Model Aircraft Lighting System

Thread Starter


Joined Oct 2, 2011
Hello all, I was wondering if anybody will be able to help me, no doubt they will.
Whilst about to embark on a model building spree, I thought that a nice way to finish off a nice model would be to light it up. Having searched far and wide, I can't quite see a solution to my problem that doesn't involve programming chips (of which I have no way of doing so) or some really complicated means of going about this.
Having left school almost 10 years ago and not using any of the electronics I learned, have subsequently forgotten most of it, but the basic theory is just about in place.

Now then, the project: What I'm looking at doing is putting LEDs (open to other light sources if they would do the trick) of strobe, nav, landing lights and beacons in the model. The requirements would be:
Strobe x2 white doing a double flash
Beacon x2 red flashing once every 2 seconds
Nav Lights- 1x red & 1x Green on constantly
Landing Lights x2 white on constantly
Plus potential for a couple of other LEDs to be on constantly for other lighting requirements (Fibre optics etc.)

The power source I'm thinking of would be a standard 9V battery and as mentioned earlier in the post I have no means of programming chips with long numerical names.
I've read Bill_Marsden's posts and similar forum posts about emergency vehicles, but am useless when it comes to working out what does what and how to apply it to my situation, especially when I have solid lights to go on too.
The effect I'd be looking for would be something similar to this:
Except the red pulsing lights would be a flash with the aforementioned period.
The LEDs don't necessarily have to be bright or powerful, just enough to look decent on a model.

I hope someone can help me as I've become useless at this kind of thing.



Joined Apr 30, 2011
It's best to start with a complete timing diagram showing which lights are flashing dependent on others and which are independent. Obviously, the fixed lights are independent. A short video run of the actual aircraft lights is the simplest way to start developing the timing diagram.

Once you have a complete timing diagram, I'd suggest a modular approach. For each dependent or indepently flashing system of lights, make a 555/4017 sequencer similar to the one in my post on this linked thread: For each fixed light you can calculate a single current limiting resistor.
Last edited:


Joined Nov 25, 2009
It is important if you want your flashing lights to constantly go on and off, or you want to achieve that "triple flash" effect.
It will affect your build, the latter making it more complex, so please clarify.

Thread Starter


Joined Oct 2, 2011
Having been to a place to pick up some Fibre Optic cable for the lighting, the chap in the store recommended me some of the LED strips, which are now nicely being used inside the cabin. As for my original idea, I am now just thinking of using standard flashing LEDs.
My new question is, on the LED strips, there appears to be one resistor per LED, thus leading me to believe they are connected in parallel along the strip. If I were to get some standalone LEDs to wire into the circuit, would this create problems with the other LEDs in the strip?
Question coming from reading articles about wiring up LEDs in parallel, if some are drawing more current than others, it could lead to the others going off and not working....

Also, the new power supply has changed from the original idea- Mains 12V 500mA output. Powers the LED strips very nicely which the chap in the shop said worked best at 5W/metre.