The practical Man's guide to LED's, Lightbars, and anything else you'd wanna know. - Jeep Wrangler Forum
Jeep Wrangler Forum

Go Back   Jeep Wrangler Forum > General Jeep Discussions > Off Road and External Lighting

Join Wrangler Forum Today


Like Tree13Likes
  • 12 Post By Madden
  • 1 Post By ChrisNW
Reply
 
Thread Tools

Please support our sponsors and let them know you heard about them on WranglerForum.com
Old 04-14-2017, 09:39 AM
Thread Starter
  #1
Jeeper
 
Madden's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Cincinnati, OH
Posts: 739
The practical Man's guide to LED's, Lightbars, and anything else you'd wanna know.

First off, yes, every lightbar adds 50hp and if you don't have at least 3, you obviously don't wheel.

Now that's outta the way, let's be serious. I've seen at least 10 threads asking about lightbars in the past few years on and thought I'd share my knowledge in this big ass thread.

I happen to know a shit-ton about LEDs, lightbars, associated douchebags, etc and have had plenty of experience with all different kinds of diodes, brands, price ranges and features. I know about the scams and shady resale companies, the diode quality sorting process, and where all these things are made.

I also know how to find exactly the right light for your needs whether it's a spotlight for high-speed pre-running or a nice combo for night trails, or an amber bar for fog and dust applications. So if you're in the market for lights or just curious if that $60 ebay light bar is worth it, or just wanna join the retard-circus on instagram, read on.

REGARDING EBAY BARS AND OTHER EL-CHEAPOS ON AMAZON ETC

1. Like others said, ingress protection isn't as great on these, although it can be random based on the manufacturer. I've never had problems with moisture on cheaper bars, and some even come with one-way moisture breather valves. I've also heard of Rigid Industries customers having their bars fog up at the first rain, so word of caution there also.

2. Polycarbonate lenses don't hold up to prolonged sun/UV exposure and will yellow over time.

3. Optics/reflectors are often poor and reflectors are weak, way too floody and spot doesn't do shit. (some exceptions apply)

4. They use poorer quality diodes and the driver circuits for the LEDs aren't as robust or efficient meaning the LED's aren't putting out even 90% of what they're capable of.

Often times, a cheapo bar will be all you need and at a cheap price, if it gets stolen or a few diodes burn out, then you're only out 30 bucks. Good luck getting a warranty on these. It may say "comes with warranty" but just you wait till you try to make Mr. Chan make good on that warranty via emails through amazon or ebay.

With the right amount of research, you can get a lightbar that will outshine the more expensive competition at a fraction of the price

AVOID EBAY and AMAZON in general if you plan on having something nice, but if you're going the cheap route, here are some tips.

· Now, the first problem can be easily solved by buying silicone sealer and spending the 20 minutes it takes to properly seal the light. This is easy and well worth the savings.

· The second problem is cheap polycarbonate lenses and can't really be avoided on the ebay/amazon cheapies. You can always hit them with headlight polish and a buffing bit, but they'll just yellow up again and never be like new no matter how much you buff them.

· The third problem is solved by doing your research and finding a bar that has decent light projection as well as flood dispersion. My el-cheapo recommendation is the brand oz-usa (can be found on amazon or at oz-usa.com)

· This issue isn't really avoidable, but also its less important overall with higher wattage diodes and the reflector optics are what really matter here anyway.

Diodes: 3W - standard, 5W - high, 10W - super high

1. 3W Epistar, avoid these like the plague. They are too blue, and have no integrated focusing on the diode chip itself, making them shine all about 20 feet. There's a reason these bars are $30. *These make up the majority of cheap ebay/amazon bars. * They often look like this:

2. 3W Phillips - solid diodes, warmer light temperature is easy on the eyes and the quality is miles above epistar, much better beam right off the circuit board and combined with the right optics hold up well to the high-end $1000 cree bars.

3. 5W Osram - quality on par with phillips, much higher focusability and light projecting, found in spot bars. Often in a 5W diode.

4. 3W/5W/10W Cree - best diodes probably, but you can never be sure your not getting the bottom of the barrel chips. be warned as many chinese cheapos and ebay/amazon bars advertise cree brand chips but use epistar. (or they're using crap-tier cree diodes that are one sorting bin down from the garbage),

Optics/Reflectors

Arguably the most important part of the bar (besides the diodes themselves).

