Have you ever wanted to impress your friends with your technical abilities? Or have you ever wanted to drive your RC car at night, but had trouble seeing where it was? Then this is the Instructable for you! In this Instructable you will learn how to install a LED underglow kit on a remote control car.
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Step 1: Preparing Tools
When building an underglow kit for your RC car you will need a few tools and materials. Listed below are the items you will need to complete this task.
1. 12 - 3mm LEDs (LEDs are rated in mcds, the higher the number of mcds the brighter they will be)
2. 1 - 9v battery
3. 1 - 9v battery power clip
4. wire - a minimum size of 20 gauge wire
6. soldering iron
7. wire strippers
10. remote control car with removable top.
11. super glue
Step 2: Putting the LEDs Together
In this step you will be taking the individual LEDs and sodering them together. Before you start twisting the LED lead wire together it is important to know how the LED works.
LEDs work by sending DC electricity through two lead wires on the bottom of the LED. One wire is longer than the other, this is the positive lead, while the shorter wire is the negative lead. If the wires are backwards the LED won't work, the electricity will only flow one way.
Now that you know how an LED works it is time to put some together. We will be making four sets of three LEDs in a series circuit. Take two LEDs and arrange them so the positive lead is next to the negative lead of the second. Twist the two wires together but be sure not to twist the outside wires in with the inside wires. Once you have two LEDs together take the third LED and attach it on either side, just remember to put the positive with the negative. (HINT: if you can't remember which wire is which, if you look at the LED dome the positive side will have a small metal area while the negative will have a larger metal area.) After all of the LED lead wires are twisted together you will need to solder them. Once soldered together snip off some of the exess wire, but be sure to leave about 1/4" of twisted wire. Repeat three more times.
Now we have four sets of three LEDs, one for each side of the car.
Step 3: Attaching the Wire
After you have all of your LEDs put together you need to wire them all up to your power source. (your 9v battery) Before you start to attach wire to your LEDs you need to measure how much you will need for each set. To do this simply lay out the wire over the car and cut the apporpreate lengths. You will need one wire for the positive and one wire for the negative. All LEDs will be connected to a central spot and then to the battery, so you will have four sets connected in parral to the 9v batery.
Take the wire and twist it around the first positive lead of a set of LEDs. then take the wire of same length and attach it to the negative. Be sure to remember which wire is which. (HINT: if your wires are the same color then you can use a small piece of tape to mark the negative.) Repeat for the next three sets of LEDs.
Once all of the wires are attached and soldered to the LED sets, you need to take the other end and connect all of the positive wires together in one location, and then take all of the negative wires and twist them together in one location. Solder both the central positive and negative wires together. If anywhere on the car barewires have the chance to touch another metalic object it is smart to wrap a peice of electrical tape around that spot.
Below is a circuit of what the wiring should look like.
Step 4: Connecting the Battery and Switch
Once you have wired all of the LEDs together and connected them to the wires in a central spot you need to attach the 9v battery power clip. But before you start connecting the power clip you need to decide where you will be storing your battery and switch. The car i used had an open space in the rear of the car. A good way to find a spot is to just put the top cover of the car over the motor and wheels and just try out different spots till you find one that you like. Another suggestion is to drill a hole on the top of the car body and attach the switch there.
After you found your spot you need to incorporate a switch so you don't have take apart your RC car every time you want to turn on your lights. On the Positive lead wire of the battery power clip (usually the red colored one) attach and solder one end to the SPST switch. On the other prong on the switch you will need to attach and solder a wire that is long enough to be connected to the central positve wires. Solder your wire from your switch to the central positive wires. Now all you need to do is attach the negative (black) to the central negative wires and solder them all together. If your wire is not long enough then you will need attach another wire the appropreate length so that it will reach.
At this point you can connect a battery and see your lights at work. I STRONGLY encourage you to do this step. Here is a few trouble shooting ideas:
1. If one set of LEDs isn't working. - then you should make sure all of the LEDs are facing the right way. Look at the LED dome and make sure it looks like big to small. If one of the LED sets is backwards you will need to remake that set.
2. If none of the LEDs turn on. - then you should make sure your switch is on. Or double check your connection and make sure off the wires are properly connected.
Step 5: Glue on the LEDs
So now we have the four LED sets, batter power clip, switch, and battery all connected together and everything works properly. If you do not have this completed then you will need to revisit the previous steps.
In this step you will need to attach your LEDs to your car body. To do this simple apply some super glue to the area where you want your LEDs to show up. Then press and hold firmly untill the glue has dried.
Hints and tips:
1. You and bend the lead wires of the LEDs to get the light to disperce more. Just be sure not to bend them so much that they break off.
2. You want the light to be evenly disperced so make sure all of the LED sets are equal distance from each other.
3. You will want to use fast drying glue. It will make attaching your LEDs much easier.
Step 6: Putting It All Together
Now you have your lights attached to your car body, you can put your body back on your motor and wheel assembly to do this simply screw back on your body and you are ready to go.