Some guidance please.

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evanh2002ss

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I have read the sticky and I have even contacted the NTSB, and the NHTSA. They both were very unhelpful and sent me the same PDF referring to a tail lamp study that showed an acceptable amount of brake lights, after testing how many it would take to improve visibility all the way up to being painful to look at. Your sticky has the most info on actual "requirements". I did find a PDF of the SAE standards(SAE J593-2010), but it is the same "language" as the documents in the sticky. But I am left with questions I can not find answers to. So I am asking for your help.

Story goes as follows: I am tired of my back up lamps being so under powered I have a hard time seeing in the dark to back up safely. The factory housings are plastic, and use a #921 18W bulb. Most I have found is that this bulb puts out 200 lumen. And I have already tried the Silverstar replacements for them. Only difference was being whiter. So I designed a prototype led/heatsink/driver fixture that uses a #921 base to plug into the socket that fits inside the housing, uses the factory DOT approved lens and actually illuminates the background. By the numbers it is around "1000 lumens" per light. Triple Cree XP-G2 on noctigon board, driven at 1A.

So the info in the sticky says(not exactly shows) how they tested back up lamps. Only it says a maximum output of a single lamp cant be more than 300 cd at 100 feet at various angles(and groups, which I cant find the meaning of). First question, cd is Candle Power, right? And from reading and searching not even a comparable measurement to lumens. I would need a light meter to find out what is actually being produced right? I dont really feel I am doing something illegal by replacing the light source. To me, it is the same as someone with H4 bulbs going from the factory bulb, to Silverstar Xenon replacements(not HIDs). Its the same housing and lens, just a brighter, whiter light, and that's legal.

Ultimately, I am trying to better my project, and get the housing milled out of aluminum for a much larger heatsink but using the same DOT approved lens. I am actually trying to make this a legit thing, not just some guy looking to make a quick buck.

Camera settings I used were: 6 second exposure, f4.0, daylight white balance, ISO 100. I got these settings from a mountain biking forum where people post up lights they have built for night time riding, and it is to get a good view of the light and pattern.

This is the light difference. Pictures were taken in the snow. But during clear roads and the right dim parking space lighting, they are useless. It has to be pitch black to see anything with them.

Control.(ambient light)



Stock 921, only one.



Upgraded light. Again, this is only one.
 
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cland72

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sounds like you need a light meter that measures candela (cd). When measured separately, each backup lamp must not exceed 300cd from any angle.

Only thing I can't find when looking at the requirements is at what distance do you measure? Would you measure directly at the source, or from so many feet away from the illumination source? If you can find the answer to that question, then you can begin measuring to see if your backup lamps meet federal specs.
 

-Virgil-

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Welcome to the board. There are large problems with what you are doing, primarily stemming from your modifying regulated safety lights without understanding what you're doing. This is not okay -- you are causing safety hazards for yourself and others on the road. Vehicle lights are regulated because their performance affects public safety. This is not like flashlights and other such items where we can modify them to our heart's desire without any consequences.

Point by point:

Your sticky has the most info on actual "requirements".

I'm not sure why you put "requirements" in quotes like that. They really are requirements. Compliance is not optional, it's mandatory.

I did find a PDF of the SAE standards(SAE J593-2010), but it is the same "language" as the documents in the sticky.

Yes, technical standards are written in technical language so that the requirements can be specified precisely and unambiguously.

I am tired of my back up lamps being so under powered I have a hard time seeing in the dark to back up safely.

That is a common complaint, and it is a valid one. The reversing lamps are specified primarily for alerting others that you are backing. They are not "rear headlamps" or anything even close to it, especially if your vehicle has tinted glass. Still, the situation can be made a lot better, but it cannot be done by just indiscriminately spraying bright white light to the rear of the vehicle when in reverse. Reversing lamps are limited to no more than 300 candela above horizontal (for a 2-lamp system; 500 for a 1-lamp system) because more than this intensity is glaring and dangerous to the night vision of other drivers. There is no maximum intensity below horizontal, and that is the key to having better rearward illumination without creating a safety hazard: plenty of light below horizontal, limited light above horizontal. This is why home-made/hacked lamps aren't acceptable. Optical control of this nature is pretty much not possible to kluge in your home workshop. You should be aware the same applies to all of a vehicle's exterior lights. The performance specifications for each and every function are very detailed and specific; we don't get to just say "It's red and it lights up when I step on the brake, so it's a brake light" or "It's white and it lights up when I shift into reverse, so it's a reversing lamp".

