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Thread: Hella 90mm Bi-Xenon vs 90mm Hella Xenon 'low beam' module, and some project ideas..

  1. #1

    Default Hella 90mm Bi-Xenon vs 90mm Hella Xenon 'low beam' module, and some project ideas..

    Hey guys, I've got some ideas rolling around in my head, as well as the question about how the low beams of these 2 units compare to each other. Are they going to be basically identical on low beam? Does the low-only version have any downsides aside from the obvious lack of high beam?

    I'm thinking about beginning a project using 90mm auxiliary low beams mounted in custom billet aluminum machined housing (I own CNC equipment) and have read that one of the best performing headlamps options available at the moment are the Hella Xenon units, though Very expensive! It looks like the low-only version is a little less than half the price, and thought if I do end up wishing to supplement high beams also with the custom installation, I could use the Hella 90mm (reflector) Halogen high beams since they are only running about $55 ea, though I'm guessing they might pale in comparison to the Xenon highs? I'm really intrigued about the idea of using 90mm modules since they can be aimed so precisely and thought an array of anywhere from 2 to 6 90mm units mounted horizontally in a high-end enclosure might be an infinitely more useful "light bar" setup than the led bars out there, especially since it would have the main attraction of low-beams included. The lows would be run most of the time, with the highs only ran on empty roads, and then only in legal number (main vehicle highs, plus 1 additional pair running at a time, 4 total, is that correct?) I also have the ability to make and wire a custom controller that could be dash mounted and switchable for various scenarios of needed light, such as an 'off-road' configuration.

    For the possible additional high beams, instead of the 90mm reflectors, I could maybe go with the Bi-halogen units and then also gain the lows that could be activated in an off-road config that would have lots of low-beam strength for crawling (maybe 2 Xenon and 4 halogen lows in total in off-road low-beam mode). I'm going to keep the whole thing under 300watts.
    Speaking of those, how do the bi-halogen highs compare to the 90mm reflector highs? If the bi-halogen are noticeably better, I could go that route since price isn't that much more. I've also looked at the JW Speaker 90mm led units in high and/or low and not sure how they might compare overall for such an idea, but again, the Hella Xenon lows are my main fascination with this project...

    Thanks all, for any insights into my questions and/or ideas : )

    Curtis

  2. #2

    Default Re: Hella 90mm Bi-Xenon vs 90mm Hella Xenon 'low beam' module, and some project ideas

    Hi, Curtis. Welcome to the board!

    Quote Originally Posted by FiberOptic View Post
    Hey guys, I've got some ideas rolling around in my head, as well as the question about how the low beams of these 2 units compare to each other.
    There are a whole lot of different Hella 90mm units. The product line is actually kind of huge. Even if you're ignoring the halogen and LED versions and only looking at the Xenons, there are still choices to make: ECE or SAE, and "Classic" Xenon low beam or high beam or Bi-Xenon high/low beam, or "Premium" Bi-Xenon high/low beam. Of these, the "Premium" Bi-Xenon gives the best beam performance and is easier to mount than the chubby "Classic" Bi-Xenon.

    I'm thinking about beginning a project using 90mm auxiliary low beams mounted in custom billet aluminum machined housing (I own CNC equipment) and have read that one of the best performing headlamps options available at the moment are the Hella Xenon units
    They're certainly a good headlamp, but I don't know if I would call it "the best". That sounds a little too much like a claim made by a reliable US Hella vendor with an unfortunate tendency to make overblown claims about various Hella lamps they sell. What kind of vehicle(s) are you planning to put a lighting setup together for? What's it got already for headlamps?

    I could use the Hella 90mm (reflector) Halogen high beams since they are only running about $55 ea, though I'm guessing they might pale in comparison to the Xenon highs?
    Yes, and you'll be irritated every time you use them because it will seem like they don't help at all.

    I'm really intrigued about the idea of using 90mm modules since they can be aimed so precisely and thought an array of anywhere from 2 to 6 90mm units mounted horizontally in a high-end enclosure might be an infinitely more useful "light bar" setup than the led bars out there, especially since it would have the main attraction of low-beams included.
    True, but that's going to be a very bulky setup, difficult to wire up neatly, with each module requiring its own ballast.

    The lows would be run most of the time, with the highs only ran on empty roads, and then only in legal number (main vehicle highs, plus 1 additional pair running at a time, 4 total, is that correct?)
    Totally depends on local regulations.

    Speaking of those, how do the bi-halogen highs compare to the 90mm reflector highs?
    Even more modules to choose from in halogen. "Classic" H9 SAE or H7 ECE, "Performance" H1 ECE, "Premium" H7 SAE or ECE Bi-Halogen. For distance the "Performance H1 ECE is the winner. The Bi-Halogen, at least the ECE version, gives a little shorter distance but wider width. (The LED high beam trounces 'em all, but you didn't ask about those)

  3. #3

    Default Re: Hella 90mm Bi-Xenon vs 90mm Hella Xenon 'low beam' module, and some project ideas

    Thanks for the reply, Virgil!

