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

MrPlow

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Headlights do have foam filters, at least some that I have seen.
I would imagine in actual practice that any dust inside the housing would eventually cake to the bottom given cycles of humidity and drying over time. I also wonder exactly how strong the air current is from the LED bulb. Plus, even without the fan inside the housing, they still get bounced around a lot on rough roads and gravel, so it's not like they are an otherwise perfectly still environment.

Regardless, if I ever did an LED install, dust would not be something I would worry about, and if it became an issue, I could very easily figure a way around it. Which might be a moot point if housing already have proper filtering. I don't know enough about headlights to have any opinion on how well they are sealed.
 
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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.

Heat output is pretty much directly related to electrical input wattage. 1 watt of input power will give 3.41 btus of heat output.
 

MrPlow

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So, I contacted Morimoto about the temperature of the lights and how they compare to halogen. First of all, they replied incredibly fast! I do find it hard to believe they never tested it against halogen, and suspect they willfully ignored the heating numbers when compared. With that said, heavy snow buildup on headlights is most likely to happen in wet snowfall at higher snowing temps, so if they can keep the front lens of the housing above freezing at higher driving speeds, then everything should be gravy deluxe. I can also say for certain that a larger housing with a larger surface area in front, and larger volume, will be harder for the LED system to heat it. This could be a case where a large housing with an H4 halogen bulb might be just barely hot enough to prevent snow buildup, and anything even slightly less would be inadequate. Since this light is brand new on the market, it might take a winter of users reports to get a sense of how effective the system is. Regardless, any added heat is superior to none at all when keeping things snow free.

Here's their reply on the topic:

"We have no specific data on the temps, but in testing we had yet to see a scenario (unless the weather is just that extreme) where they were not able to break up and melt build up on the headlights."
 

MrPlow

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I purchased a cheap set (but highly rated) of LED bulbs to test out in my van's halogen reflector lights. While setting them up and aiming at a white wall, I noticed that the rotational adjustment of the LED bulb in the housing can be used to create a dead spot in the area of the driver's side light that shines into drivers coming straight on the other way. Compared to the halogen, which can't be rotated, the preliminary result is that the LED can be adjusted to less light output in this area by just a couple degrees of rotation. While this does not address the brighter light hitting drivers on curves and crests, it does remedy the main problem often cited with LED conversions. I will have to try doing readings with my light meter to see if there is indeed less light hitting this region or equal to halogen. In doing a couple quick swaps back and forth, it appears to be actually less if rotated correctly and maybe equal or just slightly more not rotated. The rotation does not appear to have any major effect on the illumination of other areas or the general cutoff line as long as the rotation is not too great of a delta from TDC.

This is the LED unit I experimented with. It's the Katana H4 LED.

Screenshot_2021-01-06 Amazon com KATANA H4 9003 LED Headlight Bulbs - CREE Chips w Adjustable ...png


One funny thing about adjusting these while turned on, is that the fan is exposed out the back of the unit. I accidentally touched it with my finger while staring at the wall and adjusting the rotation and it buzzed my skin pretty hard. Scared the brownies out of me for a second, as I thought I had been shocked at first. LOL
 
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I admire your spirit of experimentation.

Highly rated by whom?

Amazon reviewers , if legitimately reviewing the specific product, and not all products that brand name sells, are hardly qualified, and if they were, it would only be in their specific reflector/vehicle.

Most likely care about light color, and judge performance by the amount of pupil constricting, distance acuity reducing, foreground light.

Any beam pattern on a garage door proves next to nothing, and glare above any well defined 'cut off' can still be excessive.

What reflector/housing are you using? If these are sealed beam replacements, which ones?

Snipping off the tabs of a halogen h4, to allow rotation, is certainly possible. I'd say I can rotate the H4's about 1 degree in the Hella vision plus 6054 DOT bulb receptacles as the tabs are not super tight in the receptacle.

The computer fans, I assume they blow into the heatsink, are they easily removed? If you can remove them and wish to, ...Peel up the sticker, where the wires enter the hub, and cover those solder contacts with something like dielectric grease or Amazing goop/ shoegoo, if you leave them in place.

Almost Every computer fan failure I have had, is because of corrosion where wires attach to circuit board in the hub, the wires breaking/corroding off the circuit board. Not too hard to fix, but in this case failure will take out the circuitry of the bulb.

Which might be a blessing for driver's on the opposite side of the road.
 

MrPlow

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I admire your spirit of experimentation.

Highly rated by whom?

Amazon reviewers , if legitimately reviewing the specific product, and not all products that brand name sells, are hardly qualified, and if they were, it would only be in their specific reflector/vehicle.

Most likely care about light color, and judge performance by the amount of pupil constricting, distance acuity reducing, foreground light.

Any beam pattern on a garage door proves next to nothing, and glare above any well defined 'cut off' can still be excessive.

Which might be a blessing for driver's on the opposite side of the road.
Highly rated by bulbfacts.com at least relative to others in the price range. Also by forums and youtube etc. I'm not sure how much more one can get in terms of data on bulbs? Everything I read and watched matches what I am seeing. The H4 version of their bulb has a very nice cutoff line.

