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
Last modified 1yr ago