Ultimate Gig Lighting
We love our LEDs nowadays. Younger readers may not realize just how far LED technology has come, but LEDs have never been as small, bright, colorful, and efficient as they are now. They make our world much more vibrant and brightly lit, especially for the RC crowd, where weight and power consumption are always a concern. There are several companies producing lights specifically for RCs, but with so many options available many look for other sources for lights that will work well with our RCs. While Mini BlingZ were not originally purpose made for RC, their small size makes them ideal for our application, so they decided to take a stab at the RC market. Let’s take a closer look and see what makes these lights special.
WHO MAKES IT: Ultimate Gig Lighting
WHAT IT IS: LED light strip
PART NUMBER: 37776-99722
Mini Blingz are produced by a company called Ultimate Gig Lighting. Originally made for the fishing market, they realized many others could use their lights. Soon they started marketing to boat, jet ski, motorcycle, and skating groups, to name a few. Now they are offering a set specifically for our RCs. I was sent two styles for evaluation. The larger set are not intended for RC and might be a bit clunky for our purposes, but there still many ways we could use them. For instance, they could light up your display shelf for your cars, or light up your pit area. You could even give your workbench an under glow, for that high tech look. You may also find a purpose for these on a larger 1/5-scale, or just use one of the individual segments. The larger set does not include a power source, so you will need a 12V DC adapter to power them. If you want to run them on your RC and you’re running a 3S LiPo, you can wire them straight into your battery plug. If you are running anything other than 3S, you will need a separate power source. I have seen people run small 300mAh LiPos just for powering their light sets.
• The smaller set is intended for RCs. Many LEDs made specifically for RCs use 6V LEDs so they can be plugged directly into the receiver. However, Mini BlingZ are 12V lights like we see in full-scale automotive, so they are very bright.. The smaller set comes with its own little 12V battery, making it better suited to our purposes. It uses a small photo cell about the size of a 2/3 “AAA” bat- tery. I thought this was a great option to power lights on an RC. They also include a spare cell, so the included batteries should last you a good long time, but like the larger set they can also be wired into your 3S LiPo. There is a small plug that serves as an on/off switch.You can also separate the individual segments and wire them separately, or you can wire several strands together. Since they were originally designed for the fishing market they are completely water- proof and submersible. Which is great if your RC gets run in the mud or snow, but this also means these would be great for your RC boat, or even a submarine, if you have one. How cool would it be to attach a camera to a sub? And now you can use Mini BlingZ to light the way!
• Mini BlingZ are available in four different colors, Red, Green, Blue, and White. I was sent Blue and Green sets, and I can tell you to my eye the color seems just a bit more deep and vibrant than standard LEDs.
• Both sets already have double sided tape attached, so installation is super simple, just peel and stick. They do, however, warn against using the double sided tape in marine applications. The larger set has holes so they can be screwed or tacked into place.
Well, installation should be as easy as peel and stick, but it seems I always have to complicate things. I wanted them pointed at the ground for an under glow effect, but I did not want them directly on the bottom of the chassis where they could be scraped off. So what I did was cut out a piece of Lexan, a left over body trimming, with a 90-degree angle in it. I attached it to the side bumper of my short course truck and attached the lights to the bottom of the Lexan piece, and just like that, the lights were mounted. I attached the battery to the back of the car’s battery box. Even with having to fabricate a mount (That’s the fancy way of saying I cut a piece of Lexan), it only took a couple of minutes to mount. If you mount it direct to the chassis or body, it will take you seconds. I plugged them in. The lights work. They are bright. Done! It was just that simple!
With so many LEDs out there that are intended for RC applications, or can be easily adapted, I was skeptical that Mini BlingZ would have anything to add to the hobby. Boy was I wrong. Not only were these some of the brighter LEDs I’ve encountered, but they were by far the easiest to install. With each segment in a plastic case and being completely waterproof, I would expect to pay a premium. Nope, wrong again. At $10 a set these are also one of the most economical options out there. Ultimate Gig Lighting gets a big ole thumbs up from me for smartly designing a quality product and then cleverly adapting to the market. I am now thinking how I can use these all over my house. The couch in my Dave Cave might be get- ting an under glow, I could use more light in my paint area. They are waterproof, so why not the shower? Sure, the wife’s going to love that! Sarcasm? I don’t even know!
Ultimate Gig Lighting ultimategiglights.com