OSRAM NB D3S +220% Comment/Question

Arcticat

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Just got 2 sets of Osram D3S Night Breaker 66340XNN bulbs (+220% LOL) and replaced the stock Phillips in my Q5 that are 7 yrs. old, almost no difference. The Osram's are very slightly brighter due to more side glare, have a lower cut off and have multiple artifacts like dark lines, weird shapes of light and shadows. My '14 A6 also had the same bulbs installed and my wife says that they are not as bright as the old OSRAM 66340HBI original bulbs that they replaced. Big disappointment after spending a lot of money. I'll let them break in to see if that helps before looking into what I can replace them with. I ordered a 3rd. set from a reputable site to see if maybe the others were fakes. I was hoping for an LED replacement but after reading here...maybe not yet. Are a lot of them fakes?
 

EJR

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7 year old stock bulbs and no difference in noticeable output with the NBL bulbs? That's rather hard to believe. Either you have way too large of expectations on the light increase or something else is wrong.

Where did you buy them? Did you verify authentication on Osrams Trust Program page?

Also, what is the condition of your headlamps lenses? Are they hazy at all and/or pitted?
 

Arcticat

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7 year old stock bulbs and no difference in noticeable output with the NBL bulbs? That's rather hard to believe. Either you have way too large of expectations on the light increase or something else is wrong.

Where did you buy them? Did you verify authentication on Osrams Trust Program page?

Also, what is the condition of your headlamps lenses? Are they hazy at all and/or pitted?

Been a Tech (mechanic in my day) for many years, hard to believe for me too. No hazing or pitting, the '17 Q5 only had the L/S bulb changed so it's easy to compare but after driving the '14 A6 at night it's slightly less bright than before. I'll let them break in for a while and try and post a pic. Didn't know about the Trust Program, I'll try it thanks. Got the first set off Amazon, I needed them fast because the body shop needed them to finish the A6. The less bright NBL +200%'s were easy to find but the +220% were not. I ended up returning one set because both plastic cases were opened and broken. Maybe fakes....but 1 of the sets I had to use. The Q5 set was purchased from RETROFITLAB and were sealed. Not happy...a lot of money spent, my only expectations were that the lamps would be noticeably brighter without buying junk, but way cheaper, Amazon or eBay ones. I ordered (backordered) another set from Headlight Revolution because the actually state: "GENUINE: Headlight Revolution is proud to offer these Xenarc 66240 bulbs in their original retail packaging from Osram. We pride ourselves on being one of the last few distributors shipping genuine Philips & Osram lamps in the US. It is estimated that **80% of the Osram Night Breaker Laser D2S bulbs sold through outlets such as eBay or Amazon are fakes**." Thanks for the reply!
 

Arcticat

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It seems to be a common problem, just spoke to someone at HID Concept and they said it was a marketing ploy to say a percentage amount brighter. The amount of gas & space for it in the bulbs is the same + or - a very small amount so there is not much room to make the bulb much brighter. They are having the same complaints with the so labeled brighter Philips D3S. If they mess with the color a certain amount they risk not being DOT compliant. Interesting, I'll try to find a way to get photos attached....
 
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A doubling of light output (assuming the advertising is true) might not produce a perceptible difference in our eyes. To quote HDS:

Your eyes respond to light in a logarithmic way. That means they require a significant percentage change in light output for your eyes to notice a small but visible change in brightness. A 50% (1.5x) increase or 33% (0.67x) decrease will produce a small but visible change in brightness. An increase or decrease of half that - 25% (1.25x) and 20% (0.80x) respectively - will probably not be noticed.

You are probably already familiar with logarithmic scales in other areas of your life. For instance, earthquakes are measured using the logarithmic Richter scale. Sound is measured in logarithmic decibels. If you are a photographer, you are familier with the logarithmic f-stops and the logarithmic progression of shutter speeds. Even the musical notes in an equal temperament scale are logarithmically spaced. Logarithmic scales make it much easier to represent very large variations from tiny to huge because the scale represents a progression of ratios instead of a progression of linear units. The perception of most physical phenomena by our bodies - sight, sound and touch - are essentially logarithmic. It is difficult for us to perceive small percentage changes.

