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How to Make a Homemade Emergency Lightbar

Light bars are commonly used on emergency vehicles, such as police cars, fire trucks and ambulances. Though these vehicles use strobe-light bars to attract attention, many people choose to build their own light bar for emergency situations.

LEDs, used in light bars, are more energy efficient than incandescent lights.

Things You Will Need

  • Newspaper
  • PVC strip
  • Drill
  • Drill bits
  • 3 LEDs
  • Glue gun
  • Electrical wire
  • Soldering gun
  • Solder
  • Toggle switch
  • Wire cutters
  • Battery holder
  • 4 AA batteries

Light bars are commonly used on emergency vehicles, such as police cars, fire trucks and ambulances.  Though these vehicles use strobe-light bars to attract attention, many people choose to build their own light bar for emergency situations.

You can build your own light-emitting diode light bar with materials found at most hardware stores.  One of this light bar's advantages is that it is battery powered, making it easily portable.

You can choose to leave this light bar in your vehicle for emergencies or in your home in case of a power outage. 

  1. Place newspaper on a flat surface to cover your working area.
  2. Place the strip of flat PVC on the newspaper. Use the drill to drill three holes approximately a quarter of an inch apart from each other into the PVC. Use a drill bit that is the same size as the LEDs.
  3. Place the strip of flat PVC on the newspaper. Use the drill to drill three holes approximately a quarter of an inch apart into the PVC. Use a drill bit that is the same size as the LEDs.
  4. Repeat Step 3 to place the remaining LEDs into the PVC strip.
  5. Bend the leads at approximately a 90-degree angle so each lead touches the one beside it. A negative lead must come in contact with a positive lead. The first and last leads will remain free. Solder all the connections together.
  6. Use the wire cutters to cut three 2-foot pieces of electrical wire. Strip about one half-inch of insulation off each end of the wires.
  7. Solder one end of the first electrical wire to the positive post on the AA-battery holder.
  8. Join the free end of the first wire to the toggle switch’s negative post and solder the double connection.
  9. Connect one end of the second wire to the toggle switch’s positive post and solder the connection.
  10. Join the free end of the second wire to the first LED’s unoccupied positive lead and solder the connection.
  11. Solder one end of the third wire to the AA-battery holder’s negative post.
  12. Join the free end of the third wire to the last LED’s free negative lead and solder the connection.
  13. Insert the two AA batteries into the battery holder. To use the light bar, simply turn it on by using the switch.
  14. Tip

    Cover any exposed wires with small pieces of electrical tape to prevent them from coming into contact with each other.

    Warning

    Always use caution when handling soldering materials because a soldering iron can get very hot.

Things You Will Need

  • Newspaper
  • PVC strip
  • Drill
  • Drill bits
  • 3 LEDs
  • Glue gun
  • Electrical wire
  • Soldering gun
  • Solder
  • Toggle switch
  • Wire cutters
  • Battery holder
  • 4 AA batteries

Tip

  • Cover any exposed wires with small pieces of electrical tape to prevent them from coming into contact with each other.

Warning

  • Always use caution when handling soldering materials because a soldering iron can get very hot.

About the Author

Scarlett Gauthier began writing in 2003. Gauthier has a graphic design/arts DVS from Rosemount Technology Center in Montreal.

Photo Credits

  • water clear led image by Kir from Fotolia.com
  • water clear led image by Kir from Fotolia.com