Roof rack light configuration (1 Viewer)

leonard_nemoy

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I recently installed some led bulbs in my old ARB IPF lights for the front of my roof rack. I am still trying to get them aimed and set up. I was hoping for some input on how to configure/aim the 4 lights.

Two of the lights are flood and two are spot lights. I was kind of thinking that I would put the two floods in the middle and aim them to illuminate the road about 50-60 yards in front of the rig. Than I would put the two spots on the outsides and set them so they will illuminate the shoulders of the road about 60-80 yards ahead.

The #1 reason I have these lights is to help spot deer and avoid deer strikes. I do a lot of driving in the dark during the early morning and áfter the sun has gone down when I am either going to or leaving somewhere for fishing or hunting trips, usually on remote back country roads in Utah . Most of these scenarios are on deserted paved roads and highways so I am usually traveling 50-65mph or high speed gravel roads traveling 30 -60mph.

This is why I want the spot lights aimed further ahead in such a way as to help me identify deer in the side of the road with enough time to slow down and avoid the buggers leaping in front of me.

All that being said, I have no experience setting up or aiming lights on a roof rack and maybe I am missing something. Is there any reason I should have the spots in the middle and the floods on the outsides? Is there something I am missing here? Should I aim the lights closer or further away?

Here is a picture of the lights for reference.

20210126_174758.jpg


Any input or wisdom is appreciated as I am hoping to get these lights dialed in this weekend.

Thanks





Disclaimer: I don't want to hear any comments from the peanut gallery about not using aftermarket lights on paved roads or any safety BS. The situations where I want to use these lights for avoiding deer are instances where I will drive 30+ miles without seeing another vehicle. On top of that if I do see a vehicle in these instances it is most likely a local rancher who would be glad that I have extra lights because it will help me avoid creaming one of his cows. I am not planning on using them while driving down the interstate..... I have enough attention, courtesy, and common sense to notice oncoming traffic and kill the lights before I blind anyone.
 
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I think the problem you might run into is that your hood is going to reflect quite a bit of the spill light back into your eyes, especially so if there's a layer of dust on your hood. This is why you see some guys with roof mounted lights that paint their hoods flat black, to avoid reflection at night.

With this logic in mind (*I use 2x Hella spots in front of the grill to avoid this issue), I'd put the spots in the middle, shooting out over the hood, and the floods on the sides giving them a few degrees out outward pan to avoid spill light on the fenders. I'd also aim the spots very far ahead, again to avoid any spill lighting on your hood.

I think you would figure this out on your own once mounted, so I offer this advice, just based on the picture you posted. Additionally, if they have a LOT of spill lighting, you may want to set them back from the edge of the windshield to avoid getting reflection from the glass, which could be worse with a layer of dust.
 
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The lights over the roof can be problematic in snow, rain and dust. On the front bumper is best. I agree with you on the lights for the 4 legged critters. For the floods, position (inboard or outboard) wont matter much. The spots may be impacted slightly.

As far as aiming, it depends on how and where you drive. There is no perfect answer (kind of like tires or 4x4s for that matter). If you are on narrow two track or single track roads where the vegetation is close to the road and you drive fast, it won't matter. Personally, I would aim the floods a little towards the sides of the roads and keep the spots slightly off the centerline about 100 to 150 yds out. The floods will do just that, not much to aim them at as they will spill light all over the place.

I have, as part of my never finishing build (I started and can't get back to it) put some 6 lamp LED ditch lights on some YodaTech mounts. I am hoping to see a significant improvement for things on the side of the rig.
 

leonard_nemoy

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I'd put the spots in the middle, shooting out over the hood, and the floods on the sides giving them a few degrees out outward pan to avoid spill light on the fenders. I'd also aim the spots very far ahead, again to avoid any spill lighting on your hood.

Great stuff, I didn't even think about the light reflecting on the hood. It never bothered me before but the old bulbs were halogen and not nearly as bright as these new led bulbs. Between the brighter bulbs and different light color with the LEDs the hood reflection could be much worse.

The lights over the roof can be problematic in snow, rain and dust. On the front bumper is best
This totally makes sense, but the roof rack is already built to fit these lights and the wiring is already professionally installed and routed to the roof. So I think I will try and make them work on the roof. If I can't get it dialed in than I will certainly consider switching them to the bumper.

