Special Stage Forums banner
1 - 19 of 19 Posts

·
This one goes to 11
Joined
·
168 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've searched and haven't seen a straight out answer. I know the new craze is LED. But a lot of the top teams still use the HIDs in pods. Atleast I think they are HIDs. Any input? Why are grass roots guys all running LED bars and top teams seem to be using "old school" technology.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
162 Posts
A good HID setup (Which could well be better than LED, not an expert) is several thousand dollars of lights and pods. A good LED Bar (or bars) Is $500-700 and a lot simpler to mount. Not saying that's the full reason but I'd imagine its a factor.
 

·
don't cut
Joined
·
4,075 Posts
Quick professional guess, meaning this is a SWAG or Scientific Wild Ass Guess (as part of my profession, I design lighting system but not the fixtures themselves): With an HID, the optics for a light are designed around 1 large light emitting source. An LED light bar consists of many smaller light emitting sources each of which has to be designed and built as carefully as an HID fixture. Then each of these small sources have to be aligned in the the light bar to point in the direction desired. As a consequence, the light pattern may, I repeat MAY, be better with an HID. With an HID, each light can be adjusted left or right as well as up or down. With LED's, it appears you are limited to up or down.

As to cost, I just checked the KC Lighting site, a pair of HID Daylighters is right at $1000 now.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
661 Posts
I love my LED setup, and it's probably because the top teams are sticking with what they know works more than well enough for them honestly. There isn't really going to be a huge noticeable game-changing effect. Right now two large 30" bars do me more than well enough. At LSPR there was never a moment where I wish I could have seen further or deeper into a corner. The guys running carbon fiber pods with the HID ballasts are probably comparable on weight (my whole setup is around 20 pounds).

Plus don't forget most of those top guys are running CF hoods, not exactly the place you want to strap a bar to unless you've got a really nice bracket setup. While most of us are just welding tabs onto the factory bumper beams to mount a bar to. Not exactly a "clean professional" look that carbon lightpods can give.

The optics are more than fine. It's when people start trying to put LED headlight bulbs that are terribly designed (looking at you GTR lighting, Superbright, etc.) into headlight housings that do not mimic the light kernel that a halogen bulb produces. You end up with terrible, and I mean TERRIBLE light output where it counts. I've done testing with proper equipment to figure out the lighting power that various headlight bulb replacements are putting out, and any LED headlight with a board in it with a large circle or square is going to be 5-10 times worse than a stock halogen when it comes to the hotspot, or what lets you see further down the road. It'll look like a nice even blend of light against a wall at 25', but once you start driving you realize that the guys who designed a stock headlight actually knew what they were doing, and the bulb that was originally designed for that headlight will almost always outperform an LED headlight replacement bulb.

I honestly could go on and on about what makes for a good headlight replacement bulb with an LED, as they are coming, the "next gen" is working, just needs tweaking for cooling and power disapation but they are performing twice as good as a halogen (WHERE IT COUNTS) while not producing extra glare or unwanted light in other areas. Though that is a few months out, and are only going to work for a few bulb types until we can get the boards thinner and the power dissipation figured out.

I do kind of want to test various lightbars too using the same equipment. The crap you see on ebay where they say "20,000 lumen output!" means absolutely nothing. They are quoting what the raw output at the LED chip is, not accounting for the optics and the actual throw pattern. If they were really ballsy and stood behind their product they'd say stuff like "produces 500 lux at 100 yards!". Instead of raw output numbers at the origin of the light, they could be stating the actual lighting POWER at a certain distance. For example, my legacy stock headlights at 25' produce 150 lux at the hotspot.... which is really shitty, the current standards for minimum light output for new cars is 273 lux at a hotspot, most new cars are well above that. A new F-150 halogen headlight produces around 500 lux there, a new WRX produces around 350 lux. Advances in optical software and tightly controlled manufacturing for reflectors allow for engineers to design truly fantastic lighting even on the most basic models. Anyways, when I brought my rally car in to the shop to align the bulbs and do a few things I threw on the lightbars and turned them on to measure the lighting power at 25'. With both 30" lightbars on it produced around 5000 lux at its peak. I bet you any ebay bar or rebranded ebay bar is not going to produce nearly as much. I'd love to get a rally HID setup in there to do actual performance testing, not just "lets take a picture and infer all our data off of that!" like you see most light manufactures doing.

