The latest trend in off-road lighting is LED, and for good reason. LED lighting is far superior to halogen lighting due to brighter output, lower amp draw, and no filaments to break. In this blog post we will try to answer some common questions that many people have.
What is an LED?
LED is short for light-emitting diode. Basically, its a semiconductor that emits light when electricity is passed through it.
What makes an LED better than traditional incandescent and similar lighting?
Unlike traditional incandescent lighting, there is no filament that can be damaged, or gasses that can burn out. Its a solid piece. It will not burn out due to the bouncing of off-roading or by contact with moisture. It can also effectively operate at a much colder temperature.
Also, with LED’s, the current draw is significantly lower. For example, one, standard 100w halogen off-road light, uses 8.3 amps. A comparable 39w LED light only uses 3.25 amps. This means less strain on your charging system, and you can leave the light running longer before the battery needs recharged. LED lights are ideal for creating portable lighting due to the smaller battery requirements.
Another advantage is the color output. Most LED’s operate at 6000k, compared to 3100k of a standard halogen bulb. This creates a more natural, white light compared to the yellow lights of incandescent. See below for a color chart.
LED lights have a longer life, about 30,000 on most lights.
Also, LED lights are built more solid with a heavy duty aluminum housing and scratch and shatter resistant polycarbonate lens.
What do I need to install LED lights? Can I replace my existing halogen lights with LED?
LED lights are extremely easy to install, and hook up the same way as your existing lights, with a positive and a negative wire. All the circuitry is self contained on the circuit board built into each light. Most LED lights operate off a wide variety of voltage, ranging from 10v to 24v. This means you can run the same light on your 12v vehicle (car, truck, Jeep, motorcycle, boat, tractor, lawn mower, bobcat, etc) and also on your 24v vehicle (heavy duty trucks, military vehicles, farm equipment, etc) So if you have some existing traditional lighting on your vehicle, you can simply unhook the lights that are on there now, and wire in the LED’s. New installations simply require 2 wires and a switch. Just make sure your switch is rated high enough to run the lights you have installed. For instance, you want to run a pair of 39w lights on your bumper. This will draw 6.5 amps. Most automotive switches are rated at 10-20 amps or higher. Your could run up to 6 of the 39w lights on a single 20 amp switch, but it is a good safety measure to run a relay or solenoid, and then use any low power switch to activate the relay. Your switch will last a lot longer if you use a relay. Also, make sure you run an appropriate size fuse inline with the positive wire from the battery. Here is a diagram for wiring a relay
How do I mount LED lights?
LED lights are easy to mount, and mount the same way traditional lighting would mount. Most single lights mount with a single bolt on a swivel bracket, and most light bars mount with a single bolt, one on each side. There are many different light mounting brackets available for all kinds of vehicles, especially Jeeps. The most common are bumper mount, windshield mount, and hood mount.
Aren’t LED lights more expensive than the traditional lights?
Not in all cases! In the past year, pricing has come down dramatically. Some name brands may still be very expensive, but we offer a large selection of LED lighting that can offer a large amount of light for less than you would pay for traditional lighting.
Whats the difference between a Cree LED and an Epistar LED?
Cree and Epistar are the brand names of the led/chip/driver found inside LED lights. Cree is a higher quality chip, made in the USA, that produces more light per watt than its competitors, and lasts much longer. Epistar is more of a value priced chip, made in Taiwan. There are many other brands of LED chips, but these 2 are the most common.
Where can I buy LED lights?
Good question! I thought you would never ask! There are many places to buy LED lights online, but we feel the best deal is from us, at www.4mudders.com . We have many different lights to choose from, including work lights, bar lights, spot lights, strobe lights, marker lights, beacon lights, and brake and turn signal lights. Everything we sell has a 1 year warranty. We also stock all of our 4Mudders brand lights at our shop in Cincinnati Ohio.