LED Driving Lights

Submitted: Friday, Jun 01, 2012 at 07:25
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Went to Darwin with Scott the Station Owner this week, we dropped into Repco and I had a close look at the LED Driving Light display, These things are damn brigh , they had round and the bar, I was interested in the 9 led bar, they're expensive but use very little power , of course I understand the range of an HID is not possible but then you really don't need to see 2 Klms ahead,
I like the idea of the bar , especially for day travel, and would be good for the wig wag light usage on Pilot Vehicles because of the ease of mounting and small space required.
A little on the expensive side but the price should come down as they become more popular.
I would be interested in any feedback.

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Reply By: Mr Pointyhead - Friday, Jun 01, 2012 at 08:05

Friday, Jun 01, 2012 at 08:05
Hi Doug
There is much better LED technology coming.. The current products are still fairly early on the technology development curve

There are much more powerful CREE LED's coming ...

Have a look at there, imaging what they will be like in automotive lighting products ...

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Follow Up By: Mr Pointyhead - Friday, Jun 01, 2012 at 08:08

Friday, Jun 01, 2012 at 08:08
These are a slightly different formfactor

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Reply By: Life Member - Doug T (NT) - Friday, Jun 01, 2012 at 08:15

Friday, Jun 01, 2012 at 08:15
Thanks mate...like everything new they will improve with development,
I'm adding the links to the favorites .

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Reply By: Life Member - Doug T (NT) - Friday, Jun 01, 2012 at 08:28

Friday, Jun 01, 2012 at 08:28
Here's another good use for smaller lower powered LED's, I put these 2 small 50w on my Daughters Lawn Mower back in 2003, but it turned a bit too much for the little Alternator...after a couple months it stopped charging...I was in deep trouble, so with lower power using LED's ride ons etc they would be ideal...Don't ask me was she mowing at night, she has a little trailer and was doing horse feed etc. But the many applications will be great for Quad bikes etc.

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Reply By: olcoolone - Friday, Jun 01, 2012 at 08:45

Friday, Jun 01, 2012 at 08:45
LED's make a brilliant work light at the moment, still lack distance and as you said who need 2Km's..... the truth is you need a light that will give you a good 600m for country driving, LED lights fall short of this.

People think they are mega bright and are fantastic, we have been doing testing on LED lights and they are not all they are made up to be, LED lights put out very intense white light close up and even that they may throw the light over 3 to 400m what happens is you eyes start closing down due to the brightness up close not enabling you to see distance.

The down fall of LED modules is the higher you go in power the hotter they get.... look at a 10 watt LED work light and the large aluminium housing it's mounted in that acts as a heat sink and they still get very very hot, try touching the front of a high powered LED torch after 20 minutes of running.

Technology is being driven all the time and if you keep saying that there is better technology on the way and wait..... you will be waiting for ever, the biggest improvements in LED light technology is the driver circuits and how the voltage, current and heat load is calculated and driven.

With LED lights there is a lot of marketing hype.

HID are still the best bang for your dollars and by far the best general purpose light for automotive.

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Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Friday, Jun 01, 2012 at 14:20

Friday, Jun 01, 2012 at 14:20
Couldn't agree more.

I Love led lights but they are a waste of space and dollars for front vehicle lighting.

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Reply By: Bob Y. - Qld - Saturday, Jun 02, 2012 at 09:00

Saturday, Jun 02, 2012 at 09:00
G'day Doug,

Up till Easter, I was steering along the Barkly & Landsborough Highways, and all the prime movers were fittted with 40" LED light bars. Massive pool of white light, with good coverage well off to each side. As Olcoolone suggests, depth wasn't great, and it was hard to see past the extent of the beam.

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These light bars were originally added to supplement 2 Hella 4000's (halogens), but they just swamped the Hella's beams. HID inserts were later added to the 4000's and this gave excellent night driving, right out to 2 km!!! At my age, I needed all the help I could get, with reduced eye strain.

