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Author Topic: LED bulbs for headlights  (Read 3091 times)
wayne
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« on: February 18, 2011, 04:24:05 PM »

I have seen some ads on line for L.E.D. Replacement bulbs for headlights. I tried H.I.D. Lights, but they didn't seem to last and annoyed other drivers. Has anyone experienced these L.E.D. Lights yet?
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« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2011, 04:40:37 PM »

I've seen them at a truck dealer, but at $400 each or $400 a pair (don't recall which) I doubt many have been sold.  They are probably best used on a vehicle that burns out regular headlights quickly.

The problem with headlights is usually not the brightness of the lights, but the poor optics used in the USA.  As long as you have full voltage to your headlights all brighter bulbs will do is annoy other drivers.  LED headlights that are DOT approved will still have poor optics.  The real solution is Ecode according to lots of folks I have talked to.  I hope to install Ecode headlights this summer.  The light provided is far superior according to those who use them.  RJ Long says he has used them for years in various vehicles with no tickets yet for not being DOT approved.
 
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« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2011, 07:39:18 PM »

http://www.truck-lite.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/GenericView?pageName=/new/PressReleases_en_US/12vLEDHeadlamp.html&storeId=10001&langId=-1

Truck-Lite brought the first of them out back in 2009.

Comes in both 12 and 24 volt configuration.

happy coaching!
buswarrior
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« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2011, 08:33:45 PM »

Mine had the square halogens and I coverted them to the hid type. Very happy with the upgrade.
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« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2011, 11:21:38 PM »

What are the Ecode, replacement bulbs or complete light assemblies?
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« Reply #5 on: February 19, 2011, 01:34:01 AM »

"E" Code means that they meet the European DOT code for safety and light direction.  Have you seen the low beams on Mercedes or BMW or the high-line Jap cars?  They have a distinct sharp cutoff at about 4 feet and they paint a line of light on the car ahead.  That is E code performance.  It is such an obvious advantage over SAE that I, and all others I know of, are mystified that they aren't legal in the US.  But wait, the hi-line cars are using them in the US so we must be missing something.  All the American cars sold in Europe or Asia must have the E code lights cause ours are considered "unsafe" anywhere except the USA.  Rightly so, me thinks.  Get E code everything....driving lights, headlight assy replacements and fogs.  They are picky over there and their mfrs can't sell junk to the public that might be a safty issue such as out lights from China have become.

Wayne,

The HID is a superb light but like all lights they need the proper fixture to do the focus part.  The hid needs a different design than the halogen so installing a HID in a Halogen fixture will rarely work.  Mine splashed light in a X patter all over the road.  Dissapointing!  You need to buy the fixture and HID bulb as a item/system that meets E code and then you have a winner.  The prolectors are the best but my projectors were not compatible.  Big waste of time and energy for me.  Chopper Scott got lucky as far as I am concerned and without other information.  But heres the thing...if his work and you can duplicate his setup you just might get his results.

The really biggest problem is with the filament not getting enough voltage and, as a result, being dim.  Halogen is a great light.  They also come in higher wattage than 35/55 or whatever is stock/legal.  Motor cycles use higher wattage bulbs legally so now you know where to shop for them.  I wouldn't go over 60/90 as the size is pretty obvious to a Cop.

The little square quad lights are not any good and can't be made to work well.  The bnig square ones are a little better but, again, not the way to go.  Best is a separate projector low beam that has a sharp cutoff and quality glass.  The Hi-beam is a separate fixture.  With the lights on the low beam is on all the time and switching to Hi-beam simply turns on the other bulb.  My Lexus is designed this way and it is just soooo very superior.  With one bulb you can't run both filaments cause the bulb overheats and breaks.  If you have to go with a single bulb go with a 7 1/2 incher and buy Marshaell(?) or Cibie or Hella... name brands.  I have had Hella 7 1/2 incher's since 93 and I swear by them.  And shop around a lot for the best deal.

HTH,

John
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« Reply #6 on: February 19, 2011, 06:38:31 AM »

  "E" Code means that they meet the European DOT code for safety and light direction.   (snip)   It is such an obvious advantage over SAE that I, and all others I know of, are mystified that they aren't legal in the US. (snip) 

This is an issue that bedeviled me all my working life.  It goes back to the 1930's and the original SAE committees in the US (championed by Ford) who felt that the biggest issue in headlamps was that they shouldn't "blind" other drivers.  So the original design philosophy was to make the lamps dim and the light output low to the ground and diffuse.  It fit right in with the US philosophy that speed was dangerous and evil and since tight speed limits were a good thing, then you didn't need good lights anyway.  The European philosophy went exactly the other way.  Since they had autobahns and autostradas with no (or few speed limits), they wanted lamps that would put light way down the road to give the best illumination of the road or objects in it.  They devised beam patterns that throw great amounts of lights in directions that are not heading towards the eyes of other drivers.

The current SAE committees and US DOT (NHTSA) are still wedded to the old "keep 'em weak and diffuse" philosophy while the Europeans will never give up their far more effective lights.

If you can get E-Codes (especially ones that will sneak past the cops), go for them -- they're far better lights.  And if you can find E-Codes that have "E-marks" AND the DOT mark, then they are legal everywhere in the US and Canada.  That DOT mark means that they are accepted by US DOT (NHTSA) and Transports Canada and the way that the laws are written, no state (or province) or locality can outlaw a Federally-accepted light.

Hope that this might be of interest --
BH (35 years in the international motor vehicle manufacture and sales business, former member SAE)
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« Reply #7 on: February 19, 2011, 08:30:50 AM »

If you can get E-Codes (especially ones that will sneak past the cops), go for them -- they're far better lights.  And if you can find E-Codes that have "E-marks" AND the DOT mark, then they are legal everywhere in the US and Canada.  That DOT mark means that they are accepted by US DOT (NHTSA) and Transports Canada and the way that the laws are written, no state (or province) or locality can outlaw a Federally-accepted light.

How can a light be both Ecode and DOT approved?  Aren't the requirements of the two standards for headlights contradictary to each other?  I was looking at the Cibie USA / Talbotco website yesterday and noticed in the pictures that some of the headlights have a DOT marking.

I know that some people will order replacement headlights from Europe when the same car model is offered in American and European configurations.  If you have aerodynamic headlights I doubt any law enforcement official would suspect you of changing the headlights to Ecode.

I still remember my grandfather's comments about halogen headlights when they came out in the 1980s.  He was blown away by the improved performance.  He could actually see the ditches on two lane roads.  He lived in a small town at the time and mostly drove two lane roads.  (He finally gave up his car about four years ago.)
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Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
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« Reply #8 on: February 19, 2011, 11:55:33 AM »

My take on why HID headlights annoy oncoming drivers SOOOO much isn't about the optics- it's about the color temperature!

Normal old style filament headlights operate at a color temperature around 2500 to 3000 degrees kelvin.  By comparison here's some kelvin temperatures of common light sources...

1500K - Candlelight
2000-2400- incandescent light bulbs
2680K -3000K - halogen light bulb
3200K - Sunrise/Sunset
3500-4300K -  Xenon lamp(searchlights, photoflash lamps etc)
5500K - Sunny daylight around noon
6000K-7500K - Overcast Sky, Some  HID Systems
8000K-9000K - Sunny blue sky, Some  HID Systems

 Because of  the nature of incandescent lamps, the color of the light coming out of incandescent headlamps is more on the reddish side than say, sunlight which is quite blue by comparison (5,600 - 6000 degrees kelvin).  As the kelvin temperature of a lamp increases, it's red content decreases and it's blue content increases.  Look at the chart and think about looking at those things mentioned... it's easy to look at a candle and really difficult to hang out on a sunny afternoon without sunglasses!

The light coming out of a HID headlight is more like 8000 to 10, 000 degrees- VERY BLUE... so why is it annoying to oncoming drivers?

Light that has a lot of blue in it attracts human attention much more than reddish light, because it appears brighter than say a similar amount of red light. So for one, HID's are more distracting than incandescent headlights.
  More important though is the issue of a chemical we call "visual purple" that is in your eyes.  It is visual purple that allows you to see in darkness, and when you are in the dark for a while, the amount of visual purple in your eye increases, thus making it easier for you to see things.  This is why when you go from a light room to a dark room you can't see a thing for a few minutes, and then you can start seeing things. The visual purple is accumulating.  It takes about 30 minutes for it to fully develop and allow you the best vision you can have in darkness.

So what's the big deal and how does this relate to headlights?  Well, it turns out that the higher the color temperature that a lighting situation is, the quicker your visual purple is bleached and rendered useless.
BUT Red light doesn't affect it much, while blue light wipes it out quickly!

So the deal is, the older style headlights don't mess with your visual purple very much as compared to HID lights which mess with it a lot, because incandescents are much redder and contain little blue!   This is the very same reason aircraft instruments and ship instruments are predominantly red (so you can look at them without wiping out your night vision).   Bottom line: Old style headlights are easier to look at than HID lights because of their color content.

For the driver of a car, HID lights are great, because  even though they have wiped out the driver's ability to see in the dark, they are bright enough to compensate. And their bluish-ness makes it easier to see details in the road.  But for the poor oncoming driver who is not used to having HID in front of him all night, it's a disaster to his ability to see in the darkness!!!

Keep in mind this is my personal take on it, but I have a feeling I'm about as right as right can be on this one. I just wish the bozos at the DOT would realize this and totally outlaw HID lights entirely!!!!
« Last Edit: February 19, 2011, 11:59:56 AM by boogiethecat » Logged

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« Reply #9 on: February 19, 2011, 01:19:00 PM »

Boogie,

You never disappoint.  When I see your name I just make sure I have beverage and am comfy..... Thank you for a typical Boogie Meister experience.

That being said in all ernest. I, for the first time, find that you believe somthing I am completely opposed to.  Completely!  The problem you describe with the HID is with the temp or color being too far to the "blue" spect.  I never heard about that Purple thing but I am not challanging that theory in any way.  Navy ship internal lighting is always red during night time hours.  Why throw the baby out with the bath water?  You can buy HID in any temp you want but 1600 will be spendy as there isn't any call for it. 2400 to 6000 is common and cheaper. The natural temp of the bulb is around 3,000 degrees K and that is where Halogen sits so asking for more blue actually reduces the light being shown down the road.  The advantage with HID is that they produce "more candle power" per watt of electrical energy and, if you can focus it, are better and just drive a BMW to prove that.

I bought HID and learned the hard way that the HID focus differently than Halogen so my lights were out of focus and all over the road.  Would have been a nightmare to oncoming had I not removed them immediately.  If it was an option and I could get low temp I would go that way....at least till someone with your knowledge wised m e up.

Thanks again,

John
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« Reply #10 on: February 19, 2011, 02:12:09 PM »

The light coming out of a HID headlight is more like 8000 to 10, 000 degrees- VERY BLUE... so why is it annoying to oncoming drivers?

It should be noted that by law, all OEM HID lighting is 4300k, with the exception of the newest Denso 4800k units. They appear blue because of the chromatic aberration effects of the cutoff shield in the HID projector.

Problem is, those kids that install illegal conversions on their reflector based Civics often put 8000 to 10000k units in them, as Boogie mentioned. These units are not only annoying, but are also far dimmer from the driver's point of view, so it's a loss-loss situation.

Traditional high power LEDs from Lumileds, Cree, and Seoul Semiconductors were also of fairly high color temperature - around 6000k. More recently though, "Natural Color" LEDs are starting to appear. Their temp is closer to incandescent, but at the cost of lower efficiency. Regardless, general LED lumens per watt is magnitudes higher than any Halogen (120+ vs 18 lumens / watt).

LED technology changes as fast as computers, so I doubt most aftermarket lighting companies can keep up. Chances are, the commercial LED headlights are already couple generations behind by the time they hit the shelves.
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Barn Owl
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« Reply #11 on: February 19, 2011, 04:07:17 PM »

I had a Volvo 850 Turbo Sport Wagon. I have never had a car in my life give me so much grief, and it took a small fortune to keep it on the road with me doing the work. I was very happy to sell it, but I do have to say, if there was one thing I wish I could have kept it was the headlights. I have never owned a car that could light up the road like that one. The difference was absolutely stunning! I don't know what it had for headlights, but if it was anything close to what ecode would do, I need to check into some new peepers.
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« Reply #12 on: February 19, 2011, 07:33:21 PM »

Can echoed  lights be purchased here in the states or on line?I checked on google search but had little success.
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« Reply #13 on: February 19, 2011, 07:41:49 PM »

Wayne, it is E code and they are readily available on line.  Have your a pretty good balance on your credit card (~~ $70-100 for Cibie or Hella). 

This has been a fun thread for me.  I am about half way through writing an article on headlights for BCM (due in a couple of weeks).  My main focus will be how and why to wire relays into system - lot of bang for the buck.  However, I will be discussion headlight format (size and shape) as well as headlight technology.

Jim
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« Reply #14 on: February 19, 2011, 07:43:04 PM »

How can a light be both Ecode and DOT approved?  Aren't the requirements of the two standards for headlights contradictary to each other?

No, they are not.

My Neoplan came with DOT-approved E-Code headlamps.

Many DOT lamps would meet E codes right out of the box, and vice-versa.  But it costs lots of real money to get the approvals, and so manufacturers don't generally seek both ratings on a single lamp because there is no advantage to it -- very, very few vehicles need to meet both standards.

That said, there are differences between the standards.  So while it is possible to make a single lamp meet both, it is also possible to make E-codes that will not meet DOT, and DOT/SAE lamps that will not meet CE.

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« Reply #15 on: February 19, 2011, 08:45:05 PM »

Wayne -

Can e-code  lights be purchased here in the states or on line? I checked on google search but had little success.


Ask and ye shall receive:

www.cibiesua.com

With your Setra, I'd recommend that you buy a full set of four.  It will set you back a little over $300, but WHAT PRICE SAFETY???  Once you get these aimed properly, you won't believe the difference.

I've used Cibie, Carello, Marchal and Hella E-codes for over 35 years, have never been stopped, have never been questioned about my headlights.  Sadly, I cannot get them for my Tacoma, or it would have them too.  Of the four brands listed, Cibie is, IMHO, the best of the bunch, from optics to manufacturing quality.


Boogie -

I tend to agree with you about the effect of the bright lights on night vision.  But I want to throw a question at you to ponder and comment:

If these HID-lights were controlled by better optics, such as the E-codes, do you think they'd still be "as annoying?"


Sean -

But it costs lots of real money to get the approvals,


BINGO!

FWIW & HTH. . .

 Wink
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RJ Long
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« Reply #16 on: February 19, 2011, 10:12:09 PM »

Point for clarification:  We are talking about the low beam light....the one with the razor sharp cutoff line.  Hi-beams are all forbidden to be used when approaching on-coming traffic so the only limit I know of is wattage, E code or SAE.

Ciebie mat well be the best.  I have Hella that I have had for 15 years or so.  They are the 7 inch rouind and that light is supposed to be the best design.  The other Hella I have are the fog lights that bumper mount.  Their beam pattern is great and they put a lot of light  down the road.  Problem is that the amber lens has been bleached out by the sun.  That is not good for a light I paid the "hi price" to get the very best.  For fogs I will next try Cibie,  There may be a glitch there as I insist on the dark amber and that is getting hard to find.  IO tried a few times to get replacement lens for my fogs and I could not locate a source.  Anybody know where I can get Hella lens?  You can get H3 fog light bulbs in 90- watts or go with the Cibie that rates their 55 watt bulbs as putting out 100 watts worth of light.  55 watt bulbs are enuff for me but I have 4 dark amber lamps up front.  I only use them when I am in fog or all by my lonesome out in the desert going 70 or 80.  Check your fog bulbs as the H3 comes in a 30 watt version and that is a [popular standard size for the after market lights.  My Ranger had 30 watt bulbs in the standard equip fogs that I ripped out and replaced.  The stock item was very anemic and wimpy.
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The price of apathy towards public affairs is to be ruled by evil men." Plato
We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.
Pla
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« Reply #17 on: February 20, 2011, 02:36:54 AM »

Ahoy, Boogiethecat,

Great piece on lights and the eyeball.  You taught this old Tailhook Naval Aviator 'new art', and we guys know a lot about night vision.

Auxiliary lights --  driving, fog, whatever.  I have three times lost ALL headlights on a vehicle.  The first, years ago, and a hand held spotlight Christmas present saved my butt from the Mississippi river on a black and snowy night.  Accordingly, I have a fine respect for aux lights on my Eagle.  I have a main buss cable coming forward, and an essential buss cable which does not have much on it, but it powers a pair of fog lights which are likely to stay on if there is any electricity anywhere in the bus (buss??) 

I have four (4ea) Cibie large rectangular lights on my Eagle with 100 watt bulbs ( on the main buss with relays).  Work fine, and in the black of the desert between Wickenburg and Vicksburg -- maybe 15-20 minutes with NO other lights seen, my main concern was that I would set the desert on fire with all four of those things blazing away.  And  --  A good feeling to have reliable aux lighting.

Enjoy   /s/   Bob         
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« Reply #18 on: February 20, 2011, 03:52:17 AM »

Sadly, I cannot get them for my Tacoma, or it would have them too. 

Are the same lights not used on a 4-Runner or Hilux?


Jeremy
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« Reply #19 on: February 20, 2011, 09:36:30 AM »

Jeremy -

Are the same lights not used on a 4-Runner or Hilux?

Sadly, no.

While my son was stationed in Germany, I had him search for lights for me.  He found some on both a 4-Runner and a Hilux at some local bone yards and sent them to me.

Neither fit - shaped differently.

So I basically stick to daylight hours behind the wheel of the Tacoma.

 Cry
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wayne
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« Reply #20 on: February 20, 2011, 04:13:19 PM »

I understand e code lights now and sadly I don't see a way for me to use them. If my front end was original I could but I used jeep Commander headlights when I built my new front, so, does anyone have the solution for bulbs in a Jeep Commaner housing? The lower running lights I used are Jeep Liberty headlights. I guess any improvement I could do to either of them would help. I haven't driven this yet at night with the new lights so I really don't know how good it lights up.
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