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Thread: So right now (end of 2017) are there any LED headlights that beat HID?

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    Flashaholic* zespectre's Avatar
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    Default So right now (end of 2017) are there any LED headlights that beat HID?

    I realize this is a somewhat subjective question since it would be hard to really decide what "beat" means in this case, but right now (end of 2017) are there any LED headlights that beat HID?

    Moderator Edit: Removed Rule 11 violation

    But

    On another site there is a fairly hot debate running with a couple of die-hard HID guys absolutely insisting that HID is IT and anyone running LED is an idiot (yes it's down to that level on their end).

    So attitudes aside I still would like real information, if HID is actually better then so be it, but I want some facts not a bunch of hot-headed chest thumping.
    so what I'm looking for is some nuanced, scientific, and un-biased information on the matter as we sit right now (going into 2018).
    Last edited by Alaric Darconville; 12-29-2017 at 02:39 PM. Reason: Rule 11
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    Default Re: So right now (end of 2017) are there any LED headlights that beat HID?

    There are probably some OEM LED headlights ( e.g. on some BMW, Audi and Mercedes vehicles) that are superior to OEM HID headlights.
    Last edited by SubLGT; 12-29-2017 at 12:54 PM.

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    Moderator Alaric Darconville's Avatar
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    Default Re: So right now (end of 2017) are there any LED headlights that beat HID?

    Get those toy bulbs out of your headlamps, zespectre. You're not doing yourself or any other drivers any favors with those toys installed.

    HID is a transitional technology and will fade into oblivion, leaving halogen and LED to continue. Halogen, because of the incredible installed base already, the economy of scale of manufacture, and the simplicity which works out well for fleet owners.

    HID's ballasts mean the potential for EMI, which can wreak havoc on other car systems. The additional components mean extra weight. The complexity of the systems in general vs. halogen or LED puts them at a disadvantage.

    Remember, in 2014, Toyota put LED low beams, not HID, in the Corolla. That should hint at how LED is pulling ahead of HID.

  4. #4

    Default Re: So right now (end of 2017) are there any LED headlights that beat HID?

    I remember when the only LED's in my home were in my alarm clock and behind the Caps Lock key on my keyboard. Now, they're in my computer screens, mobile devices, and lighting up my house. Outside, they're in street lights, billboards and signage of all types. Department stores are replacing their fluorescent tube lights with rows of LED's. All of the newer buses use LED's for their exterior and interior lighting. Even newer budget motorcycles are starting to come with LED headlights as standard.

    LED's are ubiquitous these days. This plus the fact that they're semiconductors means they're constantly improving in terms of efficiency and cost. See Haitz's law.

    There's no such impetus behind HID's. It won't be too long before they'll go the way of the floppy disk, at least for automotive applications. Something like adaptive beams would not be possible with HID's.
    Last edited by jaycee88; 12-29-2017 at 05:22 PM.

  5. #5

    Default Re: So right now (end of 2017) are there any LED headlights that beat HID?

    Quote Originally Posted by zespectre View Post
    I realize this is a somewhat subjective question
    No, it really is not. There are plenty of subjective (at best) opinions on what the answer is, but those are useless (at best). The actual answer is yes, there are LED headlamps with objectively better performance than HID headlamps.

    On another site there is a fairly hot debate running with a couple of die-hard HID guys absolutely insisting that HID is IT and anyone running LED is an idiot (yes it's down to that level on their end).
    1. That is a good indication of the (lack of) worth or value to their discussion in terms of time you waste on it

    2. In most cases there is no legitimate choice between "running LED" and "running HID". A very small number of vehicles offer an option between HID and LED headlamps, or had HIDs in a previous model year and now have LEDs, and there are legitimate HID and LED options in the 7-inch round sealed beam form factor, but other than that the only way to choose between "running LED" and "running HID" is to choose between an "HID kit" and an "LED kit", both of which are equally as unsafe, illegitimate, and illegal, therefore equally as pointless to discuss.

    HID is basically dead. Automakers do not plan for standard or optional HID headlamps any more. Basic equipment is halogen (and that market share is slipping fast); everything else is LED.

