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DIY Karma lighting project.


Well-Known Member
Sep 12, 2018
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The idea started about a year ago when I first saw landscape photography using a drone as a lighting source. I wanted to see how light weight and how bright I can get it and how cheap it can be done:

The idea is based off of using LED tactical flashlights. I chose a 2 pack kist off of Amazon with charger and batteries for $21.

My goal is to use only the LED and focus housing and wire the LED lights directly to a 2 Cell 18650 battery holder for power. I plan to attach to the landing gear using 2 bicycle handlebar gopro mounts.

Parts ordered and arrive today....


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Great idea mate!
Good luck and keep us posted with pictures etc.

Have a great day.
I got the mounting parts in and started fiddling and weighing everything out:
Without a switch (if I need one) and wiring its only 9 OZ.

I decided I only needed half of the tube mount. I believe I can shave another 5/8 of an OZ off by replacing the heavy plastic "thumb" screw and using a smaller bolt.

What I do not know yet is if I need a "regulator" circuit or if I can use the one that is probably hidden in the tail cap. The tail cap itself is an additional .5 OZ's


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One light assembly on its own. 2.5/8 Oz each.

Sorry to the Imperial challenged... Metrics was not my first language :)


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Great idea, keep us posted. Good also to see Ironspear on from Adelaide. Now for something for your log book:GoPro Pilots Log Book - 4912 -.jpg
The Sticky label size is 4912 by 2760 pixels.
By the way Ironspear in five weeks time I will be flying my drone over Rarotonga once more. This was a last years clip:
I assembled everything and soldered it together. it appears I do not need the button assembly at all to drive 2 LED's. total weight 9 and 3/8 oz. I can trim about an OZ more with shortwr screws and removing the battery cover.


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Field test! nervous and shaking. I decided to test it "heavy" knowing I can trim it down still.

Auto launch worked.... lumbered a little...


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Well done mate looks great so far.

Keep up the good work.
By the way Ironspear in five weeks time I will be flying my drone over Rarotonga once more. This was a last years clip:

Great footage James.
Have fun at the end of the year.
That's great mate.

Excellent photo.

Love light painting.
Very clever mate.

Are you happy with it?
I am pretty happy with the overall concept and light output. If I am to believe the specs of the flashlight, its 3000 lumens x2.
Notes on performance and handling:
Battery-life - no real scientific test except looking at the countdown timer - I would say adding the 9 OZ cost me about 15 to 20%.

Total cost - approx. $45 US

GPS - lock seemed fast and no issues

Compass Lock - This I kept losing it a few times getting the Compass Interference warning and then having to fly manually and land to avoid crashing...at night and heavy. I would re calibrate compass and everything would be fine for a flight or two. My initial belief was the battery pack may be causing issues. In the morning I also got a compass error after recalibrating and taking the battery pack and light kit off. Just may have been the location and not the batteries.

The compass error also kept me from trying the Orbit flight path as it error out and then I chickened out :)

Flight Distance and light output - I think this sort of set up is best kept within 100 yards total. Karmie is a bit heavy and until I play with the light focusing more, the spot effect vs exposure time, hovering around 30 to 40 feet above the object so far is best.

Video quality - In the photo above, all I could see from the GoPro was just the illuminated "tips" of the Saguaro cactus arms. This is still not enough light to navigate by in the dark.

Improvements to come - I want to switch to 2 single cell holders placed on the running boards and see if I have less issues with the compass lock.

More to come!
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DIY lighting Mark 2 :)

I switched to 2 single 3.7 V cell holders and wired them in series. I added a little switch for now so I can control the lights.
My hopes are this will prevent any possible interference with compass lock like I had last time.

I saved about 3/8 of an OZ with the separate battery holders but added the same weight back with the added "Extender" pieces. I needed them to keep the battery from getting in the way of the prop arms.

If I do not need to make any changes after a flight test, I plan to clean up the wiring a bit with heat shrink tubing.


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