Homemade Through Roof Search Light

I have always loved the spotlights on American police cars (the Unity Spotlight), boats and some British service vehicles which allow you to control a powerful spotlight beam from inside the vehicle. I spent many years searching the internet for one in vein and then on a previous Land Rover decided to design and build my own.

I had seen pictures of the Hella TW55 which at £219.99 was way out of my price range for a single light so knew roughly what the design would entail. I sketched out a design, adjusting it on paper till I had a design I liked. My friend provided me with an old Notek pencil beam spotlight of 5 inches and that was all the motivation I needed. Using M8 stud, nuts and bolts, rubber seals and a steel handle I made a working searchlight on my old 110. Several months later and still going strong I came out one morning to discover someone had stolen the spotlight from the top. The 110 was sold shortly after so the light was never rebuilt.

Fast forward to this year and another 110 and my desire for a searchlight was again ignited. Remembering my old design I once again decided to build my own, but with improvements to the design, function and installation.

The previous searchlight had been fitted in the middle of the roof above the shoulder of front driver and passenger. This had hit people in the head several times either when using the cubby box or getting and reaching across to unlock the door. Its position and the length of the handle were to blame for this and would need to be addressed before a new one could be built.

My previous design had also used M8 stud and nuts. Whilst it had never been an issue I decided I wanted a stronger design and opted for M10 stud this time round. I hunted Ebay for a pencil beam spotlight and found a nice Stainless Steel spotlight for a few pounds. Auction won and light delivered I set about building the searchlight. Making the whole unit as short as possible and fitting as far forward in the roof as possible to ensure safety for users of the vehicle.

homemade searchlight diagram
The diagram to the left shows the basic construction of the spotlight. It is a simple design but it functions well and adds massive functionality to the lighting set up on the Land Rover. Particularly useful for greenlaning or hunting out off road rough camping sites.

The searchlight is wired to the second battery fuse box so can be used for extended periods without risk to the starting battery, useful when lamping rabbits and has a red illuminated switch on the dash to prevent it being left on whilst driving. The wire exits the roof three inches behind the light and has extra slack to allow rotation, and the light can illuminate for about 240 degrees - 120 degrees to left and 120 to the right of centre.

To prevent it moving and to create a strong seal when the light is not in use the wing nut is tightened up which compresses the seals and secures the light. It can still be rotated whilst the wing nut is tight, but to gain additional vertical movement the wing nut is loosened off a little.

Fitting to the roof consists of a M10 sized hole in the roof skin and as I wanted it dead centre a larger hole in the underside of the central roof support (if a newer roof). This gives the stud room to move, and playing around with the hole size can limit or increase vertical angle movement of the light to desired levels.

Construction and use photos are below.

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--- Land Rover Crane
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--- Introduction
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Graeme Shorten - L4NDROVER.CO.UK - g@l4ndrover.co.uk
Copyright 2014