The LED's are so bright, have had blokes 2-3 km ahead, flash their loading lights, as a hint to dip, or at least switch off the light bar.

Bit off topic, but a while back, I fitted some 35W HID inserts into a pair of Bosch "Bull Lights" (remember them, Doug, reckon you'd have sat behind a few of them) and the beam produced, far exceeded the output from a pair of 4000's, with HIDs. 1950's technology beats 21st century!!!

Just my thoughts, but if you want the best light ouput, combine a light bar, with a pair of HID long range lamps.

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Follow Up By: olcoolone - Saturday, Jun 02, 2012 at 17:11

Saturday, Jun 02, 2012 at 17:11
When we first tried the LED light bars we got all excited seeing how much light output they had, it all can to a sudden stop whilst testing with the light bar we could not see much more then 150m at the best down the road but the spread and close light output was fantastic and by far the best spread available.

Bring on the HID driving lights, when we turned on the HID lights with no LED light bar running we could easily pick out objects over 700m away..... turn the LED light bar on and we lost the effect of the HID's and again we could not see past the 150m mark.

This problem escalated when we used the round 18 LED driving lights.

After some theory thinking and looking at nature for answers we discovered the close high intensity light out put of the LED light bar was making our eyes shut down that made use loose distance..... much the same as looking at the sun or better still think what a camera does at high light inputs..... the camera starts closing the iris down reducing the amount of light entering.

With less light directly in front your eyes open up to let more light in increasing distance.

Remember what our eyes see if the reflective light off of an object that gets converted into an image.

This is one of the problems when your on high beam using quality driving lights and you come upon one of those BIG green road direction signs..... you loose distance and can't see much around you and as soon as you go down to low beam you can see further and better.

LED light bars have there purpose and if using them how you do then you have the best of both worlds...... the reason your HID driving lights work so well with the LED light bar as compared to the same combination being fitted to a car or 4x4 is that you have a longer bonnet that sits higher reducing the reflection and light intensity you see, if you compared the same combination on a cab over the quality of light may be different.

Any light temperature output below 5000K (yellow to white light) will be less blinding to on coming vehicles and the light is not adsorbed by object as much reflecting more giving you greater vision then if you were running lights that had a light temperature output above 5000K (blue to black light), light 5000k and above is absorbed more by objects giving less reflection making the illumination darker...... the human eye was never designed to work with anything above 5000k, 5000k is very close to maximum day light..... so when we were designed/made our makes thought we don't need to have eyes that can adjust above day light.....hence why those so called blue lights (that every one thinks are HID) look so bright and are dazzling to on coming vehicles.

Another good example is on emergency vehicles the blue light is more brighter then to other colour used.

We only recommend lights rated around 4200k..... greater vision and less dazzling.

For short range driving in the 2 to 300m range LED driving lights are hard to go past if you don't mind spending BIG money...... for everyday driving HID is the way to go..... in a few years this may be different.

If I was driving on windy road or through hilly terrain and it was critical to have very good lights I would recommend the Great White 18 LED as the Bees Knees.... ther short range light output is incredible.

What brand light bar do you use and what your thoughts on it.

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Follow Up By: Rockape - Saturday, Jun 02, 2012 at 20:22

Saturday, Jun 02, 2012 at 20:22
I haven't driven the highway for a good few years now.

Underground we are using a mix. They put some big leds on some of the drill rigs, but in the end they didn't want them and preferred the metal halides (same as HID) even for the fact they had to let them warm up before use.

All the trucks u/g use Hids.

Boggers are a mix of Hid and Led although the Leds are only used to light up the sides.

Some of the service vehicles are using Led headlights that spray light everywhere, eyes mainly.

They will get better but they aren't there at the moment. Also the amount of power they use is starting to creep up.

As a work light and a reverse light they a great.

May that long bonneted star never go through rain and shrink into a snub bonneted star. Bob I think you know what I am talking about.

