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Converting nosecone for night flights

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KThomson

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So, planning to convert an LOC Graduator (2.6") for night flights.

My plan was to use a 4000 lumen LED flashlight mechanism (light head, battery and switch) mounted in an unpainted Aerotech nosecone.

Wondering if anyone has done the same or similar and has ideas for mounting a lighting mechanism in a nosecone of this diameter?
 

Exactimator

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I put a Nitebow LED in the nosecone of a 2.6" Madcow DX-3. I believe they use LOC plastic nosecones. Drilled a hole for the LED lens to fit through and screwed it into the plastic. Lights up the nose pretty well.

20140714_194206.jpg20140714_192559.jpg
 

soopirV

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I put a Nitebow LED in the nosecone of a 2.6" Madcow DX-3. I believe they use LOC plastic nosecones. Drilled a hole for the LED lens to fit through and screwed it into the plastic. Lights up the nose pretty well.

View attachment 319083View attachment 319084
Not a night flying expert, but is that nose bright enough to see in flight, or is it kinda like the folks who try to use glow sticks and then lose sight? Tough to say from your photo because I'm sure your camera aperture was stepped down due to the red lightshow behind it.
 

KThomson

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Exactinator, you saved my (Canadian) bacon! I always get wrapped up in "elegant" solutions that get way too complex and forget about the simpler ones.

I was trying to cram everything into the nosecone and never thought about adding on a payload bay. Turns out I have everything needed to do it too.

Thanks!
 

Handeman

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I have an Estes Patriot that I put a kids head band light in. It's just a single LED, but it makes the nose cone glow very well. In a few feet of hay, it's easier to find at night then during the day.

The problem you have to watch out for is club members that want to go home. They will start the night launch at dusk when it's not completely dark. Then a glowing nosecone/BT doesn't work as well and you almost need a strobe to be able to see it in the low light conditions. If they wait until full dark, the glowing lights work quite well.
 

MaxQ

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I built a Binder Stealth - which I modified for night flights.
Took a different approach on the nose cone.

I cut three windows into the plastic nose cone...(you can see several windows in the first picture).

I bought a cheap personal emergency hand held strobe at Radio Shack and inserted it far enough into the nose cone so the strobe flashed through the windows.
Very bright!
I also bought some of that nice battery powered "GloWrap" that was available back then, and did aircraft formation lights on the fins and a band around the center of the BT.
There was an green LED flashing light in the airframe.

Unfortunately on the "daylight qualification" flight at August VAST, I had a shock cord separation and that was it for this one ...:cry:
I still have the payload nose cone and strobe, and fin can.
Haven't rebuilt it as there aren't that many night launches these days.

Binder Stealth wGloWrap (2).jpg Binder Stealth - Lights Out.jpg
 
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Exactimator

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Exactinator, you saved my (Canadian) bacon! I always get wrapped up in "elegant" solutions that get way too complex and forget about the simpler ones.

I was trying to cram everything into the nosecone and never thought about adding on a payload bay. Turns out I have everything needed to do it too.

Thanks!
My pleasure. Please post a photo of what you end up doing with your flashlight LED. I'm always curious about what others do for night rockets. AND THAT'S NOT BACON! IT'S HAM! Also delicious, but still.

I have an Estes Patriot that I put a kids head band light in. It's just a single LED, but it makes the nose cone glow very well. In a few feet of hay, it's easier to find at night then during the day.
I've noticed that. It's easier to see a well lit night rocket than it is to see a rocket in a hazy sky or against clouds where the tracking smoke is the same color white/gray. Easier to see on the ground in the desert too.
 

Exactimator

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Not a night flying expert, but is that nose bright enough to see in flight, or is it kinda like the folks who try to use glow sticks and then lose sight? Tough to say from your photo because I'm sure your camera aperture was stepped down due to the red lightshow behind it.
For information on Nitebows, including several posts about how bright they are and how well they light up nosecones, see here:
https://www.rocketryforum.com/showthread.php?61605-Nitebows-are-coming
 
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