ELECTRICS

LARGE LED DRIVING LIGHT VIDEO TESTS

The range of 190-230mm diameter LED driving lights keeps growing

LEDs now dominate the bush lighting scene, having long since taken over the camp and flashlight business. Large-sized lights fit most serious 4WDs and offer good distance and spread lighting.

 

Many 4WD owners are confused about the relative worth of HID and LED driving lights. Some are expensive – up to $1700 for a pair of driving lights, or for one high-powered light bar - so it’s important to understand the abilities and advantages of both types.

HIDs have been with us for some years now and at OTA we’ve had extensive bush experience with them. We’ve used several different brands and all have performed brilliantly.

Claims for HIDs over halogens are much brighter output, less current consumption and longer globe life, and our testing has confirmed this.

The claims made for LEDs are almost lifetime globe life, complete water resistance and tolerance of vibration. Our testing of  LED driving lights showed that they suffered no ill effects from immersion or driving in rainstorms and we had no globe life issues.

Medium-sized LED driving lights lack the distance of halogens and medium-sized HIDs, but large LED driving lights have ranges in excess of 800 metres.

To check out the performance of LEDs  we're continuing to test different types of LED lights on the same stretch of road in identical conditions.

 

ARB Intensity LED

arb intensityThe ARB pair has 32 LEDs in each housing and the difference between the pencil beam and the spread beam is in the shape of each small reflector: the pencil beam light has narrower, more deeply dished reflectors than the spread beam light.

The output was noticeably brighter than the Hella pair, but there was considerable ‘scatter’ at the top and bottom of the beams.

Since we did this test ARB has released a V2 version of its Intensity lights. The light pattern graphs measure light output to 0.25lux, which we don't rely on as a useful measure. The accepted standard is light beam distance at one lux and these are the graphs we'd like to see.

We asked ARB in January 2019 for a pair of the new lights to test, but the company declined.

 

 

 

LightForce LED 215

lightforce led 215The larger-diameter LightForce LED 215s differ from the 180s in having a larger number of smaller LEDs. Where the 180s have seven LEDs, embedded in fairly large individual reflectors the 215s have 32 LEDs set into smaller reflectors.

Both models have the same reflector designs, however, with the spot beam LEDs set into plain reflectors and the spread-beam ones have fluted ones.

Like the 180s the 215s have finned, pressure-cast aluminium housings, with polycarbonate lenses and removable protectors. The assemblies are fitted with military-grade breathers and cables, and Deutsch connectors.

Waterproofing is to IP68 standard and the lights are rated for submersion to three metres depth.

lightforce led 215The mounting brackets are satin-finished TIG-welded stainless steel, with twin mounting bolts each side. The vertical adjustment screws are also stainless and with two each side, provide simple, positive and secure adjustment. Each light's mounting bolt and two adjustment screws have specialised heads, for theft prevention.

LightForce claims a spot beam distance of 840 metres and a spread beam distance of 640 metres, with a beam width of 60 metres. Our testing of a spot and spread beam pair showed that these distance and spread claims are accurate and the light quality is superb.

In appearance the LightForce LED 215 looks similar to ARB's Intensity, but the reflectors are different and our test videos show that the LightForce 215 pair had more distance and better spread than the ARB lights.

Pricing is around $1400 for the pair.

 

 

LightForce LED 215 Version 2

lightforce led215 version 2When we tested the LightForce LED215 original driving light pair – one pencil beam and one spread – in September 2014 we were very impressed by the brightness and spread of this combination. They were the best we had tested to that time and were still the best – until September 2015.

For the original LED215s LightForce claimed a spot beam distance of 840 metres and a spread beam distance of 640 metres, with a beam width of 60 metres (see test above).

At that stage we thought that might be the upper limit for LED driving lights, but the Version 2 lights have more brightness and greater distance, in both pencil and spread beam models.

The Version 2 pencil beam has a claimed one lux at 912m and the spread reaches out 30 metres each side of the light, with a distance of 873m

The LightForce LED 215 version 2s differ from the early 215s in having 36 LEDs each , instead of 32. The layout of the LEDs is also different, filling the entire housing, with no wasted edge spaces.

Both models have the same reflector designs, however, with the spot beam LEDs set into plain reflectors and the spread-beam ones have fluted ones.