The factory housings are plastic, and use a #921 18W bulb.

You might prefer the output of the reversing lamps if you replace the 921 bulbs with these (specifically).

I have already tried the Silverstar replacements for them. Only difference was being whiter

...and dimmer. The blue glass those bulbs use significantly reduces the amount of light coming from the lamp.

So I designed a prototype led/heatsink/driver fixture that uses a #921 base to plug into the socket that fits inside the housing, uses the factory DOT approved lens and actually illuminates the background.

From your photos, your LED "upgrade" throws way too much upward light. Traffic hazard, bigtime. Also, there is no such thing as a "DOT approved" lens. The regulations do not work on an approval basis, they work on a certification basis. The vehicle manufacturer self-certifies that the vehicle and all its components comply with all applicable standards. When you hacked your reversing lamps, you took the vehicle out of compliance with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 108. That liability doesn't conveniently remain with the automaker; it falls on your head if your hacked lamps cause or contribute to a crash.

So the info in the sticky says(not exactly shows) how they tested back up lamps.

Which sticky are you referring to, please?

Only it says a maximum output of a single lamp cant be more than 300 cd at 100 feet at various angles(and groups, which I cant find the meaning of). First question, cd is Candle Power, right?

The candela is a unit for expressing intensity. It does not have a distance component, so there's no such thing as "300 candela at 100 feet". (there is a unit of illuminance, the lux, which does have a distance component, but we're not dealing with that here.)

The performance of vehicle lamps is specified in terms of intensities at test points within the beam. These test points are expressed in degrees Up, Down, Left and Right of the axis. The axis is called (H,V) because it is where the horizontal and vertical axes of the lamp coincide, straight away from the lamp. In the reversing lamp specification, some test points are grouped into zones and a zone total minimum intensity requirement is provided. This way, test points near each other can "borrow" and "share" with each other. This is done in recognition of the fact that it doesn't make a substantial difference to safety performance if one test point with a nominal minimum of 80 candela actually produces 75, while the test point next to it with the same 80cd minimum produces 85. The zone total, together with other provisions in the standard that specify the limits of this borrowing/sharing, makes it easier and less costly to design and build lamps, with no negative impact on safety performance.

And from reading and searching not even a comparable measurement to lumens.

Lumens is not the applicable measurement here.

I would need a light meter to find out what is actually being produced right?

You would need a goniophotometer.

I dont really feel I am doing something illegal by replacing the light source.

But you are.

To me, it is the same as someone with H4 bulbs going from the factory bulb, to Silverstar Xenon replacements

It's not the same at all, and even if it were, the Silverstar bulbs are not "Xenon". The reason why it's not the same is that the Silverstar bulbs, despite their reduced light output, still fall within the regulated requirements for whatever bulb type (H4, in your example). What you have done is put in a light source totally different in every respect (optical, physical, photometric) from the intended light source. Not at all the same.

ts the same housing and lens, just a brighter, whiter light, and that's legal.

Nope, it is not. You do not understand what you're doing, and you are trying to talk yourself into it being OK and legal based on your faulty and incomplete understanding.

Ultimately, I am trying to better my project, and get the housing milled out of aluminum for a much larger heatsink but using the same DOT approved lens.

You completely misunderstand the nature of the safety regs here. You are violating them, even if the lamp in question says "DOT" on it.

I am actually trying to make this a legit thing

Then you will have to start by learning a great deal about lighting in general and vehicle lighting in specific. And you will have to have a lot of special, very expensive equipment. There is no way around these two requirements, they are prerequisite.

There are some excellent and legal LED reversing lamps on the market. They will not fit inside your existing lamps, but they can be added to the vehicle (in/on/under the bumper).
 
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-Virgil-

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sounds like you need a light meter that measures candela (cd). When measured separately, each backup lamp must not exceed 300cd from any angle.

The requirement is ≤300cd above horizontal, not "from any angle", and a light meter that measures candela will be useless for a project like this, because of the angular specificities of the specification.
 

