Rugged Ridge HID Lights - A Review - JKowners.com : Jeep Wrangler JK Forum
 
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post #1 of 20 Old 02-10-2010, 08:17 PM Thread Starter
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Rugged Ridge HID Lights - A Review

Someone asked if I would post my experience of these lights on here. Here it is, hopefully it helps someone make an informed decision about some aux lights.

Originally I had just posted the whole original review (that I had posted on other forums), and attached my thoughts and later posts. I've since edited it down somewhat to include my actual experience with them, as well as some thoughts I had afterwards.


Also, these are apparently almost identical to the HIDx lights (QStar?), and the 4" Hella Otiplux (sp). From what I can see from LOOKING at pictures, this is true. I can't speak for the durability of these lights. I took them on a 27 hr 1800km road trip, then removed them when I traded in the XJ for the JK. I haven't put on any lights since (although have plans to when I finally make time). I don't really want to get into the differences in the lights (or lack there of). I'll let you research this on your own. But as these lights all appear to be very very similar, I doubt there would be much of a difference in performance (durability and track record is another matter).



Okay, my attempt here to is write a review, or my opinion of these lights. I took a bunch of pictures, but all that showed up is the lower part of the beam (see crappy hand drawn image of the Eurobeam/Drivingbeam pattern below).

This winter I had picked up four 4" RR HID driving lights, and two 7" driving lights. When I first tested these in the field behind my house (maybe 150 yards long) I was pretty disappointed in them, and was ready to dump $1150 into some Hella HIDs. However before I called the sales rep back, I decided to take these lights to my gun range and test them there. In addition to the extra (and marked) length, there was no outside lights at all (where as the field had a bunch of lights around 2 sides). The testing was done with a single light held at hood level in total darkness.

This is what the beam pattern looks like:



I've assigned some values just so there's no confusion with the words.
10/10 = great lighting
1/10 = very poor lighting

Ok, now to what I found out. I initially started off with one 4" light. Using the light, I was able to clearly see the 100 yard markers (10/10), easily see the 200 yard marker (6/10) and barely able to see the 300 yrd markers (2/10) (it's right at the edge of the light and if I didn't know it was there, I doubt I'd be able to pick it out). I'm sure if you measured the light it would go out much farther, but this is what I can see with this light (so useable light). This is with one 4" light that cost me $130 ($260 CND for both, including shipping to Northern Canada).

Now on to the 7" light (the 4" was put away). When I first tested these in the field I noticed little difference between the 4" light and the 7" light... Clearly I didn't have a big enough field. Again, I was clearly able to see the 100 yrd markers (10/10), I was clearly able to see the 200 yrd markers (9/10), I could easily make out the 300 yrd markers (6/10), and could make out both the 400 yard markers (4/10) and the 500 yard markers (3/10). Yes that's right... I could see tree's and **** out past 500 yards. I paid approximately $125 CND a light (including shipping to Northern Canada).

To give you some comparison, my 2 yr old used and abused Lightforce 170 55w lights could see the 200 yrd markers (4/10) and the 300 yrd markers was right at the fringe of the light (1/10). The light was also the halogen yellow and made things hard to see. And from experience, that in poor conditions with some time, they will strain your eyes. Where as the HIDs offered a bright pure white light.

I've attached a picture, but it honestly doesn't even come close to doing these lights justice. This is at the 100 yrd targets. What this picture doesn't show, is that the horizontal beam pattern was quite wide (it covered the whole width of the range when I was looking at the 300yrd+ range). The light on the ground (before the targets) is from the bulge on the bottom of the beam pattern (see above).



Now, after seeing how well these lights performed, I'll not be calling the store back about the Hella HIDs. This isn't because I don't think these lights could be improved on (because there are probably better lights out there), but that for the price of the Hella's, I'm really wondering if the difference will be enough to justify the cost. If I had the chance to do this all over again, knowing what I do now, I doubt I'd even look at the Hella's. My total cost on these was around $700 Canadian (for 6 lights). And while I was willing to pay much more than that to be able to see, it doesn't look like I'll have to.

Pros:
- Decent lighting (250/300 yards with 4"/500yards with 7")
- 4" lights are pretty compact
- After market covers are available (including amber covers - although I can't remember if these are out yet, or are just coming out)
- Internal ballast
- Cheap for HID lights
- Comes with a clear rock/stone guard

Cons:
- Horrible aiming adapter (I mean really bad - when I looked at mounting them on the new JK, I put a ton of tape over the teeth (I was in rush). I'll be filing down the bottom brackets before using these this time around). If you don't have an adjustable mounting bracket (my front bumper ones had a hinge in them) you might have to do something about the bracket to aim them correctly (unless you luck out with where/how you mount them).
- the 7" lights are pretty big! I doubt you could fit more than 3 on your bumper - although depending on what you want/need, you probably don't need more than 3.
- Chinese made (I had 2 DOAs on the 7" lights - again these were the RR lights I had - I can't speak for the other brands that look very similar)
- No options for beam patterns (spot/flood/driving)

Final Opinion:

Great lights for the price. The fact that there's some aftermarket accessories for them from HIDx that should fit the RRs (I haven't tried yet, but will soon). I'm disappointed with the aiming bracket (I think this could really be improved on), but it's very simple and straight forward to use. And the light output will definitely make up for not being able to aim them perfectly. And to be honest, I don't think it would matter to most people (I'm kinda anal about my lights).

While I won't be using all RR lights for my lighting needs, I'll definitely be using some of the 4" ones to cover the ditches. These are a great bang for buck light and unless you're anal about your lights (like me) I don't think you'll be disappointed. Just because they're really affordable for HIDs (~100-150 per light for both the 4" and 7" - depending on where you get them), doesn't mean they're complete crap. These are actually pretty decent lights.

Would I buy them again knowing what I know now? Yes definitely - but I would do some research into the HIDx and RR brands for these lights, and why (from my understanding) RR isn't still selling these (or shouldn't be).

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Last edited by Riptide; 02-10-2010 at 08:26 PM.
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post #2 of 20 Old 02-11-2010, 12:37 PM
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As usual, great review!

So did you end up mount the 7"ers on your bumper? I am interested to see how big (deep) the lights are.
Do you have any mounted pics to share?
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post #3 of 20 Old 02-11-2010, 01:17 PM Thread Starter
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Not my lights, but here's a pic that I stole from MintGreenJeep on jeepforums.



Here's what they looked like on my XJ (I'd replaced the Lightforce lights on the bumper with some 4" RRs)



I never mounted mine on the bumper as my XJ had a stock bumper and there's no way they could fit there. I believe from what I remember of a stock JK bumper there should be more than enough room (my JK came with a warn bumper). However with the pictures below, the 7" lights don't appear that big (I certainly remember them as being quite big).

I pilfered these pics from HIDx ** (this thread) (see RDM Offroad (among others) for their products)




I'm kinda torn. When I think about what I want from lights on the window pillars, and seeing how the HIDx ones look (size wise they don't look that bad - not nearly as big as I remember them being...) I'm tempted to look at some HIDx instead of testing the EE 6" HID Lights in a driving beam pattern. I know what these lights will do, and that they won't disapoint me. On the other hand I'd like to keep the lights consistant (with my other 6" Eagle Eyes)...

oh decisions decisions...

** I'm showing these pics to give an example of the size. HIDx and RR lights are not the same lights.

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post #4 of 20 Old 02-11-2010, 01:18 PM
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great info!
eventually, I want to ditch my double halogen WS mounts and goto a singe 7" HID on each lower corner, hmmm but I *could* goto quad 4" HIDs....
I wonder how much more light I would get from 4x 4" instead of 2x 7"?

damn my rethinking probably just cost me $200 more!


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post #5 of 20 Old 02-11-2010, 01:29 PM Thread Starter
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The 7" give a lot more light at a longer distance (when comparing them one vs one).

However when I only had the one 7" RR going (as the other one was DOA), I didn't notice that much of a difference against the four 4" lights. But then I had some major issues attempting to aim it just right. My roof rack bracket was slightly downward facing and I didn't have time to look at option's to correct it or the aiming bracket.

If I was looking at HIDx for some lights, get both... some on the WS and some on the bumper! As I'm sure you're aware, 2 lights will limit your ability on where you point them... the more lights the more options you have (if one dies (I can see tree branch's being a bitch on WS mounted lights) you have some backup). As well as aiming options in regards what you want to see...

But then I like lights... the more the better...

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post #6 of 20 Old 02-11-2010, 01:36 PM
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If it helps, here are some approximate dimensions on our HIDX lights...




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post #7 of 20 Old 02-11-2010, 01:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Riptide View Post
If I was looking at HIDx for some lights, get both... some on the WS and some on the bumper! As I'm sure you're aware, 2 lights will limit your ability on where you point them... the more lights the more options you have (if one dies (I can see tree branch's being a bitch on WS mounted lights) you have some backup). As well as aiming options in regards what you want to see...

But then I like lights... the more the better...
heh you've evidently never seen my Jeep.....


the 2 big lights on the bumper are retrofitted with 9006 HID bulbs for a chevy pickup headlight conversion, the 4 on the windshield are 100w halogens, the headlights are upgraded with wiring harnesses and H4 55/110w Hella bulbs plus the factory fogs in the bumper.

I spend a lot of nights in the middle of nowhere catching rattlesnakes.
I not only WANT a lot of light, I NEED a lot!


