Lumos - Spotlight Drone

A GPS controlled Spotlight Drone

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Once deployed, Lumos will hover above the designated area until its battery reserves are depleted at which point it will return to the base location and where it will be collected and recharged. The process will repeat until the units are no longer needed. To reduce interference with rescue operations it will fly at a distance of 75 to 150 feet above the area as to be out of audible hearing range and most physical obstacles.

Current Revision design is to PCB manufacture all control surfaces.


1) Size - Small enough to be thrown like a softball.
2) Power - Illuminate an area roughly the size of a football field.
3) Duration - Flight time between 15-30min

Adobe Portable Document Format - 2.83 MB - 11/09/2019 at 21:49


Adobe Portable Document Format - 3.33 MB - 07/06/2019 at 21:24


  • Hand Calculations

    John Loeffler07/25/2020 at 19:48 0 comments

    Bellow is Basic calculations of thrust for the RS1106 Motor and Prop Combo.

    The single 18650 or Dual 18650 will be boosted up to the Desired voltage using 2-3 XL6008E1 running in parrell to achieve desired voltage.


    Power of a Single 14500 is ~2.6W (~ 3.7V * 0.7Ah)

    Power of a Dual 14500 is ~5.1W (~ 3.7V * 0.7Ah)

    Power of a Single 18650 is ~9.25W (~ 3.7V * 2.5Ah)

    Power of a Dual 18650 is ~18.5W (~ 3.7V * 5.0Ah)


    The weigh of motor, 4x Servos, ESC, LED and 1x 14500 is 86g 

    (20W Flight + 10W led => 5.2 min flight time

    The weigh of motor, 4x Servos, ESC, LED and 2x 14500 is 100g

    (24W Flight + 10W led => 9min flight time

    The weigh of motor, 4x Servos, ESC, LED and 1x 18650 is 114g

    (28W Flight + 10W led => 14min flight time

    The weigh of motor, 4x Servos, ESC, LED and 2x 18650 is 159g

    (48W Flight + 10W led => 19min flight time


    Using the Below Thrust tables Optimal flight time Configuration

    1) Single cell 18650 Boosted to 8V 

    2) RS1106 (4500KV)

    3) GF3020 Blade

    4) 3.5A Current at 8V

    Assuming no efficiency losses Flight time could be ~ 19min

    Realistically flight time could be as high as 13min

  • Thrust Tables - RS1106

    John Loeffler11/09/2019 at 21:48 0 comments

    Thrust Tables

View all 2 project logs

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Best Products & Insightful Reviews wrote 09/06/2022 at 07:56 point

I like the insights you are sharing here. It reminds me of

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Ericson wrote 06/23/2022 at 21:48 point

Great concept. It reminds me of Long Distance Spotlight

  Are you sure? yes | no

Qumefox wrote 09/13/2020 at 22:35 point

One thing I'll note. Switching to a ducted prop/ducted fan design will increase both thrust efficiency as well as safety since it has the added benefit of keeping things out of the prop.

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hyratel wrote 09/13/2020 at 22:28 point

perhaps a version should have an option for 'hold station', so it keeps its location from point of launch, suitable for situations where a base station deployment is not feasible

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Josh Starnes wrote 07/21/2020 at 01:02 point

Do you have a 3d printer to get your project going?

  Are you sure? yes | no

John Loeffler wrote 07/21/2020 at 20:54 point

I kind of have one but not functional at the moment. I am designing my new one to be a fraction of the size and utilizing pcb only construction.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Josh Starnes wrote 06/17/2020 at 01:15 point

Have you considered contra-rotating props, this would better balance your project and greatly retuce overcoming rotational torque.

I have a Disaster light and communications project I was searching for when I came across this as a solution

  Are you sure? yes | no

John Loeffler wrote 06/17/2020 at 03:56 point

Thanks for the link was looking for something like that.   I do love the simplicity of contra rotating because it takes care of both the rotational torque and more importantly the gyroscopic procession that single rotors have.   That being said.  Single rotors are far more efficient which is what I am aiming for.  contra rotating can increase lift but to get efficient lift the would need to be 0.8-1.2 rotor diameters apart

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Simon Merrett wrote 05/30/2020 at 20:18 point

What keeps getting updated in this project? I can't see any changes but it keeps getting bumped up the recently updated list. Also, it's submitted for the Hackaday Prize but is tagged as a shelved project. That's confusing. Nice idea though and it would be great to see some logs! 