Alaric Darconville

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Welcome to the CandlePowerForums!

I have read the sticky and I have even contacted the NTSB, and the NHTSA. They both were very unhelpful and sent me the same PDF referring to a tail lamp study that showed an acceptable amount of brake lights, after testing how many it would take to improve visibility all the way up to being painful to look at. Your sticky has the most info on actual "requirements". I did find a PDF of the SAE standards(SAE J593-2010), but it is the same "language" as the documents in the sticky. But I am left with questions I can not find answers to. So I am asking for your help.

Unfortunately, making your own tail lamps or reversing lamps or any lamp designed to comply with standards for regulated motor vehicle lighting equipment is well beyond the anyone who is not actually in that line of work.

Story goes as follows: I am tired of my back up lamps being so under powered I have a hard time seeing in the dark to back up safely. The factory housings are plastic, and use a #921 18W bulb. Most I have found is that this bulb puts out 200 lumen. And I have already tried the Silverstar replacements for them. Only difference was being whiter.
They're not whiter-- they're dimmer and have less red/orange/yellow than a similar, untinted bulb.

So I designed a prototype led/heatsink/driver fixture that uses a #921 base to plug into the socket that fits inside the housing, uses the factory DOT approved lens and actually illuminates the background.

Homemade vehicle lamps, or homemade "guts" to put into the existing factory lamps are unlawful. Even if they're behind a lens with the DOT marking (which itself represents the manufacturer's claim that the entire assembly meets the legal requirements) the entire assembly is invalidated by the use of a light source for which it was not designed. The 921 is about as good as it gets for an assembly that requires the 921; there's one LED "drop-in" by Philips that may be a real upgrade for you. They only certify that it works in the 2013 Malibu (on their website, http://philipsxtremevisionled.com/) but it may be satisfactory for your application.

I see now that -Virgil- recommends them, and has even given a convenient link to them.
 
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evanh2002ss

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Thanks for such a quick response. And the play by play breakdown down talk. Its almost as if you have a checklist so as to write the same thing. I have read a lot of posts where you do the same thing. So, let me make a point by point response.

I put requirements in quotations because while it outlines information, it has no definitive "this is how to test". Instead it says cant be brighter than 300 cd, one hundred feet away, at any of these angles. Not what you measure it with.

Photometric Test Distance: 100 feet Page 104 TP-108-13.

You tell me where in that document it even says to use a goniophotometer. It doesn't. Typically when I read a manual to develop the proper repair to a helicopter structure, it tells you how to go about completing it. Completely. I must just be blind to other technical languages.


I am trying to stay within the constraints of a manufacturers design. I know my light has a lot of light compared to the stock. Which is why I need the equip, the actual testing procedures, not just your keen eye to tell me I have "way to much". I apologize I had the reverse light housing on a box not installed in the car for effect. Along with a lab normally wouldnt have snow on the ground.

I am already trying to improve upon a legal design. And after such completion it would go on to testing to confirm and market. You suggest adding aftermarket lights under my bumper, facing rearward, to have more light, while at later comments tell me I am not allowed to have brighter lights. And anything I do is illegal. I don't think you got that I am trying to do this legally. If someone follows every word you said then what is it be taken from it is, stop trying, you cant do anything, let the big boys do it, no one but them is allowed to design and prototype.

I've been in contact with a couple automotive lighting mfg's, but they cost way to much to prototype. So I am doing the leg work and asking for some pointers.

And those Philips lamps are crap. They are brighter to look at, not using to illuminate.

If making internals for lamp fixtures is illegal, why can Philips do it? Why would I not be allowed to get the necessary testing to legalize it?

Thanks for the welcome.
 

evanh2002ss

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The requirement is ≤300cd above horizontal, not "from any angle", and a light meter that measures candela will be useless for a project like this, because of the angular specificities of the specification.


TP-108-13 Page 100 Table XII Group number, test point (degrees)......
 

Marcturus

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You suggest adding aftermarket lights under my bumper, facing rearward, to have more light, while at later comments tell me I am not allowed to have brighter lights.
To narrow it down, keep it practical:
Add good, legal aftermarket lights. Permanantly disable the old ones. Done. Legally.
 

