground and 3 being signal.  Use a proportional channel if possible rather than just a switched channel as the various modes are accessed depending on the PWM of this channel.
  • The ATTiny85 must have its Reset fuse set. ie: RSTDISBL checked.  Clock is internal RC 8MHz.  No divide by 8 ie. CKDIV8 not set.
  • Since the reset line (pin 1) is needed for IO, once it is disabled in the fuse setting, no further in-circuit programming can be done.   So be careful to program the chip correctly, then set the RSTDISBL fuse. You only have one chance at this unless you have a way to erase the chip using high voltage program mode.

Please use your common sense – Standard Disclaimer

Information presented on this web site should be used as a guide or educational purposes only. No warranty, either express or implied is made with respect to the suitability or correctness of the information contained herein. AC Holic or its author Rex shall not be held responsible for any loss, inconvenience, damage (whether special or consequential) or claims arising out of the use of the information contained on this site.
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HeliLights Flight Test

by on Aug.04, 2009, under Hobbies

Had some time on the long weekend and made a video with the HeliLights in flight.

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Installing HeliLights

by on Jul.31, 2009, under Hobbies

Finally, got around to installing the Helilights onto my Blade CX2 helicopter.  This CX2 has the extreme body parts upgrade as they are tougher than the stock body in a flying model.

HeliLights pcb fits nicely under the radio and the speed controller.


Blue police flashers installed to both body sides  and the red rotating beacon simulator on top.


The Red/Green navigation lights are 603 sized surface mount LEDs.  They are tiny and embeds nicely into the thin plastic stabilizer wing.  The white flasher sits on the tail enclosed by an LED panel cap.  All wires are hidden inside the carbon fiber tube.


Powered up and ready to fly.

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by on Jul.26, 2009, under Hobbies

After working over the design a few days and prototyping it on a solderless breadboard, I came up with a first generation working pcb.  One of the interesting aspects of the design is how the rotating beacon is imitated by a single non-moving high brightness red LED.  If you ever paid any attention to how these mechanical beacons looked at a fair distance away, you would notice how they seem to fade in and out in addition to what looks like a short flash when the reflector is directly shining on your eyes.  Well, this is exactly how it is simulated. The single red LED follows a slow ramp up and down with a sharp peak in between.  Here are a few pics and a short video showing those of you that I had lost in my previous post; what I was talking about all this time :P





I will mount this first board onto my small co-axial Blade-CX model and shoot another video in a few days to show the final result.

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Let’s see the light!

by on Jul.18, 2009, under Hobbies

One of my many senseless time sinks in life…umm hobbies, is radio controlled flying models of airplanes and helicopters. I decided to make them a little more realistic by adding some light effects. I am thinking, well, after I crash them (which is just a matter of time with my flying skills), I can turn them into static display models. :P

After a bit of research googling aviation lighting systems, I had my initial design in mind. It’s going to need a small micro processor to sequence a number of LEDs to simulate the many flashing patterns typically found on these systems. Before I knew it, I had these goals for the design:

  1. Standard Navigation lights (similar to the red and green lights you see on the port/starboard sides of boats). These lights are normally just constantly on. Easy!!!
  2. White Navigation light at tail end. This one can be just on or strobing.
  3. Anti-collision warning beacon. This one is a little tricky since normally they are mechanical rotating reflectors inside a dome. Going to have to find a way to simulate that with a non-moving light. More on that later.
  4. Landing or Spot light. I am thinking of using a higher power 3 watts LED to simulate the Nightsun police search lights. That implies a driver to buffer the output from the micro.
  5. Blue police strobes? Hmm, can always substitute these with ultra small surface mount yellow LEDs to simulate muzzle flashes on gun ships.
  6. With all the extra demands on the battery, might be a good idea to include a low battery voltage warning flash pattern before I create another reason for my models to crash besides my flying skill.
  7. All these different lights needed to be able to be controlled from an extra channel on the radio.
  8. A way to easily program and change the flash patterns would be nice.
  9. All of this has to weigh in at less than 10 grams.

Hopefully, I will have something working in a few days…

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