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Unread 12-11-2014, 07:39 PM   #1
benjamminslager
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Off-road Light and Headlight Question

Two questions guys:

Is wattage pretty much the brightness of a bulb in regards to off-road lights? I'm putting two off-road lights on a bull bar I've got coming in the mail and I'm wondering which lights to throw on. I was gonna go with KC's and be done with it, but I noticed some 100 watt 6 inch offroad lights (pencil beams) made from Pilot for like 50 bucks. I don't mind spending the extra money for KC's but i'm trying to find out if it would even make a difference?

Second, Im wondering if you guys know of any way to upgrade these stupid foggy headlights the WJ's come with. I've already applied a cleaner and they look maybe 75% better but I found out that the bulbs themselves are 9006XS instead of regular 9006's. The difference isn't in the connector but in the geometry of the bulb itself. the regular 9006's have a right angle in the plastic before the connector. Of course these XS bulbs aren't real common and there aren't many brighter options in the stores....Do I have to replace the whole assembly or go to HID's to upgrade them?

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Unread 12-12-2014, 12:44 AM   #2
Maverickxeo
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Wattage is just how much power they use (I believe; Im not good on the 'technical' terms ).

What you want to look at is lumens. The wattage plays a role in how bright the lights are, but the more important thing is actually the housing and how it reflects the light.
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Unread 12-12-2014, 10:17 AM   #3
mike_dippert
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maverickxeo View Post
Wattage is just how much power they use (I believe; Im not good on the 'technical' terms ).

What you want to look at is lumens. The wattage plays a role in how bright the lights are, but the more important thing is actually the housing and how it reflects the light.
Mostly correct. I'll elaborate.

An LED can perform very well or very poor depending how the light is focused. Most manufacturers rate LED bars by lumens b/c LED's are stupid bright, and have extremely low wattage relative to halogen bulbs. The lumen number is the total output of light from the bulb in every direction. Only a fraction of the intensity actually reaches any specific surface.

There's two problem with Lumens.
#1 is the advertised number is usually derived with math, and not an actual test. If your bar has high quality bulbs like Cree, probably not a big deal. If it's a flEaBAY Chinese jobber, the number is probably exaggerated.
#2 Lumens tells us nothing about how well a light bar focuses it's plethora of LED's. You can end up with 2000 Lumens being scattered over a 170 degree angle. Or you could end up with 2000 Lumens focused in a 10 degree pencil beam.

Lux is a better measurement, but requires more effort to find and understand. I doubt most manufacturers even bother with it. Lux measures lumens per area (1 Lux = 1 Lumen per square meter). Think of it as light density. A higher number means more light is reaching where you are measuring.
For lux to be meaningful, you need to know the brightness you want at a given range. Probably more specific than 99% of enthusiasts care about.

When you get down to it, lumens and beam angles are about all you have to look at unless you interrogate the manufacturer.
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Unread 12-14-2014, 11:45 AM   #4
jeepdaddy2000
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Quote:
Is wattage pretty much the brightness of a bulb in regards to off-road lights? I'm putting two off-road lights on a bull bar I've got coming in the mail and I'm wondering which lights to throw on. I was gonna go with KC's and be done with it, but I noticed some 100 watt 6 inch offroad lights (pencil beams) made from Pilot for like 50 bucks. I don't mind spending the extra money for KC's but i'm trying to find out if it would even make a difference?
When we are talking about old time halogen lights, generally, higher wattage equates into a brighter bulb. This means a 100W bulb will be brighter than a 55W bulb in the same housing. What is more important with offroad lighting is to get the right beam and get it mounted in the right spot. Many high wattage offroad lights have a tight, narrow beam. Unfortunately, While very bright, the narrow beam doesn't light much, and leaves a lot of shadows. I have found a more diffused beam, Like those found in Bosch Driving lights, mounted down in the bumper area much more serviceable. I run a set of these on my F350 (which has the worst headlights ever) and when rotated out slightly, gives excellent side lighting, which helps me from crashing into deer. They are a flatter, wider beam that lights up well out as well as around.
My suggestion would be for a set of rectangular driving lights mounted atop the front bumper. These can be tied to the high beams using a relay.
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Unread 12-15-2014, 08:52 PM   #5
benjamminslager
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Thanks for all the advice and the crash course guys! I'll let you know what I end up doing; the bull bar came in today!
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Unread 12-15-2014, 11:10 PM   #6
billiebob
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Keep in mind your state laws. Not always enforced but most states require covers on any light mounted higher than the stock headlights. And most have a maximum wattage on public roads... which include anything the public has access too. In most states the maximum low beam is 55Watts. And high beam is 65Watts. Every now and then the county mounties go on a feeding frenzy ticketing even the most obscure infractions.
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