Yes another LED Headlight conversion question

rdrfronty

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Ok, I know it's a no-no to do any type of bulb conversion for a regular reflector based light housing in the auto world.
However being a LED flashlight enthusiast, I came across a new design that looks like it has true potential. It 's interesting at a minimum with the fact that it uses a dual large output Cree LED's, they have a cooling fan, and uses a inline driver. Obviously there is the usual beam pattern issues, but I wanted to see what you guys think of these in general. And potential issues, what would design attributes need to be addressed to make them a possible viable option down the road
First off, here are the basic specs -
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• Lumens: 2200 lm (per bulb)
• Lifetime: 40,000 hrs
• Wattage: 56 W total (28 W per bulb)
• Technology: 2x14 W CREE LED (per bulb)
• Input Voltage: C9V-DC32V
• Plug&Play: H11 Connector
• Flicker-Free
• Shockproof,Dust-proof and Waterproof.
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A few manufacturer shots -

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irsa76

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A guy on another site I'm on tried a similar thing last week. Complete and utter waste of time he reckoned.
 

Optical Inferno

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It's not a "no-no"...it's illegal to modify your exterior lighting with these "bulb" replacements. Regardless of what type of LED is there, or whatever fan or cooling system, or lumen value, or ... whatever, these type of replacements don't work and are unsafe.

There is another thread somewhere on here that discusses this exact "replacement" from about 6months ago or so. Have a look for it and you will see the reaction that this product got.
 

SemiMan

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Design attributes..... A hammer ....

Beam shot is awful. Assuming car did not move, the hotspot is 25% higher ...and terrible glare.

How stable will that much weight be on the socket.

The answer to your question us pretty much nothing. Unless they perfectly replicate the filament they are not going to work. Using a COB is a step backwards.

Semiman
 

rdrfronty

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Man you guys are tough.
As for weight - it should be a non issue if they are in secure. IF is the key word though. I had HID Projector retrofits installed in my reflector housings in my last vehicle and it was a non issue. I had the reflector itself painted flat black to prevent any inproper glare. Those worked awesome, didn't put glare in others eyes and lit the road up much better than my Halogens did. And don't even try knocking them - I KNOW those are safe and work excellent. Illegal - yes, work proper and safe - yes.
However, that vehicle is gone and I am not happy with my new cars headlights. They just don't compare to my HID Projector retrofits.
I don't come to this sections of the forum too often - You guys tend to be like a pack of rapid dogs about stuff like my post. So I never seen these style LED's mentioned. As mechanical and LED standpoint - they ARE very interesting. Large high output Cree LEDs, inline drivers, cooling fans - they are pretty darn cool. Being legal was NOT the point of my thread. I stated in the first sentence of my post I know your not suppose to use them. Was mostly curious from a mechanical standpoint.
If they weren't so expensive, I would like to get some and test them - In my lightbox. I test LED flashlights often - and see what their output really is. In some photos with better details, these Cree LED's look about like a round version of the well known MTG2, which is a beast of an emmitter. And if it uses something similar, the 1200 per LED, and 2400 per bulb would be childs play for them. Powerful LED's do produce a good amount of heat, so the addition of a cooling fan to these bulbs show these did have some true intention of making a quality and powerful bulb. As does the driver, which allows it to contol the volts and amps going into the LEDs instead of just attempting to allow straight current power them.
Anyways, I guess I'll look around here for a quality H11 Halagon replacements - legal ones I need to add for you guys. If you guys feel like being helpful with that - it would be greatly appreciated. If you don't feel like helping a criminally minded (but in truth just curious about a cool new device to ME) I will browse around here myself.
Thanks in advance.
 

alpg88

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even if you do not get into legal part of the issue, these lights are crap, i have bought such bulbs, for use in a stationary light, it seemed like a good idea, small, bright, and with a fan, however they turned out to be not such a good idea, they vibrate, and after only 1 day 1 ballast strted to flicker, fan did not move enough air to cool it off, the radiator was too hot to touch, and that was inside the room, i'm pretty sure they would do worst under the hood close to hot engine.

i do not have any optical meter in my eyes, but even without it, i see this will blind the sht out of oncoming and leading drivers, the glare is obvious even on their ad picture.

i wonder why they never show how the lights look from 20 or so feet looking at the front of the car. the cut off is just one side of the story, and imo, it will still be present no matter what bulb\led you install. but that is not all there is to auto headlights.

h9 is the only replacment for h11 that maintanis correct beam, however their lifespan is shorter than of h11.
 