Many people are surprised to find out that going from 0.17 to 0.25 lumens looks the same as going from 167 to 250 lumens. From your eye's perspective, the step size is the same in both cases - a small but visible change. Notice that in the first case we only increased by 0.08 lumens while in the second case we increased by 83 lumens - a difference of 3 orders of magnitude.

You might be surprised to find out that you need a 10x increase in light to produce what most people consider to be a doubling in the amount of light. Again, this is due to the logarithmic nature of your eyes.
 

EJR

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It seems to be a common problem, just spoke to someone at HID Concept and they said it was a marketing ploy to say a percentage amount brighter.

Yes, definitely some marketing shenanigans but if you read the fine print, it says "Up to 220% - compared to minimum ECE R98/R99 requirements".

Now I know that most people won't know exactly what this means but what it's referring to are the minimum photometric intensity requirements in the UNECE regulations for gas discharge lamps. Under R98 section 6.2.5, it provides a chart of all the test point angles and zones with minimum and maximum intensity requirements. If we take test point 75R, for example, which corresponds to downroad seeing, the minimum requirement is 12,500 cd. Osram is claiming that the NBL bulbs will provide UP to 220% percent more intensity from this minimum standard.

The real kicker though is that most OEM xenon lamps with original/standard bulbs already produce intensity at 75R that is 150-200% (or greater) over the minimum regulatory standard. Osram you so sneaky!

So where does that put the NBL? Maybe 15-20% more output than a NEW standard bulb. But much higher against an AGED bulb.

You also have to consider factors other than just output that improves beam performance, and that involves higher luminance of the arc and higher precision focus within the tolerance specs. Its not just about lumens.

The amount of gas & space for it in the bulbs is the same + or - a very small amount so there is not much room to make the bulb much brighter.

The D3S is rated at 3200 lm +/- 15%.

The bulb is required to have no less than 2720 lm and no greater than 3680 lm.

I don't have any sphere reports to confirm what a standard D3S puts out but lets assume its just a little under the nominal rating at 3000 lm. And lets assume that the NBL next gen is almost at the peak of allowable output at 3600 lm. That's a 20% increase in flux (hypothetically).

The typical lumen maintenance of a xenon bulb is 70% which means an AGED bulb could output around 2100 lm versus a new NBL bulb at 3600 lm. That's a 71% increase in flux (hypothetically).

In your situation, you should still have noticed some sort of difference in output, even if it were small.

You never answered whether or not your headlamp lenses are hazy or weathered. This impacts performance.
 

Arcticat

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Just to avoid having to quote all.....

I did mention "No hazing or pitting"

"Doubling of light output (assuming the advertising is true) might not produce a perceptible difference in our eyes"
That does not make sense, a 100% increase and you can't perceive a difference??

If the "doubling of light output (assuming the advertising is true) might not produce a perceptible difference in our eyes", than imagine how little, as in my case, the perception would be of the small of increase over the stock OSRAM bulb. I can see an ever so small difference, with many artifacts of lines, shapes and dark spots (which the, older, OEM bulb does not have). It's not worth the money difference. Even when I spoke to a CS person at OSRAM yesterday, who said that the hear a lot of negative complaints about the NBL's, advised me to get the stock bulb. If my older bulbs were new there would be even less of an increase from the NBL. I also didn't mention that the NBL's have a warmer color...not necessarily a bad thing but I like the OEM's (I know) color better.

"You also have to consider factors other than just output that improves beam performance, and that involves higher luminance of the arc and higher precision focus within the tolerance specs. Its not just about lumens."

