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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-13-2004, 05:32 PM Thread Starter
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The purpose of fog lights...?

This has bothered me for some time. From what I have always known and read, fog lights are usually a more concentrated beam than your regular headlights. That, and they usually point straight forward to "cut" through the fog... which is why they are usually mounted on the lower bumper (as not to blind oncoming traffic). The main reason is to penetrate through the fog and extend your sight in such conditions.

I had the displeasure of having both my headlights blow out mid-winter. After the second set of Silverstars died, I tried to put off replacing my headlights until I could straighten things out with Sylvania and figured I could get by with just my fog lights. Not even close. The light from the fog lights disperses a very short distance from the front of the car. In fact, I had noticed that turning them on when I had my low-beams working only seemed to add light to the area between the front of my car and where my headlights already were.

Believing they were the stock fog light bulbs, I replaced them with Piaa Ion Crystals, which are amber (read: better for fog lights). I also ordered them after reading on a WRX forum about someone purchasing them and loving them. What he described them doing for his car was EXACTLY what I thought fog lights should do. Basically, he claimed that signs that were just barely visible or not visible at all because they were at the end of his headlight range became lit up when he used the fog lights.

So I installed mine... and noticed no difference from the stock bulbs other than the yellow color. For shits & giggles last night I went out and took pictures. I then got the idea to pull the fuses for my lowbeams to see what the fog lights did for me on their own. I went down the street (towards a dead end) with just my fog lights on and it was reminiscent of the days when I had my Silverstars blow out. I couldn't see jack. The light dispersed about a couple of car lengths in front of me. If anything, I could seen more light on the ground from my bumper outward up to the point where it dissapeared. With my regular lights on, why in the world would I need this lit up?

So am I wrong in believing that the 6's fog lights (integrated ones with the sport package, at least) are little more than decorative and more powerful parking lights? Is it maybe some sort of lens filtering the light to behave this way inside the fog lights assembly?

pics:
http://www.imagestation.com/picture/sraid1...f5/f8ae3bb4.jpg
http://www.imagestation.com/picture/sraid1...3d/f8ae3ba6.jpg
http://www.imagestation.com/picture/sraid1...83/f8ae3bc5.jpg
http://www.imagestation.com/picture/sraid1...3b/f8ae3be4.jpg

BTW - For any of you who are wonedring about the Piaas - they ARE yellow, but not nearly as much as I had thought/hoped. They are nothing like ones you see on stock Lexus's are are actually just the right tinge of yellow to "infect" my Philips Vision Plus bulbs which I had believed were pretty white before. Now, they look yellowish, probably from the flush of being so close to the fogs. I'm just guessing that if they were more yellow, it would cause more of a contrast making my Philips appear more white - but that's just a theory out of my ass.

I believe one of the gentlemen in the local 6 club here still has functional Silverstars. He must be a lotto winner. Next time we meet, we will compare the whiteness of the bulbs to see if my Philips really are that yellow or if it's due to these PIAA fog lights.
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-13-2004, 06:53 PM
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Replying to Topic 'The purpose of fog lights...?'

I'm not a real big fan of the stock foglights. On mine I have the integrated foglights which do increase visibility mainly off to the sides of the vehicle since they have a wide dispersion pattern, which works fine but I have not actually been able to drive with them in the fog yet. Then I also gota pair of PIAA 004X driving lights, those are probably closer to what you are expecting from our fogs because they have a very concentrated dispersion pattern. I like them alot, especially when driving on the back country roads. The way I see it the stock fogs do have a purpose for increasing visibility off to the sides of the vehicle more but like I said I don't know how well they work in fog since I haven't had any to go drive around in. They really are not a concentrated beam and every Mazda I've had has not had a concentrated foglight beam.

I guess you could say they are for show. Afterall I know of alot of idiots who like to drive around in a fully lit city having there damn foglights on because "it's cool" (yes some of those idiots are my friends) even though there is no way in hell they actually need them for the conditions. And people wonder why Americans don't get fancy bells and whistles that Euro cars have... its because they will use it all the time instead of when its supposed to be used. A perfect example is the rear foglight in euro cars.... I wish I could smack the people who go around here driving with those damn things on all the time. Anyway, enough passive agressiveness.
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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-13-2004, 07:25 PM
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Reading Topic: The purpose of fog lights...?

well there is a difference between fogs and driving lights. But to my understanding fogs have a tendency to not be so concentrated for the same reasons your no suppose to turn on your brights in the fog, the highly concentrated beam can actually refract and cause it to become very hard to see. This is what I have learned living in two places with horrible fog, the CA bay area, and Fresno CA (fog so bad there the delta flight manual has a full page on landing procedures for fresno's fog.


