Light Controller

Overview

Light Controller

The Avionics Anonymous Light Controller is a 4-channel light controller for unmanned vehicles. Each channel can be configured as a nav, strobe, beacon or landing light and can be programmed for various patterns. When connected to an autopilot running PX4, lights are automatically controlled based on the state of the autopilot! For example, beacons can be set to turn on when the system is prearmed and strobes to turn on when the system is armed, while nav lights may always be on. All of this is configurable via PX4 and UAVCAN parameters. The device interfaces to your autopilot via robust UAVCAN interface - much easier than trying to tune a PWM signal to give you the desired patterns using typical R/C light controllers.

What makes it special?

  • Designed for drop-in use with uniLight LED products

  • Supports up to 30V lighting voltage

  • Supports common-anode lights (combined lights that use the same power pin for multiple LED's)

  • 4 separately-controllable channels supporting 3A each with a total limit of 10A.

  • 3x connectors for 2 channels, 2x connectors for the other 2 channels means you can plug in multiple lights without having to splice

  • Robust UAVCAN interface is compatible with most Pixhawks and similar autopilots

  • Mount with screws through mounting holes

  • Update firmware via CAN interface

Specifications

  • Weight: XX grams

  • Size: XXin x XXin x XXin

  • Power: 4.0V to 5.5V, XXmA

Required Accessories

  • CAN Harness - connects between the autopilot and a CAN node and between each CAN node on the bus

  • CAN Terminator - connects to the last device on the CAN bus

Where to Buy

User Guide

Wiring

The Light Controller is connected to your autopilot via CAN bus. The wiring is per the pinout below, or the necessary cables can be purchased to connect to your system right out of the box:

  • CAN Harness - connects between the autopilot and a CAN node and between each CAN node on the bus

  • CAN Terminator - connects to the last device on the CAN bus

Pinouts

CAN Connector

Pin

Name

Description

1

POWER_IN

Power supply. 4.0-5.5V supported.

2

CAN_H

CAN high

3

CAN_L

CAN low

4

GND

Signal/power ground.

Power Input Connector

Pin

Name

Description

1

POWER_IN

Light power supply. 5-30V supported.

2

GND

Light power ground.

Light Output Connector

Pin

Name

Description

1

POWER_IN

Light power output.

2

GND

Light power ground.

Mounting

Attachment

The Light Controller includes 4x screw holes for 4-40/M3 screws. Consider using standoffs or otherwise spacing the board off of flat surfaces to protect the pins which protrude through the bottom side.

Configuration

Autopilot Configuration

PX4 (Support coming soon)

Several autopilot parameters must be set using QGC or similar:

  • UAVCAN must be enabled by setting UAVCAN_ENABLE non zero. Set this to 1 for basic functionality or 2 to allow the device's UAVCAN parameters to be accessed via QGC.

  • Set the operating mode for each light using the parameters UAVCAN_LGT_ANTCL, UAVCAN_LGT_STROB, UAVCAN_LGT_NAV, and UAVCAN_LGT_LAND, as follows:

    Param Value

    Description

    0

    Lights never on

    1

    Lights on when system is armed

    2

    Lights on when system is prearmed (safety switch "unsafe")

    3

    Lights always on

Node Configuration

The Light Controller node has a number of parameters accessible via the UAVCAN interface. These may be set following the steps outlined here

Parameters

Parameter Name

Description

Default Value

Allowable Values

node_id

Node ID for this device

111

1-125

chan_1_id

UAVCAN "SingleLightCommand" "light_id" value for channel 1

LIGHT_ID_RIGHT_OF_WAY (nav lights)

0-255

chan_2_id

UAVCAN "SingleLightCommand" "light_id" value for channel 2

LIGHT_ID_STROBE

0-255

chan_3_id

UAVCAN "SingleLightCommand" "light_id" value for channel 3

LIGHT_ID_LANDING

0-255

chan_4_id

UAVCAN "SingleLightCommand" "light_id" value for channel 4

LIGHT_ID_ANTI_COLLISION (beacon)

0-255

chan_1_pattern

Pattern for channel 1. See "Patterns" table below.

5 (always on)

0-255

chan_2_pattern

Pattern for channel 2. See "Patterns" table below.

1 (strobe, double flash)

0-255

chan_3_pattern

Pattern for channel 3. See "Patterns" table below.

5 (always on)

0-255

chan_4_pattern

Pattern for channel 4. See "Patterns" table below.

3 (beacon, single-flash)

0-255

Patterns

Pattern Value

Pattern Name

Description

0

ALWAYS_OFF

Lights off, regardless of command signal from autopilot

1

STROBE_DOUBLE

Double flash at 1Hz

2

STROBE_GLOW_DOUBLE

Strobe, double flash, but low-intensity constant light when not strobing

3

BEACON

Single flash at 1Hz, opposite phase to strobe

4

BEACON_SOFT

Soft 0.5Hz flash

5

ALWAYS_ON

Constantly on when commanded on

Firmware

Release Notes

v1.0

  • Initial Release