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LED Light Roundup Part 2 - Dusk ’til Dawn

Posted in Product Reviews on June 4, 2014 Comment (0)
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LED Light Roundup Part 2 - Dusk ’til Dawn

In the world of off-road lighting, the LED format has come on strong in the last few years. The term LED stands for “light-emitting diode,” and denotes the type of bulb used in these lighting systems. New-generation LED bulb technology makes LEDs a viable form of off-road lighting; flash back a couple of decades and LEDs could barely illuminate a living room.

Bright off-road lights are nothing new. In fact, HID- and halogen-driven off-road lights have been lighting up the off-road night for quite some time. The attraction of LED lights goes further than the illumination they provide. LED lights also boast low-amperage draw and long bulb life, and are able to instantly reach full power (HIDs take a little time to warm up) and are more rugged than halogen or HID lights.

When it comes to format, LED bulbs are versatile. They can be packed into a seemingly endless array of housing shapes and sizes. For simplicity’s sake, we focused on round lights last month, and we’re concentrating on lightbars this time.

LED lightbars come in a variety of widths. We chose to test bars in the 20-inch range for a couple of reasons. First, 20-inch bars can be mounted on the fronts of most bumpers. Thanks to their low profile, lightbars can be mounted in front of the grille without adversely effecting radiator cooling. Second, lightbars cost more by the inch, and 20-inch bars are within the budgets of many off-roaders. A 20-inch LED lightbar strikes a good balance between manageable size and reasonable cost.

off road rig with led light bar

Several companies make individual LED bulbs. Cree is the bulb brand most lightbar companies rely on. Naturally, Cree offers its bulbs in a range of prices and output levels. Light output and light pattern are a function of the type of Cree bulbs used, the number of bulbs, and the lightbar’s lens optics.

The Lux Meter
Just as before, we broke out our trusty lux meter to quantify how bright the lights were. In this case the term “lux” has nothing to do with luxury; it’s a contraction of the terms “luminous” and “flux.” One lux is defined as one lumen per square meter.

Test Parameters
We used the same testing method for lightbars that we used for round lights last month.

A quick rundown:
• Lux was measured at 6 feet, 60 feet, and 177 feet (the distance from the 4Runner to the fence in the photos).

• The lights were connected directly to the battery using heavy-gauge jumper wires. The engine was kept running.

Photo Parameters
We tested away from city lights in a designated OHV area. The light patterns were shot using a tripod-mounted Canon 50D camera body and a Canon L-Series 16-35mm F2.8 lens. Exposure time was 3.2 seconds using a 5.6 f-stop with the ISO set at 400.

You’ll see an open-ended wrench in the product photos, which is there to provide a sense of scale and measures 16 inches tip-to-tip.

And Finally…
Every lightbar we tested was commendable. All had a substantial, high-quality feel. The lux readings weren’t all the same, but each bar did a great job of erasing the darkness. Check out the beam pattern photos. If you’re trying to run at daylight speeds after dark, a tight pattern with long projection works best. Conversely, for slow-speed trail work a wide-cast flood pattern is what you want. Some of these lightbars are offered in more than one pattern, and some come in a combo-beam flood-and-spot format. When you see what’s here, we’re sure you’ll find the bar that’s right for you.

Baja Designs Stealth
The Baja Designs Stealth lightbar is compact, lightweight, and exceeds military MIL-STD810G requirements. It packs quite a few features into its compact, extruded-aluminum housing. The optics are user-changeable, and amber lenses are available, which are perfect for being seen by others while running through dust. The Stealth can be set up in dimming and strobe modes. Its power cord features Baja Designs’ MoistureBlock to prevent moisture from wicking up the cord and damaging sensitive internal components.

The Stealth comes with a handy clip-on cover for street use. Off-road-only lights like this should be covered, stowed inside, or aimed downward while on the street. The Stealth comes with a handy clip-on cover for street use. Off-road-only lights like this should be covered, stowed inside, or aimed downward while on the street.

Baja Designs Stealth 20-inch driving/combo pattern lux readings:
6 feet: 20,000
60 feet: 390
177 feet: 50

View Slideshow

Source
Baja Designs
(760) 560-BAJA, ww.bajadesigns.com

Baja Designs OnX Standard Two Cell
The Baja Designs OnX Standard is available in widths from 8 to 50 inches. The four-cell bulb modules are user-changeable, as are the hard-coated polycarbonate front optics. Baja Designs calls this uService, and it’s an empowering feature. Baja Designs’ MoistureBlock power cord is part of the package, and the OnX exceeds MIL-STD810G. Like the Stealth, it’s has accessible dimming and strobe modes built in.

baja designs onx two cell light bar

Baja Designs OnX 20-inch Standard driving pattern lux readings:
6 feet: 27,500
60 feet: 530
177 feet: 76

View Slideshow

Source
Baja Designs
(760) 560-BAJA, ww.bajadesigns.com

Baja Designs OnX Pro Series Three-Cell
The Baja Designs OnX Pro Series is a notch above the standard OnX lightbar. The 22-inch model packs three four-bulb cells into the housing, producing retina-scorching output. In fact, you shouldn’t look directly into any of the lights we’ve tested, whether round or in bar form. The OnX Pro Series features uService, MoistureBlock, and Baja Designs’ Copper Core thermal management system. Yes, it exceeds MIL-STD810G standards, which cover everything from high- and low-temperature tests to a random vibration test to a drip-box water test.

