Fyrlyt 5000

Fyrlyt Nemesis 9000

Lightforce LED215

Side-by-side comparison

After I did the writeup and video of my Fyrlyt driving lights, I got a call from Paul Alisauskas, the co-founder of Fyrlyt, offering me a freebie set of their new $1,000 Nemesis 9000 lights as a thankyou. And who could say no to that?

While Paul didn't request this comparison/video (or anything else) in return for providing the lights, it seemed like a good opportunity to compare them to the standard (5000 lumen) versions. As fate would have it, at around the same time a mate bought a set of the new Lightforce LED215s for his Patrol, so I decided to do a 3-way comparison between the two Fyrlyts and the LEDs. I need to make it clear that I received no payment to write this comparison or make the video.

I would also like to have included a set of ARB Intensity lights in the comparison, but I didn't have access to a pair in time. It's worth noting though, that several comparisons have put them on-par with (or slightly behind) the Lightforce 215s.

To see step-by-step installation instructions for the Nemesis lights, scroll to the bottom of this page, or click here to jump.

The contenders

Fyrlyt 5000: You've already seen the standard Fyrlyts I installed previously. They are halogen lights running 150w Osram Xenophot globes in a moulded composite body with an aluminium reflector, globe holder and mounting bracket. They're made in Australia and have an RRP of $600, but can be found online for a little cheaper.

Fyrlyt Nemesis 9000: The Nemesis looks almost identical to the standard Fyrlyt, with the same excellent casing and mounting system. The hard-coated aluminium reflector is slightly different to take advantage of the whopping light generated by the 250w 9000 lumen Xenophot globe. The lights also have external step-up transformers which are installed in the engine bay. They're made in Australia and have an RRP of $990, but can generally be found cheaper online. If you don't need the 24v transformers (eg: truck installations), then you can get them for under $650pr.

Lightforce LED215: This is one of Lightforce's first forays into the LED market. They've received great reviews and been named in several tests as the best LED driving lights available. They run 36x 3-watt LEDs in a quality aluminium housing with a stainless steel bracket. Raw lumens are quoted at 7794, but this is not directly comparable to halogen or HID output figures. The LED215s are made in China, and have an RRP of about $1550, but can be found online for around $1300 a pair.

Testing methodology

Testing was conducted in a rural area north-west of Sydney, on two different nights. I tested the standard Fyrlyt 5000s on the first night, then the Nemesis and Lightforce LED215s side-by-side on another night a few weeks later.

All test videos were filmed with a Nikon D800 with a Nikkor 35mm f/2 lens set at f/5.6, with a shutter speed of 1/50sec and an ISO of 6400. The footage was edited in Final Cut Pro, but no changes were made to the footage other than changing the speed of the Fyrlyt 5000 clip to match the other two.

For the "Scene photo" still images, I used a Nikon D800 with a Nikkor 70-200VRII f/2.8 lens, set at 200mm and f/2.8, with a shutter speed of 1/3sec, at 800 ISO. The colour temperature was set at 4000ºK for the two Fyrlyts, and 5000ºK for the LED215s.

For the "Page photo" still images, I used a Nikon D700 with a Nikkor 24-120VR f/4 lens, set at 70mm and f/4, with a shutter speed of 1/50sec at an ISO of 6400.

The above parameters were designed to make the comparison as valid as possible by ensuring that the camera and/or processing didn't 'equalise' the results by compensating for more or less light being delivered by the various lights.

Because of the substantial difference in colour temperature of the lights, I have included two versions of each of the 'page' images below. One has the white balance set to a constant 4000ºK, which closely replicates how you actually see the light being emitted. The other has the white balance normalised so the page in the photos appears to be white. This gives a comparison of how much light is being emitted, without the distraction of trying to compensate for colour differences.

The video footage includes the vehicles' standard high-beam in addition to the driving lights, while for the still images the headlights were covered so the only light source was from the driving lights being tested.




Testing Results

Click any of the photos below to open a full-size version.

Fyrlyt 5000

Fyrlyt Nemesis 9000

Lightforce LED215

2x SPREAD

1x SPOT, 1x SPREAD

1x SPOT, 1x SPREAD

Overall scene

Page @200m

White Balance:
Shown at 4000ºK for all lights

Page @200m

White Balance:
Shown with corrected white balance

Page @500m

White Balance:
Shown at 4000ºK for all lights

Page @500m

White Balance:
Shown with corrected white balance

Indicative lux comparison @200m
Indicative lux comparison @500m

20 lux*

3 lux*

28 lux*

7 lux*

25 lux*

6 lux*

* Important information about 'lux' readings above:

The 'lux' readings given above have no relevance whatsoever outside this comparison. They exist only to give some objective figures for comparison between the lights in the test, and should NOT be taken as individually-accurate measures of the light output from any of these lights. This is because lux figures can vary so widely based on numerous factors including ambient conditions, light meter location, light aiming, beam overlap etc, and the fact that the measurements were taken via an lux-measuring app rather than a dedicated and calibrated light meter under laboratory conditions.

Conclusion

Despite their many differences, all of these lights are excellent products. All provide enormous amounts of light to improve driving safety at night, and I suspect anyone would be happy with any of them.

From the time I installed them, I was very impressed by the standard Fyrlyts. They were -until now- the brightest driving lights I'd owned. Certainly sufficient for most users, and I would have been happy to continue using them had the offer of the Nemesis not come along. At less than half the price of quality LEDs or HIDs, there’s no light that offers this sort of quality and performance for the money.

However, both the Nemesis and the LED215 are certainly brighter in comparative testing, as you can see for yourself in the images and the video of the testing above. Separating these two is more difficult, particularly because of the differences in colour temperature. The Nemesis produce noticeably more light at almost every point in your field of view. Although the LED215s deliver slightly more light at the very wide end, and there's a smoother falloff to the edges.

