Quick question about 12v vs. 24v lightbars


Toronto, Ontario
I can't seem to find the information I need on the subject.

Is there a difference in brightness when comparing a 12volt lightbar to a 24volt lightbar?

The reason I'm asking is I just got my FS Highlighter tonight, haven't had a chance to try it during the day but it doesn't look like it would be as bright as some other 'heavy equipment' I've seen.

I saw a cube van doing road work the other day with a similiar lightbar but it was very bright and I was impressed hoping that mine would be that bright also.

Any insight?


Senior Member
VERY FEW vehicles, especially any that you or I would consider driving would have 24 volts available to run a lightbar.

I don't think there is any difference in brightness. The choice of voltage is just based on what the vehicle is running.

If you wanted to adapt a 24 volt bar to your vehicle, you would need to change the bulbs to 12 volt equivlants, and the motors would either need to be replaced or live with them rotating slowl.

A properly designed light bar will be bright no matter what voltage it is using.



Senior Member
new jersey
I'm must say that I am not that familiar with the lightbars that are available but your question raised an eyebrow. I have just transferred a flatbed body from a 84' F-700 gasser to a 03' F-650 w/Cat diesel engine. What I have noticed is that the flatbed body lights seem to be brighter, much brighter, than the years past while on the older 84' chassis. My thought would be the battery and charging system on the older, (370 gasser w/ 1 battery), vs. the 03' diesel with two batteries and heavier charging system. This seems to make the lights seem brighter, to me at least.
It may be the same theory with your lightbar application. Maybe the truck that you saw with a similar lightbar has a heavier battery/charging system? Just a thought. Jake.


2000 Club Member
About the only place you see 24 volt systems are old trucks and off road equipment. The cube van you saw surely had a 12 volt system.

jakegypsum brings up a point, today's charging systems are higher output than those of years gone by, but I'll bet jake's brighter lights can be attributed to a new ground being installed with the transfer of the flatbed. The old ground had probably become contaminated over time, gradually, where you didn't notice the lights getting dimmer.

As for Nova's Highlighter, I suspect you don't have enough current available at your power source. Most of these are lighter plug powered, are the contacts in the plug clean and the wire supplying power heavy enough? If a permanant mount, have you used a heavy enough gauge wire to carry the current required? And finally, make sure your ground is clean! Almost all vehicle electrical problems can be attributed to poor ground.

A way to test your light would be to wire it directly to the battery with the vehicle running and see if it's any brighter. You should show 13.8 volts if your charging system is in good order. If the light is brighter at the battery, then one of the problems I listed is present. If it's still dim, the problem is within the light.


Senior Member
new jersey
Pelican, I agree with you 100% on ground connections! Most of all lighting and electrical problems wind up being a simple ground connection. Vehicles weathering the elements after time can show rust and corrosion in all areas.
I don't doubt that the brightness of my truck body lights could be attributed to same. The only thing is that the 16' flatbed body that I transferred was a completly steel bed. It was anchored by twelve 5/8" body bolts w/cross plates and welded to the frame on the rear ICC bar of the chassis.
As for the application to the new chassis, new bolts were used and the rear ICC was re-welded to the new chassis frame.
The old gasser would show lights brighter when revved vs. the diesel being bright at idle.

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