    Yes sir, I've noticed there are quite a few options in Hella's 90mm lineup. I've been brainstorming a bit the last few days on how to drastically improve night driving now that we are approaching another long dark winter here in Alaska. Right now my 2 main daily drivers are a 2008 Ford Escape hybrid and a 2006 Ford f-350 super duty diesel. Both have the factory composite beam-type headlights, both in pretty decent shape as far as cloudiness and clarity. Both are running standard bulbs (H13 if I remember right). My plan very soon, before embarking too far on my project, was to get Philips Xtreme powers in both of them and while I'm at it, take a voltage reading at the bulb and see how bad the loss is. I have been meaning to play with harnesses for awhile now and just haven't ever gotten to it, hopefully it would help. I've kind of waited on the harness, at least for the truck, since I've been thinking of switching to the sealed beam-style setup from the XL work trucks and maybe swap in some JW Speaker 8900s, now that they are making heated lensed ones ( I'm figuring heated is a must here in Alaska). Realistically, that is I'm sure a smarter beginning for the truck at least, but really, the little hybrid suv sees more miles for grocery getting since its sips so gently on fuel : ) I'll likely attend to it first.

    For the Escape, I know I absolutely need to massage the corner of the core-support and passenger side fender some, as it was in a (literal) fender-bender before I got it, that right side beam has always been visibly low and the adjuster seems about max'd. There would likely be a 50% gain there : ) Another one of the endless to-do's around here, but I'm going to make a point to correct that fixed... as summer driving at night here doesn't require headlights, I let it slide too long, hehe.. So, those things will be attended to over the next week or two, and I'm sure it will be night and day difference alone.

    So; for the Escape's first order of business;my plan is Philips XP bulbs, right side beam fixed to be in adjustment range and both aimed by a real shop with a machine, then maybe wiring harness if it seems low. I wish there was some kind of other headlamp options for the factory spot, but doubt one exists from my searching. I've been temporarily augmenting the high beams when on empty roads out in the Alaska boonies with a cheap and stinky 20" led bar (actually one of the better-focused Rigid-copys out there, but I cant wait to remove it in exchange for real lighting). Its held up great and will later be relegated to my side by side for hunting/offroading.

    I'm envisioning going from bad lighting to marginally/moderately adequate lighting with the previously mentioned mods, but I have the feeling I'll be craving more... : )
    For a bar-style aux light setup (since I like dabbling with making things in my shop) I dreamed up a light bar idea that if designed right might not have some of the shortcomings of the led bars everyone's got nowadays. The Hella 90mm size seemed logical, but Xenon units are just so dang spendy. The Xenon premium lows seem to be available in a few places for $225 each which isn't bad at all, but still need plugs and harnesses/accessories that adds up quick. At first, I thought I could justify $1k or more for the project for the premium Bi models, but now the mizzer in me is saying settle for great lighting for easily half that cost or less. I hadn't thought of the led versions, I bet they are amazing as well, a quick price check online looks maybe inline with the Bi-Xenons. Very cool, I'll check those out a little more, might have an icing issue in winter, not sure.

    Now, to complicate matters more, today I've been leaning towards the Heated lensed led options from JWS and Trucklite. Was thinking a quick set of Grote par 56 housings and drill some holes and the 7" ones could work, or I could still machine a billet aluminum mounting plate (or 2 separate housings) and make provisions to mount 2 (maybe even 4 if I went crazy) of the JW Speaker 5x7" 8910's horizontally. Today I was comparing the photometric charts on JW's site between those and the 8700 evo 2's and thought the chart seemed to slightly favor the 8910's to me in terms of beam width at distance, the 8700 maybe punch a tiny bit further but slightly narrower? I'm sure they both are incredible and a pair of those are less than half of the Bi-Xenons and I'm thinking harnesses wouldn't matter much with the leds. I know a bar-style chunk of billet aluminum with 4 or more lights poking out might just be a huge monstrosity, but the truck would at least have ample real-estate for it, and it would be fun to build! Once mounted rigidly, it would be really handy to have independent aiming ability. Hopefully, if thought out well in advance, you could really dial in a clean field of light that is free of over-lit foreground and have stellar long range strength with nice width, and then also be able to kick it down to clean glare-free aux low beams with great width and cut-off. I'm kind of surprised there really inst anything on the market like that that I've noticed, but they probably know something I don't, lol..

    It truthfully might be silly to put something that large on the Escape, but large arrays of lights are pretty common around here, most everything is Lightforce 240's (and yes I bought in to the hype years ago unknowingly, lol) and thankfully, I seldom see fellow Alaskans foolishly blaringing them around other drivers. Maybe since so many people have them here, there is an unspoken respect for each other's retinas! There are tons of moose in this area and thats always in the back of your mind driving at night around here. If I do get to tinkering in the shop, I'll definitely post some pics of the progress, as well as check in after the bulbs/aiming/harness etc.

    Anyways, sorry for the rambling, I really appreciate this forum and your knowledge Virgil. I've been a casual reader in various subforums here for several years and the wealth of lighting knowledge posted here goes back many years; tons of great forum-searching to do! : )
    Thanks, Curtis

  4. #4

    Default Re: Hella 90mm Bi-Xenon vs 90mm Hella Xenon 'low beam' module, and some project ideas

    Oh, geeze, yeah, if you have a truck that has availability of a sealed beam system, save yourself a ton of effort and cost and go with that, equipped with the JW Speaker heated-lens LEDs (you even get to choose chrome or black, oh boy oh boy oh boy!)

    For ideas about auxiliary-mounting headlamps, take a look at this thread.

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