1. Standard-



- Most cheap bars have these shitty conical reflectors that aren't true in parabolic shape and do nothing but cast light 80 feet away. Often paired with shitty epistar diodes. THESE MAKE UP 90% OF EBAY/AMAZON BARS

2. "3D" -



- harder to find. These optics are called 3D (for whatever reason) and have more contours and a superior focusing pattern. They can be found on the oz-usa brand bars. In my experience these are the best for combo applications and throw light much further than standard reflectors while maintaining a nice flood pattern as well.

3. "4D" -



Even harder to find. These optics are exclusively for spot/distance applications and are often paired with an Osram high wattage diode. These are the kinds of bars that will shame an HID spot light. These optics are distinctive because they often do not have reflectors, but rely on the diodes innate focusing ability and then place a focusing projector lense in front of each diode. They have a distinctive look.

4. "5D" - what the **** ever. The same as 4D but with slightly better flood pattern. Makes no difference, slightly clearer lense. Bullshit, really.

Scams/Re-sellers

1. Now, it's important to understand that unless it's a brand like Rigid or Baja, all of these are going to be manufactured in mainland china. Such is life. Even brands like rigid or baja will still source their diodes, drivers, and circuit boards from china. CHINA =/= SHITTY all of the time. Yeah, most of the time it does, but you can still get good products.

2. Avoid reseller companies. They buy the same exact (good) products from china in bulk, rebrand them and stamp a logo on there and then mark them up by hundreds of dollars. This is a stupid when you can buy the very same (good) product for a fraction of the price. A great example of a company that buys in bulk but doesn't try and screw you is Oz-USA. They buy nice quality bars (I've run their 30" for 2 years now) in bulk and then upsell them by a few percent, and you can get an excellent bar with phillips diodes, 3D reflectors, UV-resistant poly lense, moisture breather valve, and extra-adjustable mounts + standard mounts for around $100. Keep in mind this is the same exact product a name brand retailer will buy and stamp and then mark up. See the examples of this ****ery below. The oz-usa products are the same price as a cheap ebay bar, but miles above. Here's a little example:

Oz-USA -

"Name Brand"



Odd how they are the exact same product to a tee, yet one cost $118, and the other costs $310.

So what do I buy?

1. It depends on what you need. If you need something cheap that will cut the mustard and mainly for flood applications and you wanna beat on it and don't really care, then go nuts on Ebay.

2. If you're like me and you want quality and don't want to break the bank than go for the nicer bars like the one I mentioned earlier. I don't want it to seem like I'm advertising for a particular company because I'm not, but really they're the only US based resaler that has great products at an extremely fair price.

3. If you shit cash, knock yourself out and go buy a rigid or baja designs bar. I don't care but you're wasting your money. That's a guarantee. I don't care about your warranty, cause I can buy 6 bars that are as good or better than yours and still have money left over. And if it gets stolen, I'm not getting shafted and you are.

Examples and extra pics

Auto exposure on cell phone cameras does no justice for the output of the lights, but they're at least twice as bright and cover way more area than the camera shows.

Normal headlights:

48" 4D Osram Spot with 5W diodes:




Spot+ 30" 3D oz-usa combo, curved:



If you need advice, help, or have any more questions or want more pictures, let me know.

__________________
Madden is offline   Quote
Old 04-27-2017, 07:56 PM   #2
Jeeper
 
whitee27's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2017
Location: Chenango Bridge NY
Posts: 60
Quality post, thanks

whitee27 is offline   Quote
Old 04-29-2017, 11:43 AM   #3
Jeeper
 
Join Date: Apr 2017
Posts: 18
Thanks for the info!
wchutt is offline   Quote
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old 06-28-2017, 07:54 PM   #4
Jeeper
 
Join Date: May 2017
Location: NE MI
Posts: 43
Good info, but too bad none of the pictures show up...
nbrege is offline   Quote
Old 06-28-2017, 07:56 PM
Thread Starter
  #5
Jeeper
 
Madden's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Cincinnati, OH
Posts: 739
Quote:
Originally Posted by nbrege View Post
Good info, but too bad none of the pictures show up...
Just updated the main post, pics should be working now.
__________________
Madden is offline   Quote
Old 07-02-2017, 07:00 PM   #6
Jeeper
 
skullfreak's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2017
Posts: 458
The practical Man's guide to LED's, Lightbars, and anything else you'd wanna know.

