Baja Designs Squadron Sports: or the solution for fogging LED lights - JKowners.com : Jeep Wrangler JK Forum
 
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post #1 of 18 Old 06-05-2014, 02:32 PM Thread Starter
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Baja Designs Squadron Sports: or the solution for fogging LED lights

As you know I am a bit of a lighting addict I love to see where I am going and what I am doing. This is from a combo of years on working with crap light or doing military crap with no light. So when I can have light I like to see everything (and try not to be a douchbag to others around me when doing it so it needs to be the right amount and controlled) Because of that I own a lot of high end LED’s, I like the performance to draw/durability/price/quality.

I have just been having problems with one specific light that constantly fogs up on me. One style, same style, repeatedly.

Ok I understand it’s a pain in the ass to make a sealed LED, it’s a sealed box that heats up filled with enough air to make life suck in relation to gas laws. So ya, there is a chance to suck in moisture into the light. But it’s the same damm lights.

I am not going to bash the company nor even post the name of "the other lights", that company itself kicks ass and will swap out any lights with an issue no problem, great customer and industry support. But after the FOURTH time of sending back lights, that shit gets old.

Pull them off, vehicle without lights now, box them up, send them in, wait.., get them back, install, drive for a bit, repeat. And these are on a set used as BACKUP lights, in the rear, not even facing the wind and rain.

Getting sick of sending them back, this was the last set. I don’t know if you can see the fog inside this one, but trust me it is there. I should have saved pictures of the really bad ones from before.



I have had 2 of them get moisture to the point of it flickering and stop working. But I will give them credit for effort, I don’t know if they are making effort at fixing some of the moisture control or band aiding it. But there have been at least 3 different variations of a vent on them as you can see here, the top one being the most current. (yes, I have a lot of lights) Stickerish vent (left), goretexish vent (right) no vent and power cable being screwed in (top)


I don’t know if the new version of their seal/vent/cable will work, to be honest I don’t care because I am swapping out the lights and going with a different company. I have been waiting for Baja Designs to produce a “consumer” light for a while. I love their shit but you pay for what you get as they are not some chi-com junk. At KOH this year the car I was pitting (707) swapped over to them and they were beautiful machined hunks of lighting art…..that hurt my wallet to look at While BSing at thier booth, they said they were going to release a “consumer” grade of their Squadron lights. So I took a card and waited…and waited..and TAAADAAAAAA
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post #2 of 18 Old 06-05-2014, 02:32 PM Thread Starter
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Baja Designs released the “Sport” version of the Squadron, same price as the light I am replacing but with BD's quality.
Squadron Sport, LED Driving




Nice construction, simple mount, common connector, big heat sinks


Oh and this little bugger, their MoistureBlock. They found that water can actually wick its way the wiring, it also allows you to cut the wire and use ANY connector you chose without any issues with the integrity of the light.


It occupies about the same real-estate as the light its replacing, maybe a half inch shorter.

Similar single point mounting but with one thing better


The HOUSING on the Baja Designs is threaded! Ok, you have no idea how much of a pain in the ass it is to have to hold the stupid little bracket nut in place, blind, with a fingertip because you had to mount the bracket first. I would literaly just duct tape them in here.


Connectors for the 2, you can swap out the BD one with no warranty issues


Reflector design between the 2 are similar, a deep smooth cone shaped reflector

(brand new not fogged one)
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post #3 of 18 Old 06-05-2014, 02:33 PM Thread Starter
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Some of the other neat things about the BD lights is using a copper core for the LED board (LEDs produce a good chunk of heat and better heat transfer = better performance and life) and USA made.

So fuckit, lets see what is inside!

By the way boys and girls, I have voided the warranty on the light on the left by doing this. Because you guys who build high end shit can not be trusted with 6 screws and a gasket. So if it does fog up you HAVE to send it back. Baja Design actualy makes and advertises their lights as user serviceable without violating their lifetime warranty. uServiceâ„¢ because they trust me with a screwdriver



The gasket for the other light is a sorta square double flanged gasket that holds the lens in the middle of it. I don’t like it but it is what it is. It is held in place by a cast aluminum outer face ring.


The Baja Design Squadron Sport has a traditional o-ring style and the lens is sandwiched with a machined aluminum outer face ring




The reflectors are captive by either glue or tabs, either way they did not fall out or move when touched. You can see the O-ring grove



The other light the reflectors fell out as they are trapped between the lens and circuit board.


Now for the highly accurate unmowed backyard light plopped on top of a spare battery test .

Other light:


Baja Designs Squadron Sport:


Clearly it is more center weighted with not as much spill, I will have to change this for backup lights. But I don’t care because I CAN CHANGE THIS !! I can pick up BD’s flood, mixed, yellow or whatever replacement lens and swap it out myself and have the light tuned to my needs. No clip on cracking filter to change color, no warrantee issues, no driving to ship them out, just me and an allen wrench.

They visualy put out more light, sorry I did not break out the bling measuring crap like here Pirate4x4.Com - The largest off roading and 4x4 website in the world. just the trusty eyeball-o-meter. They put out the same lumen on paper, but whatever, its visualy obvious they are not.


Time to see how these ones hold up, I will update as needed. If anyone has any requests for info or pictures please ask before I mount them up and I will get them for you.
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post #4 of 18 Old 06-05-2014, 03:11 PM
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I remember the surprise I felt when I took apart that effed up R**** spot that I got and having the reflector just puke out onto the bench. Definitely wasn't what I expected for a $100.00 unit. I have yet to have a moisture issue with any of said lights, but, I did notice the breather changes between my original floods and the newer spots. Those BD Sport units look nice, I wonder if they'll offer custom anodized options, i'd like to have that ring in orange.

