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Trying to compare apples and oranges

Discussion in 'Lighting' started by Sky King, Jan 22, 2013.

  1. Jan 22, 2013 at 7:45 AM
    #1
    Sky King

    Sky King [OP] Active Member

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    I have been looking a lot to find some good answers. There are some real good forums out there that help make some conversions but they still don't get down to what i call the "brass tacks"

    For years we all used and fairlly well understood or could at least relate to "candle power". But today, many aftermarket driving, fog, offroad lights use lumens. Some of the forums I saw have good technical explanations and math formulas to give some comparisons BUT what they still don't tell you how to really compare one light to another. The reason is because candle power is mostly a value that relates to the amount of light that is radiated in all directions as in a sphere or ball. We all know that driving lights focus their illumination in one general direction.

    To get closer to making a good comparison you also have to factor in beam width and height to determine how the "candle power" is focused in a given direction. All this is good but when you are trying to compare a halogen/incondecent to an LED really doesn't help much.

    So where am I going with all this. I have a pair of aircraft lamps that I obtained many years ago and did USE on a GMC Suburban. They are quite bright. They will make an oncomming driver take a ditch if they refuse to dim their bright lights and you hit them with these. They have some pretty strong drawbacks though. They are 250 watts EACH. That means about a 20 amp draw per bulb. If you have 2, (which I do), that's 40 amps. That means big wire, big load, it isn't too conducive to try to run large enough wire inside the truck and the switch problem is evident. So I built a relay box for them but again the electrical load is huge.

    NOW fast forward to today's technology. I can get two LED driving lights that boast 1300 lumens each. The electrical advantages are obvious. They draw less than 2 amps each and the life of the LEDs exceeds the halogens by an enormous amount.

    So I said all this to say this. Getting real life comparison is quite difficult. The GE aircraft lights will burn the paint off your car at 100 feet and make a dark road look like daylight but the lifespan of them is relatively short, aircraft bulbs are expensive and I am not sure if my 07 Tacoma will support the load. If the LED lamps will do as well, the choice is a no-brainer.

    Comments, input, thoughts?
     
  2. Jan 22, 2013 at 7:51 AM
    #2
    Pugga

    Pugga Pasti-Dip Free Since 1983

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    So, what do you want, distance lights, wide pattern, will they need to have the ability to be cycled on and off rapidly like with your high beams? :notsure:

    I've messed with a few different types of lights and think the best bang for your buck in the lighting department is a retrofit. Understanding that not everyone wants to tear their headlights apart, LED's are a great option due to their long life span, durability and light output. LED's are NOT all created equal. I would do some research on the brand that's caught your eye, look for night shots to show you the pattern and throw. There are a couple group buys going on now for LEDs through Treklight and Jasper Off Road. OKLED.com has good prices and so does Blitzpro and you can find a decent amount of information on their products on this forum.
     
  3. Jan 22, 2013 at 8:39 AM
    #3
    Sky King

    Sky King [OP] Active Member

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    To answer your questions, yes I would like good distance with a fair width. Yes, they would be subject to cycling like high beams. On the truck I had the aircraft bulbs on before, I actually diverted the high beam circuit through a switch that selected EITHER normal vehicle high beams OR these aircraft lights so I could not have both on at the same time for load issues. Also that allowed me to use the normal hi/lo vehicle switch to toggle between regular low beam and these aircraft lights.

    I am often on interstate highways at night in areas with a large deer population. Dead deer on the side of the highway are pretty common where I drive. I have had two deer impacts myself, the last one totaled my car.

    I just want to SEE those critters a long way off. I don't find a lot of good information saying the often advertised various deer avoidance products out there really work.
     
  4. Jan 22, 2013 at 8:46 AM
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    Pugga

    Pugga Pasti-Dip Free Since 1983

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    I really like the idea of LEDs but am torn on pulling the trigger. It seems the throw is getting a lot better on the decent sets, the cheap ones seem to lack the distance. I highly doubt that a smaller LED bar will rival your aircraft lights but I do believe they will do what you're looking for. I still think halogens have LEDs beat for distance though.

    My solution was to go with 4 spot pattern halogens up front to see deer a long ways off and at a good width so I can see them BEFORE they get to the road. The drawbacks to my setup are the mounting and the cost. You need some sort of mounting point that will hold 4 large lights. I also have them wired so they can be cycled with the high beams. The spot pattern throws light out a long ways and having 4 across lets me see a good width also.
     
  5. Jan 22, 2013 at 8:49 AM
    #5
    Krazie Sj

    Krazie Sj Resident Jackass

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    You really shouldn't be out driving your highbeams so I can't see you needing a spot beam unless you like to desert run.

    Your best bet would be to get a couple of floods. That's what I got on mine. Lights the ditches up like daylight but my high beam throw is further than that of the floods.

    That being said I don't know if 40 amps would kill the alternator at a constant draw.
     
