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Thread: Best replacement for H4 bulb

  1. #1
    Flashaholic
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    Default Best replacement for H4 bulb

    I can't make search work for some reason. So I will ask an updated question without knowing waht has been said. Sorry about that. I want to replace the H4 bulbs in a 2013 Honda CR-V. They have rotten headlights. What is the state of the art in H4 bulbs; ignoring an HID projector refit. If it should be Halogen, what is the best performing Halogen dual filament replacement. However, LEDs are an interesting possibility. I have researched quite a bit. LEDs (the chips, not the things they are stuck in) evolve at a fairly rapid pace. There are some very decent LEDs (brightness vs power + decent spectrum) on the market. Some should have been used in high performance H4 replacements. I have a flashlight that uses 4 Li batteries and 4 not really top end LEDs, which gets me around 5,000 lumens. And a range of colors are available in most LEDs. So, emission can be in the range needed for headlights. I completely (well, more or less - couldn't design one) understand the issues of reflector design and source positioning. And not annoying other drivers. Research finds either a bunch of experts that basically say "no LEDs can work properly, even though we have not changed our stance by following current technology in chips and mounting ideas", or pimping one LED "bulb" or another that they bought or got free for a "review". Generally with no meaningful measurements. Usually a garage door or back country road. I have had a set of retrofit HID projectors sitting in the basement for several years. I never managed to get a good place to work on such a project; so I am asking about current best choices without modifications to the car. It would be real helpful to get some expert analysis of the current state of the art. Preferably with some product recommendations.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Best replacement for H4 bulb

    Not having much experience with your type of vehicle i will say that any retrofit that doesn't involve changing the fixture won't work; now theres still the option of installing a higher end oem lighting system or upgraded bulbs (sorry at this time i have not done any research regarding this). I'm sure one of the experts on this part of the forum will chime in with a solution soon enough

  3. #3

    Default Re: Best replacement for H4 bulb

    Quote Originally Posted by alternety View Post
    I can't make search work for some reason. So I will ask an updated question without knowing waht has been said. Sorry about that. I want to replace the H4 bulbs in a 2013 Honda CR-V.
    Use these. Make sure the lamps are correctly aimed, with an optical aimer, as described here.

    ignoring an HID projector refit
    Good, because the only way that works is to swap in the European-market factory HID projector headlamps. Swapping a projector into a housing that didn't originally contain it is a no-go.

    If it should be Halogen
    It must be halogen. The "LED bulbs" do not work safely, effectively, or legally, and neither do "HID kits".

    LEDs (the chips, not the things they are stuck in) evolve at a fairly rapid pace. There are some very decent LEDs (brightness vs power + decent spectrum) on the market.
    All of that is true.

    Some should have been used in high performance H4 replacements.
    No, this is false. There are tall marketing claims made for "H4 LED bulbs", but the very best of that bunch, the one made by Philips for unregulated markets, gives OK performance (not great, just OK) in some H4 headlamps -- but in most of them it creates an unsafe, uncontrolled spray of unfocused light with streaks, spots, and shadows throughout and lots of glare. Step away from the Philips product and you immediately find yourself looking at a big pile of trinkets, all claimed to be an "upgrade", that don't even come close to producing anything that could be called a beam pattern.

    Optically speaking, pretty much everything on this page applies equally as much to "LED bulbs" as it does to "HID kits". Headlamps are high-precision optical devices designed to create a beam pattern from a light source highly specific in shape, size, light emission characteristics, orientation, etc. If you change any of those parameters...no more beam pattern from the headlamp, even if you put the LED exactly, precisely where the filament used to be.

    But that doesn't stop marketers from claiming otherwise, of course!

