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Tello Glow Props - UV LED Illuminated Propellers

Santiago

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Hello all!

You might recall the fiber optic lighting mod I submitted a few weeks ago. While I am currently experimenting with forward lighting for FPV, and downward lighting for VPS assist, I recently got inspired by these new props I picked up, and ended up with another navigation/orientation lighting mod. Years ago, I used bright orange props on the two front motors of my MQX, with plain black props on the rears, to assist me with aircraft orientation when flying at the limits of LOS range. In this mod the colored props offer that same benefit, but with UV reactive props, and UV LEDs illuminating them, the orientation assistance extends into low light, and night flying situations, not to mention it just looks really cool.

Parts I used:
- 2 Tello prop guards (these will be permanantly modified, so you may want an extra set)
- 4 UV LEDs (I used these 3mm, flat top LEDs)
- UV reactive propellers found here, or there's these, which are nearly identical to the stock props. Those appear to be sold out now.
- and all the usual supplies and tools

The parts list should get most of you there, but if anybody requests a more detailed build guide, I will edit this post with more details. As it stands now I'm (almost) done talking, so lets get to the mod. Note, I've added this to the existing fiber optic lighting, so this can actually be done a little cleaner than you see in the photo of the aircraft belly. If fact, I think the belly could be free of wiring entirely, if only the prop mod was done. Enjoy-GProp1.jpgGProp2.jpgGProp3.jpgGlowProp2.jpgGlowProp1.jpgGlowPropGIF1.gifGlowPropGIF2.gif
 
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Ansia

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Did you made those props or did you buy them? I want a set.
 
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Ansia

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$20 is too rich for my blood. That is 1/5th the price of a Tello for some props that will scratch or break within a few flights.

Edit: Nvm, I didn't read that it includes 20 pieces. Still won't pay $10 of shipping.
 

xcrost

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@Santiago ..I'm curious on the quality of the props. I have issues with the "other" cheap colored ones you see everywhere. Are these any better? In high wind it really makes a difference in performance. Tello will not hold altitude properly. So far, OEM is the only thing I have found that works as it should.
 

Ansia

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@Santiago ..I'm curious on the quality of the props. I have issues with the "other" cheap colored ones you see everywhere. Are these any better? In high wind it really makes a difference in performance. Tello will not hold altitude properly. So far, OEM is the only thing I have found that works as it should.
I haven't flown OEM in a loooong time. I have the same props as Santiago, but black and they perform better and quieter than OEM props.
 
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Santiago

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What Ansia said. These props really do seem quieter, and the performance is AT LEAST as good as stock. I have a couple observations though..

These props go completely against my "rules." I do not use aftermarket anything. It's OEM for me every time, from parts for my pickup, to props for my birds. However, the props that are no longer available look 95% like the OEM props, so despite a healthy stock of OEM props i ordered some to try. When I received them, they appeared very nice quality, and when I flew them, not only did they fly great, I could not believe my ears but they seemed quieter even. I immediately went online and grabbed a set of the odd, broader shaped ones. At 75mm, I believe they are 1mm shorter than stock props, and 1mm shorter than very similar translucent, colored props. When I received these, I had a very similar experience, so again, I went online and grabbed one more set of each. I've now SHREDDED both styles of the aftermarket props extensively and found performance to be no less than equal. Add that they seem (I plan to do actual dB measurements,) quieter, and look awesome, I almost want to say they are BETTER..

Now it's time for my observations to this point.

First: On an early test flight/hover of the broader blade 75mm props, indoors, I heard a curious chopping of the air, so I landed to inspect. Upon checking for level by matching tip, to tip, to tip, etc., one prop was slightly out of spec, appearing bowed up. I set this aside and check ed the remainder of the props. They all looked good and so I replaced the one and recommenced what was ultimately deemed a very successful test flight. Inspecting all other props, I found a couple that were malformed, but not to the degree of the first one. Really, I'd call it simply variance, as I will very likely fly these, but they've been moved to the bottom of inventory.

