Driving Lights

Can some one give me some advise on what is the best type of driving lights to buy and size. I have a 200 series land cruiser. I don't do a lot of night driving but unfortunately as we get older our night eyes are not as good as when I was twenty.
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Reply By: scruffy - Saturday, Mar 22, 2014 at 00:00

Saturday, Mar 22, 2014 at 00:00
Cheap lights-under $150 ea =not really
Lightforce 240 aprox $400 pr =pretty good
HID lights approx. ??? = really good
Light Bars approx. ??? = really good
Combination of the above and you will fry the animals before you see them. How much do you want to spend, that's the limiting factor. Bob
AnswerID: 528841

Reply By: The Bantam - Saturday, Mar 22, 2014 at 00:05

Saturday, Mar 22, 2014 at 00:05
Don't get caught up in all the hype.

There are some pretty fair driving lights arround for modest prices.....most of the iconic lights from the 70's 80's and 90s have been coppied and still work well.

Night stalker are pretty good value.

If you stay away from the fancy brand names...the theves will generally stay away from you...and when skippy decides he wants to hed but your car...you do not cry teats of blood for your smashed $400+ lights.

Also do not be drawn into buying super bright lights or pencil beams.

realy bright driving lights may be fine......untill you dip to low beam....then you will be blind for 20 or 30 seconds.

Bright narrow beams that shine 1.5 Km down the road my give confidence.....but seeing any further than 300m at night is pointless and that super bright central beam will mean you are blind to what lies out side it.

Go for 2 driving or spread pattern lights of reasonabl brighteness and a good smooth pattern.
this will give you good vision to 250 300m, and a wide vision onto the road sides in the 10 to 50 m range..where skippy jumps out and the pot holes hide.

you wont go blind when you dip to low beam.

LED is looking pretty good...buy um..yeh not quite there in the range and patter stakes...espeially if you don't have deep pockets....HID is all fine...but it does not tolerate on/ off restrikes all that well.
Halogen still is pretty hard to go by particulaly if you don't want to spend too much.
big reflector & a big lense still pays.

AnswerID: 528842

Follow Up By: The Bantam - Saturday, Mar 22, 2014 at 12:01

Saturday, Mar 22, 2014 at 12:01
Just to fill in with some real detail.

back when I was young and foolish, my vehicles had the brightest lights on the market.
I thaught my super oscars where the best thing.
I ran one driving light and one spot light.....this was then and continues to be a popular recomendation.
I also ran halogen headlight s with 100 watt high beams.

This was in the day when most vehicles had sealed beam headlights and a lot of driving lights where standard tungstun sealed beams.

I could drive down the highway and light up the overhead signage KM out.

Back then and right into my 40's, thanks to a good optometrist my corrected vision was as good as it could be..with my glasses on nobody saw better, day or night .

Now in my fifties, the correction in my lenese is reaching a certain point and I can no longer achieve 100% vision like a young bloke.
I still see damn well but I find glare is more of an issue, very long distance acuity is not what it was and my reaction time to changes in light have slowed somewhat, and my very low light vision is not what it was..
This comes to all of us with age.
I am more aware than some because my work depends on my sight and hearing and knowing how good it is or isn't.

A while ago I got a bargin on a pair of super oscar coppies in a sale...they where not my prefered one drive and one spot..like I have run for 30 pluss years.

But I fitted them up any way.
I don't want to run 100 watt high beams...because of my previous dipper switch problem & I have not built up my headlight upgrade loom yet.

BUT what I do find is that I am seeing better with this rig than I ever have in the past.

I have realised the brightness is not everything and seeing a very long way down the road is more comfort than actual use.

With the rig all up on high beam I am seeing well back into the left and right quarters onto the road side......this I have realised I was blind to in the past.
I have a smooth light coverage right across in front of me and good brightness out in the 150 meter range and pretty fair out to 300m.
There is not the stark and dramitic drop into the blackness beyond the coverage that I remember ..I actually see more in the margins.

When I have oncomming trafic...because my lights do not punch into the distance, the oncommers dip much later allowing be to stay on high beam quite a bit longer.