Also, I think people get WAAAAAYYY too critical of light modifications because of idiots putting HID bulbs in halogen reflectors, or using cheap LED assemblies that have no cutoff. They are basically driving with high beams on all the time, which is no doubt far worse than the best LED systems with great cutoff. Many people in a state without inspections don't have properly aligned headlights to the smallest degree of error. A person with halogen bulbs, but poorly aimed, is going to cause more issues than someone with decent modifications and careful aiming. All of that still doesn't mean squat when many of vehicles sold in the USA are tall trucks and SUVs. Even when properly aimed and no mods, stock vehicles can blind the heck out of people in older, smaller cars. I don't blame anyone at all for wanting to make their car safer against new models of vehicles.

I've worked off and on as a professional, and steady enthusiast photographer for decades. I have a very good sense of light levels and distribution. A headlight is not some sort of magical device. It's just light, lenses and reflectors for the most part in terms of projection. I have serious doubts that carefully using a wall to measure light distribution is somehow so error prone that it holds no validity to making soft conclusions to the results. With a matte surfaced white wall, with diffuse light reflection, it's really not rocket science to measure one light against another. The human eye is a non-linear light gathering and sensing device. Small differences equaling a fraction of a Exposure Value (1 EV = double the photons) is not going to be anywhere close to the amount needed to go from perfectly fine to OMG I'M BLIND!! :)

Also, if the DOT specs were meant for absolute safety, they wouldn't have so much illumination spent towards lighting signs above the road. E-Code lights are arguably safer, IMO, because they do not allow as much light to spill above the cutoff line and into oncoming traffic. The available light is better spent where it counts. E-Code lights light up stop signs and deer on the shoulder perfectly well. Missing an exit because of not seeing a sign is less of a safety issue than shining light into oncoming traffic. I think some states even allow E-Code lights on vehicles.

Sorry for going off topic a bit too much there, but just because there are laws and regulations, doesn't always mean those laws and regulations are achieving the best results.
 
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My biggest gripe I had with my Diode Dynamics SL1 LED’s was the awful color temp and CRI. Yeah, they’re “white” but it washed everything out, even more so in inclement weather. I’d love for some 4500-4800k LED’s that rival the Philips Xtreme Vision HID’s I had on my Durango. That was like driving with pure sunlight coming out of my headlights.
 

MrPlow

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So new bit of info from tonight's testing. It's 42 deg F outside with a humidity level over 90%. The ground is warm and wet from recent heavy rains and fog is forming. The headlights were coated thick in condensation and had ZERO cutoff or beam aiming. They were completely diffuse and shining everywhere.

The LED light FAILED MISERABLY in clearing the condensation off the front of the lens from fog.

I put that in big letters because this an issue in an area prone to cold and freezing fog. After leaving the lights on low-beam for around 20 minutes, there was no less moisture on the housing. For comparison, I had another vehicle parked next to it equipped with 55w low beam halogen H4 reflectors. While the halogen setup has smaller volume housings which helps, it was a huge difference. The halogens cleared the moisture away in less than 5 minutes. I think I could have left the LED ones on for a lot longer without any difference.

Now, this scenario isn't as bad as covering the whole thing in thick snow, but it is still an issue. If the air is a few degrees above freezing, driving will help clear some of it after a while. If below freezing, then I don't think they stand a chance.

I have other projects where I can use these LED bulbs, so not much of a waste. :)


I might try out the heated LED Morimoto bulbs, but I don't have much faith they can put out enough heat. Stupid LEDs being too energy efficient! LOL


No es bueno. :(
IMG_7625.jpg
 
Missing an exit because of not seeing a sign is less of a safety issue than shining light into oncoming traffic.
... Until you add idiots to the equation (and believe me, there are a lot of idiots on the roads). Then you have people reversing on the highway, pulling u-turns on blind corners, or slamming on their brakes to make an exit instead of just taking the next exit and coming back.
 

MrPlow

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I managed to do a snow driving experiment with one LED light installed. Drove on some very remote back roads for a few miles before being fed up with the LED light being covered in snow and ruining the projection of the light. The worst aspect is how the light scatters once snow has built up and makes in very difficult to see through the snowflake Star Wars hyperspace. I took this photo comparison right before removing the LED bulb and putting a halogen one in to keep the snow off.

Another thing to note, which isn't easily seen in the photo, is that the halogen bulb still had some snow buildup in the corners when I first stopped to check them. It melted fast once the car sat, but was there while driving. I would assume that the Morimoto LED bulb with the housing heater function would not be sufficient in keeping the headlight clear, even at 36 degrees outside. It's only 20-something watts, which isn't much energy being turned into heat compared to 55/60watts of the halogen bulbs. Just no way.

