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The Headlight post you've all been waiting for.

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  • The Headlight post you've all been waiting for.

    We spend many hours talking about the upgrades that go into our vehicles, and many more hours installing them. Without a blink of an eye we will tell our wives that we’ve sold a set of tires (whether we actually have or not) just to ease her into the idea of dropping close to two-thousand dollars on an entirely new set of tires of the same size but of a different brand. We continually talk about the bigger lift to get us over the next rock, or through the next mud hole or over that next obstacle -- safely. When we immanently get stuck in that mud, we purchased winches, snatch blocks, and tow straps to get our trucks out of that mud -- safely. We have 101 classes held by our President and Vice President of CDJW on how to operate this equipment -- safely. When we have cable winches, we purchase gloves to operate that winch -- safely. We sometimes effectively hand our keys to a complete stranger just so we have a spotters out in front of our jeep to make it over that boulder because we cannot see, but they can -- All in the name of being SAFE.

    Speaking of sight -- of all the five senses, sight accounts for close to 90% of a driver’s ability to react to oncoming hazards and dangerous road conditions. This being the case, it stands to reason that HEADLIGHTS are one of the most important (if not the most important) safety features on your vehicle. The more nighttime driving you do, the more valuable a good set of headlights will be to you.

    In the past I've gotten a lot of: "Headlights??? Really??? you can buy better, more useful things with your money" when I’ve mentioned this topic to certain CDJW Vice Presidents -- their names are unimportant as they will be removed from their position in the not-too-distant future. ;-)

    None the less, there has yet to be a member of CDJW (to my knowledge) whose jeep is not their daily driver. Those two items on the front of your rig are responsible for the safety of you and your passengers; they are the two pieces that gets you home daily from work during a rain or snow storm and your family home safely late at night. Is it REALLY the part to skimp on? -- It is no wonder that they’re required to function properly at time of our yearly inspection. If we spend ten miles off the road for every thousand we spend on the road, it's been a fantastic wheeling season. In spite of this lopsided figure, arguably one of the most important parts on your rig is continually overlooked in favor of “toys.”

    Any number of us have seen or read the news stories about the potentially deadly consequences of drivers falling asleep at the wheel. Did you know that the type of headlights you use can affect your driving fatigue? There have been several studies regarding the circadian rhythm, or in layman’s terms: The body’s internal clock. More than a few of these studies have shown that our circadian rhythm is linked to the cycle of night and day, our brains interpret the color temperature of the light we’re exposed to at a particular time of day and then our brain subconsciously tells our bodies whether we should should be awake and alert or resting in attempt to sleep…

    I’ll attempt to explore these phenomenons mentioned above while providing tangible, accurate, data that has been collected on leading headlight brands, while also centralizing this information from various sources. I hope this will educate you on what afterword should be a headlights purchase -- the data is staggering. To paraphrase the masses along with their various colorful metaphors to describe stock jeep wrangler headlights as “not good.”
    Read on…

    I’ve taken my fair share of crap for my priorities when it comes to my rig. One of my own personal projects to this truck is a little something I like to call “Project: Daylight” it’s exactly how it sounds -- it ranges from 50” light bars down to 14” light bars and goes to little pilar LED’s. My headlight research is just one aspect of it that I feel can I benefit most from in the most frequency. Perhaps it’s me dealing with eyes as a career, or that I was an advertising photography major, having spent a lot of time in a studio controlling light, but I know a LOT about light and from what I researched this isn’t exactly “light” reading -- HARHARHAR

    This being said, there is some terminology that is being thrown at you by some salesperson you need to know, if for nothing else, to call them out on their crap:

    Light Terminology

    Watts
    “Watts is a measure of total power output, this not to be confused with total LIGHT output. Not all of the energy emitted by a light source is visible light, heat and invisible light waves are also emitted. A LOT of heat is produced by most lights seeing as nearly melting something (filament)”

    Lumens
    “Lumens, on the other hand, will tell you the total visible light output of a source. For this reason, lumens (not watts) is one of the relevant unit of measure when you’re concerned about headlights. You can really get into a whole new level of claims when you start throwing lumens around. But lumens are the TOTAL output of light from the source, NOT the total light you “see”. You catching the little caveat there? Lumens require you to basically stick the entire light inside a sphere with a meter, then get a measurement.

    Candlepower/Candela

    Candlepower = old school measurement, candela = new school, both close enough to the same meaning. One candela is about the light intensity produced by an ordinary candle as perceived by the your eye. It is used to addresses how bright a light source is in a particular direction, in our case, forward. The candela is similar to the lumen in that both deal with light output as perceived by the eye, but the key difference is that the lumen measures the total visible light output, whereas the candela addresses directional intensity only. You lose light in reflection, refraction, stray aimed light and dispersion via whatever is in the air including the air itself.”
    To be honest, I could care less about watts, lumens and candela. Its like saying I have an engine that puts out 800hp at the crank but only 400 at the wheels. I want useable, reality based light and not a sales plug.

