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 Post subject: Build a pair of skyward pointing searchlights - want to help
PostPosted: Mon May 23, 2011 10:15 am 
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Hey,

I have a pair of 1million candle power spot light lights, like those people use to shine deer etc back in the old country :). I'm thinking what if we make a motorized frame for them and point them at the sky so they do Ballyhoos like you see for movie premieres etc. We'd only have two instead of the normal 4, but I think it would get some localized attention, especially with low clouds and / or high humidity. TCMaker logo ala the bat signal optional.

--- Insert FAA / Homeland security / NORAD OMG we can't do that comments here ---

Pete


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 Post subject: Re: Build a pair of skyward pointing searchlights - want to
PostPosted: Mon May 23, 2011 12:09 pm 
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Location: Maple grove
you do have to have a permit to do this but it is not difficult to obtain.


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 Post subject: Re: Build a pair of skyward pointing searchlights - want to
PostPosted: Mon May 23, 2011 12:34 pm 
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Location: Northwest Burbs
I would not mind working out the details of the project, and of course build too.

How do you supply power to a spinning object or do we just make each object move independently and figure out a controller so they do not sync.

Add a Fog machine to provide very localized illumination.

Turn the system into two joystick controlled lamps and use it to play tag with a third device (RC Blimp, RC Airplane)

But this is just fuel for the fire...


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 Post subject: Re: Build a pair of skyward pointing searchlights - want to
PostPosted: Mon May 23, 2011 12:53 pm 
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The sky tracker thingies this would emulate, in my first thought on the matter, have four lights that point the beam in a circular pattern, but do not themselves rotate, I like that, because commutaters for rotating power feeds are a pain.

Image

It would be fun to have idependently controled automated lights, but my plan was something much dumber and simpler. (I have a friend that used to build these, it's a pain, and you can find commerial ones on ebay from time to time if you are serious about having them)

I would like to build tiny automated lights at some point, suitable for a lege mini-fig stage setup, I have no reason for doing this, it just seems interesting, and full color LEDs make a nice light source.

OK back on track, the lights I have look about like this.
Image

Pete


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 Post subject: Re: Build a pair of skyward pointing searchlights - want to
PostPosted: Mon May 23, 2011 1:30 pm 
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Booka wrote:
Add a Fog machine to provide very localized illumination.


Dude! Then get the laser light show going! I've got all the lasers, I should go order some lenses....

I see no reason why open hack night can't look like a KISS concert! :twisted:

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 Post subject: Re: Build a pair of skyward pointing searchlights - want to
PostPosted: Mon May 23, 2011 1:57 pm 
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If I recall the Sky Tracker correctly, they have a x and y access movement, that is half the Joystick Control problem there, and I am sure we can make a Arduino read the inuput and maybe even buzz when the lights cross... ( or Boom)

Ok, Simple first build a X and Y bracket for the lights(including motors) then add the sharks with lasers later..

Image


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 Post subject: Re: Build a pair of skyward pointing searchlights - want to
PostPosted: Mon May 23, 2011 2:41 pm 
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Location: NE Minneapolis
search lights just have tilt in 2 directions like a joystick. this can generate big circular sweeps, and only needs a flexible cable.

a robotic light such as a varilite have pan and tilt akin to the instrument booka put up have (2) 360` or free rotation axises. you'll often also get iris control, focus, and color changing via diachroic filtering as well. on a commercial system by the time you've put the engineering in to have a reliable pan/tilt mechanism, you're at a price where you want significantly more and better quality of light than leds can provide.

laser shows typically have a fixed laser shooting at 1 or 2 mirrors with 1 or 2 axis of motion each.

i believe i've got a small older robotic fixture in my garage, which i can bring in for folks to study/repair/play with.

the big thing on lighting systems is using a standard control method. dmx is the standard for almost every lighting rig that's not a proprietary cat5e run. i suspect that an arduino dmx shield would be a huge hit.


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 Post subject: Re: Build a pair of skyward pointing searchlights - want to
PostPosted: Mon May 23, 2011 3:23 pm 
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metis wrote:
laser shows typically have a fixed laser shooting at 1 or 2 mirrors with 1 or 2 axis of motion each.


I saw a hack a while back that was using a speaker cone to try and get the quick response you need on something like a laser (which works as you don't really have a lot of weight on it.) I would imagine that a simple solenoid of some form would work fine for the second axis on a bigger light as it does not have to move that fast. i.e. one rotation at the base and a solenoid to move from straight up to an angle.

I can see where you could make it a very easy to motor cam type system as well... but that seems less fun.

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 Post subject: Re: Build a pair of skyward pointing searchlights - want to
PostPosted: Mon May 23, 2011 6:50 pm 
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Oh yeah! I've seen this picture in my head many times:
Attachment:
tcm-searchlight.png
tcm-searchlight.png [ 182.96 KiB | Viewed 612 times ]

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 Post subject: Re: Build a pair of skyward pointing searchlights - want to
PostPosted: Mon May 23, 2011 7:55 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jan 18, 2009 11:06 am
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Location: Brooklyn Park, MN (EN35ic)
Did a quick and by no means exhaustive search for laws regarding the use of searchlights:

The FAA has no regulations regarding the use of searchlights. However, they do like being notified of the location and planned hours of operation.

Outdoor laser displays are regulated by the FAA:

I couldn't find any state laws regarding searchlights, but MN statute 609.857 covers "discharging a laser at an aircraft."

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