Don’t be kept in the dark when kitting out your car, ute or truck with new driving lights and hitting the open road. Checking the specs and understanding key terms and the technology available can make the difference between buying an authentic original or a dull imitation.
“Driving lights are designed to extend the range of a vehicle’s original headlights, improving road condition visibility, reducing driver fatigue and identifying potential dangers,” said Haydn Ryan, Marketing and Communications Manager for Lightforce, Australia’s leading driving light manufacturer. Drivers seeking after-market options are now presented with a range of technologies and specifications, which can make choosing the right lights a tricky choice.
To help you be a bright spark and choose driving lights you can trust to withstand the toughest local conditions, Lightforce has provided the following key terms you should understand before making your purchase.
• Kelvin (K) is a measurement used to determine the colour temperature of visible light. Generally the higher the number, the whiter and brighter the light emitted. However, over 5000k the light starts to take on a bluish hue, gradually resulting in less contrast and a reduction in clarity.
• Lumen is a unit of measurement used to describe how much light is produced by the bulb.
• Lux is the measurement of light spread across a given area. One lux is equal to one lumen per square metre.
• Intensity is the measure of the effectiveness of a spotlight. The higher the intensity, the further a beam will penetrate. The old terminology for intensity was candlepower but today we use the term candela.
Armed with this basic knowledge, potential buyers can consider the three main technologies on the market.
Halogen driving lights
Halogen driving lights have been around for over 20 years and while an older technology evolved from traditional filament technology, are still an efficient way of producing long distance lighting.
Halogen light is a broad spectrum light source and generally produces light of between 2800k -3400k. This means that Halogen lights have a more yellow appearance than their alternatives.
A second option is LED lighting, the new boy on the driving light block.
LED lighting is suitable for short range flood lighting tasks or slow speed activities such as winch competition or off-road night time trail work.
However, the thermal management of heat in high powered devices can make the current generation of this product more unreliable than its competitors and the type of reflector design required reduces its effectiveness for producing long distance beams.
High-intensity discharge (HID) bulbs use xenon gas which produces an intense white light with a lower power consumption and heat output compared with incandescent bulbs.
Their overall efficiency is also much higher and give a greater amount of light output per watt of electricity input than the halogen or LED alternatives.
They also deliver a longer service life and are less prone to premature failure when compared to conventional filament based halogen bulbs.
“Finally, you should also consider the light size and shape that best suits the vehicle and where they will be mounted on your vehicle,” said Mr Ryan.
“In general, the bigger the light the better they are because a large reflector gives the best beam control, limiting spill light and projecting a powerful beam over distance.
“In terms of the shape, round reflectors are most efficient and will outperform rectangular lights in outright distance, although a rectangular reflector provides a wider beam that broadens the light distribution.
“Australia has earned an international reputation as producing some of the toughest and most reliable aftermarket driving lights in the world.
“Look for locally designed and produced driving lights that can stand the test of Australia’s harsh outback conditions. Anything else is an imitation.”
Haydn Ryan Phone 08 8440 0888
Marketing Communications Manager Mobile 0428 616 460
Lightforce TV: http://www.youtube.com/lightforceaustralia