Crap, they're in San Marcos! I guess i'll have to visit them next month and check em out in person.

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Some folks are fine with being screwed over, perhaps finding confrontation to be more stressful than just living with whatever the problem is. These are excellent consumers, manufactured to the finest specifications.
Reformed Jeep addict... Jeepless for now.

Last edited by JKCTAZ; 06-05-2014 at 03:14 PM.
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post #5 of 18 Old 06-05-2014, 03:14 PM
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These with the JK fog replacement brackets are on my list. I just can't decide on optics and sport vs. pro. Any chance you are doing a write up with pictures of the spot, driving, and cornering optics with beam shots against a wall and also in the open?

Jon

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post #6 of 18 Old 06-05-2014, 03:15 PM
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Originally Posted by JKCTAZ View Post
I wonder if they'll offer custom anodized options, i'd like to have that ring in orange.
It would be easy enough to pull the ring off and paint or powdercoat it. I have disassembled my BD LED bar a few times and you just need to know how to turn an allen wrench.

Jon

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post #7 of 18 Old 06-05-2014, 05:30 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JKCTAZ View Post
I remember the surprise I felt when I took apart that effed up R**** spot that I got and having the reflector just puke out onto the bench. Definitely wasn't what I expected for a $100.00 unit. I have yet to have a moisture issue with any of said lights, but, I did notice the breather changes between my original floods and the newer spots. Those BD Sport units look nice, I wonder if they'll offer custom anodized options, i'd like to have that ring in orange.

Crap, they're in San Marcos! I guess i'll have to visit them next month and check em out in person.
Paint it, better end result and less chance of it bleaching due to cleaning chemicals.

and you can say whatever manufacture you wish, I just said I would not
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post #8 of 18 Old 06-05-2014, 09:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by usmcdoc14 View Post
Paint it, better end result and less chance of it bleaching due to cleaning chemicals.

and you can say whatever manufacture you wish, I just said I would not
Trying to be respectful of the direction this thread was going.

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Some folks are fine with being screwed over, perhaps finding confrontation to be more stressful than just living with whatever the problem is. These are excellent consumers, manufactured to the finest specifications.
Reformed Jeep addict... Jeepless for now.
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post #9 of 18 Old 06-05-2014, 10:14 PM
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If the squadrons are anything like my 8" OnX light from Baja Designs you'll love them. I was surprised how well the 8" lit things up.

Sure my rig has seen the trail, but I wheel it like a soccer mom looking for a parking spot at Nordstroms.
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post #10 of 18 Old 06-06-2014, 04:24 PM Thread Starter
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stand by, doing destructive testing for someone on pirate and will post up here
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post #11 of 18 Old 06-06-2014, 04:55 PM Thread Starter
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I was asked
Quote:
Run both for an hour with no wind but open to the air to put them into thermal regulation and shot the beam into a white object a couple feet away, photograph the beam shot.
How hot is your location, put them in a large box if needed.
Then drop the hot lights into ice water and let them cool all the way and look for moisture inside the light.
so what the hell

fuckit, I started
Both lights attached to a fully charged Oddysey with a tender on it.
Start temp of both sitting in the garage



Start time



and GO


15 min temp check:
Other lights


Baja Design Squadron Sport
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post #12 of 18 Old 06-06-2014, 04:56 PM Thread Starter
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30 min temp check


Other light


Baja Designs Squadron Sport



Well as the video uploads, they were covered inside a box and ran for an hour, temps at dunk shown in video. This was a BRAND NEW light, both brands, NOT the ones I took apart, so were as is from the factory.

Both dunked and left in ice water till cold.

Baja Designs Squadron Sport = nothing


other light.....hmmmm whats this?


Let me turn on the flash so you can see it better



30 more min till bath time
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post #13 of 18 Old 06-06-2014, 05:30 PM Thread Starter
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post #14 of 18 Old 06-06-2014, 05:50 PM Thread Starter
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Ok..wow.. what the fuck. There was a LOT more water in there than that. I plugged it back in to cycle it a few times to dry it out as I though it was slight moisture....ummm no
flash on


flash off


Fuck it, its not going back anyway so I took it apart


you can see the water on the towel and the puddle in the back against the wires.


Sorry but THAT surprised the fuck out of me
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post #15 of 18 Old 06-06-2014, 05:53 PM
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That's pretty bad, this would occur in any environment below 40 degrees while using them...

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Some folks are fine with being screwed over, perhaps finding confrontation to be more stressful than just living with whatever the problem is. These are excellent consumers, manufactured to the finest specifications.
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post #16 of 18 Old 06-06-2014, 10:10 PM Thread Starter
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found an old video of when they fail and die
www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lh1B7bp2tQo
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post #17 of 18 Old 06-11-2014, 04:22 PM Thread Starter
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I got a message from a viewer that "That was a fluke and would not happen again"

So I grabbed the other light and repeated

Worse..
Baja Designs Squadron Sport vs "other brand" LED torture test - YouTube

Video of me opening it up after
Baja Designs Squadron Sport vs : the aftermath of the test - YouTube
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post #18 of 18 Old 06-12-2014, 08:46 AM
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Great write up Doc.

Semper Fi
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