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Choosing a LED Light Bar for Your Scale Rigs

Choosing a LED Light Bar for Your Scale Rigs

Beginner’s Guide to RC: Choosing a LED Light Bar for Your Scale Rigs

I have quite a few scale crawlers in my fleet and the one thing they all have in common is some sort of lighting system; roof-mounted, grill-mounted, headlight and taillight housings, even rock lights. However, and I’m sure I’m not alone here, while I’ve loaded up my rigs with all these LEDs and wires, I’ve actually only been night crawling twice. Don’t get me wrong – I loved it, but I just don’t have the time to do much night driving. That really doesn’t matter because it looks cool, and that’s all I’m aiming for.

With AxialFest just around the corner, I know there’s going to be quite a bit of night driving out on the trails, so I started digging around for some of the best LED light bars available. I’ve highlighted 7 companies that make some pretty killer-looking LED light bars in a variety of sizes to fit almost any rig. Before I do, however, let’s take a quick look at the 2 different kinds of LEDs:

Standard LED: LED stands for Light Emitting Diode. This diode uses a pair of terminals to transmit current in a single direction. When properly installed, the currect passes through the bulb and emits light.

SMD LED: SMD stands for Surface-Mount Device and are smaller, more compact versions of the standard LED. They are mounted to a printed circuit board and save a great deal of space in comparison to their counterpart. As far as current transfer, they work the same way as a standard LED.

Now that you have that knowledge, let’s take a look at some of the popular LED offerings.

Axial Racing

Choosing a LED Light Bar for Your Scale Rigs
Product: Axial Universal Rigid Light Bar Set
Part #: AX31152
Price: $25
Type: Kit
Includes LEDs: No
Web: www.axialracing.com

Axial Universal Light Bar set is an officially licensed set from Rigid Industries. This kit comes with 3 light bars (a 4-bulb set, a short 8-bulb set and a longer 8-bulb set) and 2 single LED pods. The parts are molded in plastic and come on a parts tree along with mounting hardware and a clear LED lens tree. No bulbs are included but can be purchased separately from Axial (2-string #AX24252, 4-string #AX24258, 8-string #AX31098). They come pre-wired and designed to work with Axial’s AX31097 3-Port High Output LED Controller.

Click to view larger images.

Gear Head RC

Choosing a LED Light Bar for Your Scale Rigs
Product: Gear Head RC LED Light Bars
Part #: Varies
Price: $Varies
Type: Pre-assembled
Includes LEDs: Yes
Web: www.gearheadrc.com

Gear Head RC has a huge selection of LED light bars for almost any situation. They have 2-LED pods all the way up to their 20-LED Desert Torch! They feature Delrin housings that are pre-assembled with the LEDs installed – just mount and plug them into your receiver or 4 AA/AAA battery holder. You can even buy waterproof versions that are safe to run in mud, snow or water. Unfortunately they don’t come with mounting hardware (brackets or screws), but they are available separately. Want to customize the LEDs to match your rig? Gear Head sells the light bars with white LEDs, red LEDs, or mixed (white and blue, white and amber, etc).

Click to view larger images.

Integy

Choosing a LED Light Bar for Your Scale Rigs
Product: Integy Realistic LED Light Bars
Part #: Varies
Price: $Varies
Type: Pre-assembled
Includes LEDs: Yes
Web: www.integy.com

Integy is another company that has a long list of LED light bars, from dual-LED pods up to 6 LED bars, all pre-assembled and pre-wired. They come in a variety of styles as well, some with aluminum, anodized housings (in many different anodized colors) to SMD LED strips that are captured between plexi and aluminum – all with mounting hardware. Want to see some of their other LED setups? Type in ‘LED’ in their search bar … Mind. Blown.

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Pro-Line Racing

Choosing a LED Light Bar for Your Scale Rigs
Product: Pro-Line Racing Super-Bright LED Light Bar Kits
Part #: 6276-00 (2″), 6276-01 (4″), 6276-02 (6″ Curved)
Price: $43 (2″), $47 (4″), $51 (6″ Curved)
Type: Pre-assembled
Includes LEDs: Yes
Web: www.prolineracing.com

Pro-line has kept it simple, releasing 3 different light bar setups – a 2″, 4″ and 6″ Curved. Each of these features a black, nylon housing that is pre-wired for easy installation. The 2″ bar has 10 LEDs, the 4″ bar has 20 LEDs and the 6″ bar a whopping 30 LEDs! If you’re not impressed with that, all 3 bars are powered by your receiver or, if you want to turn the night into day, they can be plugged directly into a 3S LiPo! All bars also come with mounting hardware.