Correct...but they don't implement those changes, or use more Xenon gas, so it's mostly marketing.
I'm going to order a set of the OEM OSRAM bulbs and change them one side at a time to compare the difference. Thanks for the input....and listening to my output, even though it wasn't 220% better than yours. LOL
 

EJR

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I did mention "No hazing or pitting"

Sorry, missed that part of your post.

"You also have to consider factors other than just output that improves beam performance, and that involves higher luminance of the arc and higher precision focus within the tolerance specs. Its not just about lumens."

Correct...but they don't implement those changes, or use more Xenon gas, so it's mostly marketing.

How would you possibly know this? That just isn't true - at all.


Below is a image comparison I put together from a channel on YT (found HERE) where he has done various reviews/tests of different D3S bulbs.

His PEAK intensity measurements are as follows:

NBL = 75.4% increase over original
NBL Next Gen = 8.6% increase over NBL (or 84% increase over original)

Obviously the readings would be higher if measured against an aged D3S bulb.


d3S laser comp.png




Now the question becomes this: does the NBL Next Gen photo APPEAR brighter by 84% over the original bulb photo? If your answer is NO, then this lines up with the fact that our visual subjective impressions simply don't line up with measured objective results. This is why I mentioned previously that perhaps your expectations were too high.

I think when people see a bulb that says +220% they envision a difference that looks like this...
😝

d3S laser comp2.png
 

Arcticat

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The only part of that statement that was mine was "Correct...but they don't implement those changes, or use more Xenon gas, so it's mostly marketing." What do they actually change in or on the bulb?? The HID sites and OSRAM itself said that too... "Even when I spoke to a CS person at OSRAM yesterday, who said that the hear a lot of negative complaints about the NBL's, advised me to get the stock bulb." The Philips High end bulb is rated on the minus side for brightness and is basically a color change.

So even the difference in the photo between the old +200% NBL & the +220% is very much noticeably brighter, sort of negating the statement "then this lines up with the fact that our visual subjective impressions simply don't line up with measured objective results." His results are absolutely noticeably brighter/different. I would have been happy and not even have posted if I achieved those results...a little disappointed but understanding of the marketing.

My comparison is side x side and shows nothing even close to that, with an old R/S bulb. On my A6 we not only didn't see a brighter difference but both of us commented on that they didn't look as bright as the old ones. Not sure how old those bulbs that were replace due to how my DW drives...they may have been changed several times. When you drive on winding, hilly back roads with no street lights and a lot of trees and large rocks it's easier to compare a new bulb ride to the ride with the old bulbs IMHO.

I authenticated the Next Gen's on OSRAM's Trust Program site, although the bulb labels could probably be reprinted or switched, and my Q5's OEM Phillips are aprox. 6yrs. old. I'll try and find an area to take a photo (they said 20ft. away), like I said, if you drove the car and didn't know that the L/S bulb was changed you would not notice a difference. I wish I had taken a photo before the bulb change...still can I guess.
 

EJR

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The only part of that statement that was mine was "Correct...but they don't implement those changes, or use more Xenon gas, so it's mostly marketing." What do they actually change in or on the bulb??

The bulb has improved flux, luminance and focus - as I already stated. This is how high performance is achieved for most reputable aftermarket performance xenon and halogen bulbs.

The HID sites and OSRAM itself said that too... "Even when I spoke to a CS person at OSRAM yesterday, who said that the hear a lot of negative complaints about the NBL's, advised me to get the stock bulb."

I don't doubt they get a lot of complaints. AGAIN, people have high expectations when they read "+220%" on the label. This obviously is a major flaw in marketing because people are expecting a VISUAL difference of 220% from what their seeing in their vehicle now.

It doesn't mean that the bulb isn't objectively brighter than a original bulb which I demonstrated in my last post.

The Philips High end bulb is rated on the minus side for brightness and is basically a color change.

Don't know what your trying to say here but Philips performance bulbs use the same process.