  6. Jan 22, 2013 at 8:55 AM
    #6
    acdronin

    acdronin Well-Known Member

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    I have an 07 with the tow package, the alternator is rated at 130 or 140 amps, I have 520 watts of lighting behind the front grill and 260 facing the rear for 780 total. I use all 130 watt bulbs in 6 lights total. The front four are all wired to two relays then on to a single switch in the cab. I ran 14 ga instead of the wimpy 16 ga. I had a discussion with my local toyota dealership guys and their feeling was that the alternator can handle the load. But it may wear it out sooner. Granted I'm not running this all the time but I have had no problems whatsoever with my set-up. I parallel ran the light's wiring back to the relays an used good grounds for everything.
    I'm curious, where do you get 250 watt bulbs? I'd like to try some out!
     
  7. Jan 22, 2013 at 8:57 AM
    #7
    acdronin

    acdronin Well-Known Member

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    Same here, four gives plenty of width shoulder to shoulder
     
  8. Jan 22, 2013 at 8:58 AM
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    Pugga

    Pugga Pasti-Dip Free Since 1983

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    Damn man... I've got 14 gauge for everything I've wired in my truck and I don't have anywhere near the same draw you do :eek: My PIAAs are only 55W/ea and then 35W HID fogs and headlamps.
     
  9. Jan 22, 2013 at 9:00 AM
    #9
    acdronin

    acdronin Well-Known Member

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    lol, over-engineer on the wiring right? Better safe than sorry
     
  10. Jan 22, 2013 at 9:00 AM
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    Justus

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    Just around posted limits on unlit highways I can outrun my highbeams alone.....atleast when compared to using a set of 100 watt lightforces, it seems that way. There's a section of highway with no lighting for miles and the limit is 75....with lightforces halogens (perfect for rapid on/off if needed) I was able to spot a coyote a loooooong ways off, wake up my other half calmly and slow down with ease and allow her to fully bring her seat up from full recline without looking like a slingshot.

    Spot pattern on these, but u can order many diffferent pattern lenses to change them to spot, of flood, or combo diffuser within seconds....along with yellow/clear/black/etc.

    Doubt they will peel paint, but I can cook up a wall about 6feet away in seconds.
     
  11. Jan 22, 2013 at 9:02 AM
    #11
    acdronin

    acdronin Well-Known Member

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    Which LF's? 170's or 240's?
     
  12. Jan 22, 2013 at 9:04 AM
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    Justus

    Justus fucks not given

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    Right in between......Genesis
     
  13. Jan 22, 2013 at 9:15 AM
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    Sky King

    Sky King [OP] Active Member

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    Well, if driving the posted speed limit is out driving your highbeams, then I am guilty. But that deer that totaled my car came out of what appeared to be nowhere. Even the driver who was BEHIND me by a few hundred feet said he never saw that deer comming. I was cruising, no warning, BAM. 185 lb, 8 point buck in RUT. This time of year, there is only ONE thing on their mind and cars and trucks on highways are NOT one of them
     
  14. Jan 22, 2013 at 9:15 AM
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    acdronin

    acdronin Well-Known Member

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    nice, I would love to get LF's but money was the issue so I bought some Hellas and Baja Designs retro fitted them and upgraded all the wiring myself.
    I'm searching the web right now for aircraft H3 bulbs......found some Sylvannias 200 watters for 25 bucks a piece......dammit, would need bigger relays.....can't run them standing still i'm thinking, need the airflow to keeps the lights from melting.....crap, dam mod bug!
     
  15. Jan 22, 2013 at 9:53 AM
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    acdronin

    acdronin Well-Known Member

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    let' see.....H3 200 watters rated for 30 volts.....step up tranformers to go from 12 to 24.....would that still work?.....Would it still be brighter than the 130's?.....Hmmm, step up transformers wired in between the hot lead on the relay and the lights, lowers the amp draw 400/24=16.66 amps, yep can still run the same relays i think.....damn you OP, you just gave me some evil ideas :)
     
  16. Jan 22, 2013 at 10:04 AM
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    acdronin

    acdronin Well-Known Member

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    Well hell, if you're gonna go that way then why not go all the way??? Let's see, internet search.....sealed beam quartz 500 watt aircraft landing lights.....sheeit, 2000 watts coming out of the front grill??? Good thing my grill is made of metal and not plastic!
    Oh the humanity!
     
  17. Jan 22, 2013 at 10:06 AM
    #17
    acdronin

    acdronin Well-Known Member

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    Let's see......maybe a write up on TW on how to install higher voltage aircraft landing lights in your Tacoma?????
     
  18. Jan 22, 2013 at 10:47 AM
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    Justus

    Justus fucks not given

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    U ever hit a bird, all u gotta do is turn those things on and in 15 minutes u got a roasted dinner.
     
  19. Jan 22, 2013 at 10:55 AM
    #19
    acdronin

    acdronin Well-Known Member

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    Probably cook it before it hits the truck:)
     
  20. Jan 22, 2013 at 12:56 PM
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    Sky King

    Sky King [OP] Active Member

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    I am an aircraft mechanic and those bulbs are used in various aircraft applications. Where I work, they are used on the sides of the fuselage, shining out on the wing leading edge on MD-10 and MD-11 aircraft. I got those at work.

    They are GE Q4631 bulbs. They are a PAR36 halogen lamp. 4 1/2 inches in diameter. 250 watts at 13 volts DC. If you Google GE Q4631, you will find some places where you can get them. For their size and life, (only rated at 500 hrs), they are not cheap, but they ARE bright.
     
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