LED H4 bulbs are close to reaching focus-parity with halogen in reflector headlights.

MrPlow

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Yes, I should have worded that differently. I didn't mean that they submit headlights to NHTSA for approval, but in my mind I was thinking of the manufacturer submitting their headlight to a third party for compliance testing. They can of course do the compliance testing in-house.
Either way, they are self-certifying (stating) that their headlight is compliant, and can provide the necessary documentation for proof.
Or just do as the cheap Chinese companies do and stamp DOT on the housing and call it good. Even though there is literally no cutoff line with low beams. LOL :)

I found a couple on Amazon that have the DOT stamp but in the reviews they show no cutoff at all and blind other drivers. :(
 

MrPlow

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Also, at least for old cars using standard sealed beam units, it's very easy to swap out for an H4 reflector unit without any other mods. For most people that should be sufficient for adding safety.

For cars with custom housings looking to increase light output, then things get a lot more complicated in terms of keeping it safe for other drivers.

As a personal note, I actually find cars with a very sharp cutoff beam to be harder on my eyes when they hit a bump or crest over a rise in the road, the sudden ON/OFF effect is far more distracting than just having some glare that increases in the same bump or crest of lights with less of a cutoff line. But, just personal preference, which might also be exasperated by higher light outputs overall for cars with sharp cutoff lines.
 

MrPlow

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Thanks for the replies and info, folks. I am clearly not an engineer or expert on light bulbs, but I do like following the tech advancements.

Hopefully I am not coming across as preaching that LED bulbs should be used on public roads without very careful testing and considerations to safety. I honestly think the heating issue is FAR worse than the glare issue though, and even with the glare issue solved 100%, driving in snow is going to be a bad time for everyone on the road. As of now, I don't think there is any solution sold for this issue of putting LED into housings.
 
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I have a set of Katana (best budget bulbs for projectors, according to BulbFacts) H7 bulbs on order to replace my current Hikari bulbs.
The Hikaris seem considerably brighter than halogen to me, however BulbFacts says they are only marginally brighter.
 

MrPlow

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I have a set of Katana (best budget bulbs for projectors, according to BulbFacts) H7 bulbs on order to replace my current Hikari bulbs.
The Hikaris seem considerably brighter than halogen to me, however BulbFacts says they are only marginally brighter.
I wonder if that has to do with the visibility of different color spectrum to the human eye. I think eyes are more receptive to the blue/green end of the spectrum over the yellow/red end. Thus if two lights put out the same lux onto the road, but have different color temps, the cooler one will appear brighter?

Also, may I ask why you are swapping? Are the old ones burnt out? The Hikari are highly rated. The Katana has a more natural color temp though I believe.
 
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Great thread. Such a hard topic to really perfect, also. Any modification done will be to the standard of the owner, and everyone’s standard differs. in search of a standard, some will default to an oem, or other bar, but then we find that oem “standards” are hugely varied, and other standards have strengths and weaknesses, with so many different variables like distribution, cutoff, color temp, glare, etc..

my personal opinion .... LEDs are getting there, and even the minor differences between an led drop-in and the original halogen bulb could be acceptable depending on the design of the housing. A larger reflector assembly or projector housing would be less affected than a smaller assy. I’m a bit particular like many here, but admittedly some of the stuff i/we can halfway mod today is better than some oem assemblies of both yesterday and today in terms of cutoff, glare, distribution, etc..

BUT, I think we all mostly agree that in general, they don’t work well in most cases for proper controlled output. I’ve been experimenting on another thread here and the photos on the wall demonstrate a larger difference than hobbyists really want to believe. I bought stuff hoping I could mod it enough to make it work well. I probably could have come close, but when I got it in my hands and started looking at the effort required, it just wasn’t worth it for me.

I agree with others here, led color temp is a thing. I just don’t like it. Halogen still gets my vote. I have hid projectors in my truck and I believe the bulbs are listed as 3500k, though they look closer to 3100k, which was the indoor standard for television studio and theater lighting. That’s very natural, and especially with halogen, the CRI is wonderful. I believe CRI costs a few lumens to implement... so for led makers to “go there” in automotive applications, they (or then buying market” will have to vote with their wallets to choose a slightly less output led in exchange for the color quality.
 
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My guess is that bulbs like the H4 or H15 that have the reflector may possibly work ok with an led configuration. Those seem to only throw light 180 degrees or so. I cannot for the life figure out why no manufacturer has flipped their LED 90 degrees so that they face up like an H4 does in halogen configuration.
1609817861099.jpeg

Bossla shows what I mean. Turn 90 degrees and drop the backside led.
P.S. I know that’s not an H4, but the idea is the same.
 

MrPlow

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Old news on an old product. If you look at the LED he used, it is atrociously bad in design. Far too thick for any sort of optical alignment. He would have had far better results from a current, top-rated model. Not saying the results would have been acceptable to him, but far better regardless.
 
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Old news on an old product. If you look at the LED he used, it is atrociously bad in design. Far too thick for any sort of optical alignment. He would have had far better results from a current, top-rated model. Not saying the results would have been acceptable to him, but far better regardless.
But the fact is H4 designs still haven‘t come anywhere close to mimicking an H4 filament in diameter. The biggest advancements in halogen H4 technology have come from increasing filament precision. The latest Philips GT200 have maybe 10% more lumens than a standard halogen H4, yet will crush them on actual output. LED comes nowhere close.
 
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Also, may I ask why you are swapping? Are the old ones burnt out?
The Hikari have a mediocre rating on BulbFacts, plus I occasionally get a "headlight out" warning flickering on and off on the dash, due to their lower current draw.
The Katana should be a little brighter, draw a little more current to keep the warning off.
Besides, I want to check out the greener grass on the other side.
p.s. I have the regular Hikari, not the Ultra.
 
