The Different Parts of Off road LED Lights
Have you ever wondered what lies on the inside of a high tech off-road LED lighting system?
Read the next article in our series on the history of automotive and off-road led lighting systems to find out more…
Off-road LED Light Housing-
The housing of an off-road LED light is perhaps one of the most important parts of the light and it serves more than just the obvious purpose. The housing contains and protects all of the intricate internal components as well as assists with keeping the LED’s operating at optimum temperatures for maximum performance. That being said, all of Nox Lux’s off-road LED lights are manufactured with 6063 or 6061 aluminum, are coated with a special UV and mar resistant DuPont painting application, and the housing of Nox Lux’s premium grade off-road LED lights are also specially designed with over-sized heat sinks to keep the LED lights running as cool as possible. Basically, the over-sized heat sink assists with keeping the LED’s running at a cooler operating temperature, which allow them to burn brighter, and last much longer.
Any quality off-road LED lighting system should also have some type of breathing and air pressure balancing system, such as the patented GORE breathing technology. These air pressure equalizing systems are commonly implemented in many of the performance grade off-road LED light manufacturers products. These patented breathers assist with equalizing air pressure while reducing the chance of condensation forming on the inside of the off-road LED lights. You will also find that most premium grade off-road LED lighting systems will utilize a silicone based gasket or sealing application to add an additional layer of protection in terms of ingress from dust, dirt, mud, and water.
Cheap off-road LED lights are usually manufactured of poorer quality aluminum or other type of cheaper material. Most of the time, these cheap off-road light manufacturers will use a cheap black powder coating that does not last (and to say the least)when compared to the likes of Dupont’s anti UV and anti mar protective coatings.
Most of the cheap off-road LED lights you see for sale offer a poor heat sink design in terms of heat dissipation away from LED circuitry, are typically manufactured to much lower standards resulting in a poor quality, poor performance, and an extremely short product life span. Not to mention that these off-road LED lights are not waterproof, and in some cases, are delivered to your doorstep with condensation already in them from simply being shipped.
LED’s- CREE or OSRAM- Bin picks, Different watts, and Variations.
When it comes to the actual LED’s of an off-road LED lighting system, there are only a handful of companies that manufacture high quality LED chip sets consistently in off-road LED lighting applications and systems, CREE LED (USA) and OSRAM LED (Germany).
Be wary of where you purchase your off-road LED light(s). Sometimes you will find that some off-road LED light manufacturers purchase 2nd and 3rd tier “leftovers” or lower bin picks. These LED’s may in fact come from a quality LED manufacturer, but they could very well be imperfect and inconsistent when compared to the same manufacturers 1st bin picks.
A good example of this in another industry would be buying tile flooring from a major home improvement chain; where you are almost always getting the manufacturer’s 2nd and 3rd tier “imperfect” products at a drastic savings. This translates into the LED’s used in the cheap off-road LED lights are almost always of lower quality than that of a true performance grade off-road LED lighting system.
You will also need to keep in mind that on top of the actual LED, there are other materials and technical components that are being used in culmination with the actual LED’s, such as: substrates, PCB boards, LED drivers, lenses, reflectors, etc.
PCB Circuit Boards, LED Drivers, other Electrical Components
A high powered, quality, and efficient off-road LED light should offer advanced circuitry design to power, protect, and prolong the life of your off-road lights. Basically, a quality off-road LED light should have a quality PCB board accompanied by a state of the art LED driver for maximum consistent electrical output. This will keep the off-road LED light from experiencing any electrical failures such as- reversed connections, current limit protection, open circuits, overloading, and high temperatures.
Most performance grade 4×4 off-road LED lights also implement anti-radio interference technologies for stable operations with radio’s, GPS systems, and other electrical components.
Lenses, Reflectors, Optics-
There are many different types of optics, lenses, and reflectors that can be utilized to create a wide range of different types of off-road LED light beam patterns and for a wide range of applications. Some of these different beam patterns that can be achieved with different off-road light’s LED’s, optics, reflectors, and lenses are- flood beam, fog beam, spot beam, driving beam, scene beam, diffusion beam.