rdrfronty

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even if you do not get into legal part of the issue, these lights are crap, i have bought such bulbs, for use in a stationary light, it seemed like a good idea, small, bright, and with a fan, however they turned out to be not such a good idea, they vibrate, and after only 1 day 1 ballast strted to flicker, fan did not move enough air to cool it off, the radiator was too hot to touch, and that was inside the room, i'm pretty sure they would do worst under the hood close to hot engine.

i do not have any optical meter in my eyes, but even without it, i see this will blind the sht out of oncoming and leading drivers, the glare is obvious even on their ad picture.

i wonder why they never show how the lights look from 20 or so feet looking at the front of the car. the cut off is just one side of the story, and imo, it will still be present no matter what bulb\led you install. but that is not all there is to auto headlights.

h9 is the only replacment for h11 that maintanis correct beam, however their lifespan is shorter than of h11.
Thanks for the input. These are the answers I was looking for. I will stay away from them.
Is the Nighthawk platinums available in the H11 style? I'm not seeing them. I assume the H9 you refer are a step up powerwise due to the shorter lifespan? Do they come in the Nighthawks?
 

rdrfronty

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Guys if this helps, the vehicle I am referring to is a 14' Camaro SS. Non RS, meaning no HID's. Didn't care for the HID enabled RS model since it added chrome and other features I did not like. So stuck with no HID's.
The new 14' model has separate low and high beams, and DRL's. And driving/fog lights. As a note, the 14's are a total redesign headlight wise vs the 13' and older models.
Help me improve my lights while staying legal. Thanks.
According to the manual, it uses H11LL for low beams. H9LL for high beams. Can't figure out what the driving lights are yet.
 
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alpg88

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yes, they are 65w vs 55 for h11, you would also have to brake off 1 tab in the bulb socket easy done with either needlenose pliers or sheetrock knife, or both. not sure about availabuility of h9 nighthawks.
 

Alaric Darconville

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The new 14' model has separate low and high beams, and DRL's.
If they're not projector low beams, putting the H9 in may produce unacceptable amounts of glare.

And driving/fog lights.

Which one? It's not both. Most likely, they are billed as fog lamps and will still be no more than toys. If they use H11s, don't swap in H9s, and leave the lamps off anyway. If they use any other bulb, don't change the bulb, and leave the lamps off anyway.

Can't figure out what the driving lights are yet.

Unless they're actually "driving lights", that is, "auxiliary high beam lamps", they're fog lamps. Which means they're off. Leave them off. Don't use them. Ignore Chevrolet's website which shows a Camaro zooming down a highway on a clear night with the fog lamps on (such a scene should have included the overlaid disclaimer "Idiot driver. Do not use fog lamps in clear weather or at highway speeds"). This way, you'll never have to replace the bulb.

Side note: Just noticed the description on that picture "Concave lens for more efficient light dispersal". You don't want light from a headlamp to be dispersed, you want it to be focused. Someone, somewhere, however, is plunking down their hard earned money for this thing, maybe based on their desire for "more efficient light dispersal". Le sigh.
 
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rdrfronty

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If they're not projector low beams, putting the H9 in may produce unacceptable amounts of glare.



Which one? It's not both. Most likely, they are billed as fog lamps and will still be no more than toys. If they use H11s, don't swap in H9s, and leave the lamps off anyway. If they use any other bulb, don't change the bulb, and leave the lamps off anyway.



Unless they're actually "driving lights", that is, "auxiliary high beam lamps", they're fog lamps. Which means they're off. Leave them off. Don't use them. Ignore Chevrolet's website which shows a Camaro zooming down a highway on a clear night with the fog lamps on (such a scene should have included the overlaid disclaimer "Idiot driver. Do not use fog lamps in clear weather or at highway speeds"). This way, you'll never have to replace the bulb.

Side note: Just noticed the description on that picture "Concave lens for more efficient light dispersal". You don't want light from a headlamp to be dispersed, you want it to be focused. Someone, somewhere, however, is plunking down their hard earned money for this thing, maybe based on their desire for "more efficient light dispersal". Le sigh.
Thanks for the input. Chevy calls them "fog lamps". Please explain why they shouldn't be used. And yes I should have read here more before I posted, but you guys are bringing up more points and issues than I knew to look for before this thread. I tend to use fog lamps in my vehicles to assist in seeing the sides if the roads better. Meaning on dark country roads, in hopes of seeing a deer or possum sitting in the side of the road just waiting for my new car so that can commit suicide. In that manner they appear to help as long as the speeds arn't so extreme that you won't have time to react to the animal. At high speed, I'm sure their beam doesn't go down the road enough to benefit too much. So am I wrong in what I'm thinking for my intended use for the fog lamps?
So I understand the H9's are not a good choice for my low beams. Oh, as a side note my high beams appear to be pretty respectable. But driving on just low beams and no fog lamps with this new car, just feels like an accident waiting to happen on the dark country roads I often drive on. Very poor lighting. I might need to check their aim though.
So H11's in the low beams can be improved with Nighthawk Platinums or Extreme Visions, correct? And at no danger to my electrical system or to other drivers?
Also, can anybody give me a link for proper headlight aiming or give me a couple quick tips too? Again perhaps my new lights are on the low side for aim?
 

