Seen @ SEMA

eggsalad

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SEMA opened today. I know Morimoto is a brand of questionable repute around these parts, but they had an interesting headlight on display. A 7" round drop-in replacement LED, with a glass face, vaguely reminiscent of an old Hella "E-code". It was *not* an H-4 style capsule dropped in to a generic H4 fixture.

Now I'm not saying it's well-built, or has good optics, or light output. I had no way of determining that. But it sure *looked* a whole lot more appropriate in the '67 Chevy C-10 in which it was displayed than the common 7" drop-in units from good brands do.

I'm sure once they become available they will sell like hotcakes, whether or not they're good.
 

Alaric Darconville

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Morimoto has been trying, lately. Whether this product is worthy or not, is hard to say.

I will say that it should be much much MUCH easier to make a compliant 7" round lamp (or any of the other sealed beam form factor lamps) than to make a compliant "OE-style" composite headlamp. A lot of design time is saved in not trying to make the lamp fit the constraints of the vehicle body design-- and when they have to, that's their focus. Actual beam performance is scarcely an afterthought.
 

John_Galt

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From 1:20 on

Not a lot of detail there. However there has been some posted over on tacomaworld about these products.

Posts 5406, 5409 and 5411 have some discussion of the morimoto seal beam replacement lamps. They are not going for a heated lens, which may limit their popularity within one of their intended markets- truckers. What is nice is they are going to be offered in both a 5700k and 3000k white. Hopefully similar performance between the two. Perhaps interest in the lower color temp lampsnwill eventually pull some more automakers towards a less cool white future.
 

-Virgil-

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I'm encouraged to see the 3000K offering, too, but I don't think it's likely to inspire any automakers. We're talking about a "niche within a niche" aftermarket product to service a mostly obsolete product category, made by a pure-aftermarket company serving as the ODM for a company known mainly for carburetors (speaking of obsolete product categories). Even if Audi was aware of this product's existence, there's no way they care, and even less way they go "Whoah, 3000K, we better jump on that trend!".

As far as the product itself goes, I'll have to put hands & eyes on it. The low beam pattern looks well formed, to the minimal degree that can be determined by looking at photos/beamshots. I'm less bullish about the high beam, which looks like some (not very well focused) light added above the low beam. Those "maximum lux" claims in one of the linked Tacomaworld posts are dubious...if we knew what distance they were measured at, and how, it would be possible to do at least a sketchy reality check on them, but we don't know those things. I think I have a pretty good guess as to where those claims/beamshots come from.

And the press release copy-and-pasted into one of those TW posts contains some fairytales, including this whopper: "Morimoto is the industry leader in automotive lighting". Oh...really? Who says, and by what criteria? Because I can think of a lot of much leading-er companies (or I should say brands, because Morimoto is a brand, not a company) in the automotive lighting space. The Morimoto brand has been making definite strides and progress toward legitimacy in their product line, for sure, but it's...quite a stretch to call it an industry leader.

And this one: "There will be 2 adapters available as well-one to easily hook between newer style plugs and the older "center ground" ones" Uhhh...what "older center ground ones" do they think they're talking about? The only sealed beam where the center terminal is ground is the 165mm x 100mm small rectangular high/low beam, and they all have that, from the first ones made around 1973 on up to the present day; it's not an "older" issue.

And this one: "The RetroBright will have a sharp enough cutoff line from its superior engineering that you can get away with running all 4 on low beam without bothering others on the road for maximum light output." One doesn't follow on from the other. Federal law and most US jurisdictions allow two low beams and two or four high beams, not four low beams. Whether or not you can "get away with" it depends not on cutoff sharpness, but on your luck versus the attitude of whatever law officers who might happen to see you driving around at night.

I also have some questions about the legality of these lamps. It's not mentioned or discussed anywhere in that whole press release, and while it's difficult to tell from photos, the lens markings might be incomplete or incorrect on these.

Don't get me wrong, as a car hobbyist I will be for-real overjoyed if there's a good new option for the old sealed beam-sized headlamps. I'm just not -- yet -- convinced these qualify as such. We'll have to wait and see! If nothing else, they stand a good chance of being better than a lot of the existing garbage in this market space.
 

eggsalad

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One doesn't follow on from the other. Federal law and most US jurisdictions allow two low beams and two or four high beams, not four low beams. Whether or not you can "get away with" it depends not on cutoff sharpness, but on your luck versus the attitude of whatever law officers who might happen to see you driving around at night.
I'm not trying to drift off-topic too far here, but in a thread I started some months ago, I learned that a headlamp is not a lamp and vice versa. Specifically, we were discussing certain late-model F-150s and Acuras and how they very legally have more than one light source that legally makes up the low beam.

The leap I'm making is that if I'm a LEO, I'm not going to be 100% sure of what I'm looking at in terms of headlights is legal or not, so I'm not going to write a ticket unless I see something that is very blatantly illegal - maybe if your headlights are pink, or green, or plaid I might try to write a ticket, but otherwise, I'm not going to make that call.
 
