Feniex Python T-4 -vs- Whelen LIN3

Nov 21, 2010
440
Pelican Rapids, MN
My curiosity finally got the best of me and I had to see what Feniex LED's are all about. I called the company and explained my situation of wanting to simply test something of theirs. Since they had a Python T-4 in blue that was a demo used at a show they sold it to me for 60% off.


It arrived today and was packaged very well. Upon opening it I was pleasantly surprised by the compact size. I decided to compare it to a Whelen LIN3 since I had an open one handy. I powered them both up using a 13.79 volt regulated power supply. I chose steady burn for both to not be distracted and get a good current measurement.


This is what I found:


-To my eyes both were similar in brightness. I may give the T-4 a +1 straight on.


-LIN3 had better off axis performance.


-T-4 current consumption = 0.500 amps. (Install guide says 0.300)


-LIN3 current consumption = 0.174 amps.


-T-4 after 5 minutes was almost too hot to touch while the LIN3 was still cold .


-T-4 produced RFI through the scanner on the same bench. (Company claims none)


This video shows the two side by side. T-4 on left, LIN3 on right.


T-4 is on left, LIN3 in on right.


SANY0005.jpg


Final thoughts:


Light output from the T-4 was pretty impressive and I initially thought I may have found something worth using. The heat and RFI generated changed my mind and will have me steering clear for the time being. I would be happy to test more, but not at my expense. :nono:


Update:


I decided to see just how hot this thing was getting and here it is at one hour. (@ 15 min. it was over 140)


SANY0013.jpg


Update 2:


I called Feniex today to give them my feedback. I felt obligated too. Everyone I've had on the phone was very pleasant considering my constructive criticism. They had a tech. call me back to talk about my concerns. I was told that the RFI problem is embarrassing for them and has been dealt with. The heat issue was something that was going to be brought to the engineers. I was also told that the "steady burn" pattern is a lower light output than the flashing patterns. I powered the light back up with an "all on" "all off" pattern that looked like 60-70 fpm and my visual observation of output was no different. With this pattern I still observed 150 deg. f. I told the tech. if they sent me "corrected" products I would happily revisit this comparison. They never did offer to take back or refund my "demo" light purchase which I kind of hoped they would. I did forward this link to their support also.

SANY0007.jpg

SANY0004.jpg

SANY0006.jpg
 
Last edited by a moderator:

JohnMarcson

Administrator
May 7, 2010
10,971
Northwest Ohio
Let me know if you hear back from fenix about the RFI, that's totally unacceptable.
 

WireKing

Member
Dec 16, 2010
523
USA Southwest
Im kind of disappointed at the light output of the T-4. I was expecting the difference between the 4 diodes of the T-4 and only 3 on the LIN3 to be a bit greater than it appeared in the pictures. I'm even more disappointed in the brightness of the T-4. I was expecting the Phillips 4 watt diodes to be substantially brighter then the 1 watt luxeon emitters in the LIN3.


Yes the RFI and heat issue need to be addressed. If it gets as hot as you say then wouldnt it melt the rubber gasket or damage the plastic flange?


Does the T-4 have a low power activation wire for nighttime use? Im concerned that even most new lights that have the Rebel diodes are already too bright for night usage without using the low power activation. These would be absurd for night use and a huge danger for night use. See the "Moth Effect" thread for more details.


Just my $.02


I was considering ordering some as well, but this has me questioning myself.
 

TraFx

Member
Jun 10, 2010
180
South Carolina
We have found the RFI issues pop up on our Feniex installs as well in our Charger. While not being produced by the T-4...we were having some issues with the Fairy LED HAWs in the reverse lights. We were familiar with this problem as a set of Whelen Vertex heads had caused the same problem.


Turns out our Whelen and Fairy issue just required a new wire run and moving some coax around to the VHF. No issues there any more.


I will make sure we get with our Feniex rep and see what they have to say about this.


We have a Python 800, T-4's, Python 600 and dual Fairy HAWs on the car now and have had no issues with heat or RFI after we made the above fix.


We are waiting on our new Pegasus interior bar...so we will see if that makes any difference too.


Tra-Fx
 
Nov 21, 2010
440
Pelican Rapids, MN
WireKing said:
Im kind of disappointed at the light output of the T-4. I was expecting the difference between the 4 diodes of the T-4 and only 3 on the LIN3 to be a bit greater than it appeared in the pictures. I'm even more disappointed in the brightness of the T-4. I was expecting the Phillips 4 watt diodes to be substantially brighter then the 1 watt luxeon emitters in the LIN3.

Yes the RFI and heat issue need to be addressed. If it gets as hot as you say then wouldnt it melt the rubber gasket or damage the plastic flange?


