Better headlight bulbs but still can't see. Aim?

LaurenceGough

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Aug 7, 2011
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Hi guys,

I've been running them for a few days now, deffo an improvement, but not as much as I had hoped/expected. After reading I heard you are meant to get your headlights re-aligned again - so I took my car to the garage today and got them done. I drove away and I thought my lights were broken!! Seems now they are just super low and they do not shine on the car in front if it is more than 4 car lengths ahead.

I'm taking it back tomorrow, this must be on the lowest side of the legal limit possible.

Very strange as I have never been flashed and the beam cutoff was below the registration plate of the other side of the road.


I noticed that other cars appear to light up the sides of the road much better than my car, my headlights seem to be mainly the two hot spots in front (and did go very far). I guess this is just reflector design?

Cheers
 

Qship1996

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Re: Philips Blue Vision vs Philips X-Treme Vision

WHO aimed them and HOW is the question......HUGE difference between earl at the local garage eyeballing it against the cinder block front wall of the shop and said "looks good to me", as opposed to a trained tech using an optical aiming machine to precisely adjust the beam to specs.
 

mvyrmnd

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Re: Philips Blue Vision vs Philips X-Treme Vision

Also, what sort of car is it? some just have terrible headlights. Also, is your battery/alternator up to the task?

My old Saab with X-Treme Vision bulbs would cast shadows on the moon!
 
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LaurenceGough

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Re: Philips Blue Vision vs Philips X-Treme Vision

It's a Yuasa 45Ah 12V battery under a year old, car is a 2003 Rover 45 (UK car)

A pic I found of the same model:
Rover-45-81887.jpg


It was a proper local garage on the optical test machine, hopefully it can be resolved tomorrow.
 

LaurenceGough

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Re: Philips Blue Vision vs Philips X-Treme Vision

Well they put it on the machine again and said it was fine. I drove home - couldn't see a thing again, put the beams up a tiny bit and miles better, can see again now - never once did it go to the windowshield height of the other cars, nor flashed once so I guess we're fine!!

DIY :thumbsup:
 

Alaric Darconville

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Re: Philips Blue Vision vs Philips X-Treme Vision

Well they put it on the machine again and said it was fine. I drove home - couldn't see a thing again, put the beams up a tiny bit and miles better, can see again now - never once did it go to the windowshield height of the other cars, nor flashed once so I guess we're fine!!

A "tiny bit" at the lamp is quite a bit down the road. Anyone who has sighted in a rifle can attest to that.

It'd be interesting to see how badly out of spec your adjustment has put those lamps-- and getting/not getting flashed is not an indication that the aim is correct.

Also, are the lamps (and the optical beamsetter) correct for the prevailing direction of traffic (Left Hand Traffic or Right Hand Traffic)? If you're in the UK, and the car was outfitted for the UK, that should be LHT. If you've got the car here in the US, that's RHT and the beamsetter may not be geared for that, so trying to aim them may cause problems. (I'd suppose you'd be flashed more if using LHT lamps in an RHT situation, though.)
 
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LaurenceGough

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Re: Philips Blue Vision vs Philips X-Treme Vision

A "tiny bit" at the lamp is quite a bit down the road. Anyone who has sighted in a rifle can attest to that.

It'd be interesting to see how badly out of spec your adjustment has put those lamps-- and getting/not getting flashed is not an indication that the aim is correct.

Also, are the lamps (and the optical beamsetter) correct for the prevailing direction of traffic (Left Hand Traffic or Right Hand Traffic)? If you're in the UK, and the car was outfitted for the UK, that should be LHT. If you've got the car here in the US, that's RHT and the beamsetter may not be geared for that, so trying to aim them may cause problems. (I'd suppose you'd be flashed more if using LHT lamps in an RHT situation, though.)

RHD car in UK, on UK roads and I bought the bulbs in the UK (UK seller). The beam pattern is correct for the roads.


If you can see the beam is not going above the registration plate of the cars (even in the distance) then surely that is a sign all is ok?
 

Alaric Darconville

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Re: Philips Blue Vision vs Philips X-Treme Vision

RHD car in UK, on UK roads and I bought the bulbs in the UK (UK seller). The beam pattern is correct for the roads.

RHD <> LHT (or !=, depending on what your native programming language is).

RHD merely refers to the position of the driver in the car. This is not nitpickiness; there are Saturn station wagons that have RHD but are still designed for RHT, for use by rural mail carriers in the US. The only difference is the driver's position, so that they can deliver/pick up mail from postal boxes on the left side of the road.

That being said, if the vehicle was made for sale in the UK, it *should* then have lamps designed for LHT, and if adjusted at a local-to-you (in the UK) shop, then the beamsetter surely is designed for your situation.

If you can see the beam is not going above the registration plate of the cars (even in the distance) then surely that is a sign all is ok?

ECE lamps can be aimed visually, but you must aim them correctly that way-- eyeballing it is not the best way.
 

Alaric Darconville

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Re: Philips Blue Vision vs Philips X-Treme Vision

Right hand drive (UK made car too). Thanks for the link.

Ok, one more time: The question is not "where does the driver sit in the vehicle?", rather "where is the vehicle on the motorway?"

Where the driver sits in the car will not affect whether the headlamps' pattern is correct for the road or not; it is whether the headlamps are designed for the rule of the road or not.
 

LaurenceGough

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Re: Philips Blue Vision vs Philips X-Treme Vision

Oh sorry - left lane driving. On the motorway you would drive on the left and pass on the right lanes.
 

-Virgil-

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Re: Philips Blue Vision vs Philips X-Treme Vision

Alaric D is correct on two counts: minor adjustments at the lamps give enormous differences in seeing distance, and guessing at aim by whether or not the beams strike license plates is nowhere near adequate to assess whether the lamps are aimed safely.
The problem is the phrase "correct aim" isn't precise enough. It's very common in Europe and the UK for shops to set the beams too low. Often they'll start with a spec of 1.3% declination, which is too low, and go down from there, which they perceive to be "safer". It is not. It gives extremely (unnecessarily) low glare to other drivers, and gives the driver of the car with low-aimed lamps inadequate seeing distance. Trigonometry tells us that with a typical headlamp mounting height of 0.65m above the road surface, 1.3% declination (0.75°) will give less than 50m seeing distance, which is totally inadequate for ordinary roadway speeds. A 1% declination (0.57°) will improve matters, giving 65m seeing distance, a 0.7% (0.4°) declination will give 93m seeing distance (now that's more like it!), and a 2% declination (1.15°), which is very common to find European and UK garages setting the lamps to, will give a paltry and dangerous 32.5m seeing distance. Any of these values will yield acceptable glare levels and pass a UK MoT inspection with the possible exception of the 0.7% declination scrutinized by an unnecessarily petty inspector interpreting the inspection manual a very particular way.

Suggest you find a shop that will not give you any backtalk when you specify the lamps be set to 0.7% (0.4°) declination. Of course the adjustment must be made with the fuel tank half full, a normal load of passengers and cargo in the vehicle (or simulations thereof), and the headlamp levelling control set to the basic "0" position.
 

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