So even the difference in the photo between the old +200% NBL & the +220% is very much noticeably brighter, sort of negating the statement "then this lines up with the fact that our visual subjective impressions simply don't line up with measured objective results." His results are absolutely noticeably brighter/different. I would have been happy and not even have posted if I achieved those results...a little disappointed but understanding of the marketing.

Good to know that you've got realistic expectations after all! 😄

My comparison is side x side and shows nothing even close to that, with an old R/S bulb. On my A6 we not only didn't see a brighter difference but both of us commented on that they didn't look as bright as the old ones.

I'm betting that perhaps you may have received counterfeits or maybe just bad luck and you got 2 sets of poor versions that sneaked out of the factory (just a guess).

You up for some testing?

To verify performance on a very basic level, you could use your smartphones light sensor as a light meter. We're not concerned with the actual measurement itself since it won't be accurate but rather the DIFFERENCE between before and after.

Just download a lux meter app that provides a MAX measurement, this way it'll lock in the max reading as your moving the phone around the beams hot spot.

Park 25 feet away from the garage and power up ONE headlamp only - first with the old bulb. Make sure all exterior lights on the garage and house are turned off. Allow the bulb to fully warm up - 45 seconds should be good. Open the app and place your phone on the garage door and hit the RESET button on the app. Then, with the phone kept flat against the door, slowly move the phone around the beams hot spot. It'll record the max measurement. Once that max no longer changes - make note of it.

Next, using the SAME headlamp, swap in the NBL bulb. Repeat measurement process. Make note of max.

This will give us an idea on whether or not those NBL bulbs are providing more output.


 

Arcticat

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Ill try that...

Most of my comments were NOT my opinions but those of people I spoke to, some at length, at OSRAM, Philips and 3 different HID & headlight online sales sites. I would never just make that stuff up, none ever mentioned "The bulb has improved flux, luminance and focus". Where did you hear that and how much improved can it be? What exactly did they do to the bulb to achieve that? The OSRAM person said it basically is the same as the OEM one with advanced marketing, just buy the OEM one. The person at HID Concept seemed to know his stuff and after a long technical discussion, basically said the same, also he never mentioned "improved flux, luminance and focus". The info about the Philips bulb, my Q5's OEM, came from Philips themselves. Anyone can contact them, there was no long phone wait, try it and ask the same questions. Ill try and take some photos and post them soon....
 

EJR

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Most of my comments were NOT my opinions but those of people I spoke to, some at length, at OSRAM, Philips and 3 different HID & headlight online sales sites. I would never just make that stuff up, none ever mentioned "The bulb has improved flux, luminance and focus".

If you were speaking with a general customer service rep at Osram and Philips then I would not consider those people as reputable sources for that sort of information. Part numbers, local availability and complaints is primarily their arena. Knowledge and deeper understanding of light source characteristics, even of their own brand, they DO NOT have.

Where did you hear that?

See HERE and HERE. He was a long time active member who is a professional in the automotive lighting industry and has a vast knowledge of these sort of things.

Also see HERE. He is a lighting expert that could probably answer any questions you have on the subject. He usually answers emails quickly if you send him one.

And finally, I found this page HERE from Russia. The image below may or may not be a screen shot of a Osram dealer memo/presentation of the NBL features. None the less it describes what I've been saying.

My attempt at English translation:
osram nbl 200.png




What exactly did they do to the bulb to achieve that?

That information is not going to be available to the public. It is proprietary to the light source manufacturer for obvious reasons, such as the gas/fill mix, length/position of electrodes and any other features that would improve luminance.

The OSRAM person said it basically is the same as the OEM one with advanced marketing, just buy the OEM one.

Yikes. Hopefully his calls aren't getting monitored by management! An employee that is basically saying that one of their premium products isn't really premium might be grounds for termination. 😝

The person at HID Concept seemed to know his stuff and after a long technical discussion, basically said the same, also he never mentioned "improved flux, luminance and focus".

If its the same person I've spoken to in the past, I would agree, he is a sharp fella but just because he never brought it up doesn't mean its false. It could just mean that he isn't aware. Dealers usually aren't. Not of that sort of technical stuff anyway.
 

Arcticat

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If you were speaking with a general customer service rep at Osram and Philips then I would not consider those people as reputable sources for that sort of information. Part numbers, local availability and complaints is primarily their arena. Knowledge and deeper understanding of light source characteristics, even of their own brand, they DO NOT have.
Agreed...but they do give a window into what other buyers have complained about. Some of what they said ties into what the knowledgeable people said, like there is a -40 to +40 window that they judge the brightness by (?). So when they commented about the Phillips White Vision Gen 2 actually being less bright I believe them.
That information is not going to be available to the public. It is proprietary to the light source manufacturer for obvious reasons, such as the gas/fill mix, length/position of electrodes and any other features that would improve luminance.
Maybe not available but IMHO there's not too much that they can actually do, especially without visibly seeing a difference. Maybe I'm wrong.
Yikes. Hopefully his calls aren't getting monitored by management! An employee that is basically saying that one of their premium products isn't really premium might be grounds for termination.
Premium European....reps may have been more Sylvania oriented.

Thanks for all the info and the links!
 

jaycee88

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The Osram's are very slightly brighter due to more side glare, have a lower cut off and have multiple artifacts like dark lines, weird shapes of light and shadows.

Marketing fluff aside, bulbs that aren't seated properly can cause those artifacts - have you tried reseating them?
 

Arcticat

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Marketing fluff aside, bulbs that aren't seated properly can cause those artifacts - have you tried reseating them?

I could....It snapped into the tines perfectly, I could take out to see if 1 of the "fingers" was bent in. I think that would have been more noticeable than what I'm seeing and I would have felt some resistance when pushing it in.
 

jaycee88

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I could....It snapped into the tines perfectly, I could take out to see if 1 of the "fingers" was bent in. I think that would have been more noticeable than what I'm seeing and I would have felt some resistance when pushing it in.

A manufacturing flaw is also possible, so that even when seated correctly, the capsule's not located in the correct position. It doesn't take much misalignment to knock the pattern out of wack.
You mentioned that you only replaced the left side. If you bought the bulb as a twin pack, you can try the other bulb.
 

Arcticat

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A manufacturing flaw is also possible, so that even when seated correctly, the capsule's not located in the correct position. It doesn't take much misalignment to knock the pattern out of wack.
You mentioned that you only replaced the left side. If you bought the bulb as a twin pack, you can try the other bulb.

The pattern is not too out of whack, I'll try the other bulb and 1 from the new set when I get it. I also put 2 in another car but didn't get a chance to see them side to side, they seem a little less bright. How long does a new bulb take to break in?
 

theory816

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I tried a set of brighter Osram HID bulbs over my stock HID bulbs and I wouln't recommend it. The beam pattern is very ackward now with dark spots right smack in the middle. My OEM ones were alot smoother, and less blue.
 

EJR

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I tried a set of brighter Osram HID bulbs over my stock HID bulbs and I wouln't recommend it. The beam pattern is very ackward now with dark spots right smack in the middle. My OEM ones were alot smoother, and less blue.
What vehicle make/model/year?

Which Osram bulbs exactly? And where did you buy them? Did you authenticate them on Osrams website?
 

theory816

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What vehicle make/model/year?

Which Osram bulbs exactly? And where did you buy them? Did you authenticate them on Osrams website?
They are Osrams HIDs. They were suppose to be a bit bluer/brighter than my original HID bulbs so I thought it be a cool replacement.. And no I did not authenticate them. That was one of my concerns when I bought them(fakes). However the bulbs arrived in the little paper boxes. "Real" Osrams have plastic casing packaging and authenticating.

All that said, these fake bulbs are quite impressive for being faked lol. But dark spots seem to develop on the bulbs after some usage. At first I thought it was my front covers but its definitely the bulb.
 

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