Roof mounted lightbar

Submitted: Monday, Apr 18, 2016 at 13:04
ThreadID: 132160 Views:2536 Replies:7 FollowUps:22
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I am considering mounting a light bar on the roof rack of my Prado. The purpose is for country highway driving at night. What are the pros and cons of doing this? eg illuminating the bonnet/bullbar causing issues?. Distance light will travel, better or worse? Better lower down eg on bullbar?
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Reply By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Monday, Apr 18, 2016 at 13:46

Monday, Apr 18, 2016 at 13:46
Hi Mike,

Plenty of driving lights are mounted on the roof rack.
Certainly it may be necessary to provide a shield to prevent illuminating the bonnet.

I have travelled in a vehicle with bright spotties on the roof and a noticeable problem was that they illuminated the air in front of the vehicle. Air is normally full of particles of dust, pollen and insects making it rather disconcerting on the eyes. With the lights on the bullbar you are looking over the bright main beam.

On a positive note, the higher mounted lights maintain more constant position on the road as the vehicle pitches. The light reach would be the same I should think.
Cheers
Allan

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Reply By: Les - PK Ranger - Monday, Apr 18, 2016 at 14:26

Monday, Apr 18, 2016 at 14:26
Yeah Mike, better down on the front bar / bullbar for reflection reasons.

As Allan said, a shield is sometimes needed to stop reflection off the bonnet / back of bullbar, and this creates a dead light spot immediately in front of the vehicle anyway.

If room on the front bar / bullbar, go for that if possible.

I saw a dual cab ute the other day, with fll width led lightbar on the read roll bar (in the tub behind the cab) and thought he'd see noting for anything in close and to the sides, only get a bit up the road the rest would be a big dark void from the cab shadow.

If you decide to mount it on a front rack, then you might be able to paint the back half of the bullbar matt black to stop reflection, maybe things like antennas etc too.
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Reply By: wombat100 - Monday, Apr 18, 2016 at 15:09

Monday, Apr 18, 2016 at 15:09
Dunno what state you're in Mikee- but is it legal ??

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Follow Up By: Mikee5 - Monday, Apr 18, 2016 at 17:34

Monday, Apr 18, 2016 at 17:34
I travel through SA Qld and NSW,
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Follow Up By: wizzer73 - Monday, Apr 18, 2016 at 23:45

Monday, Apr 18, 2016 at 23:45
Have a look at adr 13. Its in there about the mounting of driving lights. Mounted on the front of the vehicle.

A quick google and it seems most states follow this.

Wizzer
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Follow Up By: vk1dx - Tuesday, Apr 19, 2016 at 12:55

Tuesday, Apr 19, 2016 at 12:55
And don't forget that the front of the vehicle is all that in front of the "A" pillar. So the roof is NOT the front of the car.

Phil
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Reply By: Member - David (WA) - Monday, Apr 18, 2016 at 15:36

Monday, Apr 18, 2016 at 15:36
Mikee,
Nothing above the bonnet line is legal in WA. That includes the top of a bullbar.
Cheers
David
AnswerID: 598817

Follow Up By: garrycol - Monday, Apr 18, 2016 at 21:16

Monday, Apr 18, 2016 at 21:16
Well how do vehicles (like some early century Jeeps) with original equipment spot/driving lights mounted on the roof get registered in WA.

Like this one registered in WA

Garry
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Follow Up By: Shaker - Tuesday, Apr 19, 2016 at 08:15

Tuesday, Apr 19, 2016 at 08:15
I believe they were low wattage & described as work lights.
I'm not sure how they were switched.

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Follow Up By: TomH - Tuesday, Apr 19, 2016 at 08:42

Tuesday, Apr 19, 2016 at 08:42
They are classed as "other" lights similar to the W******r ones in Commodores etc.

Are only allowed to be a certain wattage and only turn on with high beams.
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Follow Up By: garrycol - Tuesday, Apr 19, 2016 at 12:01

Tuesday, Apr 19, 2016 at 12:01
Err no they are n0ot work lights or w$#ker lights - they are "driving lights" similar to what you may have on your.

Actually the bulbs in the renegade light bar are 9006(HB4) bulbs and are rated at 51watts each. So on the 4 light bar (also an OEM fit) as standard you have over 200w of light up there - not work lights etc.
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Follow Up By: vk1dx - Tuesday, Apr 19, 2016 at 12:54

Tuesday, Apr 19, 2016 at 12:54
I got a splitting headache once in a mates car. I moved to the back seat and it cleared up.

Weren't they allowed because they were "built in" to the roof. Either that or someone who approved them for Australia, stuffed up. That wouldn't be a first.

Regardless of that, driving lights on th roof are illegal. Simple!! And it doesn't matter if they are turned off or even not wired up.

