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Thread: Interesting driving light observation

  1. #1
    Flashaholic* Echo63's Avatar
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    Default Interesting driving light observation

    I went for a drive today, for work, 100 miles north of the office, and back again.

    As I am looking at a set of lights for the front of my car, I thought I would pay attention and see what the trucks were using.

    Here is the breakdown -
    At least 30 trucks with Hella Rallye4000 - some with more than one pair (the most I saw was 6 lights)
    3 with lightforce - one had Hellas as well. all were the 240mm reflectors, but I don't know which versions. one truck had 4 lightforce lights.

    And 5 "others" including Narva "bull lights" what appeared to be cibie super oscars, hella rallye 2000 and 4000 compact. Some had a combination of "other"


    Just thought it was interesting comparing what is actually in use on the road (albeit in a small bit of WA) versus what manufacturers say, and the 4x4 magazines reccomend.

    Those relying on their lights every night seem to prefer the Hellas, over the lightforces (which all the 4x4 guys rave about, and the magazines all seem to promote)
    Last edited by Echo63; 08-02-2012 at 07:06 AM.
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Interesting driving light observation

    Never underestimate the power of advertising hype. But truckers who go long distances are more likely to use what actually works best for them.

    Yep, I found the linked driving light test by the offroad magazine interesting. But judging by those strange uneven beamshots, I wouldn't have chosen the lights they rated best. And while I'm sure that LightForce is a big advertiser with that magazine, the few LightForce lamps I've seen (and the beamshots in that test) pretty well convince me they are bright lightweight spotlights but not really vehicle road lights. I think you can count on a big Hella (or Cibie or Marchal) driving lamp being backed up with many years of genuine scientific driving lamp R&D.

    BTW, it was interesting to see your "WA" abbreviation. I live in the State of Washington, USA, and its postal abbreviation is "WA."

    We don't have Skippy over here, but deer are quite common. Two nights ago, we drove the 23 miles from our Darrington house to the Rockport house, to pick up our Jeep, then I followed my wife back. Up ahead on a long straight, I saw her get on the brakes, then made out animals taller than her Toyota Corolla. Three elk, two cows and a bull, crossed the road. We don't have "roo bars" on the Toyota, and I don't think those would help a small car much against elk.

    In winter, during bad weather, I've actually had a tree fall so close ahead that I had to jam on the brakes (as hard as I dared in snow and ice). I firmly believe that people who live away from cities and street lights need lighting that reaches waaaay out there.

    When I visited Anchorage, Alaska, I saw trucks with bars that made roo bars look small. The moose up there make our elk look small. Many of those trucks had multiple large driving lights.
    Last edited by Hamilton Felix; 08-02-2012 at 08:23 PM.
    There are two kinds of light - the glow that illumines, and the glare that obscures. ~James Thurber

  3. #3
    Flashaholic from Mars Leoht's Avatar
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    Default

    One of my mates center punched a roo over in south Australia a few years back. It bent the TJM bull bar and shore 6 of the 8 high tensile bolts that secured it to the chassis of his 60 series landcruiser, the bull bar was forced back in to the front of the car to smash up both guards bonnet and grill.

    Fortunately his headlights and radiator survived so he was able to continue on his way.

    His cibi oscar's were the first thing to get annihilated, they certainly did not help him see the roo as it was hiding in the scrub on the side of the road ready to pounce at the last second.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Interesting driving light observation

    I really like the pattern of light from a Hella Rallye 4000 ----- not so much the big Lightforce lights.

    I've got a set of 6" JW Speaker LEDs to test as soon as my lightbar comes in. These are still in the beta stage and not available; but they promise to be very nice. The headlights I've tested from them have never let me down.
    And they're compliant with DOT regs; that's a consideration for OTR truckers in this country, Canada, etc. Not sure what you have to do to be legal in OZ but I've heard of officials telling drivers to cover their Lightforces here or walk.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Interesting driving light observation

    Quote Originally Posted by Hilldweller View Post
    I really like the pattern of light from a Hella Rallye 4000 ----- not so much the big Lightforce lights.
    It's a matter of preference, I guess. I find the Rallye 4000s, while a great light, have a little too much foreground and therefore compromise distance somewhat.

    Not sure what you have to do to be legal in OZ but I've heard of officials telling drivers to cover their Lightforces here or walk.
    We're allowed two sets of supplementary lights, in pairs. No restrictions on beam pattern or light source (so HIDs are fine) nor is there any limit on light output. There are some State limitations on mounting heights so driving lights above the cab are a nono but this isn't always enforced, especially in remote areas where fitting covers is often sufficient.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Interesting driving light observation

    Quote Originally Posted by NFT5 View Post
    We're allowed two sets of supplementary lights, in pairs. No restrictions on beam pattern or light source (so HIDs are fine) nor is there any limit on light output. There are some State limitations on mounting heights so driving lights above the cab are a nono but this isn't always enforced, especially in remote areas where fitting covers is often sufficient.
    there are a few curious rules that might be urban myths but nonetheless are cropping up on 4wd forums with alarming regularity - ie no centre lights - and single large light bars technically become illegal because they're not paired. so there are some running around with the centre leds deactivated (you can isolate a bank in the more expensive bars). That way you have two beam banlks on the one light - and ipso facto - twin beams, thus being compliant

    not sure how much traction that will have with national road rules etc....

