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3rd Gen HID vs LED vs Halogen H11 projector headlights

Discussion in '3rd Gen. Tacomas (2016+)' started by crashnburn80, Jan 25, 2019.

  1. Jan 25, 2019 at 2:35 AM
    #1
    crashnburn80

    crashnburn80 [OP] Vehicle Design Engineer

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    3rd Gen Tacoma HID vs LED vs Halogen H11 projector headlights

    This thread covers upgrading the 3rd gen Tacoma H11 headlights and looking at the differences between HID, LED and Halogen light sources for use in the Tacoma projector.

    zyZskY2XRbSd10ZEiK8yHA.jpg
    Left to right: Stock Osram H11, GE +130 H11, Osram H9, XD Pro LED, XD HID, XD Philips HID

    Warning: There is a lot of educational heavy info in this thread. Lots of pictures at the end too for those that prefer visuals with graph output comparisons.

    Baseline
    First, lets cover why your headlights are terrible. Stock bulbs leave a lot to be desired, but this poor performance is actually somewhat by design. Toyota and nearly all OEMs intentionally put poor performing halogen bulbs in your stock headlights. The obvious question to ask is why?! Low performing ‘standard’ or ‘long life’ bulbs last a very long time, but in doing so trade off for lower output. When you increase the output of a halogen bulb the life decreases. Most vehicle manufactures rather not hassle their customers with more frequent bulb changes, which may also negatively affect the perceived quality of their newly purchased vehicle. Many consumers would rather have lower performing lights that last a very long time rather than deal with the inconvenience of more frequent bulb changes. So rather than putting good performing bulbs in which have a reduced life span, the OEMs opt for bulbs with the longest life span, at the expense to output. Your perception that the stock lights are underwhelming is correct, so what can you do about it?

    The 3rd Gen Tacoma is equipped with factory H11 halogen projectors. A common belief is that the light source does not necessarily matter since the projector housing’s internal light shield will control glare, unlike halogen reflectors found on previous generation Tacomas. While it is true the projectors light shield will provide clean cut offs for glare control, that does not mean that all light sources perform the same in the halogen assembly. There is much more to performance lighting optics than glare control and lumen output. A brighter light source does not necessarily equate to better output.

    To better evaluate headlight performance, it helps to have a basic understanding of how headlight halogen optics work. Halogen optics are precision engineered to collect and concentrate an omni-directional light source from a very specific position within the center of the assembly and focus it into a hot spot to project the light over distance down road. In order to achieve good performance in a halogen assembly, the light must be omni-directional to utilize the full collective surface of the projector's internal reflector to provide the designed full uniform beam pattern, and the light source must be as small as a halogen wire filament and at the precise center of the housing to have focus, as this is where the headlight assembly is designed to collect and concentrate the light from. Shrinking the light source further causes the focus to increase which provides higher intensity output to project light further without requiring more lumen output from the light source. Inversely, growing the size of the light source causes focus to be diluted, which reduces intensity and reduces distance projection.

    The different light sources

    Halogen
    As mentioned the standard or long life bulbs which vehicles come with from the factory are on the low end of the performance spectrum, this does not mean the low output is due to the headlight being a halogen, it is due to the low performing bulb used. So what are some better halogen options? For the H11 bulb you effectively have either high efficiency performance stock wattage halogens or a high output H9 bulb adapted to an H11 plug.

    High output H9

    An H9 halogen bulb is a significant output upgrade over the standard H11. The standard 55w H11 is 1200 lumens, a 65w H9 will boost that to 2100 lumens. The mild increase in power draw is easily handled by the Tacomas headlight circuit. Light color temperature and beam pattern will be identical to the stock standard bulb, just significantly brighter. H9s are standard bulbs, they are not designed to enhance focus or extend distance projection. As a high beam bulb, the standard H9 is optimized for output, it will have a much shorter bulb life than a standard H11. While a standard H11 is rated at 1000 hours, the H9 is rated at roughly 250 hours. The H9 will mount into the Tacoma headlight assembly, however the plug will not fit without modification to the bulb. There is an internal tab on the bulb that must be shaved down to fit the plug. It only takes a couple minutes with a small knife to make it plug and play.

