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Rigid Industries LED Light Bar - Exposing The night

Posted in How To on July 1, 2009
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Photographers: Rigid Industries

If you want to drive at night, you have to have good lighting for night driving. Stock headlights work ok for basic highway driving, but when you venture out into the sticks the night grows darker and supplemental lighting can help you find your way better. This is especially true if you like to travel at speed. The faster you go, the better and brighter lighting you need to clearly see the terrain.

Enter Rigid Industries, a manufacturer of several different types of lights. These include LED light bars that range in size from 4-inch to 50-inch long. They also build a full line of aircraft and off-road HID lights, and a line of RV interior LED lights.

Their LED light bars use industry leading technology. Each light consists of two rows of high intensity LEDs, each sitting in a patented reflector assembly that measures about one inch square. The smallest 4-inch light contains eight LEDs and each light contains progressively more as the size grows.

In a traditional light bulb, high electrical current is sent through a small metallic filament held under vacuum inside a glass bulb. The current makes the filament glow brightly and yields illumination. A polished reflector behind the bulb is then used to capture and focus the light forward in some desired dispersion pattern. Modern incarnations of the light bulb have made them ever brighter and more efficient. Examples include halogen bulbs which contain an inert gas and a halogen material used to prevent darkening of the bulb over time. Another example is the high intensity discharge (HID) light which uses high internal voltage to form an intense plasma to create light.

LEDs are light emitting diodes. They are composed of semiconductor materials and when a current is passed through the formed junction, they emit light. Various colors are possible depending on the characteristics of the material used to build the diode. A big advantage of LEDs is their efficiency. They can produce far more light for a given amount of input power than conventional bulbs. They also have high service lifetimes (typically in excess of 10,000 hours). LEDs are much less sensitive to shock and vibration damage, which is especially useful for off-road applications.

We mentioned the power efficiency of LEDs. It's not uncommon for a halogen light to be rated at 100 to 150 watts. This translates to a battery current draw of about 8 to 12 amps per light. A step up in improvement (and cost) is a comparable 35-watt HID light that would draw about 3 amps of current.

For similar light output, you could use a 6-inch "E" Series light bar that would only consume about 2 amps of current, keeping your alternator and battery happier. Also, unlike the HID light that needs a ballast module, the LED arrays simply hook up to 12 volts with power and ground.

Rigid Industries currently offers lights with the highest efficiency on the market. With their power-friendly design, durable assembly, and choice of lighting and housing colors we were impressed with the Rigid offerings. We will say that you won't find this quality of lighting at discount store pricing, but you will get an awesome light for the cash you pay for these quality lights.

As you probably know, we've joined with Rigid industries to give away a 2008 Yamaha Rhino they've loaded up with cool mods. You can go to Rigid's website (see below) to fill out an online entry form.

Rigid will be including one of their 10-inch "E" Series LED Light Bars with the giveaway UTV. It'll be mounted on the front bumper much like the one in our lead photo above. This light will throw out some serious illumination for playing in the dark, yet still be kind to the Rhino's charging system, sipping just a bit over 3 amps of current.

PhotosView Slideshow


Rigid Industries
Mesa, AZ 85215

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