    HIDs are nationally illegal as main beam retro fits, but that doesn't stop people enthusiastically buying and installing them.

    Unfort it hasn't sunk in to some that the bucket for your halogen bulbs does not mean that HIDs are suitable for install - ie scatter and uncontrolled dispersion

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Interesting driving light observation

    Yes, that is a grey area. Is a light bar one lamp (technically illegal) or 60 lamps (dependent on size, of course), which would also be technically illegal. Until the regulations are updated I guess common sense may have to prevail - if it's mounted at the correct height, not a pedestrian hazard etc. then it should be ok? Depends on the inspector, I'd say.

    I hadn't heard about disabling a centre led. Ingenious way of complying, perhaps.

    As you correctly point out - HID's are not OK in the vehicles high beam, but in auxiliary lamps are just fine. This also gets a little grey if the vehicle has dual filament low beams (H4s, not those useless 37.5 watt sealed beams) or bi-xenon. Are they the high beams and the separate reflectors become auxiliaries? What about the the Nissan Skylines that had the extra lights inboard of the high beams?

  8. #8

    Default Re: Interesting driving light observation

    Interesting, indeed. I've spent a fair amount of time in Alaska, and by far the vast majority of auxiliary lights on vehicles I've noticed up there -- work and non-work vehicles -- is LightForce. Our work trucks up there, if they have something branded, usually have Lightforce.

    I saw a fair number of Hella, mostly 500's, but a pretty small number. The rest was all PNP HID kits. Bleh.

    Not saying people up there know a lot about lighting, but LightForce is big up there. LED stuff is becoming more popular though, and probably displacing a fair amount of the LF market.

  9. #9
    Flashaholic* Alaric Darconville's Avatar
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    Default Re: Interesting driving light observation

    Quote Originally Posted by iroc409 View Post
    Not saying people up there know a lot about lighting, but LightForce is big up there.
    Not saying people here know a lot about food, but McDonald's is big around here.

    Four words for that: Marketing, marketing, marketing, marketing. (You get the fourth one for just a penny when you buy three at the regular price.)

  10. #10
    Flashaholic* Echo63's Avatar
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    Default Re: Interesting driving light observation

    Quote Originally Posted by iroc409 View Post
    Interesting, indeed. I've spent a fair amount of time in Alaska, and by far the vast majority of auxiliary lights on vehicles I've noticed up there -- work and non-work vehicles -- is LightForce. Our work trucks up there, if they have something branded, usually have Lightforce.

    I saw a fair number of Hella, mostly 500's, but a pretty small number. The rest was all PNP HID kits. Bleh.

    Not saying people up there know a lot about lighting, but LightForce is big up there. LED stuff is becoming more popular though, and probably displacing a fair amount of the LF market.
    The 4x4 guys rave about the lightforces here too - probably 75% of 4x4 vehicles in country WA have lightforce lights - but most of the big trucks have the Hellas.
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  11. #11

    Default Re: Interesting driving light observation

    Quote Originally Posted by Alaric Darconville View Post
    Not saying people here know a lot about food, but McDonald's is big around here.

    Four words for that: Marketing, marketing, marketing, marketing. (You get the fourth one for just a penny when you buy three at the regular price.)
    I won't disagree there. I had a pair of LF 240's on my truck for a while. They were only useful for one very specific use. They were bright, but only seemed helpful at high speed on very long, straight, empty areas. Anything else and they were pretty bleh. They were pretty obnoxious on curvy back roads.

    The worst part is how many people put blue covers on the LF's for "snow". Yech.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Interesting driving light observation

    Durability is a very telling point - I have broken several lights, including Hellas, and Lightforce has a reputation for being literally bulletpoof. When I NEED lighting...........I will take working LF over non-working(due to damage) Hellas, any day.
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  13. #13
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    Default Re: Interesting driving light observation

    I won't disagree there. I had a pair of LF 240's on my truck for a while. They were only useful for one very specific use. They were bright, but only seemed helpful at high speed on very long, straight, empty areas. Anything else and they were pretty bleh. They were pretty obnoxious on curvy back roads.
    This is exactly what I encounter when I try driving with the spotlight on my old cop car. Yep, it will reach way down a deserted rural straight stretch, far outranging the headlights, but it's a crappy driving light, an annoyance as soon as the road curves, even an annoyance if a large reflectorized sign is nearby. Lots of light from from that HIR sealed beam, but it's just not in a good driving pattern. The same is true with the aircraft landing lights that used to be popular in some circles; they were designed for landing on a straight runway, nothing else.

    Maybe because I'm not a Baja racer, I've never understood the trend toward "offroad" lights that copy spotlights. For me, "offroad" is low speed maneuvering over bad terrain, not driving 100 mph in a straight line. I had landing light spotlights on my big International 4x4, but never used them to drive in the woods. I needed a flood right in front of me, and a way to see around corners. In fact, brush so heavy it is pushed aside by the windshield and sometimes breaks the Unity spotlights mounted at the tops of the A-pillars, can present a challenge as far as seeing the road immediately ahead. A large clear foglight works as well any anything in that situation.

    As to the guys sticking blue lenses onto LightForce lamps for "snow," they need to grow a brain cell or two. Selective yellow might be useful, but not blue.
    There are two kinds of light - the glow that illumines, and the glare that obscures. ~James Thurber

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