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Firehouse ARC V Strobe Review

MavicFlyer

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I just got the strobe yesterday and recommend it without reservations. As a background, I’ve had the Mavic Air for a little over 2 years. I’ve found that even at relatively short distance/height, it’s easy to lose sight of the drone, even if there are no obstructions. If you look down at the remote controller, even for a second, you’ll appreciate a drone with a good strobe. I tried several, and found the ARC2 to be the brightest, and so that was what I bought, both red and white.

Fast forward to this month, and Firehouse has a new strobe. I decided that it was time for an upgrade.

This new model is a step forward in several ways.

The best change is that the strobe is completely enclosed. This protects the circuit board from flexure damage; in the ARC2, the circuit board was the backbone. Attaching and removing the strobe puts stress on the circuit board, risking cracking. With the V, the enclosure does away with the stress, and the flat bottom surface makes it easier to securely attach the drone.

Going from 4 to 5 LEDs is an obvious winner. The case also has a USB port rubber cover, and rubber covered function button.

I’m still waiting to see what kind of third party mounts become available, but for now, I’m going to attach them to the battery (underside of the MA) using 3M Dual Lock low profile.

Note that this is a VERY bright strobe. If you happen to look at it, you will get a temporary “after image”. This was also true with the ARC2. I’ve attached a few pictures, and include the ARC2.

In all these pictures that show the strobe, 3M Dual Lock (low profile) has been attached to the strobe.
DDF225DD-2D7F-45C0-B2B3-C1A49B722579.jpeg7D99EBF7-8FC8-4D7F-ABF4-11536C5531A8.jpeg542CAC6D-B5B6-423F-9BDE-BD7B6DB8DB24.jpegAEBABF3E-21DB-4AC1-8B4D-404ED0D23079.jpegE126CEF7-CF03-4A9A-AFE2-B8AE859055FA.jpegFD094824-EB15-40DB-BDF1-41237CFF0885.jpeg

For the record, my only association with Firehouse is that of customer.
 
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Is the ARC V noticeably brighter than the ARC II when your drone is up in the air a fair distance away?
 
Is the ARC V noticeably brighter than the ARC II when your drone is up in the air a fair distance away?
I have not yet had occasion to fly with the ARC V.
However, I have had the two side by side, and there is a difference, though it's not overwhelming, at least not head on. Think about it, we're talking about the difference between 4 LEDs and 5 LEDs (I assume they use the same LEDs).

The lenses may be different between the II and the V. If so, off-axis brightness would probably vary, even if the number of LEDs was unchanged.

It goes back to what you have now, and what you want to do:

If you don't have a strobe yet, I absolutely recommend the ARC V. Compared to the ARC II, the ARC V wins in every area.

If you already have a good strobe, like the ARC II, I'd keep it, but buy the ARC V to use --in addition to--- the ARC II - this is what I'm going to do - a white ARC V attached to Mavic Air battery, and pointing down, a white ARC II facing forward, attached to a front arm, and a red one on the other front arm.

When you say "at a distance", I'll assume you mean over 500 ft. Distance matters, as does height. If you have a downward facing strobe, it's going to be brightest when the drone is directly overhead, but as you move away, the brightness will drop because you're looking at the strobe from the side. If you're more concerned about visibility at a distance, then you'd want to do a side install or front/back...or do BOTH!
 
I just got the strobe yesterday and recommend it without reservations. As a background, I’ve had the Mavic Air for a little over 2 years. I’ve found that even at relatively short distance/height, it’s easy to lose sight of the drone, even if there are no obstructions. If you look down at the remote controller, even for a second, you’ll appreciate a drone with a good strobe. I tried several, and found the ARC2 to be the brightest, and so that was what I bought, both red and white.

Fast forward to this month, and Firehouse has a new strobe. I decided that it was time for an upgrade.

This new model is a step forward in several ways.

The best change is that the strobe is completely enclosed. This protects the circuit board from flexure damage; in the ARC2, the circuit board was the backbone. Attaching and removing the strobe puts stress on the circuit board, risking cracking. With the V, the enclosure does away with the stress, and the flat bottom surface makes it easier to securely attach the drone.

Going from 4 to 5 LEDs is an obvious winner. The case also has a USB port rubber cover, and rubber covered function button.