    Foot-Candles and lux, Both units measure the same thing, the amount of visible light that falls on a surface. The key difference between the two is that the foot-candle uses the Imperial measuring system (’merica, hell ya), while the lux uses the metric system. To better understand the foot-candle, imagine that you have a one candle (candela) light source located in the center of a sphere and the radius of that sphere is a distance of one foot, a foot-candle is the amount of light that falls on the inside surface of that sphere. For the lux, take that same example and simply change the radius of the sphere to a distance of one meter. This is “real world” light, you can see it, segregate it by pattern and measure it easily.

    Think of this all like a vehicle as mentioned before: Your engine is producing 500 lumen at the crank but you are only getting 200 candela at the rear wheels due to internal losses. You only have one gear so when you start on the line you get 20 foot candles to the road and this gradually drops as you get further down the track.” (1. Pirate4x4)

    Here is some data on some meter readings on low and high beams:

    LOWBEAMgraph.jpg

    HIGHBEAMgraph.jpg


    Now... before you get all “wow, great… this chart tells me everything I already know, I need to drop $700 for some JW speakers!” First, let’s make sure that we’re reading this data correctly. If your initial thought is that “Rebel O/R, JWS and HID projectors are the best because they have the most amount of blue!” -- NOT SO FAST SIR! -- What you are looking at above is foot candles produced at 25’ -- It’s okay that you failed that test, I planned you would fail, i set it up that way and you fell directly into the trap. That is why I’m here to comfort, nurture and bandage you up from that stumble in intelligence, so I could send you away smarter.

    Let us examine what is happening in these here charts -- Imagine for a moment that you are in the middle of the road before you are about to get hit by a massive CDJW rig, this chart is saying that Rebel O/R, JWS, and HID Projectors would be tanning your retinas a fraction of a second before you are hit at 80 foot candles 25’ away. It is natural that lights are brighter when you are closer to them, these particular brands just happen to be brighter than the others at 25’ away. Personally, I don't need the object I'm going to hit 25' in front of me when I'm doing 55 mph, brighter -- again, that's just my opinion. The part we are actually interested in is that little wee bit of orange/yellow toward the bottom of the chart where at 500’ you are seeing light.

    See? don’t you feel smarter now?

    After my explanation of that, you’re probably looking at the data and still saying to yourself that “based on the data everyone would (read: should) say that JW Speaker is the hands down winner of the DOT approved lights” -- which was my thought for a LONG time. Let’s “shed some light” on this data. According to wiki answers -- “A 100 W incandescent bulb produces about 1750 lumens or 137 foot-candles” so while the JW Speakers clearly have more foot candles per 50 feet, in the end, the difference at 500 feet away is equivalent to approximately a 2 watt lightbulb (if that), or rather what I like to call a:

    <<<NEGLIGIBLE DIFFERENCE>>>

    ***INSERT LOUD THUNDER CLAP***

    -- by comparison to the other lights used in these meter readings. That’s not to say the data is useless, it just means that your eyes couldn’t tell the difference of 2 watts of light if they were 2 feet in front of your face, let alone 500’ away as this chart is setup.

    But -- for some real images, give these a look:

    Lame-o Stock Low Beam:
    factorylow.jpg

    Lame-o Stock High Beam:
    factoryhigh.jpg

    Truck Lite Low Beams:
    trucklitelow.jpg

    Truck Lite High Beams:
    trucklitehigh.jpg

    JW Speaker Low Beams:
    jwlow.jpg

    JW Speaker High Beams:
    jwhigh.jpg



    In my opinion, these charts basically shows how foolish you are in hemming and hawing over what headlights to purchase, but give you a good idea of how evenly the beam is spread and when push comes to shove, you can say that your JWSpeaker headlights allow you to see further, or at the very least are “better” than most other headlights based on the data above. However, in reality, when it comes down to seeing things at night, you probably won’t notice much of a difference. What I do know, is that you will see a hella lot more than with your stock lights.

    In the end, I chose the truck lites for my rig. After hemming and hawing for a number of weeks, I asked some jeep members at some other forums why they went with Truck Lite instead of JWS. At the time I purchase my Truck lites there was about a $300 difference in price than the least expensive set of JWS headlights that I could find, and these fellas aren’t short on change if you look at their rigs, yet were still running with truck lites. Universally the answer I received was “I can buy a lot with $300, I don’t think the JWS headlights are worth that much more” which was the real clincher for me aside from the data above.

    That’s not to say JWS is a bad choice, or that Truck Lite is a good choice. There are times that I do not like the artifact in my Truck Lites and wish I had JW speakers, or I wish I had the JWS look. But overall I’m super happy with the output that my headlights produce, they are far better than what I expected and far better than stock. I’ve had them about a year now and my girlfriend (who also owns a jeep wrangler unlimited, only with stock headlights) routinely tells me that we should take my jeep at night as “you can’t see anything at night by comparison to your jeep when we are in mine.”