Second: I removed a set of 75mm broad props for light installation/maintenance, and when I reinstalled them, I noted that two of them slipped onto their shafts very easily. Ill add that they were nicely firm when first installed. The other two props were not as snug as they were during first installation, but nothing of any concern. I elected to proceed with a test flight, for science. On take off, Tello rose, and at about 15 inches threw a prop from the front left. It responded near instantly with a full throttle cut. The minute, forward pitch momentum gained in the time it took to respond, caused the aircraft to gently pitch forward, and then land upside down. I have removed and replaced several sets of both styles without noticable wallowing of the shaft holes. I am going snug up the holes on the affected props with super glue, and fly them as normal.

So, due to lower tolerances, and QC, I cannot call these props better than stock (and I would never in my life have expect to,) but factoring in the friendlier sound they make, I want to say they are at least as good. I will easily deal with the slight inconsistencies, for the benefits these bring.

On the sound: I should not say they are quieter necessarily, as I have not taken the measurements to know, but whether that is true or not, these props SEEM quieter, and I bet 10 out of 10 people would agree. I think it is also a possiblity that they just produce a sound which avoids some frequencies our ears are more sensitive to, frequencies we find "annoying." Whatever the measurements might show, both styles of aftermarket props are at least effectively quieter. Having a choice, I would go for either of them, 76mm/75mm-broad, every time over stock.

Other notes: They are durable, not brittle. Durability may even exceed stock, which I find to be somewhat brittle, as they will sometimes snap near the middle (half the distance from center to tip,) in what appears minor incidences. Subjected to repeated crashing, these aftermarket props look like they will very gradually wear away at the tips, before they'll outright snap. Also, I did not like the look of the broad blades at first. Then I flew them. After they performed so well flying, it affected their aesthetic to my eye, and In now find them to look quite slick. Finally, when I purchased mine, both styles were about $10, for five sets, a prop tool, and free Prime shipping. I'd almost call that a steal.

I will update here with some close ups of both styles of aftermarket props alone, and in comparison, as soon as I get a chance. At this time, there appears only 1 bag of 75mm/5 sets left. I'm gonna cruise the internet for more, and reach out to the vendor as well. I will share links here if I happen to find some.

Funny, a couple weeks ago I absolutely *swore* to a friend/beginner pilot, that I would never ever ever ever fly aftermarket props on my quads. Im happy to say I was in fact wrong.
 
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Ansia

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What Ansia said. These props really do seem quieter, and the performance is AT LEAST as good as stock. I have a couple observations though..

These props go completely against my "rules." I do not use aftermarket anything. It's OEM for me every time, from parts for my pickup, to props for my birds. However, the props that are no longer available look 95% like the OEM props, so despite a healthy stock of OEM props i ordered some to try. When I received them, they appeared very nice quality, and when I flew them, not only did they fly great, I could not believe my ears but they seemed quieter even. I immediately went online and grabbed a set of the odd, broader shaped ones. At 75mm, I believe they are 1mm shorter than stock props, and 1mm shorter than very similar translucent, colored props. When I received these, I had a very similar experience, so again, I went online and grabbed one more set of each. I've now SHREDDED both styles of the aftermarket props extensively and found performance to be no less than equal. Add that they seem (I plan to do actual dB measurements,) quieter, and look awesome, I almost want to say they are BETTER..

Now it's time for my observations to this point.

First: On an early test flight/hover of the broader blade 75mm props, indoors, I heard a curious chopping of the air, so I landed to inspect. Upon checking for level by matching tip, to tip, to tip, etc., one prop was slightly out of spec, appearing bowed up. I set this aside and check ed the remainder of the props. They all looked good and so I replaced the one and recommenced what was ultimately deemed a very successful test flight. Inspecting all other props, I found a couple that were malformed, but not to the degree of the first one. Really, I'd call it simply variance, as I will very likely fly these, but they've been moved to the bottom of inventory.

Second: I removed a set of 75mm broad props for light installation/maintenance, and when I reinstalled them, I noted that two of them slipped onto their shafts very easily. Ill add that they were nicely firm when first installed. The other two props were not as snug as they were during first installation, but nothing of any concern. I elected to proceed with a test flight, for science. On take off, Tello rose, and at about 15 inches threw a prop from the front left. It responded near instantly with a full throttle cut. The minute, forward pitch momentum gained in the time it took to respond, caused the aircraft to gently pitch forward, and then land upside down. I have removed and replaced several sets of both styles without noticable wallowing of the shaft holes. I am going snug up the holes on the affected props with super glue, and fly them as normal.