Alaric Darconville

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Its almost as if you have a checklist so as to write the same thing. I have read a lot of posts where you do the same thing. So, let me make a point by point response.
Point by point is easier than "wall of text". You may have read a lot of posts where we do the same thing, but forgot to read the parts that demonstrate, restate, and reiterate that homemade 'innards' for regulated motor vehicle lighting is unsafe and illegal, and that 99% of people are simply not qualified to begin the work because they lack the background, training, education, and discipline to do it properly.


I put requirements in quotations because while it outlines information, it has no definitive "this is how to test". Instead it says cant be brighter than 300 cd, one hundred feet away, at any of these angles. Not what you measure it with.

The people that do this sort of testing know how to test this sort of thing.

You tell me where in that document it even says to use a goniophotometer. It doesn't. Typically when I read a manual to develop the proper repair to a helicopter structure, it tells you how to go about completing it. Completely. I must just be blind to other technical languages.

It doesn't have to say that. Much like a Chilton guide doesn't have to say you must use a voltmeter to measure voltage, an ammeter to measure amperage, a vacuum gauge to measure vacuum, or a compression tester to measure compression, the SAE documents don't have to say one must use a goniophotometer to measure (meter) light (photo) emitted at different angles (gonio) from the light source.


I am trying to stay within the constraints of a manufacturers design.
The constraints of the manufacturer's design were set when they chose the 921 as the light source.

Which is why I need the equip, the actual testing procedures, not just your keen eye to tell me I have "way to much". I apologize I had the reverse light housing on a box not installed in the car for effect. Along with a lab normally wouldnt have snow on the ground.
Then you need a goniophotometer and to test in accordance with the relevant SAE documents.

while at later comments tell me I am not allowed to have brighter lights. And anything I do is illegal.
You can add SEPARATE lights for manual actuation, but the reversing lamps built onto the car are designed to (required by law) turn on when the transmission is in Reverse.

I've been in contact with a couple automotive lighting mfg's, but they cost way to much to prototype. So I am doing the leg work and asking for some pointers.
Because their time is expensive. Their time is expensive because the equipment is expensive, and the people to run that equipment are also expensive. Those people have the requisite training and knowledge and education to run the machines and interpret test results and to do much of the design on paper (or in the computer) knowing the light sources they have chosen and the results they need and the physical constraints of the lamp packaging.

And those Philips lamps are crap. They are brighter to look at, not using to illuminate.
Hope you got your money back after trying them out and deciding that (and perhaps yours was a car it wouldn't work in-- they only certify publicly that the 2013 Malibu is a suitable target. Or I hope you had your lamps tested by a reliable testing company to see if they produced a compliant beam.

If making internals for lamp fixtures is illegal, why can Philips do it? Why would I not be allowed to get the necessary testing to legalize it?
That's part of their whole business. By the time anything they build even enters a car, it's been designed on paper/computer/whatever and simulated and everything else. Then it'll be put into a lamp assembly that's not even attached to a car. They have teams of people and much, much, much money to do the design and get it designed well before it's ever made into a physical item. It's just how it is.

Thanks for the welcome.

You're welcome. And you're still welcome here. Please don't take our efforts to inform you as "beating up on you" or trying to chase you away in general.
 

-Virgil-

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Thanks for such a quick response.

You're welcome.

And the play by play breakdown down talk. Its almost as if you have a checklist so as to write the same thing.

Actually, it's that you understand almost nothing about what you're trying to do, and two people who both know more than you pointed out many of your same errors.

I put requirements in quotations because while it outlines information, it has no definitive "this is how to test".

Test procedures are in a different technical standard.

You tell me where in that document it even says to use a goniophotometer.

You tell me who guaranteed you'd only have to read one document.

I must just be blind to other technical languages.

No, you just don't know this field you're trying to play in. And now you are demanding to be spoon-fed a free course in automotive lighting engineering and testing. That is not going to happen. People study and practice for many years to gain the knowledge necessary to do what you want to do. I'm afraid you're simply not qualified, and you won't get qualified in fifteen minutes or fifteen days.

I am trying to stay within the constraints of a manufacturers design.

No, you aren't. You violated that constraint when you put your LED "prototype" in.

I am already trying to improve upon a legal design. And after such completion it would go on to testing to confirm and market.

