AC Holic

HeliLIghts Mini Build Plans

by on Aug.09, 2009, under Hobbies

Here are the HeliLights schematics, pcb layout and HeliLights Mini hex file for those who would like to build one for their models.  If you do, please drop me a note in the comments.  I would love to see a picture of the model that you incorporated this into.

HeliLights Mini Schematic

parts placementPCB Top

Build Notes:

  • The pcb layouts should be printed at 300 dpi to generate actual size patterns.
  • R4 = 3.3K for 2s Lipo battery, low battery warning is set at 6.35 volts.
  • Pin 2 of the 3 pin header (SV1)  is to be connected directly to + of the battery, it is NOT part of the servo plug that goes to the reciever.  Pin1 and 3 should be plugged into the reciever’s Gear/Aux channel.  1 being ground and 3 being signal.  Use a proportional channel if possible rather than just a switched channel as the various modes are accessed depending on the PWM of this channel.
  • The ATTiny85 must have its Reset fuse set. ie: RSTDISBL checked.  Clock is internal RC 8MHz.  No divide by 8 ie. CKDIV8 not set.
  • Since the reset line (pin 1) is needed for IO, once it is disabled in the fuse setting, no further in-circuit programming can be done.   So be careful to program the chip correctly, then set the RSTDISBL fuse. You only have one chance at this unless you have a way to erase the chip using high voltage program mode.

Please use your common sense – Standard Disclaimer

Information presented on this web site should be used as a guide or educational purposes only. No warranty, either express or implied is made with respect to the suitability or correctness of the information contained herein. AC Holic or its author Rex shall not be held responsible for any loss, inconvenience, damage (whether special or consequential) or claims arising out of the use of the information contained on this site.
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HeliLights Flight Test

by on Aug.04, 2009, under Hobbies

Had some time on the long weekend and made a video with the HeliLights in flight.

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Installing HeliLights

by on Jul.31, 2009, under Hobbies

Finally, got around to installing the Helilights onto my Blade CX2 helicopter.  This CX2 has the extreme body parts upgrade as they are tougher than the stock body in a flying model.

HeliLights pcb fits nicely under the radio and the speed controller.


Blue police flashers installed to both body sides  and the red rotating beacon simulator on top.


The Red/Green navigation lights are 603 sized surface mount LEDs.  They are tiny and embeds nicely into the thin plastic stabilizer wing.  The white flasher sits on the tail enclosed by an LED panel cap.  All wires are hidden inside the carbon fiber tube.


Powered up and ready to fly.

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Life Changing Event!

by on Jul.30, 2009, under Asheron's Calls Chronicle

Flashback 1999

As with most games, after awhile no matter how good the game is at the time of its original release and with no new contents or game play, it will get boring and people move on to the next latest and greatest. This combined with the fact that during that time, PC hardware was making leaps and bounds and game developers were fast to take advantage of this in order to impress their followers with new eye candy.  Heavy Gear was no exception, by the summer of 1999, our original group of HG players went on to to experiment with various other multiplayer offerings including the excellent Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Rogue Spear.

Up to this point, although the games we played were multiplayer in nature, it was generally limited to a dozen or so players as once.  They also need to be connected to one of the player’s PC acting as the host to synchronize game play.  Massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) was a new concept and we all looked forward to really seeing what it would be liked to have hundreds or even thousands of players that can interact with each other.

Theses next generation games promise a persistent environment where possessions, player abilities, and achievements can be maintained. This coupled with vast interactions with other players and huge playable area that included world map that one can run on seamlessly for days and not see the boundaries as oppose to a few limited landscape or scenario maps was an eye opener. Finally, an engaging lore and monthly content updates that can be influenced by actions that players take on the server was just too good to be true and solved all the shortcomings of all previous games.

Enter Asheron’s Call on that faithful day: November 2nd, 1999…..


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by on Jul.26, 2009, under Hobbies

After working over the design a few days and prototyping it on a solderless breadboard, I came up with a first generation working pcb.  One of the interesting aspects of the design is how the rotating beacon is imitated by a single non-moving high brightness red LED.  If you ever paid any attention to how these mechanical beacons looked at a fair distance away, you would notice how they seem to fade in and out in addition to what looks like a short flash when the reflector is directly shining on your eyes.  Well, this is exactly how it is simulated. The single red LED follows a slow ramp up and down with a sharp peak in between.  Here are a few pics and a short video showing those of you that I had lost in my previous post; what I was talking about all this time :P





I will mount this first board onto my small co-axial Blade-CX model and shoot another video in a few days to show the final result.