I’m still waiting to see what kind of third party mounts become available, but for now, I’m going to attach them to the battery (underside of the MA) using 3M Dual Lock low profile.

Note that this is a VERY bright strobe. If you happen to look at it, you will get a temporary “after image”. This was also true with the ARC2. I’ve attached a few pictures, and include the ARC2.

In all these pictures that show the strobe, 3M Dual Lock (low profile) has been attached to the strobe.
View attachment 107819View attachment 107820View attachment 107821View attachment 107822View attachment 107823View attachment 107824

For the record, my only association with Firehouse is that of customer.
Nice review. I hope that FHT do some good on their Mount for this. I uave FHT Arc 2 and the mount is already in two pieces.
 
I just got the strobe yesterday and recommend it without reservations. As a background, I’ve had the Mavic Air for a little over 2 years. I’ve found that even at relatively short distance/height, it’s easy to lose sight of the drone, even if there are no obstructions. If you look down at the remote controller, even for a second, you’ll appreciate a drone with a good strobe. I tried several, and found the ARC2 to be the brightest, and so that was what I bought, both red and white.

Fast forward to this month, and Firehouse has a new strobe. I decided that it was time for an upgrade.

This new model is a step forward in several ways.

The best change is that the strobe is completely enclosed. This protects the circuit board from flexure damage; in the ARC2, the circuit board was the backbone. Attaching and removing the strobe puts stress on the circuit board, risking cracking. With the V, the enclosure does away with the stress, and the flat bottom surface makes it easier to securely attach the drone.

Going from 4 to 5 LEDs is an obvious winner. The case also has a USB port rubber cover, and rubber covered function button.

I’m still waiting to see what kind of third party mounts become available, but for now, I’m going to attach them to the battery (underside of the MA) using 3M Dual Lock low profile.

Note that this is a VERY bright strobe. If you happen to look at it, you will get a temporary “after image”. This was also true with the ARC2. I’ve attached a few pictures, and include the ARC2.

In all these pictures that show the strobe, 3M Dual Lock (low profile) has been attached to the strobe.
View attachment 107819View attachment 107820View attachment 107821View attachment 107822View attachment 107823View attachment 107824

For the record, my only association with Firehouse is that of customer.

Well we just figured out on a parallel thread that you will be able to get replacement batteries for the ARC 2 from FHT.

Assuming we can get replacements for the ARC V are they replaceable without destroying the unit?

We are all aware these batteries have a finite lifespan.
 
Well we just figured out on a parallel thread that you will be able to get replacement batteries for the ARC 2 from FHT.

Assuming we can get replacements for the ARC V are they replaceable without destroying the unit?

We are all aware these batteries have a finite lifespan.
That's news to me - do you have a link?

They do have a finite lifespan, but I think it'll be a LONG time before they need replacement...rough numbers for how long a charge lasts:
++++ Strobe Mode - 6 hrs.
++++ Flash Mode - 4 hrs.
++++ Steady On Mode - 2 hrs.

Think about how much you fly in a year...how many charge cycles would you use per year?

Assume you fly through 3 batteries in one session, getting 20 minutes per battery, that's 1 hour per day. If you fly 1 day every weekend, you're talking about 50 hrs per year, which is roughly 10 charge cycles per year.

These are estimates, as would be the number of cycles the battery lasts (~200-400). For the amount of flying I do, my Mavic Air will be obsolete by the time the strobes need new batteries.
 
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All my Arc-II's have been and are still running and are about 3 years old. I bought a couple of the "Spark" models and the batteries don't hold a charge and don't last like any of my old Arc-II's. But the XL's I've been using for the last few months are working very well as far as battery run time and holding a charge.
 
I just got the strobe yesterday and recommend it without reservations. As a background, I’ve had the Mavic Air for a little over 2 years. I’ve found that even at relatively short distance/height, it’s easy to lose sight of the drone, even if there are no obstructions. If you look down at the remote controller, even for a second, you’ll appreciate a drone with a good strobe. I tried several, and found the ARC2 to be the brightest, and so that was what I bought, both red and white.

Fast forward to this month, and Firehouse has a new strobe. I decided that it was time for an upgrade.

This new model is a step forward in several ways.

The best change is that the strobe is completely enclosed. This protects the circuit board from flexure damage; in the ARC2, the circuit board was the backbone. Attaching and removing the strobe puts stress on the circuit board, risking cracking. With the V, the enclosure does away with the stress, and the flat bottom surface makes it easier to securely attach the drone.

