My drone lighting project first video

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stay sharp
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My drone lighting project first video

Ive mentioned my drone lighting project using EDC flashlights. It finally warmed up enough to fly last night to test out a few lights. Here is the video of the project thus far. If you have suggestions for other light weight and high output lights (that dont step down after a few seconds) Please recommend them for me to try.

JaredM
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I’ll tell you what you could really use in that SP35 is a medium or wide TIR optic. I don’t know what would fit as a drop in replacement though.

You should try some DC fix on the lens. Even a 3V XHP50.2 swap may be better for you.

jon_slider
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outstanding video!
I agree with your impression that the Fenix has a more useful, wider, hotspot.

Also agree that the dual lights could be aimed wider apart. Makes me wonder if just One light would be sufficient.

thanks for sharing so much info, including the reason why the trees were warmer than the snow.

stay sharp
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jon_slider wrote:
outstanding video!
I agree with your impression that the Fenix has a more useful, wider, hotspot.

Also agree that the dual lights could be aimed wider apart. Makes me wonder if just One light would be sufficient.

thanks for sharing so much info, including the reason why the trees were warmer than the snow.

For the sake of balance I need 2 lights (one on each side of the drone) If I tried just one light on one side, it would struggle to fly. If I put just one light beneath the drone it will mess with the ground sensors telling me my altitude and I would need far longer legs to keep the light from crashing into the ground on landing.

jon_slider
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stay sharp wrote:
For the sake of balance I need 2 lights

I see there is a method to your madness Thumbs Up

wishing you continued progress and success

kramer5150
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Nice progress thus far. One thing about fixed aperture / small CCD cameras (action, drone, cell phone…etc) they can blow out concentrated bright spots of illumination. So high lux at a center spot seems on paper like it would be beneficial. It can be just the opposite however as far as digital image capturing goes. Especially with bright reflective surfaces. I agree & think the Fenix is better, and results in a more useful image despite being less lumens overall. Have you tried running both the fenix and Sofirn together? Or is the weight imbalance too much for flight?

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Very cool.

stay sharp
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kramer5150 wrote:
Nice progress thus far. One thing about fixed aperture / small CCD cameras (action, drone, cell phone…etc) they can blow out concentrated bright spots of illumination. So high lux at a center spot seems on paper like it would be beneficial. It can be just the opposite however as far as digital image capturing goes. Especially with bright reflective surfaces. I agree & think the Fenix is better, and results in a more useful image despite being less lumens overall. Have you tried running both the fenix and Sofirn together? Or is the weight imbalance too much for flight?

Yes they are close in weight so I will be trying a mixture of lights.

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Does your department issue CR123 primary cells?. Let others correct me but I think 2x CR123 generally weighs less than 1× 18650. So there could be some lumens per weight to be gained there.

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yes battery weight is a huge impact. The 2 lights that were vaiable options used 21700. The little nitcore used a 18350

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Oh ok then… for some reason I thought those are 2xCR123 / 18650 size.

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stay sharp,
This is really interesting. Our local Fire Dept. has just gotten the DJI thermal camera drone.
The EVO2 looks to be an even better solution.
Keep updating us as you go along.
What sort of real world flight times are you getting with the lights installed?
All the Best,
Jeff

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jeff51 wrote:
stay sharp, This is really interesting. Our local Fire Dept. has just gotten the DJI thermal camera drone. The EVO2 looks to be an even better solution. Keep updating us as you go along. What sort of real world flight times are you getting with the lights installed? All the Best, Jeff

The plan is to swap out flashlight batteries each time I swap out the drone battery. The drone battery with this payload should last about 25 to 30 minutes. The flashlight batteries will last longer but if Im landing to swap out one battery I will do both and place them in the charger while I fly the fresh batteries. I have 5 drone batteries and will have a matching number of flashlight batteries. The drone battery is $220. The flashlight battery is $10 -$15 and also rechargeable.

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Great informative video.
The shots form the ground look like something from a UFO movie.

Agree the Fenix worked the best.
Thanks for sharing and look forward to next video with grass ground cover.
Later,

Keith

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After the Apocalypse there will be only 2 things left alive, Cockroaches and Keith Richards

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Very very interesting

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Did the lights stay cool?

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yes but they were in the down wash of the rotors at 17 degrees F so it was expected they would stay cool being fan cooled in sub freezing temps. It wont be the same on a warm summer night.

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I was wondering how much the blade wash helps. Even in 17 F, my high output lights get hot so the blades must be helping a lot.

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They are powerful, high speed fans only a few inches away from the lights,

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A light that always impresses me for it’s size and thermal control is the Sofirn SD05 diving light. 21700 battery though. Good throw and wide beam. It will stay on high in low temps in my hand.

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Can you use just the flashlight heads and run them off of the drone’s battery pack? It would require some custom wiring etc. but you’d save some weight.

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pennzy wrote:
I was wondering how much the blade wash helps. Even in 17 F, my high output lights get hot so the blades must be helping a lot.

17 F of moving air is basically below freeze temperature air conditioning. Easily cold enough for hypothermia / death with extended exposure.

Yes forced air movement can make all the difference in the world. Even just a little air. Thermal energy (IE heat) traverses from hot to cold… always, never the other way around. If you can continually flow cold air over the hotter surface… it will take the heat away with it.

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jf_smm wrote:
Can you use just the flashlight heads and run them off of the drone’s battery pack? It would require some custom wiring etc. but you’d save some weight.

There is no way to tap into the battery and that would void all warranties on a drone that cost about $11,000. Thats why strapping a couple $50 lights is the sought after option.

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I would try mixing floody and thrower

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ArturoSC1 wrote:
I would try mixing floody and thrower

That is a good idea. I have tried that with handhelds and it works great.
stay sharp
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yes this was discussed in post #16, The two diff lights weight about the same.

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Nice project Thumbs Up

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I revised the design and spread the light beams apart to cover more ground. Here are the results in the video link below.

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I like the dual beam spread, thanks for the great video

personally I favor the slightly larger hotspot of the Fenix over the smaller hotspot of the Sofirn

but people often differ on their beam preferences

you may also decide to use one small tight hotspot for higher altitude, and a wider hotspot at lower altitude..

by mounting one of each you increase your options

and it still seems like you have more than enough light, which gives you the option to lower the brightness and extend runtime, while reducing heat, that may be relevant later..

all good options to have
I think you have some nice versatile beam options to use, by simply changing which lights get installed

stay sharp
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Yes if it were not so darned cold here I would have stayed out longer and did some flying with a mixed set of 1 Fenix and 1 Sofirn in the saddle at the same time.

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Yes, I personally like the Sofirn SP35 better. As mentioned above, try some D-C-Fix. Then again, you want stock lights.

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