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LED Headlights

Discussion in 'Performance Lighting' started by DjDom, October 17, 2014.

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    1. DjDom

      DjDom Moderator Emeritus

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      Hey all,

      What does everyone think of LED headlamps? I've always loved LEDs and the technology is taking off lately.
      They require a ballast like HIDs, but I think they would work better in reflector housings, since they seem to focus their light a bit better.
      http://www.ebay.ca/itm/New-72w-6400...Parts_Accessories&hash=item2a45b2d24a&vxp=mtr

      Anyone try them yet? I would, but for $100, I rather wait until they drop in price a bit. HID kits go for $50 now.
       
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    3. DjDom

      DjDom Moderator Emeritus

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      Side thought, I'd love to hear [MENTION=3663]Anime[/MENTION] 's opinion on this. Since we both dislike HIDs in reflector housings.
       
    4. Flash

      Flash Well-Known Member

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      I'd like to know too. Generally LEDs have a very bright, clean light but not a lot of penetration.
      And those ones link are too expensive to just buy to try out.

      And then what if it turns out that they don't work well in standard reflectors?

      Btw, HIDs don't work well in reflectors because of the shape of the light kernel, the reflector is designed for a different shape.
       
    5. Anime

      Anime EF YEAH!! Elite Explorer

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      Putting LEDs into headlamp housings designed for halogen bulbs is just as dumb as putting in fake "HID" bulbs or even sticking in real HID bulbs.

      The reason for this is physics - the optics of traditional filament bulbs and reflectors that spread the light work with the filament of the bulb being a point source - a tiny center point of light. HIDs are a huge (comparatively) arc of light - not a point source as small as a filament, so until they shrink the HID arc to the size of the filament in a halogen bulb (they will, don't worry), you need a housing and reflector that is made for the source of the light, either a filament or an arc. Putting one type of bulb inside the housing made for the other results in poor dispersion and unsafe glare because the source isn't the right size or in the right location for the reflector to work as designed.

      LEDs are something else entirely - they also have the distinct characteristic of being directional, since they are a diode mounted on a base. You'll notice all these gimmick "bulbs" made up of cheap LEDs stick them on 2 or 4 sides plus the front because of this. However, an LED putting out light in 3 or even 5 directions is not even close to what a real reflector needs to work with a light source. Most of the light that a reflector uses for halogen and HID bulbs is the light going in the direction of the reflector - almost all of it back from the 90 degree angle LEDs are stuck on these "bulbs" at. So, sticking bulb assembles with LEDs on them into halogen housings might get you two little dots that will possibly look like DRLs or weird parking lights, but won't be close to the amount or dispersion of light for use as headlights.

      The LED headlights that are on most new vehicles these days just use multiple LEDs that project the light directly forward - no reflectors used at all.

      If you want LED headlights, the best two options are retrofitting the headlight assembly from a modern vehicle that comes from the factory with LED headlights, or getting some of the (slightly expensive) aftermarket round or rectangular "universal" style from Truck-Lite or JW Speaker:

      http://www.amazon.com/Truck-Lite-27...qid=1413560105&sr=1-30&keywords=led+headlight

      http://www.amazon.com/JW-SPEAKER-JW...qid=1413560141&sr=1-55&keywords=led+headlight
       
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    6. DjDom

      DjDom Moderator Emeritus

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      I'm going to have to disagree a little with your LED statement.
      I hate HIDs since they glare like hell in reflector housings, but they are awesome with projectors.

      As for the LED. Click the link to the ones I showed you, they aren't the cheap LEDs with 5 on the bulb.
      These are a single LED, the is aimed upwards, and seems to be aimed at the exact location of the 9007 low beam filament.
      Upon switching to high beams, it moves the entire bulb to aim the LED at the High beam section of the reflector.
      I feel as though these wouldn't glare as much, since the placement of the LED seems about right.
       
    7. 1996BLKBauer

      1996BLKBauer Well-Known Member

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      Now that's neat, I almost want to try, but then again projector retrofits.... oh the options.
       