Then when I dip to low beam I am nowhere near as blind as before.

The smooth patter combined with my eyes beeing adapted to a lower level has resulted in me seeing more.

AND the lights dont puch roght back at me anywhere near as hard off guard rails, chevron signs and banks on twisty roads.

Please think about it..brightness is not everythuing.

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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Saturday, Mar 22, 2014 at 20:38

Saturday, Mar 22, 2014 at 20:38
I have some sympathy with what you are saying Bantam.
The kids don't though, and the only thing they all want these days is a great big LED light bar across the car.

For me though I found biggest problem was going round tight bends in the dark and the side of the road is black till you straighten up.

LED bars do well here because of there wide beam spread but I went down a different path.

I fitted the better +80% globes of same power rating and fitted a driving light relay and together these things doubled the measured light output.

However still did not have enough side coverage so I fitted some diodes and switches such that I could select that low beam would stay on when high beam was on - this effectivily filled in some of the parts that high beam missed and cost almost nothing but time to make.

Pretty happy with the whole set up now.

Robin Miller

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Follow Up By: The Bantam - Sunday, Mar 23, 2014 at 01:06

Sunday, Mar 23, 2014 at 01:06
Back in the day, lost of competitive rally cars used to run cornering lights.

Particularly in the past with my previous set ups I have been frustrated by the poor visability off the front corners of the vehicle....especially on twisty roads.

The black hole is nowhere near as bad with the current set up because there is no bright narrow straight down the road beam reducing my vision and the wider lights spread better.

running low beam and high at the same time in a dual filament lamp is anot a real good idea......it will certainly reduce lamp life and you may fiind lamps explode.....this exploding is not dangerous in pissy little 100 watt lamps.....but the glass fragments will bugger the reflector.

Back in the day, one of my super oscars died a slow death of reflector corrosion after a lamp exploded.

Again back in the day Marshal, made a lamp called the amphilux..it was a standard 7 inch headlight with seperate high and low beam reflectors.....they could run 100 watt high and low and they where designed to have both lamps running on high beam...AND fully compliant.

One solution ...well in some states ..is to have high mounted spot lights.

because they are high and behind the drivers head they cover the area between the front corner and out the side window.

The hip young dudes all want to put big bright narrow spots up there.
but putting modest wide beam lights up there will work very well for tight corners.

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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Sunday, Mar 23, 2014 at 09:17

Sunday, Mar 23, 2014 at 09:17
Hi Bantam

Yeah you would think that running the two together is not to good but in practise it works out pretty well.

Normal headlights are specked to run even in day time and have to handle high temps but in practise you only switch on the parallel lights at night when its cooler and even then only as required.

Reasonable to expect the lamps to have shorter life though and while have never suffered a failure I always carry a spare bulb.
(unlike tail light globes which seem to blow a lot more)

Haven't had time to do the rear yet but plan to add the tailight/Indicators into the reverse light circuit as well.

Robin Miller

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Follow Up By: The Bantam - Sunday, Mar 23, 2014 at 10:00

Sunday, Mar 23, 2014 at 10:00
The problem with twin filament halogen globes is that they are halogen.

The filament, the gas and the quartz glass envelope are all combined in the halogen cycle....regardless of the outside temperature....the heat of two filaments will increase the gass pressure in the lamp and will mess with the halogen cycle.

If you are happy to chance a lamp life reduction and it works for you.
Its all good.

Ahh yeh tail light globes are another thing....the hella and narva lamps seem to last better.....the cheapeis are just shockers.

My brother simply could not keep lamps in his tail lights.....he does a lot of heavy off road and corigations with his work ....before he changed to LED tail lights, he lost at least 1 tail light lamp a trip.

After getting zipped a couple of times, he started stopping on the way home for a smoko as soon as he hit the butumen and checking his tail lights.