    Eventually there will probably be some acceptable, decent, good, and then great LED retrofits -- see this thread. But it won't be for awhile. We're still a pretty long way from having LEDs that can mimic a filament closely enough to couple properly with filament-intended optics.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Best replacement for H4 bulb

    How does the 9003 X-tremeVision compare with the Osram Bilux H4? I have found a pair of these in my garage from some project I never did. Not relevant, but in the same box I found a whole bunch of the HIR bulbs; but they are all single filaments. The Osram are probably something I bought by mistake when working to upgrade an old Honda with the HIR bulbs. Which worked quite well. Redirecting the IR radiation back into the bulb works well. I have wondered why there were not more of this design used in other bulbs. Maybe they are; I am not a bulb person.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Best replacement for H4 bulb

    "Bilux" is not a specific bulb; it's the name Osram has applied to all its H4 bulbs, no matter what variety, and all the tungsten R2 bulbs before the H4 came along. If it says 64193, that's a plain, ordinary H4 bulb. Suffixes include "L" (long life), "SUP" (+30), "SVS" (+50), "NBR" (+90 or later +110), "CB" ("cool blue"), and probably a few others I don't remember at the moment. Or it might say 9003 (L for long life, CB for cool blue, XV for +30...)

    The linked 9003 Xtreme Vision +100 is the best widely-available H4/HB2/9003 bulb. The Tungsram (GE of Europe) Megalight +120 is even a little better, but tough to get ahold of in North America, though Stern might have them. Nice thing about these two bulbs is minimal (effectively no) blue coating on the glass, which means you're not trading away lighting performance for (claimed) "style" and nonsense about "whiter light".

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Best replacement for H4 bulb

    It says 64205. There is another number on it - something 2x2. The box says 70/65 W. And there is no apparent blue color on the bulb.
    Last edited by alternety; 12-06-2017 at 07:19 PM.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Best replacement for H4 bulb

    64205 is the (now-discontinued, sad to say) Osram 70/65w H4 bulb. It's excellent; if you've got a pair, run 'em! See this post.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Best replacement for H4 bulb

    Virgil, do you know why the 64205 was discontinued?

    Also, is the GE Nighthawk Xenon a rebadged Megalight +120 for the North American market? They say the Nighthawk Xenon is also +120 and the bulbs have a similar design (blue band at top).

  9. #9

    Default Re: Best replacement for H4 bulb

    Quote Originally Posted by jaycee88 View Post
    Virgil, do you know why the 64205 was discontinued?
    No. Only Osram knows.

    Also, is the GE Nighthawk Xenon a rebadged Megalight +120 for the North American market?
    I haven't studied them side-by-side, but that is a reasonable assumption.

  10. #10
    Moderator Alaric Darconville's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best replacement for H4 bulb

    Quote Originally Posted by -Virgil- View Post
    No. Only Osram knows.
    "Economics", maybe.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Best replacement for H4 bulb

    Thanks. Turns out I had put a pair of the Osram bulbs in when we got the car. About 5 years ago. But I did not remember. I figured it out when I opened an Osram bulb box and found a nice new looking Phillips bulb. So I pulled a bulb in the car to see what shape it was in. Wow. One bulb close to completely black on one side and maybe looking like there was a crack in the envelope. Second bulb: totally black on one side and a large bubble of envelope material protruding out of the same side. I have never seen one actually melt the envelope and puff out creative designs. I probably need to look every now and then. Looking forward to LED replacements being perfected. Or a new car. Whichever occurs first.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Best replacement for H4 bulb

    Quote Originally Posted by alternety View Post
    One bulb close to completely black on one side and maybe looking like there was a crack in the envelope. Second bulb: totally black on one side and a large bubble of envelope material protruding out of the same side. I have never seen one actually melt the envelope and puff out creative designs.
    This is with the Osram 64205? I've had this happen with the Osram 64206, which is an 85/80W ultra high efficacy bulb - see this thread. Virgil mentioned that the 64206 wasn't designed for constant-on use for hours on end (I ran them on my motorcycle which by law has the headlight always on).

    I've never had issues with the 64205, as they would burn out before anything happened to the envelope.

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