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Turbo lag
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I wanted a bit extra lighting for "off-road" if I needed it, but didn't want to buy any existing product due to either exorbitant pricing or mixed reviews.

I used 8 Cree XM-L2 diodes on star MCPCB. These are 4000K, E5 kit, with a U3 code (or at least they should be). The CRI is between 70-75, and they are rated at a maximum of 1198 lumens at 3000mA. The MCPCB is glued to the aluminum heat sink on the perimeter with thermal compound sandwiched between. The diodes are wired in series in two sets, each set with 4 diodes and it's own driver. The drivers used are two 2100mA LuxDrive BuckBlock constant current LED driver. As these specific diodes are rated at 798 lumens at 2000mA, the total lumens rating of the light bar should be just north of 6400. Since the LEDs are wired in series in sets of 4, with each having a forward voltage of roughly 2.9V at 2100mA, a 24V power supply was used to compensate for the driver's deficiency of Vout = 50% Vin.

Passive circuit component Circuit component Light Automotive lighting Electrical wiring



The lens used were Carclo 10048, it's a 26.5mm tight spot lens with a 19.6 Cd/lm. At 798lm, the maximum Cd at 0 degrees is 15640.8Cd, which translates to a throw of 820ft. Of course this is purely mathematical, the actual is unknown.
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Since the lens has a FWHM (full width at half maximum) of 12.4 degrees, each lens is 5 degrees offset from each other.
The bar is mounted using a custom bracket that contains one suction cup and 4 N40 neodymium magnets rated for 10lbs each.

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Bicycle Hood Bicycle wheel Automotive tire Bumper


Test use:
Plant Automotive lighting Nature Natural environment Automotive tire

Only light bar

Plant Automotive lighting Natural environment Asphalt Road surface

Light bar + low beam

Plant Automotive lighting Automotive tire Leaf Natural environment

Light bar + low beam + high beam

*pictures were taken at a fixed exposure and iso.

I didn't like how much reflection there was on the hood and the dash, I'm planning on moving it elsewhere as well as tweaking the wiring a bit.
The extra light didn't help as much with driving as I thought especially since I didn't use it on any paved surfaces, but my passenger sure enjoyed the extra lighting that put her at ease driving through a dark dense forest at midnight.

To the Ascent driver that we accidently blinded: Sorry we couldn't turn the light off fast enough, we didn't expect to see any other cars driving on a dead end forest service road miles deep in a national forest at midnight.

Edit: The total cost for this project was just a tad over $130
This thing is not even remotely waterproof, maybe slightly water resistance at best.
 

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Nicely done! You'll get it figured out as to improving/streamlining it going forward. I would've liked to see a pic of only headlights as well, just to see how much the light bar improves things over your existing lighting.
 

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Polished Metal Metallica
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Ah, so you’re the guy who blinded me on the Garden State Parkway last night…

I kid, I kid.

Really cool installation. Where are you running the power cable?
 

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Turbo lag
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2,504 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Nicely done! You'll get it figured out as to improving/streamlining it going forward. I would've liked to see a pic of only headlights as well, just to see how much the light bar improves things over your existing lighting.
Yeah, I forgot, my passenger was rushing me to get out of there ASAP. I'll have more comparisons up soon.

Ah, so you’re the guy who blinded me on the Garden State Parkway last night…

I kid, I kid.

Really cool installation. Where are you running the power cable?
Since it was just a test, I just ran the cable on the front of the dash, to the base of the A pillar, and ran it up the outside of the A pillar, then on to the roof. The 24v power supply runs off of my 110v inverter.

Too bad my sedan doesn't have a sun roof, because then the light bar can be installed and removed without ever leaving the car, and the cable can just run straight up through the sunroof.
 

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Turbo lag
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2,504 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
So what about wiring in an auto-dimmer like they use for auto-high beam dimmers? That way you won't blind the rest of us, all at the same time. :oops:
I'm thinking about wiring it to the high beams, so when I kill the high beam for oncoming traffic, it also kills the light bar. I also have plenty of spare buttons on the steering wheel that I can use to toggle the light bar on and off too, but that would mean buying a new clock spring. At the end of the day, this is more of a "Nice to have" accessory than something that I'd use all the time.
 

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MT or death
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537 Posts
On a related note, I just spotted this. Is the sole reason for it to blind drivers behind them, or do they claim it's just a really bright reverse light?
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