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Thread: How would you design LED headlights for a riding mower?

  1. #1

    Default How would you design LED headlights for a riding mower?

    My daughter is an industrial design major in college, and she is interning at a company that manufactures riding lawn mowers. She has been given the task of evaluating the current design of the mower's headlights and to try and come up with an improved design.

    The current design uses LEDs, but they're not very bright. She is doing lots of research on types of LEDs, reflector designs, lens designs, etc. She also asked for my advice. (Iím an EE, but I donít know much about LEDs.) So I have also been doing research on those topics.

    So I guess I am just looking for general advice here. Single LED or multiple LEDs? Parabolic reflector, focusing lens, or a combination of the two? What about using those LEDs that are plug-in replacements for halogen bulbs?

    Thanks
    Last edited by archimedes; 06-10-2018 at 08:02 PM. Reason: ad link removed

  2. #2
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    Default Re: How would you design LED headlights for a riding mower?

    Hello and welcome to CPF

    Your thread was moved to Special Application Lighting, as the topic is not specifically flashlight related, and was approved in lightly edited form (removing only a direct ad link)
    ... is the archimedes peak

  3. #3
    *Flashaholic* StarHalo's Avatar
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    Default Re: How would you design LED headlights for a riding mower?

    Mount a complete headlight assembly from a car onto the mower. I would prefer notably brighter HIDs over LEDs.

  4. #4

    Default Re: How would you design LED headlights for a riding mower?

    Seems to me like an off road led light bar is designed with a similar purpose to what you want.
    Hello darkness my old friend,
    I've come to talk with you again...
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  5. #5
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    Default Re: How would you design LED headlights for a riding mower?

    Quote Originally Posted by StarHalo View Post
    Mount a complete headlight assembly from a car onto the mower. I would prefer notably brighter HIDs over LEDs.
    This makes no sense. You don't need long distances with a riding mower and LEDs have much better efficiencies which is important with a limited power budget.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: How would you design LED headlights for a riding mower?

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael_in_Ohio View Post
    My daughter is an industrial design major in college, and she is interning at a company that manufactures riding lawn mowers. She has been given the task of evaluating the current design of the mower's headlights and to try and come up with an improved design.

    The current design uses LEDs, but they're not very bright. She is doing lots of research on types of LEDs, reflector designs, lens designs, etc. She also asked for my advice. (Iím an EE, but I donít know much about LEDs.) So I have also been doing research on those topics.

    So I guess I am just looking for general advice here. Single LED or multiple LEDs? Parabolic reflector, focusing lens, or a combination of the two? What about using those LEDs that are plug-in replacements for halogen bulbs?

    Thanks
    My advice to her is to stick to her specialty and evaluate what is acceptable from a design aesthetic and manufacturing cost standpoint, as well as the most ideal lighting pattern possible within a given lumen budget, and then suggest hiring of an optical engineer to design the appropriate optics. Without knowing what the cost budget is, or what the targeted lighting pattern is, it is impossible to suggest a "best" optical solution.

    I don't know the MFG volume, so I have no idea what is an acceptable NRE for tooling and design either. If they have reasonable volume and could spread this over many years of MFG, then a good custom design would be ideal. If they are just looking to check a box at the cheapest price, that is a completely different animal.

    If I had to guess, given the asymmetric nature of what is required, it is likely a custom optic, or multiple optics would provide the best optical pattern, but some pretty good results can be achieved with compound reflectors as well.
    Last edited by ssanasisredna; 06-11-2018 at 07:14 AM.

  7. #7

    Default Re: How would you design LED headlights for a riding mower?

    While I want to say, "Use a custom optic with an array of XHP35 HD and HI LEDs, 90+CRI, 4000k," that might not be economically feasible... or even what they are looking for. Instead it may be worth it to identify areas of improvement, then select one area (such as the LEDs used, the optic/reflector, materials, power delivery, aesthetics, or even just placement of the lighting system) and work on that one specific detail. Zero in on why it needs improvement before other areas (such as: LEDs are outdated, customers are shying away from bluer LEDs due to recent blue light studies, or even just saying there are significant gains to be had in this area), selection criteria for LEDs from cost to CCT to CRI and why, then display the various LEDs examined. Finally present the choice and what the costs and benefits are for integrating this new tech. While I used LEDs as the example since most LED mower headlights I've seen recently are horrid cold blue things, a similar process can be used for any aspect... or a complete design, if that is what they desire. Even then I'd recommend focusing on a smaller number of clearly stated goals than just "build a better light."
    The real test isn't necessarily going to be the technical application, but displaying how it can add value and selling it to the decision makers.

    Budget is also important, since a custom optic and array of quality LEDs is far more expensive than a COB bar slapped on front.

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