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Strobe lights/spot lights/any lights: What to do?

Buel

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Hi all.

Quick question: I enjoy flying at night but would really like to 'spice things up a little' regarding adding lights to my drone. What are your thoughts on what to try? I am a little confused my strobes, etc...?
 
the biggest problem with adding lights to the Mini 2, or any 250g drone for that matter, is the weight of the lights plus where do you actually put them, without compromising the lower sensors ,or the GPS module on the top ,and also the impact that fitting them could have on flight time and performance
 
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Good question......let me add a different question - has anyone any good footage of what this looks like? Do the strobes point down?

Most strobes can be set to strobe, as well as a faster flash, or solid light.
The light goes where you point the strobe of course, but usually there is no reflector, so it’s a wide soft light.
Lume cube spotlights focus more, but honestly would be really clunky / too heavy on a Mini 2.

You’d be best Velcro fitting something like the firehouse arcII white strobes 4 leds each) under 1, 2, 3, or even 4 arms so they point down.
Fit as required for daytime flights (probably only need one to find it when looking up), or 1 to 4 strobing as needed for same purpose night flight, or set them solid light for vision of the ground in a wide soft light, but not great for distances.

There are plenty of videos on YouTube (or here with a search of strobe threads) showing strobes in operation.
 
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it states in the new CAA cap 1789 that from the 22nd July 2022, that in order to fly a drone at night then it will have to have a green flashing light fitted to the top
 
;)Hi all.

Quick question: I enjoy flying at night but would really like to 'spice things up a little' regarding adding lights to my drone. What are your thoughts on what to try? I am a little confused my strobes, etc...?
Hi, here is my solution - works great! I use it cause I wanna see it myself.. I don't care about the weight as I don't belive that a swedish "drone-police" will carry a scale to check my Mini2 and every gram.

THANX Bodkin to remind me to warn about landing!!! YES! It's important that you handcath the drone with the strobe!

Best from Sweden www.facebook.com/photo2besweden
 

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Most LED strobes I've seen are bare LED chips, giving a 30 to 45 degree cone of light. None I've seen provide a 180x360 dome of light. I use a Lucorb, it is tri-color, so gives white red and green zones. I frosted the lens (acetone on the clear ABS or PC). The strobe now provides a very nice 180x360 dome of light. And, it remains visible to 3 miles on a dark night in the middle of nowhere (planted it on a hill top and drove out three miles). In daylight, it is visible about 500 feet more than the Air2 without. At 17 grams, it takes a mini over the 250g limit, of course. But one 17g strobe is a lot better for flight than four or five 13 gram strobes some people claim they use.
 
Good question......let me add a different question - has anyone any good footage of what this looks like? Do the strobes point down?
Something I had made for my mini 2. Got a friend to 3D print a bottom light mount, then modified it to fit the strobe I have. Weighs in at 249g. When first attempting to mount the light I simply stuck some velcro on the bottom away from the air vents. It worked great until I attempted to land and smacked right into the ground one night. Turns out the strobe was blocking the landing sensors...
 

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the biggest problem with adding lights to the Mini 2, or any 250g drone for that matter, is the weight of the lights plus where do you actually put them, without compromising the lower sensors ,or the GPS module on the top ,and also the impact that fitting them could have on flight time and performance
it states in the new CAA cap 1789 that from the 22nd July 2022, that in order to fly a drone at night then it will have to have a green flashing light fitted to the top
There is a lot to consider. More things to deal with in the UK than in the states. Let's assume that almost automatically you're going to be over the 250g classification. If that isn't an issue, then some of it has to deal with how powerful the drone is because obviously the motors will have to compensate for more weight how ever heavy or light. But having said that, a Mini 2 does pretty well with strobes if you choose the right ones.

On my Mini 2 I will typically, during the day fly with one strobe on the bottom, a Firehouse ARC II or ARC V and a red and green strobe, either mounted on the front arms or front and back of the Mini 2. On the Mini 2 the R/G strobes are small, about 4g each. The ARC II is about 8g and the ARC V 13g. At night I'll also add and ARC V to the top (clear... thought Firehouse makes a green one but unsure if Firehouse is available in the UK).

Below is are images of how I set up the strobes on my Mavic 2 Pro for night flying. During the day I do not use a strobe on top. Also I've attached images of different strobe configurations on my Mini. Again on the Mini I often do R/G front and back, sometimes using the "headlight" attachment on the front for red (for better orientation.

I would imagine that the additional weight cuts my flight time but I don't do range tests and really don't time my flights. But one would think that the bigger the drone the better it handles the small extra weight of the strobes. I really haven't experienced any GPS issues. And, as it can be seen, I attach the bottom strobes clear of sensors and vents.

Edit: One more thing... On some drones (i.e. Mini) to mount a strobe on the bottom would probably require leg extensions. This could definitely impact the 250g limit, though one ARC II or a couple smaller strobes would keep you under 250g. The leg extensions themselves could potentially blow past 250g. No big deal in the US, but EU and UK another rules standard.

strobes_M2P.jpg


IMG_1955.jpgArc_BottomMount_Velcro.jpgArc_BottomMount.jpgArc_headlight.jpg
 
I use VIFLY strobes on my Mini SE. They're about $16 each and have solid, fast flash, and slow flash in white, green, or red. Each will do all the colors. They weigh just over 6g each and are VERY bright. The FAA says that if it's a reputable dealer that states 3NM visibility, it's allowed. The culpability would be on them (FAA agent interview on some YouTube video).

I have one attached to the top back (not over the GPS) fast flashing white, a red slow flash on the left side, and a green slow flash on the right. I also have landing gear attached so the liftoff weight is about 280g. Payload mode is not triggered.

Screenshots from a video made with Davinci Resolve 17. GoPro Hero 4 Silver footage combined with a screen recording of DJI Fly app. Red from 100' height 318' distance; green 101' h 280' d; white 21' h 43' d.
 

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On my Mini SE I have attached velcro in 2 locations; about the middle of the top to meet the FAA regulations for night flight and on the battery cover. When flying during the daylight hours I use the white strobe from my VIFLY on the battery cover and it helps greatly to keep the drone in sight. Yes if its pointed in the wrong direction it does no good but the drone is easy to rotate and when it appears it is very bright. In Oklahoma we have wide expansive sky with lots of blue and I have found that when over 200 feet altitude it is harder to see, even with unlimited visibility. I have 2 VIFLY and have attached both with zero change in flight abilities. I carefully looked at all the strobes on the market before I chose the VIFLY. I spent 14 years as a Paramedic and lots of experience with strobes and can easily say the VIFLY is by far the brightest and lightest for the money than any other on the market and I paid for both of mine so this is an honest endorsement.
 
Completely agree with Oklaby, i use a VIFLY strobe on my Mini2, which keeps it sub 250, two attaching points also mid top for night flying, and rear battery cover, it is an exceptionally bright strobe, with good battery life, bought and paid by myself again an honest endorsement.
 
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