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Product Report:  Strip Lighting

Norman Hunger, Delta, BC (RV-6A)

I bought three of the 24 strip lights from JC Whitney, part number TC-24-W, for a total of $13.47 USD.  I chose the white ones.  These are made in the USA by Vista Manufacturing.  They call them Tac-Lite Strip Lighting.

I had planned to put them along the edge of my glairsheild behind a yet-to-be-determined edge material, probably stiffener angle material.  I should mention that Im planning to extend the glairsheild further back from the panel than Vans.  I would like this to be the primary panel lighting with back up being two map lights on the tip up canopy frame.

These strips have six small bulbs wired together and encased in a flexible plastic strip.  The cross section of this strip is shaped in a P making for a nice flange to glue it on.

I powered one of them up on the bench and darkened my shop.  I was very disappointed.  They didnt even get close to making enough light.
Just to experiment further, I broke out a soldering pencil and stripped the bulbs off all three of the strip lights.  I twisted their wires together in pairs to make a long chain of 18 bulbs quite close together.  I then got a couple of 18 gauge wires and began attaching each end of all the bulbs.  I used a wire stripper to cut the insulation and then a knife to peel it away for about 1/4 of an inch for each pair of bulbs to get continuously soldered onto the feed wires.  This way the bulbs only carry their own current.

I stuffed the new string into the white plastic housing and fired it up.  It works good but now it is only 22 long.  I will order a whole bunch more and continue my strip.  I have yet to measure it for current draw.  I dont have to commit to this idea for quite some time.  I can test further when the whole panel is together.  I like the white plastic encasement strip.  The light is soft yet bright enough once enough bulbs are soldered together.  I am hoping for a very even airline look.  I have several times already been discouraged by the large cost of high-end alternatives.  I am having fun making my own for low dough as I gear myself up to begin the Rocky Mountain Engine Monitor kit I have now got sitting on my bench.  BTY, the current cost of this with all of the options to run it that RMI has for sale came to $1572 + $25 shipping USD or $2708.56 Canadian landed.

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