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Thread: Long range/pencil beam auxiliary lights?

  1. #1

    Default Long range/pencil beam auxiliary lights?

    Am thinking of installing a single (or pair of) long range/pencil beam lights to complement the factory high beams and Bosch Compact 100 driving lights on my 2008 Dodge truck. Factory headlights on this truck are pretty good, and the Bosch driving lights are fantastic at supplementing the high beams (WAY better than previous Hella 500). However, there is still a black hole off in the distance past the range of the Bosch lights.

    1. Is there such a thing as a road legal pencil beam light to run in high beam service (ie proper beam & wattage bulb), or are they all off-road only?

    2. What would you guys recommend? Would prefer something smaller and a little less expensive than the Hella Rallye 4000's. Don't care if they're round or rectangular.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Long range/pencil beam auxiliary lights?

    I was going to suggest Cibie Oscar spot beams, but they may not meet your "less expensive than Rallye 4000" requirement. You could always pick up a pair of PAR46 housings such as these or these (same picture on both pages, but the actual housings are chrome vs. silver paint; the black equivalent is Truck-Lite number 657H).

    Then put in whatever 5¾" light unit you want. A GE H7680HIR sealed beam is an 80w unit that produces a 300,000-candela, 6½° spot. No width, no fill, nothing but distance. Aim is obviously crucial.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Long range/pencil beam auxiliary lights?

    Thanks for the suggestions...perhaps I should have been a bit more specific. Here is how my current light setup looks:

    http://www.dodgetalk.com/gallery/fil...4_original.jpg

    I would like to mount the spot lights behind the honeycomb grill as well, either inboard of the Bosch lights, or (preferably) to the top of the radiator core support hanging down, which would place the spotlights behind the upper half of the grill. I figure the slightly higher position would make the lights slightly more useful. The window/opening for the lights is approximately 6" tall, so any light 6" diameter or smaller would work great. This is why the Hella 4k's wouldn't work, and I believe the Cibie Oscars are 6.75" and a touch out of my price range (~$150 ea + bulbs, wiring, etc). Also not so sure the Grote housings would fit properly behind there, combined with the fact that each sealed beam costs >$50 and has a service life of ~100 hrs, I am tending away from this option.

    If only Bosch made a Compact 100 pencil beam, I'd be all over them. Any other above-average recommendations? Not really interested in running 100+ watt KC's (all over the place for cheap). Any decent offerings from Hella that fall between the 500 series and 4000 series?

    I know I'll probably get some grief for keeping the lights behind a grill, but it is a necessity in my area. The thin honeycomb really doesn't block any noticeable light, and is much more transparent than the original horizontal bar grill. But even if it does block a little, I'd rather have my lights shining at 90% than broken or missing (an inevitability if exposed thx to debris falling off trucks and/or meth addicts).

  4. #4
    *Flashaholic* StarHalo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Long range/pencil beam auxiliary lights?

    Anything that throws a beam farther than your high beams is pretty much guaranteed to be illegal; it's the catch-22 of fog lamps, what actually works against fog isn't road-legal.

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    Flashaholic* Alaric Darconville's Avatar
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    Default Re: Long range/pencil beam auxiliary lights?

    Quote Originally Posted by StarHalo View Post
    Anything that throws a beam farther than your high beams is pretty much guaranteed to be illegal
    Blanket statements don't keep me warm at night.

    it's the catch-22 of fog lamps, what actually works against fog isn't road-legal.
    These would be auxiliary high beam driving lights, not fog lamps. Additionally, fog lamps that work well in fog are legal.

  6. #6
    *Flashaholic* StarHalo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Long range/pencil beam auxiliary lights?

    You will be pulled over if you fail to dim your high beams to an oncoming police cruiser. So anything that's even brighter than that is going to be an instant problem.

    A fog lamp that works well has a pencil beam, like a rally light or aspheric LED, neither of which are road-legal; that's the only kind of beam that will throw farther than a headlamp high beam, which is what OP is asking for.

  7. #7
    Flashaholic* Alaric Darconville's Avatar
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    Default Re: Long range/pencil beam auxiliary lights?

    Quote Originally Posted by StarHalo View Post
    You will be pulled over if you fail to dim your high beams to an oncoming police cruiser. So anything that's even brighter than that is going to be an instant problem.
    Which is why auxiliary high beam lamps must be used properly. Undimmed high beams are an instant problem whether it's an oncoming police cruiser or an oncoming clown car.

