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Unread 01-18-2015, 02:39 PM   #1
Renegade82
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LED driving-flood-fog lights, school me

It seems in the past year or two that LED have taken off and become the latest fad. Most have an outrageous price tag. But lately I've been seeing ones for much less. For example theres a guy on facebook selling cubes, or pods, for $22 which look very similar to the ones Rigid or KC sell for well over $100. What makes one so much more than the other. I mean it's a bulb, come'on! I understand that the LED's are more expensive but they aren't that much more.
So what are the parameters you should be using to compare products, lumens, wattage? Can someone with intimate knowledge please enlighten us? All the threads I've searched seem to deal with small dash or tail light LED's. Thanks

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Unread 01-18-2015, 03:15 PM   #2
jeep_boy02
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They are more expensive, but are coming down. They use sooo much less power and are very bright, which Is why I like them. The cheaper ones are all made in china but it's almost a crapshoot to know if its a good deal to cheap out or not... there are iirc only two manufacturers of leds in the US, one is rigid, which is half of the cost. All the Chinese ones also originate from one of two plants over there so the huge price variation is USA made vs China made and after that pure mark up.

One area I have seen people not happy with China made ones is the housing. I haven't had any problems with mine at all, they are 4led cubes that were $35. A guy I teamed up with to create my bumper for my power wagon sells them and they are sourced from china but from what I've seen very reliable... we also mocked up a 50" curved single row slim bar that was the first of it's kind that I had seen.

I would say if you find a reputable source go with them but I would be weary of grabbing some off some techy on ebay ya know.
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Unread 01-18-2015, 03:35 PM   #3
cuban11182
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I have the Rigid D2 Driving lights on my CJ and they work really well. I purchased a Chinese clone 20" one for my Titan which filled with condensation within 6 months. I love the D2's with the smoke covers on them and they work great as driving lights.

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Unread 01-18-2015, 04:19 PM   #4
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Rigid doesnt make their leds, or any of their other components iirc. They patented 1 part of their optics.
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Unread 01-18-2015, 04:30 PM   #5
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The question is what are you looking for?

LED floods are good offroad but not street legal.

Fog lights are street legal but are very specific in their beam pattern. They are NOT flood lights. Some vendors (including on here) are selling LED bulbs to put into factory stock fog lamps. These are NOT street legal (and you can see in the pictures supplied by the vendors themselves) in that they replace the low angle and very sharp cutoff with essentially a bright flood. Besides you do NOT want a blueish light for fog, that defeats the purpose.

The only LED headlights that are legal are the full headlamp replacements (Speaker, Trucklite etc). Plug and play replacement bulbs are NOT legal with good reason.

LEDs are more efficient, but LED headlights are subject to the same maximum brightness legal limits as incandescent headlamps.
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Unread 01-18-2015, 04:33 PM   #6
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The difference in price between the chinese generic lights and the ridgids etc. is the "grade" of the led used. The leds used in both bars can come from the same manufacturer but they sell varying grades of led bulbs. Rigid and other higher end bars use high grade leds while the "knock offs" use lower grades.

At some point I'll be putting some on all my vehicles for remote night driving but nothing crazy like a 50" bar. probably no bigger than 20" and some cubes.
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Unread 01-18-2015, 05:37 PM   #7
jay-h
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeepwhore View Post
The difference in price between the chinese generic lights and the ridgids etc. is the "grade" of the led used. The leds used in both bars can come from the same manufacturer but they sell varying grades of led bulbs. Rigid and other higher end bars use high grade leds while the "knock offs" use lower grades.

At some point I'll be putting some on all my vehicles for remote night driving but nothing crazy like a 50" bar. probably no bigger than 20" and some cubes.
To go into more detail about quality:

There are two enemies to LEDs, heat and moisture. Despite perception, the diode itself produces considerable heat, and unlike a conventional filament, it cannot shed heat through infrared. So a good LED has a well engineered heat path, that stands up to heating/cooling cycles and vibration.

Moisture is another problem since any water that seeps in through that heat sink path to the diode itself will destroy it.

That's one of the reasons why a cheap knockoff can look almost identical to a good light, but cost a lot less.
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Unread 01-18-2015, 06:31 PM   #8
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There's much more to lighting than a bulb. Beyond quality of the bulb and housing is the engineering that goes into the reflector and lens. Personally, I won't touch cheapo lights. I want my light where I need it when I need it. The cheapos can't be counted on for that.
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Unread 01-18-2015, 08:50 PM   #9
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i put some cheap cree led's on my f150 for backup lights, and added them to the cj7 for cheap front / offroad. as stated above, they draw so little amps and provide so much light it's an easy install (the f150 lights are just tapped into the existing backup light circuit, no additional power needed). For the cj7, it's an easy decision because they won't add any load to the charging system.

i have ridgid dually d2's that I originally put on a motorcycle (bmw f650gs twin), but since moved to my f150 for fog lights. Personally, they suck ... they were good on the m/c to add visibility and try to keep people from turning in front of me, but for actual foglight use not impressed

the cree's i went with were ~20bucks for a pair, if they go out at that price, no big deal i'll get more. the ones on my f150 have been on it for about a year
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Unread 01-19-2015, 08:58 AM   #10
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Keep in mind that cree does not make finished automotive lighting, only LEDs and a few components for Automotive lighting. Seeing 'cree ' in an eBay ad means (assuming that part is true) that the light source is Cree. The housing, lens, reflectors etc can be anything.
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Unread 01-19-2015, 11:18 AM   #11
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Interesting insight guys, thanks a bunch. So what I'm hearing is, beyond price / name recognition theres no way to tell, short of hands on examination and time testing, because theres good and bad bulbs and housings. And to compare lumens and wattage could still get you a poor quality overall light. So is CREE a quality bulb? Seems like they are.
I guess I like 2001wjv8's attitude then, "20bucks for a pair, if they go out at that price, no big deal i'll get more."
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Unread 01-19-2015, 11:29 AM   #12
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I have spent probably $2,500 or so for LED lights... if you are a weekend warrior and not racing in the baja 1000... save your money.. buy the cheap stuff..a.nd if it breaks replace it for even less in a few years... these things prices are dropping lock a rock....



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Unread 01-21-2015, 01:26 AM   #13
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Honestly, I say save your money completely and just buy replacement Halogen bulbs or even something like the replacement Silverlight bulbs. EVERY LED headlight, driving light, etc., has been glaringly bright from poor focus of the light. Even when used by OEMs, like Freightliner, Chrysler, etc, they are too bright. They are worse than the HID lights that they are replacing. Unless the vehicle is on perfectly level ground as it is coming toward you, they are blinding. I would love to see them outlawed for street use.
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Unread 01-21-2015, 01:44 AM   #14
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LED lights are touted as being bright and requiring little power but I have yet to see any which can compete at distance with a good ($150 range) pair of halogen long range lights from reputable firms such as Hella. I am not sure why this is the case except maybe they are pricey so I only see cheap imitations.

You can certainly get cheap LEDs that light up the ground just in front of your rig off road or for camping. However they may not last as well as advertised and a halogen bulb is easy to change. I do see how they would be useful with the engine off to provide light.

As for power, it is a cheap upgrade to put in larger wires and relays to operate all your lights, there is rarely a lack of amperage in a Jeep just a lack of volts due to the antiquated wiring. Having a 10W light or an 80 Watt light should not sway the choice.
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Unread 01-21-2015, 11:57 AM   #15
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No I had meant exterior accessory lights, not the headlights, I'm with you there. OEM bulbs and relays are my choice there.
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