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Lighting Mod - Fiber Optic Nav/Orientation Lights Powered by USB OTG

Santiago

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Hello. I thought I'd share my take on adding navigation lights to Tello. I love to fly (LOS) at night, and with proper lighting, I can actually fly farther out than I can during the day. This lighting mod provides functional illumination, indicating nose and tail of the aircraft in dark, and low light environments. The lighting is highly visible from all orientations, including from above, and below. Power is supplied by Tello's on board USB port, through a hacked up OTG cable. A simple sliding switch makes it possible to power the lights with a dedicated, second battery. I have some 150mah batts laying around, and they work great, if not a bit overkill. I was not able to drain a single 150mah over many (lost count,) flights, before I switched to USB power. Flight times seem minimally affected when running lights with USB power. The whole lighting rig (minus power cable,) is a single, modular unit, making it very easy install or remove as desired. Light module weighs 4.42 grams, and the power cable weighs 3.95 grams. I've purchased an angled, OTG ribbon cable with which I hope to shave a gram or two I ordered some Micro OTG adapters (linked by umanbean down below,) with which I hope to shave a gram or three, shaved exactly 2.16 grams. New power cable weighs a mere 1.4g. Always good to shave weight, though Tello handles the it impressively, as I hardly notice the extra grams when flying.

Initially, I was building the circuit under the shell, but on my first iteration, I liked the look of the circuit next to my customized clear shell, and so I built it on the outside. It has been treated with modified silicone conformal coating.

Resistor values were calculated for the 5V over OTG, but the lights are still perfectly bright on lesser voltage from a 1S battery. Areas of the circuit that are embellished/redundant were done for artistic effect. Fiber optic, "side glow," cord can be found on Amazon in various diameters, and is linked in a reply below.

20190120_233634.jpg20190120_234019.jpg20190120_234238.jpg20190120_234305.jpg20190120_234310.jpg20190120_234325.jpg20190126_191353.jpg

Edit>>> As was requested, here is video I just made of a night flight, in my front yard, showcasing the lights.
 
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ph2t

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Best first post ever! Awesome take on the light mod. Visibility for night flying must be exceptional. A very creative mod, well done!

Cheers,
ph2t.
 

xcrost

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Hello. I thought I'd share my take on adding navigation lights to the tello. I love to fly (LOS) at night, and with proper lighting, I can actually fly farther out than I can during the day. This lighting mod provides large, very functional, illuminated areas to the front and rear. The lighting is highly visible from all orientations, as well as from above, and below. Power is supplied by Tello's on board USB port, through a hacked up OTG cable. A simple sliding switch makes it possible to power the lights with a dedicated, second battery. I have some 150mah batts laying around, and they work great, if not a bit overkill. I was not able to drain a single 150mah over many (lost count,) flights, before I switched to USB power. Flight times seem minimally affected when running lights with USB power. The whole lighting rig (minus power cable,) is a single, modular unit, making it very easy install or remove as desired. Light module weighs 4.42 grams, and the power cable weighs 3.95 grams. I've purchased an angled, OTG ribbon cable with which I hope to shave a gram or two, though Tello handles the weight impressively, as I hardly notice it's there when flying. Initially, I was building the circuit under the shell, but on my second iteration, I began to like the look of the circuit with my customized clear shell, and so I built it on the outside. It has been treated with modified silicone conformal coating. Resistor values were calculated for the 5V over OTG, but the lights are still perfectly bright on lesser voltage from a 1S battery. Areas of the circuit that are embellished/redundant were done for artistic effect. Fiber optic, "side glow," cord can be found on Amazon in various diameters.

View attachment 2861View attachment 2862View attachment 2863View attachment 2864View attachment 2865View attachment 2866View attachment 2867
Could you please post the link for the Fiber optic cord?
 

Santiago

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Hi ph2t. Thank you for the warm welcome. I am glad you enjoyed the post. It was fun to do, and pretty gratifying when I finally flipped the completed unit on. Indeed, they are high function lights.

I tried with bare, 3mm leds initially, liked the look, but the function was a no go. The rear blue 'thruster,' lights were blinding, day or night. Before I saw fit to dim them down, I had come across a surplus of the fiber optic cord, and spawned a new vision. The FO cord was left over from my helipad mod, a simple, red ring of light at the perimeter of the helipad.


20190112_143644.jpg20190112_143750.jpg20190112_143803.jpg20190112_143912.jpg20190112_143632.jpg
Cheers!
 
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Santiago

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Could you please post the link for the Fiber optic cord?
Hi xcrost. Certainly.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B074FSGR4Y/ref=oh_aui_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

I used the 3mm diameter.

Here are the LEDs, just in case someone is interested. They are 2.5V-3.3V, 3mm, flat top LEDs, in a great variety of colors. ~5% are DOA, but still an excellent deal as far I as I can tell.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0785D3XVK/ref=oh_aui_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1
 
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Flydrone

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I'm not a lover of these customizations with lights on Tello, but I must say that you did a great job Bravo!;)
 

umanbean

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Good job, looks great!

Thanks for the link to the fiber optic cable.

I bought THESE - the smallest OTG adapters I've ever seen. They fit inside the male (USB A) end of a of a micro-USB cable --- and have exposed pins for easy soldering.
 

Santiago

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Excellent design. Looks really cool! :D:D:D

Please post a video flying at night...
Just for you, leandjb, fresh out the sky. Enjoy ;)

Tello Night Sesh - Santiago

I'm not a lover of these customizations with lights on Tello, but I must say that you did a great job Bravo!;)
I'll take that. Cheers, Flydrone.

Good job, looks great!