  6. #6

    Default Re: So right now (end of 2017) are there any LED headlights that beat HID?

    Quote Originally Posted by -Virgil- View Post
    The actual answer is yes, there are LED headlamps with objectively better performance than HID headlamps.
    I may have misunderstood his question but I thought he was asking are there any LED headlamps than are better than the best of HID headlamps.

    On another note, from the drivers seat, I have seen some halogen headlights that, on highbeam, seemed to have offered far greater performance than any HID or LED headlamp that I have driven with. But I do wonder if you take the best of halogen( I would assume that would be HIR bulbs), and compared those with the best LED headlamps, and compared those with the best HID headlamps, which ones would come out on top overall, which ones would be in the middle, and which ones would be the worst. Anybody have any data they would like to offer?

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    Moderator Alaric Darconville's Avatar
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    Default Re: So right now (end of 2017) are there any LED headlights that beat HID?

    Quote Originally Posted by Magio View Post
    But I do wonder if you take the best of halogen( I would assume that would be HIR bulbs), and compared those with the best LED headlamps, and compared those with the best HID headlamps, which ones would come out on top overall, which ones would be in the middle, and which ones would be the worst. Anybody have any data they would like to offer?
    The best LAMP beats the worst one, the ones in the middle are in the middle, etc. However, the HIR2 has a luminance of 30 Mcd/m[sup]2[/2], in 2006 we saw LEDs with luminances of 38 Mcd/m2-- LEDs are outstripping halogen, even HIR, in luminance alone. Granted, source lumens mean nothing if the beam isn't controlled precisely, so that is why we can have good halogen lamps and not-as-good LED lamps.

  8. #8

    Default Re: So right now (end of 2017) are there any LED headlights that beat HID?

    The 2018 Rolls Royce Wraith is equipped with HID. At least the lower level ones priced around $340,000.

  9. #9

    Default Re: So right now (end of 2017) are there any LED headlights that beat HID?

    In-my-humble-opinion:
    With the myriad nuanced design differences between vehicles, even if you compare projector-projector, etc, and the DOT "standards" to which they are designed/manufactured (don't even get me started on the so-called "DOT-compliant" Chinese aftermarket), halogen is still the runaway favorite light source. Even if we're fortunate to see true replacement LED bulbs, those which replicate halogen photometrics perfectly, we'll all be driving modern-for-the-day vehicles with headlights designed (at inception) with LED light sources by then. As halogen-lighted vehicles die out, LED-lighted new vehicles will backfill, until all that are left are the modern LED-native vehicles and the vintage halogen vehicles.


    Moderator edit
    HID/LED "kits" are unrelated to this discussion.

    --Alaric D
    Last edited by Alaric Darconville; 01-02-2018 at 08:26 AM.

  10. #10

    Default Re: So right now (end of 2017) are there any LED headlights that beat HID?

    Quote Originally Posted by Magio View Post
    I may have misunderstood his question but I thought he was asking are there any LED headlamps than are better than the best of HID headlamps.
    That's the only question of this type worth discussing. The answer is yes. I suspect he might have had "HID kits" and "LED kits" in mind, though, given the source of his "information".

    I have seen some halogen headlights that, on highbeam, seemed to have offered far greater performance than any HID or LED headlamp that I have driven with. But I do wonder if you take the best of halogen( I would assume that would be HIR bulbs), and compared those with the best LED headlamps, and compared those with the best HID headlamps, which ones would come out on top overall, which ones would be in the middle, and which ones would be the worst. Anybody have any data they would like to offer?
    This is where it gets pretty complicated. An HID headlamp will tend to have more light within the beam than a halogen headlamp (even a halogen headlamp with a high-flux bulb like H9 or HIR1). But that doesn't necessarily mean you can see a longer distance; that's determined by how the light is distributed. Engineers can concentrate on maximum seeing distance, on maximum spread coverage, or somewhere in between. And where the spread light is makes a big difference, too, because if you have a lot of foreground light you need a lot higher intensity in the hot spot for any given seeing distance. HIDs are at a disadvantage here because the HID low beam pretty much has to stay lit when the high beams are on, and HID low beams usually produce a LOT of foreground light. LED headlamps' performance ranges from at/below halogen levels to at/above HID levels, whatever metric we might use to define "performance".

