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How to Install Lighted Nocks: Step-by-Step Guide

how to install lighted nocks
Written by Carolina Pina

A lighted nock is an amazing archery accessory for any toxophilite. You don’t keep losing arrows and so you save bucks. Nocks make use of an LED fitted to the tail-end of an arrow. Hunters can track the flight path of the arrow easily. Shot placement gets more accurate and recovery is easy.

If you are wondering whether the lighted nocks are worth it, the answer is a loud yes. True, when compared to a traditional nock, lighted ones have their pros and cons. In our opinion, the advantages rule in favor.

Installing Lighted Nocks: A Step-by-Step Guide

Install Lighted Nocks

1. Clean the Arrow

This basic step is surprisingly often overlooked. A clean arrow is vital. The grit on the shaft can slow down the arrow and even affect flight accuracy.

Using water or alcohol doused Q-Tip, clean the insides of the shaft, including the nock of any traces of residue. A wet rag wipe on the outside does the trick.

2. Square the Shaft

The main objective of using an arrow squaring rig is to make sure that the broadhead, shaft, and vanes are in one straight line. An arrow shaft that is not squared properly will have you struggling to have good contact and connection to correctly engage the nock.

A squaring tool is used to ensure that you have a perfectly squared shaft that seats the nock perfectly in the shaft.

After the squaring process is completed, clean the shaft again.

3. Trim the Nock for a Perfect Fit

To help in achieving a perfect fit, the throat of the nock has tiny ridgelines along the throat of the nock. The fit of a nock should be snug and not tight. The simple test for this is that you should be able to install, disengage, and move the nock with your fingers alone. If this calls for a tool, then they are too tight. In such a case, trim off one or two of the ridges for a perfect custom fit.

4. Turn off the lighted nock

Once you have retrieved your arrow you will want to switch it off. You conserve battery life and you need it to be dark before resuming your hunt. Switching off a lighted nock varies from nock to nock.

For instance, some have a small switch that can be pressed with a pin to deactivate. Other nocks are activated on pulling the bowstring. To switch off, they need to be pushed back in.

5. Caution

Before installing a lit or unlit nock in a shaft, the nock should be waxed. It should be seated straight in before inserting. Once in the shaft, it should not be twisted. Not waxing the nock or twisting the nock could damage the shaft.

The nock should be seated properly otherwise the result could be a “dry fire.”

Inspect nocks before and after every shot.


  • End cap issues tips

how to install lighted nocksThe end cap makes sure the battery housed in the shaft does not get dislodged and go down on impact. It is glued below the battery.

Endcap issues are not unknown with the end cap, at the first shot, coming loose. The reasons could be one or a combination of factors- the point is broken or the arrow could have struck a very hard surface.

If the nock system forcing is installed, it could pressurize the endcap especially if the battery is not shaft centered. If the battery shows markings or is crushed, it is an installation glitch.

When you purchase arrows that are shipped, first check if the endcap is included. If you light the nock without an endcap, the circuit is likely to get cooked.

  • Target recommendations

When testing for launch speed, a person is tempted to aim at a target extremely close, say a few yards away. Big mistake. Even the best arrow may get damaged.

New targets yet to be broken in, need to be at a distance of 30 yards and beyond. If the distance is below 30 yards, you will need to dampen the shock on impact so that the arrow is not stressed. A feedbag stuffed with rags will serve well.

The glue seal on endcaps can crack on hard new foam archery targets if positioned at closer ranges till they are broken in.


After thousands of years without any change in the basic design of a nock, the last 50 years have seen nocks come a long way. Just like bows of any type like the crossbows, the compound bows, the longbows, and arrows, nocks made of modern materials are now better, more reliable, and precise.

Faced with many quality options, every archer has the chance to get that perfect setup for their needs. Now that you know everything about installing lighted nocks, you can make the most of your archery skills.

About the author

Carolina Pina

A Passionate Toxophilite

Carolina believes that hunting is not about downing an animal; rather, it’s about enjoying the purity of this challenge and making a connection with nature. She loves country music, horses, shooting, and hunting; and spends her weekends in the great outdoors with her husband and two kids.

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