Some people will argue with you that a J3 Cub dose not and cannot have lights. That is true to a point. When a J3 Cub came out of the Piper plant it did not have lights on it, but later people started adding lights to J3 Cub. For lights on a real Cub you had to attach a wind drive generator to the plane or step up to a Con. 85 horse motor in which I have been told had an alternator on it.
I have installed a RAM (Radio Controlled Models INC.) #01 adj. Flashing navigation light and a RAM #16 landing light. The #01 comes with three bulbs (1 for the tail and 1 for each wing tip) flash unit and battery clip.
This system is great, but I have now moved over to LED’s that are more powerful, and use less power. More info on LED’s at the bottom.
The #16 have two lights, switch and battery clip. I used dean 2 and 4 pin connectors on the wigs so that the wings could be unplugged from the plane. I added a micro switch to the #01 like the #16 has. Mounted both switches to a servo and modified a wheel on the servo so I can control them from the transmitter. I can have all off, nav on landing off or all on. I use two 9 volts one for each. I run small tubing in the wing so the wire can be pulled after the wing is finished.
Instructions are provided by the company on installing and setting up the lights. To mount the Landing light I reinforced the leading edge of the wing and then cut the desired section out and sanded smooth. Drilled holes in the leading edge to hold the landing lights. Next I lined the compartment with thin plastic so it could be painted silver. I installed the lights using silicone to hold them in place. And finely used a clear section of plastic for a cover.
So how do you make the tear drop lights?
There is two ways it can be done using a hand drill or using a drill press or lay. Take about 3 inches of a 7/16 hardwood dowel and chuck it up in the drill or lay. I use a hand drill as I do not have a press or lay. Next part can be done with sandpaper attached to a board or a dremel with a sanding drum on it. I use a dremel mounted in a router stand with a ½ inch sanding drum. I clamp the router stand to a tabletop and turn the dremel up on high. As the drill is turning the 7/15 dowel, move to into the sanding drum to shape the dowel. Warning this creates a lot of fine dust. After you have got the final shape, I sand it with 400 grit paper for a smooth finish. Next you will need to cut the recess to allow the lens to fit. I make the recess by allowing the turning stock to come in contact with a saw blade. Now trim the light to length.
I always make an extra light or two, because in the next section you just about always break one. Using a 3/8 bit CAREFULLY drill the center out. Take your time, if you get the bit hung or go to quick, 90% of the time it will split the light. For mounting the light, I use an outer section of a golden rod. So you will need to drill a hole in the side to allow you to mount the light. I apply a coat of thin CA to the light and paint. After the paint has dried you can then insert the light bulb that comes with the #01 kit in the light you made. For the lens I use a RAM #2 lens and trim it down. Make a small notch across the top of the lens and bend a small wire to help hold the lens on.
I have flown the Cub one time in a dusky early morning with the lights on. What a sight, but they are mainly for looks.
Tip Take a very small drill bit and drill a hole from the outside of the light to the inside of it. Take a section of fishing line and tie two or three knots on one end and thread from inside of the light out. Now attach the end of fishing line to your wing not tight but leave a little slack in the line. Now if the light happens to come off by vibration, hitting a wingtip or etc you have not lost the light, it will be hanging for you.
Any question, just email me and I will try to help.
My current setup is nav lights from rc-lights.com. The nave setup has a red, green LED that is full on and then a blinking white for the tail. For the landing lights I picked up online a couple ultra bright LED’s and built a reflector and placed them in the wing. You will need to do a little math and figure what size resistor you will need in your landing lights. Both systems now run off of a old 4.8 v RX pack. One of my ongoing tasks is to find a good source of Ultra bright LED’s and offer a basic nav and landing light setup in my store.