Ditch Light

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maviccbr

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Hi Overlanders!

I have just purchased a set of bonnet bracket mounts for my PX2 (2018) Wildtrak Ranger and am chasing some opinions on the lights type to mount. I have been looking at the 'Stedi C4 Black Ed Light Cube Flood' as I believe spot would be better suited for highway/at speed driving. My question is: Are Diffuse LED's a better option when compared to Flood for non-highway driving, more slow trail purpose?
Any other light suggestions are appreciated.

Thanks in advance :)
 
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freak4life

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Not all lights are legal to use on paved highways, check to be sure the ones you pick meet the standards.
I run Rigid, and they are not street legal.
:)
 
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Boostpowered

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I went the ditch light route a few years ago. I also removed em a few years ago. My opinion is its a terrible place for lights along with the roof bars. Blinded by more glare from the hood than seeing the trail they whistle going down the highway and bounce around and come loose on The trails. Take those lights and attach them to the frame just behind your front tires you'll be able to see more on the trail.

Do they look cool on the hood? Yeah but thats about it.
 

Wawa Skittletits

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In my opinion ditch lights should be aimed to the L/R and as a result have zero usefulness on the road. Forward facing lights on ditch light brackets will likely do more harm than good in both hood glare and eye glare for oncoming vehicles. Flood or diffuse optics work great because the sole purpose to to light up the area near the vehicle. I run Baja Design S2 Pros with wide cornering optics on bonnet brackets. I’ll add that not all brackets are the same and individual vehicles can have an impact on their usefulness. I chose brackets that pushed the lights as far to the L/R as possible. Further eliminating the chance for hood glare and as you can see in the picture the result was effective.

D747ADB9-EF5E-4B8E-9DCD-18E55C956393.jpeg
 

Tundracamper

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Very useful info. I want something to be able to see when making sharp turns in the woods at night - kinda like the old Lincoln Continentals had when you put on the turn indicator, but I date myself. Anyway, it does seem like mounting them in the side wings of the bumpers would be most effective. Wonder how hard a recessed install would be.
 
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SquishBang

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298
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JuicyJ
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Hi Overlanders!

I have just purchased a set of bonnet bracket mounts for my PX2 (2018) Wildtrak Ranger and am chasing some opinions on the lights type to mount. I have been looking at the 'Stedi C4 Black Ed Light Cube Flood' as I believe spot would be better suited for highway/at speed driving. My question is: Are Diffuse LED's a better option when compared to Flood for non-highway driving, more slow trail purpose?
Any other light suggestions are appreciated.

Thanks in advance :)
I would say that "diffuse" and "flood" are the same term.
And yes, either one is great for when you are off-road and giving a wide-area amount of light. Just be sure that there is enough light, as diffuse/flood setups require a much stronger light source to create lots of usable light. Mounting these lights in the right places gives best results. Don't mount them where they can reflect off of painted surfaces like your hood, mount them somewhat behind and over your field of vision to make sure they don't wash out your peripheral vision. On my large truck, I chose to mount them behind the wheel on the frame, depending on type of vehicle this may or may not be a good option for you. I never get glare, but my truck is large, on a smaller vehicle I might choose a higher mounting location.

As for "spot" lights, (I reckon you're an Aussie, so I am talking from US DOT regs here) they do not limit beam height, although they have a tight spot (to me it is unusable IMO) they don't qualify as on-road lights. In fact, I highly doubt any light mounted on a "bonnet" would ever qualify as on-road in any jurisdiction.

In USA, we look for "SAE" rated lights, these are lights that have a cut-off for oncoming traffic when driving on-road. I would bet that even in AU you could use "SAE" rated lights as they are un-offensive to other drivers (for on-road). And, like I said, for off-road either flood or "diffuse" would be appropriate. Just use decent quality gear and avoid cheap Chinese stuff. Never had any luck with any of that. I have had luck with Sylvania LED gear and I hear that Diode Dynamics SS3 and SSC2 are excellent options that have an amazing range of lens options including amber.
 