Anyways, long story short. Pro teams are probably sticking to what they know works, because lightbars are honestly not a huge "revolution" over a typical HID setup. For the club guy its a cheaper way to get lighting that is just as good or a bit better than an HID setup, without a huge weight penalty.


Also good reading for how to really compare LED brightness: http://www.diodedynamics.com/store/research-1/research-led/led-brightness.html
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
725 Posts
I'm going to disagree, pros are sticking with it because HID has the power and the lenses, the LEDs just have the power. For regional LED setups, they still do not have the range. I have cheapo DDM tuning HID conversion ($50 set) in Hella 8" lenses... 2 pencils, 2 driving. I've seen a lot of the new regional led setups and they are pretty much crap in relation to mine. I have a 24" LED setup; might as well not even have it with the others turned on.

The LED light bars are bright, but they don't get down the road far enough. They aren't bad but they can't come close to the pencil lenses. I say this all based on 'regional' setups we see at our rallys, i'm sure there's LEDs out there that aren't off the shelf with crazy lenses.


I will stand by the halogen lenses with conversion HID kits. Not many use it; but in my opinion its a good middle ground its around $120-130 a light. While getting more range than the leds. If you're talking LED vs the true $1k per light HID setup, well I couldnt justify that cost and would probably run LEDs exclusively as well.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
661 Posts
I'm going to disagree, pros are sticking with it because HID has the power and the lenses, the LEDs just have the power. For regional LED setups, they still do not have the range. I have cheapo DDM tuning HID conversion ($50 set) in Hella 8" lenses... 2 pencils, 2 driving. I've seen a lot of the new regional led setups and they are pretty much crap in relation to mine. I have a 24" LED setup; might as well not even have it with the others turned on.

The LED light bars are bright, but they don't get down the road far enough. They aren't bad but they can't come close to the pencil lenses. I say this all based on 'regional' setups we see at our rallys, i'm sure there's LEDs out there that aren't off the shelf with crazy lenses.


I will stand by the halogen lenses with conversion HID kits. Not many use it; but in my opinion its a good middle ground its around $120-130 a light. While getting more range than the leds. If you're talking LED vs the true $1k per light HID setup, well I couldnt justify that cost and would probably run LEDs exclusively as well.
Crap in = Crap out.

The cheap eBay stuff and rebranded lightbars will have shit optics, and yes, they have NOWHERE near the throw. Crap optics plus questionable LED's that driven at a much lower power than their stated "omfg40billionlumens!" output because running them at what they are rated for would cause them to overheat.

However quality bars (not ebay) like Rigid and like what Diode offered (currently not selling them) have quality optics and will easily match or exceed a good HID with good lenses.

Regarding the ebay bars, people usually then say "but my buddy has one on his truck and he loves it!" or lots of 5 star reviews, because most of those guys are going to their subdivision, turning on the lights and yea, it looks impressive. Start doing 100+ mph on a narrow forest road and the shortcomings will become clear.

Full disclosure, I now work for Diode Dynamics, doing engineering for LED headlights, bulbs, optical solutions, mounting, etc. I was running DD bars before I was hired in, and was always impressed with them. I'm sure someone can say that I'm saying positive things only because I work for them, but we really do take quality seriously and want to provide a product that is actually going to be useful. That's why we refuse to sell the LED replacement headlight bulbs because they are downright unsafe. We could make bank on rebranding some chinese LED bulb and sell them as H7, H11, H1 replacements, but it's unethical with how terrible they are.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
725 Posts
Crap in = Crap out.

The cheap eBay stuff and rebranded lightbars will have shit optics, and yes, they have NOWHERE near the throw. Crap optics plus questionable LED's that driven at a much lower power than their stated "omfg40billionlumens!" output because running them at what they are rated for would cause them to overheat.

However quality bars (not ebay) like Rigid and like what Diode offered (currently not selling them) have quality optics and will easily match or exceed a good HID with good lenses.

