Side Marker Beam Patterns: FAIL

The truck side marker lights I’m thinking of using as daytime running lights have a pentagonal lens, so they should have a pattern with a bright central beam surrounded by five lobes. The one on Mary’s Tour Easy produced an oddly shaped blotch on the garage wall, so I ran the others though a simple test setup:

Side Marker - beam test setup
Side Marker – beam test setup

The lights sit horizontally in a small vise to keep them level and in the same position, although in no particular rotational orientation, and 100 mm from the graph paper. It’s running at 6 v to keep the brightness down enough to avoid blowing out the image. All of the images were exposed based on the central spot, so the surrounding paper gives some idea of the relative brightness: darker paper = brighter LED spot.

The front view of the lights comes from the stereo zoom microscope, with the wires gripped in a Third Hand and rotated to put the (inverted) TOP label where you’d expect it. They’re all roughly at the same position and pretty nearly lined up with the lens axis. The bubble-looking thing behind the central pentagon is the lens on the Piranha LED package, which should be centered but rarely is. You can see the dark orange square of the amber LED chip in some of the pictures.

Without further ado, the nine truck side marker lights that aren’t on her bike:

Side Marker E has a blob that looks like a cataract atop the LED lens, but it might be a mold imperfection.

Obviously, paying a buck a light doesn’t get you much in the way of build quality these days.

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