I personally prefer the warmer light from both sets of Fyrlyts over the cool/blue light from the LED215s, but that is mostly personal preference. It's worth noting though, that the bluer LED lights exhibit much more visible reflection from fog/smoke than the warmer halogens. This effect can be clearly seen by comparing the Nemesis and LED215 scene photos above. Although taken within a few minutes of each other, the tiny amount of ambient smoke in the air can be barely seen in the Nemesis picture, but is very noticeable in the LED215 shot, substantially reducing the contrast in the image. There's a reason why fog lights are often warm/yellow in colour!

The real elephant in the room for the comparison is pricing. It's a factor that cannot be ignored. At the time of writing, the Fyrlyt 5000s cost $600, the Nemesis 9000s will set you back $990 and the LED215s cost a very substantial $1400 a pair. Once these price differences are factored in, for most users I think it's very hard to go past the standard Fyrlyts given their substantial cost advantage over both of the others.

For drivers who really need the ultimate in lighting performance..... While the LED215s are probably the brightest LED light on the market, the fact remains that they cost over $400 more than the Nemesis, but still can't quite match them for performance, according to my testing. Despite relying on 'old' halogen technology, when it comes to what really counts -real world performance- the Nemesis 9000s finish at the top of this comparison, and leave a substantial amount of change in your pocket to boot.

If you really want to spend an extra $400 or enjoy offroad work after dark, then a combination of Nemesis lights for the highway and a pair of Lightforce’s excellent new 6” single row LED lightbars on the bullbar wings (aimed at an outward angle) would deliver substantially better lighting under every situation than you’d get from LED215s alone, for about the same total cost.

Fyrlyt Nemesis 9000 installation

**** IMPORTANT ****

The "Installation" section should not be taken as instructions. It is simply a documenting of the procedure I followed for my own installation. No warranty is provided as to the accuracy of the information, and/or whether it applies in your situation or to your vehicle. If you're not qualified and/or don't have the correct equipment, get the lights fitted professionally.

If you undertake your own lighting installation, you do so entirely at your own risk.

Tools and Equipment required

Click images to enlarge

Step 1: Run wire from the lights to the relay, mount the relay

  • Find a suitable location for your relay. I used a stackable relay block bolted to the inner guard next the the airbox.
  • Run twin 10AWG (5mm2) cable from the relay out to the lights, and solder it to the Fyrlyt plug.
  • Connect the positive light wire to pin 87 of the relay, and the negative light wire to either the negative battery terminal, or a good earth point on the body/chassis.
  • Run a light (~1mm2) wire from pin 86 of the relay to an existing body earth point.




Step 2: Mount the transformers to a mounting bracket

  • The transformers are water resistant, but it's probably not a good idea to mount them where they'll constantly be exposed to water and the weather (like behind the grille or in the bullbar).
  • They do fit nicely between the right side headlight and the battery.
  • I mounted the transformers to a basic L shaped piece of aluminium (see photo in the next step), with the terminals facing down once it's in position. No need to drill any holes to attach the bracket, as it will be held in place by the battery once it's back in position.

Step 3: Wire the lights

  • Because of the high current draw of these lights, and the twin transformers, the best way to install them is to make each light a separate circuit.
  • Solder the supplied light connectors onto some 10AWG (5.3mm2) or larger twin-core cable, and run from the each light mounting point to the transformer location. Connect each light to the 'output' side of its transformer.
  • Again using 10AWG (5.3mm2) or larger twin-core cable, run wires from the 'input' side of each transformer back to your relay location.

Step 4: Run the wire from high-beam to the switch, and back to the relay. Mount the switch.

  • Find the positive high-beam wire on the back of the headlight. It is probably coloured red with silver writing.
  • Tap into it then run a light (~1mm2) wire from here to the power-in terminal of your dash switch.
  • Run another ~1mm2 wire back from the power out terminal of the switch to pin 85 of the relay.
  • Tip: Use a double-insulated twin cable instead of two seperate cables. It makes it neater and easier to run.
  • Tip: Run the cable through the nipples provided on the Toyota wiring grommets. Just cut the end off, then reseal with a cable tie. See photo.
  • Mount the dash switch. To be consistant with my previous installs, I'm using a Carling LED switch available from Mudstuff, which does require some cutting at the back of the switch plates. However, AOB now produce a series of push on/off switches that fit perfectly into the 200's blank switch plates.

Step 5: Mount and wire the relays

  • Using 10AWG (5.3mm2) or larger cable, run a pair of wires from the positive battery terminal, via a maxi-blade fuse holder, to pin 30 of each relay. Don't install the fuses yet.
  • Connect the rest of the wires to the relays, as per the wiring diagram.
  • Mount the relays. The easy way to do this is using stackable relay mounting bases, which can be mounted to an existing bolt on the inner guard, just next to the airbox.

Step 6: Place the transformers and refit the battery

  • Sit the L-shaped transformer bracket between the headlight and the battery tray, and then replace the battery. When you clamp down the battery it will secure the transformer bracket in position.
  • Install the fuses into the fuse holders

Step 7: Mount the Fyrlyt Nemesis driving lights

  • Using the provided bolts, mount the alloy bases to the bullbar. Tighten them, but not so far that they can't be adjusted.
  • Mount the lights to the brackets using the provided allen-key bolt (AKA cap screw). Again, tighten them just enough so that they hold in place but can still be adjusted.
  • Connect the wiring plugs.

Step 8: Aim the driving lights

  • Head out to a quiet straight road, park safely on the shoulder and aim your lights.
  • Fully tighten the mounting bolts.




Comments / Q&A