Hella 90mm Bi-LED High/Low Beam

-Virgil-

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That is a really interesting collection of new Hella modules. The polycarbonate lenses do have the advantages claimed, but they also have the usual durability disadvantages not mentioned in this promotional brochure. That high beam + turn signal module is an interesting mix of functions. I will be very interested to find out what category of front turn signal it is homologated and certified as. Turn signal minimum-intensity multipliers in both the US and UN/rest-of-the-world regulations are all keyed off distance between the turn signal and the low beam headlamp, with no mention of the high beams -- the reasonable assumption being that if your high beams are on, there's nobody in front of you to see the front turn signal anyhow. But these aren't assemblies for one specific vehicle that will always be mounted with the high beam-ring turn signal a known distance away from the low beam, so I would expect/hope to find these front turns designed to conform to the highest minimum intensity, in (likely) case they are mounted so the turn signals are closer than 4" from the low beams.

As for light color: I do wish the auto and lamp makers would drop the fascination with blue, e.g., designing optics to create a big, prominent blue fringe/flash at the outer extremities of the beam. The effect is obnoxious and potentially dangerous in traffic. And we do have that data from UMTRI finding that for any given intensity, bluer-white light creates a little under 50% more sensation of glare than a yellower-white light. Which means, at least in theory, by designing LED headlamps to produce yellower-white rather than bluer-white light, we could have either 46% less-glaring headlamps by keeping the beam intensity the same, or 46% greater beam intensity by keeping the glare the same, or some combination of those two.

Unfortunately I doubt there will be any regulatory or voluntary industry action in that direction; the marketing is all built on bluer-bluer-bluer. But I think it will be interesting to see how this evolves. I wouldn't bet on it being a simple bluer-bluer-bluer elevation game forever. LED street light specifiers, as has been detailed in discussions elsewhere on CPF, after initially being enthusiastic to get the maximum CCT (5500K...6000K...6500K...), have backed off to what is being called a "neutral white" of around 4000K for optimal all-around effective visual performance. I will say this: On the night drives at the VISION Congress last month in France, the range of apparent color temperature on the roadway from various LED headlamps all claiming "6000K" was huge. Some of the headlamps seemed to put out downright blue light; others gave the impression of what could reasonably be called a central or neutral white. It was system-by-system, not lamp-by-lamp, which indicates the LED industry has no trouble binning LEDs for optimal color match. But I do think we might see changes in the way light color and color rendering are measured and expressed, because today's LED light sources really do have some characteristics that were just not on the radar when existing rating scales like CRI and CCT were devised and standardized. Nothing as drastic as wholesale scrappage of those scales, but maybe some adjustments and expansions and supplementation.

In the meantime, I wouldn't object to the light color of a lot of the "6000K" LED headlamps I've seen. Yes, I'd rather have a selective yellow fog lamp, but nobody makes a selective yellow LED phosphor. There's no such thing as an LED that puts out selective yellow light. Could put warm white LEDs behind a colored lens, but nobody's doing that, either. Fog lamps are generally used for cosmetics, anyway, and I am guessing this is in part Hella's offering in competition with Osram's LEDriving line, which includes some really very nice modular fog/cornering lamps, fog/DRL, and DRL.
 
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Hamilton Felix

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... I'd rather have a selective yellow fog lamp, but nobody makes a selective yellow LED phosphor. There's no such thing as an LED that puts out selective yellow light.

I can't help wondering why. Looking at my first "LED light" (unless you count the ones we made with MiniMags and red Radio Shack LED's), the "low" bulb on a Streamlight Syclone, I see it's a deeper/darker amber than selective yellow, not quite orange but definitely amber. I can't help thinking that the people who made that could make something a bit lighter - as in selective yellow. Maybe the perceived demand just isn't there.
 

Marcturus

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Just for fun, imagine the scene had vehicular white LEDs been invented fifty years ago: The ministers from the selective-yellow nations would have demanded a blue-pumped phosphor mix yielding selective yellow, immediatement! Maybe even demanded a limit on how much brighter the white versions might be.
mad71.gif


Looking at these phosphor-converted spectrums,
http://leddaily.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Luxeon-Lime-Spectrum.jpg
I suspect the huge r+d archive shelves of Philips already contain another, more complex mix that falls into the selective yellow color boundaries.
 
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-Virgil-

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Marcturus, I'm not sure what you mean by a "harmonized [selective yellow] definition".
 

reader2580

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Unless this is a new product, these cost over $700 each at Rallylights.com. The Bi-Xenon is under $500 each. BTW, the Bi-Xenon module works great! Plenty of light to drive at night without high beams and no oncoming driver ever flashed us because the lights were bothering them.
 

Alaric Darconville

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Unless this is a new product, these cost over $700 each at Rallylights.com. The Bi-Xenon is under $500 each. BTW, the Bi-Xenon module works great! Plenty of light to drive at night without high beams

Unless you're keeping your speeds at about 50mph or below (and 50mph is pushing it!), you're overdriving your low beams. You need to use high beams when it's appropriate-- there is no low beam that eliminates the need for high beams.

and no oncoming driver ever flashed us because the lights were bothering them.

Which proves absolutely nothing. You can't ascribe a motive to other drivers for performing or not performing another action. They might just be sick of flashing people who have misaimed low beams and then getting dosed with high beams. They may just no longer care anymore. Your low beams may be aimed so improperly that they're not at all glaring.
 

