Auxiliary LED lighting for special applicationsPosted in Product Reviews on May 31, 2016
Along with Bluetooth integration, LED lighting is possibly the hottest segment in the automotive aftermarket. Four-wheelers generally know that LEDs are superior to their traditional incandescent or halogen counterparts in almost every respect: they produce more lumens more efficiently (they operate cooler/require less amp draw), are more durable, offer a wider variety of colors, and last longer. However, this superiority comes at a higher cost.
Most enthusiasts are aware of the glut of LED bars, cubes, and replacement headlights and taillamps. (We’ll leave the blingy underbody LED illumination tubes to the street-truck magazines.) Competition in these segments is fierce, with wide price ranges. In general, the more expensive products use name-brand diodes (Cree is a prominent manufacturer), have thermal and optical engineering to dissipate heat and focus the light output, and undergo testing/certification, which adds to the costs. These tests can include DOT compliance (headlights and taillights), IP water-resistance rating, and shock/durability. Also, the more expensive models tend to be backed by better warranties.
The good news is that increased competition and expanded manufacturing capacities are responsible for a wider variety of LED options at lower prices. We rounded up some specialty products to shed light on the incredible amount of LED options available for interior, utility, and other specialized illumination solutions.
Access Motion LED Light Strips
Access Cover offers a kit that has motion sensors. They turn on the system’s 18-inch-long strips whenever motion is detected. The lights shut off automatically if no motion is detected for a minute. An included timer can also be set to shut off the LEDs after three or five minutes. Mounting is via pre-applied 3M adhesive, and power comes from three AA batteries—no wiring required. Also, the strips are waterproof.
Anzo USA LED 5-Function Rear Step
Anzo offers headlights, taillights, corner/bumper lights, and more. The 5-Function Rear Bumper Step is available for late-model Chevy/GMC trucks. The Bumper Step includes LED turn signals, taillights, brake lights, and reverse lights.
A.R.E. LED Rope
Designed with camper shells in mind, these LED ropes come in 4-foot lengths. They wire into the existing electrical system to automatically illuminate when the cap’s door is opened. A toolbox version is also available.
Baja Designs Squadron Pro IR
Baja Designs’ 3-inch-square Squadron Pro auxiliary driving light is now available with four high-output Osram 940-nanometer infrared LEDs. This allows stealth after-dark four-wheeling visibility when wearing night-vision glasses or goggles. The lights’ aircraft-grade aluminum housings have mil-spec anodizing, and the cubes are IP69 waterproof-rated.
CIPA LED Bulbs
CIPA has a broad line of LED systems and components, including upgrade bulbs. The Evo line of LED bulbs is available in most popular base styles, often in a choice of light colors. The T-10 bulb pictured is Canbus-compliant to work with late-model vehicle’s computerized “bulb out” warnings. Bulb life expectancy ranges from 25,000 to 50,000 hours depending on style and output.
Craftsman LED Worklight
Craftsman’s 20-watt Rechargeable LED Worklight offers hands-free and cord-free lighting help. Its 1,400-lumen LEDs are powered by a 6600mAh lithium-ion rechargeable battery. The superior “chip-on-board” technology and dual brightness settings ensure maximum life out of each charge, and the enclosure is designed to be weatherproof for indoor/outdoor use.
Del City LED Light Strip Kits
Flexible Del City LED light strips are available in 16 colors to add custom interior or bed/camper lighting. Controlled by a wireless remote, these strips offer four lighting functions: flash, strobe, fade, and smooth. Each kit includes two 12-inch strips and a wire harness that is designed to ease installation.
Delta Halo Headlights
Most LED headlights feature attention-grabbing lenses and reflectors, even when off. Delta takes a different approach, going retro with its 7-inch round headlights. When off, their prismatic lenses resemble traditional headlamps. When illuminated, the parabolic reflectors and Cree LEDs project an estimated 300 percent more light than comparable-sized incandescent lamps. An optional upgrade is 7 1/2-watt COB LED Halos around the lamps’ perimeters, which function as DRLs. Expected lifespan is 25,000 hours.
Eastwood Work Light
This rechargeable, telescoping LED work light features 120 surface-mounted LEDs. Output is 1,250 lumens, which Eastwood claims is up to two times brighter than conventional LEDs. The telescoping bar has foam-covered hooks and mounts on surfaces ranging from 53 to 72 inches wide. The light folds in half for easy storage. The kit includes an AC/DC adapter and 12V charger for the 7.4V 2200 mAh lithium-ion battery.
Go Rhino LED Bed Rails
Go Rhino Superbright LED bed rails are designed to light up a truck bed when needed and provide some sheetmetal protection. The battery-operated bed rails require no hard-wiring. Two 50,000-hour LEDs per bar are controlled by rubber-isolated switches that are mounted toward the cab and tailgate for easy access during loading and unloading.