    A fog lamp that works well has a pencil beam, like a rally light or aspheric LED, neither of which are road-legal; that's the only kind of beam that will throw farther than a headlamp high beam, which is what OP is asking for.
    Fog lamps have a wide beam, and are not designed to throw farther than a low beam headlamp, let alone a high beam headlamp. Fog lamps are also not for use with high beams. The OP is looking for an auxiliary high beam lamp, not a fog lamp.
    From: Daniel Stern Lighting
    A good fog lamp produces a wide, bar-shaped beam of light with a sharp horizontal cutoff (dark above, bright below) at the top of the beam, and minimal upward light above the cutoff. Almost all factory-installed or dealer-optional fog lamps, and a great many aftermarket units, are essentially useless for any purpose, especially for extremely demanding poor-weather driving. Many of them are too small to produce enough light to make a difference, produce beam patterns too narrow to help, lack a sufficiently-sharp cutoff, and throw too much glare light into the eyes of other drivers, no matter how they're aimed.
    I'm not sure how you got on the subject of fog lamps; they are unrelated to the OP's question or needs.

    For more information on fog lamps, see here.
    Last edited by Alaric Darconville; 04-02-2012 at 11:22 AM.

  8. #8
    *Flashaholic* StarHalo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Long range/pencil beam auxiliary lights?

    The fog lamps traditionally found on cars are indeed not helpful, and as we have covered in every other "What light cuts through fog best" thread, the conclusion is the one with the narrowest beam farthest from the axis of view - a pencil beam, as the OP is asking for. Because this very intense beam would get you pulled over, it is therefore an "off-road" light, there is no street situation where it would be legal to turn it on; in many jurisdictions it would also have to be covered when driving on a public road. This answers OP's first question.
    Last edited by StarHalo; 04-02-2012 at 12:25 PM.

  9. #9
    Flashaholic* Alaric Darconville's Avatar
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    Default Re: Long range/pencil beam auxiliary lights?

    Quote Originally Posted by StarHalo View Post
    The fog lamps traditionally found on cars are indeed not helpful, and as we have covered in every other "What light cuts through dog best" thread, the conclusion is the one with the narrowest beam farthest from the axis of view - a pencil beam, as the OP is asking for. Because this very intense beam would get you pulled over, it is therefore an "off-road" light, there is no street situation where it would be legal to turn it on; in many jurisdictions it would also have to be covered when driving on a public road. This answers OP's first question.
    Fog lamps do not "cut through fog" (and certainly not through 'dog'); it is not the intent of a fog lamp to do so. They are for very low speed driving, and for seeing the edges of the road and the markings. The best fog lamps have a wide beam. Fog lamps are NOT to be used with high beams.

    There are plenty of legal auxiliary high beam lamps, as well.

  10. #10
    Flashaholic* Alaric Darconville's Avatar
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    Default Re: Long range/pencil beam auxiliary lights?

    Quote Originally Posted by opposite locker View Post
    I know I'll probably get some grief for keeping the lights behind a grill, but it is a necessity in my area. The thin honeycomb really doesn't block any noticeable light, and is much more transparent than the original horizontal bar grill. But even if it does block a little, I'd rather have my lights shining at 90% than broken or missing (an inevitability if exposed thx to debris falling off trucks and/or meth addicts).
    It may block more light than you think. Shine a flashlight on a wall and move a matchstick closer and closer to the lens of the flashlight and see how much shadowing it actually does. (Or do the same with your headlamps while shining them on the garage door.) The lamps Scheinwerfermann recommended in accordance with your question may be pricy, but increasing your following distance is cheap. :P

    There are also some fairly decent anti-theft devices for external lamps. If they can't get your lamps, they'll try for the wheels or the spare tire anyway.
    Last edited by Alaric Darconville; 04-02-2012 at 01:08 PM.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Long range/pencil beam auxiliary lights?

    Quote Originally Posted by StarHalo View Post
    "What light cuts through fog best" (...) is the one with the narrowest beam (...) a pencil beam
    That is not correct. Neither are some of your other ideas about how lights work and what is legal, etc.
    Last edited by Scheinwerfermann; 04-02-2012 at 02:47 PM.

  12. #12
    *Flashaholic* StarHalo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Long range/pencil beam auxiliary lights?

    Quote Originally Posted by Scheinwerfermann View Post
    That is not correct. Neither are some of your other ideas about how lights work and what is legal, etc.
    It is correct, review the other threads on recommendations for lights in foggy/smoky conditions. And you can be cited for any light a police officer feels is too bright, no measuring equipment is used or involved; so if your vehicle has a light on it which appears much brighter than any high beams the officer has seen that night, you're going to get pulled over.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Long range/pencil beam auxiliary lights?

    Quote Originally Posted by StarHalo View Post
    It is correct
    No, it is not -- no matter how firmly you may wish to believe it or how often you repeat it. There are facts and there are opinions; you're welcome to hold an opinion not based on facts or science, but it will not get much respect from those who know the facts and science involved in the topic under discussion. Alaric Darconville is right, there's no such thing as a light that "cuts through fog"; such a thing is not permitted by the laws of physics in force in this universe.

    you can be cited for any light a police officer feels is too bright
    That is not under debate.

  14. #14
    *Flashaholic* StarHalo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Long range/pencil beam auxiliary lights?

