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Author Topic: LED Headlights  (Read 5639 times)

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Offline Kitzy

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LED Headlights
« on: December 07, 2014, 09:04:37 AM »
How does everyone feel about them?  My frustration is growing on the research front.  I wanted to do a true HID retrofit on my girlfriends Impress but don't have the downtime on the car to do it and spare headlights are pricey especially in addition to the retrofit parts.  I've seen some positive things from people who have actually bought and installed aftermarket LED bulbs.  Its seems that there are more people bad mouthing them though but without any real merit.  It seems they are just repeating what they've read.  LEDs have come a long way and are included on cara from the factory now such as Acuras and I believe the new Camry. 

Is one brand better than another?  Do they all suck? 

Tapatalkin...
If you always do what you\'ve always done, you\'ll always get what you\'ve always got.

Offline sscully

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Re: LED Headlights
« Reply #1 on: December 07, 2014, 10:12:10 AM »
The 2015 F150 has a LED headlamp option.  Single diepack to a lightguide ( for lack of better words ) to focus the lights, with a cut off on the low beam.

Lightheads designed to work with LED as the light source are not a 250.00 item.
- Ford, Porsche, Toyota, etc all have take a lot of time ( and R&D money ) to build a light head for LED, they did not just stick a LED bulb in a reflector made for halogen bulbs.

All the PnP LED headlamp pictures I have seen posted, look about as nasty as HID PnP to on coming traffic.
- The guys doing the write ups, that I have read, remind me of the clowns doing write ups on PnP HIDs when they 1st came out.

Cut off, I don't need no stickin cut off :





Here is what Ford went through with the LED mfgr to build a compliant LED light

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KfFbZNbPW-E

I am ~ 50% the way through a Hella 90mm Low beam mod for my passenger side fog lamp.  I stopped and looked at changing it to a Hi/Lo 90mm LED module, until I saw the price tag.  $700.00 each module  :wow:

http://www.rallylights.com/90bl-hella-bi-led-90mm-headlamp-module-hi-low-beam.html

JP did the light head conversion in his Jeep, but that was a remove the stock reflector.
- The one I got I think was ~ 325.00 for one  lighthead when I was trying it for my Hella grille.

This is just what I have found to date.
Steve

Offline Kitzy

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Re: LED Headlights
« Reply #2 on: December 07, 2014, 10:23:31 AM »
The reflector housing issue was a concern of mine as well as the throw (length and width) of the LED light itself.  There seems to be a decent cutoff with the Impreza from what I've seen, even with the reflector housing.  I've seen reports of even PnP HIDs being very tolerable in the stock reflector housings.  I just don't trust anybody.  Haha.  I just don't have the disposable income to chance it.  A simple bulb swap is easily reversible should I not like the result but the cost is not.

On a side note, I will be purchasing the fog light kit for he car.  Its a factory kit.  My question is what is the best 3000k option for fog bulbs?

I will come back to that video a bit later.  I'm interested. 

Also, I had those same lights Jason bought for his Jeep in my girlfriends Jeep.  They're nice.  Pretty intense and hers were aimed all types of wrong but she didn't have the jeep long enough after the install to rally get a good judgement on them.  Never got them properly aimed either. 

Tapatalkin...
« Last Edit: December 07, 2014, 10:25:33 AM by Kitzy »
If you always do what you\'ve always done, you\'ll always get what you\'ve always got.

Offline Too Stroked

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Re: LED Headlights
« Reply #3 on: December 07, 2014, 10:46:11 AM »
Mike,

As somewhat of a lifetime light geek, I'll offer my two cents. LEDs have come a long, long way in the past few years, but I think they still have a long way to go. Why? Well first of all, there's a ton of just plain crap LED lights available out there. This makes it pretty hard to separate the good stuff from the junk.

Second, as good (from a quality of light output per watt standpoint) as the better LEDs are, my personal opinion is that the light still (generally) isn't of the quality of good HID or even really good incandescent lighting. For instance, the "old fashioned" Hella 500 driving beams with 130 watt bulbs that my son and I have on our Scion xB's are still among the best long distance lights I've ever added to a vehicle - for under a hundred bucks a car. (I will admit that the SR30 LED bar I bought from Texas Liberty is pretty awesome though.)

Now, finally getting to LED headlight conversions. Most of the ones I've seen are pretty much on par with the pnp HIDs that one finds on just about every "fully urbanized" Hyundai out there - which is to say junk that just pisses off oncoming drivers. And the reason these things are all junk is that they replace just one part of a lighting system (the light source) with an alternate source. In almost every case, this leads to a poorly balanced system and thus all of the problems.

