Wingnut Tech Night Radian LED Controller

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As seen in the January 2021 issue of Model Aviation.

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THE E-FLITE NIGHT RADIAN FT 2.0M is a popular model that has introduced many hobbyists to the excitement of night flying. Its bright, multicolor LEDs create a dazzling light show in the sky.

One limitation, however, is that the model’s stock LED controller does not allow you to change the light sequence during flight. That is not the case with Wingnut Tech’s new Night Radian LED Controller. It gives you the freedom to change light sequences on the fly using your transmitter.

Swapping out the stock LED controller for the Wingnut Tech unit is easy. No soldering is required. You only need to plug in the connectors from the Night Radian’s LED strips and route a servo lead to your receiver. This board is designed to be placed under the belly hatch of the Night Radian and it actually frees up some space in the model’s crowded nose compartment.

You will need a spare channel on your radio system to connect the Wingnut Tech LED controller. If you’re flying the BNF version of the Night Radian, be advised that channels 4 through 6 of the included Spektrum AR636B receiver are inactive. You must activate them using the receiver programming software and one of the software interface devices offered by Spektrum. This detour will only take you a few minutes.

While installing the Wingnut Tech device (instructions are online), you will choose whether to control the lights with a knob or a switch on your transmitter. I chose the knob option. I simply turn the knob until I see the light sequence that I want. If you use a two-position or a three-position switch, the Wingnut Tech controller will cycle through the library of light sequences. You flip the switch to halt at your chosen light sequence.

The LED controller comes preprogrammed with a variety of light sequences. Wingnut Tech calls them "shows," and for good reason. Some are simple solid colors, while others "move" the lights all around the Night Radian. Fans of the TV show Knight Rider will get a kick out of the Cylon sequence. If you really want to grab some attention, try the Strobe show! It will separate your model from the night-flying herd!

One feature that I found particularly useful is the Navigation Light option. When enabled, the LEDs in the left wingtip are red, those in the right wingtip are green, and the tail lights are white. The rest of the lights on the model perform whatever show you have chosen. I found that having those solid references really helps with in-flight orientation, which can sometimes be a challenge when night flying.

Another interesting feature is the Altitude sequence. It uses the LED controller’s built-in variometer to give you a visual indicator of how high you are flying. As you climb, more lights become illuminated on the wing. Lights in the horizontal stabilizer turn red or green to indicate if you are climbing or descending.

If you’re handy with a keyboard, you can even create your own light sequences. Wingnut Tech allows you to download the controller code. You can then program custom shows and load them onto the controller.

Although the stock Night Radian FT 2.0m is a lot of fun, being able to control the lights during flight adds another level of excitement. Check out the $35 Night Radian LED Controller from Wingnut Tech and see what you’ve been missing.

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Wingnut Tech

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