Easy UFO Lights on your Drone for Halloween

Sometimes it’s not so much what you put together, it’s how you use it. The folks at Adafruit have put up a project on how to dress up your drone with ‘UFO lights’ just in time for Halloween. The project is a ring of RGB LEDs and a small microcontroller to give any quadcopter a spinning ‘tractor beam light’ effect. A 3D printed fixture handles attachment. If you’re using a DJI Phantom 4 like they are, you can power everything directly from the drone using a short USB cable, which means hardly any wiring work at all, and no permanent changes of any kind to the aircraft. Otherwise, you’re on your own for providing power but that’s probably well within the capabilities of anyone who messes with add-ons to hobby aircraft.

One thing this project demonstrates is how far things have come with regards to accessibility of parts and tools. A 3D printed fixture, an off-the-shelf RGB LED ring, and a drop-in software library for a small microcontroller makes this an afternoon project. The video (embedded below) also demonstrates how some unfamiliar lights and some darkness goes a long way toward turning the otherwise familiar Phantom quadcopter into a literal Unidentified Flying Object.

While it might be tempting to buzz people to show off the effect on Halloween, flying over or around people with what is essentially an airborne surprise blender is a needless risk. But you don’t need people around; drones (and some cleverness) have opened many doors for the amateur film crowd.

5 thoughts on “Easy UFO Lights on your Drone for Halloween

  1. What ? no mention of the legendary, dismal, piss poor, atrocious, non-existent DJI “customer support” ? Anyone who purchases their pos hardware is either (a). likes to gamble, or (b). has the financial resources to consider their pos a throwaway toy, and has no problems purchasing a replacement.

    1. Had absolutely no problems with my DJI P2V.
      Now I am skilled enough to maintain it my self.
      And do not need customer support.
      The only problem I had was when I lent it out to a friend and they thought
      they were doing me a favor by tightening the motor mounts for me.
      When they actually over torqued the screws and cracked the lower shell.
      A bit of a pain to replace but not expensive. Less than $100.00
      Still flies like new.
      Upgraded to new motor ESC’s, motors , thrust boosted props.
      rotopixel 2axis gimbal.
      And still getting 30min flight times with the old batteries.
      made solar charger for the batteries.
      Can take it just about anywhere I want with the exception of the no fly zones.

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