  11. #11

    Default Re: So right now (end of 2017) are there any LED headlights that beat HID?

    My question is which legitimate oem or equivalent HID/LED/Halogen offers the furtherest seeing distance, and what is that distance?

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    Default Re: So right now (end of 2017) are there any LED headlights that beat HID?

    Farthest seeing distance? Possibly the laser pumped phosphor high beams on some Audi and BMW vehicles.

  13. #13

    Default Re: So right now (end of 2017) are there any LED headlights that beat HID?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sadden View Post
    My question is which legitimate oem or equivalent HID/LED/Halogen offers the furtherest seeing distance, and what is that distance?
    The problem with this question is, it swings too far from one extreme ("What's the best headlamp?" too broad to be answerable) to the other (too narrow). Michael Hamm's (Audi) research work over the last couple of years has clearly shown what Flannagan and Sivak (UMTRI) got a first-crack at many years ago: Aim, not headlamp tech, is the top factor in how far you can see; and vehicle/road dynamics mean even a perfectly aimed headlamp is pointed where the driver needs it/where it's assumed to be pointed less than 10% of the time. So we could measure the seeing distance provided by a bunch of cars' properly aimed headlamps on a static basis, but it wouldn't let us say "THERE, that car right there, that one gives the driver the longest seeing distance" because as soon as the car is shifted into Drive and taken out on actual roads...out the window goes that measurement.

    The practical answer to the question is "ADB".

  14. #14

    Default Re: So right now (end of 2017) are there any LED headlights that beat HID?

    I know we tend to think farther straight ahead seeing distances are better than shorter straight ahead seeing distances but, beyond a point it really does seem to get unnessesary. Assuming you have a high lumenence headlight I think I would prefer that some of the light be spread around and have a much wider beam for curves and spotting critters off the road, than having two hot-spot punching half a mile down the road. Actually uncomfortablely narrow beams has been one of my biggest complaints about halogen headlights and why I prefer higher brightness LED and HID headlights.

    And that's why I agree with Virgil. ADB would give you long range if you driving on the freeway and the wider beams for slower back country roads where you could benefit immensely from wider beams.

    Hope that came out legible. Typed it on my phone

  15. #15

    Default Re: So right now (end of 2017) are there any LED headlights that beat HID?

    Yep, "Which is the best headlamp?" can only really be answered after we have the answer to another question: "Where's the person or thing you don't want to hit?"

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    Default Re: So right now (end of 2017) are there any LED headlights that beat HID?

    LOL! That's what it comes down to, seeing the stuff you don't want to hit.

    I've gotten to where I worry a lot less about what's making the light than I do about where it puts the light.
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    Flashaholic* Hilldweller's Avatar
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    Default Re: So right now (end of 2017) are there any LED headlights that beat HID?

    When I measured LUX at 100 meters on a bunch of 7" round headlights (high beams), the Hella 90mm HID kicked every butt. Also won the LUX war at 50 meters on low beam.
    This was before the release of the JW Speaker 8700J2 though. So I guess I gotta do it again.

    Like Virgil said, a good lamp beats a bad lamp. But sometimes the criteria changes for what "good" means.

  18. #18

    Default Re: So right now (end of 2017) are there any LED headlights that beat HID?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hilldweller View Post
    When I measured LUX at 100 meters on a bunch of 7" round headlights (high beams), the Hella 90mm HID kicked every butt. Also won the LUX war at 50 meters on low beam.
    This was before the release of the JW Speaker 8700J2 though. So I guess I gotta do it again.

    Like Virgil said, a good lamp beats a bad lamp. But sometimes the criteria changes for what "good" means.
    You have a link too that shootout?