Regarding the ebay bars, people usually then say "but my buddy has one on his truck and he loves it!" or lots of 5 star reviews, because most of those guys are going to their subdivision, turning on the lights and yea, it looks impressive. Start doing 100+ mph on a narrow forest road and the shortcomings will become clear.

Full disclosure, I now work for Diode Dynamics, doing engineering for LED headlights, bulbs, optical solutions, mounting, etc. I was running DD bars before I was hired in, and was always impressed with them. I'm sure someone can say that I'm saying positive things only because I work for them, but we really do take quality seriously and want to provide a product that is actually going to be useful. That's why we refuse to sell the LED replacement headlight bulbs because they are downright unsafe. We could make bank on rebranding some chinese LED bulb and sell them as H7, H11, H1 replacements, but it's unethical with how terrible they are.


While your probably right here, I think most of the rally setups are the crap ebay, or rebranded chinese lights.

Just out of curiousity i took a look at the rigid light web page. Which lights would you put on your car. I was thinking the SR series but they are pricey, not as much as HID's but still up there.

Everyone likes to advocate what they have, I'm just advocating something different that not many people run. I've tried to the 'cheap' led setup and it just wasn't enough for me, but I don't doubt there's quality LED stuff out there; but its not what the regional guys are buying from what I've seen probably due to price.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,818 Posts
Matt originally had a rigid bar and a diode bar, then went to 2 diode bars. Having sat in the car with him, the rigid bar (don't know what model) was crazy with how narrow and far it shot a beam of light. While that bar probably would be good for desert racing, it wasn't great for rally where the car is almost always sideways. That's why he later went with 2 diode bars, where they customized the beam pattern so it had both spot and fill light.

I've also seen friends buy those cheap LED bars off amazon or ebay and then they get it in their heads that all of the bars produce that. It's a shame.

The old adage holds true, you get what you pay for.
 

·
It's time for a sexy party!
Joined
·
422 Posts
LED lights do not have the Long Range Illumination that HID's do. Dirt Sports Magazine did a test wih a bunch of LED lamps, and bottom line was there is a bunch of "Up Close" light but no distance illumination.
The fast guys in Rally or Off Road still run HID's because when you need to see 1/4 mile or so down a dark straightaway at 120 +mph, LED's just don't cut it.
 

·
This one goes to 11
Joined
·
168 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I know you get what you pay for. I have seen the nice LED vs. cheap eBay stuff. That diode hyperspot made me a believer in the LED technology.
 

·
don't cut
Joined
·
4,075 Posts
As I stated, and as I think Matt says also, it is in the optics. HID optics for pencil beams seem to be slightly ahead of LED's but certainly not by much. And LEDs, if they are indeed behind, are catching up quickly. But good optics are not cheap no matter what the light source is. And for full disclosure, I believe in LEDs enough that I bought stock in Cree a while back.

ETA: For those who aren't sure, there are two basic ways of making the light go where you want it to. You can bounce it off a reflector or you can bend it with a prism. Most luminaires (technical term for a light fixture) utilize both as do lights on cars.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
877 Posts
I think everyone here knows we specced and have built our own line of LED Light Bars. When we built our 2nd car I was looking for a lighting solution and found traditional lighting pods to be beyond our modest budget. But the LED solutions at the time were either crappy, or expensive, or both. One thing I've found is critical is the base size of the LEDs themselves. There are a lot of light bars out there using many 3w or 5w lamps that appear to throw a lot of light. They do, but it tends to taper off pretty quickly. Perfect for rock-crawling I'd say. Especially the curved units. Not so good for rally. Ours use 10w CREE LEDs and, yes, the units are manufactured in China then come here for final testing, wiring kits etc. But the LEDs are US made - does that help :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
777 Posts
I think all the budget minded rallyists around here know why they use LED's. Nobody was ever questioning their use. The OP's question is why the big teams haven't gone to it too. Do they like spending more $$? Do they get for free from sponsors? Are they really that much better? Or do they just like the look of the round lights in the pods? I know I think the LED bars do look kinda goofy still. Not many top teams that post on here, so might be better just to ask them next time you're at a rally.
 
1 - 19 of 19 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top