We met Nick Irwin of Vision X at the 2007 SEMA show where they we debuting their new LED technology. I have been a long time proponent of LEDs ever since I was a kid, going to the electronics store to put LEDs on my r/c cars. Well now you can have LEDs on your big toy.
The biggest benefit of LEDs is their shock resistance which is perfect for off-road use. Vision Xs LED lighting technology with its Xmitter LED Light Bar is designed for On and Off Road use. Each weatherproof low profile light bar produces tremendous light output, with a 12" bar producing 3600 lumens, 100 more lumens than a 35 watt HID while drawing only 4 amps and boasting an astonishing 292,000 hour life span.
Now that you know the technical stuff, lets see how they work in real life. I unbolted my HIDs in order to mount the LEDs. This was not the best arrangement as the mount was not really set up for the LEDs 12 inch width, so we had to kind of MacGyver it to work. Since we had to mount them to the bottom of the tab I dont think we got the full benefit of the spread of light these LEDs are capable of. Also when you mount these LEDs you will need to small mounting holes instead of one large one like conventional off-road lights.
Originally we were going to do a test between Vision Xs LEDs and our KC HIDs, but this is really not a true test. It is like comparing apples and oranges. Our KC HIDs are a spot beam, great for long-range. The LEDs on the other hand are better for flooding the road with a ton of light.
We headed to the desert with camera in hand to see in completely darkness how well these lights work. Where we live if the moon is not out you can not see past your nose, so we knew we had a good base to start with. We tried taking a picture of the darkness and our camera could not replicate anything, it just looked like a black square.
The pictures you see below show you the LEDs by themselves and the LEDs on with our headlights. There is a huge difference in not only the amount of light, but also the quality of light. What comes out of these LEDs is pure white light, and this is evident when you see the yellow light added by our headlights.
Like any new technology there is going to be some time before LEDs become mainstream. And no they are not meant to replace long range spot beam HIDs, that is just not how they are built to function. They are made to flood the area in front of you with a lot of light, be impact and vibration resistant, and consume very low amounts of power. That is what these LEDs do best.