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Thread: What's the Best TRUE Fog Light?

  1. #1
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    Default What's the Best TRUE Fog Light?

    I just thought Id post the question, and maybe learn something. It annoys me no end that so many of todays auxiliary lights are just bling (I hate that word). I find myself thinking that the Cibie 175 was arguably (some would argue for the Marchal 950) the best foglight in the world in the 1970s, and I think it still may be. I hope thats not true, but I fear it is. Lately Ive seen little in the way of truly better auxiliary lights, particularly fogs.



    So I'm asking: In your opinion, what is the best fog out there today?



    (And while I'm at it, how come auxiliary low beams, like the Cibie Booster Beam and the Hella XL have gone the way of the Dodo?)

  2. #2

    Default Re: What's the Best TRUE Fog Light?

    Bump...also curious

  3. #3

    Default Re: What's the Best TRUE Fog Light?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hamilton Felix View Post
    It annoys me no end that so many of todays auxiliary lights are just bling
    I agree, though I'm even more annoyed by the mountain of aftermarket replacement main headlamps that are just bling.

    I find myself thinking that the Cibie 175 was arguably (some would argue for the Marchal 950) the best foglight in the world in the 1970s
    It's difficult to pick a single winner; there were a lot of very good halogen fog lamps in the 1960s-'80s, and many of them were from Cibie or Marchal. The performance characteristics of the various models were different -- the Marchal 700 produced an almost impossibly wide beam, but it was not very deep. The OscarPlus produced a narrower but deeper beam. All of them had a relatively large amount of flux within the beam. The trouble with them is their size and bulk; they were well adapted to yesterday's big stamped-sheetmetal bumpers and valence panels. Today's front ends aren't really configured to host a set of big, heavy lamps. Even an adaptive mounting setup like the Carr Light Wing is suitable only for those vehicles with solid metal bumper structures readily accessible at the front license plate mount point. Nevertheless, some of these really good big French halogen fog lamps remain available.

    It's a lot more difficult to make a good small fog lamp than it is to make a good big fog lamp. It's not impossible, but it takes a lot more thought, care, effort, and money. There are some very fine fog lamps (as fog lamps go) in the pipeline; the ECE and SAE standards have been updated recently to provide a new category of fog lamp, "F3", with better performance requirements than the (very) old previous specifications. The new F3 fog lamp has recently or will soon become mandatory under ECE regs (fog lamps themselves will not be mandatory, but if they are installed they either must or will soon have to be of the F3 type). One such lamp that comes to mind is Osram's JFL2 Joule LED fog lamp, which is very small but quite good.

    The reason for the "as fog lamps go" disclaimer is that even good fog lamps are of little use to most drivers. They're for use in severely bad weather to help the driver see the edges of the road close to the car so he can grope his way along at very low speeds. Fog lamps do not meaningfully improve seeing or safety in other-than-very-foul-weather conditions, though many drivers misuse them in the mistaken belief that they can see better at normal road speeds in dry weather. See this thread and look at the data in post #4.

    (And while I'm at it, how come auxiliary low beams, like the Cibie Booster Beam and the Hella XL have gone the way of the Dodo?)
    They were never very popular. They're not Federally regulated, never have been, and the SAE standard that specified the design, construction, and performance of auxiliary low beams, J582, has been cancelled and withdrawn. The concept was attractive to drivers stuck with not-very-good headlamps, but iffy under the terms of many state vehicle codes' lighting requirements. And in many (most?) cases, they were just another pair of improperly-installed, improperly-aimed, improperly-used lights on the front of the car (bling again).

    So what's the best add-on fog lamp? Probably a carefully-chosen low beam with a sharp cutoff, a broad beam, strict control of upward stray light, high peak intensity, and a low aim angle. I have had good results with the Hella Bifocal or (discontinued) Cibie complex reflector 5¾" H1 low beam and with certain varieties of the Hella 90mm low beam module in "fog lamp" service. There is a case to be made for selective yellow light color.
    Last edited by Scheinwerfermann; 10-29-2011 at 11:14 AM.

  4. #4
    Flashaholic DIΩDΣ's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's the Best TRUE Fog Light?

    Bump.... also curious. I'm looking for something, and no problem with big or heavy since this will be mounted to an F350 bumper.

  5. #5

    Default Re: What's the Best TRUE Fog Light?

    If you've got a big truck or van, your options get a lot wider. Go talk to Daniel Stern and/or another good automotive lighting supplier. Be picky whose advice you take; everyone will claim to be an expert.

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    Flashaholic Marcturus's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's the Best TRUE Fog Light?

    Quote Originally Posted by Scheinwerfermann View Post
    There are some very fine fog lamps (as fog lamps go) in the pipeline; the ECE and SAE standards have been updated recently to provide a new category of fog lamp, "F3", with better performance requirements than the (very) old previous specifications. The new F3 fog lamp has recently or will soon become mandatory under ECE regs (fog lamps themselves will not be mandatory, but if they are installed they either must or will soon have to be of the F3 type).
    Iirc, among other provisions, these new ECE fog lamp regs now impose a maximum limit on in-beam luminous intensity. Shouldn't this have come with a hard-wired speed limiter against the kind of people on the highway who think their kewl-hued, retro-unfit position lamps shine much nicer when the passing beams are deactivated in favor of their foggz? Although maximum reach isn't the design goal for fog lamps, doesn't the intensity limit hinder the (hypothetical) design of any new, high-end fog beams?

