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Thread: Past the end of the line for GE Night Hawk sealed beams

  1. #1

    Default Past the end of the line for GE Night Hawk sealed beams

    GE shut down its last sealed beam manufacturing plant a few years ago. I was curious to watch what would happen after they ran out of built-up stocks. Would they just drop the product line completely? Would they do like Wagner and start selling the Eiko junk?

    Today I took a look at the GE Night Hawk 7-inch round sealed beam (not the actual lamp; I looked here), and...yeah, there have been some pretty big changes!

    1st/top pic: the small part of the lamp visible through the box cutout looks very different from what it used to look like.

    2nd and 3rd pics down: ditto.

    4th pic: this is what this lamp has always looked like.

    5th pic: whoah, totally different lens optics, not like any other 7" sealed beam I've ever seen. Those tall vertical spreader flutes are usually a feature of H4 lamps.

    6th pic: A-hah. Zoom in on it. Notice "Made in China" (Hello, Amazon? Your description still says made in USA) and all three terminals are bent/out of position, real nice. To be fair, physical damage like that can happen anywhere along the line from production to the end-user's hands, and it's probably not GE's own pic.

    7th pic: compare to 4th pic. Not at all the same light.

    I checked the large rectangular GE Night Hawk sealed beam (here) and yep, that's got a new and different lens on it, too.

    I have no idea what kind of bulb might be inside these new sealed beams. I'm halfway tempted to buy some and look at them. Who knows, maybe I'd be pleasantly surprised, though I think the odds are against it.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Past the end of the line for GE Night Hawk sealed beams

    G-E recently sold off their lighting headquarters to a company that's into smart home systems. While the light bulbs will still be branded as G-E for awhile under license, they've officially washed their hands of the light bulb business. These changes are bound to affect a number of industries including automotive.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Past the end of the line for GE Night Hawk sealed beams

    How will the sale of GE Lighting affect their automotive bulb line? Should we be stocking up on GE Nighthawk Xenons before they switch production to China?

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    Default Re: Past the end of the line for GE Night Hawk sealed beams

    I think it's going to depend on whether Savant Systems sees any value in keeping it going. Since they're a smart home company they might develop some integrations with smart bulbs, but the automotive market doesn't have that same opportunity. Time will tell.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Past the end of the line for GE Night Hawk sealed beams

    Whoah, hit the brakes, you took the wrong road! :-) "GE Lighting" and "GE Automotive Lighting" are not one and the same entities. The smart home thing has nothing at all to do with what's happening to GE automotive lighting. There was a detailed explanation in the Driving Vision News not long ago, but basically GE's car bulbs have been migrated to the Tungsram brand (Tungsram was founded in Hungary many decades ago and has had a relationship with GE since the Iron Curtain fell, or maybe even before.) GE, having long sourced a large proportion of its auto bulbs for the North American market from Tungsram's very good Hungarian factories, finally sold the whole of the US operation to Tungsram, and Tungsram North America is now making a very aggressive market push to try to beat back the lock Sylvania seems to have on the North American aftermarket. The GE Night Hawk headlight bulbs are now Tungsram Night Hawk headlight bulbs. The good stuff's not going anywhere; if anything if the push succeeds it's likely to get easier to get.

    I don't really blame anyone for today's sealed beam product landscape. It is what it is, a result of the demand/supply/price curves. Most American-made sealed beams have been poor for years, because there's just not enough market for sealed beams any more to quickly pay back investment in new or improved tooling. And "made in China" doesn't necessarily mean "...poorly". Could be a new or newer owned plant in China, could be a Chinese company doing a good job.

    Back to the subject of the sealed beams that started this thread: I still have seen only pictures, but in the pictures the new/Chinese lens has a high-quality appearance in the optics and markings; it looks like a lamp made with new tooling, not somebody's worn-out discards. And I think it's got to be an all-new prescription; I've never seen one quite like that before.
    Last edited by -Virgil-; 06-01-2020 at 12:21 PM.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Past the end of the line for GE Night Hawk sealed beams

    Quote Originally Posted by -Virgil- View Post
    The GE Night Hawk headlight bulbs are now Tungsram Night Hawk headlight bulbs. The good stuff's not going anywhere; if anything if the push succeeds it's likely to get easier to get.
    Great to hear that, hopefully this will also mean we'll be able to get Night Hawk bulbs at more competitive prices.

    Interestingly, on Amazon a search for 'Tungsram Night Hawk' brings up three LED sealed beam headlamps. Are these any good? The prices are tempting.

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    Default Re: Past the end of the line for GE Night Hawk sealed beams

    Thanks for the clarification Virgil. That's good news.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Past the end of the line for GE Night Hawk sealed beams

    Quote Originally Posted by jaycee88 View Post
    on Amazon a search for 'Tungsram Night Hawk' brings up three LED sealed beam headlamps. Are these any good? The prices are tempting.
    Those are rebranded Maxxima units from Taiwan. Haven't tested these newer Maxxima designs, and they're different enough from the previous Korean-made Maxxima lights that I wouldn't want to try to generalize a guess.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Past the end of the line for GE Night Hawk sealed beams

    Sad end to the guessing game:

    So I got a new Chinese-made H6054NH large rectangular sealed beam and lit it up. It's awful! The American-made H6054NH was a quite respectable headlamp for what it was, but this one produces dim, brown light that looks like an old pre-halogen sealed beam. No focus is apparent, just weirdly-shaped blobs, blotches and streaks of light. It might comply with FMVSS 108, but its output has the look of being designed by someone who didn't know what they were doing. As far as build quality goes, it looks OK, but this by-guess-and-by-gosh comparison of sealed beams found the Chinese 7" large round version very fragile (and also lousy in output).

    Yuck! :-(

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    Default Re: Past the end of the line for GE Night Hawk sealed beams

    This is sad. 😢
    There are two kinds of light - the glow that illumines, and the glare that obscures. ~James Thurber

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    Default Re: Past the end of the line for GE Night Hawk sealed beams

    With JW Speaker units available, I don't see it the same way...

    Look for the light at the end of the tunnel...

    Sent from my moto g(7) power using Tapatalk

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Past the end of the line for GE Night Hawk sealed beams

    Quote Originally Posted by Hamilton Felix View Post
    This is sad. 😢
    Quote Originally Posted by jzchen View Post
    With JW Speaker units available, I don't see it the same way...
    Except the JW Speaker units are well out of so many people's price range. Nor are they on shelves at the local Wal-Mart or AutoZone.

    For those people with older cars, or fleet operators, there's still a need to cheaply and effectively replace burned out lamps, and the sealed beam unit they get needs to be at least as good as the one it replaced. Worse, the newer packaging and the distinctly different lenses on them may draw someone to buy them instead of older (but better) stock.

    Good sealed beam units becoming less and less available while there is still a demand for them is a bad thing.

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