AC Holic

Archive for July, 2009

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.

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

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

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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.

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Powered up and ready to fly.

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Life Changing Event!

by on Jul.30, 2009, under Asheron's Calls Chronicle

Flashback 1999

As with most games, after awhile no matter how good the game is at the time of its original release and with no new contents or game play, it will get boring and people move on to the next latest and greatest. This combined with the fact that during that time, PC hardware was making leaps and bounds and game developers were fast to take advantage of this in order to impress their followers with new eye candy.  Heavy Gear was no exception, by the summer of 1999, our original group of HG players went on to to experiment with various other multiplayer offerings including the excellent Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Rogue Spear.

Up to this point, although the games we played were multiplayer in nature, it was generally limited to a dozen or so players as once.  They also need to be connected to one of the player’s PC acting as the host to synchronize game play.  Massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) was a new concept and we all looked forward to really seeing what it would be liked to have hundreds or even thousands of players that can interact with each other.

Theses next generation games promise a persistent environment where possessions, player abilities, and achievements can be maintained. This coupled with vast interactions with other players and huge playable area that included world map that one can run on seamlessly for days and not see the boundaries as oppose to a few limited landscape or scenario maps was an eye opener. Finally, an engaging lore and monthly content updates that can be influenced by actions that players take on the server was just too good to be true and solved all the shortcomings of all previous games.

Enter Asheron’s Call on that faithful day: November 2nd, 1999…..

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HeliLights

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

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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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Do you recognize this house?

by on Jul.18, 2009, under Random Rants

Finally, I have a place to post this.

One night in October of 2006, while driving home, I found these guys shooting a big budget movie on my street!!!!  Pretty cool how they made all the fake snow.  All this for a 30 second clip at the end of a movie.

I am not going to name the movie; I wonder if anyone recognizes the set. Reply with the name of the movie if you can!  (Hint: The movie stars Hayden Christensen, Samuel L. Jackson)

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