  7. #7

    Default Re: What's the Best TRUE Fog Light?

    Quote Originally Posted by Marcturus View Post
    Iirc, among other provisions, these new ECE fog lamp regs now impose a maximum limit on in-beam luminous intensity.
    Such limits have always been present in both the SAE and ECE fog lamp specs.

    Shouldn't this have come with a hard-wired speed limiter
    IMO, yes!

  8. #8
    Flashaholic Marcturus's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's the Best TRUE Fog Light?

    Quote Originally Posted by Scheinwerfermann View Post
    Such limits have always been present in both the SAE and ECE fog lamp specs.!
    I thought I went through the old R.19, and didn't find one.

  9. #9

    Default Re: What's the Best TRUE Fog Light?

    See the lux values in the diagram on the first page of Annex 3 to R19 Rev 4 (and probably any other version previous to Rev 5). In Rev 5, see §6.3.5 for the old R19 photometric requirements ("Class B" fog lamps) translated from angles and lux values to test points and candela, and §6.4.3 for the new Class F3 fog lamp photometric requirements. You can see the Class F3 spec is very much more stringent. It requires higher performance: 2000cd minimum at 2.5° below horizontal, across the whole line from 10° left to 10° right (which is also subject to the Zone D maximum of 8400cd), compared to the Class B spec with 1250cd minimum and 8000cd maximum anywhere between 1.75°D and 3.5°D, measured at "at least one point on each vertical line". The F3 spec also requires a wider beam, with minimum intensity requirements all the way out to 35°L and 35°R (Class B has minimum intensity requirements only out to ±22°) and does a better job of controlling upward light; compare the allowable values for "U" points (which are above horizontal).
    Last edited by Scheinwerfermann; 11-13-2011 at 02:17 PM.

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    Flashaholic Marcturus's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's the Best TRUE Fog Light?

    Thanks, I agree that the new regs are more stringent and demand better minimum performance. I'll re-check the sources you mentioned.

  11. #11

    Default Re: What's the Best TRUE Fog Light?

    What's the source of your cat avatar? I like it! Wonder if it might be an old Marchal advertisement? They used a black cat with prominent eyes as their logo.

  12. #12

    Default Re: What's the Best TRUE Fog Light?

    So what's the best add-on fog lamp? Probably a carefully-chosen low beam with a sharp cutoff, a broad beam, strict control of upward stray light, high peak intensity, and a low aim angle
    So wouldn't the "blazer" projectors from TRS fit the bill perfectly for good foul weather driving? Without getting into arguments about their business practices, etc... Just curious about this particular product



    http://www.theretrofitsource.com/pro...roducts_id=243

  13. #13

    Default Re: What's the Best TRUE Fog Light?

    Green fog lamps...?!! No, looking at the link this is a cheapie Blazer halogen fog lamp, a cosmetic item originally designed for #880 halogen bulbs, that has been "retrofitted" with an HID bulb. That makes it a big fat "NO". HID bulbs do not belong in fog lamps, especially not in fog lamps designed and intended for use with low-output halogen bulbs. This just really is not OK.

    Looks like they produce a very wide beam pattern, but without a beam isoplot or at least a compliance chart it's impossible to give them a thumb rating (up or down). And sorry, but "without getting into their business practices" isn't really possible. Their stuff has been widely demonstrated to be highly inconsistent in quality, and as far as I know none of it is certified or approved to any of the applicable regulations, which means the thumb rating would have to be "down".
    Last edited by Scheinwerfermann; 11-16-2011 at 09:51 PM.

  14. #14
    Flashaholic irsa76's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's the Best TRUE Fog Light?

    I'm about to, try, and install my Hella MicroDE fog lights on my wife's car so will compare them to the Valeo reflector foglights I ended up installing on my Rav4.
    Yes I'm night blind!
    Can't you see?

  15. #15

    Default Re: What's the Best TRUE Fog Light?

    haven't seen a good source for comparing the beam of various products. Would think such a display would help evaluate what a potential user might choose.

  16. #16

    Default Re: What's the Best TRUE Fog Light?

    You're right, but the problem is it would be prohibitively expensive to compile useful data (i.e., isoplots created by a goniophotometer) to enable real, objective comparisons of the various lamps. Photographs are all but useless at best.

  17. #17

    Default Re: What's the Best TRUE Fog Light?

    Bumping an older thread here to get more opinions. I want a wider beam for seeing around corners in my neighborhood. It's a new development and I guess to be "green"we have no street lights. Petiole
    People walk around at night and wider fogs would be useful.

    My 05 mr2 stock fogs are worse than my Ebay LED maglite. Seriously.

  18. #18

    Default Re: What's the Best TRUE Fog Light?

    Quote Originally Posted by GuySmily View Post
    Bumping an older thread here to get more opinions. I want a wider beam for seeing around corners in my neighborhood. It's a new development and I guess to be "green"we have no street lights. Petiole
    People walk around at night and wider fogs would be useful.