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Follow Up By: olcoolone - Sunday, Jun 03, 2012 at 00:18

Sunday, Jun 03, 2012 at 00:18
One advantage of the snub nose Star is it gives you is a big foot rest in side..... reminds me of the old SAR's
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Follow Up By: Bob Y. - Qld - Sunday, Jun 03, 2012 at 08:48

Sunday, Jun 03, 2012 at 08:48

Can only agree with your thoughts on this subjuect, from my own experiences on highway, and secondary roads. Large signs became a "light barrier", and the only way to see past them is to dip.

The light bar in photo is a Rigid Industries one sold by Snake Racing. Don't know it is a flood, spot or combo. Did see odd one with water ingress, and if the side mounts arent tight, they ride up, and you lose a lot of that limited distance. To tighten the pivot screws, one needs a tube spanner or similar thin walled socket, so invariably I use to tape them back into position with duct tape. Otherwise, a good robust light.

"They" did send one truck up with round LED lights, and don't know if they were aligned properly, but never saw them again. Can't remember if they were great Whites or not.

Also interesting your comments about 4200K globes, OC1, might have to investigate them. Maybe you could send me 2 HID globes, and I could test them for you, ha ha.


Yeah, exciting times with all the new lights on the market, eh? Have a round LED work light set up on side of Tojo ute, throws lots of light, almost too bright, but as Olcoolone says, don't seem to carry.

Fair bit of HID on highway now too, RA, but you'd probably have seen that. Makes the drop to low a bit interesting at times, but as long as there's no cattle in the area, then it's still full noise, and cruise on.

Yeah, "they" sent a couple of those little Stars up this way late last year. Nothing to write home about, but they were rated @ 100kph(for B double work in NSW), so meant we could pull a B-triple up to Barkly, in under 13 hr, and get an extra hour in the sack. Good stuff!!!

Ah well, Gentlemen, have given my ego a rest overnight. Might have a yarn to Phil below. See ya, Bob.

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Follow Up By: blown4by - Friday, Jun 08, 2012 at 21:58

Friday, Jun 08, 2012 at 21:58
Back in the early 70's those big black Bosch lights were all the truckies in WA used because there wasn't anything available that was any more effective. Remember when they first came out with incandescent bulbs? The glass bulb was so big they used to drop off on the Pilbara/Kimberley dirt roads back then. Then they brought out the QH adaptor but the top of the outer rim used to come adrift on dirt roads. Blokes used to hold the rim on with rubber straps hooked over the lens cover clips or drill a couple of holes and place a metal link between the rim and the lamp body to keep them from falling apart. Those lights were actually a Bosch search light P/No. SL5 which later changed to SL200, the SL = search light. The reason those lights were so effective is that what makes a good light is two things. The depth and diameter of the reflector, simply a factor of physics. I used those lights for years for rallying and long distance driving for my work and still have two (in the shed) I now use two QH Rallye 4000's on one vehicle and two Lightforce 35w Blitz 240's on another and don't think either are much better than the old black Bosch jobbies. All the rest Narva, Hella Bull 250 and Rig 200 are copies of the Bosch which they had to do as the truckies were all using that design lamp. They not only had excellent range but good width of spread so they illuminated the sides of the road where roadkill are likely to be lurking. Just one minor point that people need to be aware of before they waste their money. Having only one of those LED strip lamps across the width of the vehilce is illegal. ADR13 requires that driving lamps be symetrical and you can have two or four
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Follow Up By: AlbyNSW - Saturday, Jun 09, 2012 at 12:08

Saturday, Jun 09, 2012 at 12:08
Regarding your point on ADR13, could it not be argued that whilst it is one fitting it is multiple lamps within that fitting so technically it is not 1 light.???
I am assuming this rule has not been updated to keep in mind LED fittings.
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Follow Up By: blown4by - Saturday, Jun 09, 2012 at 18:44

Saturday, Jun 09, 2012 at 18:44
If it has one set of wires going to it then it is classed as one lamp (in WA anyway)
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Follow Up By: AlbyNSW - Saturday, Jun 09, 2012 at 20:55

Saturday, Jun 09, 2012 at 20:55
Fair enough just playing devils advocate
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Reply By: Fred G NSW - Saturday, Jun 02, 2012 at 09:26

Saturday, Jun 02, 2012 at 09:26
G'day Doug.