I understand your goal is to improve on a legal design, but you are not qualified to do it. You don't have the knowledge or the equipment, and you probably don't have the money. It costs a lot to design, tool, test/certify, and enter production with a legitimate, legal, effective car light.

You suggest adding aftermarket lights under my bumper, facing rearward, to have more light

Under, in, or on the bumper, yes. There are numerous excellent, legitimate, legal LED reversing lamps just waiting for you or anyone else to buy and install them.

while at later comments tell me I am not allowed to have brighter lights.

Nobody said you can't have brighter lights. You can't indiscriminately throw random amounts of light around and call it a reversing lamp because that's what you want it to be.

And anything I do is illegal.

Your questions are so pre-basic that it's just unavoidably clear that you simply are not going to be able to devise a legal, safe, effective, legitimate lamp, son. You just don't have the knowledge or the equipment. You could get it, but it will take a lot of time and effort and (again) money. Your attitude is unrealistic; it would be like me throwing a tantrum because someone told me I'm not qualified to be a fighter jet pilot. It's true, I'm not qualified to be a fighter jet pilot. That's neither fair nor unfair, it's just a fact. The same applies to you and engineering car lights.

I don't think you got that I am trying to do this legally.

That's good that you have this desire, but it's clear you have no understanding of what that entails -- and it looks like you have no real desire to understand. You came here seeking expert advice, that is advice from people who know more than you do. You received it. The correct response is to absorb as much knowledge as you can, ask questions for clarification as needed, get and read all(!) of the relevant documents, and maybe say an occasional thank you. Not get all testy because of the hard fact that you aren't even close to knowing what you're doing.

I've been in contact with a couple automotive lighting mfg's, but they cost way to much to prototype.

Yes, it's costly. For valid reasons, not because everyone's in a conspiracy to shut you out.

So I am doing the leg work

Without any knowledge of what you're doing, which means you're playing.

and asking for some pointers

And getting them, and pissing on them. That won't last.

And those Philips lamps are crap

You aren't qualified or equipped to assess them. No, actually they aren't.

If making internals for lamp fixtures is illegal, why can Philips do it?

This is a disingenuous question, but I'll humor it: What's Philips research and development budget? What's yours? How many engineers do they have on staff? How many do you? How much equipment do they have? And yourself?

Why would I not be allowed to get the necessary testing to legalize it?

There's nothing stopping you from getting the necessary testing, if you can pay for it. You are free to send as many items to as many test houses as you want, until you run out of money. Without appropriate engineering knowledge, experience, facilities, tools, and equipment, it will be a waste of your money.

Above all: the lighting modifications/products you're asking about are illegal and unsafe. Rule 11 of this board prohibits advocating illegal or dangerous activity. Please adjust your attitude.
 
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-Virgil-

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-virgil- said:
The requirement is ≤300cd above horizontal, not "from any angle", and a light meter that measures candela will be useless for a project like this, because of the angular specificities of the specification.

TP-108-13 Page 100 Table XII Group number, test point (degrees)......

You are misreading this table. There is in fact no maximum intensity for the test points below vertical. Take another, closer look at the "MAXIMUM PHOTOMETRIC INTENSITY (cd) ANY SINGLE LAMP" column for test points (5D, 45L), (5D, 30L), (5D, 10L), (5D, V), (5D, 10R), (5D, 30R), and (5D,45R).
 

evanh2002ss

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Never mind. You're right about RULE 11. Sorry. Realistically this thread is worthless. I cant even ask about making something legal because the subject is illegal. My budget isnt millions and the cnc equip, cad software that I can use are not a big corporations. Just delete this thread.

And here is the website for an updated standard to your outdated regulations.

http://autoparts-standard.org/index/images/userfiles/media/SAE J593-2010.pdf

The only advice I got was immediate negative responses about how I don't have any experience, I don't know what I am doing, I can't afford it, and its illegal. I should have accepted you down talking me(with out any knowledge of my background) and telling me conversation over because there is to be no discussion about "illegal practices". No one offered to help interpret the documents you have posted. Not to mention they aren't even current.

Nevermind that if I made a shutter like bi-xenons use to cut off the top glare I could be closer to a viable product. There was no support or encouragement to find legal routes. I didn't quickly change my story about oh, uh, these are for off road use. Oh ya caught me, nuts.

