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fake ARB light install w/rockers

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#1
DHappel

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A while back I picked up a couple of the knock-off ARB intensity lights from Amazon.  While I don't like the idea of supporting a Chinese cloner, I couldn't justify spending over $1500 for a pair of them.  (note they currently have a rebate of $150 on a pair but still...)

 

So I sucked it up and sent my money to China Inc.  $270/pair.  For that price delta I'm willing to take a chance on quality.

 

And let's just say the quality ain't great.

 

They work fine, but clearly this is not top shelf stuff.  The little 'LED' labels at the bottom that so carefully mimic the ARB font aren't even stuck down; they're slightly curled behind the lens.  The s/s brackets that mount them barely fit and require some muscle to get onto the light housings.  The mounting holes on the housings for the main support bolts of the bracket ears didn't quite line up so I had to spend a few minutes with the dremel to relieve them.  And they accidentally shorted me on one washer (but did sent extra lock washers, so there is that).

 

They come just with a short pig-tail for wiring ... and that's all.  No instructions and no wiring kit so you're on your own to source that and figure out the current draw and wiring requirements.  FWIW, they are listed as 225w each, so at a running voltage of 14.4v that works out to 15.6 amps.  However in reality I was able to run both on a single 30 amp fuse (it was what I had on hand) so take that for what you will.

 

These things are big at 9" each.  The thing I'm a little disappointed with here is that my ARB bumper has mounting holes for lights like this already in place, and these being pretty much exact copies of the ARB lights you'd think I could just bolt them on and go.  You could, but if you do you'll never be able to reach the winch clutch lever.  It's already hard enough to reach it through that little hole in the bumper; cover half of it with a big light and forgetaboutit.  

 

So I drilled my own 1/2" mounting holes and moved the lights forward and toward the center of the bumper.  Not really a problem, though I think they would look a bit better set wider on the bumper.

 

20151206_151252_zpspqdl6kpb.jpg

 

20151206_151311_zpsx0pzsokl.jpg

 

You can get an idea for how much of the winch opening I've covered up here.

 

20151206_151319_zpsascfd9v3.jpg

 

And here's the hole ARB provided that I didn't use.

 

20151206_151258_zpse55fjewq.jpg

 

 


Don
'07 LR3 HSE/HD - slightly non-stock

'96 D1 - even more non-stock


#2
DHappel

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The real fun was figuring out where to mount switches for them.  There's not a lot of free real estate on the LR3 dash or center console.

 

I found a spot in the side of the radio surround that had a deep enough pocket behind it to mount 2 rocker switches.  I picked up some cheap Amazon illuminated rockers labeled 'spot lights' and 'rear lights'.  I figured I might as well ditch the generic radio-shack switch I had been using for my rear light while I was at it.

 

With the radio bezel removed, here is the empty area I used.  If you want to mount something here, measure carefully.  There's not a lot of room for error.

 

20151205_123240_zpsnxrgreyb.jpg

 

And the rockers installed in the bezel.  I had to cut back a bit of the silver vibration damping material on the back as well as trim a bit off one of the pop-in support legs.  I believe you could get a 3rd rocker in below these roughly in the area marked out in sharpie in the back-side pic.

 

20151205_123135_zpsd4zgnhab.jpg

 

20151205_123149_zpsyospx5qy.jpg

 

And with it all back together and wired up.

 

20151206_171008_zpsdzodvmjq.jpg

 

I tapped into the instrument lights for the switch illumination.  I actually wondered if this wouldn't cause some random error since the truck senses current draw to monitor bulb status but it doesn't seem to be causing any problems.  It is only a few milliamps to light those LEDs.  When the switch is turned on the icons also light up.  The blue lights are a bit bright, but they are mounted low enough I don't think it will be an issue with night vision.  

 

I pulled power from a fuse block I already had mounted under the hood and although the switches are supposed to be rated at 20 amps each I instead used them to power a couple of relays mounted near the battery.  I'd prefer to keep the higher current wires as short as possible so I don't have to run heavy gauge wire.  As it is I'm using 12 gauge to to power the lights and 14 for everything else - again, mostly because that's what I had on hand.

 

I tried to take some pics this evening a little before full dark to show how much light they put out, but it's hard to do with a camera since it auto-adjusts for low light but here's a try.

 

Low beams only

 

 20151206_171108_zpsa5bhagw1.jpg

 

High beams only

 

20151206_171114_zpsyraeltkd.jpg

 

Spots only

 

20151206_171134_zps39aorksl.jpg

 

There's a serious hot-spot directly in front of the truck.  I think I can angle the lights up a touch to help with that.  I might also angle them a few degrees off to the sides for a wider spread.