    My 05 mr2 stock fogs are worse than my Ebay LED maglite. Seriously.
    Is there something we can do for your headlights first?
    What's the MR2 have and what condition is it in?

  19. #19
    Flashaholic* Alaric Darconville's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's the Best TRUE Fog Light?

    Quote Originally Posted by GuySmily View Post
    People walk around at night and wider fogs would be useful.
    Fog lamps are only useful in the fog, very heavy dust, or torrential rain (and only at low speeds). Your low-beam headlamps should be ample, so long as the lenses are clear, the bulbs are getting sufficient voltage, and good bulbs are installed-- and, of course, the lamps are aimed correctly.

  20. #20

    Default Re: What's the Best TRUE Fog Light?

    This is my favorite foglight picture.


  21. #21
    Flashaholic* Alaric Darconville's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's the Best TRUE Fog Light?

    And even that fog pretty much appears to be not thick enough to warrant fog lamps, judging from the detail one can see in it.

  22. #22

    Default Re: What's the Best TRUE Fog Light?

    Quote Originally Posted by Alaric Darconville View Post
    And even that fog pretty much appears to be not thick enough to warrant fog lamps, judging from the detail one can see in it.
    It's almost noon and I dialed in as much contrast as I could.
    It was soupy...

  23. #23
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    Default Re: What's the Best TRUE Fog Light?

    I know what GuySmily is saying. I recall one night on a residential street in Seattle's University District (where many young pedestrians believe they are invulnerable because pedestrians have the right-of-way), with my old Saab 99 Turbo. I had stopped, turned on right signal, was easing out clutch... when a female in a black leotard jogged in front of me from the right, no pause, no slowing, no slightest acknowledgement of the car. That was over 30 years ago, and my reflexes were fast. But I think what saved her were the big clear Cibie 175 fogs with their 120 degree wide beam pattern.

    Year later, when those 175's were getting somewhat sandblasted, I moved them to the extended bumper of my old International 4x4, so I could see around switchbacks when four wheeling at night.
    There are two kinds of light - the glow that illumines, and the glare that obscures. ~James Thurber

  24. #24

    Default Re: What's the Best TRUE Fog Light?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hilldweller View Post
    Is there something we can do for your headlights first?
    What's the MR2 have and what condition is it in?
    Quote Originally Posted by Alaric Darconville View Post
    Fog lamps are only useful in the fog, very heavy dust, or torrential rain (and only at low speeds). Your low-beam headlamps should be ample, so long as the lenses are clear, the bulbs are getting sufficient voltage, and good bulbs are installed-- and, of course, the lamps are aimed correctly.
    My headlamps are in excellent shape. In 2003, Toyota redesigned the headlights and changed from reflectors to projectors. The beam pattern of these lamps are superb, but I still find myself wishing for extra beam width.

    Have you ever seen a Lexus LS430 on the freeway? The earlier one suck, but later years have the craziest width you will ever see. They will light up the freeway off ramp on the other side of a 5-lane (each way) freeway. That's the kind of width I want.

    I've seen all kinds of crazy ideas, even sticking a mirror on the projector to reflect light to the side. I definitely wouldn't do this, lol... Instead, I'm hoping to use fog lights for extra width. Fog isn't really a problem where I live, so I don't really need to use them as true fog lights. It's just to prevent situations like Hamilton Felix explained.



  25. #25
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    Default Re: What's the Best TRUE Fog Light?

    The fog lights in my '04 Camry and '08 Highlander were junk as fogs and did nothing for 'auxiliary lighting'. But, the recently acquired '11 Avalon has excellent fogs(as auxiliary lighting). I can look out the front passenger door window and see a deer 50ft off the side of the road. With the other vehicles, I just pray that the deer aren't suicidal.
    With the '11 Avalon, I can see the joggers/bikers/dog walkers that I would've never seen with the Camry or Highlander. I do recommend that you run down to your local Toyota dealership and find an Avalon w/fogs to test drive at night. Maybe you'll be able to source the fogs at the salvage yard and graft them on.

  26. #26

    Default Re: What's the Best TRUE Fog Light?

    Quote Originally Posted by DIΩDΣ View Post
    Bump.... also curious. I'm looking for something, and no problem with big or heavy since this will be mounted to an F350 bumper.
    I just built a custom set of aux. lights using 7" Hella headlights and a custom harness from rallylights(they build a ton of harnesses, even for DS) I have two switches inside the cab to operate high/low beam, so I actually have four headlights, these lights have multiple use since I can use high/high, low/low or any other combination. Aimed properly, these Hellas really work to get light in front of you, I just used them on a foggy, rainy night and the only issue is turning them off for oncoming traffic, four headlights is a ton of light. These are H-4's, and I've never had a better set of aux. lights, but they have some size to them, wouldn't work on a little car, work great on my Jeep JK....this project cost me $142, but I had the Hella lens already, add about $80 total for the lens.(both shipped)

  27. #27

    Default Re: What's the Best TRUE Fog Light?

    You have some pictures, don't you krutj?

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