Going from 4 to 5 LEDs is an obvious winner. The case also has a USB port rubber cover, and rubber covered function button.

I’m still waiting to see what kind of third party mounts become available, but for now, I’m going to attach them to the battery (underside of the MA) using 3M Dual Lock low profile.

Note that this is a VERY bright strobe. If you happen to look at it, you will get a temporary “after image”. This was also true with the ARC2. I’ve attached a few pictures, and include the ARC2.

In all these pictures that show the strobe, 3M Dual Lock (low profile) has been attached to the strobe.
View attachment 107819View attachment 107820View attachment 107821View attachment 107822View attachment 107823View attachment 107824

For the record, my only association with Firehouse is that of customer.
We are now offering strobe mounts for the ARC V on our website in addition to all the other popular strobes:
ARC V For Mavic 2 Series
ARC V For Mavic Air 2
ARC V For Phantom 4 Series
1596249868105.png
 
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My ARC 2 failed after 3 flights. Got new batteries from china. Replace and all ok
 
My ARC 2 failed after 3 flights. Got new batteries from china. Replace and all ok
If you ever have any issues, just reach out to Scott at Firehouse Technology, he has been very good to work with (of course I send him a lot of business so he may treat me better, but I doubt it). I got my first ARC II when it was initially released a few years ago and it's still going strong, you probably just got a bad lipo cell. One time I had an issue with their Lightning strobe and they sent a replacement out right away.
 
Glad to hear that but I am UK and they do not sell them here. But no problem I it going again with new battery
 
I have an ARC V and, so far, it has worked flawlessly. My only problem is that I can't remember to turn it on before I take off!
 
what does each Arc XL , Arc 5, Arc 2 weigh?
does mounting 4 of the XL have a noticeable effect on the performance and battery usage of the Mavic AIr 2?

Thanks
Below are photos of the weight of each of the strobe types you mention. Mounting just 2 doesn't seem to have any noticeable change in flight times, adding 4 decreases flight times by a few minutes.
ARC II Weights.jpg
ARC V Weights.jpg
ARC XL Weights.jpg
 
Thanks for that post, that is fantastic. I am buying your mounts.

I would like to have four lights both arms and legs.

I figure 16.08 x 4 = 64.32

versus Arc XL 21.7 x 4 = 86.8
with arc 5 being slightly less.


Is that 22~ish grams going to make a big difference?
 
Thanks for that post, that is fantastic. I am buying your mounts.

I would like to have four lights both arms and legs.

I figure 16.08 x 4 = 64.32

versus Arc XL 21.7 x 4 = 86.8
with arc 5 being slightly less.


Is that 22~ish grams going to make a big difference?
To be honest the ARC II is still my favorite strobe, it isn't as "Fancy" as the others but it is a little brighter in my opinion. I will be publishing a 2020 strobe shootout in the next couple weeks on YouTube. So far in my testing the ARC II and ARC V are very close in brightness, both beat the ARC XL (they use a slightly different LED in the latest generation of those).
22 grams won't make much difference either way you decide to go.
 
Cool strobe for sure... still like my ARC XLs. They are 1000 lumens and have a locator alarm sound for finding after a crash and visible for 3.5 miles.

If I didn’t own the above I might look seriously at the ARC V
 
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I use the XL's on my fixed wing aircraft. The XL's are a bit more visible at a 90 degree angle than the Arc-II's probably due to the plastic dome that covers them. For size though, the Arc-II's are the choice for my drones but YMMV. The XL's are...well extra large compared to the Arc-II's. Firehouse does make even smaller options that the Arc-II's but I wouldn't go that way because of less run times and the fact that they are much dimmer.
 
Cool strobe for sure... still like my ARC XLs. They are 1000 lumens and have a locator alarm sound for finding after a crash and visible for 3.5 miles.

If I didn’t own the above I might look seriously at the ARC V
@Thomas B if I remember correctly you got your ARC XL's earlier on in production, do yours have 5 or 6 LED's? The ones with 6 are a different LED that isn't as bright in my opinion, not sure why they changed it. See below, old on the right, new on the left. Both are still extremely bright and meet the 3SM FAA requirement.
PXL_20201015_215314281.jpg
 
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