    That would have been more obvious if the thread were not sidetracked with the "controversy" of my posts.
    Last edited by Scheinwerfermann; 04-03-2012 at 12:14 AM. Reason: Backtalk to moderator deleted

  15. #15

    Default Re: Long range/pencil beam auxiliary lights?

    Wow...kinda silly argument. Perhaps you are confusing flashlight performance with those of automotive lights.

    My understanding is that my Bosch driving lights are legal in high beam service with 55w bulbs, as long as they are not left on with oncoming traffic (which I believe is illegal even with stock high beams). I would think the same would apply to spot lights as long as they have some formal approval (SAE, e-code, etc...) and are not running over wattage bulbs.

    So, any other ideas on a light that might fit the above parameters?

  16. #16
    *Flashaholic* StarHalo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Long range/pencil beam auxiliary lights?

    Quote Originally Posted by opposite locker View Post
    Wow...kinda silly argument.
    Agreed.

    One thing you might try is to replace the wiring of your lighting system with heavy gauge wire; your lights may already have the performance you're looking for, just bottled up because of the resistance of the cheap stock wire..

  17. #17
    Flashaholic Lightdoctor's Avatar
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    Default Re: Long range/pencil beam auxiliary lights?

    Post deleted by moderator: slurs ("fruits") are not appropriate here.
    Last edited by Scheinwerfermann; 04-03-2012 at 12:16 AM.

  18. #18

    Default Re: Long range/pencil beam auxiliary lights?

    Quote Originally Posted by StarHalo View Post
    That would have been more obvious if the thread were not sidetracked with the "controversy" of my posts.
    Right, and you are the instigator of same. It wouldn't have happened if you weren't starting fatuous arguments by injecting incorrect factoids and off-topic noise into the thread. Mind Rules 4 and 8 of this board, and cease flaming/baiting/trolling and sassing back to moderators. If you persist, you may find yourself taking some involuntary time out from the forum to reconsider how you participate here.

    Please and thank you.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Long range/pencil beam auxiliary lights?

    Quote Originally Posted by opposite locker View Post
    Wow...kinda silly argument. Perhaps you are confusing flashlight performance with those of automotive lights.
    That looks like what s/he is doing.

    My understanding is that my Bosch driving lights are legal in high beam service with 55w bulbs, as long as they are not left on with oncoming traffic (which I believe is illegal even with stock high beams).
    Correct on all counts, though most state codes do not stipulate bulb wattage in auxiliary lamps.

    So, any other ideas on a light that might fit the above parameters?
    Not really…you're going to have to pick lights that work or little toys that you're willing to pay for and will fit in the not-very-effective place you want to mount them.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Long range/pencil beam auxiliary lights?

    Are Warn-branded lights any good? Specifically asking about model # 220612 spot light kit, if that makes any difference.

  21. #21

    Default Re: Long range/pencil beam auxiliary lights?

    Quote Originally Posted by opposite locker View Post
    Are Warn-branded lights any good?
    No. They are brand-marketed generic junk with no real optical engineering, cheaply made of poor quality materials. Essentially, they are toys shaped like lights, no more capable of doing the job than a child's toy truck could haul a load of broccoli from farm to market.
    Last edited by Scheinwerfermann; 04-03-2012 at 03:47 PM.

  22. #22

    Default Re: Long range/pencil beam auxiliary lights?

    Fair enough...gonna put the pencil beams on hold until the budget allows for proper lights (Cibie or Hella 4k). Current lighting setup is actually more than adequate, but when is it ever enough?

  23. #23
    Flashaholic irsa76's Avatar
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    Default Re: Long range/pencil beam auxiliary lights?

    Quote Originally Posted by Scheinwerfermann View Post
    I was going to suggest Cibie Oscar spot beams, but they may not meet your "less expensive than Rallye 4000" requirement. You could always pick up a pair of PAR46 housings such as these or these (same picture on both pages, but the actual housings are chrome vs. silver paint; the black equivalent is Truck-Lite number 657H).

    Then put in whatever 5¾" light unit you want. A GE H7680HIR sealed beam is an 80w unit that produces a 300,000-candela, 6½° spot. No width, no fill, nothing but distance. Aim is obviously crucial.
    I second the Cibie, although I'd actually go for the newer Oscar SC in pencil beam as I found them to be even better then the classic Oscar. The newer technology reflector really does make a difference, in fact my rally buddies all commented that my "little" Oscar SCs outperformed the much bigger super Oscar and turini, not too mention any PIAA, IPF or Hella Halogen light when running 100w bulbs.
    However, I've seen impressive results from the PAR46 sealed beam route, an Australian tradition is sticking 100-150w sealed beam pencil beams in anything that can accept a 5 3/4" light. Long range is VERY impressive, if you can cope with a very narrow and ultimately almost useless beam unless you're doing a lot of driving on long straight, and flat, roads.
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