Phil
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Follow Up By: garrycol - Tuesday, Apr 19, 2016 at 17:44

Tuesday, Apr 19, 2016 at 17:44
Within certain guidelines roof mounted lights are certainly legal in NSW,

There was a recent thread on another forum where a guy was defected by the Highway Patrol for having roof mounted lights. When he took them off and took the vehicle to the RTA to have the defect notice removed and pay the relevant penalty - the guy was informed that the Police had made a mistake and that his lights were legal to go back on and no penalty had to be paid.
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Follow Up By: vk1dx - Tuesday, Apr 19, 2016 at 18:51

Tuesday, Apr 19, 2016 at 18:51
I find that very hard to believe. Not what you said Gary, but what was claimed in that thread you mentioned.

Have you got a reference or link?

Phil
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Follow Up By: garrycol - Tuesday, Apr 19, 2016 at 23:25

Tuesday, Apr 19, 2016 at 23:25
Have a search on AULRO - it is a long an exhaustive thread with lots of opinions (like this forum) but short on facts. The facts are that the guy got booked and the RTA then said the cop was wrong.

ADRs allow roof top lights (within laid down parameters) but some States override the ADRs buy not allowing them.
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Follow Up By: vk1dx - Wednesday, Apr 20, 2016 at 07:33

Wednesday, Apr 20, 2016 at 07:33
Gary firstly I am not saying that your are wrong. You can have any opinion that you wish. But that is all it is. an opinion. What counts is the written word so until I see it written I am not going to say they are legal. I wouldn't want anyone to believe me, add them to the car and get booked on what I say is true.

Unfortunately opinions, forums and mates down the pub don't count for anything in law. Just the same as heresay, which is inadmissable in any court. And it's the court who has the last say.

I don't mind opinions just as long as they are not claimed to be the law. Anyone with any sense (???) should check with the local authority anyway. And that's not whats-hi-name down the pub or on a forum.

But with all boys and their toys we like to add a bit of bling etc to the cars. It's just the same with each generation. Even me with the worked, modified and painted Kingswood, with the black and white tape on the top of the windscreen. I fooled myself into believing that it was necessary. Nope. Same as the extra driving lights I added. Not really necessary but they made the car look good, and it went a lot faster also. Girls get in on it also, just as my wife did with her Mini.

Phil
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Follow Up By: garrycol - Wednesday, Apr 20, 2016 at 10:27

Wednesday, Apr 20, 2016 at 10:27
For sure - I would never take any thing on forums that is legal based as gospel.

The simple answer, that many do not seem to do, is go to the RTA or relevant state authorities and ask for the documentation that is relevant.(this is not the young person in a call centre but the actual Tech Standards area.)

I drive a historic vehicle on historic plates and there is a lot of misinformation out there on the use of the vehicle. I went to the authorities and got a copy of the regulations which I carry - any issues and they are produced - saves a lot of hypothesis.
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Follow Up By: vk1dx - Wednesday, Apr 20, 2016 at 10:45

Wednesday, Apr 20, 2016 at 10:45
Fair enough Gary and enjoy the old car mate. The first car I steered was my older (much older) brother's old Studibaker in 1949. It was so old that on the road from Wodonga and Mt Beauty there was one hyill where we had to go up in reverse. The fuel was gravity fed and the hill was too steep to get the fuel to flow. Ah what days. Enjoy it mate.

But I think that we have tossed this one around enough. Okay.

Catchya

Phil

Something like this one.Pre 1950 Studibaker
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Follow Up By: wizzer73 - Wednesday, Apr 20, 2016 at 11:35

Wednesday, Apr 20, 2016 at 11:35
Hi, here is a copy paste from a fact sheet on the myrta fact sheet.

Requirements
ADR 13 has been amended to remove the requirement to fit additional headlights in pairs
provided the lights:
• Do not exceed four
• Are used in conjunction with headlamps
• Are fitted symmetrically about the longitudinal centreline of the vehicle
• Face towards the front of the vehicle
Pending amendment of the Regulation in line with ADR 13, Roads and Maritime exempt vehicles from the requirement to fit additional lights in pairs, providing they comply.

So im not sure what point 3 means?

I cant add the link, but if you google " myrta led lights" you will find the fact sheet.

Wizzer
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Reply By: Bob Y. - Qld - Monday, Apr 18, 2016 at 18:30

Monday, Apr 18, 2016 at 18:30
As well as the negatives, and few positives mentioned by the others, having them on the roof will cause a great deal of discomfort for oncoming traffic in country areas. You know those long undulating straights, where you can see the glow of headlights in the distance.........with light bars that much higher, they may be blinding oncoming drivers, but you are totally unaware of it, because you can't see their headlights.

Some of these smaller, round LED lights(Peak Explorers, Great Whites & Jaycar offerings) are just as efficient, and fit easily on a bull bar.

Bob

Seen it all, Done it all.
Can't remember most of it.

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Follow Up By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Monday, Apr 18, 2016 at 20:24

Monday, Apr 18, 2016 at 20:24
Actually Bob, the higher mounted lights present less blinding effect on the approaching driver than do the lower mounted ones. It's all to do with geometry.

With lights mounted at grille height the light beam is aimed almost horizontally along the road and is aimed at infinity and directly into a drivers eyes.
If mounted at a greater height, the lights are aimed at an angle down in order to strike the road at a determined distance ahead and only at the height of an oncoming drivers eyes at one particular distance apart.