Great post.
For when I do get lights.
Are you familiar with interior lighting?
I want to wire colored lights in so they come on at nite only?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
skullfreak is offline   Quote
Old 07-04-2017, 06:20 PM
Thread Starter
  #7
Jeeper
 
Madden's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Cincinnati, OH
Posts: 739
Quote:
Originally Posted by skullfreak View Post
Great post.
For when I do get lights.
Are you familiar with interior lighting?
I want to wire colored lights in so they come on at nite only?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
I know a bit about it, what are you wanting to do?
__________________
Madden is offline   Quote
Old 07-08-2017, 09:48 PM   #8
Gone Fishin

5-Year WF Supporting Member
 
ChrisNW's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Location: Seattle
Posts: 367
Good post, Madden. I'm an EE so I use diodes and LED's a lot. It's sometimes difficult to explain to people why oftentimes a more expensive part is better, but not always the case!

It's usually in the build. Crappy lenses, bodies, mounts will sour me on a product fast. While I can build my own, it's just plain silly to build your own everything. Am very happy to support a company making a good product.
Madden likes this.
ChrisNW is offline   Quote
Old 07-10-2017, 08:37 AM   #9
Jeeper
 
Photoman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2017
Location: Kansas
Posts: 161


Was thinking about light bars this weekend, Awesome thread to find this morning...just the information i was looking for, thanks for posting this.
Photoman is offline   Quote
Old 07-10-2017, 08:51 AM   #10
Jeeper
 
skullfreak's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2017
Posts: 458
Quote:
Originally Posted by Madden View Post
I know a bit about it, what are you wanting to do?


I actually figured it out.
And added colored led in the footwell.
I do have a question tho I have a 2 door if I want to add lights in the back set area like under the front seats is there a wire I can tap into or would I need to run one down from the dome light or maybe from the front footwell to under the front seat?
Thx


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
skullfreak is offline   Quote
Old 07-10-2017, 12:42 PM
Thread Starter
  #11
Jeeper
 
Madden's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Cincinnati, OH
Posts: 739
Quote:
Originally Posted by skullfreak View Post
I actually figured it out.
And added colored led in the footwell.
I do have a question tho I have a 2 door if I want to add lights in the back set area like under the front seats is there a wire I can tap into or would I need to run one down from the dome light or maybe from the front footwell to under the front seat?
Thx


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
If you're talking about a JK then unfortunately I won't be of much help, my background is with TJ's. I would think that there would be a wire in with the bunch where you go to take the doors off that you could tap into but do some searching before you go cutting anything.
__________________
Madden is offline   Quote
Old 07-10-2017, 02:45 PM   #12
Jeeper
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Toronto, ON
Posts: 872
Excellent post, Madden. Thanks for sharing.

What is your opinion on the kind of bars that they cram more leds into the same space, for higher light output?

Like this style:
jeep670 is offline   Quote
Old 07-10-2017, 05:41 PM   #13
Gone Fishin

5-Year WF Supporting Member
 
ChrisNW's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Location: Seattle
Posts: 367
jeep670, nothing necessarily wrong with those bars as far as I can tell.

The thing about LED light engines is that they need a good heat sink as they get hot. Too many LED's in one space without adequate heat dissipation will fail.

The osram engines are used in a lot of lights now. You can get small ones to replace the incandescent or halogen in a flashlight, for example.

Do you have a link to that particular model in which you provided the picture?
ChrisNW is offline   Quote
Old 07-10-2017, 05:56 PM   #14
Jeeper
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Toronto, ON
Posts: 872
Different sizes here:
https://www.amazon.ca/WEISIJI-12Inch.../dp/B06X6H8TR8
I did not post a link with my above question to avoid any suspicion of advertising. But, since you asked..
Anyway, I am looking for opinions on these. Everyone is encouraged to comment.
jeep670 is offline   Quote
Old 07-10-2017, 08:59 PM
Thread Starter
  #15
Jeeper
 
Madden's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Cincinnati, OH
Posts: 739
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisNW View Post
jeep670, nothing necessarily wrong with those bars as far as I can tell.

The thing about LED light engines is that they need a good heat sink as they get hot. Too many LED's in one space without adequate heat dissipation will fail.

The osram engines are used in a lot of lights now. You can get small ones to replace the incandescent or halogen in a flashlight, for example.

Do you have a link to that particular model in which you provided the picture?
To echo upon what Chris said I don't see anything wrong with those particular lights, but as he said unless they have proper heat sinks they'll fail quickly.

Cramming more LED's in there will certainly have more light output, but for that price they're cutting corners somewhere. It just seems to me to be more a gimmick than anything that would make a real world noticeable difference.
__________________
Madden is offline   Quote
Old 07-10-2017, 09:33 PM   #16
Jeeper
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Toronto, ON
Posts: 872
Definitely a gimmick as you don't see many of those. Yet.

