Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions About Driving Lights
Q: Surely a plastic light can’t be as strong as a metal one? So it’s lightweight. What’s the advantage of that?
A: Lightforce is more than just another ‘plastic’ light, we pioneered the use of high tech composites in lighting equipment. Consider how materials have evolved in the automotive and aviation industry sector. Lighter and stronger than steel or old fashioned convention and new levels of performance previously not thought possible. Lightforce set a new benchmark in strength and durability that became legendary. Vulnerable glass and or heavy metal is just illogical, especially in off-road motor sport! Ask any knowledgeable fabricator, if he/she can have an item of equal strength or even stronger for less weight, what would they choose? A resounding “yes please!”. Think of a Class 1, Trophy Truck or sand rail with typically 8-10 HID lights, the majority mounted on the roof. Why add unnecessary weight in such a handling dynamic sensitive area? This is where Lightforce is the answer, plus light output that is unsurpassed.
Q: I've heard plastic lights vibrate off-road and fatigue in the sun or extreme cold. Is that true?
A: On the contrary, a heavy metal light is far more likely to vibrate, indeed metal lights are known to crack under harmonic fatigue in extreme situations. Vibration can also be a result of a poor mounting point or a vehicle that is prone to this dynamic. If the mounting point is vibrating, anything attached will as well! Your Lightforce light should be torqued to 50ft/lbs – 68nm at the mounting point and if everything is solid you should have no issues. We use UV stabilised materials that are inert to weather or real operating conditions. Lightforce is known for its durability from below -30 degrees C to the scorching heat and dust of the Australian outback and other extreme desert conditions. A little-known fact is how extreme cold can cause conventional lights to crack, even the metal components. Alaska and Sweden are two markets where Lightforce has forged a formidable reputation where only the toughest products survive.
Q: I have a 130 watt bulb in my light. How can a Lightforce light be any brighter? What do you mean by rating your light output by LUX?
A: Wattage alone can be very misleading. It’s all about how the power is being utilised by the bulb, the more efficient the bulb, the more light. A huge disadvantage besides high amperage draw on your electrical system is the immense heat output of high wattage bulbs. Stories abound of people either melting or burning light housings or cracking hot glass lenses when suddenly subjected to water. Light output is obviously a combination of the bulb, the reflector and lens, it is far more than just wattage or over hyped candlepower! This is one reason why at Lightforce we choose to rate our light output at a 1 LUX reading to demonstrate a real maximum distance potential. LUX you ask? Well, 1 lux is considered enough light to read a newspaper. We like lux as it gives a logical performance benchmark.
Q: Tell me about this modular filter system. They look like they are just a plastic cover? Surely they will just shatter or crack with a severe impact.
A: As standard most current Lightforce driving lights are supplied with a clear spot clip-on filter. Most Lightforce driving lights are designed to be run at all times with a filter in place. We use polycarbonate as used in fighter aircraft canopies, security screens etc. If you have any doubts about durability just check our ‘Light Logic’ video! Literally thousands of people worldwide have stared in disbelief when we display this at trade shows. The filters install with no tools required and in seconds you can change the beam pattern and or colour to suit your situation. Customers tell us how much they love this feature! Check for yourself on many offroad internet forums. Fog, rain, snow, desert silt or Australian bulldust you have the ideal solution at hand!
Q: Is the Lightforce light I buy the same as you sell to the off-road race community?
A: Absolutely! A crucial part of our success and product development has been our relationship with racers worldwide. The benefit to the consumer is a superior product via our product development and racer feedback. A true win-win scenario.
Q: Every driving light I have ever seen gets water inside it. What about Lightforce?
A: Every Lightforce light is fitted with a MIL-SPEC Gore-tex® breather (IP57/67/68/IP69K) to minimize ingress of either moisture or other potential contaminant. The majority of lights in the market place have no effective system to deal with water submersion, humidity or dust. Why compromise?
Q: What makes the Lightforce 240 HID so special compared to others?
A: From its 2001 Baja victory with Team Hummer, the 240 HID set a new benchmark in HID lighting. Almost half the weight of its closest rival and greater light intensity by virtue of its larger parabolic reflector. It also incorporates the Gore-tex® filter, so no problems with dust or water ingress. Our internal ballast negates the hassle of external mounting. True plug ’n play convenience. Included are billet focal spacer rings to allow you to broaden or tighten the beam pattern. If you are seeking the ultimate in long range performance and reliability for your vehicle, this is it.
The Finke Desert race, Baja 500 or 1000 or Dakar? Not all HID lights are equal. The Lightforce 240 HID is ‘King of the Hill’.
Q: Are Lightforce lights suitable for ATVs, motorbikes, snowmobiles etc?
A: Absolutely! The lightweight and durability factor makes them the logical choice! In extreme conditions we have no equal. Plus all the modular filter versatility to give you maximum visibility.
Q: Do you make a hid with a really blue or purple output? I want the brightest light!