    8. Anime

      Anime EF YEAH!! Elite Explorer

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      Sticking gimmick HID bulbs in a projector housing designed for halogen bulbs gives the illusion of being "awesome" because projectors have a sharper cutoff than regular reflector housings (especially those with fluted lenses). While they might be slightly less terrible, they are still poor compared to sticking the proper bulb into the proper housing designed for it.

      The thing really worth noting is that it is against the law to put on an HID kit and stick HID bulbs into a housing that is designed for halogen bulbs.


      I've looked at the "HID" bulb, it doesn't matter how the LED is aimed - it's not a point source. The LED is a large dot of light, many, many times larger than the tiny, tiny, tiny point source of a filament. This may not seem like a big deal, but it is. The much, much larger source of light acting as a source for the reflector might give a beam of light, but it will be unfocused, and probably closer to an uneven blob of light in front of the vehicle, rather than a bright, focused, clear beam of light that is aimed on the ground.

      That's pretty cool if the LED mount rotates so it can aim at different parts of the reflector, but it doesn't get around the basic problem, that the LED isn't small enough to be a point source and work with the reflector as designed.

      As for "The placement of the LED seems about right" - the placement of a halogen filament has to be just about perfect with respect to the reflector to get an even, focused beam that the reflector is designed for, with the correct amount of throw to the sides and out in front. Merely being off by a millimeter can change the beam from being perfectly focused, to being off more than enough to cause glare or just shift the beam in the opposite direction.

      To have a big, large LED the size of 25-50+ filaments in place of a single filament be "about the right size" is like saying a tree is "about the right size" to hit a target instead of an arrow. It'll hit it all right, but it ignores the precision inherent in the design and the desired precision in the outcome. You can get a big, giant blob of unfocused light by sticking a bulb in front of a reflector, sure, if you want to just have light go everywhere and use them off-road. The whole point of automotive headlights is to have a precise, focused beam that aims down on the road in front of the vehicle, both because it's the most efficient use of the available light, and so they can be used without blinding other drivers.

      Those LED "bulbs", just like the "HID" bulbs, are total crap, just junk made in China to be sold to idiots all over the world who don't understand basic physics and optics and think automotive lighting works on wishful thinking.
       
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    9. 1996BLKBauer

      1996BLKBauer Well-Known Member

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      After speaking with my Audio/aftermarket anything guy who I am very good friends with, he told me that yes the LEDs are cool, but they are not as bright as HIDs, and he personally thinks they are less bright then his original bulbs he had in is Chevy Cruize. Plus just like how Anime explained they don't project the light right at all. I personally had the experience to see real LED head lights on a newer Audi, and HOLY SMOKES BATMAN!!! they are amazing. thumbs up to the cool guy at the Walmart parking lot for showing me his car, lol.
       
    10. stillmarried

      stillmarried Member

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      Precisoin LED

      Purchased a set of LED headlights for my Explorer after reading all the post above. Cost was $139 for the set from Precision LED company. Lights have the ballast and a connector that fits into the existing wire harness. You can not put the dust covers back over the light casing. Lumen rating was 3200 for the LED bulbs vs about 900 lumen for original halogen bulbs.
      Results are better lighting, whiter lighting, as well as better lighting on the sides of the vehicle. Distance of lighting is better also.
      I appreciate the concerns about physics and optics of LED bulbs, but my point is that halogen lights are not satisfactory at night, replaced with LED bulbs, and I can see much better now and feel safer accordingly. I agree that I am taking some risk, but for now I have a solution to the problem.
      Will follow up down the road on how reliable these LEDs are as well as any impact of not being able to put on the dust covers over the rear housing.
       
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    11. BrianDye

      BrianDye I'll have another...

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      I have tried a set of the LED's in my foglight housings. I can't compare foglight outputs to a headlight housing obviously, but I can say they are junk. Stock fogs with one broken lens had way more output than these LEDs with brand new foglight housings.

      I forget the wattage/lumens mine were rated at, but they were supposed to be comparable to a 55w HID kit, and way brighter than standard halogen bulbs. They were not.

      Also, one of mine after less than probably 200 hours of total use has probably less than half the output of when they were new. I bought the set that has the ballast and fan built into the back of the bulb.
      Another big con is the fact that when they're turned on, I lose about 90% of my FM reception. This was a common note in almost all the reviews when I looked at them. (I use Spotify on my phone anyways, so that wasn't an issue for me)
       
    12. BatDoctor

      BatDoctor Member

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      i would be leary of doing this (leaving the dust cap off) as it seals the lense form not only dust but moisture as well. its very possible that you on a rainy day could end up with limited sight distance form the outer carbonite lense fogging up and diminishing the projection of light, not to mention the irritation of dust build up inside the housing. I had similar issues with a set of aftermarket Chevy impala headlights, it drove me nuts trying to find and repair the areas that water was getting into the assembly. One car wash and I found out how after market they were...
      Just my 2 bits worth.
       
    13. stillmarried

      stillmarried Member

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      Good day to you BatDoctor: Update: there is an orange O-ring at the rear of the lamp assembly that keeps the dirt and moisture out when the lamp is seated into the headlight housing. Never had any debris or moisture on the headlight assembly after driving a year in rain and snow, temperature down to 4 degrees F, and I washed off the engine compartment twice with soap and a hose.
       
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    14. diesel_s

      diesel_s Active Member

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      Aftermarket plug and play anything is not the way to go. Once you install an aftermarket bulb such a HID or LED bulb into a housing it is not designed for you then become a hazard to yourself and other drivers. LED seems brighter upon first impressions, but it doesn't project well. What you see when you first install a LED kit is a lot of foreground, not much distance. Which is also what usually happens with HID bulbs. If you want to improve your lighting correctly, you will need to take the additional steps and actually doing a projector retrofit with quality parts, whether it is OEM projectors such as the 3G TL, LS460, Honda S2K and so forth or quality aftermarket projectors such as Morimoto's D2S 4.0, FXR 3.0, Mini H1 7.0 and so forth.
       
    15. mjlkwolfe@gmail.

      mjlkwolfe@gmail. eco boost fan Elite Explorer

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      I have a 2016 Explorer Sport. It has LED low beam headlights & halogen high beams
      I am 72 years old & really appreciate the LED low beam lighting
      when I turn on high beams the light is much yellower & not nearly as bright
      Ford should have used LEDS for both the low & high beams
      I see the 2018 Explorer platinum has LED high beams
      Wish there was an acceptable aftermarket LED kit that truly worked well
      Has anyone replaced the high beams with an LED kit & been happy with the results
       
    16. peterk9

      peterk9 Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      Welcome to the Forum.:wave:
      Although it isn't a good idea to install LED in a housing designed for Halogen bulbs due to 'light scatter', there are members who have done so and appear to be happy with the results. Found this thread using the Forum's 'Search' feature; http://www.explorerforum.com/forums/index.php?threads/led-headlight-conversions.435075/

      Peter
       
    17. stillmarried

      stillmarried Member

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      I checked the manual and on page 295, the high beam is a 9005LL/55w bulb is specified. I have a Precision LED bulbs that I pulled out of my 2015 Limited that were replacements for the 9005 halogen bulbs. As soon as my 2017 Limited is repaired for the exhaust leak problem, I will try the LED bulbs in the high beams and let you know how they work.
       
      Last edited by a moderator: August 17, 2017
    18. stillmarried

      stillmarried Member

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      I replaced the OEM halogen high-beam bulbs with Precision brand LED bulbs. The LEDs are brighter, whiter, and I will estimate that reflective road signs are 15-20% brighter with the LED bulbs.
      I also followed up with Precision on the 2015 Explorer LED bulbs fitting in a 2016/2017 Explorer and there were no problems.
      Hope this helps.
       
    19. fshskjp

      fshskjp New Member

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      If you are using the LEDs in your factory halogen style housing, you'll get a BETTER cut-off then if you used someone elses LED lights in your housing. The LED's also have a ballast, similar to HIDs only they don't require you to get power from the battery. it's plug and play.
       
    20. fshskjp

      fshskjp New Member

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      I have changed my halogen headlights in the past, Scattered beam but nicely throw on the road. Bright white somewhat yellow ish in there which it helps on visibility in rain or wet conditions.
       

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