I spent the afternoon on electronics. I now have all the pieces working, but I am struggling to get all the pieces working together. The running lights will not stay on when I run the LED matrix, and I cant seem to incorporate the blinking LED code into the existing LED matrix code. Im going to try again tomorrow, but I may just use a second Arduino as I am anxious to see some progress. I also will be running the LED matrix and running lights off of separate 9v batteries.
Here is a pic of the current set up...
Right now it is connected via WIFI, so I can send any message I like through a web page, but Im thinking of some of the other visual effects rather than constantly updating the text. I also think the screen could have some break time to save battery life. I dunno. What do you guys think?
Continue to make progress. I made a small plastic circle that goes in the front to access the USB cable for the Wemos chip, so I can reprogram it anytime I would like. Also, two on/off switches, one for the running lights and one for the LED Matrix. I'm mounting it so it's attached by magnets so that It can be removed to replace the batteries if needed. Next step is to mount everything inside and check the balance point so when it's hanging it isn't nose or tail heavy. I also need to mount all the running lights.
This is the L Brackets for the circle plate. I will be mounting a magnet on each of these.
So, in my never ending quest to go crazy with this project, after staring at the missing pieces on the engines for a while, I thought about the pager motors I had sitting around left over from my 1/87 scale track. They actually were the perfect size. Then I borrowed some of the spare props from my daughters mini drone and chopped them down to size.
Really happy with the way its looking and I think it takes the model to the next level. Im holding the bottom of the gondola up for a size reference.
Im running the motors in series and one seems to stall sometimes so Im thinking maybe I need to run them in parallel with a voltage divider. Anybody have an idea on this?
I managed to get most of the wiring set up for the lights and the motors. Someone on Instagram mentioned that the light by the gondola should be white. This won't be the most accurate model of the blimp (in fact, I'm taking a lot of artistic license) but I thought a white light would be a good idea, so I swapped the red out.
Running the motors at 9 volts even wiring them serially meant they were super loud and I threw off the propellers. So I used a 5 volt regulator...
Still, super loud. So and took the voltage down to 2.5 volts. Running the motors serially, there was not enough power to run both motors and one motor would work well and the other one, I would need to spin the blade to get going and then it would still be going slow.
So, it seems that 1.5 volts running the motors in parallel is the way to go. Where the motors go fast enough to look good, but doesn't sound annoying.
My next step is to try a voltage divider to get it down to 1.5 volts and see if that works as expected. I've also ordered a 1.5 volt voltage regulator, as I understand it's much more efficient to use a voltage regulator.
I also modified the LED matrix programming to dim down the LEDs, get rid of some of the things that didn't make sense, and add some text. I'm waiting until I have the whole thing put together for the full LED matrix reveal.
Thanks for reading. Slow progress, but it's getting there.
Thanks so much Weltmeister. I'm pretty excited about it and being close to finished on it.
I mounted the LED matrix last night, fired it up, and of course, it did not work. Luckily it was just some misplaced wires and was easily fixed.
Then I got to thinking about the batteries again, I'm not sure how easy they will come out of the shell once I seal it up. I'd like it if I could just have a USB cable that I could plug in to charge it up without pulling the batteries out.
I'm looking around for a circuit that would charge both 9v batteries off of USB, so I could just plug the blimp in after each race night. Any electronics gurus out there with a suggestion for this?
KJDOT in his video above is using a RC '3.7v 500mAh 25C Li-Po Battery'
Then a 'Adjustable Step Up 18650 Lithium Battery Charging Discharge integrated Module' to step up the voltage from 3.7V to 9V with an output max current of 0.8A as per spec sheet. It has an optimum charging voltage of 4.2V, could this setup be under-performing?
I have no experience of RCs batteries (above Li-Po battery is footprint of 32*26*8mm), could we make a more powerful and efficient USB 9V battery?
What's max mAh of an RC battery available for that footprint, 3.7V is the standard, are there higher voltage batteries available?
What spec of batteries are used/required in SCP2 controllers, how long does a standard branded alkaline 9V battery last, do they draw a lot of power?
Why not hang it from a *********** cable? Wiring a mains to 9V PSU into your lighting circuit is a possibility given the relatively low current draw. You may want to run it without the room lights on but usually a lighting circuit will have a permanent live you can connect to and even run a separate pull cord switch to isolate it. It depends on how accessible your ceiling space is.
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