Sure, I like those Baja lights, but... their price... I'm not their target demographic.
So, in the spirit of "I need a bit more light occasionally in a compact space/volume but I don't wanna cry if it gets broken or stolen", these should be fine - right?
jeep670 is offline   Quote
Old 07-10-2017, 09:40 PM
Thread Starter
  #17
Jeeper
 
Madden's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Cincinnati, OH
Posts: 739
They should be fine for your needs. If you want to get a quality LED bar for less and no gimmicks though OZ has this one.

I swear to you all that I am not affiliated with this company in any way, but they honestly have quality stuff that I use and have no problem recommending to my friends.
__________________
Madden is offline   Quote
Old 07-10-2017, 09:54 PM   #18
Jeeper
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Toronto, ON
Posts: 872
I'll definitely take a look at those, thanks.
jeep670 is offline   Quote
Old 07-30-2017, 10:00 AM   #19
Jeeper
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Posts: 308
Great post, nice.
__________________
2017 Wrangler Unlimited Winter Edition
3.73, auto, painted hardtop, 430N...
atxatxatx is offline   Quote
Old 07-30-2017, 02:32 PM   #20
Jeeper
 
Leadnut's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: Arizona
Posts: 2,973
Thanks for the informative write-up. I am a big fan of Rigid Industries for many of the reasons you mention. Not the cheapest out there, but you get what you pay for. I don't work for them, nor get any incentives from them. - Just a happy customer.

RIGID INDUSTRIES LED Lighting | LED Lights
__________________
2014 JKU Willys 6-spd, RK X-Factor 3.5", Fox Resis, KM3 37s, PR60s, Eaton e-lockers, 5.13, Atlas II 3.8, and another $10K in miscellaneous parts.
Leadnut is offline   Quote
Old 08-08-2017, 03:58 PM   #21
Newb
 
Smoky1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2017
Posts: 9
Has anyone ever tried out any lights from these guys?
They seem legit. LEDs4less - LED's, LED Light Bars, Jeep Lights - Free Shipping
Smoky1 is offline   Quote
Old 12-19-2017, 01:25 PM   #22
Jeeper
 
Join Date: Nov 2017
Posts: 129
What do you recommend that is comparable in output and quality to the baja designs xl series lights?
ReconEdition is offline   Quote
Old 07-30-2018, 06:14 PM   #23
Supporting Member

5-Year WF Supporting Member
 
HVACjon's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2018
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 502
Any thoughts on KC 91307 Pro6 Gravity. expensive, but all said looks great.
__________________
HVACjon
2010 JKU Sport, 6 spd MT, 2.5" RoughCountry lift, Kargomaster classic Safari Rack, no top, half doors, '17 Rubicon darkgrey takeoffs w/BFG Mud Terrain, 2-Tuffy under seat gun safe', Banks Monster cat-back, Banks Cold Air Ram Air, Banks Oiled High Flow filter, Banks Automind2 re-programmer, X1PRO Rear view mirror dual dash cam, Xprite LED HALO headlamps/fog HALO/turn/side marker, Xprite Rival Renegade LED tail lamps, Wide Eyes grille
HVACjon is offline   Quote
Old 07-31-2018, 01:34 AM   #24
Jeeper
 
IcarusLSC's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 1,517
Please fix your pictures, none show.

https://wranglerforum.com/threads/...bar-guide.507/
__________________
·Ï¢årµ§·
IcarusLSC is offline   Quote
Old 08-21-2018, 06:13 PM   #25
Jeeper
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: So Cal
Posts: 24
Do you have any experience / thoughts on the Oz headlights? I have a $200 pair of cheap chinese crap that throw light all over the place except on the road.
Gdollar is offline   Quote
Old 06-10-2019, 08:16 PM   #26
Newb
 
Join Date: Mar 2019
Posts: 2
Thank you for the amazing information that easily saved me hours of research!

bhampton24 is offline   Quote
Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off






All times are GMT -5. The time now is 06:49 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Search Engine Optimization by vBSEO 3.6.1
User Alert System provided by Advanced User Tagging v3.1.0 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2019 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
vBulletin Security provided by vBSecurity v2.2.2 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2019 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.

Jeep®, Wrangler, Liberty, Wagoneer, Cherokee, and Grand Cherokee are copyrighted and trademarked to Chrysler Motors LLC.
Wranglerforum.com is not in any way associated with the Chrysler Motors LLC