Awesome input guys, I am glad I took the time to post this up. I didn't even think about the light reflecting on the hood.
 

clx16

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Can you not just spray water on your windshield like a mist to see if the light will flood the windshield? Not that you are trying to avoid getting it dusty to test, but might be faster.

who cares if they work well or you get glare, they will look awesome!
 

leonard_nemoy

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Can you not just spray water on your windshield like a mist to see if the light will flood the windshield? Not that you are trying to avoid getting it dusty to test, but might be faster.

Would I want to spray water on the windshield or the hood to test the hood glare?

who cares if they work well or you get glare, they will look awesome!

Have you seen my rig. It's official name is *hit Brindle Brown. Between the 19 dents, mismatched mirrors, and the poo colored monstaliner, looks are the least of my worries. Hopefully it's ugly enough the deer will jump back into the woods instead of jumping in front of the rig 🤣

If I was really worried about looks I would have trashed the old school lights and INTI roof rack and swapped them out for a low profile roof rack, hipster roof top tent and a $1200.00 light bar....
 

clx16

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I don't know if it would work on the hood the same way, but i know that bright light hitting beads of water on the windshield will be pretty blinding, and if that doesn't happen then i doubt dust will be an issue since the light isn't hitting your windshield. I got the idea when I had misting rain hitting my windshield at night and all the lights around me including stoplights were blinding me.

and round lights over the cab always look good on all vehicles. Its like nice wheels on patina cars, lets people know thats a hot rod in development and you care.

For aiming the spot lights. I would find a parking garage wall back away from it 25 - 30 feet and set them to be perfectly level with the middle of the lights on the cab maybe 4 or 5 inches lower in the event you have a load in the back from time to time. You are wanting them to project out there far, so I would just make sure they are not shooting too high or too low and the hot spot of the beam will widen over distance to cover more. I point my headlights at 34 inches high at 25 feet (that is just under the side mirrors of a honda accord) I still have enough beam spread to get sign reflections etc (takes very little to activate reflective paint and signs), but the really sharp cut off is below the mirrors and keeps everyone in front of me happy.

You will need to be much higher since you are only going to have reflective eyes ahead of you if they happen to be looking your direction.
 
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Great stuff, I didn't even think about the light reflecting on the hood. It never bothered me before but the old bulbs were halogen and not nearly as bright as these new led bulbs. Between the brighter bulbs and different light color with the LEDs the hood reflection could be much worse.


This totally makes sense, but the roof rack is already built to fit these lights and the wiring is already professionally installed and routed to the roof. So I think I will try and make them work on the roof. If I can't get it dialed in than I will certainly consider switching them to the bumper.

Awesome input guys, I am glad I took the time to post this up. I didn't even think about the light reflecting on the hood.
Don't ditch the roof lights, augment with some on the bumper. Best of both worlds. Just switch separately so you can kill the roof lights if necessary.
 

leonard_nemoy

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Don't ditch the roof lights, augment with some on the bumper. Best of both worlds. Just switch separately so you can kill the roof lights if necessary.

Yeah, I actually already have 4 lights on the bumper already lol. All the aux lights on this rig were installed by the PO. The wiring, fuse block, and OEM dash switches were all installed very well. But the lights on the bumper are chinese garbage.

Hopefully I will be upgrading the smaller lights on the bumper with better lights sometime this year.

20201230_220741.jpg
 
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This is a good thread discussing the glare issue.

Post in thread 'glare off hood from roof-mounted LED bar'

I like the inverted glare shield idea as shown below. You might need to be creative with your stone guard in place, but this will keep the light off the hood and out front where you want it.

View attachment 2647834
I have wondered how effective the shields were. I would think they would have to extend out significantly more than that to really limit the light on the hood to the point of looking idiotic. I like how clean these look, would like to see a night time pic, with and without the shields.
 

leonard_nemoy

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So I have decided that I am going to try and set the spots in the middle and the floods on the outside edges. I am also going to slide the roof rack forward as far as I can to help mitigate the hood splash.

Coincidentally I am also going to get the hood off my old white 91 today. It is in good shape and has the hood pad installed so I was going to swap it over because the current hood has hail damage and it's missing the hood pad.

I was just going to leave the new hood white but now I think I will rattle can it a different color before I swap it to help mitigate the reflection.

I really don't like the idea of a black hood because it gets so hot here in the summer, I will probably go with some sort of matte brown or something.
 

mingles

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I have wondered how effective the shields were. I would think they would have to extend out significantly more than that to really limit the light on the hood to the point of looking idiotic. I like how clean these look, would like to see a night time pic, with and without the shields.

My only experience was as a kid having a CJ-5 with the obligatory light bar above the windshield and old-school KC Daylighters. The light on the hood TOTALLY distracted from seeing out front, and in snow/dust you were flying completely blind.