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John Loeffler wrote 05/31/2020 at 02:51 point

Thanks, it is an ongoing project it was shelved for a while I was changing the tags

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crun wrote 05/27/2020 at 02:22 point

I have been thinking about a wire antenna lifting drone. You can power through the wire. A single pair from cat5 cable is 5g/m i.e. 400g for 80m and 16ohm. 

  Are you sure? yes | no

Josh Starnes wrote 07/21/2020 at 01:03 point

Are you taking about powering the drone through the Cat 5 cable? I think they can only handle like 15 watts or something like that.

  Are you sure? yes | no

crun wrote 07/21/2020 at 20:50 point

no, when the wire is in the open air the power is only really limited by the resistance, not heat buildup. You would put ~60V in and get 30V out @3A = 95W max for a 50m single pair tether. There are better wire choices of course, I just thought of a light, easy to get wire.

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Paul Crouch wrote 05/22/2020 at 14:43 point

Are you planning to use a separate battery for the LED? 50-100W is a fair bit and would eat into your flight time if using the flight pack.

Would the light be effective at that 200-300ft height? You wouldn't want a spot wobbling about. What kind of beam angle were you considering?

Interesting concept. I'm following.

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burner wrote 04/22/2020 at 07:43 point

You get more stable and lightweight structure if you put those batteries as one row so that this is longer. And then for weight reduction you can use 3 servos instead of 4. Also you can use flip blade propeller so it is more easy to carry. 

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John Loeffler wrote 04/18/2020 at 18:15 point

I think it could fly without GPS lock for that time using barometric sensor

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Kyle Brinkerhoff wrote 03/09/2020 at 04:55 point

why not a flashlight hanging from a balloon? with the right miniturized inflation apparatus the whole unit could be the size of a 2 liter soda bottle, you could keep it in place with a piece of string. flight time probably in the weeks range, especially with solar powered flashlight

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Stephen Hody wrote 04/27/2020 at 22:43 point

This^ I think it's a fun idea that's worth pursuing as a "can I make this work" project but I think it ends there. 13minutes isn't going to be able to do much practically whereas some sort of buoyancy-based project could get much longer time. I think you could go a step beyond balloon with string if you wanted more deploy-ability but the concept is there.

That said I appreciate the "can I do this to prove I can" approach as well.. I think that getting this to balance is going to be much harder than you realize especially if wind is considered. There's a reason single prop drones aren't in widescale use.. the only one I've seen working flies like this:

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Cat wrote 07/07/2020 at 04:26 point

That drone on the BBC is not like this one. Totally different principle and use.  Apples and bolts! 

And regarding "There's a reason single prop drones aren't in widescale use": a few years ago there were NO DRONES in widescale use. And look at them now.

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Benjamin Prescher wrote 11/07/2019 at 22:49 point

Oh wow. I'm working on something very similar! Have you already had a prototype and made it fly?

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John Loeffler wrote 11/07/2019 at 22:50 point

Not at the moment, I have been looking into different motors

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Benjamin Prescher wrote 11/07/2019 at 22:55 point

What kind of flight controller are you going to use here?

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John Loeffler wrote 11/07/2019 at 22:57 point

I am just looking into designing.  No flight controller has this configuration.  It would need to be developed.

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warhawk-avg wrote 09/13/2019 at 10:02 point

Seems will you be able to set the correct height from the ground? GPS possibly? 

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John Loeffler wrote 09/13/2019 at 11:55 point

GPS is capable but I envisioned throwing it like a ball and it go to heigh while it waits to connect to GPS (about 15S) this can be done with a barometric pressure sensor which has a relative accuracy of +-1.5m

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Bharbour wrote 04/18/2020 at 17:28 point

could you just hold it while the GPS is powered up waiting for a fix and then throw it? 15 seconds is a long time to wait

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burner wrote 04/22/2020 at 07:38 point

barometric sensor dos not help for drift. Also normally barometric sensor are at airframe what is not under propel. At this design it is middle of turbulent zone. So I dont believe that you get 1.5m accuracy with barometric sensor with that airframe. Why just not wait that there is gps lock and then throw it to sky?

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