There are LED light manufacturers that claim to build off-road lights ranging from the traditional LED light bar optics all the way to the newer 4-D, 5-D, 6-D, and now 7-D LED off-road lights. If you look at the diagram we created, you will see the traditional LED light bar is what we mostly carry for our selection of performance off-road LED lights. The newer 4D <-> 5D LED lights in our opinion, can “sometimes” produce a more desirable beam of light when compared to a traditional off-road LED light bar, but that is not always the case, especially when you throw cheap off-road LED light manufacturers into the mix.
A number of LED off road light manufacturers claim they have the latest and greatest in off-road LED lighting simply because they offer the newer 6D and 7D off-road LED lights, but the truth is they are typically providing a generic product that simply appears to be newer and more advanced than other competitor models. Most of the time, these actions can be construed as nothing more than pure marketing and advertising fluff used to sugar coat a poor quality product.
If you want the most bang for your buck these would be the top specs and criteria to look out for when purchasing a genuine off-road LED light system- Type of LED(CREE or Osram are the best currently), the IP ingress rating (IP69k is the best), Military rated, Gore breathers, warranty, reputable retailer?
Although, if you are ok with an off-road LED light being delivered to your door step with condensation already in it from shipping alone, then by all means by the cheap off-road LED lighting system. Ask yourself though, how long do you really think those cheap off-road lights will stand up performance wise when out just driving around, in the trails at night, or in inclement weather conditions? Not very long as the off-road light was delivered with condensation inside of it, and as we all know, water and electricity do not mix.
The protective layer that completely seals the off-road LED light or off-road LED bar off from the elements should be built with a virtually indestructible polycarbonate material such as GE LEXAN. These types of protective lenses should be abrasion resistant, shatter proof, and upwards of 100% optically clear.
These lenses are the most vulnerable part of the off-road LED light bar, yet one of the most important parts of the light. The protective lens needs to be able to take a beating without breaking, needs to be sealed to the light as to prevent water or dust from entering into the internal components, and the light needs to remain clean, scratch free, and optically clear as to not constrict or alter the light beam of the off-road LED lighting system.
Off Road LED Light Bar Wiring Harnesses and Connectors-
If you are buying a premium off-road LED lighting system you should understand that the wiring harness and other types of electrical connections should be completely waterproof. That is why almost all of the companies selling the REAL DEAL in terms of off road lighting, always provide an IP69k or equivalent in regards to electrical connectors or connections. One of the more popular off-road light wiring accessories are the Deutsch sealed waterproof connectors.
Adjustable Off-road LED Light Mounting Brackets and Hardware-
Premium off-road LED light mounts and hardware offered in either stainless steel finish or with a special protective black powder coating.
Most off-road LED lighting systems come with their own mounting brackets, wiring harness, relays, fuses, and mounting hardware. Some of the cheap off-road LED lights do not come with these accessories, in fact, some of them even charge you extra money just for these necessary mounting and installation components.
To close, as with many things in life, you all to frequently get what you pay for in terms of pricing and quality of product. We understand that is not always the case, but with the Off-road LED lighting market, we can assure you that this is almost always the case. Conduct your due diligence and see for yourself! You will find a bunch of videos on Youtube clearly depicting the drastic differences between a high quality off-road LED light compared to a cheap off-road LED light.
Make sure you check out our other articles in our series about the history of automotive, auxiliary, and off-road lights-
The History of Automobile and Off-road Lights– This is the first article of the series of 10. In this article we cover the brief history and timetable outline of automobile lighting and off-road lighting, taking it way back to the late 1800’s; covering from oil and acetylene lights all the way to the all new OLED and laser lights.
The Different Types of Off road Lights – This is the second article in our series of ten. In this article we cover the different types of off-road lighting systems currently available for purchase on the open market.
Off-road Light Beam Patterns– This is the 3rd article in our series on automotive and off-road lights that deals with explaining the different types of light beam patterns used within the different types of off-road LED lighting systems.
The last article we published in our series about automotive and off road LED lighting that explains color temperatures of off-road LED lighting systems.
Stand by for the next article in our automotive off-road light article series-> What Are the Differences with 2D, 3D, 4D, 5D, 6D, 7D LED Light Bars?
Make sure to check out our fine selection of off-road LED Lighting systems here-