Enlightened: A new Intensity of Driving Lights

Driving lights are amongst the most popular accessories to be added to 4WDs and, over the years, customers have expressed an interest in seeing more variety in ARB-branded driving lights. Ask and you shall receive (well, you might; it really depends on how good your idea is).

Recently, ARB has expanded our fridge freezer range and now we are expanding our lighting range with the new Intensity Solis. Not just a remarkable performer, the Intensity Solis represents a value proposition that is worth considering for anyone looking to add some additional driving lights to their vehicle.

It’s been seven years since ARB launched Intensity, our first branded driving light. Intensity was a revolutionary offering of its era, the first round 4WD LED driving light amongst all the square LEDs of the time. As the market leader, ARB’s Intensity lights were very quickly mimicked and in some cases just straight out copied with its distinctive red ring design. But as they say, imitation is the greatest form of flattery.

The Intensity Solis range is available in dedicated spot and dedicated flood variations that connect to a centralised dimming controller in the wiring loom.

Jeep with spotlights in the dark

I SEE RED, I SEE RED, I SEE BLACK

While ARB Intensity driving lights are known for their red rings, change is as good as a holiday and keeping with our objective of offering more variety, the Intensity Solis range now features interchangeable red and black cast aluminium side bezels. Not only does this mean that you can choose to run a red highlight or keep your lights in all black, but the cast aluminium bezels offer great UV resistance.

 

SQUATTING STRENGTH

One of the first and most notable new design features is the squat shape. The Solis takes on a largely traditional round frame, but with a flat base that creates the squat appearance. 4WD driving lights were originally designed for mounting on tabs, but bull bar design has changed and lights are now more regularly mounted on flat top pans. The squat shape of the new light better suits pan mounting and helps with lowering the centre of gravity of the lights, which makes them more stable with less oscillation and vibrating. This means less stress on light and bull bar mounting components (including tabs where applicable). The Intensity Solis light is mounted in an all-black, vertical-pivoting adjustable, cast aluminium cradle.

PROFILED FOR PLACEMENT

Looking at the side profile, ARB engineers have managed to shape the heat sink casting with a narrower section at the top of the light and a wider section towards the base. The result is a large light that fits a wide variety of applications with more room to fit in front of big tubes, like what we use on our Summit Sahara bull bars.

 

ONE-PIECE REFLECTOR SET

Another opportunity of variation was to diversify from the traditional uniform grid layout of LEDs and reflectors. Newer technologies and manufacturing efficiencies allowed the engineers to design a one-piece reflector with 36 unique and independently tuned reflector cups. While tuning 36 unique reflector cups takes a considerable amount of time, the control we gained on the light output pattern was invaluable. The one-piece and non-uniform design also opened up the opportunity to make the most efficient use of the unique squat/round shape and maximise the number of LEDs. That’s right, the new reflector set meant more LEDs.

 

DID YOU SAY MORE LEDS?

That’s right, even though the light has less height due to its squat design and a marginally narrower lens, the custom-shaped one-piece reflector means we were able to get a whopping 36 powerful LEDs in each light. And while it’s true that more LEDs means more light potential, an LED is only as good as its surrounding reflector, coupled with the light’s heat sink casting to ensure optimal performance. Each Intensity Solis light (spot and flood) houses a whopping 36 LEDs, for a total 165-watt output. There are a combination of 4-watt and 10-watt LEDs that make up the full set with varying narrow and wider beam angles to optimise performance.

 

BUT HOW FAR WILL THEY GO?

It has become the universal measurement of driving lights: how many metres down the road you can record one lux. While we want to stress there is much more to an effective and quality driving light than its lux measurement, owners of a pair of Intensity Solis spot lights will be able to boast one lux at 1,462 metres.

ENGINEERED FOR THE REAL WORLD

While the Solis light's output figures are impressive, and a good boasting point, what they really offer the driver is so much greater. The ultimate goal when designing a driving light is to get two light patterns, one spot and one flood, that offer light where you actually need it. To be most effective, a driving light needs to light the areas of the road and surrounds that match the terrain and driving style. Your driving lights need to be effective either as a matching pair (of spots or floods) or as a combination (one spot and one flood). Creating a light pattern that shines the furthest doesn’t always mean the light is useable, let alone optimal. Driving lights need to have good central light and shouldn’t have harsh edges, but rather a good feathering of light that bleeds off. Additionally, the light should not be too white as it can cause eye strain for the driver. Nor should the light throw too much intensity onto the foreground directly in front of the vehicle. ARB Intensity lights (V2 and Solis) are tuned to provide the optimum offering to suit the above criteria.

 

SPOT, FLOOD OR A COMBINATION?

How you set up your driving lights should reflect the type of driving you do and the terrain you are driving in. In areas of wide open land and fast roads such as in outback Queensland, New South Wales and the Northern Territory, a set-up of two spots will give you the best throw of light as far down those long straight roads as possible. For drivers who are predominantly in heavy bush with lots of winding roads, such as the Victorian High Country, a set-up of two flood lights will fill the foreground, giving you great visibility to the side of the roads where roos like to hide and through the next close corner. What is probably one of the most common set-ups, however, is a combination of one spot and one flood light. The spot is generally installed on the driver’s side to push the most direct light straight down the middle of the road and the flood is installed on the passenger side giving good light into the foreground and side of the road in bushy areas up to 25-metres either side of the vehicle. The combination set-up gives a great variation of light that is suitable for many situations.