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Thread: AnimalHippie's $12 DIY Rock Lights

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Old 01-06-2019, 12:46 PM   #1
Rock Crawler
 
Join Date: Mar 2018
Location: Ocala, Florida, USA
Posts: 812
Default AnimalHippie's $12 DIY Rock Lights

This is my first DIY thread. So if I mess up or miss something let me know or ask questions.

Per truck this kit cost less then $12. Maybe $25 in material, but you will have enough for a couple trucks. I also used 12v LED strip because I wanted to power it directly from my battery. You can use 5v LED strips just have to wire the switch to the rx instead of to the battery.

Parts list:
12v LED strip
Wire (I used 20ga)
1/16"x1/2"aluminum c channel (can use flat stock)
E6000
Solder
12v switch
Sand paper 220 grit
Neodymium magnets



Ok with that out of the way let's get started. First thing decide on how many sections of the LED strip you want per fender. For this rig I used single sections. Next cut the strip to size and lightly sand the solder points on the LED board. You want to remove all of that coating that's on there. That stuff really stops the solder from sticking. Here's what the boards should look like after sanding.


Some of the boards you can see I did both sides. That's just because of how I'm routing the wires. You will have to figure out how you want to wire yours. Tin your wires and LED boards. Then solder wires to the boards.



The LED strips I bought are double row of LEDs with a aluminum back plate. I noticed that they get a little hot. So with Tin snips I cut the sides off my aluminum c channel for a little more structure and heat sink. Could use flat stock, but c channel is what I had. The strips are plyable and so is the aluminum. So just bend to fit your fender wells. Don't go to extreme tho. I used E6000 to adhere the strip to the aluminum and Neodymium magnets to hold everything together while drying. Most single row LED strip I have found has a adhesive back and is flexible. I still recommend using a thin piece aluminum to back those strips & E6000, but it's up to you. I also use E6000 on my solder joints to the board just for a little insurance. I noticed before I started doing that I had allot of issues of wires coming off the boards while routing the lights in my rig.
Once everything dries you can decide on how you would like to mount them. I cut small rectangular holes in my wheel wells and tucked each end into the inner fender on this rig. On my Trx-4 I only tucked one side in and E6000 it to the inner fender.


Next is to decide where you want you switch to be. I have the switch installed on the RX box on the dingo. Still working on switch location in the Trx. Solder your switch. Then solder your wires to you battery connection on the ESC. Install the switch and route your wires.
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Old 01-06-2019, 12:49 PM   #2
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Default Re: AnimalHippie's $12 DIY Rock Lights

Here's some pics of the rigs lit up. Trx-4 has 2 sections of LEDs per fender. Dingo has one section per fender.


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Old 01-07-2019, 07:16 PM   #3
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Default Re: AnimalHippie's $12 DIY Rock Lights

Nice work!
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Old 01-08-2019, 04:00 AM   #4
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Default Re: AnimalHippie's $12 DIY Rock Lights

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonnie Fraz View Post
Nice work!


Thank you! It's not the prettiest work, but when you're a crawler on a budget. You gotta do what you gotta do.

Last edited by AnimalHippie; 01-08-2019 at 04:02 AM.
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Old 01-08-2019, 06:27 AM   #5
I wanna be Dave
 
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Default Re: AnimalHippie's $12 DIY Rock Lights

Cool idea! Thanks for sharing.
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Old 01-08-2019, 02:49 PM   #6
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Default Re: AnimalHippie's $12 DIY Rock Lights

Quote:
Originally Posted by JatoTheRipper View Post
Cool idea! Thanks for sharing.


Thanks Jato! Glad you like them. Having rock lights has made me like night crawling better then running in the daytime.
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Old 01-11-2019, 10:21 AM   #7
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Default Re: AnimalHippie's $12 DIY Rock Lights

Here's a night run video. Enjoy! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qPdGlmc-vc8
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Old 01-17-2019, 11:54 AM   #8
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Default Re: AnimalHippie's $12 DIY Rock Lights

Very cool! Just dont roll those things or you might go blind man those look bright!

Just to add, if you happen to wanted the lights to be dimmer but to still be running off the (3S) battery you can add some resisters to the circuit. I guess that also depends on the specs of the LED's and whether they can work at a lower voltage (since the resister drops the voltage).

And I agree rock lights at night make night crawling a lot more fun.
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Old 01-17-2019, 11:58 AM   #9
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Default Re: AnimalHippie's $12 DIY Rock Lights

Nice job! Thanks for sharing!
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Old 01-17-2019, 12:13 PM   #10
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Default Re: AnimalHippie's $12 DIY Rock Lights

Quote:
Originally Posted by HumboldtEF View Post
Very cool! Just dont roll those things or you might go blind man those look bright!

Just to add, if you happen to wanted the lights to be dimmer but to still be running off the (3S) battery you can add some resisters to the circuit. I guess that also depends on the specs of the LED's and whether they can work at a lower voltage (since the resister drops the voltage).

And I agree rock lights at night make night crawling a lot more fun.


They are definitely bright, but not so bright that they're blinding while crawling. Totally different story if you roll one over tho. Takes a min for your eyes to readjust after flipping it back on the wheels. If they were not warm white it might be too much. You can see the difference with the Trx it has a white light led light bar in the front.

These are strictly 12v LEDs they still run fine till low voltage cut off tho. I tried to use the LEDs out of one of these

At 6v but burned the boards in about 20 seconds. They are white light and with a resistor I'm sure they would work really good. They are more flexible and cheap.

I really enjoy the extra challenge running at night gives you. With the time change Without rock lights I would barely get to run my rigs. Since I get off work an hour before dark.

Thank you soze! Couldn't find anyone else doing anything like this so I figured I would share.
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Old 03-17-2019, 04:23 PM   #11
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Default Re: AnimalHippie's $12 DIY Rock Lights

Update for the video link. Had to restart my YouTube channel a few weeks back

https://youtu.be/S4EcYnC68js
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