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Lightforce Off-Road Lights Install and Review
After the install of an ARB Bull Bar on my 92 Toyota Pickup I was in the market for a good set of off-road driving lights for our occasional night trail runs, not to mention for the commute through the wooded areas of PA where I often see deer, sometimes a little too late. I decided to part from my old ways of buying the cheaper sets of lights at the local automotive parts stores. I was never really impressed or truthfully even satisfied with the performance of any of these lighting products. For starters the output, measured in candlepower, was never as high as I would have hoped or even as high as the manufacturer would advertise. Most would not even give an output measurement in candlepower but in watts. Watts are simply the power consumption and not a gauge for the actual output of light. It is possible for a set of lights to consume the same or even less power (watts) than another set of driving lights and yet have higher output of light (candlepower). This simply means that the set of lights with the higher candlepower is more efficient at converting the vehicles power into usable light. A usual solution is to install more lights but this will increase the consumed power, putting a heavier load on the alternator usually with only a nominal increase in light output if the lights are not efficient. It makes more sense to get a good, high quality set of off-road lights with a high power to output ratio.

After some research and communicating with a U.S. based company called Off-Road Lights in Washington State who is a retailer of high intensity lighting systems made by Lightforce of Australia, I found what I was looking for. My thoughts, from what I read and learned from Off-Road Lights in Washington state, were that the lights made by Lightforce were some of the highest quality lights in the industry. With an impressive track record, Lightforce Australia Pty Ltd from what I learned has been developing and refining it's wide range of lighting products and accessories for over 15 years. Their lights have been used by Australia truckers and the trucking industries for years to light the way of "Road Trains" that sometimes pull up to 5 trailers across the highways of Australia. They are also used in 40 countries by police, security, marine, search and rescue, fire services, and military applications such as in the Persian Gulf on U.S. Hummers in Desert Storm operations.  The product line is new to the United States and few companies carry them here. 

My question was why would all these services employ the use of these lights?  I detailed some of the reasons that I read about prior to making my decision below.  Later after receiving, installing and using the lights I'm even more impressed with the quality of these lights.

The Base...

For starters, out of the box one of the first things I was impressed with was the construction. The base appeared to be made of a strong and durable plastic and looked good as well. Lightforce says that they are produced from the latest engineering plastics and formed using injection molding making them extremely durable, lightweight, corrosion resistant Ultra Violet (UV) light resistant, and impact resistant.

The Reflector...

I requested the 170 mm reflectors which is one of the three sizes of reflectors that Lightforce offers which include 140, 170 & 240mm reflector diameters. The 170 mm reflectors looked quite unique in design and of higher quality compared to what I was used to seeing on the market and on my vehicle. What the company says about their reflectors is that they are computer designed and molded using an injection molding process. A high quality vacuum metallised finish is used to produce a beam that optimizes the light energy produced by the bulbs.


The Lenses...

The lenses are of an interesting shape, sort of a shallow conical shape. It seems that there is a good reason for this design and that is serves some purpose like possibly deflecting heat. Lightforce reports that the lenses are made of a virtually indestructible, shatter-proof lens material called "POLYCARBONATE (LEXAN)" which can withstand a violent impact and extreme thermal shock. I was told that tests of these lenses involved firing a 25 caliber bullet at the lense which resulted in minor damage when the bullet was deflected away and did not penetrate the lense. This is one test I'll take their word on. I suppose this is one of the reasons the military uses these lights.


This is nice. By simply rotating the front housing, the light can be focused to obtain a pencil beam or progressively rotated to flood broad areas.  With a dual, over lapping  light system a wide bright beam can be projected to light the trail.   I now use them instead of my trucks high beams during my long commute through heavily wooded roads always on alert for deer.

The Bulbs...

The company offers various bulb options.  All Lightforce lights use long life Quartz Xenon bulbs which produces a reported 20% more light than standard halogen bulbs resulting in a brilliant white light. They are also available in different voltages and wattages and are easily replaced requiring no tools.  Two bulb options I chose were the horizontal and vertical filaments.  The difference between the two is the horizontal will produce an oval, broader beam of light.  The vertical filament will produce a rounder, more spotlight like beam with about 20% more candlepower due to the filament's profile.

Filter Options...

Each reflector size has available a variety of filter options, each for different purposes.  The filters I chose were the clear, amber and blue.  One of the nice things about these offroad lights is the ease of changing the filters.  They are simple to attach and detach by clipping onto the front reflector housing.

  • AMBER - For highlighting contrast in damp or foggy conditions
  • BLACK - Opaque protective covers for lights when not in use
  • BLUE - For marine, police and security applications
  • CLEAR - Protective cover for the lens, standard with driving lights
  • GREEN - Specifically for spotting animals with sensitive eyes
  • RED - Most popular for study of nocturnal animals and night hunting of light shy animals. eg. Rabbit, fox and wild boar. (Many animals are unable to see RED due to lack of color vision.)
  • DISPERSION FILTERS: Available in clear, red and infra-red for 140 & 170mm reflector sizes. These filters transform the beam into a soft edged flood light, especially useful when boating, camping or using as a general work light.
  • INFRA RED FILTERS: Used with 1st, 2nd and 3rd generation Night Vision Image Intensifiers with an 840-920 nanometer wave length. 

Lightforce also makes an extensive and versatile range of handles and accessories for portables including battery packs.  Take a look at Off-Road Lights in Washington state USA for additional information on their product line.