A: Contrary to advertising hype the trend towards even bluer almost purple color output beyond the 6000k+ range does not allow you to see further. In fact, the complete opposite is true! The ‘K’ (kelvin) rating is inversely proportional to the light output, therefore the lower the ‘K’ the brighter the light output. At Lightforce we choose proven performance over bling with no exceptions. Don’t be misled!
Q: Can there be variation between the colour of a pair of Lightforce HID lights?
A: Yes, there can be variation between the colour of HID lights because the HID bulbs have manufacturing tolerances (permissable variations within a certain range). This is because HID bulbs are arc tubes containing gas and metal salts, not just a filament in a tube. In any pair of Lightforce HID lights you might get one that is at the cooler end of the range, and one at the warmer end. This may be apparent when both lights are shining on a wall, but when driving at night the variation would be un-noticeable.
Q: Why is a Lightforce Halogen Bulb so bright compared to other brands?
A: Our 12V halogen type bulbs incorporate xenon gas enabling them to burn between 10-20% brighter and whiter than conventional halogen bulbs. At 12V they are rated at 2000 hours run time. Ask any other manufacturer what they rate at? Worldwide, professionals who drive at night in the trucking industry tell us the huge benefit they have made changing to Lightforce in running costs alone.
Q: Can I install and wire the lights myself?
A: We can supply an optional Lightforce wiring harness that will ensure maximum performance and long term reliability. Anyone with basic mechanical knowledge can carry out an installation although a professional often has the many extra tools and knowledge of individual vehicles to ensure the job is done right.
Q: Are lightforce lights legal on my vehicle?
A: We advise you to check with your local authorities, particularly for on-road use. Black, opaque covers are available which may satisfy some jurisdictions for highway use.
Q: What makes the LEDs that Lightforce uses superior to the competitors' LEDs?
All LED chips are not made equal within any production run there will be a number of variants in performance and colour rendering, each batch undergoes a process called binning that grades the chips from highest to lowest output. Lightforce uses the highest grade chipsets only, we also use a warmer colour temperature of 5000K for better clarity.
Q: What is LUX and why do I sometimes see things measured at 1 LUX while other times at .25 of a LUX or similar?
A: To measure true performance Lightforce use the industry standard measurement of 1 LUX
1 LUX is the minimum amount of illumination that is usable, (enough light to read a newspaper, not reflectors down the road!)
NOTE: A number of reputable companies are now using 0.25 LUX this gives the customer the perception that the light travels a greater distance, yet another ploy to trick the consumer.
Q: Why do some manufacturers talk about ‘raw lumens’, whilst others use ‘effective lumens’ to promote their products?
A: Raw Lumens is an ineffective and misleading way of measuring light as it is calculated in a laboratory environment to determine a single LED’s peak output for a very short duration. In real terms, its performance cannot be replicated in the field due to a number of factors largely the ability to manage the extreme heat that is generated by a large number of LED’s in addition to the current draw and optical loss which can decrease light output by as much as 75%.
In addition, Raw Lumens can be calculated in a number of ways:
- the absolute peak performance of a LED chip irrespective of longevity and heat operating at 100%
- its manufacturers “recommended” peak power that allows for longevity and thermal management, this in general means, operating the chip at 70-80% its capacity, Lightforce quotes this figure – NOT the absolute peak performance!
Driving an LED over its recommended power rating will greatly reduce the life span of the light and cause additional heat issues.
That’s why some competitors in the LED field will only quote Raw Lumens and shy away from quoting effective Lumens; Lightforce quote both!
Q: So why don’t all manufacturers advertise effective lumens?
A: The short answer: To give the perception that their products have a greater output, basically to deceive the consumer into thinking a larger number means greater light output. Calculating effective Lumens requires expensive and complex photometry equipment however is the ONLY way to provide true light output in Lumens and most importantly LUX.
- Raw Lumens is the measurement of the light source (single LED only) then times the number of LEDs.
- Effective Lumens is the measurement of the light output (combined LEDs and factors in associated losses)
- LUX is the measurement of the effective light that illuminates a surface at a given distance this is the most important of all.
- All Lightforce Photometric Data has been independently supplied, by a NATA accredited laboratory.
Q: What exactly is ADR compliance?
A: In Australia, vehicles must comply with the Australian Design Rules (ADR), which outline national standards for vehicle safety, anti-theft, and emissions. The ADRs are performance-based and cover issues such as occupant protection, structures, lighting, noise, engine exhaust emissions, braking and a range of miscellaneous items. Vehicles must comply with the ADRs in effect at the time they were constructed. ADR 13/00 - Installation of Lighting and Light Signalling Australian Design Rule - prescribes requirements for the number and mode of installation of lighting and light signaling devices on motor vehicles (other than L-group vehicles). While Lightforce products are not ADR-compliant, they fall under the accessories category, not having been originally in-built into the vehicle, and can legally be sold in Australia.
For further information, please see our page on ADR Compliance.