BTW the rules on reversing lights have changed....you can now run brigheter lights legally than you once could....full sized spot lights are still out...but modest LED flood loghts will spec up legall as reversing lights under the current ADRs

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Follow Up By: The Bantam - Sunday, Mar 23, 2014 at 10:04

Sunday, Mar 23, 2014 at 10:04
OH, if ya tail lights are not firmly mounted you may go thru lamps like they are going out of style.

A few corigations and the poorly mounted tal light gets the wocka wocka and amplifies the vibration.

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Follow Up By: Nomadic Navara - Sunday, Mar 23, 2014 at 17:54

Sunday, Mar 23, 2014 at 17:54
The modern headlights are no longer constructed from metal. If you put bigger globes in them they tend to melt. Running both filaments will do the same thing.

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Follow Up By: The Bantam - Sunday, Mar 23, 2014 at 19:29

Sunday, Mar 23, 2014 at 19:29
The cheap nasty plastic headlights will melt, but the good ones don't.

That issue has been arround for ages.....back when Ford went over to plastic reflectors, every ford dealership had a display that showed a melted aftermarket headlight assembly and an intact ford unit.

Most people who will be changing headlight globes will be doing so in standard round or rectangular, glass & steel headlight inserts.

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Reply By: Crusier 91 - Saturday, Mar 22, 2014 at 08:13

Saturday, Mar 22, 2014 at 08:13
Enthusiast have been using halogen lights forever with out any problems, they are cheaper and do the job.
Of late, HID's are the bee's knee's. They are better than halogen, brighter, clearer and use way less power from your battery but cost 2-3 x times more.
You can even change the globes in your hi-low beams to HID's, eliminating the need for driving/spot's.
If money is no barrier for you, go Light Force HID's spots or simply change the globes in your Hi/Low's to HID's
AnswerID: 528850

Follow Up By: The Bantam - Saturday, Mar 22, 2014 at 10:56

Saturday, Mar 22, 2014 at 10:56
Um..there is NO LEGAL WAY to fit HID lamps to a halogen headlight assembly.

HID headlight kits are not legal for road use....the reason is they do not produce a compliant pattern becuase of the different filament length....besides most of the HID headlight kits are rubbish.

It is possible to fit a complete HID headlight assemby to a vehicle that was not manufacturerd with it...but the requirements are ardulous and you better have deep pockets.

Besides..if you have a good quality halogen headlight, running at full battery voltage, you will not get more brightness legally.....the light level is specified, in the hundreds of pages dedicated to headlights in the ADRs

In most vehicles it is worth doing a headlight loom upgrade and fitting modern technology halogen lamps, to get the best out of your halogen headlights.

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Follow Up By: Nomadic Navara - Sunday, Mar 23, 2014 at 18:05

Sunday, Mar 23, 2014 at 18:05
Quote "Um..there is NO LEGAL WAY to fit HID lamps to a halogen headlight assembly.

"HID headlight kits are not legal for road use....the reason is they do not produce a compliant pattern becuase of the different filament length..."

That goes for every driving/navigation light on your vehicle covered by ADRs. Every one of those lights are designed to give the required brightness and light spread with a particular lamp. If you change the lamp it must be constructed to the same specifications as the original. The specifications of all the globes are covered in ADR 51.

LED lamps are also not compliant and will also render your lights non ADR compliant.

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Follow Up By: The Bantam - Sunday, Mar 23, 2014 at 19:24

Sunday, Mar 23, 2014 at 19:24
I'd sugest that very few people get zipped because of fitting noncompliant LED conversions to indicator, tail light and brake light fixtures because it causes less problems...as long as it can be seen, its the right colour and not rediculously bright nobody bothers.

But fitting HID or LED to head lamps does cause very real problems of glare for oncomming drivers.
AND people do get zipped...and good thing too.

It is easy to guage the importance of the matter.....the section of indicator, parking abd brake lights is relativly breif.

The section on headlights is so long it has been devided into two sections each several hundred pages long. Its so long it gives Allices Resterant a run for its money....it only had 27 eight by tens with circles and arrows and paragaph on the back of each one.

They realy want to nail the specification for headlights down pretty well.

