Light Magic Scale Radio Controlled Lighting on a 72″ VENOM C-47 Skytrain

In this post we will install a Light Magic in a Venom C-47. We chose this plane for it’s size to demonstrate the methods used to install Light Magic on a large foam airplane that will have it’s wings removed for transportation. For this reason, and extra  Scale LED Lighting Kit will be needed.

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After we had disassembled the major components we decided to start the installation on the tail end. We would be putting a white tail light at the end of the fuselage and a red rotating beacon on the top forward most portion of the vertical stabilizer. For drilling through foam we use a 3/16 piece of  brass tubing (“drill bit”) with a couple of notches cut in the end.  It works very well. Our “drill bit” is 36″ long. The really cool thing about using a tube as a bit is you can disconnect it and leave it in the plane as a channel to push a guide wire through the tube. After the tube is removed the light wire is in place and you can now attach the LED power wires to it and pull them from the tail all the way forward to where the Light Magic board is installed.

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We cut a notch out of the vertical stabilizer where the beacon is to be located. Using the brass tube drill we drilled down and out the bottom of the tail fin. Again we used the drill tube as a guide to push our light pull wire through the tail so we could pull our LED power wires through.

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Make sure you have plenty of wire on your LEDs to reach the controller board. You can CA or epoxy the LEDs into position.  The next step will be to add the landing lights. Locate the scale position and cut a notch in the leading edge of the wing about 3/4″ wide and about 3/8″ deep. At this point you should map out your wire run.

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We chose to come directly back across the spar to the servo then follow the servo wire run off the inboard edge of the wing. Drill the LED mounting hole in the wing on an downward angle so it comes out the bottom side of the wing at least an inch behind the light cut out. We used a silver metal tape as a reflector in the landing light cut out. Install the LED after bending the wires at the led to conform with the angle in the wire exit channel.
Using an hobby knife or a dremmel tool with a round head router bit cut a shallow slot in the foam to recess the wires. When you complete the wire run label the wires for the Landing Lights. Leave plenty of extra wire .  Now we repeat the process for the other wing.

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The navigation lights on the wing tips are the easiest of all to install. The red light goes on the left wing and the green on the right. Even though they are clearly marked use your LED tester to verify the color. To Build a LED tester refer to Technical Data Sheet 13-03.

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We routed out a small channel the length of the wing to bury the wires in. Make sure you label these as Nav lights. This will be very important later when we start to finalize the wire runs and solder the system together. After you complete the installation on the other wing cover the wire runs with tape. We used 3/4″ fiberglass packing tape. It sticks very well to anything and it can be abraded later with sandpaper so paint can hold to it.

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On our DC-3 we had one more rotating beacon to install on the bottom of the wing center section. We installed the second beacon and located the position of Light Magic Controller. Since the majority of the LEDs were in the wing, as was our power supply (we tap off the input leads on one of the ESCs),  this was the best place to mount the controller.  Doing so, minimized the amount of wire connections we needed for the fuselage LEDs.

We prefer to use velcro to hold our electronics in position plus we get some vibration dampening using it.

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At this point the installation is complete all that is left is soldering together a few wires. This is where absolute attention to detail and understanding the instructions is paramount. If all wires are not joined properly the system will not function correctly. The LEDs are wired in series. Refer to Technical Data Sheet 13-01 for a basic wiring diagram. For soldering refer to Technical Data Sheet 13-02.

First we wired the rotating beacons. We plugged the connector into the board noting the polarity of the pins. The red wire was on the positive pin. The red wire was then soldered to the red wire of the beacon mounted in the wing. The black wire coming from the beacon was soldered to the black wire on the wire connector set. This is the connector that will allow us to separate the wing from the fuselage. The black wire is now soldered to the red wire of the tail rotating beacon. The black wire from the tail beacon is now soldered to the red wire on the connector plug. Now we have a series connection of the two beacons. The landing lights are wired exactly the same way. Since the two landing lights are in the wing and so is the controller there is no need of a second wire connector.

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After all the wires are connected to the controller  plug in the controller to the receiver. Connect the battery and test the lights.

 

 

 

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