-Virgil-

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Chevy calls them "fog lamps".

They are indeed fog lamps.

Please explain why they shouldn't be used.

There's a comprehensive writeup based firmly in science here. The fog lamps really should almost never be turned on. They create the feeling of "better" seeing, but in fact they degrade your ability to see what you need to see -- more detail at the linked article. Any deer, possum, etc. your fog lamps light up that your headlamps don't, is far too close for you to do anything about.

You guys tend to be like a pack of rapid dogs about stuff like my post.

We do tend to run a tight ship here, which does sometimes require rapid action. Dogs? I don't know about that.

you guys are bringing up more points and issues than I knew to look for

And glad to do it. That's a big difference between this forum and others; on other forums any and all dumb/dangerous lighting modifications get big thumbs-ups as long as they look kewl and the advertising promotion sounds sexy. Here, we're adults about it: car lights are life safety equipment and they need to work correctly; most of the so-called "upgrades" (LED conversions, HID conversions, halo rings, LED strips, etc.) are unsafe and/or illegal, so even though it sometimes disappoints some posters, we point at the legitimate upgrades. The best H11 bulb on the market is the Philips Xtreme Vision; second choice would be a GE Night Hawk Platinum or Osram Night Breaker Plus. Any of these will be 100% compatible with your vehicle in every way, and will improve the headlamps' output but will have a shorter life than a standard bulb. H9 is not a definitely-no in the headlamps on a current-generation Camaro, but also not a definitely-yes; those headlamps are reflectors and not projectors, but they still have reasonably good control of light above horizontal. If they're aimed correctly (very crucial no matter what bulb is installed!), they probably will not produce unsafe or illegal levels of glare. But with H9, as with a high-output H11, bulb lifespan will be relatively short.

I might need to check their aim though.

Again, that's very important. Random adjustments to headlamp aim are the opposite of a safety improvement; there's the correct aim (for any particular lamp) and then there's any other setting, which is incorrect. See this link for in-depth headlamp aim discussion.

So I never seen these style LED's mentioned.

Have a look right here for detailed analysis.

As mechanical and LED standpoint - they ARE very interesting.

Not really...just another in a long, long line of illegitimate fakes, imitations, and safety hazards from a part of the world where that's what makes the cash roll in.

I had HID Projector retrofits installed in my reflector housings in my last vehicle [...]And don't even try knocking them - I KNOW those are safe and work excellent. Illegal - yes, work proper and safe - yes.

Illegal, yes. Work proper and safe, no, probably not -- see here. I'm sure you believe what you said, but sorry, unless you put those hacked headlamps through the applicable tests (photometry, vibration resistance, seal against dust/moisture entry, etc.) you don't KNOW anything of the sort. You're guessing/hoping/wishing/claiming, which is not the same as knowing. The safety performance of a headlamp cannot be judged by eye, because as humans our perceptions of how well we can see are in most cases wildly inaccurate. That's why vehicle lamps' performance is regulated, tested, and evaluated based on objective measurement, not based on "I drove with them, so I know they work great!".

Large high output Cree LEDs

Almost definitely counterfeit, but it doesn't matter -- even if they were real, this is not a legitimate, effective, or safe product.

Being legal was NOT the point of my thread.

There's no escaping the legal issue -- that's a big difference between flashlights and car lights, and it's why things work a little differently in this section of the board.
 
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Alaric Darconville

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Thanks for the input. Chevy calls them "fog lamps". Please explain why they shouldn't be used.

From an industry expert: http://www.danielsternlighting.com/tech/lights/fog_lamps/fog_lamps.html

Major thread here: http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb...How-many-of-you-actually-NEED-your-fog-lights

I tend to use fog lamps in my vehicles to assist in seeing the sides if the roads better. Meaning on dark country roads, in hopes of seeing a deer or possum sitting in the side of the road just waiting for my new car so that can commit suicide. In that manner they appear to help as long as the speeds arn't so extreme that you won't have time to react to the animal. At high speed, I'm sure their beam doesn't go down the road enough to benefit too much. So am I wrong in what I'm thinking for my intended use for the fog lamps?

They will oversaturate your foreground with light, such that your distance viewing is compromised. While fog lamps light a broader area, they won't help pick out large animals like deer except to help you tell exactly what large animal it is that you're going to strike.