 

Needless to say, these are NOT for on-road driving.  They would totally blind any on-coming traffic.

 

Again, it's really hard to tell what's what with the lighting in those pics.  With the amount of ambient light still out when I took them I actually had to get out and look to be sure I had the headlights on when I was just using the low beams.  The camera does a good job of picking up low light and making it look brighter than the naked eye.


Edited by DHappel, 06 December 2015 - 06:32 PM.

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Don
'07 LR3 HSE/HD - slightly non-stock

'96 D1 - even more non-stock


#3
lilcrawler

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I'm thinking I may have to pick up a set like that so I can have four lights on my roof rack. I'm interested to see how bright they are compared to my $60 bar.

Edited by lilcrawler, 06 December 2015 - 07:03 PM.

Tyler
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#4
DHappel

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These things are gigantic - 9'" across.  They would be too big to look right on a roof rack I think.  You can probably find smaller ones though; ARB sells them in both 7" and 9" so I'm sure the cloners offer both as well.

 

The real fun will be the next time I'm around Nills' truck as he has the real-deal ARB lights.  I'd also like to see how the winch access is on his since I think he mounted them in the stock location.


Don
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#5
lilcrawler

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So they will go well with my other 9" lights that are going on the roof. :)
Tyler
2004 DII- Not modified heavily enough

I get below 15 mpg on Fuelly!
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#6
AdvRovr

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The thing I never cared for about the ARB lights was that bright red ring around them. Looks like even the knockoffs are quite bright though.

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#7
ndamico

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hoping we can compare them this weekend. i put one of these on today:

 

http://www.amazon.co...ailpage_o02_s01


Nick

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#8
DHappel

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It would have been easier/cheaper to hang a light bar under the rail of my brush bar where the Hi-Lift is, but I wanted the look of round lights.  If I didn't have the wind deflector on the rack, I might put a bar up there.  But for now I think I'm done with lights.


Don
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#9
NThyrring

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Here are some pictures of my ARB lights.

My fingers are long enough to reach the clutch, but I also have crazy long fingers.

As far as the red rings go, I like them because they match the other red trim items on my bumper.

The thing that I don't like about them is that they fade quickly.

ARB has replacement trim rings in other colors available on their website.

Attached Files


Thank you,

Nils

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2013 Range Rover Sport

#10
DiscoDavis

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nice write up. I had never heard the pricing on the ARB spots.... that's insane.


:lr:

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23669857085_fe30f0934c.jpg


#11
DHappel

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nice write up. I had never heard the pricing on the ARB spots.... that's insane.

Yeah, I'm not sure how they justify that.  I know Nils got a special deal on his because of some issues with his bumper delivery - even then it's not like they gave them away.  

 

I expect they'll have to drop the price eventually.  The current rebate is a step in that direction.  About the only other guys even close to that price point are VisionX with their single 90w LED light cannon.  And frankly I bet it puts more light down the road than the ARB. 


Don
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#12
JFuller

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I remember trying to operate the clutch on Nills' winch on Signal Peak. Key word there was trying. He was able to work it though. Even without the light bracket in the way ARB gives you a tiny hole to use. Maybe Aussie fingers are skinny and long; wouldn't know, never been there.

#13
DHappel

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Yeah...not a big fan of their LR3 bumper over-all.  In retrospect I should have done the Tactical.  Maybe on the next rig....


Don
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#14
Volkov

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I'll be curious to see how they perform off road



#15
DHappel

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I did some rural night driving this evening and when nobody was around gave them a try.

 

Holy crap - that's a lot of light!

 

I did angle them each outward a couple degrees since there's plenty of down-range light; might as well get a little more width to the pattern.  I was driving when I tested but that also seemed to help get rid of the hot spot directly ahead of the truck.

 

The only problem is after using them and going back to regular low-beams it feels like you've turned the lights off all together!


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Don
'07 LR3 HSE/HD - slightly non-stock

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#16
coachmac

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Nice! Where did you get the rocker switches?


:lr: Adventure is out there!


#17
DHappel

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Amazon.  You can get them with all sorts of icons.

 

http://www.amazon.co...ailpage_o05_s00


Don
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#18
AdvRovr

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Speaking of switches, going to plug a local company here - OTRATTW. Over The River And Through The Woods are located in San Jose area and have an endless selection of those switches with customizable colors, features, and text and a few hundred images.
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#19
BEAR

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Nice Don. I didn't know those were fake at Mexxi's. I love your switches for them too!!


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#20
DHappel

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You have to look pretty close to realize they're fakes.  The 'LED' logo at the bottom is almost an exact font match for the 'ARB' logo.

 

I'm 100% sure the real thing is better built (not sure how much light difference there would be) but I don't have that kind of money for lights.


Don
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