MD500 Tow Defender Build Page 5

Cockpit Instruments:

I bought my instruments from a distributor I found on the Scale RC Heli forum. Turns out the parts actually come from ProHeli. They have a pretty good selection of cockpit instruments and other accessories. I plan to have my instrument panels light up. I am also installing a small pocket photo device to be used as a radar screen. I got the idea from DennisRC which I saw on the Scale RC Heli forum. I used his base image to get the curved lines for mine. The rest I made up myself as his screen was bigger. I am not sure how well it will show up when completed, but it will still look super cool in photos. All the instrument lighting is controlled from a custom designed lighting circuit I designed using the PIC12F629 microcontroller.

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Brown Santa Clause has just brought me these goodies. I could not wait to see these in person. Very cool!!!

Here is a side view of the instrument panel, cyclic control stick, and seat.

Here you can see the two instrument panels removed so I can start working on the lighting and radar screen.

To light my instrument panel I am making a plexiglass backlight. I have drilled it out to accept three white leds.

The back and the sides of the backlight is covered with reflective tape. This will keep the light coming out the front and not the sides.

During testing I found two leds to be sufficient for lighting, so that is what I am going with. Each led has a

current limiting resistor soldered to it's anode side. The backlight is glued to the panel and ready for installation.

Here you can see the backlight works pretty good at around 50% power. I did make one mistake of not getting the backlight

up far enough as you can see on the top row of instruments. There was a flange in the way that I chose not to cut. Once

installed in the heli you will never notice the lighting issue unless you are bending down and looking up into the cockpit.

Here the center console has been removed so I can fit the radar screen inside it.

Here the radar screen is just sitting inside while I figure some mounting issues out. These would be the ones like,

how the heck am I going to do this anyway??

The circuit board for the display is round and does not fit well inside the center console area.

I ended up removing the USB connector from the board and putting it on a short cable.

Here the radar screen has been hot glued in place along with the circuit board inside. In the background

you can see the USB connector and cable, plus the power wires for the display. Because the little display was

powered from a single lipo (which I do not want to use because of charging issues), I had to make a

3.8 VDC voltage regulator to power the display. Refer to the electrical section for more details.

Here is the completed radar display. You can see it is powered up. I saw this being done by DennisRC on his Airwolf project and I knew I had

to make one also. It is pretty easy to do. You just create the screens in MS Paint or whetever you like, save them as a GIF file, and load them into the

photo viewer. It will scroll through the photos and simulate an actual radar screen image. The one I used is pretty small so the resolution is not real

good, but it gets the idea across when looking into the cockpit.

Here is my first demo video of my radar screen before it was installed.