Fog lamps are for very low speeds, creeping along so you can see that you're still actually on the road. Anything over 25mph is really too fast; and in clear weather they can only HINDER your seeing performance.

Fog lamps are genuinely for *fog*, but modern headlamps pretty much have obviated the need for fog lamps because of their wider beam and their glare control.
But driving on just low beams and no fog lamps with this new car, just feels like an accident waiting to happen on the dark country roads I often drive on. Very poor lighting. I might need to check their aim though.

You might *feel* like it's an accident waiting to happen-- but it's really just a feeling. Look a bit farther down the road, use high beams when necessary, dim your dashboard lights, and just be prepared.

Even a brand-new car can have poorly aimed lamps. The trouble is finding a competent place to get the aim done-- the dealer SHOULD have the right equipment and the right people to do it. (Should)


So I understand the H9's are not a good choice for my low beams. Oh, as a side note my high beams appear to be pretty respectable. So H11's in the low beams can be improved with Nighthawk Platinums or Extreme Visions, correct? And at no danger to my electrical system or to other drivers?



The Nighthawk Platinum or Philips Xtreme Vision would be the way to go-- buy on price; they should be similar enough in quality and performance. Replace in pairs and keep one of the old lamps as a spare-- then when (not if, but when, an NHP or PXV dies, they do have shorter life than standard bulbs and way shorter than the "LL" (long life) bulbs) then replace as pairs again. There are absolutely no thermal or electrical concerns with using either bulb. They get their higher intensity by more tightly-wound, precisely-placed, filaments. So long as they're aimed properly, there shouldn't be any problem for other drivers.

Also, can anybody give me a link for proper headlight aiming or give me a couple quick tips too? Again perhaps my new lights are on the low side for aim?

For aim: http://www.danielsternlighting.com/tech/aim/aim.html
 

-Virgil-

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dim your dashboard lights

This is a really good piece of advice. Even old-fashioned instrument clusters' relatively dim lighting can severely degrade a driver's ability to see road obstacles, and today's much brighter dashboards even more so. And it's not an obvious thing, because there's no painful glare involved. This is a point that's important but not intuitive; each and every source of light within the driver's field of view causes some disability glare (i.e., degradation of visual acuity), even if there's no discomfort involved. So yes, turn down the dashboard lights until they are just barely bright enough for you to see the gauges. It may seem unnerving at first, but quickly you'll notice a big improvement in your ability to see the outside world. By the same token, keep the windshield clean, inside and out.
 

alpg88

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can't really do it with gps screens, they alone can illuminate interior as small flashlight.

iirc in late 90s saab has such option on their cars, at 50mph all dash illumination would dim a lot, to almost off, the only thing still being illuminated was speedometer.
 

rdrfronty

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Alaric, thanks for all the points and suggestions. I will certainly look for the bulbs you suggested and minimize my use of my fog lamps. Only point I do have in dispute is the HID projector retrofits. After years of good trouble service to me, with only 1 apposing driver complaint (a flash), we'll just agree to disagree. Besides the vehicle is gone anyways, so moot point.
But I will concentrate on going the best legal method for my new car.
 

alpg88

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in cars that i had, i could shut off screens compleatly nav\ravio\back up cam.....etc, but i could not dim it, in some cars it is possible to change background color, it will make it a bit less bright, but still they are bright even than.
 

Alaric Darconville

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Alaric, thanks for all the points and suggestions.

You're quite welcome!

I will certainly look for the bulbs you suggested and minimize my use of my fog lamps.

Excellent-- good bulbs and proper lamp usage goes quite a long way in improving and maintaining driver safety.

Only point I do have in dispute is the HID projector retrofits. After years of good trouble service to me, with only 1 apposing driver complaint (a flash), we'll just agree to disagree.
Anecdotes are not data, and lack of positive reinforcement does not mean the other drivers weren't disturbed, they just didn't want to let you know.

If the low beams are that obnoxious, I'm not going to invite their high beams upon me. Most people flash others when they believe those persons high-beams are on inappropriately. When it's clear that they're just ill-aimed low beams, or outright misconfigured low beams, they're not as likely to flash.

It could also mean those low beams were aimed so low so as to provide rudimentary glare control, that your seeing distance was greatly shortened. Or, it could be one of those super-duper-extremely-rare-as-to-be-nonexistent retrofits that was done as perfectly as humanly possible, using genuine OEM parts (and certainly not "Morimoto"), but ultimately destined to failure due to vibration, moisture ingress, lack of moisture egress, or any other number of things. But, that car's history, so tabula rasa and all that.

But I will concentrate on going the best legal method for my new car.

Then stick around, and learn more! I think by following the recommendations we've put out there for you, your night-driving experience will be more relaxing, enjoyable, and safer.
 
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