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post #8 of 20 Old 02-11-2010, 08:20 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by venom View Post
heh you've evidently never seen my Jeep.....


the 2 big lights on the bumper are retrofitted with 9006 HID bulbs for a chevy pickup headlight conversion, the 4 on the windshield are 100w halogens, the headlights are upgraded with wiring harnesses and H4 55/110w Hella bulbs plus the factory fogs in the bumper.

I spend a lot of nights in the middle of nowhere catching rattlesnakes.
I not only WANT a lot of light, I NEED a lot!
What type of mount are you using on the WS? I don't think I'd want to put 4 HIDs up there (even 4 of the 4"ers), but where's the light bar? You could stick a bunch of HIDs up there too

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post #9 of 20 Old 02-11-2010, 08:27 PM
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I made the ws mounts
no light bar yet, I clear my garage by less than an inch as it is.
eventually I might do a low profile bar with low-pro lights hanging underneath or across in front of the bottom of the WS

might have to photochop and see what a 4 and a 7 on each side looks like


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post #10 of 20 Old 02-11-2010, 10:37 PM Thread Starter
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completely off OT. But what size are those lights... I'm almost tempted to look into something like that... not that I think I'll need them... but just because I could...

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post #11 of 20 Old 02-12-2010, 08:13 AM
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I loved my HID-X lights... they were amazing at night.. although I never took any pictures of them


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post #12 of 20 Old 02-12-2010, 10:55 PM
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Venom's configuration always gets me hard for some reason!

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post #13 of 20 Old 02-13-2010, 11:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hidX View Post
Venom's configuration always gets me hard for some reason!
Thanks!
It'd look a lot better if the lights had red rings around them....

I think eventually when I have the cash I'll do quad 4"s on the windshield corners and 7"s on the bumper

possibly a lo-pro above the windshield with 4"s hanging down in the corners.
If I can't fit them, then I'll have to do some lo-pro rectangular units.


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post #14 of 20 Old 02-13-2010, 12:35 PM
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I finally yanked the KC's off of my windshield. I could find no advantage to having them there and they just plain bugged me on the trail as I didn't like the way they were in my view. Of course I also yanked the bull bar lights (and front bumper too.) I'm in the process of mounting five 4" HIDx's on my Shrockworks middy. I have two on already and the quality of the light they produce is fantastic. They aren't adjusted any higher than my low beams, but things really show up in the dark. I drive many dirt roads and after a good storm they can develop some moon crater sized pot holes. I've hit some at 30 mph that were so deep they actually stalled the Jeep out because the computer thought I'd been in an accident. Our regular headlights/foglights just don't illuminate that stuff all that well. The quality of the light coming out of the HIDx's is so much better. My ride home has become much smoother.
BTW They work great for fog as well.

BEER Helping me do stupid things to my JK since 2007!
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post #15 of 20 Old 02-21-2010, 12:59 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seer View Post
I'm in the process of mounting five 4" HIDx's on my Shrockworks middy.
Pics of this are required.

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post #16 of 20 Old 02-23-2010, 11:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by venom View Post
I made the ws mounts
no light bar yet, I clear my garage by less than an inch as it is.
eventually I might do a low profile bar with low-pro lights hanging underneath or across in front of the bottom of the WS

might have to photochop and see what a 4 and a 7 on each side looks like
Hey VENOM, i made a low pro light bar with 6 55w halogens. They are just 1x4" fogs but light the general area around the front of the jk and decent to the sides. not much for projection but the idea is sound and better lights would make it better. And if you lean it forward about 4" from the windshield...no buffeting of the soft top.

edit: picture added

09 JK 4Dr Rubicon
Zone Offroad 4" lift with 35" KM2
Superwinch LP8500 in ARB front bumper
And too FEW Lights!!

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post #17 of 20 Old 02-25-2010, 08:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hidX View Post
If it helps, here are some approximate dimensions on our HIDX lights...



Just picked up 4 of these.
Do I need to use a relay with these?

Ray
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post #18 of 20 Old 02-26-2010, 12:03 AM
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In my opinion you should and they are not hard to install. I have 5 relays in my jeep for my lights, cb and everything I add that needs power.
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post #19 of 20 Old 02-26-2010, 12:30 AM Thread Starter
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You might be able to get away without it... but at $3 plus a little bit of extra wire... why take the chance?

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post #20 of 20 Old 02-27-2010, 08:27 PM Thread Starter
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Well I finally got around to making my light bar (or rather my buddy who welds did... but I helped ). The fact that I have 12 hrs of driving to do next week for work really motivated me to get this done...

Anyway here's some pics...




And finally... we all know that not only does a snazy light bar add at least 5HP per light, but that it'll also compensate for the crappy tires I have...
Now if only the tires had arrived on time like they were suppose to... sigh... Thankfully I always have my SOS Shovel with me to bail me out...



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