How to Build an RC Plane Light System

Written by amanda hevener
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How to Build an RC Plane Light System
Add working navigation lights to your RC plane. (Digital Vision./Digital Vision/Getty Images)

You can add a navigation light system designed after those on real aircraft to your radio controlled (RC) aeroplane. RC light systems have two wing lights as well as a tail light and a front centre light, all on the bottom of the fuselage. The lights that come in a wiring harness are clear, but lenses can be added to them in order to change their colours. A properly coloured navigation light system gives your RC plane a realistic look, but it also adds weight due to the light control box and batteries.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Light wiring harness and control box
  • Batteries
  • RC aeroplane
  • Drinking straws
  • Scissors
  • Craft knife
  • RC LED mounts
  • Epoxy
  • LED lenses

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  1. 1

    Unwind the light cords that are attached to the harness. The lights and wires are connected through the centre control box. Load the batteries into the centre control box and make sure that all of the attached LEDs work properly before proceeding. If a light is not working, it's better to find out and repair it before it is placed in the aeroplane.

  2. 2

    Place each light in the fuselage. Place one at the end of each wing, one in the tail, and one at the centre of the fuselage near the front of the plane. Thread the wires attached to each light through a drinking straw, cutting the straws if necessary. This will give you more control while you string the wires through the wings and fuselage, and will allow you to remove the wires easily.

  3. 3

    Cut small holes in the plane with the craft knife where each light will be placed. The holes should be approximately a quarter of an inch in diameter. Epoxy the LED mounts on the outside of those holes. When the lights and wiring are in place, the LED will snap right into the mount. Allow the epoxy to dry for about two hours.

  4. 4

    Mount the wiring harness and control box into the fuselage. String the wires through the fuselage and wings until they reach their locations, then snap each light into its LED mount. Pop the lenses onto each LED. The traditional colour sequence has a red light on the leftwing, a green one on the right and a white light on the tail. You can choose other colours.

Tips and warnings

  • A craft knife should only be used by an adult, or under adult supervision.
  • Use epoxy in a well-ventilated area.

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