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Discussion Starter #1
Just bought my first Ariens snowblower, the 2011 Compact 24 fit my needs very well and I think I'll be happy with the machine for years to come, except for one thing, the headlight. By the time I finished getting used to the controls (ie: playing with it) last night it was dark enough that the headlight really came into play, and it was very annoying. The design of the lamp holder allows too much light to be reflected back towards the operators eyes, in fact by leaning forward just slightly one can look directly at the halogen bulb (not a good idea ). Has anyone else had issues with the headlamp in the compact series?
 

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I assume you actually have a 2012 Compact 24.
(new machines in the stores right now are considered 2012 models)
Ariens changed the headlight design this year..does it look like this?

http://www.snowblowersdirect.com/images/product_4871_500.jpg

Thats a new style of light for Ariens..just came out on the new 2012 models this fall..you are the first to notice this problem! (on the forums anyway)

Last year, 2011 models, Ariens had this light design on the Compact machines:
http://scotlawrence.smugmug.com/Snow-Blowers/Ariens/920014/1140433125_TCe8q-O.jpg
some kind of bolted on light..wasnt "built in" to the dash..
that style was only used one year..last year.
that was also the first year the "compact" machines had lights at all..

and two years ago, 2010 models (and several years before that) it was this oval design:
http://scotlawrence.smugmug.com/Snow-Blowers/Ariens/921003/1140433130_Bp9Kk-L.jpg (on all machines except the compact series, which did not have lights at all until last year)

So Ariens has been experimenting with light styles lately..3 different styles the past three years..looks like it still needs some tweaking!

Looks like some kind of light shield is needed on top of the light..I dont know if Ariens is aware of the problem and is working on it..(you should send them an email about it! see what they have to say) meanwhile, if it was me, I would just rig some kind of baffle..I know you shouldnt have to modify a new machine! but these things happen..

Scot
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Scot thanks for the reply, and your right, its a 2012. I did see noted in a few user reviews or forum posts that the headlamp design had been changed for this model year, partly in response to user complaints of the "bolt on" unit. I assumed the "in dash" would be fine based on what I saw being used on the previous deluxe and platinum models. Already sent a message to Ariens, I'll let you know what they have to say, in the mean time I'll try and come up with an elegant fix. I'm thinking just a strip of aluminum tape would do the trick, but that may look a little tacky right now. In a few years that may suffice, but its to new for a cheap fix, I haven't even scratched the paint yet.... Oh, and I think I may add an on/off to the light while I'm working on it

MSC
 

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I would make a piece to go over the light, basically extending the dash out a bit. Maybe a nice piece of aluminum and then paint it to match? Will be interesting to see what Ariens says about it. Good company, so i do expect a reply at least!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Ariens responded within about 6 hours, that made me happy. Don't get me wrong, I am very happy with the decision to buy Ariens and I believe they are a very good "American" company, its just nice to be reassured sometime. Back to the lamp, in summary they felt I was standing too close to the unit during operation and that the lamp was fine, if I need to stand closer then I could put black electrical tape over the clear lens to block the reflected light back to my eyes. I've already removed the lamp from the blower, as kb0nly mentioned, I may build a cover for the lamp, but I'm leaning on replacing the whole unit. I powered this housing after removing it, it does a terrible job of directing any light in any direction, A nice portable automotive flood lamp ( the kind that plugs into a cigarette lighter) might look nice up there, leave the cord on so when you drop your keys you can pop the lamp off its holder and use it as a very bright flashlight. Anyway, I've got a few weeks/months until the first snowfall, I'll get something put together, in the mean time I responded to Ariens (politely), I'll let you know if anything comes from it.
 

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Light issues

Sounds like you're on the right path, here's a couple of ideas for inspiration. Watch some of the WWII movies, they covered the vehicle headlight (or painted them, not sure) so there was only a small portion in the middle for illumination. The other thing was back in the 50's, many cars had what was called eyebrows on the headlights. Aftermarket piece of metal that fit under the headlight ring and were a small shield on the top of the headlights. Not sure if they worked or not, but may be something like you're trying to make.