Go Rhino Products
GR Motorsports Canbus LED Headlight Bulbs
GR offers a variety of LED dome light kits and a wide selection of LED upgrade bulbs. Their Cree LED Canbus headlight bulb kit is designed to be compatible with late-model computerized “bulb-out” systems. The bulbs are rated at 48 watts/6,000 lumens and come with changeable color-temperature sleeves: 3,000K, 6,000K, 8,000K, and 10,000K.
Harbor Freight offers a variety of affordable LED products. These include towing/trailering lights, marker lights, hand-held spotlights, emergency lights, work lights, console-size flashlights, and even flexible shaft LED inspection lights. This hitch-cover brake light helps improve safety by using 12 high-visibility LEDs. A 1/2-inch-thick foam gasket absorbs rattles. The light includes a four-pin Slip Fit plug that is designed to plug into popular trailer harnesses.
Harbor Freight Tools
Hella Universal Day Running Lights
This kit allows DRLs to be added to fascias, around headlights, or wherever 1.1-inch holes will fit. Systems are available that have five to eight metal-housed LEDs per side. Also included are control units and wiring harnesses that connect to the vehicle’s electric system via three-pole AMP super-sealed plugs.
KC Cyclone Auxiliary LEDs
KC’s Cyclone is a 5-watt, 2.2-inch lighting solution. Possible mounting locations include engine bays, wheelwells to function as rock lights, truck beds, and more. Six varieties are available: clear, diffused, amber, red, blue, and green.
Lazer Star iStar Pods
Lazer Star offers traditional LED bars plus a line of accent lighting and sand whip bulbs. The iStar Pod is a versatile solution where bright illumination is wanted in tight spots such as in the interior or as rock lights – the aluminum housings measure 1 1/2 by 1/2 by 2 3/4 inches. These IP68-rated pods have a 50,000-hour light lifespan. They have a flood pattern and are available in a variety of beam colors. The kit includes a rubber-backed flat mount plate, stainless hardware, and four feet of wiring per pod.
LMC Digital Chevy Dash
LMC Truck offers a Digital LED Dash Cluster for ’67-’72 Chevy/GMC trucks and SUVs. The Digital LED Dash Cluster is a direct replacement and is fully programmable to reportedly work with any tire size, gear ratio, or transmission. All sending units except fuel-level sender are included. Gauges include 0-255 mph speedometer with odometer, trip meter, 0-60 time, quarter-mile time, and high-speed recall. It also has 50-350 degrees F water temp, 0-99 psi oil pressure, 7-25V voltmeter, and 0-9,900 rpm guages.
Lund LED Bull Bar
Instead of adding mounting tabs for auxiliary LEDs, Lund offers a Bull Bar with built-in 20-inch lightbar. The LED bar has a 54-watt flood-beam pattern, putting out more than 3,000 lumens. The Bull Bar also has an integrated skidplate and is designed for no-drill installation, with the light’s wiring harness tapping into the factory wiring. Available for popular late-model trucks, the Bull Bar is finished in a choice of textured black powdercoat and polished 304 stainless steel.
Nova LED Rock Lights
Nova Rock Light kits include four 5-watt spot-beam LEDs in aluminum housings, a harness, and a switch. The lights carry an IP67 waterproof rating and have an estimated lifespan of 50,000 hours. They can be used with 6, 12, and 24V electrical systems.
Off-Road Solutions Portable Worklight
This 10-watt rechargeable light is rated as equivalent to a 60-watt mobile flood light. The light is advertised as having up to a 10-hour charge life per full 8-hour charge. Dimensions are 5 by 6 by 7 inches, and the housing is touted as waterproof. Household and automotive chargers are included.
Omega Pro LED Mechanic Pad
For people who are routinely under their rigs after dark or in dim garages, the Omega Pro 3-Fold Eva Pad is a mechanic’s pad that has 21 built-in LED work lights. Made of durable Eva material, the pad has a carrying handle and is water- and oil-resistant.
Paramount LED Grilles
Paramount Automotive’s Evolution Stainless Steel Wire Mesh Packaged Grilles feature preinstalled LED inserts. The gloss-black OE-style shell is designed to be a direct replacement for the factory grille for popular late-model trucks. The mesh insert is finished in textured black powdercoat.
PIAA LED Headlight Bulbs
Esteemed auxiliary-lighting manufacturer PIAA also offers LED Performance Bulbs. They are designed as direct halogen-bulb replacements for a variety of popular headlamps and are optimized for maximum lighting output from the existing lamp housing and reflector, and proper LED chip placement directs light output and direction.
Plasmaglow LED Cup Holder Kit
This universal kit uses an LED strip that can be trimmed to fit most cupholder sizes. It connects to the factory harness with two wires. The LED strip is waterproof and is available in a choice of six colors.
Pro Comp Electric Actuated LED Mount
Technically not a lighting product, this new Pro Comp mount is technologically interesting. It allows an LED light to be “steered” remotely for precision beam-aiming. Details were still pending at press time, but this could be the next evolution in after-dark four-wheeling.