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Follow Up By: Shaker - Monday, Mar 24, 2014 at 09:30

Monday, Mar 24, 2014 at 09:30
Don't HID headlights require headlight washers & self levelling suspension by law?

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Follow Up By: The Bantam - Monday, Mar 24, 2014 at 19:27

Monday, Mar 24, 2014 at 19:27
That is exactly the point.
in addition to the requirements that the headlight assembly be of an approved design to accomodate the HID lamp, the ADRs require several other things.

The self leveling suspension and headlight washers aside.

The practicalities of the HID headlight assemblies alone is enough to put the cost out of most peoples reach.

Almost with out exception type approved HID headlight assemblies are of a "projector" or focused lens optic type with a mechanical dipper that does not require the filament to be moved or restruck.

Most of the cheap HID conversions mechanically move the filament within the reflector to achieve dipping....this mechanisim is fundamentally unreliable and sucums to wear, vibration and dust in fairly short order, resulting in a headlamp that does not dipp properly.

Just achieveing low beam compliance is too much for some car manufacturers, they run halogen low beam and HID high beam.

For most of us a compliant HID headlight is just not worth the cost and fiddle and the lamp only HID upgrades are not even close to compliance.

OH and then there is the isseue of the low performance low reliabilty HID balasts that come with these kits.

best option as I have said before is a good quality, APPROVED head lamp assembly and a new generation globe.
FollowupID: 811670

Reply By: AlbyNSW - Saturday, Mar 22, 2014 at 08:46

Saturday, Mar 22, 2014 at 08:46
It depends on the terrain you drive in.
HID are defiantly brighter and throw further distance than halogen and I find that the roos are much easier to see with their colour light, the downside is when you dip your lights it is very dark.
LED lights give the best spread and much better for tight windy roads but do not throw the distance of the others
The best combination is a set of HID spots with a LED lightbar
AnswerID: 528857

Follow Up By: Member - bbuzz (NSW) - Saturday, Mar 22, 2014 at 09:02

Saturday, Mar 22, 2014 at 09:02
I have found that driving lights, a MUST have when I was younger, are a decoration these days.

They look mean and sporty on the car/SUV but as I don't drive at night much anymore, I don't use them.

Changing your bulbs in the headlight will give you all the light you need, without night blindness when you dip your driving spots.

I have a set of driving lights, but they are decorative. I also have several single spots in a cupboard as their partner copped a rock and cracked the lense. New lenses cost as much as a new light!

Bill B

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Follow Up By: AlbyNSW - Saturday, Mar 22, 2014 at 10:22

Saturday, Mar 22, 2014 at 10:22
Bill I have tried a couple of different bulb upgrades from Osram and Phillips and struggle to see the improvement although I hear others say it is better
Some put HID lamps in their headlights, legalities aside I have heard mixed results on how well they work so don't know
Get with the cool kids Bill, driving lights are the "look"
FollowupID: 811465

Follow Up By: The Bantam - Saturday, Mar 22, 2014 at 11:27

Saturday, Mar 22, 2014 at 11:27
One of the issues many fail to grasp is that our eyes adapt to low light.
This takes a little while...I've worked on theater shows that depend on this fact.

It is normal practice in theater, rock and roll and particularly magic to controll the audiences vision and ability to see and what they see by manipulating light levels.

To achieve full low light vision may take as long as 10 minutes for some people....smaller variations and further away from the limits of vision take less time.....but it does take time and in the order of tens of seconds up to a minute.

Realy bright lights are counter productive any time you may be required to dip to low beam.

The brighter the driving lights the longer you will be blind when you dip to low beam.

There is a fundamental human desire for bright light to see with..we are day time creatures.....but if you wan to see well and consistently when ou are dipping up and down to low beam..resist the desire for the brighetest lights.

Then there is the ssue combines.
Plenty of people are convinced that 100 watt high beams are the way to go.

Yes there may be a small but significant improvement..IF your wiring is up to it.

Most japanese and dreived cars the headlight wiring and in particular the dipper switch is not.