    High efficiency performance H11 bulbs

    Recall that shrinking the light source enhances performance. The halogen filament is already small, but every leading lighting manufacture is working to shrink it further in high efficiency bulbs leading to increased intensity, better focus, hotter hot spot and increased distance projection. These bulbs are designated with a +xxx rating, such as +120 or +130. While they do not actually put out much more raw light than a standard bulb, their enhanced focus may put out 100%+ more light on the roadway where you need it. Here is an article from Philips explaining how this works. The difference in a standard filament vs performance filament is in small fractions of a millimeter, yet it will drastically change headlight performance from poor to outstanding. This precision engineering can cause a 1200 lumen halogen bulb to outperform a 2100 lumen H9 halogen bulb, not because of output, but because of focus. So while the 2100 lumen bulb puts out more light, the precision optics of the high efficacy bulb are specifically design to more effectively utilize the optics to generate superior output. Raw lighting power is nothing if not embracing the designed engineering optics to most effectively utilize it. There are trade offs though, the higher demands placed on the smaller precision filament lead to reduced bulb life over standard bulbs and possibly even shorter than H9 bulbs. Halogen output also does reduce over the life of the bulb, end of life many bulbs may produce 80% of what they did new. The greater the output is enhanced, the further you can expect bulb life to be reduced.

    Note on blue coated bulbs

    The vast majority of halogen output is long wavelength yellow light, which is why they have a yellow hue. Halogens produce very little blue light. In order to make a halogen appear whiter, many products like Silverstar will place a blue coating on the bulb to filter out the yellow light to allow the blue light to be more prevalent. Unfortunately since the bulk of the halogen spectrum is yellow, and the blue filter removes yellow light, you end up filtering out the bulk of the light output so that the minority of your light output has a greater influence on the color temperature. This causes significant losses in output and for the bulb to run hotter leading to reduced lifespan. If looking to increase output, coatings should be avoided. Some manufactures place coatings in proximity to the filament on the bulb, but don’t cover it, so that the edge of the pattern has a whiter hue without overly negatively affecting performance. This does not have the same loss effect as covering the filament, though no coating is better. Performance high efficiency halogens will be a little whiter than stock, but it will still be in the mid 3000k range. A halogen will not be in the 4000k+ range without a performance robbing coating.

    Higher Voltage

    Halogen output is nearly exponentially related to voltage. That is to say small changes in voltage have significant performance impacts to halogen light output. Running a heavy gauge relayed wiring harness directly to the battery to power the headlights can increase headlight voltage over the stock wiring, which will boost output by approximately 16% assuming a 0.3v gain. No company made a high performing 12 AWG harness for H11s, so I had one custom built for me, and you can purchase it too. See my H11 fog thread here for more info on the harness.

    Snow Considerations:

    Halogens product a lot of output in the IR spectrum, which is heat. This is a large part of why they are not very efficient in terms of lumen output per watt. However, in cold snowy climates this can be an advantage as the IR output from the bulb will prevent the headlights from freezing over.


    LED
    LEDs (Light Emitting Diode) offer significant advantages in durability, longevity and power consumption over halogen and HID, and can have higher output than halogen bulbs. Many new vehicles are now being produced with LED headlamps. LEDs typically have the ultra white or slight blue color temperature output in the 5000-6500k range without reduced output experienced by other light sources illuminating to high color temperatures. However, in a headlight you have two parts to the system, the light source and the headlight assembly designed for the halogen light source. The components must work effectively together to produce good output.

    If you compare all the light source bulbs, the halogens, LEDs and HIDs in the picture at the beginning of the thread, there is one source that easily stands out as very different than the others. The LED. Automotive manufactures will utilize specialized light assemblies precision designed from the beginning for a LED to get excellent projection performance with their LED light source. Since the H11 housing is not an LED light assembly and is designed to collect and projection an omni-directional halogen light source from the center of the assembly, the LED must try to conform to mimic a halogen. While LEDs are excellent performing light sources with many advantages, the one thing they do not do well is mimic an omni-directional halogen headlight bulb. LEDs are a directional light source and the halogen assembly is designed for a uniform omni-directional light source. You can point an LED, but you cannot point a light bulb.