IMG_7669.jpg
 

MrPlow

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I've also come to the conclusion that cooler (more blue) color temps in the LED bulbs is actually not sufficient for driving in my region of climate and flora. Here are some impressions of the matter:

1. A color temp in the mid 5000K and up reflects too much from green vegetation, white surfaces, and road signs compared to warmer color temps. What this means is that objects like deer and tree trunks, which around here are more in the warmer color range, do not stand out very well at all. Deer and tree trunks are more dangerous than branches. This also proves troublesome in white snow as the cooler color temp seems to reflect harder off the white surfaces compared to other non-white surfaces of important objects beyond the snow that is falling.

2. Because of the poor color temp and also poor CRI (color rendering index) of cheaper LED bulbs, the LED bulbs have to be MUCH brighter to compensate so that the road and objects can be better seen. As a consequence, this puts more strain on other drivers because the light hitting their eyes is not reflected off surfaces as it is for the driver with the LED bulbs. So for the cooler temp LED lights with poor CRI, other drivers are blinded at a higher rate than the LED driver gains in visibility of the road and objects.

3. On the plus side, the white lines on the roads reflect much better with LED light and are easier to follow at night.

4. At this point in my testing and research on the topic, I think the bulb focus is actually the least of the major concerns about LED bulbs. Color temp, low CRI, and poor snow melting ability are aspects not done well at all, even by the more expensive brands. A bulb with an extra 30 watts of heating, a CRI of 90+, and color temp in the 3500k-4500k range would be vastly superior and would not have to overdrive the lumens to compensate for junky light.
 
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I've also come to the conclusion that cooler (more blue) color temps in the LED bulbs is actually not sufficient for driving in my region of climate and flora. Here are some impressions of the matter:

1. A color temp in the mid 5000K and up reflects too much from green vegetation, white surfaces, and road signs compared to warmer color temps. What this means is that objects like deer and tree trunks, which around here are more in the warmer color range, do not stand out very well at all. Deer and tree trunks are more dangerous than branches. This also proves troublesome in white snow as the cooler color temp seems to reflect harder off the white surfaces compared to other non-white surfaces of important objects beyond the snow that is falling.

2. Because of the poor color temp and also poor CRI (color rendering index) of cheaper LED bulbs, the LED bulbs have to be MUCH brighter to compensate so that the road and objects can be better seen. As a consequence, this puts more strain on other drivers because the light hitting their eyes is not reflected off surfaces as it is for the driver with the LED bulbs. So for the cooler temp LED lights with poor CRI, other drivers are blinded at a higher rate than the LED driver gains in visibility of the road and objects.

3. On the plus side, the white lines on the roads reflect much better with LED light and are easier to follow at night.

4. At this point in my testing and research on the topic, I think the bulb focus is actually the least of the major concerns about LED bulbs. Color temp, low CRI, and poor snow melting ability are aspects not done well at all, even by the more expensive brands. A bulb with an extra 30 watts of heating, a CRI of 90+, and color temp in the 3500k-4500k range would be vastly superior and would not have to overdrive the lumens to compensate for junky light.
Thanks for your posts on this topic.

I agree that the whiter light is problematic in some scenarios. For me, it is during rain that things look a little wrong.

Otherwise it is ok and the overall improvement in brightness I have is worth it, especially on unlit or poorly lit roads.

I didn't seek LEDs that tested to have significantly more lux than the average budget recommended ones, and what I ended up with is enough. If anything, it is maybe a little too much as it sometimes creates a bigger contrast between light ahead and darkness on the sides, and it would be great if my beam was a little wider than they are.

After initial install, my beam was higher and I got flashed once. I then reduced the height and haven't been flashed in months now.

To choose the bulbs, I used bulbfacts.com and then compared the pictures of the recommended ones to the pictures of other brand names on Amazon. I ended up ordering a set for near $40 and one for near $20 and they were identical. At the time, they were offered with a 2 year warranty, and so far (6 months), so good.

Hopefully the next improvement in these bulbs will be color temp, CRI and heating. And maybe compatibility with some sort of dimmer control!
 
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I know that a TacomaWorld Thread has already been posted but these are much more recently updated and show some interesting info. Especially in the Tacoma OEM H11 projector housing which is much more forgiving than a reflector. The biggest thing to note is that while an LED may perform mostly satisfactory for beam pattern, you'll notice that the light intensity drops off at a faster rate as the distance increases vs a halogen. This is well demonstrated in the H11 comparison and carries over to theH4 as well.

Now with H4 being reflector based the amount of glare is increased substantially, even with glare caps/cups and getting closer chip mounting. Even if somehow the chip placement gets to the same point as a halogen filament, you'll likely get a small amount of shadowing where the chips simply cannot provide light since they can not produce 360 degrees of light, like others have noted. This is less prominent in a projector, but still sometimes seen.



If you want to see some amazing SAE Fog light comparisons, take a look at this thread!


Regarding the new Morimoto 2 Stroke and the fan operation.....here ya go.


Either way you slice it, I could not recommend any PNP LED for any car. A quality Halogen (like the GE/Tungsram Megalight Ultra +130 or Philips Racing Vision) that is stock wattage is equally as good as the "best" PNP LEDs with less intensity drop. High wattage (H9-H11 or H4's) halogens are even better. Plus the safety factor of halogen that it will actually melt snow/ice almost no matter the outside temperature.
 
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