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Big LED Lighting From a Little Package

Posted in How To: Electrical on May 12, 2017
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Long a player in the off-road realm, PIAA has earned a reputation for quality and performance, so we had high expectations of its new RF Series LED bars featuring what the company calls RFT, or reflector facing technology. The RFT design features rearward-facing high-quality CREE LEDs rather than the more traditional forward-facing design. Computer-designed multisurface reflectors concentrate and focus the beam forward, maximizing the actual light output from each LED. The bars are available in 3-, 6-, 10-, or 18-inch lengths and can be had in a white patterns of Driving (longer and more focused), Hybrid (wider but not as long as Driving), Flood (shorter and more dispersed than Hybrid), and Fog (very short and extremely wide). The Fog pattern is also available in yellow. We selected the RF18 in the Driving beam pattern in anticipation of a trip to Texas. We wanted to spot those suicidal Texas mule deer a mile off before they could jump through our windshield.

Installation went quickly and easily thanks to PIAA’s many mounting options included with each RF Series light and the very nice pre-terminated wiring harness. The resulting 5.9-amp light throws massive amounts of ultrabright illumination in front of our little Tacoma with nary a strain on the 330,000-mile charging system. It is a great supplement to our factory beams, which now seem like dim candles inside a pair of mason jars by comparison.

The 18-inch RF Series bar with the driving pattern beam is a great complement to any older 4x4 with factory lighting. Our 330,000-mile Tacoma’s factory headlight plastics had yellowed and only reached so far, not the ideal situation for driving expansive stretches of highway through thick wildlife populations.
The RF Series is available in 3-, 6-, 10-, and 18-inch lengths. We selected the 18-inch-long RF18. The extruded aluminum housing and tough polycarbonate lens ensure it should last the next 330,000 miles on this vehicle. PIAA includes several different mounting options with each unit, as well as a full wiring harness and mounting hardware.
These simple L-brackets make it easy to mount the units atop or below flat surfaces. Note the faceted reflector design that focuses and amplifies the rear-facing CREE LEDs light forward, maximizing output.
We selected the other mounting method included with the PIAA RF Series. These brackets capture the mounting hardware within a slider assembly within the housing body. You can angle the light up or down via the included Allen-head mounting hardware. It’s more involved than the simple L-bracket method but makes for a cleaner installation with a wider range of adjustment.
Once the light is mounted, simply hook up the PIAA harness to the light, attach the positive and negative to your battery, mount the relay, and find a good location for your switch. The only part of the harness that’s not pre-terminated is the source of positive power for the switch inside the cabin. We selected a source that’s hot with the key-on since it’s our personal preference to have all the electronic devices go cold when we remove the key from the ignition.
The on/off switch attaches with strong double-sided adhesive. We mounted ours atop a factory switch block next to the steering column where it’s easy to access. The switch features a green LED when power is present to the system and a red LED when the light is turned on.

Amazon Affiliate links are our attempt to show you real-world pricing and availability for the products we review and install, and while the Amazon links are separate from editorial and advertising, the Four Wheeler Network may receive a commission on purchases made through our posts.


Portland, OR 97230

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