All my trucks since then have had driving lights out front, and only work/camp lights on the roof.
 
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The great advantage of roof lights off road is that they illuminate the track without leaving pools of blackness in the hollows. Ideally they need to be set far enough back that the bonnet (or hood!) is in the shade as even an illuminated matt black surface is a bit distracting; if you can't see them looking back from below bonnet level it'll work fine. Counter intuitively, spot lights work best mounted at the extremities of the bar/rack aiming at the opposite side of the road. This illuminates all the scenery you can see without leaving pools of blackness behind any roadside obstructions. Powering the lights through a relay (obviously) fed via a "on-off-on" switch with the common going to the relay and fed from a fused battery source and the main beam enables the lights to work with the main beam on the highway and to be on permanently off road; or off when not needed.
 

leonard_nemoy

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The great advantage of roof lights off road is that they illuminate the track without leaving pools of blackness in the hollows. Ideally they need to be set far enough back that the bonnet (or hood!) is in the shade as even an illuminated matt black surface is a bit distracting; if you can't see them looking back from below bonnet level it'll work fine. Counter intuitively, spot lights work best mounted at the extremities of the bar/rack aiming at the opposite side of the road. This illuminates all the scenery you can see without leaving pools of blackness behind any roadside obstructions. Powering the lights through a relay (obviously) fed via a "on-off-on" switch with the common going to the relay and fed from a fused battery source and the main beam enables the lights to work with the main beam on the highway and to be on permanently off road; or off when not needed.

Interesting.... So your saying have the spots on opposite sides with the beams crossing before they illuminate the road?

also, your saying to have the lights mounted farther back on the roof vs forward to avoid light splashing on the hood?

I just finished moving the rack 1ft forward and installing the spots in the middle lol.
 
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That's what he's saying, and it makes sense. His suggestion uses geometry to put more light at an angle to illuminate more of the sides of the road, where a deer might be standing. Think of it like holding your arms out straight in front of you vs. crossing your arms at your elbows. Where your hands point is where the light would be focused, and the further outboard you can get the spotlights, the better the effect will work,
 
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Interesting.... So your saying have the spots on opposite sides with the beams crossing before they illuminate the road?

also, your saying to have the lights mounted farther back on the roof vs forward to avoid light splashing on the hood?

I just finished moving the rack 1ft forward and installing the spots in the middle lol.
Spot on, so to speak!
Having the lights mounted as low as possible under the rack helps too. Its easiest with rectangular LEDs, or a light bar.
 
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That's what he's saying, and it makes sense. His suggestion uses geometry to put more light at an angle to illuminate more of the sides of the road, where a deer might be standing. Think of it like holding your arms out straight in front of you vs. crossing your arms at your elbows. Where your hands point is where the light would be focused, and the further outboard you can get the spotlights, the better the effect will work,
Actually the important bit is to get the drivers side light closer to the outside edge of the vehicle than the driver's eyes so that it illuminates all that is in the field of vision. It doesn't need to be much further out to eliminate the disconcerting blacked out bits.
 

leonard_nemoy

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Thanks again for all the input.

I already have the spots installed in the middle and the floods on the outsides. I think this is the most logical setup for avoiding hood splash from the floods.

I still have not had time to go out and aim the lights. I will hopefully get it done this coming weekend and report back with some pictures. I will probably fiddle around with trying to cross the two spot beams but It might not work with them being in the middle.

I will update this thread once I get out and try aiming them. There are no parking garages for me to use so I am trying to decide if I should just drive out to a straight stretch of high-speed dirt or try and find a cliff where I can park at the bottom.
 

Box Rocket

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Late to the conversation but from my experience I definitely prefer the spots in the center with floods to the outside. Lights on the roof can be tricky. I saw it's already been discussed that there can be glare off the windshield and hood. The inverted glare shields that @mingles posted are a nice way to help control that whether it's round lights or even a lightbar. It will also help if the lights aren't right over the windshield. If you can set the lights back behind the top of the windshield then the roof will create some "shadow" on the windshield and hood.

Any lights are better than nothing. Avoiding animal strikes is a good reason for extra light. Lights that give you as much early warning as possible. LEDs are better than halogens. HIDs are better than LEDs. Lasers are better than HIDs. The laser lights I recently got to replace my HIDs are frickin' incredible with how far they will throw light. They are tight beams but literally have a range of 2000m. The company I got them from has laser lights from 4" up to 9".
 

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