Ubiety

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Hi Overlanders!

I have just purchased a set of bonnet bracket mounts for my PX2 (2018) Wildtrak Ranger and am chasing some opinions on the lights type to mount. I have been looking at the 'Stedi C4 Black Ed Light Cube Flood' as I believe spot would be better suited for highway/at speed driving. My question is: Are Diffuse LED's a better option when compared to Flood for non-highway driving, more slow trail purpose?
Any other light suggestions are appreciated.

Thanks in advance :)
No, please don’t use anything but your headlights on paved roads. Not sure about Australia but illegal in US and shows a disregard for other drivers.
 
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SquishBang

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Very useful info. I want something to be able to see when making sharp turns in the woods at night - kinda like the old Lincoln Continentals had when you put on the turn indicator, but I date myself. Anyway, it does seem like mounting them in the side wings of the bumpers would be most effective. Wonder how hard a recessed install would be.
I have a Nissan Titan that has a really bad "blind spot" when turning at night. I have owned cars in the past that had the "corner illuminating" lights, the best was my 2016 GTI. I really wanted to add this to my Titan, but it is technically difficult to do. Just like your Tundra, the Titan uses a BCM to communicate with the turn signal stalk. Older vehicles like that Lincoln (or my late-90's Maxima) used the fact that the LEFT or RIGHT wire from your turn signal stalk fed the FLASHER, then fed your turn signals. You could simply tap into the wires from the turn signal stalk as they were "ON" for whichever direction you selected, and through a relay they could illuminate a cornering light.

Unfortunately, our newer vehicles (well, I don't know how old your Tundra is, but if it is a Gen 2+ it is new enough) use BCM comms between the stalk and BCM to drive the turn signals. Very difficult to derive a steady "ON" power wire for a cornering lamp. I would love to do so on my Titan as it really needs it!
 
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SquishBang

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No, please don’t use anything but your headlights on paved roads. Not sure about Australia but illegal in US and shows a disregard for other drivers.
I wish everyone knew this.

Every early morning (basically night time) I have to deal with people who feel it is OK to run aftermarket HIDs, LEDs and/or light bars on their vehicles in the dark (worst offenders are Jeeps and FS Trucks). And this is on dark, wet, unlit, curvy, hilly 2-lane roads. So annoying. My truck has the ability to "reciprocate" (meaning I can turn on my off-road LEDs and HID high beams) to these jerks, but they seem to think they aren't seriously jeopardizing anyone's safety, especially people in small cars.

When it is raining and the roads are dark, non-approved lighting is an ACTUAL hazard to others! Bright lights shining into a wet windshield is the worst!
 

Ubiety

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Some of the “legal” factory fog lights are blinding as well, new Ford F products come to mind (especially lifted rigs with LEDs). Unfortunately using these factory lights in times when they are not warranted is becoming the new normal - sure YOU can see better, but at the expense of everybody else that you pass or get behind. I used to “return the favor” but that only increased my angst thinking about it. Trying to let it roll off of my back lately and have a nicer drive, I can be the better person. What is REALLY hard is not enabling my VisionX reverse lights for tailgaters. :) For what though? A possible conflict?

I drove 4 hours last night, out and back, to recover an OB member - he was stuck but good, hahaha. It really sucked when oncoming traffic blessed me with their fog lights on the return. Really tired, early AM hours, dry good conditions. Yay, you can see better while broadcasting your disregard for others.

Don‘t feel strongly about this at all. Hahahaha
 
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SquishBang

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Some of the “legal” factory fog lights are blinding as well, new Ford F products come to mind (especially lifted rigs with LEDs). Unfortunately using these factory lights in times when they are not warranted is becoming the new normal - sure YOU can see better, but at the expense of everybody else that you pass or get behind. I used to “return the favor” but that only increased my angst thinking about it. Trying to let it roll off of my back lately and have a nicer drive, I can be the better person. What is REALLY hard is not enabling my VisionX reverse lights for tailgaters. :) For what though? A possible conflict?

