4WD MODIFICATIONS - ELECTRIC & LIGHTS
When we tested Stedi’s original ST3303 21-inch (533mm), 32-LED bar we were very impressed with the distance and spread from this compact unit. We thought light bars couldn’t get much better, but we were wrong.
Enter the new-generation Stedi ST3303 range. These 2020 models have Cree XLamp XP-L HI un-domed LEDs, with breakthrough SC5 technology.
The XP-L HI emitter has a nine-percent increase in lumen output at the same drive current over the now aged Cree XM-L2 LEDs used in the previous model.
Nine percent output increase per LED is only part of the story, because the emitter die size drops down from 5 x 5mm to 3.5 x 3.5mm. Higher lumen density from a smaller source improves the optics-emitter size relationship, effectively increasing the optic diameter by 40-percent without physically increasing it.
The ST3303 is IP68-rated for submersibility and has a Nitto breather.
The 2020 ST3303 we chose to test is the 28-inch (711mm) version that has 40 LEDs in two rows. As with the previous generation, the lens optics are arranged for distance and spread, with the outer-edge 16 lenses fluted for increased spread and the inner 24 with clear-lens Lexan, for distance.
The following Stedi-supplied test lab report shows 128-metre beam width and 810m distance at one lux.
Although the increase in bar length is modest – up only 178mm – the additional light output is considerably greater and so is power consumption: around 24-28 amps.
Where the previous 32-LED bar got away with using a normal heavy-duty wiring harness and relay kit the 2020 ST33303 has two 25-amp connectors, not one and definitely needs the supplied dual-plug wiring harness and relays, Stedi insists.
We checked the validity of that instruction by test-bench wiring the new ST3303 bar with conventional driving-light-pair, twin-relay, two-connector wiring and the assembly became a useful hand-warmer!
Don’t even think about using anything but the supplied harness, plugs and relays. Fortunately, the wiring kit is ‘plug ’n’ play’, using H3 and H4 plug adaptors for high-beam triggering.
Wired and mounted after about an hour onto our OTA Team HiLux’s ‘roo bar, the ST3303 looked innocent enough. It fitted snugly between the bar uprights, using the cast-aluminium foot mounts and we’ll use the supplied 4mm stainless steel end-cap mounts for durability testing.
We expected the ST3303 40-LED bar’s performance to be better than the previous-generation 32-LED ST3303 unit’s, but it was much, much better. Particularly noticeable was the absence of ‘scatter’ – wasted light illuminating the road right in front of the vehicle and in the tree-tops.
For 90-percent of bush drivers this bar is all they’ll ever need and at $620 delivered your door, including brackets, orange or grey end caps, wiring and relays, it’s a bargain.
However, Stedi can supply a 40-inch (one metre), 60-LED bar for those who can never have too much light, but we reckon this 40-amp current user would best suit a 24-volt, big-truck electrical system, or a competition 4WD with a high-output alternator.
The 28-incher had a very well controlled light pattern, with a visible ‘hot spot’ in the centre, providing good distance lighting and tightly cut-off beams that had no ‘scatter’ to waste light in the tree tops. In appearance the beams resembled those produced by a pair of much more expensive, high quality round driving lights.
Check out our the ST3303, 28-inch, 40-LED video test: