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Thread: Is There Hope for Proper LED Retrofits in Headlamps ?

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    Default Is There Hope for Proper LED Retrofits in Headlamps ?

    Read this today, in a DVN report about the activities of the SAE Lighting Group.

    ...A new [SAE] task force is working on devising technical provisions for LED retrofit light sources (i.e., "LED bulbs" designed to replace halogen bulbs in headlamps). No such task force was ever convened for "HID retrofits", which are basically technically impossible to do in a safe and effective manner. But there is enough R&D momentum toward genuinely functional LED retrofits, and there are enough bogus products flooding the market, that such a task force is warranted.

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    Default Re: Is There Hope for Proper LED Retrofits in Headlamps ?

    Cool! People have been waiting for something like this for a long time.

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    Flashaholic GaryM's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is There Hope for Proper LED Retrofits in Headlamps ?

    Will be great if they can do it.

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    Moderator Alaric Darconville's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is There Hope for Proper LED Retrofits in Headlamps ?

    If only the standards had been defined and the laws updated before the flood of bogus products came out.

    This is a great step, but it still doesn't spell the end of the crap being sold in stores near you. However, it should at least ensure that out of all those toys there ARE actual legitimate products out there. Remember, there are standards for replaceable light sources such as the HB4 and HB3 and H7, but that didn't stop (or prevent) the existence of the IPF Fatboy and other toy bulb-shaped products.

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    Default Re: Is There Hope for Proper LED Retrofits in Headlamps ?

    SAE is also addressing the issue of headlamp lens degradation.

    The [SAE] Headlamp Lens Durability task force is coodinating tests with different lens materials (polycarbonate, acrylic) with and without annealing, and different coatings, to get a handle on ways to bring headlamp lens durability more in line with the long service life of modern cars and LED headlamps.

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    Default Re: Is There Hope for Proper LED Retrofits in Headlamps ?

    Quote Originally Posted by SubLGT View Post
    SAE is also addressing the issue of headlamp lens degradation.
    This is one thing that greatly concerns me.... when the plastic lenses cannot outlast a light bulb and costs 20x the price of a bulb someone didn't really give it much thought in engineering and manufacturing design unless they considered the profit from selling new headlights every 5-10 years on cars into their margins. Someone needs to start a business selling covers for headlamps to protect them from damage that are cheaply replaceable so instead of having to pay hundreds of dollars for new headlights you can spend $20 for a new cover every so often.
    Last edited by Lynx_Arc; 05-18-2017 at 10:50 AM.
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    Moderator Alaric Darconville's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is There Hope for Proper LED Retrofits in Headlamps ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Arc View Post
    This is one thing that greatly concerns me.... when the plastic lenses cannot outlast a light bulb and costs 20x the price of a bulb someone didn't really give it much thought in engineering and manufacturing design unless they considered the profit from selling new headlights every 5-10 years on cars into their margins.
    No, they put the thought into engineering and manufacturing a lens that satisfied the rather lax standards of the law.

    Someone needs to start a business selling covers for headlamps to protect them from damage that are cheaply replaceable so instead of having to pay hundreds of dollars for new headlights you can spend $20 for a new cover every so often.
    They sell those covers, but they need to be removed every time you drive because even the very clearest ones seriously degrade headlamp performance.
    And actual replaceable lenses designed by the factory would require so much effort in resealing the lamp and all that, that it wouldn't be worth it.

    The topic is LED retrofits, not headlamp lens degradation. Let's all (even the OP) stay on that topic.

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    Default Re: Is There Hope for Proper LED Retrofits in Headlamps ?

    There have been posts/links to what seem to be genuine Philips LED headlight replacement bulbs, not the fog light versions that are noted as available on the Philips USA site. Is there a reason there is such a delay to the US? I'd be eager to get one, as opposed to the ones which are available from less well respected brands....

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    Default Re: Is There Hope for Proper LED Retrofits in Headlamps ?

    Quote Originally Posted by jzchen View Post
    There have been posts/links to what seem to be genuine Philips LED headlight replacement bulbs
    Yes...please read those threads, where the reasons for what you call a "delay" are discussed in great detail. A (very) few of the best of the name-brand (Philips/Osram) LED retrofit bulbs work acceptably -- not well, not great, but acceptably -- in some headlamps. They are definitely not a drop-in that works (or even fits) in all/any headlamps that take whatever kind of bulb they purport to replace. And they're illegal no matter how well they work.

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    Default Re: Is There Hope for Proper LED Retrofits in Headlamps ?

    Quote Originally Posted by -Virgil- View Post
    Yes...please read those threads, where the reasons for what you call a "delay" are discussed in great detail. A (very) few of the best of the name-brand (Philips/Osram) LED retrofit bulbs work acceptably -- not well, not great, but acceptably -- in some headlamps. They are definitely not a drop-in that works (or even fits) in all/any headlamps that take whatever kind of bulb they purport to replace. And they're illegal no matter how well they work.
    Thank you for reminding me Virgil. You have jogged my memory, which seems to be getting poorer and poorer as I get older. Makes perfect sense.

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    Default Re: Is There Hope for Proper LED Retrofits in Headlamps ?