Thanks for the replies and info, folks. I am clearly not an engineer or expert on light bulbs, but I do like following the tech advancements.

Hopefully I am not coming across as preaching that LED bulbs should be used on public roads without very careful testing and considerations to safety. I honestly think the heating issue is FAR worse than the glare issue though, and even with the glare issue solved 100%, driving in snow is going to be a bad time for everyone on the road. As of now, I don't think there is any solution sold for this issue of putting LED into housings.
Have you seen the new Morimoto 3.0 LED bulbs?
The heat from the bulb is vented into the housing to warm the lens.
 

MrPlow

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Have you seen the new Morimoto 3.0 LED bulbs?
The heat from the bulb is vented into the housing to warm the lens.
Great find! I figured something like this would be possible, just implement properly.

Although, that model is crazy expensive! I'm sure the cheaper brands will catch up soon enough though. I would also be curious as to how the light performs as a light, and also how much heat it can generate in the housing compared to 55 watt halogen.

Image credit to manufacturer at: https://www.morimotohid.com/morimoto-2-stroke-2stroke-h11-led-bulbs?quantity=1

27206.H11_Morimoto_2Stroke_2.080.jpg



Here is a forum post from a user who upgraded to these bulbs. I think even the biggest LED glare haters out there can attest that these are far superior to the guy's previous bulbs in terms of light focusing and cutoff. They look more like a good HID than a LED put into a halogen housing.

 
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I cannot help but wonder if those fans won’t put a fine layer of dust over the reflective surfaces. My headlights get dirty enough from being vented without a fan.
 

MrPlow

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I cannot help but wonder if those fans won’t put a fine layer of dust over the reflective surfaces. My headlights get dirty enough from being vented without a fan.
It recycles air from inside the housing and doesn't pull air from outside the housing to pump it in. It shouldn't get any more dust than a halogen bulb if sealed at the mount correctly and with a dust cover properly fitted.

Only question is how well it heats compared to halogen? Seeing as how the manufacturer doesn't make any claims about heat output or any of the paid-shill reviewers, I am still skeptical about how well it can heat. Seeing as how the unit draws much less power than a halogen bulb, yet produces more light output, I would have to assume that there is not enough energy loss to heat to equal halogen. Now, is that enough heat still? And does the air circulation in the housing make a difference against cold wind?
 
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It recycles air from inside the housing and doesn't pull air from outside the housing to pump it in. It shouldn't get any more dust than a halogen bulb if sealed at the mount correctly and with a dust cover properly fitted.

Only question is how well it heats compared to halogen? Seeing as how the manufacturer doesn't make any claims about heat output or any of the paid-shill reviewers, I am still skeptical about how well it can heat. Seeing as how the unit draws much less power than a halogen bulb, yet produces more light output, I would have to assume that there is not enough energy loss to heat to equal halogen. Now, is that enough heat still? And does the air circulation in the housing make a difference against cold wind?
The headlight housing is vented which means a slight amount of dust can get in.
With the blower fan stirring up that dust there's more chance it will be deposited somewhere inside the headlight.
 
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It recycles air from inside the housing and doesn't pull air from outside the housing to pump it in. It shouldn't get any more dust than a halogen bulb if sealed at the mount correctly and with a dust cover properly fitted.

Only question is how well it heats compared to halogen? Seeing as how the manufacturer doesn't make any claims about heat output or any of the paid-shill reviewers, I am still skeptical about how well it can heat. Seeing as how the unit draws much less power than a halogen bulb, yet produces more light output, I would have to assume that there is not enough energy loss to heat to equal halogen. Now, is that enough heat still? And does the air circulation in the housing make a difference against cold wind?
I am well aware the fans do not bring in air from the outside. The issue is the fans will heat the headlight and when the lamp cools down the lamp will bring in air through the vents in the headlight. This will happen with halogens or leds. The problem is now the next time the fans go the dust brought in will be circulated instead of just staying still as they would with halogens. It’s probably an industry first because other manufactures rejected this idea as unworkable. There is a reason aftermarket DOT compliant headlight companies i.e. JW speaker use heating elements.
 

MrPlow

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Just put a Fram Ultra air filter on the breather port of the housing and call it good? ;)

Seriously, it's not an insurmountable problem. Compared to driving in snow or freezing rain with no heat in the lamps, it's incredibly low on my own list of concerns. There are many ways to keep something breathable while also keeping out dust. Get a small air filter made for lawnmowers for cheap, cut it to size and getter sealed up. :)

I did some searching around and found some numbers on heat output. The standard H4 bulbs get to around 160 deg F, at I think is room temp ambient air. The Morimoto 3.0 gets to 132 deg F in the same test. With the fan running, I wonder how this might translate to the temp of the front glass/plastic of the housing.

Full review below
 
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Just put a Fram Ultra air filter on the breather port of the housing and call it good? ;)

Seriously, it's not an insurmountable problem. Compared to driving in snow or freezing rain with no heat in the lamps, it's incredibly low on my own list of concerns. There are many ways to keep something breathable while also keeping out dust. Get a small air filter made for lawnmowers for cheap, cut it to size and getter sealed up. :)

I did some searching around and found some numbers on heat output. The standard H4 bulbs get to around 160 deg F, at I think is room temp ambient air. The Morimoto 3.0 gets to 132 deg F in the same test. With the fan running, I wonder how this might translate to the temp of the front glass/plastic of the housing.

Full review below
Headlights do have foam filters, at least some that I have seen.
 
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