There is a common cause of failure in the collum stalk switch from fitting 100 watt high beams.

This is common and well known in toyotas and nissans.

The headlight wiring in most of these vehicles is pretty poor and the full current of the headlights flows thru the streering collumn mounted switch.

The switch for a hilux costs arround $160.....I know I baught one.

The price for a landcruiser..is up arround the $200-300 last yime I cheacked.

DO NOT fit 100 watt high beam lamps unless you are doing a headlight wiring upgrade.

Your interests will be better served by fitting good quality headlight units ( that produce a good pattern and are efficient) and fitting them with one of the better quality improved colour temeratire lamps..in 55/60 watt.


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Follow Up By: The Bantam - Saturday, Mar 22, 2014 at 11:32

Saturday, Mar 22, 2014 at 11:32
following on.....in some cases fitting of 100 watt high beam lamps will not produce the increase in brightness that is should.

Because the wiring is too light....the increase in current causes increased voltage drop and thus less voltage delivered to the lamp.

A 55 or 60 watt lamp may be only a little less bright than the 100, but have better colour temperature.

Unless you are doing a headlight loom upgrade, 100 watt lamps are often just not worth it.

FollowupID: 811468

Reply By: Seastar - Saturday, Mar 22, 2014 at 09:59

Saturday, Mar 22, 2014 at 09:59
This was my first post. I would like to thank all of you that have replied. You have all made very good points and I now feel I have a lot more understanding to buy what is right for me .Thank you
AnswerID: 528859

Follow Up By: Member - G.T. - Thursday, Mar 27, 2014 at 17:58

Thursday, Mar 27, 2014 at 17:58
Regardless of what type/brand of lights that you choose, remember if a member of your local wildlife decides to jump out in front of you, your lights will only give you a better view of it as you unavoidably hit it. Regards G.T.
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Reply By: landseka - Saturday, Mar 22, 2014 at 11:03

Saturday, Mar 22, 2014 at 11:03
I still reckon the old faithful - not sure of the name but we called them "Aircraft Landing Lights".
Only about 100mm diameter but gave an excellent light & long lasting too.
They may still be available in Auto Shops.
AnswerID: 528869

Follow Up By: The Bantam - Saturday, Mar 22, 2014 at 12:13

Saturday, Mar 22, 2014 at 12:13
Yeh a lot of people where keen on aircraft landers....the old KC daylighters where just aircraft landers in a spot light body.

I ran a pair of landers back in the 90s'....because they came in the car.
I still use aircraft landers to sparkle up mirror balls.

But all aircraft landers ever where is narrow....and cheap

They where bright because they where narrow.

They never where and never will produce as much light as halogen.

Put a KC daylighter of the day up against a super oscar or hella rally 2000 in pencil beam and you will see how poor they actually where

As for long life...Ah yeh well...that depended on the actual lamp you got...some of them (the realy bright narrow ones) had design lamp lives under 100 hours....others had better.

If you cracked a lense..well being a seald beam lamp, it was ll over.

You can still buy aircraft landers...not as commonly as before..but ya money is better spent on one of the good coppies of the halogen lights of the past.

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Reply By: Member -Pinko (NSW) - Saturday, Mar 22, 2014 at 19:17

Saturday, Mar 22, 2014 at 19:17
I'm surprised Australian Made has not been mentioned
driving lights
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Follow Up By: yarda - Sunday, Mar 23, 2014 at 14:23

Sunday, Mar 23, 2014 at 14:23
Not wrong Pinko,
I've got 2 of those both set to spread beam with a slight split in the horizontal alignment. Running off a custom meaty wiring loom.
It's a brilliant wall of even light, easy on the eyes too.
FollowupID: 811563

Reply By: Crusier 91 - Saturday, Mar 22, 2014 at 20:39

Saturday, Mar 22, 2014 at 20:39
I'm surprised no one has told Batmen to give it a rest.
AnswerID: 528896

Follow Up By: Crusier 91 - Saturday, Mar 22, 2014 at 20:48

Saturday, Mar 22, 2014 at 20:48
Halogen lights use power like the there's a infinite power source.
Watch your amp volt metre decline like todays interest rates.