I drove 4 hours last night, out and back, to recover an OB member - he was stuck but good, hahaha. It really sucked when oncoming traffic blessed me with their fog lights on the return. Really tired, early AM hours, dry good conditions. Yay, you can see better while broadcasting your disregard for others.

Don‘t feel strongly about this at all. Hahahaha
There are many people who have the sentiment of "fog lights should only be used during certain circumstances!!!!" But, I use mine all the time, and it infuriates those people (online forums). Fog lights, when done properly, will always be below the driving beams. My Q60 utilizes LED fogs, and as I back out of my driveway, I can see they are a sharp, horizontal slit of light clearly delineated below my main driving beams. They never would offend on-coming traffic. I can't speak for Fords, however.

Since I see you are in WA state also, you likely drive on hilly, undulating roads. Whenever a vehicle crests these roads, those oncoming under the elevation you are at may feel your lights are "too bright". Often, they are not too bright or mis-aimed (or improperly turned on) it's just the nature of hilly roads.
On a tangent, we are due for a significant tax increase for roads here that will never address the lack of proper street lighting, which could improve how we perceive oncoming vehicles when street lighting would provide contrast.

I too, have incredibly strong rearward facing LEDs on my truck (for boat launching and off-roading) and I could use them on idiots behind me, but I don't. Fortunately my truck camper significantly dims any too-bright lights behind me!

The real issue is with people who go through life with "indifferent aggression" as I like to call it. It's not just those running HID bulbs in their Ram 1500's, LED light bars on the road, etc, it is also all of those idiots who drive with their high beams on, and no amount of "flashing" them seems to affect them, they leave their high beams on. I totally trashed some guy on another forum for gloating that his LED headlight bulbs caused others to flash him constantly but he "didn't care LOL".

No matter your vehicle, if people are always flashing you, you should consider why. Maybe it's the OEM fogs bothering others, OEM LED headlights that need to be re-aimed, or aftermarket LED/HID bulbs that need to be removed.
 
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Ubiety

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Agree that there are fog lights that are fine - some are over the top. Its the misaligned/aftermarket/etc lights that I take issue with - and I should have been more clear. Am all too familiar with the “hill affect” and that is just a part of modern life. I have OE LED headlights and occasionally get flashed, especially with a load in back which raises the front end and therefore the beam.

Yeah we are always subject to some new tax ;)
 
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PonoAdventures

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In my opinion ditch lights should be aimed to the L/R and as a result have zero usefulness on the road. Forward facing lights on ditch light brackets will likely do more harm than good in both hood glare and eye glare for oncoming vehicles. Flood or diffuse optics work great because the sole purpose to to light up the area near the vehicle. I run Baja Design S2 Pros with wide cornering optics on bonnet brackets. I’ll add that not all brackets are the same and individual vehicles can have an impact on their usefulness. I chose brackets that pushed the lights as far to the L/R as possible. Further eliminating the chance for hood glare and as you can see in the picture the result was effective.

View attachment 185064

For me, I like the versatility of the ditch mount. For day runs (which is what I do mostly), I use them as my amber lights for when I run tail end Charlie. At night, I adjust them like you said more left and right at a 45 degree and down. It gives me that little extra visibility on the sides.

Other than that I would agree. Wouldn’t run them on the highway and I like my lights down low.
 

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LostWoods

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IMO @Wawa Skittletits has it 100% correct... ditch lighting needs to be driving, wide driving, or wide cornering or whatever your manufacturer of choice calls a light in the 30-45 degree range, ideally with a flat beam so the light is focused at road-level and not wasting light illuminating the ground, trees, and sky. Most critical is aiming them so the edge of the beam follows the edge of the hood which gives you actual corner lighting but more importantly, they keep light off the hood vs something like a flood or diffused light.


