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Lighting for roof rack

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  #11  
Old 10-25-2018, 06:24 PM
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There's no question that vehicle lighting is faddish. The last time I was in San Francisco, even the cable-cars had LED headlights. It's like a hideous desecration. Ok, understandably they must run on batteries since there's no engine to drive a generator and no electricity from the cable. So LED technology isn't a bad idea, it's just the round array of 5mm diodes that look like a Light-Brite toy from the 70's was so prolific from 20 years ago that it's badly anachronistic. It's a pity they don't use smaller surface mount devices with a lower color temperature and a reflector. Other historic landmarks like the Old Faithful Lodge at Yellowstone have adopted LED technology in ways that look authentic.

For a 4x4, we want functionality as well as looks. Nowadays, most offroad vehicle accessory lights use some form of surface-mount LEDs and they are very bright, but as mentioned, they tend to be narrow-beam and high color temperature. Maybe someone who uses a wide (40+") lightbar can tell us whether it throws a wide beam or if it focuses most of the light straight ahead. As for looks, and LED bar will probably not look out of place on a Discovery II or later model vehicle with contemporary appearance, but they will be very trendy as noted above. For Disco 1's, Range Rover Classics, and Series, they might be considered anachronistic.

But let's consider that the 80's fad of racks full of KC Daylighters was just as lame. For Land Rovers, too many people adopted the "Camel Trophy" look with two to four bumper-mounted Hellas and another four on the roof rack. This was never a good arrangement for Land Rovers. The Camel Trophy outfitters were decorating the vehicles with eye-candy as much as anything. What the Camel Trophy participants really needed for the majority of their efforts was work lights and not the kind of racks of blinding long-distance beams. For them to be driving rough terrain in the dark at speeds that required seeing that far would have been insane. It wasn't a race. They weren't desert-racing Dakar rally or Baja trophy trucks, but that's what the outfitters copied. It is similarly unlikely that individual Land Rover owners are well-served by night-racing lights. They will be useless on roads with traffic and just create mileage-robbing drag, wind-noise, and [the bumper-mounted ones will] block flow to the radiator, exacerbating cooling problems. On the trail, they'll create blinding hot-spots of glare when they reflect off near-field objects, and diminish the dark-adaptation of the occupants' vision. This effect is the reason instrument panel lights are dimmable. A particular problem of roof-rack mounted lights is when they reflect off the hood. Even a blacked-out hood will create a lot of glare if it's dirty.

If the Camel Trophy "look" is not very functional, it's also of a questionable aesthetic. I remember reading one 4x4 writer's comment that offroad vehicles with many round accessory lights look like spiders with numerous eyes. The LED lightbar offers a more monolithic alternative.

Whether you do it for the aesthetic or the function, do it in a way that isn't stupid. I can tell you that what I see on most accessorized 4x4's that look like they drove through a 4WheelParts store and knocked over the shelves... you'll never see any of that junk on military vehicles like Humvees or the newer MRAPS and JLTV's unless a lame police department put them on there. For their half-million dollar to over-a-million-dolar price-tags, you would think that contractors like AM Gen., Gen. Dyn., Boeing, Lock.Mart., Oshkosh, etc. could have afforded some "bling," if it wasn't just worthless crap.
 
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  #12  
Old 10-25-2018, 10:02 PM
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I have standard halogen headlights on the LR3, LED fogs and HID off road lights. To me being able to see on the trail at night is not a fade.

The LED's flat out perform, and don't load down the electrical system. The haolgen bulb is fine but extra light is welcome in the dark far from civilization. they give a nice wide flood light in front of the truck and the HID take care of the extra distance beam straight out.

Still debating a light bar for the roof rack. My friend has one from Baja designs on his rack and it is like firing up the sun.



 

Last edited by ArmyRover; 10-25-2018 at 10:09 PM.
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  #13  
Old 10-26-2018, 08:06 PM
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Seeing on the trail is a good thing. Point is that brighter light doesn't equal better seeing. Often it is the opposite. Our eyes can adjust to see in a very broad range of light, but they cannot see from very bright to very dark at the same time. If you make any one thing bright, you lose sight of everything that is much darker.
 
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  #14  
Old 10-26-2018, 08:17 PM
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Headlights alone will cause your vision to shift. So if your running lights making them worthwhile is better. My added lights add coverage on the sides and greater distance. Unless you are suggesting you run with no lights.

I think we are going to have to agree to disagree, though as I know you won't sway my opinion on auxiliary lighting being necessary.

oh and military vehicles do run LED main lights and aux lights
 

Last edited by ArmyRover; 10-26-2018 at 08:22 PM.
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  #15  
Old 10-27-2018, 01:33 AM
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I agree not to beleaguer the point. But yeah, on the trail it is sometimes better to turn headlights off. It depends on the terrain and your speed. At 15mph, the headlights should be on. At speeds under 10, you might see better without them and using a wider flood lamp with no sharp cutoff. Headlights necessarily have a narrow focus and sharp cutoff to avoid blinding other drivers. Offroad, that results in some areas being very dark, and only a small area having intense light. Most "offroad" lights fashioned after the rally/desert racer style have an even narrower focus and more intense light. The key to seeing well is to only go as much above the ambient luminosity as is absolutely necessary. Kind of like "as slow as possible, as fast as necessary," my rule would be, "As dim as possible, as bright as necessary."
 
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  #16  
Old 11-07-2018, 10:20 PM
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Run no lights? yeah we won't ever agree.

Also a lot of advancement has been made in the led lights and floods are a option that have a very nice wide beam. You should check them out
 
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  #17  
Old 11-10-2018, 10:52 AM
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I've got a set of 4 ARB copy cat 9inch round LED lights mounted on my roof rack of my 99 D2 and they are fantastic. I didn't take my 99 out to the 2018 HCRR event, but I rode with 2 guys that had them as well and off roading at night on the tight trails = a breeze with them on.
 
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