Our service crew recently fitted this 9 LED bar to the bus fleet service ute and I can tell you they are absolutely brilliant, so to speak. Not meant to see 2 k's up the road as you say, but certainly lights up where you want light, and then some. Brand name is White Night.

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Reply By: Mat D - Saturday, Jun 02, 2012 at 15:02

Saturday, Jun 02, 2012 at 15:02
I've been running a pair of Great Whites (http://www.greatwhites.com.au), 18 LED rounds on my Prime Mover for some time and they are without doubt the best lights I've used, ever. They are too bright to be used as daytime running lights or wig-wags (they're > 55w). They are also cool to the touch even when stationary. Great Whites have been engineered especially for driving light applications and are not rehashed work lights as are most others... you can check out my demo video on youtube, http://youtu.be/eULCKq9VxLU
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Follow Up By: olcoolone - Saturday, Jun 02, 2012 at 16:23

Saturday, Jun 02, 2012 at 16:23
Invested interest??????
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Follow Up By: Fred G NSW - Saturday, Jun 02, 2012 at 20:21

Saturday, Jun 02, 2012 at 20:21
Correction to my post....not White Knights but Great White brand.

Absolutely brilliant :-))

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Follow Up By: Life Member - Doug T (NT) - Saturday, Jun 02, 2012 at 20:25

Saturday, Jun 02, 2012 at 20:25

Going by the Accessories for the Great White they are the ones I seen in Darwin at Repco.
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Reply By: PJR (NSW) - Saturday, Jun 02, 2012 at 15:41

Saturday, Jun 02, 2012 at 15:41
Sitting waiting for my wife to finish shopping I realised where I was wrong about LED and HID (blue ones???).

It's not the blinding light that is the problem it's the bloody idiot behind the wheel who wont dim them appropriately. I am sure you know the ones. They are those who brag that their lights reach out 600 meters, 1Km and even 2KM and then they complain or even brag that they get flashed before they dim their lights. They are the ones who do not dim them at 600, 400, or even 300 because the law says 200 meters. Even though they know damned well that they are blinding the oncoming driver at 600 meters or more.

Rarely have I been told to dim my lights. Usually they are down way before 200 meters. Corners and hills always dimmed before getting there.

But it still beats me when people advise someone to get lights that reach out 600 meters or more. It takes approximately 7 seconds to cover 200 meters at 100KPH. I am sure that is enough time to stop or see an obstacle to avoid at 200 meters. By then that kangaroo or even a tortois has gone.

Why one earth then do we need to see 600 meters or more. I cannot see the need for such driving lights.

But I do see the need for a good spread at 200 and less. Then you can see the kangaroo or camel etc approaching the road and with 7 seconds to play with it is simply a slow down. Even better to get a closer in spread. But 1-2 KM pencil beams. More of an ego trip I think.

Flack jacket on now. Do your best. (smilie)

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Follow Up By: Member - silvwayne - Saturday, Jun 02, 2012 at 18:53

Saturday, Jun 02, 2012 at 18:53
Agreed. It's not the roos in front you hit, but the ones off the road that you don't see until they right on you. I used to have my driving lights aimed off road, not staight ahead
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Follow Up By: PJR (NSW) - Saturday, Jun 02, 2012 at 19:13

Saturday, Jun 02, 2012 at 19:13
Good idea. We have our fog lights pointed out the front sides at about 10:30 and 2:30.

