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I ran into a small problem one day while I was building my first quadcopter! I wanted to have lights on it but I didn't want them to always be on, like while I was flying during the day. Now of course there is always the option of buying one, but I didn't want to wait for one to come snailmail! So I set about building one. All it takes are a few parts any DIYer should have laying around and the circuit is very versatile! This circuit is small enough to fit on your quads or planes, and is powerful enough to drive almost 8 meters of 12 volt LED strips. *

Difficulty level: Breezy: Easy: Medium: Time-Consuming: Hard: Expert: Master:

*refer to your own LED strips datasheet to see how many amps they draw.

Step 1: Ingredients:

  • Arduino (optional, see video)
  • ATtiny 13,45, 85 or similar
  • TIP120 transistor or equivalent, or any N-Channel MOSFET
  • 1kΩ resistor
  • 8 pin DIP socket
  • 2 pin screw terminal
  • 90 degree pin headers, 3 in a row, and 4 in a row
  • Breadboard
  • Jumper wires
  • Perfboard
  • LED strip

You will need a few more parts but I'm already assuming you have a quadcopter/plane built, or have parts needed to build one. Just in case here's what you'll need from your quad/plane.

  • 3 cell LiPo
  • RX/TX
  • ESC (to power the receiver)

NOTE:

If you are going to use a TIP120 transistor know your limits! This transistor can only handle 5A of continuous current. Refer to the datasheet of your specific transistor to find the limits. For a 12 volt LED strip of about 1 meter 5A max is plenty! My LED strip draws about .6A for 1 meter, so testing yours with a multimeter would be a good idea.

Step 3: Watch the Video

Step 4: Taking It Further

The code I gave you was quite simple! Using the same device I changed the code up a bit so that the higher the throttle input there is the brighter the LEDs get. You can check out that code here.

Hopefully soon I will have a PCB version of this project. That way you can keep everything neat and tidy and there would be less soldering to do. All you'd have to do is make/buy the PCB, pop the parts in, and solder them down! All the connections would be already made. But, that's for another day!

Thank you very much for watching the video/reading this instructable. If
you have any bright ideas, questions or comments please PM me or leave them in the box below!

~AJ

<p>Nice and easy code. But I am having problems adding it to an existing program.</p><p>Can you help?</p>
<p>Thanks again, like you I am starting to self teach and just bought an arduino.</p>
<p>I'm going to try this, thanks, but one question I have is why the arduino?? Are you using the arduino to program the at tiny?</p>
Yeah I'm using the Arduino to program the attiny. You don't have to use an Arduino you can use an either FTDI or a USBasp (I forgot which one) to program the attiny. Or you can buy a specific attiny programmer from like adafruit or ebay.
<p>Nice Instructable! I cleaned up the schematic and designed a board. I used your user name here under the CC-SA license as the original designer. Wanted to ask permission to share the files, of course with your name. I will also release it under the Non-Commercial (CC-NC) license as well. I will not sell this board to make a profit. But I think people would enjoy this project on their own RC. I will be using it on my F450 Quad.</p><p>Thanks again,</p><p>Trevor</p>
Hi! I'm glad you enjoyed my i'ble. <br><br>May I ask where this content will be published? <br><br>According to the (CC) BY-NC-SA license if you remix or adapt the original content you must keep the original license. <br><br>As long as you follow the correct licensing guidelines you are free to do what it allows. <br><br>http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.5/

About This Instructable

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Bio: ¿Qué tal? I'm 16 and enjoy learning about electronics. I am self-taught. I love programming my Arduino and soldering circuits. My newest hobby is ... More »
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