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    Flashaholic* Hilldweller's Avatar
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    Default Re: So right now (end of 2017) are there any LED headlights that beat HID?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sadden View Post
    You have a link too that shootout?
    It's an antique now, photobucket ate my pictures.

    http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f96/h...otout-1166827/

    I don't think I even posted the results from the HID Hellas since we installed them on an FJ60 (heresy!!!). But they were remarkable. Even the H9 in the Hella 90mm projector destroyed all of the LED & halogen competition.
    Never tried the Hella LED 90mm though. That would be interesting.
    Hella never volunteered lamps for testing, btw. We bought them --- that's why we didn't do the LED units. Pricey. SMS did give Robbie a nice discount for the HID version though.

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    Flashaholic* John_Galt's Avatar
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    Default Re: So right now (end of 2017) are there any LED headlights that beat HID?

    You definitely need to redo that shootout, Hilldweller. Its probably the best Ive come across on the web, by far!

    There's some discussion about the lack of a definition for "best." Virgil, you have access to a lot of photometric testing, why don't you give us a run down between a few contenders for maximal beam distance in bith low and high beam, and maximal beam width, for low and high beam, and each lamps intensities at ow and high?

    It's been stated for years and years that Hella's 90mm bixenon is the top dog. Is anything in the same format coming close for either low beam or high beam? How does the halogen version stack up?

    I've also seen the promotion for Hellas 60mm halogen projectors. How do those compare to the current crop of offerings, and what are their beam intensitites,compared to some other offerings?
    Last edited by John_Galt; 01-06-2018 at 06:51 PM.
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    Default Re: So right now (end of 2017) are there any LED headlights that beat HID?

    Quote Originally Posted by -Virgil- View Post
    ... Aim, not headlamp tech, is the top factor in how far you can see; and vehicle/road dynamics mean even a perfectly aimed headlamp is pointed where the driver needs it/where it's assumed to be pointed less than 10% of the time. So we could measure the seeing distance provided by a bunch of cars' properly aimed headlamps on a static basis, but it wouldn't let us say "THERE, that car right there, that one gives the driver the longest seeing distance" because as soon as the car is shifted into Drive and taken out on actual roads...out the window goes that measurement.

    The practical answer to the question is "ADB".
    What does ADB mean?

    Is there successful research going into mapping the terrain and moving objects so that a method could be created to aim the headlights appropriate for the real-time circumstances?

  22. #22

    Default Re: So right now (end of 2017) are there any LED headlights that beat HID?

    Quote Originally Posted by John_Galt View Post
    Virgil, you have access to a lot of photometric testing, why don't you give us a run down between a few contenders for maximal beam distance in bith low and high beam, and maximal beam width, for low and high beam, and each lamps intensities at ow and high?
    Mostly because I have to do work that pays bills! :-) Also because the answer keeps changing. Basically every time Audi, Mercedes-Benz, and BMW introduce a new LED headlamp, the benchmark moves (upward). HID performance from LED headlamps was a mile marker passed a long time ago, I think 2011 or so, and it was a car by one of those makers. That is not to say that those are the only car brands with best-headlamp contenders, nor to imply that any headlamp on one of those brands of car is automatically superior. Nor does it mean you have to spend BMW-Audi-MB money to get superior LED headlamps. Pretty much everyone (subjectively and objectively) raves about the LED low beams on the 2014+ Toyota Corolla, for example. I have had difficulty getting details on the objective differences between the earlier version that has LED for low beam only (HB3 halogen high beam) and the later version that has a high/low beam LED projector. It's clear to see that they're different enough not to be lumped together -- the only-lowbeam unit has a more or less straight cut-off line, while the dual-beam unit has a stepped or "Z-beam" type of cutoff, for example -- but it seems like most of the tests I've seen have just reused text and ratings from the earlier version and assumed they applied to the later version. :-(

    It's been stated for years and years that Hella's 90mm bixenon is the top dog.
    The Hella 90mm BiXenon might or might not have ever been the top dog in general -- probably not, given the packaging constraints required. So far it is the best standard-mount 90mm high/low beam lamp anyone has made, and as of at least a couple of years ago the 7" round lamp based on this 90mm BiXenon Hella projector was the best 7" lamp. But the LED lamps have been improving by leaps and bounds.