    If you can’t take my word, take hers. She’s not an aficionado and makes me feel like writing this was a waste of time that I could’ve been doing my job while at work instead of writing this.


    Special thanks to:

    1.) Pirate4x4.com -- for their images and charts as well as a -great deal- of the context above. JeepForum.com, Fourwheeler.com - please take the time to visit their pages should you need more information!

    Feel free to contact me if you need more information!
    Last edited by DiggaDon; 03-03-2015, 07:03 PM.
    CDJW.org - Media team member
    2012 Cosmos Blue Unlimited
    2.5" Rock Krawler Lift
    Rock Krawler Lower Control Arms
    35x12.5 BFG KM2's
    Truck Lite LED headlights

  • #2
    one hell of a write up right here... Thank you for this!
    2001 TJ.
    Bedlined black
    Lifted 4.5". 35" mud claws.
    Locked. Let's wheel!

    Comment


    • #3
      Thanks, I'm going to work with Jay on getting these images larger so they are actually functional.
      CDJW.org - Media team member
      2012 Cosmos Blue Unlimited
      2.5" Rock Krawler Lift
      Rock Krawler Lower Control Arms
      35x12.5 BFG KM2's
      Truck Lite LED headlights

      Comment


      • #4
        Good read. Thanks again for answering all of my questions the other night. I seriously think the headlights are going to be my toughest choice for my build because they are that important to me.
        15 Baja JKR

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by d. gage View Post
          Good read. Thanks again for answering all of my questions the other night. I seriously think the headlights are going to be my toughest choice for my build because they are that important to me.
          Be sure to let us know what you end up with!
          CDJW.org - Media team member
          2012 Cosmos Blue Unlimited
          2.5" Rock Krawler Lift
          Rock Krawler Lower Control Arms
          35x12.5 BFG KM2's
          Truck Lite LED headlights

          Comment


          • #6
            Good read is an understatement!, great info for any vehicle not just jeeps. Its funny because every vehicle i have owned i have always put H.I.D. headlights in, as stated in the article its a more white light and mimics natural light and helps fight fatigue during night driving. I should show this article to people who said i was wasting money!

            Sent from my VS980 4G using Tapatalk
            Si vis pacem , para bellum

            Comment


            • #7
              I read this article and it's what made me decide to go with Truck-Lites for exactly the points he makes.
              2003 TJ X - Light Metallic Khaki and Black "Blackout Special" on 33x12.5 Wrangler MT/R Kevlar Tires
              M101 CDN2 Trailer on 33x12.5 Wrangler MT/R Kevlar Tires

              More mods than can fit in a signature ;-)

              My Build Thread

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by DiggaDon View Post
                In the past I've gotten a lot of: "Headlights??? Really??? you can buy better, more useful things with your money" when I’ve mentioned this topic to certain CDJW Vice Presidents -- their names are unimportant as they will be removed from their position in the not-too-distant future. ;-)
                This is funny, because that certain someone has bought two sets of lights for said vehicle, I bought the first set then said person bought a LED set *ahem* the lights I bought from said person are very blue.. I may replace that blue bulb with a white one..it's// "too blue" not easy to see/focus in the dead of night.
                2001 TJ.
                Bedlined black
                Lifted 4.5". 35" mud claws.
                Locked. Let's wheel!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Droni. View Post
                  This is funny, because that certain someone has bought two sets of lights for said vehicle, I bought the first set then said person bought a LED set *ahem* the lights I bought from said person are very blue.. I may replace that blue bulb with a white one..it's// "too blue" not easy to see/focus in the dead of night.
                  I have no idea what you all are talking about.

                  The alternative set i gave you are also blueish hue?
                  Keith - CoFounder
                  2018 JLU Rubicon

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    JW speaker Evolution 2...comes with bat call. SOLD!

                    15 Baja JKR

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by tritonman View Post
                      I have no idea what you all are talking about.

                      The alternative set i gave you are also blueish hue?
                      Yeah yeah yeah blue yeah, hue'ish blueish yeah uh huh. I like it but it seems like it hinders its lumens. idk we will see
                      2001 TJ.
                      Bedlined black
                      Lifted 4.5". 35" mud claws.
                      Locked. Let's wheel!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Stay home at night.......save your money....LOL
                        CDJW.org Board Member.
                        Safety Officer.
                        Original.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I've still been researching and I can't find a single bad review of the quadratec lights. Everyone seems to absolutely love them.
                          15 Baja JKR

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by d. gage View Post
                            I've still been researching and I can't find a single bad review of the quadratec lights. Everyone seems to absolutely love them.
                            Obviously you can add me to the list. I still need to touch base with you so you can see mine fi4sthand.

                            Sent from my SM-N910V using Tapatalk
                            Keith - CoFounder
                            2018 JLU Rubicon

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by tritonman View Post
                              Obviously you can add me to the list. I still need to touch base with you so you can see mine fi4sthand.

                              Sent from my SM-N910V using Tapatalk

                              Can't wait to See them!
                              15 Baja JKR

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