DIY LED strobe

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JBPeterson

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I built my own LED strobe (and nav) system and wrote a note about it for the local EAA chapter, which is posted here
Jeff Peterson Lancair 360

The circuit is pretty simple, something that most builders could manage, I think.

Yes there are commercial LED strobes, but sometimes it is fun to do it yourself.

The plane is not flying yet so I can't report on reliability.

-Jeff
 

autoreply

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Thanks for sharing Jeff, that's an interesting read. Do you think the alu plate is a large enough heat dump for ground operations in hot conditions?
 

JBPeterson

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I have run it for an hour in the hangar and it did not overheat.
The average power of the strobe circuit is 20 watts per side.
Compare that to the incandescent Whelen red or green nav light which runs at 2 amps, or 28 watts.
Anyway, my usual practice is to turn on the strobe just as I take the runway for takeoff. I don't anticipate leaving it on
with the plane at rest on a hot day.
In flight there should be plenty of airflow for cooling.

I have seem some designs that include a CPU fan and a finned heatsink to provide cooling
during taxi. I chose to try the less less complex solution first.

-Jeff
 

Vigilant1

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Jeff,
Thanks, this looks like a nice installation. Two questions:
1) With the arrays for the colored nav lights mounted as they are, how are the L and R position lights able to meet the FAA requirement to put out 5 candles at up to 110 degrees off the nose (i.e. 20 degrees aft of the wingline?) (FAR Part § 23.1391: Minimum intensities in the horizontal plane of position lights -- FAA FARS, 14 CFR )
2) Has there been any "static" about two vs a single source for the white light off the tail? The FAR says (emphasis added) " ... a single rear position light may be installed in a position displaced laterally from the plane of symmetry of an aircraft if: . . ." It's a minor point, but the FAA isn't known for flexibility. And I could see their rationale: "When pilots see two white nav lights, it means two airplanes are out there headed away from them . . ."

Anyway, thanks very much for the posting. This is a nice project.
 

JBPeterson

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Thanks for the feedback.

On the first point I think I am OK. The LED arrays are angled 30 degrees which should give me >5 cd at 110 degrees.

On the second point you may be right that two sources of the white nav. light would be confusing.
Usually, the strobe would be on, and then the synchronized flashes from the two sides
would then let aircraft to the rear know there is just one A/C.

To satisfy the "single source" reg., I could turn one side off, but then the tail would block some angles.

Maybe I will use all four white rear-facing LEDs on each side as strobes and add a 10W LED on the rudder. I could use a
lucite light pipe to keep the heat sink forward of the hinge pins.

-Jeff
 

Joe Fisher

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There are a lot of airplanes with the white tail light on the wing tips. Just look at the Wheilen lights in the Aircraft Spruce Cat. The Piper Tommie hawks all have white tail lights on the wing tips.
 

David Moyer

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Dec 27, 2019
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I built my own LED strobe (and nav) system and wrote a note about it for the local EAA chapter, which is posted here
Jeff Peterson Lancair 360

The circuit is pretty simple, something that most builders could manage, I think.

Yes there are commercial LED strobes, but sometimes it is fun to do it yourself.

The plane is not flying yet so I can't report on reliability.

-Jeff
Jeff,
Looking to see if you have the post as it is no longer available. Thanks in advance.

David
 

rv7charlie

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That link is over 9 years old. There have been a *huge* advancements in LED tech since then; you should be able to achieve the same results with simpler hardware now.
 

cluttonfred

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Here's a $10 multimode strobe controller that's good for up to 2 amps. You could connect it to a couple of bright 360-degree red or white bulbs in automotive bulb holders under free-blown lenses or clear plastic jars for ant-collision lights, or use it to control two off-road auxiliary lights as landing lights through a three-position switch for off-flash-on.



The same source also sells an even simpler $5 pulsating strobe module for up to 1.25 amps or a $9 LED motorcycle turn signal flasher good for up to 12 amps so there are lots of possibilities.
 

rv7charlie

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Will that controller 'remember' the last mode, when it's powered off and back on? The toughest thing about a lot of the multifunction devices (including the ones built into flashlights) is that you can't lock them in the mode you want when you power them up. You don't want to get 'wigwag' when you flip the switch for landing. ;-)
 

cluttonfred

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Yes, according to the description:

"Multi-Function Strobe Controller with right and left outputs and 10 alternating dynamic strobe modes. LED indicator lights on controller demonstrate the mode selected. Power-cycle mode retention allows your light to return to the mode that was selected before it was powered off. Use for LED emergency, warning and hazard lights. 12-24VDC operation. 2 Amp max load. Mount using included double-sided adhesive. Price per unit."
 

cluttonfred

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Or there's this option from Aircraft Spruce for $229. :-/

 

milegrin

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Hi
Not to hi-jack the thread; in the second link posted jpeterson lancair, there is a photo of a DiY Angle of Attack diagram. Does anyone have anymore information on it? Looks interesting and I am keen to try build one to compare to the SNOOB DiY AoA based on the Dwyer Minihelic gauge.
avionics-diy-aoa-jeff_peterson-diy-angle_of_attack.jpg
 

rv7charlie

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No actual info, but the only question I'd have about the circuit is that there doesn't seem to be any way to calibrate it to individual installations. Otherwise the circuit looks like it would function properly.

A couple of other options; cheap & simple, and not so cheap or simple, but highly researched and documented:
AOA_kit

Home | FlyONSPEED

Most experienced users say that a varying tone is much more useful than lights and/or a single buzzer at stall.

Charlie
 

Yellowhammer

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Born In Alabama, reside: Louisiana (unfortunately)
Strobes N' More LED Flasher - StrobesNMore.com

That's the one I used. Yes it remembers the last function selected. I put it on almost a year ago and forgot about it. Simple, no radio noise, and plenty of patterns to choose from. Also has a function that allows a "steady on" if you want to.

I really appreciate you sharing that with all of us.. I plan on buying this soon. No radio noise and interference is awesome.

Yellowhammer
 

Moosedude

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I really appreciate you sharing that with all of us.. I plan on buying this soon. No radio noise and interference is awesome.

Yellowhammer
no problem mate. I'm a bit of an LED nerd, even built my own landing lights. Love seeing it out there too. Post a picture if you get it done, would love to see what you come up with
 

cluttonfred

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Couldn't you calibrate the installation by varying the angle of the sensor probe rather than adjusting the circuit?

No actual info, but the only question I'd have about the circuit is that there doesn't seem to be any way to calibrate it to individual installations. Otherwise the circuit looks like it would function properly.
 
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