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lighting mobile advertising truck #12418 08/09/02 01:36 AM
Joined: Aug 2002
Posts: 6
cyprus-dodger Offline OP
Junior Member
Can any of you guys advise a non-electrical persons on the best way to front light a mobile advertising truck ?
The size of each side panel is 6m x 3m. I am confused as to what bulb system with what supply system to use for best effect, do i use an inverter or run a 12 volt supply straight from the battery ?, the system is 12 volt.
Would appreciate some expert help please.

Dodger - Cyprus

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Re: lighting mobile advertising truck #12419 08/09/02 05:36 AM
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 5,389
sparky Offline
sometimes it's best to ask the manufacturer , look for a tech suppport #


Re: lighting mobile advertising truck #12420 08/09/02 08:32 AM
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 7,520
pauluk Offline

Two panels of 3 x 6m comes to almost 400 sq. feet, which is going to take quite a lot of light if you want it reasonably bright.

It will take a lot of current from the vehicle's electrical system, so you may find you need to increase the alternator capacity to cope. If you plan on running the lights while stationary, it may need an auxiliary battery to cope with the current demand, otherwise you could run the main battery down in a very short length of time.

Re: lighting mobile advertising truck #12421 08/09/02 08:56 AM
Joined: Aug 2002
Posts: 6
cyprus-dodger Offline OP
Junior Member
thanks pauluk - any suggestions on the type of bulbs to use, would the small domestic 12v bulbs be ok, you know the ones the have in stores display windows etc. ? or to use 12v halogen lights ?


Re: lighting mobile advertising truck #12422 08/09/02 01:49 PM
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 7,520
pauluk Offline
The biggest problem I see with this is the sheer amount of power it would take to illuminate the large panels to a reasonable level.

The 12V reflector bulbs used in modern home/shop downlighters are typically about 50 watts each. That means that each bulb will draw over 4 amps of current. (Two of these bulbs will draw almost as much power as a pair of car headlights -- I'm sure I don't need to tell you how quickly they can run down a battery!)

I think you'd need quite a few of these bulbs to get any sort of decent light on the signs.

Fluorescent lighting would be more efficient, but for panels this big I think it would get prohibitively expensive.

Just a thought, what about the rope lights that the "street cruisers" are fitting around the bottom of their cars these days?

I've never experimented with them, but maybe a couple fitted around the outside of panel might do the trick.

Does anyone have any experience of these?

Re: lighting mobile advertising truck #12423 08/09/02 02:20 PM
Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 7
cajun Offline
Junior Member
Hello cyprus-dodger,

I can think of a few ideas that are designed for rough automotive use off the existing electrical system. Source an alternator meant for an ambulance or other vehicle with heavy electrical needs that runs on the same chassis (or at least uses the same engine) as your truck. There are also a number of aftermarket high-amp alternators designed to run a welder off your engine, you might need a custom bracket to mount it but they're an option and are designed to put out at least 80% of their rated current at engine idle.

Run a couple of deep-cycle batteries isolated from the starting battery so that you can drive the truck away after the sign lights have drained the lighting batteries while parked. There are available battery boxes for various commercial rigs that hang off the side of a framerail to hold the large commercial-type deep-cycles.

For lighting, take a look at the "off-road" type floodlights that you tend to see mounted on the front of jeeps, jacked-up 4x4's, rallye cars, etc. They put out quite a lot of light and are available in many different beam patterns, plus they are ruggedized and meant for the heavy vibration a moving vehicle puts on them. You might could do with some ordinary rectangular low-beam headlights, at least you could replace them easily. In either case, run heavy-guage wire to the lights and control them with relays so you don't have all that current coming through the passenger cab. I've experienced short-circuits under the dash melting solder joints and dripping it onto my foot - not fun! [Linked Image]

For extended use while parked, a small generator to power the sign might be in order, it will use less fuel than idling the truck engine and you can put a big muffler on it to quiet it down. If you go the generator route, you can use 120V or 240V lighting, and from there you can ask the regular electricians here about suitable ruggedized lighting. Advantage to this route is that if you set it up right, you can plug it in if a customer has a high-enough capacity socket and they want the truck parked there a couple of days.


[This message has been edited by cajun (edited 08-09-2002).]

Yes, I'm on Company Time. How else do you think I get a DSL connection?
Re: lighting mobile advertising truck #12424 08/10/02 01:49 AM
Joined: Aug 2002
Posts: 6
cyprus-dodger Offline OP
Junior Member
thanks guys for these very helpful ideas


Re: lighting mobile advertising truck #12425 08/10/02 07:37 AM
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 7,520
pauluk Offline
A mains hook-up would definitely be the way to go if you anticipate being parked where it is available.

The problem of heavy loads and providing an auxiliary battery, increased alternator capacity etc. is also common to the RV world and to living on board a boat.

If you have any places nearby that cater to RVs or marine (quite probably the latter in Cyprus?) it might be worth a visit.


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