Words and pictures by Grant Spolander.
Let there be light
If you’ve ever bought yourself a set of spotlights, you’ll know the first question that people ask you: “How many lumens does it have?” This is often followed by the next leading question, “How far does it shine?”
You’ll seldom hear any queries about build quality, design or construction, which is kinda strange when you consider the high prices of some of these units.
After spending R15k on a spotlight you’d think the most logical question would be, “Will it last?” Despite the fact that many spotlights are priced at several thousand rands, build quality is not a guarantee, even in the R5k bracket.
When we conducted our spotlight shootout in the May ’11 issue, I was surprised to find a huge discrepancy in build quality across the units tested. Some lights were beautifully crafted, but others were a slappedtogether blend of cheap materials.
I was equally surprised when I recently met with the folks at Onca Off-road, and we started chatting about their new range of imported LED light bars, made by Rigid Industries. I remember the conversation well, mainly because the Onca guys skipped the part about how powerful these lights were, and focused more on their superb build quality.
With that said, we decided to take a closer look at their 30” light bar, a single unit that can be mounted centrally on your bull-bar or, as we found, optimally attached to your 4×4’s roof-rack – though this is illegal for on-road use. Commonly known as the E-Series range, the Rigid Industries’ 30” light bar boasts 60 LEDs and is one of several models available in the range. You can also purchase a unit with just eight LEDs, or even the super-sized bar that brags a massive 100 LEDs.
Perhaps the most impressive feature about the E-Series lights is that they’re commonly used on earth-moving machines. The mining industry’s fleet managers have caught on to the fact that these lights are better equipped to handle the dusty conditions and fierce vibrations generated by earth-moving machines. In the past, many mining companies sourced cheaper LED lights from China. Those units were nearly identical to the Rigid range, but many of them didn’t last more than a few months. What’s more, the lights failed to produce the same quantity of light once they’d warmed up.
This last factor is an important feature of the E-Series design, as each unit is manufactured with a specially-crafted housing which effectively dissipates heat. The unit also sports an advanced electrical circuit system which ensures minimal heat generation. (Once an LED heats up, it loses its efficiency, dropping light output). On that note, the Rigid E-Series lights are rated at 94% efficiency, compared to many competitors which manage only 72%.
There are some other great features associated with this Americanmade brand: a firm, yet fully adjustable mounting system, an abrasion-resistant and near-unbreakable Lexan lens, a dust-, shock- and waterproof (IP67) rating on the aluminium housing, a high quality wiring system, and a 50 000-hour life cycle, among others. Of course, when all is said and done, the 30” light bar also musters a mammoth 18 000 lumens of light while only drawing 14.44 amps. All E-Series lights include a 1-year warranty and the necessary components for an easy DIY installation.
For more information on the Rigid Industries’ range, give Onca Off-road a call on 011 979 2690 or