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Let’s see the light!

by on Jul.18, 2009, under Hobbies

One of my many senseless time sinks in life…umm hobbies, is radio controlled flying models of airplanes and helicopters. I decided to make them a little more realistic by adding some light effects. I am thinking, well, after I crash them (which is just a matter of time with my flying skills), I can turn them into static display models. :P

After a bit of research googling aviation lighting systems, I had my initial design in mind. It’s going to need a small micro processor to sequence a number of LEDs to simulate the many flashing patterns typically found on these systems. Before I knew it, I had these goals for the design:

  1. Standard Navigation lights (similar to the red and green lights you see on the port/starboard sides of boats). These lights are normally just constantly on. Easy!!!
  2. White Navigation light at tail end. This one can be just on or strobing.
  3. Anti-collision warning beacon. This one is a little tricky since normally they are mechanical rotating reflectors inside a dome. Going to have to find a way to simulate that with a non-moving light. More on that later.
  4. Landing or Spot light. I am thinking of using a higher power 3 watts LED to simulate the Nightsun police search lights. That implies a driver to buffer the output from the micro.
  5. Blue police strobes? Hmm, can always substitute these with ultra small surface mount yellow LEDs to simulate muzzle flashes on gun ships.
  6. With all the extra demands on the battery, might be a good idea to include a low battery voltage warning flash pattern before I create another reason for my models to crash besides my flying skill.
  7. All these different lights needed to be able to be controlled from an extra channel on the radio.
  8. A way to easily program and change the flash patterns would be nice.
  9. All of this has to weigh in at less than 10 grams.

Hopefully, I will have something working in a few days…

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Do you recognize this house?

by on Jul.18, 2009, under Random Rants

Finally, I have a place to post this.

One night in October of 2006, while driving home, I found these guys shooting a big budget movie on my street!!!!  Pretty cool how they made all the fake snow.  All this for a 30 second clip at the end of a movie.

I am not going to name the movie; I wonder if anyone recognizes the set. Reply with the name of the movie if you can!  (Hint: The movie stars Hayden Christensen, Samuel L. Jackson)

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The Beginning…

by on Jun.11, 2009, under Asheron's Calls Chronicle

Flashback 1997

The game that I stumbled upon that started it all was Heavy Gear by Activision. Most people will at least have heard of the more well known Battletech and MechWarrior series. Prior to my discovery of Heavy Gear, I have played the many single player version of the MechWarrior PC games. But it soon got boring as the game scenarios were pretty much preplanned and scripted.


So one faithful evening, I decided to download a free beta trail of Heavy Gear II by Activision. And what an eye opener it was, I soon discovered there were actually a whole new level of social interactions that can be found over this exciting new gaming venue.  Gamers are no longer measuring their play skills against the speed of their CPUs but to each other. Enemies and comrades on the screen are no longer just bits inside a memory chip but a real human being at the other end complete with all the idiosyncracy of an individual.  This was just irresistible;  Finally, there’s a friend that’s worthy to die for and conversely a foe that you were happy to dispatch off without a second thought nor the consequence that would surely follow in real life.


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by on Jun.11, 2009, under Random Rants

Dealing with one of the annoyance of IE. To disable the display secure/nor secure warning message, follow these steps:

Tools menu => Internet Options.
Security tab => Custom Level.
Miscellaneous section => Display Mixed Content.
Enable it and you will never see that useless message again.

As most people don’t even know what that silly popup box means and simply click it to make it go away.  Hers’s a explanation of what it is:  This is a warning that web page viewed over a secure HTTPS connection contains any content that is not secure.  It could simply be a link to a banner and for most users totoally insignificant useless you are the rare user who feels this is actually an important warning.  Firefox by default actually has this option turned off.

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Hello world!

by on Jun.09, 2009, under Random Rants

Welcome to AC-Holic.

This is my first blog site, so bare with me as i learn the features of WordPress!   Real contents will be forthcoming.

As to the name AC-Holic:  AC is short for Asheron’s Call, one of the first MMORPG (Massively multiplayer online role-playing game) that I started playing almost ten years ago and we all know what Holic means :)   In any case, this blog has nothing to do with a similar named medical condition.  One of the reasons why this blog exists is simply I wanted a record of the last ten years in reference to this fantasy we gamers immerse ourselves into.

Rex of Harvestgain
(My main ingame character on the Harvestgain server within the AC world)

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