Instructables

Magnetic Kite Lights

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Picture of Magnetic Kite Lights
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To some, the mention of flying a kite might rouse little more than a yawn. Add some bright LEDs, magnets, and an evening with strong winds and you have something far more exciting. It takes the challenge and fun of kiting to a whole new level - Its kind of like remotely piloting a UFO - Its Kind of like driving a super star powered kite -  but what really describes it best is EXTREME KITING!

The idea of attaching lights to a kite is not new, however I wanted to put together a simple package that could be easily made from simple electronic components, attached and detached from any kite quickly and easily (with no alterations to the kite) and be reasonably light weight. 

This is my first revision of the design, and there are sure to be improvements made along the way. So far, they seem to be pretty effective, and robust. If the kite avoids slamming into the ground or other objects, the lights seem to stay put even in strong winds. If the kite slams into the ground in high wind, its a safe bet that the magnets may detach.

I attempted to shoot some video while flying it, however my point and shoot camera doesn't take very good video. I think the long exposure photos turned out great though, and I had a bunch of fun trying different things with it. Eventually I would like to make some RGB models with a slow color fade - I think it would make for some really neat photos (rainbow color cycling exposure trails) 

If you have any suggestions, or if you have any questions, please send me a message or leave a comment. Thanks for checking out my project, and hope you give it a try sometime.
 
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gpavlovsky1 year ago
This project looks great! Can you please tell me exact model number of the LEDs you used, and a good place to order them? Do you think the 2032 battery will be able to power 4 of these per board (put 2 on each side of the board)?
Sky-Monkey2 years ago
Very Cool, I want to try putting some of these in my Paraglider for night-time kiting/flying

I really like the long exposure photos - how long was the shutter open?
EH2200 (author)  Sky-Monkey2 years ago
You might want to use more, or brighter lights for a kite that big, but that would be really neat - send me some pictures if you do it

The photos were a 60 second exposure on my point and shoot - it only has 3 options (15 sec, 30 second, and 60 second) so 60 was the best option
I've done something a bit similar but with a helium balloon and some glow-sticks.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h02WmMf6kd0
Alas my video is pitiful... doesn't do it much justice...
I also tried a few LEDs... though they're heavier than the glow-sticks...
My main problem is that the latex balloons (just the cheap party balloons) filled with helium don't provide enough lift....
Also included in in the video: a rare glimpse of my work area... which always show entropy in action!
EH2200 (author)  BrefelanDesigns2 years ago
Neat, your balloon and glowstick rigs are like modern day Chinese lanterns :)

I'm a bit surprised that glow sticks are lighter weight than LEDs of equivalent brightness. Even with the magnets and additional stuff on mine, I thought that a glow stick would weigh more - Although even if the glow sticks are lighter weight, I think that the on-off switch and replaceable battery are pretty important for how I plan to use them.

Thanks for sharing your project.
Well, my the glowsticks give a more even lighting that the LEDs but at the cost of brightness.... the bigger glowsticks (like the Cyalume ones used for emergencies and signaling) are brighter but more heavier...

Also in my application since the balloons weren't retrievable... one of the things I thought about was environmental impact.... though I'm not sure which would be worse the chemicals in the glowsticks or the LEDS and batteries...

I did do a test (though I didn't get it on video) of a short bar of 3 (semi~) high brightness LEDs... which overall could be seen farther away....

Also LEDs can cost more than glowsticks... esp. if your local dollar store caries them....
Kiteman2 years ago
Hehe, kite lights are awesome - when you make your RGB version, fly them high and steady and cause a UFO flap!
EH2200 (author)  Kiteman2 years ago
When I was taking the long exposure photos, I was in my front yard - which is fairly close to a semi-main road. Even with just the two small lights, about 1 out of 3 cars going bye stopped or slowed way down to get a closer look.

Its amazing how easily amused some people are..... including myself ;)

bubot17 EH22002 years ago
TROLOLOLOL

nice one :D
im gonna make one to troll around :D