Help me light an airport! :D

Hello. I'm new here. I see there are a lot of products that circle what I'm planning, and rather than blowing a lot of money on trial and error, I thought I'd reach out to the hive mind and see what others suggest.

I'm converting a G.I.Joe Cobra Night Raven S3P and some support vehicles, and wondered what was needed. I see there's an aircraft control board, but it seems a little off.
An aircraft should have:
Red, white, green Nav lights
White strobes (included in the 12-in-one board)
red anticollision beacons top and bottom (I see options in the aircraft board and the 2-pack of 6-element beacons)
Tail logo lights
Large, high intensity landing lights
Interior lighting
cockpit control lights
work lights inside hatches
possibly a set of running lights for the drone ship to land on the back of the plane with in this case.
Engine effect lighting for 2 engine nacelles (I see the 12-in-one board does a great job of this, but does this mean i'll need several of this part?)
okay, okay...and machine/laser weapons that light up. Fine. ;)

What doodads can I use to do all this?
If I get a simple buy list, i'll be up and running in no time.

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  • ...and the rest of the airport is FAR simpler. 

  • Hi Andrew Dodd , thanks for your messages and passion!  Do you have photos you could post here (or link to) showing your project?  We're working on some new aircraft/nav stuff that seems like it would be a good fit here.


  • You mean you actually design the little circuit boards in-house!?
    I think I'm having a fevered dream. This is all too good to be true.

    To answer your question, I'm just at the planning phase.
    I have the big GI Joe toy, and I know what lights go where.
    I know I could fudge the whole thing with a LOT of those single...purpose 12-function boards, but I'm trying to avoid that.
    I can draw/scan/post the  Light positions and details if it helps.

    I honestly have more experience doing this with real aircraft than on models. 

    oh, another thing. your tiny LCD's blow my mind. That being said, I want to try something similar with the 0.19-0.54 inch screens from Kopin. Will your electronics work with that if the resolution is the same?

  • So, here's a quick electrical diagram. It's pretty basic. There's a few extras to be added later, but this is the first of 5 large planes, all the ground support and such. 

  • Andrew Dodd Fantastic detail, thank you for sharing.  Really helps to see everything visually.  We can definitely help with the effects mapped to specific lights.  I'm assuming all lights aren't on all the time?  How would you assign the various "stages" of activation/operation?  For example, the work lights wouldn't be on all the time, correct?

    We can supply an RF remote control with 4 or 8 buttons-- these could control the various effects and sounds.  Unfortunately we're not able to supply Bluetooth/phone/app control.

    RE: the screens, do you have links to the small screens you mentioned?  I'm wondering if they are higher resolution screens (like viewfinder LCDs)-- in that case, they likely wouldn't work with our current video setup but something might be able to be arranged using a different setup (playing via video out from a Raspberry Pi Zero, for example).

  • Oh, wow. I'm amazed, but haven't caffeinated yet. 
    Here's the link to the product line in question:

    You're so right about stages. I'll map that out on paper a few times and get back to you ASAP.

    Thanks so much for your help with this. :D

  • So, I've been thinking on this all day. 

    This is for the larger ship

    If the 8 buttons are cognate with 8 separate channels, then the following should work

    1. Internal (white) lighting on/off (red lights are always on)

    2.Nav, Strobes, beacons, landing lights, 

    3. engine spool up, cruise, spool down lighting and sound effect

    4. mute

    5. work lights

    6. landing skids up/down

    7.  Running lights for drone landing

    8. Weapons signal: wiring to subcircuits for machine guns and LASERS! (actual laser pointers) with magnetic power and signal connector.

    um, now the screens I'd like per cockpit: (8 cockpits)

    4x 5-7mm VGA or less screens with each of the scrolling presets you have for fighter jets

    1x 5-7mm HUD

    1x +-10mmDRADIS
    1x +-10mm TIE display

    many blinking lights in different colours and backlit ...switches

    Then 4 +-25mm screens with scrolling random info

  • Andrew Dodd For those screens, you're looking at a whole different animal than what we work with.  We did an experiment several years ago for another customer where we used a high-res, very small screen like that (  While screens like that look awesome, in reality they're crazy expensive ($300-500) and need dedicated video conversion boards (which are large and hard to fit inside small models) and also need analog or HDMI video input (which again requires a module like a Raspberry Pi to play).  In general, not worth it in our opinion for a model.  Much better to use the kinds of small screens we offer and to live with the radically reduced resolution.  Check out this screen, which is 0.96", OLED, and you can load your own videos (up to 4 hours) onto it.

  • Oh! I assumed they were just newer and cheaper. The resolution really isn't that important to me, so i agree with your thinking. I'll just have to figure out an alternative for the cockpits. 
    Thank you.
    Does the rest work as intended?

  • OMG! I just looked at the link. That's FANTASTIC. 
    I don't mind spending a few thousand dollars to make the cockpit the way I want it......later. 
    I'll figure out something for that part in the a possible upgrade path. 

    Out of curiosity, what is the technical difference between those tiny things and your 0.9 inch displays? I'd have thought a VGA LCD panel of any size can take a variety of inputs.

  • Andrew Dodd The main difference is that with the high-resolution panels (like the ones you linked, regardless of their size), they need an analog input and have large external video processor cards.  Our small screens don't need analog input but take direct digital data from their SD cards and render it onto the screens.  Tradeoff is lower resolution but also much less space (physical space) needed and lower cost (comparing it to a screen + processor board+ external computer like a Raspberry Pi to create the analog video signal).

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