Bro, do you even lightbar bro? Well I guess I do now. A Lightbar isn’t something I knew I wanted until the trip to the Maze in November last year made me realize that:
A. Off season touring means less daylight
B. Complications to your plans can sometimes mean driving difficult trails at night
After seeing how effective my friends lightbar on his Frontier was at getting us into camp late after a 3 hour road turned into an 8 hour road OR the time the previous owners handiwork led to 4 hours of electrical diagnosis on the trail which meant getting into camp late AGAIN I began to...sorry...see the light.
Even after that, I wasn’t really in the market but when ANNT lights reached out to me and asked if I would like to review their 40 inch curved unit in exchange for being able to keep it when done I decided it was time.
(DISCLOSURE: If it wasn’t clear above, ANNT gave me this lightbar in exchange for this review, take that however you want, I’m going to try and be impartial.)
Packaged well, presented well, and when hooked up to a spare battery it shone bright.
The Hardware is substantial, and the grade on the bolts referenced is a high quality stainless; So far so good. Thing on the hardware front get a little more interesting, however.
The connectors and wires aren’t terribly impressive, but other than that its not bad at all given that they retail for $120.
Installing was a bit of a mixed bag, since there are no instructions and there is no ANNT wire loom you can buy. I mounted mine directly to my factory steel bumper, as it was already mangled a little and I didn’t mind drilling holes in it, and because I wasn’t in the mood to find a routing path up to my roof (nor was I excited about the prospect of hood reflection). I used the supplied bolts and lock washers to tightened the brackets to the bumper and then used the supplied M8 stainless allen head machine bolts to mount the bar to the brackets using the supplied tool. I tightened as much as I could with a 4 inch lever and then drove outta town without having even wired it up. NOTE: Use blue Loctite on these bolts, more on why later.
Wiring took place at our campsite 26 miles or so down hole in the rock road, a notoriously washboard road some 55 miles long in the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument. Wiring was accomplished with a standard low amp in cab switch I already had in my truck from the previous owner (“Its all wired up for aux lights”...uh huh) using a 30 amp 4 pole relay and an inline blade style 30 amp fuse.
NOTE: Instead of using the SLEE jumper I just tapped into the cig. lighter to trigger the relay, then I used the switch as an interupt for the trigger. This way, the light only works with the ignition on AND the switch on. Also, all grounds were common and led back to the battery.
Its basically exactly what you would get if you bought a wire loom from RIGID or anyone else, only mine was uglier and more hodgepodgy.
The wiring works great, but it would be nice if ANNT sold a harness to simplify installs, given that they are relatively inexpensive. My advice is to buy the one from RIGID or others and use their switch or your own if you prefer a direct fit knockout style like the one in mine.
So...I didn’t get to use it on my 5 day Kaiporowitz plateau trip and here’s why - It fell off.
Now I mentioned before that hole in the rock road is notoriously washboardy? Yeah, it REALLY is. Anyway, about half way down the road we stopped to look for a trail head and my friend noted that my lightbar was hanging on by only one side of the mount. I guess the combination of relatively thin gauge steel, washboards and the threads on the bar were not a winning combo. I’m thinking with some blue Loctite before hand and it wouldn’t have been an issue. Because I didn’t have a bolt and wouldn’t get to see a hardware store for another week I took it off, threw it in the truck and carried on. Dag.
When I got home, I went to the hardware store and bought some knurled Stainless M8 machine bolts and some loctite and bolted it back up.
Given the abuse of hanging by only one side and bouncing around on that road my hopes weren’t high that the threads would still be good or that all the lights would still be working. To my surprise, it bolted right up and all the lights worked.
HOW BRIGHT IS IT
Yeah, okay but this is a light review...so lets see some light!
Pretty bright. That trailer is 140 feet from the front of the truck. I think it could aim it a little better but its still pretty impressive.
So yeah, it looks like it kicks out a fair amount of light. Here is the same test on a “trail”
Here are the claimed specs via their website
|Model||LED Light bar|
|Input Voltage||DC 10~30V|
|Color Temperature||Pure White 6000K|
|Beam Angle||Flood 60° Spot 30° combo|
|Working hours||30,000 hours above|
I searched everywhere for a inductive or direct Ammeter to test the power claim but finding a DC unit that can handle up to 30 amps is not cheap so I can only speculate as to the actual output. I will say that based on the heat on the unit and wiring, and the load drop on my vehicles volt meter that its not drawing the 20 amps required for 240 watts at 12 volts. I have to guess that its 240 watts @ 30 V, which equates to 8 amps draw @ 30, or about 100 watts output at 12 volts. I will report back when/if I find the appropriate ammeter. In any case its plenty bright. EDIT: Their Amazon page claims 16 amps at 12v and 8 amps at 24v. Plan your wiring needs accordingly, I think its probably pretty close to 16 amps draw.
Color temperature is spot on at 6000k based on calibrated white balance cards.
WOULD I BUY ONE?
Yeah, I would.
Here’s the thing, no...its not a RIGID industries light, but you know what? its $120 freaking bucks. Frankly my impressions is that its pretty solid for that $120. The unit seems well made, the light pattern is high quality and the brightness is there. In addition, based on my experience as a video produced it feels every bit as well screwed together as my professional LED lights that cost a lot more (though I will admit that the CRI on these LED’s are probably not up to the same standard).
PROS: Throws a lot of light, pattern is nice, quality hardware, build is decent, price.
CONS: No instructions, clips and cords are suspect, waterproofing may be suspect, no wire loom available from the manufacture, installation requires Loctite to be secure, expect close to 200 watts not 240 watts (apples to apples)
I’ve come to have very low expectations of these Chinese electronics (having only recently been burned buying a grey market battery booster that has failed on me) but I have to be honest that it seems like a heck of a bargain for $120...provided you Loctite the threads...
Buy from Amazon with this link if you feel so inclined.