They will go back straight if we ever get some driving lights. The double headlights are good enough for us.
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Follow Up By: Bob Y. - Qld - Sunday, Jun 03, 2012 at 09:26

Sunday, Jun 03, 2012 at 09:26
I'll bite, Phil. Hope you've got your flack (sic) vest on?]

Some months back, you posted, that you did little night driving, and didn't see the need for you to have driving lights. Some of us do a lot of night driving, and we have driving lights so we can do it more safely. OK, some of these shine out for 2 km, but its the light they provide for the first 600 - 800 metres that gives one a safe buffer zone, to sight any wildlife etc.

You state that we only need a 200 metre light zone, as this gives us 7 seconds to react @ 100kph, and avoid the 'roo, cow, camel or broken-down ute. Don't think there's a single road train driver in Australia that would be happy with only that margin of safety!!!

Also you state that in that 200M, there is enough time for the roo, or tortoise to get off the road. What about if they don't get off the road, or even hop towards you, or it's a mob of cattle on the bitumen, that won't get off, because it has rained, and they don't wan to walk in the mud? That 200m is starting to get a bit tight now, Phil, and you were just telling your wife that you'll be pleased to get home, so you just used 2.5 seconds of your "ample" 7 seconds.

When I am driving I dip the lighjts as soon as I see another vehicle, which can often be many k's away. When I was driving trucks, many, many motorists would only dip their lights when they could read the front number plate of the truck. And if you re-read my post, you will note that blokes flashed their loading lights at me, these are the little lights, on the mirrors, that face backwards.

In my experience, most of the poor lights, over-bright etc etc are normal halogen, and poorly adjusted, or damaged. Not as you say, Phil, all the LED/HID "idiots"

Some free advice here, Phil. Keep your lights on high beam at corners & hills. If you're on low beam, oncoming motorists won't see the glare of your lights, and you'll get a regular blast of high beam. Remember you've got to look after your safety, as well as the other blokes.

As for the ego trip, Phil, the only ego trip I've been on is after doing an unexpected "all-nighter", and got back to base safely, and not caused anyone any harm.

And if you're going to stir sh*t, you'd be better off in a raincoat, not a flak vest.


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Follow Up By: PJR (NSW) - Sunday, Jun 03, 2012 at 10:49

Sunday, Jun 03, 2012 at 10:49
Bob you didn't even dent it. (chuckle)

I was only addressing the need for cars. Not trucks, thats different - Totally. And I was saying that in the past I was wrong. It's not the LEDS. It's the drivers. Just as the gun is not the culprit, it's the person behind the gun who is the culprit.

Fair enough also about the first 600 meters of "usable" coverage.

I just typed up a bunch more words and before submitting I read your post again. I then deleted most of it because your opening statement about the amount of night driving triggered a thought. Isn't it the lights already on the car and your eyesight that are the main criteria. Not the amount of time we get out at night.

As an aside on the capabilities of the standard lifgting on our car:
We recently went on a club trip that went a bit wrong and (believe it) we ended up having to do a 200kms night detour at night. We were about 50 meters behind the car in front and when I put my lights oin high they lit up the area in front of him to such an extent that he asked what we had on the front. He knew I was going to do it by the way. I guess we are lucky with good lights as standard. But seeing that we can afford it now we may get some. It's a bloody long way to the center from here.

Believe it - I did delete the rest of my response because I think my comment on the need for eyesight and car capabilities is more constructive and relevant.

I appreciate your comments.
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Reply By: teza - Saturday, Jun 09, 2012 at 12:18

Saturday, Jun 09, 2012 at 12:18
Hi Doug

Found the light bars expensive but use 18 watt L.E.D. work lights as wig wags and they work a treat. So much so that I am mounting a second set on the front of the headboard hooked to a second wig wag relay. Yeh I know strictly speaking there not legal but most coppers don't care what you do to keep the oncoming traffic away from them. Also great for blocking a bridge etc. Would be good if we could get a different colour rotating light say one amber and one red.

Cheers Teza
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