    How does the halogen version stack up?
    The BiHalogen version of the Hella 90mm lamp is decent. Not amazing or outstanding. The BiLED version of the Hella 90mm lamp is not very good.

    I've also seen the promotion for Hellas 60mm halogen projectors. How do those compare
    They can be given a kick in the pants by replacing the HB3 (9005) bulb they use, both the low beam and the high beam unit, with HIR1 (9011), but they are still inexpensive, basic low-tech, and relatively weak on performance.

  23. #23

    Default Re: So right now (end of 2017) are there any LED headlights that beat HID?

    Quote Originally Posted by KITROBASKIN View Post
    What does ADB mean?
    Adaptive Driving Beam. See this article (among many others).

    Is there successful research going into mapping the terrain and moving objects so that a method could be created to aim the headlights appropriate for the real-time circumstances?
    That's more or less the basic idea. Maps-based headlamp adaptation is relatively old news; the current state of the art is dynamic beam shaping in real time.

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    Default Re: So right now (end of 2017) are there any LED headlights that beat HID?

    Quote Originally Posted by -Virgil- View Post
    ...the current state of the art is dynamic beam shaping in real time.
    I hope this also includes dynamic aiming in real time.

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    Moderator Alaric Darconville's Avatar
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    Default Re: So right now (end of 2017) are there any LED headlights that beat HID?

    Quote Originally Posted by -Virgil- View Post
    ...the current state of the art is dynamic beam shaping in real time.
    Quote Originally Posted by SubLGT View Post
    I hope this also includes dynamic aiming in real time.
    Seems like those should be part and parcel. Why shape an unaimed beam? Why aim an unshaped beam?

  26. #26

    Default Re: So right now (end of 2017) are there any LED headlights that beat HID?

    I'd be glad if we here in the US can atleast just get a law making auto leveling be required for all pickup trucks. I've literally had to pull over twice within the past 2 weeks when a 18 Ford truck with LED headlights was approaching me and the rear end was squatted down from the load. The intensity from those LEDs was so high I was completely blinded, much worse than any PNP setup, and the only safe option was to pull over. Not having auto leveling on a pickup truck is a serious safety hazard, worse than PNP HIDs, and is really something law makers should address very quickly.

  27. #27

    Default Re: So right now (end of 2017) are there any LED headlights that beat HID?

    Don't hold your breath waiting for any regulations to be issued by any agency during the current administration, which has made clear it views regulations as things to be UNdone.

    You might think an automaker would offer auto-level headlamps to make its pickup truck better than the other brand. But then you'd have to think about the lack of incentive for any of this. Many states have "left hand giveth, right hand taketh away" laws on the books. Take a look at this from Oregon, for example:

    "Whenever the driver of a vehicle approaches an oncoming vehicle within 500 feet, the driver must use a distribution of light or composite beam so aimed that the glaring rays are not projected into the eyes of the oncoming driver. The use of the low beams of the vehicle headlight system is in compliance with this paragraph at all times regardless of road contour and loading of the vehicle."

  28. #28

    Default Re: So right now (end of 2017) are there any LED headlights that beat HID?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hilldweller View Post
    When I measured LUX at 100 meters on a bunch of 7" round headlights (high beams), the Hella 90mm HID kicked every butt. Also won the LUX war at 50 meters on low beam.
    That's because of the incredible light density - HIDs are very easy to focus to throw far (smaller light source=better focus). With LEDs you need multiple emitters to achieve similar brightness but it means much higher surface area. That's why properly designed HID reflector is still far superior to the LED one. Basically all cars with LEDs have very short beam range, especially on low beam (unless they were aimed too high creating excessive glare). The only advantage of LEDs as for now is the ability to make adjustable beam/matrix headlights which are still far from perfect (slow computers) and more importantly - illegal in the US.

  29. #29

    Default Re: So right now (end of 2017) are there any LED headlights that beat HID?