    Still a work in progress: http://standards.sae.org/wip/j3145/

    Forward Lighting LED Substitute Light Sources for Halogen Light Sources

    ...The technology of high power LED packages has progressed to a level where applications involving LED Substitute Light Sources as Equivalents for corresponding RID filament light sources is becoming technically feasible. The SAE document is intended to describe the industry best practice in specifying such replaceable LED light sources...
    What does the acronym "RID" stand for?

  12. #12

    Default Re: Is There Hope for Proper LED Retrofits in Headlamps ?

    "Road" "Illumination" "Devices". Headlamps, fog lamps, and that kind of thing.

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    Flashaholic Marcturus's Avatar
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    Default Osram got their H7 NB-LED a legal stamp in Germany (restrictions apply!)

    RHT only, LB function only, 6000K, only legal in listed cars and headlights.

    https://www.osram.de/am/night-breaker-led/index.jsp
    https://www.amazon.de/gp/product/B08DNZMC11

    Please don't just dump your unused, worthless stocks of NOS 65W H7 Rally now; instead, donate them to me!
    Last edited by Marcturus; 10-01-2020 at 01:15 PM.

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    Moderator Alaric Darconville's Avatar
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    Default Re: Osram got their H7 NB-LED a legal stamp in Germany (restrictions apply!)

    Interesting that they are attempting to sell only to people with the right vehicle and headlamp assembly (by walling in the purchase link).

    I'm not sure how it works with UNECE signatories and individual nations' laws. Maybe it's not quite like our own rules where FMVSS 108 should reign supreme over state requirements or prohibitions of federally-mandated or federally-regulated lighting equipment.

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    Flashaholic Marcturus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Osram got their H7 NB-LED a legal stamp in Germany (restrictions apply!)

    Once the product is available (next week?), buying won't be the problem. But printing out the required valid official document to carry along and present will require entering factual data. Osram might be using a national technical clause "exceptions due to technical progress" for equipment to be used in UNECE regulated hardware. Interesting, to say the least.

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    Moderator Alaric Darconville's Avatar
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    Default Re: Osram got their H7 NB-LED a legal stamp in Germany (restrictions apply!)

    Quote Originally Posted by Marcturus View Post
    But printing out the required valid official document to carry along and present will require entering factual data.
    Oh, I misread the first time. I thought they were restricting the sales (and also still requiring the paperwork itself). D'oh!
    Last edited by Alaric Darconville; 10-01-2020 at 02:15 PM. Reason: Oops, I was wrong!

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    Default Re: Osram got their H7 NB-LED a legal stamp in Germany (restrictions apply!)

    It does go to show the problem with these drop-ins. They need to work correctly in EVERY H7 lamp they put them in; that it works only in a subset of H7 lamps means there's a design flaw. A true replacement for an H7 would be H7 lamp assembly agnostic.

    In this particular case, maybe they DO, but these were the only lamp assemblies tested by the approval authorities, but it's possible some lamp assemblies were found incompatible and that's why the list is the way it is.

  18. #18

    Default Re: Osram got their H7 NB-LED a legal stamp in Germany (restrictions apply!)

    Updated with new knowledge:

    I made an inquiry and learned that the listed headlamps were tested with the Osram H7 "LED bulb" and found to produce a beam pattern that complies with UN Regulation 112's requirements. This was apparently enough for Germany's equivalent of the NHTSA to decide that bulb is OK in those headlamps. This OK only extends to the German border, because the "LED bulbs" are not type-approved light sources and so while any UNECE country can have national regs laxer than the UNECE reg (much like any state can have state regs laxer than FMVSS 108), no country can have national regs stricter than the UNECE reg.

    It's worth noting Germany's traffic and vehicle safety authority has a history of interpreting and applying the rules and regulations in ways that are favorable to local (German) companies. This thing with the "LED bulb" is pretty minor, but they also issued whole-vehicle type approvals for Audis with sequential turn signals and for BMW motorcyles with Xenon headlamps, both in contravention of UN Regulations, and then every other country was forced to accept these non-compliant turn signals and motorcycles because challenging a type approval is a long, difficult process and the odds of success are slim. Then the German representatives in the UN Regulation lighting work group argued that they should be allowed because after all, there were already vehicles on the roads with them, so really, they had no choice but to change the regs to say they were OK.

    It's also worth noting that UN Regulation 112, just like FMVSS 108, allows a huge range of headlight performance. The reg is not a good/bad threshold, it's a legal/illegal threshold. It is entirely possible (and fairly likely) that the headlamps on the list perform worse with the "LED bulb" than with a standard H7 bulb, let alone a high-performance H7 bulb. Or maybe not...data would be needed. Perhaps there will be some, someday.
    Last edited by -Virgil-; 10-02-2020 at 06:22 PM.

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    Default Re: Is There Hope for Proper LED Retrofits in Headlamps ?

    An update from DVN:

    https://www.drivingvisionnews.com/ad...kd-by-germany/

    Another highly interesting subject at the meeting was that of LED retrofits for halogen headlight bulbs. Extensive work is ongoing toward the development of J3145, SAE’s first-ever standard for such replacement light sources—just as similar activities are under way within the technical standards development sphere in the UN Regulatory world. New voices were heard from during these SAE meetings, as certain high-end aftermarket LED bulb makers were invited to share their perspective and expertise. Some of these companies have been doing intriguing work not only on optimising the optical compatibility of their LED bulbs with headlamps meant to take halogen bulbs, but also on other aspects of compatibility

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