Thanks for the link to the fiber optic cable..
You are most welcome, and thank YOU for linking the connector of my dreams!! Im nearly speechless. Not kidding. Thanks so much. Micro, and Type C on the way.
 
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Louis08

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Indeed, a great take on the missing lights. Minimalistic and impressive.
Have you ever tried/thought of using the fiber ends to shed some light to the ground below? Would that be bright enough to help the VPS (at least close to the ground)?
 

Santiago

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Indeed, a great take on the missing lights. Minimalistic and impressive.
Have you ever tried/thought of using the fiber ends to shed some light to the ground below? Would that be bright enough to help the VPS (at least close to the ground)?
Thanks, Louis08.

I kinda think of the fiber optics as a special kind of lens, and when I look at it that way, I tend to think there are better lenses for the job of lighting the ground below. Fiber optics seem more suited for routing light to where it may be difficult to install components, or for spreading the light around at many angles.

I'm thinking the type of lenses used in some LED grow lights might be worth trying, something between 30 and 60 degrees. These https://www.amazon.com/uxcell-Degree-Black-Holder-Power/dp/B07D9DC9MX/ref=pd_sim_60_1?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B07D9DC9MX&pd_rd_r=3905c504-264c-11e9-a51c-316dc2ab950d&pd_rd_w=F6pBQ&pd_rd_wg=GajhS&pf_rd_p=90485860-83e9-4fd9-b838-b28a9b7fda30&pf_rd_r=WV9GJBDFSNFWMY967V0Q&psc=1&refRID=WV9GJBDFSNFWMY967V0Q might be a little large, but something like this is what I'm thinking may be worth trying. Have you done work in this area, ground lighting for the Tello?
 

Santiago

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Good job, looks great!

Thanks for the link to the fiber optic cable.

I bought THESE - the smallest OTG adapters I've ever seen. They fit inside the male (USB A) end of a of a micro-USB cable --- and have exposed pins for easy soldering.
Those worked beautifully. New power cable is over 2 grams lighter, weighing only 1.4g. Thanks again.
 

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Santiago

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I didn't like the feel of the little slider switch because it was hard not to disrupt the shape of the circuit, and so to make it stable enough to use regularly, I had to put two small drops of hot glue. meh...

I started prototyping a backlit touch switch for the lights... and I'm liking it a lot. Next iteration will lose the big clear donut, and will be activated right through the shell by simply touching that area. The backlighting of the switch will be somewhat muted, but still visible. Overall it should give it a cleaner look.

(If gifs do not play for some reason, I will upload to youtube later.)
 

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Louis08

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Have you done work in this area, ground lighting for the Tello?
Nope, nothing. And I am not even sure it can be done properly: you will need a very bright "lamp" to shine down a few metres - but yet it should weigh next to nothing and consume no power. For the time being I'd rather stick with a handheld LED lamp on the ground to lighten up my landing space when necessary.
I didn't like the feel of the little slider switch
I bought some latching pushbuttons (https://amzn.to/2RPEYDm) for that reason (but as I am still waiting for a spare cover the assembly of my light mod has not yet started).
 

Santiago

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Nope, nothing. And I am not even sure it can be done properly:...
Agreed. I bought some 10mm leds to try anyway. I also got some light weight, relatively high output IR units to play with. Now that I'm done with my cap switch, and both Tellos are outfitted for LOS night flying, I'll start on some ground, and forward illumination tests.
 

Santiago

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Here's an update on my lighting. I really like the touch switch, and so ordered a few more from China for various projects.


cap_switch_tello_lights-2.gif

Also came up with some magnetic power connectors that aren't bad for a first try. I already have multiple adjustments/improvements I'll implement in the next iteration. The magnets are model D11-N52, purchased from K&J Magnetics. K&J Magnetics: D11-N52

20190214_081522_1.gifMagConnectors2.gif

I'll likely start a new thread if I come up with anything worthy in the forward lighting, and ground lighting effort. For now, here's some shots of the twins.
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bkooharian

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Those worked beautifully. New power cable is over 2 grams lighter, weighing only 1.4g. Thanks again.

Please excuse my ignorance...I'm by no means an engineer... but I'm pretty good with tech and homemade modifications.I've tried to utilize an old phone charger micro USB cable and ordered some LED RC headlights. When I plug the original USB end into an outlet, it powers the lights fine, but when I plug the micro portion into the Tello, it doesn't seem to be putting out power...is there some mod I have to make to the Tello to get the micro usb to OUTPUT power? Will the micro to full size USB adapter fix this issue?
 

Santiago

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Please excuse my ignorance...I'm by no means an engineer... but I'm pretty good with tech and homemade modifications.I've tried to utilize an old phone charger micro USB cable and ordered some LED RC headlights. When I plug the original USB end into an outlet, it powers the lights fine, but when I plug the micro portion into the Tello, it doesn't seem to be putting out power...is there some mod I have to make to the Tello to get the micro usb to OUTPUT power? Will the micro to full size USB adapter fix this issue?
I ran up against this myself, cutting up a regular micro cable, connected to Tello, and could not find 5V with my meter. "What the heck," I asked myself.

Well, mobile devices that support other USB devices (like connecting a thumb drive to an Android phone or tablet,) do so over a standard called USB OTG (On The Go?) and the pinouts are different than standard USB. Tello employs this same standard, OTG, and so you need to start with an OTG cable like my first used in this project, or wire up an OTG adapter as I did with the second, lighter power cable. I recommend getting the adapters from the link above. They are the best thing Ive seen for the job. Power is on the 2 outer pins. Have to meter to see polarity, as i dont recall atm.

Let me know if I didnt explain it well enough. Id be happy to try further. Cheers!
 

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