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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-13-2004, 07:31 PM
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Replying to Topic 'The purpose of fog lights...?'

Yah, what timba said :P
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-13-2004, 07:37 PM
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Reading Topic: The purpose of fog lights...?

Also I forgot to mention fog lights usually have a lower wider spread to illuminate the sides of the road and things you might miss because your standard headlights are over shooting them in the fog. Also the most effective light color to use in fog is yellow so the stock ones are for some looks but do have very much function helping with periphial(spelling?) vision and close objects one could miss in a heavy fog situation.


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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-13-2004, 08:39 PM
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Replying to Topic 'The purpose of fog lights...?'

From my research:

When there's fog, what you shine in front of you reflects of the moisture and practically mask what you try to see.

Fog lights are designed to have a wide dispersion, but from right in front of the car to about horizontal minus a few degrees. the goal is to illuminate what can be seen ie the first 100 feet or so and the sides which allow you to better gauge where you are.

The "french" yellow or ion yellow is said to stay away from the colors that are reflected most, but there is no miracle solution for fog.

I've put some Osram Super Weather(yellow) on my cluster fogs and carefully adjusted all of my beems to(at 25ft):

crossing lights: traight ahead centered - 1 inches down at the apex( __/ __/ )

fog lights: 2 inches down(can't center them)

driving lights: straight ahead centered - about horizontal

This is the best lighting I have seen from an OEM set up in cars.
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-13-2004, 10:29 PM
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Replying to Topic 'The purpose of fog lights...?'

fog lights are for driving in FOG. They aren't supposed to make you see a stop sign from far away...they are supposed to let you see maybe 40 feet in front of the car instead of the 2 feet that you can see when using the regular lights that are splintered up into nothing by the water droplets in the fog. I grew up in the "appalachian foothills" where you'd better have some fog lights if you want to go driving at night (in the country) between march and november. If you are driving in the city and really want something to see the stop sign at the end of the street better (and annoy other drivers) turn on your high beams.....
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-14-2004, 12:02 AM Thread Starter
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Replying to Topic 'The purpose of fog lights...?'

Hmm, what some of you have described about the dispersion pattern makes more sense now. Initially, it does seem as if wider dispersion would be worse since it appears that more light being thrown around would lead to more refraction. Using the example of what high beams do in the fog/snow demonstrates otherwise now that I think about it.

For the record, I don't drive with the fog lights on regularly. The example I used about the ability of the fog lights to light up objects in the distance more is related to my initial belief that the fog lights were supposed to contain a more concentrated beam to "cut" through the fog - and reach farther out. Believe it or not, this information most recently came from Honda. A brochure that Honda had put out a few years ago for its accessories had that explanation in the description of its fog light option. It even had a drawn diagram of the beam pattern with/without fog lights. It showed the standard spread of the headlights and then overlayed it with a narrower, more concentrated pattern from the fog lights that had a farther reach. I remember sitting in the waiting room flipping through the brochure and thinking "Oh, that's what they (fog lights) do...".

...HonDUH...
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-14-2004, 01:01 AM
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Reading Topic: The purpose of fog lights...?

Turn on your regular lights then turn on your fogs. You'd have to be blind to not see the difference between the fogs on and fogs off.

The fogs shine just a few feet in front of you but create a very even light across the beam pattern. The even lighting considerably helps with eye-strain at night.

Do they do what they're supposed to? No, not really. But they still serve a good purpose.

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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-14-2004, 01:03 AM
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Reading Topic: The purpose of fog lights...?

Quote:
It showed the standard spread of the headlights and then overlayed it with a narrower, more concentrated pattern from the fog lights that had a farther reach. I remember sitting in the waiting room flipping through the brochure and thinking "Oh, that's what they (fog lights) do...".
Are you sure they were describing fog lights and not driving lights. What you describe are what driving lights are designed to do.

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