When it comes to adding the best lighting systems, it’s Hella that leads the way
The increasing activity of Chinese manufacturers entering the auto accessory market is giving rise to considerable concern as options grow for those looking to add auxiliary lighting systems to their vehicles.
The reason for this concern is the sometimes-dubious quality coming out of China. When dealing with lighting systems and electricity, questionable quality can lead, in the worst case scenario, to failure and possible electrical fire.
In all our dealings with the addition or upgrading of lighting systems, Delivery follows the lead of the vehicle manufacturers themselves and deals with Hella. This German company is the acknowledged expert and supplier of original equipment to many of Europe’s top prestige and luxury carmakers, as well as commercial vehicle manufacturers.
As part of our ongoing appraisal of the Isuzu D-Max, voted Delivery Magazine’s Ute of the Year for 2013, we’ve added some of Hella’s latest LED technology to what started out as a standard spec Space Cab.
With the factory-fitted Isuzu steel bull bar already mounted on the ute, we’ve added Hella LED safety daylight running lamps. These are an easy fit as the Isuzu-supplied bull bar already contains cutouts located in the lower edge of the bar to accommodate the circular LED lamps we selected.
The failure of another motorist to see a car, truck or bus approaching, particularly at intersections, has been identified as one of the most significant factors in daytime accidents.
For those that like statistical proof, it is acknowledged from the in-depth analysis of accident reports that failing to see another road user in time (or at all) is a contributing factor in over 50 percent of all daytime accidents. For daytime intersection accidents this increases to as much as 80 percent.
Regular travellers on our major freeways might have already noticed the large commercial-vehicle fleets, such as Linfox, are already running daytime safety lighting on their vehicles. If it’s good enough to be justified by these cost conscious fleet operations, we suggest it’s very easily accepted as being of value for all vehicles.
Activated when the ignition is switched on, the safety lights turn off automatically when the headlamps are in use. As well as being available in circular designs of 83 mm diameter, other LED designs are available in flat-rectangular or angled-rectangular designs for flat front fitment or angled mounting.
We stayed with LED technology for additional side and rear marker lights that have been mounted under the lower edge of the alloy tray. This gives two amber lights shining down from the tray on each side and two red additional marker lights running across the rear of the tray. There’s an added benefit here as the nearside LEDs also shed light on the filler cap for refuelling at night.
Care was taken with the mounting so that they didn’t run the risk of damage when the dropsides are open, but the upshot of that is that all these LED marker lights are actually concealed from direct view. It’s only when they are turned on with the park lights that they give a gentle spread of additional light to outline the tray dimensions. It’s important to consider how visible a vehicle is from the side view, such as when pulling out from a side road, and the addition of these LEDs improves that level of night-time visibility.
In similar fashion we have also converted the rear stop/tail and turn lighting assemblies to full LED units. These resist vibration experienced when travelling on dirt roads that can damage the filament of an incandescent globe. It’s also a “must have” option to upgrade all trailers to LED rear light assemblies.
The highlight of the LED scene at present, particularly for our test vehicle, has been to fit the latest Hella Luminator LED driving lamps.
As far as driving lamps go, these are big lights that are mounted in a die-cast aluminium housing, behind a polycarbonate clear lens. They come as a pair of spread-beam combination.
In our working conditions of being country based and travelling dirt roads at night, the Luminator Series is proving to be exceptional.
With a beam spread of just over 500 metres, they are not long-distance penetrating beams. The bright white light output and massive spread across the front of the vehicle lights up the edges of paddocks better than anything we have previously experienced.
If you travel regularly on dirt roads and want to spot wombats and ‘roos as early as possible, before they run into your path from the side of the road or neighbouring paddock, then these are what you need.
Claimed to last the life of the housing, the three LED high-output lights contained in each driving lamp should become a set-and-forget item as far as durability and long life are concerned.
And if you want to make your presence felt vocally, then do as we did and add a set of dual-tone horns. Replacing the standard squeak of a single factory-fitted horn with something that actually can make a noise when necessary in an emergency, just about rounds up our equipment test for this issue.