Click to view larger images.

RC4WD

Choosing a LED Light Bar for Your Scale Rigs
Product: RC4WD LED Light Bar
Part #: Varies
Price: $Varies
Type: Pre-assembled
Includes LEDs: Yes
Web: www.rc4wd.com

RC4WD is known for it’s amazing accessories for scaler builds with light bars being one of the most popular categories. Single-LED pods, 16-light bars and even SMD LED setups – RC4WD has them. If that’s not enough light, you have to check out their amazing 6.7″, officially-licensed KC HiLiTES bar with 64 individual LEDs. Yes, that’s a 6 and a 4. All bars are pre-assembled, pre-wired and (most) come in an aluminum housing. Most of these bars can also be plugged directly into a 3S LiPo (as long as you use a BEC to regulate the voltage) and come with mounting hardware.

Click to view larger images.

Team Associated

Choosing a LED Light Bar for Your Scale Rigs
Product: Team Associated XPS Aluminum LED Light Bars
Part #: 29272 (88mm), 29273 (120mm), 29274 (170mm)
Price: $21 (88mm), $25 (120mm), $28 (170mm)
Type: Pre-assembled
Includes LEDs: Yes
Web: www.rc10.com

Team Associated has recently jumped on the LED Light Bar bandwagon with the release of 3 SMD LED Light Bars – an 88mm version (5 LED), a 120mm version (7 LED) and a 170mm version (10 LED). They come pre-assembled in an aluminum housing, pre-wired with an on/off switch wired inline (LOVE this) and can be plugged into your receiver for power. Team Associated also includes all the mounting hardware for easy installation.

Click to view larger images.

Vanquish Products

Choosing a LED Light Bar for Your Scale Rigs
Product: Vanquish Products Rigid Industries LED Light Bars
Part #: Varies
Price: $Varies
Type: Pre-assembled
Includes LEDs: Yes
Web: www.vanquishproducts.com

It’s a well known fact that Vanquish Products are some of the most sought after upgrade parts for crawlers and trail trucks. Their officially licensed Rigid Industries LED Light Bars are no exception – available in a triple-LED pod to 6″ SMD LED bars, they come assembled in aluminum cases with extruded heat sink fins to help keep them cool and can operate on 11.1v for extreme brightness. Mounting hardware is included.

Click to view larger images.

So there you have it, a quick rundown on 7 manufacturers that offer a variety of LED and SMD LED Light Bars for your scale or trail trucks. Before purchasing, I suggest doing a little extra research to make sure the one you want fits your rig and your power source is sufficient to run the lights. Good luck!

About Tony Phalen

Tony Phalen - As an avid RC enthusiast, Tony has been building, bashing and racing RC Cars for over 25 years. He has raced everything from 1:18th scale trucks to 1:5 scale motorcycles and everything in-between. He's also worked on both sides of the industry fence; working at and with many major manufacturers (as well as being a sponsored driver) to working for a high-profile industry magazine. During this time he has learned many tricks, tips and techniques and has transferred that knowledge to CompetitionX - the most informative RC website on the internet! More articles by Tony Phalen

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2 comments

  1. Awesome comparison of light bars!
    I just recently purchased Proline 6 inch light bar.
    Although running them on Lipo 3S is possible, the light was very dim because Traxxas TQi receiver controls the max voltage output to be limited.
    Therefore, to maximize the brightness of the light bar, I purchased 9V battery female JST / Futaba connector.
    Also, I bought a standard traxxas switch (any switch will do) to make turn on and off easy.

    With the higher voltage through the light bar (9V compared to 5V), the light bar really shines.

    Thanks for the review!

  2. That’s the one thing I like about the Pro-Line bars – the direct connect to the LiPo for maximum brightness!

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