This sub forum seems to only be a place to discuss off road use lights only, mounting off road lights to use on the road, and complaining about big business not having good products.
 
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Marcturus

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Just plug the numbers from your updated standard into your cad and cnc, and it will churn out compliant products. No? Whose fault might that be?
 

-Virgil-

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I cant even ask about making something legal because the subject is illegal.

That's not it at all. But your whining about the rules violates rules 4 and 8.

And here is the website for an updated standard to your outdated regulations.

Your link is not in any way an "updated standard to outdated regulations", but even if it were, had you bothered reading it you'd see it contains exactly the same photometric requirements. You are, yet again, demonstrating the totality of your ignorance. And you seem proud of it.

The only advice I got was immediate negative responses about how I don't have any experience, I don't know what I am doing, I can't afford it, and its illegal.

I understand your frustration; I have often wished I could just wiggle my nose and witchcraft excellent lamps into existence (that's a cultural reference you are probably several decades too young to get), but unfortunately we have to live with reality as it exists, not as we wish it existed. You can't make legitimate car lamps without the knowledge, understanding, facilities, and equipment to make legitimate car lamps...no matter how much you wish you could.

I should have accepted you down talking me

Again with this complaint about "down talking". Listen, son: respect is earned when you deserve it. It is not just handed out because you demand it.

(with out any knowledge of my background)

No guessing is required; you have clearly demonstrated you have no working knowledge of vehicle lighting, and almost no knowledge at all of lighting in general. Whatever your actual age, you are behaving like a spoiled young child.

No one offered to help interpret the documents you have posted.

The documents were interpreted; you just rejected the interpretations because you don't like them.

Not to mention they aren't even current.

They are quite current; yet again you demonstrate your ignorance.

Nevermind that if I made a shutter like bi-xenons use to cut off the top glare

Yet again you demonstrate your ignorance.

There was no support or encouragement to find legal routes.

There was. You rejected it out of hand. You came here looking for people to respect and applaud your ignorance. That won't happen.
 
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evanh2002ss

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Not that you care, I'm 29. I didn't demand supreme respect over all. I asked for help. Something you missed in my first post. Your first words in the thread were this, "Welcome to the board. There are large problems with what you are doing, primarily stemming from your modifying regulated safety lights without understanding what you're doing. "

Its this stance you took immediately, which is garbage. Someone has an idea, and is at a point with a working prototype, looking for help, you instantly tell them they don't know what they are doing. I fail to see how I shouldn't be upset. You take that stance with your children? No, son, don't bleed those breaks, you don't know what you're doing. And if you asked for help, I wont help you in the least. Man, that's the life.

What do you? How old are you? Since you want to treat me like some underage armchair general. This isn't a paper I am turning in to a teacher. I don't have to produce source information as to where I have read information about glare, scatter, etc. So telling me I haven't done anything and don't know what I am talking about is still just as childish and has no basis behind it.

Your "Support", was telling me to quit and let the big corporations do this, I dont have the money or ability, or understanding. I don't tell someone to go away when they come to me for a repair or how to change a turbine out on a helicopter. I help them out, point them to the right literature, help them interpret it if they have trouble. You just dismissed anything I had to say. I had been reading the language used in these regs and typing out what I read. Your response was, you're not reading it right. I get a light cant project upward from the vertical plane. But why in the literature does it have measurements of distance, angles, and cd readings? When you stated you don't measure distances with cd. I even quoted where on the literature I found what I did. "Yet again" you dismissed it and took other parts of what I had to say to make your own judgments.

I tried the Philips bulbs when I saw them, they don't work for me. They emit a bright point light in the housing and not out to a usable illumination. So thanks for telling me I am yet again unqualified to make a judgment call on a lights output. So my opinion was they are crap. But I don't own a Malibu. So, they still didn't work for what I wanted, but as per you I wouldn't know.

The document I posted is the actual SAE standard, from which the TP 108-13 shares language.
 

-Virgil-

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It's regrettable you feel you were attacked. Yes, to answer your question, I did insist my sons learn about brakes before touching them. Brakes, like lights, are life safety equipment. You asked for help. You got it. You just didn't get the answers you think you wanted. And now we are done here.
 
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