Best light to use when inspecting motorcycles

HaulBikes

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Mar 12, 2014
Messages
2
Hi. Ok, so first of all, a little background. I work for a trucking company that transports motorcycles nationwide in the lower Continental 48 U.S. We do inspections with our customers when we pick up as well as when we deliver. It doesn't matter if it is for a dealership, museum, or an individual. It doesn't matter if it is for a vacation, for someone buying & selling, or moving inventory from point a to point b. We also do some distribution.

I am looking for opinions on the best flashlight to use when inspecting motorcycles. Besides looking for actual make and models of specific lights, I am more interested in your opinions why. From reading your replies, I will be able to make a better informed decision on what would be best for us. Why do you suggest a specific type of bulb over another, etc.

That being said, we can NOT use LED lights. Well, at least when distributing for one specific manufacturer. That is where my problem started. We currently use an inspection "light tunnel" for inspecting the motorcycles when we first get them. This system consists of multiple fluorescent tube lights in a fixture that has a lens with what I will refer to as "zebra stripes". This contrast that is shadowed onto the surface of the bikes (specifically painted surfaces) highlights defects whether under the paint, or on the surface. If you look at a painted surface that is "approved" or "passes" the mustard...and then look immediately at the same surface with an LED light, you will sometimes see flaws that you didn't previously see. We have even tested that theory by rolling the bikes out into daylight.

What we are looking for is a light that we can have all of our drivers use when making deliveries. I am looking for the best light to show flaws, etc. that is NOT LED. It doesn't necessarily need to be the brightest but I think that would help. At the same time I would like it to be somewhat lightweight or at least portable. Since the guys would be using these lights all of the time, it would be great to be rechargeable or be able to use some type of rechargeable system as opposed to continually having the need to buy and use throw-away batteries. I would like for it to be rubberized or coated for the most part. I know if dropped, it could still do damage to a bike, but I'm hoping it would be less than if it was a nicely tooled and knurled aluminum finish.

Your input, comments, opinions, etc. are all appreciated. I know what I am asking for is a tall order. Thank you for your time.
 

AnAppleSnail

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Aug 21, 2009
Messages
4,200
Location
South Hill, VA
Google Image Search to show what an Inspection Light Tunnel is

Hand-held or portable or frame-mounted?
Is it for a quick walk-around inspection or a real "check it before you pick it up" operation? If quick, this is easy. If it's your "It was busted when we got it" insurance, you will want a frame simulating an inspection tunnel (right?).

If I had to spitball an idea together, here's what I would do:

Go to a cheap store and buy one of those "popup gazebo" creatures, 10x10 is about as big as I ever see. Add hardware so that you can put black walls and a zipper-door on it (Or use magnetic closure so zippers can't bite the paint).

Get opaque-white tubing like this clicky and some 12v LED Strip lights pulled through it. Line your new "inspection tunnel" tent with these things, wire it up to the truck's 12v system, and you're (maybe) golden.

Keep this in the truck. That tubing+LED strip is fairly flexible, and the popup tent gazebos are reasonably wind-resistant. I suggest staking or weighting it down when in use though.

Am I crazy? Am I missing your goal completely?









A non-LED light source will either be an arc-lamp (HID lamps are very bright, but have funny color rendering) or else a high-voltage incandescent lamp. MagCharger, or some other 12v+ modded mag lite would work acceptably... But I am not fluent in those.
 

HaulBikes

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Mar 12, 2014
Messages
2
Google Image Search to show what an Inspection Light Tunnel is

Hand-held or portable or frame-mounted?
Is it for a quick walk-around inspection or a real "check it before you pick it up" operation? If quick, this is easy. If it's your "It was busted when we got it" insurance, you will want a frame simulating an inspection tunnel (right?).

If I had to spitball an idea together, here's what I would do:

Go to a cheap store and buy one of those "popup gazebo" creatures, 10x10 is about as big as I ever see. Add hardware so that you can put black walls and a zipper-door on it (Or use magnetic closure so zippers can't bite the paint).

Get opaque-white tubing like this clicky and some 12v LED Strip lights pulled through it. Line your new "inspection tunnel" tent with these things, wire it up to the truck's 12v system, and you're (maybe) golden.

Keep this in the truck. That tubing+LED strip is fairly flexible, and the popup tent gazebos are reasonably wind-resistant. I suggest staking or weighting it down when in use though.

Am I crazy? Am I missing your goal completely?

A non-LED light source will either be an arc-lamp (HID lamps are very bright, but have funny color rendering) or else a high-voltage incandescent lamp. MagCharger, or some other 12v+ modded mag lite would work acceptably... But I am not fluent in those.


Thank you for your reply. I appreciate you putting a link to light tunnel pics.

We would prefer a hand held light, and we would be using it for a "quick walk-around" inspection. But we can't use LED lights at all. While I like the idea of the pop-up tent, I don't think it would be practical for our drivers. Our guys sometimes will make 5 to 6 stops in a day, covering 500-600 miles at the same time. Some of their stops are are very quick or short in time length.

You spoke about an HID and a high-voltage incandescent lamp. Do those tend to draw batteries down quickly? Just curious as I don't know the answer but anytime I hear something that says high power or high voltage, that's my first thought.

Thanks!
 
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