As you've seen, there are some pretty decent HID conversions out there now. But these basically replace the whole lighting system except for the outer housing. So all of the really important stuff gets designed to work together. Oddly enough, these things work pretty well. I have some serious doubts about the long term longevity of many of these conversions though. And as you've seen, they're very, very expensive because they're pretty much hand built one at a time.

If you really look at "headlight conversions" over the years, I think you'll see a repeating pattern. The auto manufacturers will come out with systems that comply with all legal requirements. Next, the aftermarket will come out with "enhancements" - many of them just cosmetic. (I don't know about you, but I buy lighting products for performance, not looks.) The price point slowly comes down on the aftermarket stuff and the quality (sometimes) goes up. Then the next big thing comes along and we begin all over again. But what this says is that the OEM stuff (early on) is almost always better than the aftermarket stuff. This is because the aftermarket needs to generate enough volume to drive manufacturing costs down. (The OEMs already did that.)

So if you want my opinion, right now, aftermarket  LED headlight conversions are too expensive and don't generally perform significantly better that OEM lighting. Give it a few years though.

Tom

Offline sscully

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Re: LED Headlights
« Reply #4 on: December 07, 2014, 01:32:18 PM »
If the money is not there for a science experiment, just put the project on the back burner.

I took a quick search for Impreza PnP HIDs.

I keep seeing the post of "cut off is good, same amount of glare just brighter".
- really, it is OK excluding it has brighter glare ??  :dope:

Here is a picture from one of them :



That is not a good cut off.  A cut off does not have the kind of splatter above the line.
- This is where PnP kits are bad for on coming drivers.

Here is another one that called the PnP install a good cut off :
http://s1171.photobucket.com/user/infamouslkv/media/5kHIDstesting.jpg.html

The pictures from those 2 posts, the owner saying it is awesome, much brighter with a good cut off, do not know what they are comparing it to.

The other thing you never see from these posts is a picture from the side of the vehicle, looking forward in the dark.

I laugh when this clown with a SuperDuty, with fog and headlamp PnP HID conversions, drives by at night. 
He has the most good awful glare and when he drives by, I laugh at the pathetic light output he is actually putting on the road.
- His lights put a pattern on the ground, about 20' in front of him and then nothing.  All the light splatters to zero focus.  This is with SD fog lamps.

He thinks he has brighter lights, but if one were to put a lumen meter at 25-35' I offer the conjecture he is putting less light ( not even usable - just less ) in front of him.
His eyes tell him it is better, but I keep waiting on him to kiss a deer driving through the forest preserve the other side of IL rte 83 because he cannot make out that forest rat until it is 25' in front of him.

Use the money for something more useful.

Get the PIAA mounts for the Impreza and install a good pair of lamps on the front.

google image search also has some bar options, so you can go with 520s.



A set of 520s in Ion Yellow are going to be a lot more useful than LED PnP bulbs.
- I had these on my 2001 in the PIAA airdam  Very nice.
Steve

Offline Too Stroked

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Re: LED Headlights
« Reply #5 on: December 07, 2014, 01:42:06 PM »
I agree 100% with Steve. (Hell, how could I disagree with the master?) A really good set of aftermarket auxiliary lights will give you significantly better bang for your buck than anything you can do to your stock headlights. And they'll do it for a hell of a lot less coin. The reason is just as I stated in my previous post. An auxiliary light is designed as a system. (Light source, reflector & lens.) All you have to do is pick the correct system / beam pattern and aim them correctly. Remember though, the further out one reaches with a given beam pattern (Pencil Beams being the most finicky), the more critical the aiming gets.

Offline Kitzy

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Re: LED Headlights
« Reply #6 on: December 07, 2014, 02:59:01 PM »
I bear you guys loud and clear.  You both just confirmed what I had already assumed based on past reading. 

Back to the ion yellow or 3000k lights.  Any replacement bulbs worth looking in to for factory halogen fogs?

Tapatalkin...

If you always do what you\'ve always done, you\'ll always get what you\'ve always got.

Offline Too Stroked

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Re: LED Headlights
« Reply #7 on: December 07, 2014, 05:24:14 PM »
I bear you guys loud and clear.  You both just confirmed what I had already assumed based on past reading. 

Back to the ion yellow or 3000k lights.  Any replacement bulbs worth looking in to for factory halogen fogs?

Tapatalkin...

I currently use Phillips X-tremeVision bulbs in just about everything. Quite happy with them.

Offline sscully

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Re: LED Headlights
« Reply #8 on: December 07, 2014, 05:28:29 PM »
...<snip>...

Back to the ion yellow or 3000k lights.  Any replacement bulbs worth looking in to for factory halogen fogs?

Tapatalkin...

Quick google shows it to be the PSX24W bulbs, which were the same as the HP Escape.  At that time there was not much on the way of options for different bulbs.

Nokya and the likes make yellow versions, but I never tried them.
- That name, very generally speaking, has been associated with crap.  It could be better today, but I was not trying it.

Go with a mount for PIAAs and get some decent foul weather lamps, other wise it is playing for 2nd place.
Steve

Offline Kitzy

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Re: LED Headlights
« Reply #9 on: December 07, 2014, 08:30:16 PM »
I won't be mounting any mights on the front.  I don't really like the look and I doubt my girlfriend would either and since its her car.... you get the idea.  Haha. 

The reason I keep asking about replacement bulbs is because I know she wants 3000k bulbs and I need to purchase bulbs anyway.  I think.  The kit may come loaded. 

Tapatalkin...

If you always do what you\'ve always done, you\'ll always get what you\'ve always got.

Offline Rollingrock

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Re: LED Headlights
« Reply #10 on: December 07, 2014, 10:13:08 PM »
trying to catch up to this thread.

Did someone say LED?    I know a thing or two about that. 

For the Jeep, no question, TruckLites,  must have.   

When i get in my F250 with the Silver Star Ultra's I am sadly disappointed.  Wish I could have TrucLites for the F250 in my truck....HID PNP's are a joke in a reflector...they need projectors to control the light.    LED drop ins can work with reflectors but color temp can be an issue.   

I only did a "drive by" of this post...sorry, been out of pocket for 5 days 

Thanks for visiting the Cafe, come back often.  There's always something new!

Offline Kitzy

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Re: LED Headlights
« Reply #11 on: December 09, 2014, 07:22:54 AM »
 

    LED drop ins can work with reflectors but color temp can be an issue.   

I only did a "drive by" of this post...sorry, been out of pocket for 5 days 



What are the variables here in your opinion?  Don't worry, we will give you 5 days to answer.   :slow:
If you always do what you\'ve always done, you\'ll always get what you\'ve always got.

Offline Rollingrock

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Re: LED Headlights
« Reply #12 on: December 09, 2014, 09:34:05 AM »
 

    LED drop ins can work with reflectors but color temp can be an issue.   

I only did a "drive by" of this post...sorry, been out of pocket for 5 days 



What are the variables here in your opinion?  Don't worry, we will give you 5 days to answer.   :slow:

I got to looking at them for my F250...saw lots of variables like color temp and mount options...some with ballasts some without...did make sense to me, thought LED wouldn't come with a ballast. 

I looked up 9007 replacement bulbs.  Prices from 79-165 for the pair...also saw CREE vs non CREE...and different "wattages" 

How is that, less than 5 day response

Thanks for visiting the Cafe, come back often.  There's always something new!

Offline Kitzy

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Re: LED Headlights
« Reply #13 on: December 09, 2014, 12:04:31 PM »
I was more interested in the fact that you said they could work.  I interpret that as there are circumstances where it is acceptable and where it is not.  I thought you maybe had some kind of advanced knowledge of how they work.

Tapatalkin...

If you always do what you\'ve always done, you\'ll always get what you\'ve always got.

Offline Too Stroked

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Re: LED Headlights
« Reply #14 on: December 09, 2014, 01:32:14 PM »
I still struggle with the notion that pnp LEDs can actually work. The big thing that's different about the two light sources (halogen bulb vs. LED chip) is the way they project light. A standard incandescent / halogen bulb creates what I'll just call "an orb" of light around the filament. Some of this light created goes sort of straight out - unless a shield / cup is used. (They also cut glare.) The rest of the light either goes back to the reflector on its own or is reflected back (by the shield) to the reflector. Next, either the reflector or the lens re-directs the light in the direction the engineers determined to be needed - hence your defined light pattern.

An LED chip on the other hand is basically a small square with light emitted from one surface. Although chip designers have gotten better at designing diodes that direct the light to define a decent beam pattern, that's one area that I believe still needs a lot of work. Somewhat masking this lack of definition is the sheer volume of light one can get from multiple LEDs for relatively low cost.

So getting back to pnp LED headlight replacements, most current headlights are designed with the light source to be more of the "orb" shape I mentioned earlier. That means an LED chip (or chips) will have a difficult time sending light to all of the places the reflector & lens were designed to have it coming from. This will lead to a poor pattern.

Now, if somebody were to design a replacement headlight system (light source, lens & reflector), they'd have a decent shot of getting a desirable pattern to hit the ground. And that's exactly what JP sees with the replacement headlights in his Jeep.

 


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