I know first hand the affects of Halogen spot lights vs HID's. No comparison. I run halogens spots and have compared mates live amp out puts and beam shine out puts, HID's win hands down.
FollowupID: 811501

Follow Up By: The Bantam - Sunday, Mar 23, 2014 at 10:17

Sunday, Mar 23, 2014 at 10:17
Oh come on..halogen lights draw a well known and predictable amount of current.

It only gets out of hand when people start to get silly.

Untill LED and HID came along, the practicalities of halogen reflected the legalities.

Putting up more than 4 halogen spot lights was just not practical for most.

OH and nobody would entertain fitting 55 watt lamps to their spot lights..oh no.

It has now come to the point where it is possible with the current technology to run rediculoulsy bright lights.
Unfortunately some people just cant see that this can be a problem.

But things don't change much.

I know a bloke that used to have 1000 watts of halogen on the front of his car..he had two alternators and two batteries to do it.

It was unreasonable then...just like what some people have on their vehicles now is unreasonable to the point of beeing dangerous.

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Reply By: Member - Bucky - Monday, Mar 24, 2014 at 04:22

Monday, Mar 24, 2014 at 04:22
I have Hella Rallye 4000, ( one spot, one spread) with 50 Watt HID's and WOW
I made my own harness's, to deliver max power to the lights.

The Hella's I got on Ebay for $320 delivered, and the HID's from Click here

The HID's are instant on, every time

I do "own the night"
AnswerID: 528962

Reply By: Member - Boobook - Monday, Mar 24, 2014 at 06:48

Monday, Mar 24, 2014 at 06:48
A common criticism, including above from an enthusiastic poster, of HID driving lights is that they take a while to warm up. This is simply not relevant in the real world.

Firstly HID's used to take 15 seconds to warm up. I know because my first pair in 2001 were like that. But these days it is less than 4 seconds and they exceed Halogen's brightness in under a second. A quick flash of high beam also gives an instant burst of light, also brighter than Halogen.

So if you have low beam and overtake or pass a vehicle then go back to high beam and the HID driving lights you have full high beam in 1 - 4 seconds, same as if you overtook 1 - 4 seconds later. The important part is that they turn off instantly.

What is important is that driving lights be selected for the purpose. That means a light spread that fills out beyond the High beam, and a similar colour to the halogens. That rules out 6000K HID and LED for on road driving. Actually LEDs on the road will reduce your long distance vision as the eye adapts to the close bright wash, and you focus on the blue verses yellow edges.

AnswerID: 528966

Follow Up By: The Bantam - Monday, Mar 24, 2014 at 19:36

Monday, Mar 24, 2014 at 19:36
I've known people who have had halogen light systems that due to crappy relays, where slow to respond when dipping.

They seemed unconcerned by this....I always found it intolerable.

4 seconds is a very long time at 100Kmh....even 1 second is far too long for my comfort.

Then there is the very real issue that every time you restrike an arc lamp of any type...HID is an arc lamp.... you reduce the lamp life considerably......and hot restrike is worse than cold.

This is why all but the earliest factory fitted HID headlights employ mechanical dipping, so they do not have to restrike the lamp every time ther are dipped up and down.

FollowupID: 811672

Reply By: Penchy - Monday, Mar 24, 2014 at 08:14

Monday, Mar 24, 2014 at 08:14
I have a pair of Lightforce Striker 170 halogens mounted on the bullbar, and 4 led "work lights" mounted on the front of the roof rack. I don't do a great deal of night driving also so spending over $1000 on lights made no sense to me. When they are all on the difference is amazing, the worklights light up the road shoulders and in front of the car out to abut 100m, the LF go a bit further than that.

link for worklight - http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/4-X-LED-Work-Lamp-Flood-Light-Truck-Boat-45W-Offroad-Camping-4WD-12V-24V-4x4-/350725010984?pt=AU_Car_Parts_Accessories&hash=item51a8d6f628
AnswerID: 528970

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