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John_Galt

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-Virgil-
I agree that there's little market demand for lower color temp LED based lamps, which is unfortunate. As I've mentioned previously, the only other LED headlamp product that I have come across that offer sub-5000k light were an H4 retrofit bulb, offering 4000k luxeon z-es chips. Nice to see that there is *some* demand, as limited as it may be.

The lux readings are, as you point out, likely inaccurate to a large degree. Posts 5488, 5489 discuss the cheap light meter that "LightWerkz" uses for their testing, as well as the problems of using a light meter meant for one type of lightsource (incandescent) for testing others. This is not the first discussion of Lightwerkz/HeadlightRevolutions use of inappropriate testing equipment, and how it affects their results. If you suspect those wall shots come from HeadlightRev, they typically claim to test at 25', where LightWerkz claims 33'. HeadlightRevolution also seems to test their baseline halogens at an unrealistically low voltage, further skewing their test results towards their own products.

The high beam pattern they picture doesn't look great. The lowbeam appears to have some potential. Defined hotspot near the horizon of the beam pattern, relatively even fall of light from left to right, no obvious dip of the hotspot intensity too low in the beam pattern, which is often the main problem with LED retrofit bulbs that have been tested by Crash...

>morimoto is leading edge

By their own testimony, they are correct./s

The center ground remark is likely for the 4x6 sealed beam replacement they say is also being developed.

Much of their product sales to this point have relied on "what people can get away with," and to that end... there is a lot, for better or (most often) worse. Frankly one reason one might have for the 3000k version over the 5700k version would be the reduced conspicuity leading to increased risk of close inspection.

Lens markings- not sure if they can claim they are going for "NOS/OEM/period correct" markings? Likely not.
 

-Virgil-

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The leap I'm making is that if I'm a LEO, I'm not going to be 100% sure of what I'm looking at in terms of headlights is legal or not, so I'm not going to write a ticket unless I see something that is very blatantly illegal
That's a leap in one direction, sure. Now here's another perspective: a LEO knows new cars come with all kinds of light setups, but old cars don't, and when an older model comes along with a headlight configuration that looks "off" (say, four lights lit in traffic instead of two), that's likely to catch the LEO's eye. Just ask any LEO and they will tell you that if they want to pull over a car, all they have to do is follow it, and usually within less than a mile the driver or the car will give them a solid reason to initiate a stop. Maybe they don't wind up writing a ticket for the lights (or maybe they do), but there is a literally awful lot of traffic stops that end in the shooting death or other brutalization of a nonwhite driver. Most of these stops don't start out with a LEO setting out to shoot someone, they start out with a LEO noticing something "off" about the car.
 

-Virgil-

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I agree that there's little market demand for lower color temp LED based lamps, which is unfortunate.

I agree it's unfortunate. We know for a fact that for any given white-light intensity, greater blue content means significantly more discomfort glare, without any seeing improvement, compared to lesser blue content.

The lux readings are, as you point out, likely inaccurate to a large degree.

That's one of numerous inaccuracies on display in those videos, along with (often baseless) opinions and brainless/factless claims. That's a shame, because even where those videos do include a solid point of advice, it's contaminated and can't be trusted. Just like someone peeing in the pool contaminates the whole pool, or someone smoking on an airplane or other space stinks up the whole place...!

HeadlightRevolution also seems to test their baseline halogens at an unrealistically low voltage, further skewing their test results towards their own products.

...and guess whose products those are, mostly! Hint: HeadlightRevolution is owned by TheRetrofitSource.

The high beam pattern they picture doesn't look great. The lowbeam appears to have some potential. Defined hotspot near the horizon of the beam pattern, relatively even fall of light from left to right, no obvious dip of the hotspot intensity too low in the beam pattern

I'm seeing all this same stuff. But again, these are pictures, and pictures of beam patterns can be (usually are) severely misleading.

The center ground remark is likely for the 4x6 sealed beam replacement they say is also being developed.

Yeah, probably, but that's not what they're saying. They're babbling in ignorance about "older" sockets, and they're offering this "adapter for the older center-ground sockets" along with all sizes of the lamp. So somebody didn't do their homework and doesn't know what they're talking about. Real encouraging.

Lens markings- not sure if they can claim they are going for "NOS/OEM/period correct" markings? Likely not.
What (moderate/little) I can see of the markings isn't incorrect as in "Hey, those are the markings that belong on a sealed beam from 1979", they appear to be incorrect as in "Hey, those are just wrong". If/when I scrutinize these lamps in person, I'll be able to take a better look at the markings.
 

John_Galt

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Another video from the retrofit source on these. Shows that they are designed around a "replaceable bulb" designed. Not the end of the world if truly designed around the lightsource. Also offering a "euro-light" option with a yellow lens. Not clear if it will be a truly selective yellow light output. Over the 3000k LEDs I would assume filtration losses are not too unbearable.

Also gives some numbers (accuracy questionable as always) for the lowbeam and highbeams. Better still shots of each than the SEMA info I linked to over on Tacomaworld. Highbeams look very blotchy and uneven...

Retrofit Source Retrolight vid
 

John_Galt

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It appears that the RetroBright lamps are now available for purchase.


"Classic white," "Modern white" and "Euro lens yellow" all listed in various standard sizes.
 

-Virgil-

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I am looking forward to getting some eye time and bench time with these.
 
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