Does the T-4 have a low power activation wire for nighttime use? Im concerned that even most new lights that have the Rebel diodes are already too bright for night usage without using the low power activation. These would be absurd for night use and a huge danger for night use. See the "Moth Effect" thread for more details.


Just my $.02


I was considering ordering some as well, but this has me questioning myself.

Yes, the heat issue is a BIG problem, it got very hot.


The RFI was also pretty disgusting.


No low power mode. Disappointing


Obviously pictures and videos are a poor judgment of these products, but it's the best we can do. I also expected the T-4 to have much greater output. To my eyes it was almost equal output with the T-4 using almost three times the power!!


I'll be sticking with Whelen.
 
Oct 27, 2010
279
Irving TX
WireKing said:
Does the T-4 have a low power activation wire for nighttime use? .

It should, from my knowledge, all of their lights have a "low light" level wire.
 
Nov 21, 2010
440
Pelican Rapids, MN
Bigredinstalls said:
It should, from my knowledge, all of their lights have a "low light" level wire.

This is not accurate.


Four wires exit this light head:


Black (ground)


Red (+12 volts)


Yellow (pattern)


White (sync)


I did express to one of their account managers, who I was on the phone with for around an hour expressing my concerns of the product, that the light should have a low power option. :)
 
Oct 27, 2010
279
Irving TX
code4services.com said:
This is not accurate.

Four wires exit this light head:


Black (ground)


Red (+12 volts)


Yellow (pattern)


White (sync)


I did express to one of their account managers, who I was on the phone with for around an hour expressing my concerns of the product, that the light should have a low power option. :)

I stand corected, I've only dallied and laid my hands on their python sticks.
 

Federal_Agent

Member
Mar 1, 2011
136
USA Kentucky
Wow, didn't realize that heat generation was an issue with the T-4's. I was thinking about using TIR3's on an ATV and ran short and didn't like how they looked and thought I'd save them for another project which required a big brand name light. This issue had brought me back to the T-4 since it's sleek, but the heat issue will be a big problem, especially when surface mounted to and ATV, which is all plastic. I guess that's where Whelen's heat-sinking keeps them cool. I can run a TIR3 all day without any heat buildup.


I wonder if Feniex has addressed this issue yet.
 

Jamey@NNE

Member
Jun 23, 2011
1,661
Ocoee, Florida
I have t4's mounted to the bumper cover of my demo car. They have been on for hours on end infront of the shop and shows with no damage. I am comfortable enough with them o plan on mounting some on my can am atv


Sent from my PC36100 using Tapatalk
 

Tom

Member
Dec 18, 2010
3,083
Taunton, MA
I must admit that both my demo T-4s and Fairys got extremely hot after running them for about 15 minutes. When I asked Alex at Feniex about this, he said it was a problem they were aware of and that they would be trying to fix the problem in future versions. Additionally, he recommended to mount them on things such as their L brackets, as this would deal with the heat better when installed on vehicles.
 

Jamey@NNE

Member
Jun 23, 2011
1,661
Ocoee, Florida
Ill be honest, i was worried about them on my bumper covers but even with Florida weather nothing has melted yet. ill try to remove one and take a pic behind it tomorrow.
 

Jamey@NNE

Member
Jun 23, 2011
1,661
Ocoee, Florida
Sorry it took so long yo get the pic but here is behind my t4 on the side of the rear bumper cover. The mark on the left of the hole for wires is just where I had a new installer put them on and he damaged the paint. This was taken after I have left them on at the shop for 3 hrs this morning.


atapatalk.com_mu_ad68e21a_8990_6f9d.jpg


Sent from my PC36100 using Tapatalk
 
May 21, 2010
385
Miami FL
Just my opinion, from my experience with this type of LED lights I could say that these lights must not be damaged by use in burn option if they are well-made for good heat dissipation, on the other hand, usually this type of lights option do not push their maximum brightness in burn option, I will like to see them in a flash function side by side to each other, so I'm sure the T4 will bright much more, this is quite evident in the consumption of them, if the LIN3 only consume 140ma the T4 can not give the same brightness if they consume 500ma in burn option.


Can you please show a video with both lights flashing in a similar pattern?
 

NHFD104

Member
May 25, 2010
297
Raleigh, NC
I have run my T-4s for hours on end mounted to the plastic grille in my F150. I have not seen any issues whatsoever...other than them being very bright.
 

twodogs603

Member
Sep 7, 2011
1,196
Norfolk,VA
I would think a T-4 compared to a Whelen TIR3 would be a better comparison as far as light output. Here your comparing a TIR style light (T4) to a linear light (LIN3). Will give two different results.
 

emtanderson51

Member
Apr 9, 2011
3,795
USA Massachusetts
IMHO just look at the depth of ea. lighthead....Whelen looks to be much more sturdy and the heat sync appears to be 2X the thickness....The T4 is bright..but for how long? Steady burn the 2 lightheads and see which fails first...
 

