CoolIP index Most recent edit: Thursday February 06, 2014 SearchSite
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DIY Solar-Powered AWES "Obstruction Lighting"
How best for experimental AWES to meet FAA obstruction lighting requirements?
Existing aviation-grade obstruction lights start at about 200 USD for a single red LED package. Not included is a means to self-charge aloft, for AWES use. The precise FAA visibility requirement is to be seen 4000ft away in clear air. Reliability cost is high for long unattended use. kPower has been testing quality bike lights for the AWES role, and find they meet the visibility requirement, but replacing batteries is a costly nuisance.
Common LED landscape lights are close to meeting all basic requirements. These charge by day, self-start at dusk, and turn-off at dawn. The best versions can shine all night even after a cloudy day. The brightest versions sell as floodlights, and should pass the 4000ft test when aimed correctly (which can be certified by us, after testing). Cost is low, around 5-30 USD per unit.
AWES are required under UAS rules to have a Pilot-In-Command and Visual-Observer. This flight-crew can monitor obstruction lighting to promptly correct failure. Therefore high-reliability can be met even by cheap consumer-grade units. The numerous lights needed to mark a kite farm ensures that a few local failures are tolerable. Redundant units at each location can sum luminance and reliability as needed.
Small gaps exist in landscape light specs: Red lights and strobe flashing are not supported. AWES lighting must shine 360 degrees. preferably as a single unit . An AWES product with these features could quickly emerge from landscape light COTS, with minimal re-engineering. Meanwhile. we can hack these units to blink or spin as tiny Savonius rotors, for a white-strobe effect, and/or use reflectors and red filters to meet a desired experimental spec (filters not preferred).
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