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 Piaa 520 SMR Driving Lights Review

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Jas
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PostSubject: Piaa 520 SMR Driving Lights Review   Sat Jan 14, 2012 7:59 am

Since June 2007 I have had 1x Set of Piaa 520 SMR's installed on my front bumper at head light height. And They are stunning. Mud, water, snow, sand and 1x head on collision (not my fault) and they are still performing very well.

The Piaa 520 SMR uses a H3 55W Super White Bulb developed by Piaa that is the equivalent to a 85W halogen bulb. This is a bright lamp for 55/85W bulb and being lower in Wattage it requires less amps to run and less of a strain on the battery and alternator.
PIAA’s computer designed Super Multi-Surface Reflector technology reduces stray light providing an extremely focused beam pattern without the use of lens fluting.
The kit Includes two lamps, wiring harness, switch and lamp grill covers.

I personally love the look of the light, the shape of the beam and the thin housing. The beam is more of an Oval shape delivering a good balance between a fog and driving lamp. Sending light 5-10 meters wider than the standard Terracan main beam and 25 meters longer than the standard Terracan main beam.

They are not cheap to buy but they are competitively priced IMO. The only down side to them is that they have a glass lens. I have not had a problem but if your a hard driver, specifically off road, a bumper mounted 520 SMR could fall prey to damage. I had a car slide in to the front of the Terracan during winter at around 20mph and there was no sign of damage to the lights, cover, lens or housing.

You can also buy most of the Piaa range including the Piaa 520 SMR with the 85W Piaa Ion Crystal bulb, basically turning your bulb yellow to assist with night time driving, snow, rain or fog covered roads and driving conditions.







Below is a video of a demonstration of various brands. The Piaa 520 SMR is on the left hand side of the roof and are 55W, the right hand side of the roof holds some KC lights at 100W, IMO the Piaa's are brighter and clearer. See for your self below.


Excellent lights and I would buy again over other brands.

TJ

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Last edited by Terracan Jas on Sun Jan 15, 2012 4:20 am; edited 2 times in total
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Tom Mc
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PostSubject: Re: Piaa 520 SMR Driving Lights Review   Sat Jan 14, 2012 1:35 pm

Haven't looked into it yet, but surely LED spots have to be even less of a drain amps-wise? Are they also brighter/smaller, or are PIAA spots or similar still the ones to have?

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PostSubject: Re: Piaa 520 SMR Driving Lights Review   Sat Jan 14, 2012 9:14 pm

Tom Mc wrote:
Haven't looked into it yet, but surely LED spots have to be even less of a drain amps-wise? Are they also brighter/smaller, or are PIAA spots or similar still the ones to have?

LED Lamps are hard to beat. Like you mentioned they use next to nothing on amp draw. Most LED lights out at the moment are the Light bar style, long thin rectangular light pods. They also do the traditional round lamps and square but most that Ive seen are of the light bar format. http://www.outbackautomotive.co.uk/p0/super-vision-led-light-bars/387150.htm or http://www.outbackautomotive.co.uk/p0/kc-lzr-led-lighting/404404.htm .

You can get cheaper ones and a friend of mine recently bought some from china via eBay. At the time I was tempted to buy a set but after seeing how long these cheap replicas lasted Im glad I saved my money.
The problem with the Chinese eBay LED Lights was that although the LED's, circuits and boards were of reasonable quality their casings were very poor. Made out of cheap, cheap plastics offering next to no shock resistance to the LED lights insides. Being mounted on my friends bumper they soon shook themselves apart.

IMO, I think that PIAA Lights are the best in the world for light output, design, high quality and minimal amp withdraw.

The down side to Piaa UK is that they only offer half the range available and NO HID options. If anyone wanted the full range or HID options then they would have to go to www.piaa.com and either order through them or their eBay dealer shops. I have bought 10x pairs of Piaa 525's from the USA to fit on our pick ups and they are usually at our garage within 7-10 working days.

If you have the £££££££ Then LED Lightbars are the ones to get but IMO Save the money and buy a set of these.

Jas


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PostSubject: Piaa 520 SMR Driving Lights Review   Sun Jan 15, 2012 7:47 am

It appears LED light bars may be the way to go. At a recent inaugural " Mud fest " event our club set up a display to let people know what we got up to. Parked nearby was the St Johns Ambulance. It wasn't there for our impending use as we had decided to share time between manning the marquee and spectating. At some point the ambulance driver dropped in for a chat and the subject of lights came up. Apparently he felt the side illumination lights on the ambulance did not give sufficient illumination at night when dealing with any casualties on the ground, should they need attention before actually putting them on board. It so happened one of our club members present, had recently fitted an LED 2800 lumen light bar to his Disco and reckoned it was like instant daylight sunny when operated and that or a smaller version would be an ideal replacement.

The way he talked one got the impression it would light up the inside of a cathedral. Even though it was daylight he told the ambulance driver the bar would light up his fluro jacket at quite a fair distance. It certainly looked bright when he turned it on. :shock:

As mentioned, they are expensive. I suppose it comes down to purpose of use and the cost spread over time against other brands. Bumper types call fall foul to damage as could a light bar to overhanging branches etc. Nothing like having choice and yet another decision to make. scratch

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PostSubject: Re: Piaa 520 SMR Driving Lights Review   Sun Jan 15, 2012 12:38 pm

Have to say the PIAA/KC type spots with the plastic grills are certainly practical when it comes to branches. I used to have a pair of Cibie kevlar-bodied spots on a previous RR. Tough and bright, they were excellent.

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PostSubject: Re: Piaa 520 SMR Driving Lights Review   Sun Jan 15, 2012 1:04 pm

Many side lights fitted to emergency vehicles are traditional lights incorporated into the design of the light bar, and not specifically designed for anything other than providing peripheral, secondary lighting at low levels for people walking past such vehicles, and is more to do with Health and Safety compliance requirements than illumination as ambulances and other emergency vehicles are now classed as the workplace.

Several years ago we designed the lighting fairly commonly used on fire engines, this uses a combination of lighting which telescopes from the vehicle. These used a light head containing an HiD lamp, and two flourescent strip lights which ran of an auxiliary battery, they were electrically operated for raising and lowering and for tilting the heads to an area where they may be working. If peripheral lighting was required you tilted the lamp head down and illuminated one flourescent tube, of working light was required at the side of the vehicle you illuminated both flourescent tubes as they had one small and one large tube.
If a work light was required away from the vehicle you electrically tilted the light head and switched to the HiD light which gave a good spread of working light up to 75Metres from the vehicle. With four fitted to each side of the vehicle it gave superb light in a variety of configurations, and with two fitted to the rear it illuminated the rear as well.

Here lies the problem, when legislation is changed many people modify a vehicle for compliance, they certainly don't modify for the best performance, and many of these people designing the systems modify based upon no experience or even going out to look at what these people have to deal with. IOn this case the legislation changed was that which included a vehicle as the workplace.
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