So, due to lower tolerances, and QC, I cannot call these props better than stock (and I would never in my life have expect to,) but factoring in the friendlier sound they make, I want to say they are at least as good. I will easily deal with the slight inconsistencies, for the benefits these bring.

On the sound: I should not say they are quieter necessarily, as I have not taken the measurements to know, but whether that is true or not, these props SEEM quieter, and I bet 10 out of 10 people would agree. I think it is also a possiblity that they just produce a sound which avoids some frequencies our ears are more sensitive to, frequencies we find "annoying." Whatever the measurements might show, both styles of aftermarket props are at least effectively quieter. Having a choice, I would go for either of them, 76mm/75mm-broad, every time over stock.

Other notes: They are durable, not brittle. Durability may even exceed stock, which I find to be somewhat brittle, as they will sometimes snap near the middle (half the distance from center to tip,) in what appears minor incidences. Subjected to repeated crashing, these aftermarket props look like they will very gradually wear away at the tips, before they'll outright snap. Also, I did not like the look of the broad blades at first. Then I flew them. After they performed so well flying, it affected their aesthetic to my eye, and In now find them to look quite slick. Finally, when I purchased mine, both styles were about $10, for five sets, a prop tool, and free Prime shipping. I'd almost call that a steal.

I will update here with some close ups of both styles of aftermarket props alone, and in comparison, as soon as I get a chance. At this time, there appears only 1 bag of 75mm/5 sets left. I'm gonna cruise the internet for more, and reach out to the vendor as well. I will share links here if I happen to find some.

Funny, a couple weeks ago I absolutely *swore* to a friend/beginner pilot, that I would never ever ever ever fly aftermarket props on my quads. Im happy to say I was in fact wrong.
Very informative.

To my understanding, OEM props are 75mm. I have crashed mine hard so many times and they have yet to bend. They are scratched all over though. These props take away about 1 minute and 15 seconds of fly time. This is because the motors need more energy to rotate them. Funny enough, since they need less wind to produce lift, they are more responsive, in my opinion. They have also proven to be better against the wind. I paid $1.22 for a set of 4. Have bought 3 sets. I modified 1 set and failed, the ones I use to fly and 1 spare set. To this day, my after market props remain snug in place and OEM feel loose. Have yet to lose one mid flight.
 

xcrost

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Thank you both for your valued input! :) I will get the "clear" ones on order and would like the link to the other ones even if they are out of stock pls. I am also ordering a set of OEM when I get a chance. I just happen to have a old school Realistic db meter so we will get to the bottom of the sound issue! lol.. I just happen to have a "new" (only crashed a couple times ;) Tello to test them on too.
 

Santiago

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Good choice.

It will be cool to see how they actually measure out for loudness.

This link to the 76mm props now links to some triple blade props, but here it is: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07M5ZLLKZ/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o05_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

And from the manu.'s website, here is what used to be there: LDARC 76mm-2叶桨 5色彩虹包 (孔径:1.0mm) - 东莞市雷迪安无人机科技有限公司

Still working on photos, but here are the other colors under 365nm, filtered UV.Assorted_UV_Props.jpg
 
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WhatUserName

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Cool mod!
how do you make it fly stable at night? mine has VPS low light warning error and goes a bit crazy...
 

Santiago

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Cool mod!
how do you make it fly stable at night? mine has VPS low light warning error and goes a bit crazy...
While I cannot say if it makes a difference, I'll first point out that I do not use the stock app at all, but TelloFPV for Android, instead. Beyond that, I don't do anything different, except I don't look at the screen, so any warnings go unnoticed. The barometric altimeter still functions, so I have altitude hold, but indeed, without VPS, Tello will drift with the breeze. The majority of my flying experience, I've accumulated without sensor derived assistance, so accounting for drift is very normal to me. In fact, I still feel spoiled/lazy, even with just altitude hold.