Depending on where you decide to mount your off-road lights, installation will vary.   On the ARB Bull Bar installation could not have been simpler.  The ARB is prefabricated with a pair of mounting points in the center section of the grill area.   The base of the 170mm lights mount with a large single 10mm bolt.  I used the pre-drilled holes in the ARB to bolted them down. That was it and I was on to the wiring.

Mounting to an ARB

In the typical install you may need to take the dimensions into account when deciding where to mount your off-road lights. (Dimensional diagrams of all three sizes are pictured below click here).  The bases of these lights do not require the surface to be level so if your mounting them on the front bumper of your off-road rig the factory bumper can be bolted onto even if  it is an angled surface. If you're worried about protecting the lights from heavy underbrush a prerunner bar is a good way to protect them. Not to mention they look good.  Lightforce also makes accessories for remote operation of the lights from inside the vehicle which is an option used frequently in emergency vehicles.  Also nice for spotting game.



Things To Consider When Wiring Your Offroad Lights...

When wiring anything in your vehicle that draws heavy current such as high powered off-road lights there are a few things to consider.  Number one, make sure you use wire that is rated for the amperage that the accessories is going to pull.  It is always better to have wire that is OVER rated rather than wire that is not rated high enough.  If wire is used that is not rated to handle the current that your accessory will pull, the result could be overheated wires that could melt the insulation, causing a short or worse yet it could result in a fire.  If you know how much current your accessory will draw you can determine what gauge wire is appropriate for your application.

Personally I like to use wire that far exceeds the current draw of my accessory.   It's overkill but in a few applications I've used heavy gauge stranded industrial wire with water and chemical resistant insulation. That way there is no question as to whether the wire is rated high enough or not.  If this approach is taken, it is very wise to place a fuse at the battery end as close to the battery as possible.  Most wire in a vehicle, if shorted out, will burn up before the battery overheats and possibly explodes.  If wire that is over-rated for vehicle use is used and a short occurs, a short will most likely result in damage to the vehicle of some sort unless a fuse is put in line as close to the battery as possible.  With the fuse there, in the case of a dead short, the fuse will burn out first before any damage could occur. 

With accessories that pull a lot of power it is always better to get your power directly from the batteries positive terminal rather than tapping into the existing fuse block or wiring harness.  In most cases the vehicles existing fuse block is not rated to handle the additional load of high powered accessories such as off-road lights.  If you are the kind of person that likes to add all kind of goodies to your vehicle it might be worth installing an additional fuse block that handles non-critical items like off-road lights, CB radios, power inverters, etc.  This additional block can then be powered by a heavy duty wire capable of carrying the current required of all the accessories on the block.  Be sure to fuse the block at the battery.


In almost every case where high current is required the switch use to turn on the power should not handle the load.  That is better left to a relay.   What is a relay?  A relay is a device that, through a magnetic induction coil, turns on the power for you.  The switch that is installed in the cab of your 4x4 actually only powers the relay itself which draws very little current.  In my installation I used a 30 AMP relay from Radio Shack (Auto Relay Cat. Number 275-226) to do the switching.  I used a lighted switch in the cab to let me know the lights were on even though there was no way I would have any doubt they were on (even during the day).

Wiring Diagram

The method I used for wiring the lights, for the most part, follows the diagram pictured above. As in the diagram I first ran a wire from a 12 volt power source to the switch in the cab and out to the relay placing a fuse at the source of the power. (Follow the relay's wiring schematic when connecting the wires to the relay) One of the relays terminals goes to ground. Then I ran a heavy gauge wire from the battery to the relay placing a 30 Amp fuse in line very close to the battery. Do not connect the power to the battery until all wiring is done. Then I ran a single heavy gauge wire out to the lights and split it into two leads at the lights. If you do this be sure the wire is rated to handle BOTH lights since it will carry the current of both. The diagram shows two leads coming from the relay. Then I ran the second wire of both lights to a good ground on the frame of the truck. If the wires will not be soldered together and crimped connectors will be used it's a good idea to put a dielectric paste on the connectors where they come in contact. This will prevent corrosion as time passes ensuring a good connection. I then double-checked all my wiring before plugging in the power. Later that night I took the vehicle to a flat parking lot for adjustments.


So...  What's the verdict?

Impressive.  At least 5 times the light of my high beams making the stock high beams almost insignificant in comparison.  If the past month I've done some hard 4 wheeling through the back country of PA and even though the lights have been jarred around and wacked by a few underbrush branches they none the worse.   The filters are great.  I particularly like the amber filters which I leave on most of the time.  They seem to reflect a highly visible light making objects visibly jump out of the shadows.  On a few foggy nights this past month after installing them they performed very well as fog lights.  Driving on or off-road at night using the clear filters (mainly the clear act as protective covers) they light up everything.   I broaden the focus and pointed them not at the ground but so the center of the beam is pointing straight out from the lights.  This seemed to produce the best beam for uneven terrain or hilly areas on the pavement.  I can only imaging the light that the RMDL240's would throw off with the 9 inch reflector.

In a nutshell, if your looking for a good set of lights for off-road or on road driving these are a class above your average lighting systems.  I highly recommend these high power, light weight lights.  The people at Off-Road Lights are a U.S. based retailer of high intensity lighting systems made by Lightforce of Australia.  The following is their website address: http://www.Off-roadlights.com

Converting Candlepower to Watts and vice-versa & Other Offroad Light Information



Purchased from:
Off-Road Lights
Give them a call at:
for a great price on a set.





Dimensional Diagrams

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Contact Info:
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