    Quote Originally Posted by -Virgil- View Post
    Don't hold your breath waiting for any regulations to be issued by any agency during the current administration, which has made clear it views regulations as things to be UNdone.
    Many regulation need to be undone and some need to be added. Mandatory autoleveling is one I think should be added. There are many people having an even harder time with blinding headlights than myself. Honestly though, headlights are probably the last thing on lawmakers mind nowadays.

    Quote Originally Posted by -Virgil- View Post
    the driver must use a distribution of light or composite beam so aimed that the glaring rays are not projected into the eyes of the oncoming driver. The use of the low beams of the vehicle headlight system is in compliance with this paragraph at all times regardless of road contour and loading of the vehicle.
    Well thats an oxymoron if I've ever seen one, and goes to show exactly why auto-leveling should be required. I don't know how old that law is, but I can understand if that laws was written before autoleveling was invented that there may not have been a good solution to the problem. Now that we have the solution that law should be updated.

    Quote Originally Posted by phantom23 View Post
    That's because of the incredible light density - HIDs are very easy to focus to throw far (smaller light source=better focus). With LEDs you need multiple emitters to achieve similar brightness but it means much higher surface area.
    I think you mixed up brightness and intensity right there. If you were talking about searchlights designed to reach out incredibly long distances I would say you are mostly correct in the fact that HID's do still have a small advantage over LED ATM( thats shrinking fast as is proven with the BLF GT LED searchlight), but at the relatively short range headlights reach out to especially on low beam, LEDs are far more than capable of reaching out just as far as HIDs.

    Besides this, the law limits how intense headlights can be on both high beam and low beam. So it doesn't matter if you are using freaking lasers that are far more intense than HID or LED. If all three types of headlamps are reaching the limit set by the law, the lasers will have absolutely no advantage over the HID or LED's in how far it can throw as all three are equally intense.

    Quote Originally Posted by phantom23 View Post
    Basically all cars with LEDs have very short beam range, especially on low beam (unless they were aimed too high creating excessive glare).
    Have you actually driven any cars with LED headlights? Have you actually looked at the IIHS test where they very clearly showed that many cars come with single bulb LED projectors and produce a beam that throws just as far and wide as an HID projector and has minimal glare? Just a tiny bit of research will show you that you are completely wrong about LED not being able to throw as far as HIDs.

    Quote Originally Posted by phantom23 View Post
    The only advantage of LEDs as for now is the ability to make adjustable beam/matrix headlights which are still far from perfect (slow computers) and more importantly - illegal in the US.
    That is way too absolute of a statement. What about power consumption? What about weight savings? What about drastically reduced heat in the headlamp? What about bulb life? There are many aspects of LED headlamps that are far superior to HID or halogen headlamps that you completely missed.
    Last edited by Magio; 01-08-2018 at 11:34 PM.

  30. #30
    Moderator Alaric Darconville's Avatar
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    Default Re: So right now (end of 2017) are there any LED headlights that beat HID?

    Quote Originally Posted by phantom23 View Post
    That's because of the incredible light density - HIDs are very easy to focus to throw far (smaller light source=better focus). With LEDs you need multiple emitters to achieve similar brightness but it means much higher surface area. That's why properly designed HID reflector is still far superior to the LED one.
    Arc-discharge capsules aren't all that easy to focus-- the light source is slightly crescent-shaped, the curve changes with the roll and pitch of the car (the top of the arc stays relative to the ground, not to the top of the lamp) and it has a hotspot at each of the extreme ends. An LED emitter, on the other hand, doesn't change shape-- meaning the beam shape itself stays consistent. And LEDs are being made with luminances in Mcd/m2 that outstrip those of even the arc's hotspots.

    Basically all cars with LEDs have very short beam range, especially on low beam (unless they were aimed too high creating excessive glare). The only advantage of LEDs as for now is the ability to make adjustable beam/matrix headlights which are still far from perfect (slow computers) and more importantly - illegal in the US.
    Now, it may be true that all brontosauruses are thin at one end, much MUCH thicker in the middle, and then thin again at the far end, it's not true that all cars with LEDs have a very short low beam range.

    And slow computers? This isn't 1975 and they're not using a 6502.
    Last edited by Alaric Darconville; 01-09-2018 at 08:47 AM.

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