Radiating Light: Installing A Rigid Industries Radiance LED Light

Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) have come a very long way over the last several years. Once just a low light, light duty application, the usage of LEDs has grown exponentially. Rigid Industries is a major player in making LEDs a viable auxiliary option. Low power consumption, massive light output and nearly indestructible design are pillars of Rigid’s products.

All over the world, racers and enthusiasts have come to know the Rigid name as synonymous with quality LED lighting. One of Rigid’s big viral campaigns was when it produced a torturous video of their products being beaten, smashed, and even shot. Portions of the light bars were severely damaged, but the rest of the light bar still worked.

Radiance LED lights come in a variety of backlighting colors. We chose white to match the white Chevrolet truck it was to be installed on.

Recently, Rigid introduced its new Radiance light series. Available from 10 to 50 inches long, Radiance lights are set apart from the pack by their colored backlighting. The backlighting is just plain cool and unique; something to change the look of the vehicle and make it unmistakably yours.

As the consumer base for Rigid lighting increased, a demand for customized and stylized options grew. Rigid developed the Radiance lights to give enthusiasts more ways to express their own style while still having a high quality LED light bar.

The Radiance light series uses a high-grade aluminum housing for excellent heat dissipation. The housing also optimizes forward projecting “Broad Spot” optics, which maximize the combination of flood and spot lighting. This makes it a single light that covers everything.

The oversized aluminum heat sink pulls heat to the outside air, never letting the light get hotter than 145 degrees Fahrenheit, even in extreme conditions. – Max Herndon, Rigid Industries

“By creating an optic that combines the best of both spot and flood,” Max Herndon of Rigid Industries explains, “the user can now achieve the light pattern and coverage they need without having to mount several lights with a variety of optics.”

The 10-inch Radiance bar produces 3,528 raw lumens and the 50-inch bar we installed pumps out 15,876 raw lumens. Backlighting is available in blue, white, green, orange and red and is controlled via a separate switch inside the vehicle for easy use.

Rigid offers a specific wiring harness for the Radiance line that features fuse and relay protection, two separate circuits for main light and backlighting, two backlit rocker switches, and pre-wired connectors that have been heat-shrink sealed.

Features Of Radiance Lights

  • 9-15 V DC
  • High-grade aluminum alloy housing and heat sink
  • Black powdercoated mounting brackets
  • Dedicated wire to run backlighting without primary LEDs
  • IP68 compliant – Dust/water ingress
  • High-impact polycarbonate lens
  • GORE pressure equalizing vent
To deal with heat, the Radiance light bars utilize the design of the E and E2 series Rigid lights. Herndon explains that “the oversized aluminum heat sink pulls heat from the LEDs and aluminum circuit boards to the outside air, never letting the light get hotter than 145 degrees fahrenheit, even in extreme conditions.”

To compensate for pressure changes inside the light bar when the air heats up and cools down, the light bars use a GORE-made vent which allows hot air out and cool air in all while keeping water and other foreign objects out.

Recently, we got the chance to install a 50-inch Radiance light bar (PN 25000) on a well-deserving 2014 Chevy Silverado. To utilize unused space on the vehicle, we picked up a set of Rigid’s Roof Mounting Brackets (PN 40165). These brackets are powdercoated and specifically designed to mount to the A-pillars of the truck. Follow along as we install the set-up.

Radiance

This is a shot of the output of a 40-inch Radiance lightbar, as seen on a Polaris RZR from Total Automotive LV. Photo: FJ Cruiser Forums

Radiance Light Bar Installation

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Always unpack all your parts before you start your installation to take account of what comes in the box. After doing that, you can set about installing the brackets to the ends of the light bar using the provided hardware. Keep snug, but do not tighten completely yet. To help make sure the paint doesn’t get scratched on the truck, we used masking tape on the areas where the brackets would mount.

First, bolt the brackets to the light bar. Use masking tape where the brackets will bolt to so the truck isn't scratched during setup.

Have a friend help hold the light bar, and then position the assembly onto the truck. The brackets wrap around the A-pillars, hiding the mounting hardware inside the door jamb.

An extra pair of hands will help in positioning the light bar.

An extra pair of hands will help in positioning the light bar.

With the light bar in position, use the existing holes in the brackets to mark where the three holes on each side need to be drilled. Use a center punch to give your drill bit a good starting point, as this will keep the drill bit from wandering and ultimately putting the hole in the wrong location. Drill each of the six holes using a 1/4-inch drill bit.

Use the holes in the brackets to mark where the holes in the truck need to be drilled. A center punch will get the center started and keep the drill bit from wandering. Drill the holes to 1/4-inch.

With the light bar still bolted to the brackets, pop rivet the brackets to the cab, through the holes previously drilled. When all rivets are in and secure, do a rough adjustment of where you want the light to point and tighten the light bar mounting bolts.

Providing The Juice To Light The Path

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Grab the Rigid Radiance Multi-Trigger Harness (PN 40200) and unravel it. The wiring harness is designed to tap into power and ground without other fancy connections needed. The system can be either directly connected to the battery, or set up through the ignition system in the vehicle. Going through the ignition system helps to make sure you don’t accidentally leave the light bar on and walk away, draining your battery. LEDs draw far less amperage than traditional halogen lights (or even HIDs), but they can still drain a battery if left on for a long period.

Check your local and State laws as well, since some areas have legal restrictions on how auxiliary lights can be connected. An example would be having them connected so they can only be turned on when the high-beam headlights are on (in some states).

Next, find a suitable location for your switches. When drilling though plastic dash pieces, use masking tape to help keep edges clean.

Using masking tape when drilling through plastic helps to reduce rough edges. Make sure to check the backside of where you are drilling to ensure there is sufficient clearance for the body of the switches.

Many vehicles do not have an easy way to pass wires from the engine compartment to the cab of the vehicle. On this truck, we opted to pass the wires through an existing firewall grommet. A straightened-out coat hanger was used to fish the wires through.

Using a straightened-out coat hanger, the wires can be fished through an existing rubber grommet through the firewall. The relay can be mounted using the built-in tab and a self-tapping screw.

Using a straightened-out coat hanger, the wires can be fished through an existing rubber grommet through the firewall. The relay can be mounted using the built-in tab and a self-tapping screw.

The included relay has a built-in tab for mounting. Use a self-tapping screw to mount it in a convenient location. Then, route the wires to your desired power distribution point. The red wire is the 12-volt wire and it has a built in 30-amp fuse for circuit protection.

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After everything is connected, test the system. One switch will turn on the backlight function and the other will turn on the main lights. Adjust the light as needed so the beam pattern is where you want it.

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Rigid’s products are race-proven and abused all over the world. The Radiance series is the newest in the company’s ever-growing and innovative product line. Get more information on what Rigid has to offer you and your vehicle at its website and Facebook page.

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Article Sources

About the author

Jake Headlee

Jake's passion started at a young age wrenching on cars with his Dad. Obtaining that glorious driver's license sparked his obsession with grease and horsepower, and the rest is history. Soon, he was a general mechanic and suspension specialist, and currently designs and modifies products for the off-road industry. Jake enjoys rock crawling, desert racing and trail running, and writing in his spare time.
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