Like the early 215s the Version 2shave finned, pressure-cast aluminium housings, with polycarbonate lenses and removable protectors. The assemblies are fitted with military-grade breathers and cables, and Deutsch connectors.

Waterproofing is to IP68 standard and the lights are rated for submersion to three metres depth.

The mounting brackets are satin-finished TIG-welded stainless steel, with twin mounting bolts each side. The vertical adjustment screws are also stainless and with two each side, provide simple, positive and secure adjustment. Each light's mounting bolt and two adjustment screws have specialised heads, for theft prevention.

In appearance the LightForce LED 215 looks similar to ARB's Intensity, but the reflectors are different and our test videos show that the LightForce 215s had more distance and better spread than the ARB lights.

Pricing is similar to the previous LED215 models, around $1400 for the pair.

 

 

LightForce Genesis LED

The 140W Genesis LED is said to redefine LED performance, with a 1053m range from a pair of lights and 5000-Kelvin colour temperature.

Designed with the look and feel of the original LightForce Genesis, the 140-watt Genesis LED represents an evolution in the Lightforce brand, engineering manager Mark Zussino explains:

“The LightForce design team strive to create products that challenge the expectations of consumers, always evolving to deliver industry leading output and performance.

“The 140W Genesis LED is designed and manufactured in Australia, and has been tested in the sub-zero temperatures of the Arctic Circle and in the extreme conditions of outback Australia."

Incorporating industry-leading technology to suppress radio frequency interference, the Genesis LED has been independently certified to the internationally recognised standard CISPR25, ensuring it will significantly reduce interference of broadcast radio reception from low-signal-strength locations.

Genesis LED weighs 2.4kg and has small footprint of 73mm.

Genesis LED has a achieved an IP69K rating for moisture and contaminant ingress. It has a pressure die cast aluminium housing and bezel, with a hard-wearing, UV-stable powder coat finish, and is backed by a three-year warranty.

The 140W Genesis LED is completely compatible with the LightForce range of modular filters.

The selection of colours and spreads enables users to customise the light to suit their unique needs. The combo filter increases the beam width to 120 metres of usable light.

The LightForce team is confident that the release of the 140W Genesis LED will cause consumers to reconsider what LED technology is truly capable of.

“Genesis LED raises the bar, without a doubt," says Mr Zussino.

We tested a pair of Genesis lights in March 2017. They were easy to fit and adjust, and didn't suffer from shake on our rough road course. They have a day and night positioning function that we didn't use, because of their mounting position, well inside our vehicle's overall width.

We found the combination of distance and spread beams quite exceptional for LED lights. The light was even, without dark blotches and a distinct 'hot spot' in the centre of the pattern provided illumination at a distance only high-powered halogens and HIDs could achieve previously.

At around $1250 this pair produces sufficient light for most people's needs.

 


 


Narva Ultima 215 LED

The Ultima LED 215s have been a long time coming, but our testing reveals that the wait has been worth it. With 165-watt input they're the brightest pure-LED lights we've tested and with a claimed 900-metre range at 1 lux a pair produces plenty of distance and spread beam. The only downside is that you need a heavy-duty wiring harness, with a 40-amp relay to feed in the necessary 30 amps of current they require.

The Ultima LED 215s have pressure-die-cast aluminium housings with integrated heal-sink fins and polycarbonate lenses. The housings are sealed to  IP66 and IP77 standards against dust and water ingress, with a Nitto breather and a sealed DT electrical connector.

The mounting design is new for Narva, with a cast yoke and foot, and three-bolt attachment layout. Vertical adjustment is tool-free, using a stainless cross-shaft and knurled knob. The range of movement makes the Ultima LED 215 suitable for bar or roof mounting.

The housing and mount are satin-black powder-coated and ,in recognition of the fact the driving lights have to look flash as well as perform well, the front bezel can be had in satin stainless (standard), bright chrome or gloss black (both optional). In addition, the inner trim ring can be blue (standard), yellow or red.

Our video shows the brightness of the Ultima LED 215 pair and we're heading bush with the test lights to check out their durability on the Gibb River Road, the Canning and the Gary Junction Road. We'll have an updated report for you in August 2017.


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