How To Install RC Lighting

Installing RC Lighting on your RC vehicle is a great way to have some night time fun. There are lots of different LED light kits and options available. There are three (3) ways you can set them up on your RC vehicles. Let’s look at how to install RC Lights on your own RC vehicles.

Direct connectionDirect connection for RC Lights

The first way to hook up rc lights that I will explain is the direct connection. This happens to be the quickest and simplest way to install and run your new LED RC Lights.

Once you have your light mounts made, installed and ready for your lights, you want to get your lights put in the mounts and be sure they are secured. Run the wiring along the chassis using cable ties or double sided tape to secure the wires in place. Make sure all wires and fasteners are free from moving parts!

After the lights are installed and the wires are secured, Remove the receiver cover to access the receiver. Plug the lights into the receiver. Usually channel 3, however channels 4 and 5 will work as well. Reinstall receiver cover and recheck all wires and connectors that they are secure and not obstructing anything. That is it! Now when you plug your battery in and turn your RC vehicle on, the lights will automatically come on also. When you turn off your vehicle, the lights will turn off as well. “It” really is that simple.

Toggle Switch Connection

Using the toggle switch connection is very similar to the direct connection. This way allows you to turn the RC lighting on and off as you wish, separately from your vehicle, as long as your vehicle is turned on.

Get your lights all mounted and wires ran and secured. Remove the receiver cover, Now take your toggle switch and fish the one end through the cover slot and plug it into the receiver (i use channel 3). Re-install the receiver cover. Take the plug from the lights and connect them to the other end of the toggle switch.

Re-check your connections and wire routing to make sure they are free from any and all moving parts. Now when you plug in the battery and turn on your RC, the lights will only come on when you turn the toggle switch on and go off when you turn the switch off. This way you can run your vehicle in the day without the lights on wearing down the battery, Then when night falls, just flip on the switch and your RC will light the way.

Receiver Controlled SwitchReceiver controlled switch with 3/ch transmitter

The receiver controlled switch is the most complex set up but, it is the most convenient of all. This set up works with Traxxas tqi. I have not tried this set up on other models. However, I am sure it will work on any model, as long as there is a 3 channel transmitter radio available for that manufacturer model.

To use this set up you need a 3 channel radio, a receiver controlled switch, RC lighting, a soldering iron with solder, shrink wrap and of course your RC vehicle.

The receiver switch gets wired in between the power wire on the ESC to the battery and the receiver and lights, as follows:

Remove the receiver box cover to gain access to the receiver. There are two red wires on one end of the switch. One of those red wires gets connected to the power wire for the battery. I like to remove the power terminal from the ESC battery connector, then solder the red wire of the receiver switch to it. Now reinsert the power terminal into the connector.

The second red wire connects to the power wire for the lights. Slide heat shrink tubing over one of the wires and Solder them together. Once they are securely soldered, slide the heat shrink over the soldered connection and heat it carefully to seal the wires.

The black ground wire for the lights also gets soldered to the ground wire from the ESC battery connector. The same way we did the power wire. Carefully remove the terminal and solder the ground wire to the terminal and reinsert the terminal.

Now we can take the receiver plug from the other end of the switch and route the wire through the slot in the cover then, connect it into channel 3 slots of the receiver. Make sure you plug it into channel 3, otherwise it will not work.

Re-install the receiver box cover and make sure all wires and connectors are securely connected and fastened. As always make sure wiring is not in the way of moving parts and fastened so it will not end up moving or hanging outside the chassis in the event of a crash.

Once you have everything secured and routed to your satisfaction, it is time to test it out. Plug in your battery, turn on the transmitter and then turn on your vehicle. Flip the 3rd channel switch on the transmitter and your lights should come on. Flip the switch the other way and the lights should go off. “If” not, check to make sure all your connections are connected properly and securely.

You now have the convenience of turning your RC lighting on and off right from your transmitter as you desire. Now go have some RC fun.

Installing RC Lighting – Final ThoughtTraxxas Rustler with RC Lighting

As we have just discussed, there are a few ways to install and set up RC Lighting on your RC vehicles. All of which are fairly simple to do. “If” you like to run your RCS  at night or in any low light, low visibility areas you will really want to think of getting some lights on them.

I like the personal touch it gives to the RC vehicles. A nice customized look, Not to mention the visibility it provides for you and for others that may be in the area.

Your RCs will look amazing and will help to keep everyone safe while night driving.

Click here To get your RC LED Light kits



2 thoughts on “How To Install RC Lighting

  1. What a great article. I never thought of any different ways to install lights on my RC. I have been wanting to put lights on it for a while and thought i would have to just hook them up right to the receiver. What brand of lights do you recommend?
    Thank you for the info! I am going to bookmark this, so i can come back to it when i am ready to install my lights.


    1. Hi Gene,
      I am very glad to be able to help you out! There are a lot of great brands. The ones I mainly use are the Apex Products. They are fairly cheap in price and are good quality.


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