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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited by Moderator)
To read the original full thread and post questions/comments on this topic, please go to http://www.fjcruiserforums.com/forums/4x4-off-road-tech/13972-offroad-lights-their-usage.html


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Lights.




There are a few different types of lights that are used in offroad (and on road) situations. Some are ok to mount on top of your rig and some need to be down low.

Daylighters or Flood lights are usually the ones that people mount on top of their rigs. They completely light up the night and the terrain in order to see the "big picture" while driving offroad at night.

Here is Co-Jeff's killer ride that has this set up;




...and AtlantaCruising's set up;





Fog lights should never be up high if they are being used as fog lights. The reason being is; you want to illuminate the ground without getting any light reflection off of the moisture (fog or rain or snow) and back into your eyes. For this reason, you do not want the beam of light to cross your field of vision at all. Keep it as close to the ground as possible so there is no reflection back to you. They light up a wide path from left to right, but not very far down the road. You can't see far in fog anyway, but what they do is help you to see the surface in front of you and the sides of the road left and right.

Here is FJ Cruiser #8's rig, which shows how bumper manufacturers keep fog lights down low;





Driving lights are similar to stock high beams, but a bit more intense and a bit more isolated to "straight ahead" than the daylighter type of lights. They give you a good view of what is way down the trail, but if you had them on while rock climbing, they would appear as a spot of light right in front of you instead of lighting up the entire bluff you're climbing like a daylighter/flood light would. These are good for dirt roads or offroading where you have some decent stretch ahead of you that you need to view (good for seeing deer at night also).

Here is FJ213's FJ which shows a great location for Driving Lights





Pencil lights are similar to driving lights but are even more isolated to a spot way down the road. This would be a perfect light for a Baja style race where you are going 90 MPH and need to see as far down the road as you can, but it does not illuminate left to right at all.

Here is The Donahoe Race Truck, running the Baja Peninsula races







A rally or Desert Endurance driver will have a good combination of a couple of different lights as they need to see the edge of the road as well as way down the road, and in all kinds of weather.

Here is Rod Millen's truck used to run the Baja 1000




Some like to just make sure they have it all covered.

Here is Cruiser Larry's very bright, very versatile setup;





And 1LegLance's set up (Photo by Miss R2FJ)



With any of these lights you do not want any part of the beam shining back into your own eyes even indirectly. This will cause a glare. Imagine if someone else is holding a flashlight for the both of you on a dark trail and part of the light is shining in your eyes. Can you see the trail? Yes, but you also squint due to the light in your own eyes. If you were to hold the light in your own hand pointing straight ahead, you don't get anything back in your own eyes and you see fine. Hold the light over your head or behind you but still shining forward and you see even better because there is no chance for the glare to enter your field of vision.

Different people like different lights for their own situations and lighting needs based on geography. My set up is done in a way to have my lights higher than any mud pit I slosh through or any water fording. I have fog lights on the outside and driving lights in the middle. This is really too high for fog lights, as they should be as close to the ground as possible, but I wanted them out of the way for approach angle and water crossings as well, so I sacrificed one thing for another.







I hope this helps. Many companies make good lights. PIAA, HELLA, IPF, WARN, KC and others. Choose the right light for your situation and don't let anyone dissuade you from setting them up how you want.



 
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