My lighting philosophy is pretty straightforward:
  • Bumper lights should be a 30-45 degree wide or wide/spot combo patterns and on top of the bumper is superior to fog-level lighting for driving lights if you want to avoid shadows. Lighting that can be dimmed will be appreciated by other drivers in your convoy or you can run some big lights along with some smaller lights for when following.
  • Fog lights are for fog and getting under dust and are not what you should rely on for driving lights.
  • Roof bars should be mostly spot pattern because the height gives you the best throw. Ideally, set them back a foot or so, allowing the roofline to be a gobo and again keep light off your hood.
  • Ditch lights cover your corners mounted as previously mentioned in a 30-45 degree pattern
  • Sideways lighting on either on a cab rack or the front of a bed rack cover your lateral lighting for scouting campsites and offshoot trails... again, 30-45 degree pattern and IMO as close to the B-pillar as possible so when you look out, you're right around the center of the light.
  • Diffused lights are for very slow maneuvers so basically rock lights and reverse. Also camp lights.
 

BCMoto

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I have a set of ditch lights on the hood they are the Baja Designs Squadren Pros in a flood and spot combo, I have them set to face to the L/R a bit for the big light bar i put it in my grill and its better for me that way.
 
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maviccbr

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jarrad
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I would say that "diffuse" and "flood" are the same term.
And yes, either one is great for when you are off-road and giving a wide-area amount of light. Just be sure that there is enough light, as diffuse/flood setups require a much stronger light source to create lots of usable light. Mounting these lights in the right places gives best results. Don't mount them where they can reflect off of painted surfaces like your hood, mount them somewhat behind and over your field of vision to make sure they don't wash out your peripheral vision. On my large truck, I chose to mount them behind the wheel on the frame, depending on type of vehicle this may or may not be a good option for you. I never get glare, but my truck is large, on a smaller vehicle I might choose a higher mounting location.

As for "spot" lights, (I reckon you're an Aussie, so I am talking from US DOT regs here) they do not limit beam height, although they have a tight spot (to me it is unusable IMO) they don't qualify as on-road lights. In fact, I highly doubt any light mounted on a "bonnet" would ever qualify as on-road in any jurisdiction.

In USA, we look for "SAE" rated lights, these are lights that have a cut-off for oncoming traffic when driving on-road. I would bet that even in AU you could use "SAE" rated lights as they are un-offensive to other drivers (for on-road). And, like I said, for off-road either flood or "diffuse" would be appropriate. Just use decent quality gear and avoid cheap Chinese stuff. Never had any luck with any of that. I have had luck with Sylvania LED gear and I hear that Diode Dynamics SS3 and SSC2 are excellent options that have an amazing range of lens options including amber.
Great info mate, thanks. We do have a setup same as SAE and will be ensuring my truck lighting conforms to it all. Last thing I want is to add to the number of drivers on the road with the blinding lights, zero concerns for other drivers and overkill on the lights.
Will definitely be steering clear of the Chinese crap, have a mix of Stedi and Raptor lighting atm, and will be going with STEDI lighting for these.

You mentioned your lights are mounted behind the wheel on the frame - any chance of a pic as it sounds like a sweet spot for them.
Cheers
 

maviccbr

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No, please don’t use anything but your headlights on paved roads. Not sure about Australia but illegal in US and shows a disregard for other drivers.
100% agree mate, headlights are for paved roads and the rest of the lights on the rig are for the dirt and sand (Also illegal here) More people need this advice - thanks @Ubiety :)
 

Boucher

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I agree and disagree I use mine on back roads to where I live and many many times these lights have allowed me to stop before a deer has jumped in front of my vehicle as I saw them running from the trees much earlier... That being said the first hint of car lights coming in the opposite direction the light goes off. I never just drive around with them blinding people