We tested the OnX Pro Series with a driving/combo pattern. Baja Designs’ uService allows the end user to install replacement O-rings, lenses, and bulbs in the garage or in the field. We tested the OnX Pro Series with a driving/combo pattern. Baja Designs’ uService allows the end user to install replacement O-rings, lenses, and bulbs in the garage or in the field.

Baja Designs OnX 22-inch Pro Series 3-Cell driving/combo pattern lux readings:
6 feet: 32,000
60 feet: 710
177 feet: 93

View Slideshow

Source
Baja Designs
(760) 560-BAJA, ww.bajadesigns.com

Lazer Star LX1010 Discovery
The 20-inch Lazer Star LX1010 Discovery uses a single row of 10 Lazer Star-specific 10-watt Cree LED bulbs. The solid-state design is ideal for the harsh world LED lightbars live in. Lazer Star’s LX1010 Discovery is certified to IP68 standards. What does that mean? The term IP stands for “ingress protection.” The 6 refers to the highest standard of dust ingress protection, and the 8 refers to the highest standard for water ingress protection. Succinctly: This is a tough lightbar!

lazer star lx1010 discovery

Lazer Star Discovery LX1010 spot pattern lux readings:
6 feet: 13,200
60 feet: 280
177 feet: 36

View Slideshow

Source
Lazer Star Lights
(805) 226-8200, www.lazerstarlights.com

Lazer Star LX2340 Atlantis
The 22-inch Lazer Star LX2340 Atlantis holds 40 3-watt Cree LED bulbs arrayed along two rows. The extruded aluminum housing is sealed up tight: It’s dustproof and waterproof. The LX2340 is submersible up to 50 feet, not that you’d want to field-test that with your truck.

lazer star lx2340 atlantis

Lazer Star LX2340 Atlantis spot pattern lux readings:
6 feet: 23,800
60 feet: 630
177 feet: 80

View Slideshow

Source
Lazer Star Lights
(805) 226-8200, www.lazerstarlights.com

Pro Comp DR24 Double Row Spot/Flood
Pro Comp’s DR24 offers a great value to the after-dark off-roader. Manufactured by Rigid Industries for Pro Comp, it features two rows of Cree LED bulbs set in a spot-flood combo beam. The extruded aluminum housing is waterproof and shockproof. It comes complete with a wiring harness, switch, relay, and fuse. At around 24 inches, it’s a little wider than some of the other bars in this review, but will still fit across the front of most truck grilles.

pro comp dr24 led light bar

Pro Comp DR24 Double-Row Spot/Flood combo beam lux readings:
6 feet: 39,000
60 feet: 1,060
177 feet: 132

View Slideshow

Source
Pro Comp
(800) 776-0767, www.procompusa.com

Rigid Industries E2 Combo Beam
Rigid Industries’ 20-inch E2 combo beam is metallic, electronic proof of how quickly LED technology is evolving. Freshly developed, it was by far the brightest lightbar we tested. The spot beam is a patent pending 5-degree Hyperspot, while the Specter Combo driving pattern offers fill-in illumination to the side and at close to medium distances. Optional lenses let you change the light’s output color.

rigid industries e2 combo led light bar

Rigid Industries E2 20-inch combo beam lux readings:
6 feet: 64,000
60 feet: 1,250
177 feet: 165

View Slideshow

Source
Rigid Industries
(855) 760-LEDS, www.rigidindustries.com

Vision X Xmitter Xtreme XIL-LPX1510
The Vision X Xmitter Xtreme 20-inch single-row low-profile lightbar lives up to its billing. Height and depth considered, it was the most compact lightbar we tested. Fifteen 5-watt LED bulbs are controlled by Vision X’s Prime Drive technology. Prime Drive controls LED temperature by pulsing the bulbs according to bulb temperature. The human eye can’t detect the pulses, but the off time during the pulse cycle serves to bring operating temperatures down, and thus, ensure the bulbs live up to their 50,000-hour potential.

vision x xmitter xtreme xil lpx1510 led light bar

Vision X Xmitter Xtreme 20-inch, 5-watt Low Profile 10-degree spot-beam lux readings:
6 feet: 13,800
60 feet: 260
177 feet: 34

View Slideshow

Source
Vision X
(800) 994-4460, www.visionxusa.com

Vision X Xmitter Xtreme XIL-PX36M
There are 36 five-watt LED bulbs arrayed in the 21-inch-long Xmitter Xtreme XIL-PX36M. That product description might seem like a mouthful, but Vision X offers a wide spectrum of LED bars. We want you to know what we’re testing! The custom beam pattern offers a good combination of distance and width, making this bar adept at a number of after-dark off-road tasks. It’s bigger and heavier than the single-row XIL-LPX1510 shown above, so the mounting feet and the housing’s rotating sleeve are more robust to match. The mounting feet feature rubber pads at the vehicle contact points, which further protects the lightbar from shock and vibration. Prime Drive technology assures long bulb life.

vision x xmitter xtreme xil px36m led light

Vision X Xmitter Xtreme XIL-PX36M lux readings:
6 feet: 28,200
60 feet: 420
177 feet: 55

vision x xmitter xtreme xil px36m led light pattern

Source
Vision X
(800) 994-4460, www.visionxusa.com

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