I know it doesn't seem intuitive, but if you aren't used to accounting for drift manually, you may actually find it easier to do at night, given you are flying in a familiar space, and that you have equipped your aircraft with adequate navigation lighting. During the day, it's not difficult for me to lose precise visual lock on a small aircraft at distance, when I drop below the horizon. This seems especially true in the desert, where I fly the most. In fact, often I cannot literally see the orientation of the aircraft, as much I am tracking the contrast created by its motion, and my sense of orientation exists as a stream of continuously verified expectations which are derived from my input to the sticks. At the limits of LOS, if I let off the sticks and stop, not only can I lose orientation (unless the aircraft can tighly lock and maintain it's own position like a Mavic Air,) I can lose complete sight of the aircraft, as it instantly blends into the background. At night, the landscape is neutralized by darkness, and with adequate lighting on the aircraft, anyone tasked with tracking its location, can benefit from the heightened, and sustained contrast. Further, having multiple color lights on the aircraft serves to indicate orientation. For me, this results in a precise visual lock on the aircraft, which I can maintain at greater distances, and find to be less reliant upon continuous motion. The same principle is the basis for standardizing placement, and color, of lights on regular aircraft (and boats,) with red going on the starboard/right side, and green on the port/left side.
 
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Santiago

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Hello all.

I just wanted point out that the UV reactive 76mm propellers, and 75mm propellers, are back in stock. I promise not to buy them out this time. ;)

Cheers!
 

xcrost

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Hello all.

I just wanted point out that the UV reactive 76mm propellers, and 75mm propellers, are back in stock. I promise not to buy them out this time. ;)

Cheers!
I got these but don't like the props. They seem very unstable in wind. You think these are the same?... I haven't tried the motors yet.
 

Santiago

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I got these but don't like the props. They seem very unstable in wind. You think these are the same?... I haven't tried the motors yet.
They look similar, but id have to say no, because both styles of these props rip. I love them, indoor, outdoor, wind, whichever. Try a gravity cal, if you havent already, but i didnt even know about that when i first got these, and I thought they were great.

If youd like, you can send me a S.A.S.E. if youre in the US, and Ill send you a set to try. I can plaster more stamps on if needed. My forever stamps get beat up before i ever use them sometimes.
 
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xcrost

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Thanks for the offer but I trust you. I'll just get a set now that they are back in stock ;) Any words durability wise 75mm vs 76mm? The cheap colored ones are too flimsy and the OEM are too brittle.
 

Louie0223

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While I cannot say if it makes a difference, I'll first point out that I do not use the stock app at all, but TelloFPV for Android, instead. Beyond that, I don't do anything different, except I don't look at the screen, so any warnings go unnoticed. The barometric altimeter still functions, so I have altitude hold, but indeed, without VPS, Tello will drift with the breeze. The majority of my flying experience, I've accumulated without sensor derived assistance, so accounting for drift is very normal to me. In fact, I still feel spoiled/lazy, even with just altitude hold.

I know it doesn't seem intuitive, but if you aren't used to accounting for drift manually, you may actually find it easier to do at night, given you are flying in a familiar space, and that you have equipped your aircraft with adequate navigation lighting. During the day, it's not difficult for me to lose precise visual lock on a small aircraft at distance, when I drop below the horizon. This seems especially true in the desert, where I fly the most. In fact, often I cannot literally see the orientation of the aircraft, as much I am tracking the contrast created by its motion, and my sense of orientation exists as a stream of continuously verified expectations which are derived from my input to the sticks. At the limits of LOS, if I let off the sticks and stop, not only can I lose orientation (unless the aircraft can tighly lock and maintain it's own position like a Mavic Air,) I can lose complete sight of the aircraft, as it instantly blends into the background. At night, the landscape is neutralized by darkness, and with adequate lighting on the aircraft, anyone tasked with tracking its location, can benefit from the heightened, and sustained contrast. Further, having multiple color lights on the aircraft serves to indicate orientation. For me, this results in a precise visual lock on the aircraft, which I can maintain at greater distances, and find to be less reliant upon continuous motion. The same principle is the basis for standardizing placement, and color, of lights on regular aircraft (and boats,) with red going on the starboard/left side, and green on the port/right side.
Stsrboard is right and port is left
 
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