Fast LT1

Member
May 24, 2010
2,018
Sedgwick County, KS
SireLite said:
Don't forget The T4 has 4x 4watt diodes in it compared to Lin3's which has 3x 1watt Diodes.

Comparing Apples to oranges.

You are correct, they are 4 watt led's but they aren't driven that hard, they drive their leds around 1.1-1.2 watts.
 

NHFD104

Member
May 25, 2010
297
Raleigh, NC
There is one downside to the T-4s that I have noticed. The flash patterns are boring and limited in number. Fortunately, I like the strobe pattern so it works for me.
 

JohnMarcson

Administrator
May 7, 2010
10,971
Northwest Ohio
code4services.com said:
Yeah it is. I am not sure why, but I was really surprised. I'm glad I had the scanner on or I may have missed this. I'll contact them tomorrow and see what they have to say.

Anyone doing a review of a NEW product-- please try the scanner test, or another more scientific RFI test if you can.
 

Nick@Feniex

New Member
Dec 23, 2010
65
Texas
JohnMarcson said:
Anyone doing a review of a NEW product-- please try the scanner test, or another more scientific RFI test if you can.

The RF problem was address some time ago and now all Feniex produces compile with FCC regulations.
 

EVT

Member
May 24, 2010
622
Midwest
SireLite said:
Don't forget The T4 has 4x 4watt diodes in it compared to Lin3's which has 3x 1watt Diodes.

Comparing Apples to oranges.

With that logic shouldn't the T4 be brighter? I would consider the LIN3 "old" technology at this point, and yet it is still preforming quite well compared to a new product (the T4).
 

bluestinger90

Member
Jun 5, 2010
657
BC / California
EVT said:
With that logic shouldn't the T4 be brighter? I would consider the LIN3 "old" technology at this point, and yet it is still preforming quite well compared to a new product (the T4).

SireLite said:
Don't forget The T4 has 4x 4watt diodes in it compared to Lin3's which has 3x 1watt Diodes.

Comparing Apples to oranges.


Wattage is not the best way to determine brightness, and the performance of the leds/diodes themselves vary greatly. Diodes are separated by performance and brightness into categories called bins.


The lin3 and t4 use the same luxeon rebel leds/diodes (though most likely different bins) and are driven at comparable rates, most likely in series. CREE diodes are driven at similar rates.


The lin3 draws .400mA max and the The t4 draws .500mA max at their highest brightness setting.


http://www.whelen.com/pb/Automotive/Catalogs/Lighthead_Catalog.pdf


When a steady burn pattern is selected, the lin3 draws .170mA (what the reviewer saw on his power supply), and the t4 draws .500mA. The steady burn pattern is supposed to provide maximum output for a few seconds, and then dim to 50% or less. This is done so the diodes don't over heat or wear out prematurely. The t4 drawing .500mA seems to be an error with the flashers steady burn programming, and like the reviewer noticed, it quickly becomes way too hot.


The brightness should be comparable on paper, with the t4 being brighter, but again that would require testing. 1 extra led in the t4 won't make a big difference in perceived brightness, but on paper it might depending on what bin Feniex chose to use.


Blue Luxeon Rebel LEDs


You have the low end, and cheapest diodes producing 38 lumens, and the most expensive producing 70 lumens. With 3 diodes in mind, 114 lumens vs 210 lumens results in a broad range of brightness. And then you have to keep in mind the lin3 could be using cyan diodes, which are generally brighter then blue. Cyan Luxeon Rebel LEDs


It's not a black and white situation because there are so many technical issues.
 
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Jtsou

Member
Nov 6, 2011
281
NC
I also prefer the LIN3 over the T-4.


The Feniex products I have had always seem to use more energy producing heat than actual light output. The 3w/4w led's have yet to win me over.


Whelen seems to be doing their homework, by designing a 1w light that has controlled heat output, but is still very bright. Feniex on the other hand seems like they are trying to hit the LEDs with as much power as they can, but it isn't working.
 

Kd8bao

Member
Mar 8, 2012
793
Independence, Ohio
EVT said:
With that logic shouldn't the T4 be brighter? I would consider the LIN3 "old" technology at this point, and yet it is still preforming quite well compared to a new product (the T4).

The T4 is a different reflector than a lin3. Two totally different lights. In one of the statements he said the Lin had better side throw. Of course it did since a Lin is meant to be wide angle and thin the other way to make a line. Linear tech is not old, the led it self makes it old tech if anything. The feniex use Phillips 4watt LEDs. As far as whelen being better built. I don't know. I have been putting a lot if tir3 and lin3 in cars lately and they are all lens. Same thin metal backing that I see on most surface lights. I don't have a t4 to compare myself yet but I will soon.
 

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