This effect is particularly noticeable with low mounted lights, even headlights on low beam, when the road has undulations where a very small change in a vehicles approach angle raises the beam such as to shine directly into the oncoming drivers eyes. I'm sure you would have observed this phenomena.

The diagram below illustrates the effect.
1 = high mounted at normal attitude.
2 = low mounted at normal attitude.
3 = high mounted as vehicle pitches.
4 = low mounted as vehicle pitches.
Note the blinding light beam denoted by a star in 4.
Cheers
Allan

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Follow Up By: Echucan Bob - Monday, Apr 18, 2016 at 20:53

Monday, Apr 18, 2016 at 20:53
Allan

I see the point you are making, but at a kilometer or more out, the beam width would illuminate the oncoming drivers eyes no matter where on the road it was aimed.

In undulating country, I often see the lights on top of an oncoming truck well before I see their headlights. If I had high mounted driving lights or bar, the oncoming driver's eyes would be illuminated well before I could see their headlights, and take steps to avoid blinding them.

For that reason, I reckon spotties/bars etc should not be allowed to be mounted above normal headlight height for highway use. WA got it right.

And my personal pet hatred - fog lights!!! The police are obviously oblivious to the revenue stream that illegally used fog lights could generate. They are every where. I used to flash my lights at them, but there are so many I got sick of it.

Bob
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Monday, Apr 18, 2016 at 22:12

Monday, Apr 18, 2016 at 22:12
Yes Bob, of course beam width is a factor but it applies to both situations and can be more significant with low-mounted lights. Effectively you are proposing that there is no effective difference between headlight low-beam and high-beam.

You only see the oncoming lights on top of a truck truck early when their headlights are hidden in a road dip. Don't worry, if your lights, high or low, bother a truck, he will let you know in no uncertain manner! lol

Don't misunderstand me, I am not a proponent of high-mounted driving lights, just knocking some perceived myths.
Cheers
Allan

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Follow Up By: Les - PK Ranger - Monday, Apr 18, 2016 at 22:24

Monday, Apr 18, 2016 at 22:24
To be sure everyone understands the trucks sometimes excessive lighting arrangements, trucks have the high (usually) bright amber cab lighting not for show, but so cars see these and dip their high beam lights in time not to blind the truckie.
Their windscreen is just below this level, and well above the trucks headlights, so the amber lights once visible, you will be blinding the truckie very shortly afterwards.
This applies not only to trucks in dips, but maybe more so when cresting (either vehicle).
And it's not a good idea to blind the driver of maybe 10 to 20 tonnes (?) of vehicle mass heading your way at 100km/hr !!
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Monday, Apr 18, 2016 at 22:29

Monday, Apr 18, 2016 at 22:29
I agree Les, I don't offer truck drivers any provocation!
Cheers
Allan

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Follow Up By: Nargun51 - Wednesday, Apr 20, 2016 at 14:35

Wednesday, Apr 20, 2016 at 14:35
Allan

Understand your diagrams, and agree with with the concepts you are conveying but it think you may have not taken into consideration the spread of the light beam between the lights and the front of the car (2 metres?).

Unless the lights are pencil spots designed with minimal or no downward spread, the lights will have to aimed close to 'infinity' to prevent the downward spread (or leakage/reflection in dust, mist, rain or bugs) illuminating the leading edge of the bonnet or the back of bull bar.
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Wednesday, Apr 20, 2016 at 15:54

Wednesday, Apr 20, 2016 at 15:54
Thanks Nargun,

I had already expressed the need to shield roof-mounted lights from the bonnet in my Answer to the Initial Post near the page top where I said.................

......."Certainly it may be necessary to provide a shield to prevent illuminating the bonnet.".......

I am no fan of roof-mounted lights but attempted to show that they do not necessarily glare more than those mounted on the bullbar.
Cheers
Allan

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Reply By: Member - J&A&KK - Monday, Apr 18, 2016 at 20:44

Monday, Apr 18, 2016 at 20:44
Hi Mike.

The bull bar is the best location for your light bar. A few things contribute to this.

In general light bars give a good spread of very white light but don't necessarily penetrate the distance as well as spot lights. That light spread will reflect off your bonnet and as stated by others be reflected back into your eyes by dust, rain, bugs etc.

Also you need to consider your eyes and how they work. When driving at night, on dark outback roads, most of us turn down or off our dash lights so that our eyes better cope with what is lit up ahead. A highly illuminated bonnet will give you a similar effect as a highly illuminated cockpit. Less contrast in the illuminated subject as far as the eyes are concerned.

It is how well an object reflects light that effects it's visibility in relation to the reflectance of other objects, in the line of sight. So the fewer reflecting objects between your eye and the " target" the better off you are.

Trust this makes sense.

Cheers John

AnswerID: 598839

Reply By: Member - Ray Dool - Friday, Apr 22, 2016 at 09:01

Friday, Apr 22, 2016 at 09:01
The biggest problem is that the wind will blow the light beams backward behind the car. ;- )

But in all seriousness I have driven with a light bar on the bull bar and on the roof. I found the glare and reflection from roof mounted light bars killed my eyes and gave me a massive headache.
AnswerID: 598979

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