Let us know how your solution works out.
 

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...in summary they felt I was standing too close to the unit during operation and that the lamp was fine...
I wonder what they would tell owners of the deluxe version where the crank handle for chute rotation is located over the engine and you have to bend over the light in order to use the crank. :rolleyes:

The eyebrow is basically a good idea but it should not extend down to the sides of the light or it would make cleaning the light difficult. Putting just a wide lip of rubber on top of the "dashboard" over the light could be an easy and convenient solution.
 

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Ingersoll444, odd is good way to describe the design, my conclusion is that the "make it look pretty" marketing staff somehow won a bet with the "lets make sure it works" engineering staff at Ariens and this is what they decided to ship. I do have to agree it sure does look sexy on the showroom floor. The picture you linked to doesn’t do the lamp justice though, here are some better shots (The end-on shot is to show the angle the housing is mounted). As an update, I did not hear from Ariens in regard to my 2nd reply, in their defense I did not ask a specific question, I simply stated I believed they were wrong about my standing too close to the snowblower and felt the design was flawed (I said it politely), and they chose not to respond. This post is getting lengthy, but I have one more thing, as I started looking for an aftermarket lamp to mount I noticed that nearly all are 55W (the Ariens lamp is only24W), so I checked all the B&S literature for specs on the electrical limits, none to be found so I sent them an Email on their web site. The response today was that the alternator is spec'd at 55W and that I should be fine, they suggested adding a fuse if not already in place. Anyway, haven’t figured out what I want to do yet, thought I had a little time before the first snowfall, man I wished I still lived in PA, I'd be out using the blower instead of posting.....


MSC
 

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How about a 10W LED flood light like this one?




Lots of light from a small (4.488" (W) x 3.386" (H) x 3.465" (D)) low consumption rugged unit. LEDs don't care for vibrations like filament bulbs do. I installed such a light, but mine runs on a battery. Of course you would need a rectifier since a LED light will not run on AC.
 

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Ingersoll444, odd is good way to describe the design, my conclusion is that the "make it look pretty" marketing staff somehow won a bet with the "lets make sure it works" engineering staff at Ariens and this is what they decided to ship. I do have to agree it sure does look sexy on the showroom floor. The picture you linked to doesn’t do the lamp justice though, here are some better shots (The end-on shot is to show the angle the housing is mounted). As an update, I did not hear from Ariens in regard to my 2nd reply, in their defense I did not ask a specific question, I simply stated I believed they were wrong about my standing too close to the snowblower and felt the design was flawed (I said it politely), and they chose not to respond. This post is getting lengthy, but I have one more thing, as I started looking for an aftermarket lamp to mount I noticed that nearly all are 55W (the Ariens lamp is only24W), so I checked all the B&S literature for specs on the electrical limits, none to be found so I sent them an Email on their web site. The response today was that the alternator is spec'd at 55W and that I should be fine, they suggested adding a fuse if not already in place. Anyway, haven’t figured out what I want to do yet, thought I had a little time before the first snowfall, man I wished I still lived in PA, I'd be out using the blower instead of posting.....