Putco LED Switchback Dayliner
Putco offers a wide line of LED products, including several bulb retrofit options. Its Dayliners feature white and amber COB LEDs that are embedded into a CNC aluminum trim piece, which attaches to the headlamps with 3M tape. The white LEDs are illuminated when the daytime running lamps are activated, and the amber LEDs flash in sequence with the factory lamp’s turn signals. Applications are available for late-model domestic trucks.
Rampage Tailgate Bar
This six-function LED tailgate bar is designed to be fully waterproof with a completely encapsulated circuit board and robotically assembled high-intensity LEDs suspended in a UV-stabilized clear waterproof urethane. The bar has six functions: reverse, running, brake, emergency hazard, and left and right turn signals.
RBP RX-3 LED Grilles
RBP replacement grilles with integral LED bars are available for popular later-model pickups. The have a stainless mesh with a rivet-studded frame and “rock star” logo. Available finishes are chrome and black powdercoat. A wiring harness and switch for the lights is included.
Recon Illuminated Sill Plates
Recon offers a diverse line of LED auxiliary lighting, including headlights, taillights, markers, and electro-illuminescent body and tailgate emblems. One of the company’s unique offerings is illuminated sill plates for Ford and Ram trucks. The billet sill plates are finished in a choice of brushed aluminum or black. Available light colors are blue and red. The plates are designed as direct replacements for the OEM pieces and wire into the factory harness.
Rigid Site Series Work Lights
Rigid Industries’ Site Series is engineered to provide reliable lighting in various different worksite environments. Featuring several beam pattern options (80/20 Optic, Hybrid Flood, and an 80/20 Hybrid/Spot combo), the Site Series worklights offer a wider area of coverage. The handle is optional.
Rough Country LED Rock Lights
These waterproof, 2,000-lumen Rock Lights can be mounted to a vehicle’s wheelwells to light up the ground below. Each kit includes four 5-watt LEDs in IP68 waterproof-rated aluminum housings with 18 feet of wire with plug/play connectors. The flood-beam design offers a broad spread of light for optimum illumination. The low-profile design makes them also suitable for truck beds, ATVs, and more.
Royalty Core RCX LED Light Bar Grille
Royalty Core offers “hardcore” RCX LED grilles for late-model Detroit Three pickups. Shown here is a Ram HD application. The grille is designed to hold a pair of Vision X XIL-PX1810 lightbars, with each having an 8,900-lumen output.
Scangrip Hands-Free LED Headlamp
The Scangrip I-View has a motion sensor, allowing it to be turned on with a hand wave. It is also designed to be manually turned on and off, even when wearing gloves. Other features include low weight and a “robust sleek design.”
Innovative Tools & Technologies
Smittybilt UFO LED Emergency Flare
The UFO (Universal Flashing Object) is a safe alternative to the traditional incendiary emergency flare. It has a lanyard and a magnetic base, so the UFO can be easily positioned in the highest-visibility location, seen from up to a mile away. Waterproof, the UFO has red LEDs. It uses a CR123 lithium battery and has a run time of up to 100 hours.
Super Bright LEDs Strobes
Super Bright LEDs sells an extensive range of LED products and components for automotive, household, marine, industrial, and other applications. One example is Hideaway Mini Strobes for emergency warning. They are available in red, amber, and white with 180 and 360-degree beam patterns. Housings have a 1.6-inch diameter and 1.2-inch height. Mounting is via two screw holes, and each LED has a 7-inch power wire. The internal controller has 37 strobe patterns.
Super Bright LEDs
T-Rex Torch Series High-Bar LED Grille
These grilles are based on T-Rex’s X-Metal design. By locating the LED bar high on the grille, visibility and stability are improved. Bar lengths vary between 6 and 30 inches, depending on application. The wiring harness includes a switch, a 30-amp relay, a 15-amp inline fuse, and weatherproof connector. Fitments are offered for late-model Detroit Three pickups.
Truck-Lite Auxiliary LEDs
Truck-Lite offers auxiliary LEDs to complement their 7-inch LED headlights. These lights are available in spot and rectangular (work) beam patterns. They use 10 LEDs per lamp and have epoxy-encapsulated electronics for durability. Lenses are polycarbonate, and included mounting brackets are e-coated to fight corrosion. A 24V line is also available for the industrial and military markets.
Truxedo B-Light Bed Lights
Designed to be used under tonneau covers, the B-Light system can be installed elsewhere too. The flexible LED strips are waterproof and come in 18-inch and 36-inch strips. They attach with the included 3M adhesive backing. Power comes from three AA batteries, so no wiring is required. The lights shut off automatically after five minutes.
Vision-X Cannon Spotlight
This 6.7-inch round LED is manufacturer-rated at 50 watts and 2,520 feet of usable light. The beam pattern is a 10-degree spot, and replacement polycarbonate covers allow the beam to be changed from spot to Euro to flood. Available colored filters are clear, blue, amber, and red. The Cannon is IP68 waterproof-rated. Kits include wiring harnesses. A 4 1/2-inch version is also offered.