Here in Arizona, our primetime rock crawling season is a little backwards from most of the U.S. since the best time of the year is the dead of winter. The winter months are perfect-75 degrees, sunny most days, and little chance for rain. Conversely, the summer months are tough on equipment-115 degrees ambient temperature, idling your rig all day at 2 m.p.h., no breeze… the oppressive heat will tax the driver and the very best cooling system. So when I feel the wheeling bug nipping at me during the scorching summer, the preferred option is an after-dark adventure, but it’s tough to see those pesky boulders under your rig.
Over the years I’ve experimented with many different types of under-carriage lighting for darkness direction. I have tried everything from el-cheap auto parts store lights, to heavy-duty tractor lights, and everything in between. Three problems seem to always radiate from those incandescent illuminators:
- the lights draw way too much power from an already overburdened electrical system
- they are too-big, difficult to protect and break frequently
- They tend to be too bright and reflections destroy night vision
Well, I think I have found a cure to all three of these problems with the help of Vision-X Lighting. Our trusty editor has already explored one LED option on the market, but I found another for us to test-similar in theory, but different in application.
Vision-X lighting has a specially designed off-road LED lighting kit called “Tantrum”, but in reality they could be used on any vehicle with a 12-volt source. The Tantrum kit contains 8 light pods measuring 1.75″ in diameter. Each pod contains 15 individual 1.5 mm LED’s, for a whopping grand total of 120 super-bright, white LED’s. The aluminum LED pods are fully potted-meaning that they are sealed inside a tough, waterproof, clear resin. Each pod weighs about 4 ounces, and draws only 2 watts of power (as compared to a standard 55 watt light) for a total of 16 watts or 1.6 amps for everything. The kit also includes a control box, a cigarette lighter adapter and a wireless remote.
The coolest part of the Tantrum system is in its use. The control box performs a few unique functions and you can set the lights to function in 3 different ways. They can be set to “constant-on” for off-road use, they can be set to all blink simultaneously at an adjustable speed, or they can be set to blink in sequence around your vehicle, ala disco lights! The control box also has a built in microphone to interface with your stereo to time the lights with the beat of the music. All of these functions can be controlled with the small, key fob remote control, from up to 1000 feet away. Yeah I know, not really practical for wheeling, but it sure looks cool when you park at night to enjoy a beverage or two. In the constant on position, the LED pods produce a bright, semi-direct light that creates a circular pattern around the Jeep that I have adjusted to a 20 foot area around the Jeep with most of the light being directed in the areas around the tires. Positioning the lights for optimal lighting is key, since they are designed to be flush mounted.
I used the adhesive backing provided to test different mounting options, and then when I felt I had the lights aimed correctly, I drilled and permanently mounted them. With all 8 pods mounted, the Jeep has a bright white glow that extends completely around it, perfect for night wheeling. This set up is perfect for night rock crawling and trail rides. The lights also work great for loading and unloading camping and hunting gear at night, providing an even wash of light around the vehicle.
120 LED’s, durable sealed pods, and a retail price under $200 the Tantrum lighting system is definitely the hottest lighting deal on the market. The only recommendation I have for the Tantrum kit, is it could include 2 light pods designed as spot lights to throw some light out in front of the rig, and leave the other 6 as flood lights. Other than that, the kit is well designed, tough, and easy to install. If you’re looking for the ultimate all-in-one LED light kit to give your off-road rig the perfect undercarriage lighting, give Vision-X lighting a call, or click on the below listed link to check out all the other lighting products they make for your rig.
|10115 SE 256th St
Kent, Wa 98030