MSC
MaKettle,
Now that you know the output of the alternator is 55w, may I suggest to you that you go down to an "old auto parts store" and ask to look at their Bulb replacment catolog, like a Wagner Tung Sol bulb book. The older the better as the newer ones might not have the specs in the back. First go online and look at all the styles for Tractor replacement lights to find one you like and see the specs for the bulb. What you need to know is the type of base it has such as a two pin press twist type etc. and the wattage capacity. If it is 55 watt then just buy the lamp which may have an inline fuse as well. What I'm saying poorly is that once you determine what lamp you want you can upgrade the bult up to the watt limit. Or you could just go to a metal shop and get a small piece of scrap aluminum and use shears to cut to your desired shape with a 90% lip to bolt it on, prime and paint it.
Years ago I had one of those hand held search lights that plug into the cigarette lighter recepticle. I used the Wagner Tung Sol book and found the correct diameter lamp with the two rear wire connectors under the title "Aircraft Landing Light". It had a few hundred thousand candle power and the alternator on my E-250 fully optioned Van lit it up like a tourch. I used it to melt snow off the windshield on winter mornings. Seriously!! You could feel the heat on your hand from two feet away...
One dark evening I was running my German Shepard in a remote field when a local cop lit me up with his take down light. I had my spot light plugged in and the truck running so I could keep track of my dog if he spotted a skunk. I lit the cop up and he just stopped the car in it's tracks. He later said "he couldn't see a thing". He let me off cause I wasn't really doing anything out of order.

Pete K. :D
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Ok, I'm ready to blow snow in the dark. Found a tractor light at the local farm store (Rural King) for $12, added a weatherproof toggle for another $3, and an in-line fuse for $2. The piece of aluminum came out of the scrap pile so it was free. I wanted to machine something that followed the contours of the original light, but without access to a CNC that was going to be difficult and time consuming. The mounts for the old light are recessed 1/2 inch below the surface of the dash panel, perfect, my piece of scrap is 1/2 inch thick. The mounting post for the new lamp extended nearly 3/4 of an inch and reached all the way through the new mounting plate, the toggle switch on the other hand did not and a pocket had to be machined into the plate allowing the switch to be mounted. I did machine the front of the plate to match the angle of the dash. Throw on some black paint to finish up and it came out looking "not bad". So no changes were made to the blowers dash panel ( no new holes drilled) and I also took the lamp out of the original lamp housing, clipped the bulb off and used the connector to interface the new lamp to the lead coming from the motor (did not cut a wire on the blower). If for whatever reason I want to put the old lamp back in its just a matter of removing some screws and replacing that lamp. I've tried it once in the garage, needless to say it puts out a lot more light, and unless you look real close it looks like it came from the factory.

Chevyman, where would I find one of these 10W led lamps, I'm guessing it would cost more than what I paid for mine, but it will certainly out last it.

Pete, as I read your post I couldn’t help but think of Tim Allen (Tool Time) and "more power". I had no problem finding a decent 55W lamp, must be a magic number as most any bolt on 12vdc lamp is available 55W. I quickly dropped the idea of the plug in or corded lamp. My thoughts were that the only time the lamp works is when the blower is running, it may have made it more tempting to leave the machine running in cases when it should be shut off for safety. The older I get the more conservative I get.
 

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That looks very nice!
I would look for a rubber boot to protect the toggle switch. Melted snow could easily enter the switch and corrode the contacts.

Chevyman, where would I find one of these 10W led lamps, I'm guessing it would cost more than what I paid for mine, but it will certainly out last it.
Ebay, fairly inexpensive. Ok, slightly more than $ 12.
Indtec 12V- 24V DC 10W White LED Wall Pack Wash Flood Light Outdoor | eBay

Just don't forget a rectifier as they need DC.
 

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Didn't notice the "weatherproof" toggle switch. Nevertheless I like those little rubber boots, they give extra protection for little money.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Wow, I was expecting more than that for the 10W LED. If I have problems with the halogen bulb caused by vibrations in the blower, I may go the LED route. As far as the switch goes, I was looking for a "booted" rocker like you would find in a marine application, found this toggle instead. Its listed as double insulated "weather proof", but for $3 I have my doubts. After I mounted it I think I like the toggle better than the rocker as it seems it may be easier to use with gloves on. All I need now is some snow........
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Chevyman, thanks for that, I'm sure it will be stuck in my head everytime I start the blower and adjust the chute......

Abumpa, thanks, hey I've been to Jackson once, worked with a guy years ago that his family owned a hot dog shop in downtown Jackson, I believe White was his name.
 
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