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Make Sonic combat modules great again!

My first experience in the hobby was with the aerobird planes in the early 00's, my dad and I had a blast with sonic combat modules, my old brushed stryker had a huge advantage... it was amazing.
I've seen adapters that allow non horizon hobby planes to plug a sonic combat module into a non HH receiver, the flitetest team should do a sonic combat episode


Active member
Ive been tossing this back and fourth in my head for a bit, ive been meaning to try and put this somewhere to try and have someone say "no that wont work, and here is as good as anywhere...

so ive seen the work done by these fellows

it looks like they are going for hits limiting throttle, eventually resulting in no throttle and forced landing. they talk about using a laser as the "gun" and a receiver to pick up the signals. it seems like they were testing at night, and i am unsure what type of laser they were using. they talked about things being frustrating and working better on the ground, and i think the narrow extreme accuracy of the laser was not helping them to register hits once flying. Im not too sure if this is still being developed, i think ive linked to the last video they've posted on the subject was nearly 2 years ago (january 2018),

im thinking somone could modify Inav to be able to make a traditional flight controller take a serial input from an arduino board, and use that connection to send limits for the motor and servos from the arduino, and send fire commands to the arduino for led lights. then design a arduino shield with different inputs for light sensors, outputs for LED "weapons" a serial connection for communicating with a flight controller, power for Fpv gear, and outputs for speakers/LEDS for explosion lights/sounds(of course!)

what i think i would do differently from what I've guessed they've tried(on a mono-wing type conventional airplane) is a simple potentiometer light meter on each wing, top and bottom, as well as around the motor and on the tail both sides of the rudder and bottom of elevator. this would allow for both more availability to detect "hits," as well as tell where the airplane has taken "damage" to limit not only throttle, but aileron and elevator control as well. id set up a push button to enter a "calibrating mode" then put the sensors in direct sunlight, calibrate/zero them with a button, then flip it and calibrate the bottom sensors with their own separate zeroing system, so that you can roll and dive in-flight without the brighter direct sunshine being registered as a hit. Loss of function could be limited trows, or a stuck in a random position and unmovable, or moving around uncontrolled... ect.

Also, i wold forgo the laser for a LED with a narrow beam, and just keep adding LEDs to my weapon system until the spotlight cast is brighter than direct sunlight. then you simply flash the LED while firing, and each pulse is counted as a hit, and you set a certain limit of hits before you lose function in each part associated with each sensor. typical LED bulbs are have 30 degree angles, but bulbs can be found with as little as 5 degrees, the "bullets" would be a more shotgun like cone shape vs the lasers perfect tiny line.

A custom script could be written for a OSD module as well, to be able to put successful Hit!, a damage assessment pictograph, and indicators from where you are getting hit from...ect. this would be something that i would not be able to do with my current knowledge, but there always room to learn more.

with enough development you could have weapon and sensor modules that you could plug into a central combat computer with a preloaded script on there, that would be easy to install onto a already built air frame, as well as be integrated into a new build. then you could just simply buy parts to plug into things you already have and enable it within the script. you could also repair things and change things out easily, because if you are building things to crash, your gonna break stuff.

the only reason i think this might not work is getting LEDs bright enough to overcome direct sunlight might take a obscene amount of LEDs and/or power, reducing this could end up making this a cloudy day/ indoor sport. Im sure there are more hurdles than this, i wonder if the guy that was working on this is still attempting development, id love to pick his brain for what would work and what doesn't.


Active member
I wrote up some thoughts on this awhile back: https://forum.flitetest.com/index.p...ommunity-suggestions.37994/page-2#post-388925

There are ways to make it work.
I would love to see someone attempt to build the lens / LED tube small and light enough to fit on a plane. This is an ideal use case for 3D printing. Maybe a little cardboard tube around a plastic frame? That plus some basic 3/4 IR receiver domes is the guts of the system. The rest can be any off the shelf processor. I used Arduino for my system. The biggest drawback there was that the board couldn't drive high power LEDs itself and needed an extra breadboard. There may be some off the shelf parts available for this now.