-Virgil-

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Alaric is right. There is no such thing as a low beam that's so good you don't need a high beam. The seeing distance on low beam is limited by definition, and even the best low beams do not give seeing distance adequate for safe stopping at over about 50 mph.
 

reader2580

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Unless you're keeping your speeds at about 50mph or below (and 50mph is pushing it!), you're overdriving your low beams. You need to use high beams when it's appropriate-- there is no low beam that eliminates the need for high beams.

It is almost never a good idea to use high beams on a divided highway like an interstate. There is almost always oncoming traffic. With my old Cibie 165mm lights we would often use the high beams on the interstate because the low beams sucked. Oncoming traffic would sometimes flash us because of the high beams. When I drove I would try to use high beams only when there was no opposing traffic. The high beams on the Hella Bi-Xenon modules suck to be frank. With high beams on it is almost harder to see than with low beams. There is more light higher up which tends to obscure the driver's vision. I thought I could actually see less distance forward than with the low beams.

I tried to get the Hella Bi-Xenon modules optically aimed at a truck body shop, but for some reason they could not get their optical aimer to work with my headlamps. I ended up aiming them myself using Daniel Stern's method. I would be happy to have them optically aimed if I could a place in the Minneapolis metro area with the right equipment. I called many shops just to find one with an optical aiming system.
 
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Alaric Darconville

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It is almost never a good idea to use high beams on a divided highway like an interstate.
It's almost never a good idea to use only low beams at divided-highway speeds.

Yes, you'll be dipping your beams more often, but when you're going 88 to 110 feet per second, going with low beams only is a bad idea.
It's a divided highway, with a lot of separation between the lanes. Dip your beams on that approaching traffic (at about 800 feet if they're approaching, and 300 feet if you're coming up on somebody)-- and in general, SLOW DOWN. The posted speed limits aren't really designed for night driving, especially if you're staying on low beams. (Also note that when you do run on high beams and then dip them, you're severely disadvantaged for a bit since you're on low beams at a high beam speed. So, again, slow down!)

Fortunately, my own vehicle has the Hella XL (SAE Z auxiliary low beam), so I get a little extra boost in such conditions, but one set, two sets, three sets of low beams are not a substitute for high beams when they are needed.
 

reader2580

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It's almost never a good idea to use only low beams at divided-highway speeds.

Yes, you'll be dipping your beams more often, but when you're going 88 to 110 feet per second, going with low beams only is a bad idea.
It's a divided highway, with a lot of separation between the lanes. Dip your beams on that approaching traffic (at about 800 feet if they're approaching, and 300 feet if you're coming up on somebody)-- and in general,

We already drive anywhere between 5 and 15 MPH under the posted speed limit. My dimmer switch would break from using it so much if I turned off my high beams every time there is opposing traffic. Almost all of the driving with this vehicle is on I-80 between Iowa and California. Even though there is separation between the lanes we still got flashed pretty regularly when using the high beams.

My whole reason for upgrading to the Hella Bi-Xenon modules was to get better low beam performance, and the low beam performance is night and day from my previous Cibie lights. If I wanted to drive with high beams all the time I wouldn't have upgraded as the Cibie lights worked great in high beam mode.
 

Hilldweller

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We already drive anywhere between 5 and 15 MPH under the posted speed limit. My dimmer switch would break from using it so much if I turned off my high beams every time there is opposing traffic. Almost all of the driving with this vehicle is on I-80 between Iowa and California. Even though there is separation between the lanes we still got flashed pretty regularly when using the high beams.

My whole reason for upgrading to the Hella Bi-Xenon modules was to get better low beam performance, and the low beam performance is night and day from my previous Cibie lights. If I wanted to drive with high beams all the time I wouldn't have upgraded as the Cibie lights worked great in high beam mode.
The 90mm bi-xenons are great; I agree.
What kind of vehicle do you have them installed in?
 

-Virgil-

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The high beams on the Hella Bi-Xenon modules suck

They don't. Not in any real way. There may be something about them that you don't like, but it is just plain not accurate to say "they suck". It's actually a very high performance high beam.

There is more light higher up which tends to obscure the driver's vision.

This is sort of an odd statement, unless you're trying to use the high beams in bad weather.

I tried to get the Hella Bi-Xenon modules optically aimed at a truck body shop, but for some reason they could not get their optical aimer to work with my headlamps.

This also doesn't make sense. An optical aimer doesn't have a compatibility list of headlamps it does/doesn't work with. If there's an optical aimer in good repair...and its owner knows how to use it...then the headlamps can be aimed. Just what kind of problem did the shop claim was happening?

I ended up aiming them myself using Daniel Stern's method.

Shining them on a wall? This really isn't good enough, you really do need to have them optically aimed.

If I wanted to drive with high beams all the time I wouldn't have upgraded as the Cibie lights worked great in high beam mode.

The BiXenons you put in give considerably better high beam performance than the H4/H1 lamps you had before.
 

reader2580

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The 90mm bi-xenons are great; I agree.
What kind of vehicle do you have them installed in?

It is a coach bus converted to an RV. A Dina Viaggio 1000. I removed the 165mm headlight buckets and fabricated mounts for the 90mm modules. I also replaced the turn signals/parking lights at the same time with 4" round LED.
 
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