    Directionallized light causes a non-uniform light pattern, giving unintended dark and hot spots in the pattern. While many bidirectional LEDs now put their chips in the correct X and Y position to attempt mimicking a filament, they are far wider than a halogen filament making the light source offset from center. As minuet changes in shrinking a halogen filament have significant positive performance effects, considerably growing the light source and offsetting it from center has the opposite effect. Focus and hot spot is greatly reduced or lost all together. This loss of focus causes significant glare and scatter in other assemblies, but due to the projectors internal light shield, glare is controlled. Focus and hot spot is now lost meaning the result is loss of distance projection or what people often refer to as lack of throw. Distance projection is the primary purpose of the headlight. This loss of ability to project distance shifts the light pattern toward the vehicle and causes a large output increase immediately in front of the vehicle. This makes for great looking photos and even initial impression in the vehicle, before realizing the distance projection has been lost. To further compound the problem, high immediate foreground light causes pupils to constrict and limit the ability to see distance in the dark. This is a fundamental geometry and physics problem with using an LED in a halogen assembly. Some may suggest that LEDs need to be adjusted up to fix the distance projection, but that in no way addresses the focus projection issue, instead just adds dangerous glare to oncoming drivers. LEDs and halogens could not be more fundamentally different. Even though the LED light source is brighter, the combination of non-uniform light pattern with loss of focus and distance projection running in an incompatible housing results in poor lighting performance. But this is not the fault of the LED, it is the result of using an LED in headlight assembly designed for a halogen light source.

    Snow considerations

    While LEDs produce plenty of heat at the back of the bulb on the driver, they produce no IR energy out the front of the light source. Meaning in cold climates, LEDs will lack the ability to self thaw of clear snow.

    Passive vs Active cooling

    It is often thought that LEDs do not get hot. While the chips don’t, the drivers do and need sufficient cooling. As an LED heats up, output is reduced, which is why a cool LED will often perform better than a heat soaked one. There are two methods for cooling LED drivers, passive cooling utilizing cooling fins or heat sinks, or cooling fans. Passive cooling is far more robust and durable with no parts to fail compared to cooling fans, especially considering the environment of a pickup truck engine bay that may see off road use with high amounts of dust and dirt and vibration. However cooling fans can often allow an LED to be driven to higher output, though if the fan fails so does your headlight.

    LED cross section

    There isn’t much that can be done to fix the incompatibility between the directional light source and the omni-directional halogen housing. However, if set on LEDs, shrinking the cross section between the opposing LED faces is going to have a greater effect on performance than increasing lumen output of the LED light source. While it will not be as small as a halogen filament or perform the same way, smaller LED cross sections will enhance focus and distance projection which will perform better than LEDs with larger cross sections in halogen projector assemblies.

    Color changing LED Headlights/Fog lights

    Some manufactures have started to launch multi-color-changing LED fog/headlights, claiming you can now switch colors on the fly by switching your lights on/off several times, and this is beneficial. Unfortunately these products are far worse performing than a dedicated single color LED (which is already bad), as neither color LED light source is positioned on center, making the origination of the light source off in multiple axis, causing severe negative effects on performance. No reputable manufacture offers such a product. You can see one such product and how it performs in post #23 here.

    HID
    HIDs (High Intensity Discharge) produce vastly superior light output over halogen and LED light sources. However, this light source is the most complex. An HID bulb arcs an electrical current between two electrodes to generate light. To initiate that arc requires roughly 25,000 volts, which is a bit more than a vehicles standard 12v system is set to handle. So a separate in-line ballast is required to step the voltage up to 25,000v and then maintain 80-90v once the arc is established to keep the bulb operating.

    HIDs are not an instant on technology, after igniting they require many seconds to warm up to full power, meaning they are not a good candidate for high beam which typically requires instant on light. While the method for creating light is different than a halogen, they are far more alike halogens than LEDs. Both Halogens and HIDs produce small omni-directional light and the headlight assembly is designed to collect small omni-directional light, focus it and project it down range. It is easy to see how this light source has much more in its favor for the halogen housing than the LED. However, while more similar, the HID is still not a halogen light source and there are subtle light source differences. If it were not for the projector light shield, the HID would cause significant hazardous glare. The ideal way to run HIDs is with a projector retrofit designed for an HID light source and run OEM grade D2S style HID bulbs from major manufactures. Kits that are designed to run HIDs in a halogen assembly effectively make bulbs that position the HID arc inline with where the halogen filament would be, if it were a halogen bulb. No OEM brands make rebased HID bulbs for halogen assemblies, so quality can vary quiet a bit. Compared to a 1200 lumen H11, or 2100 lumen H9 halogen, a 35w HID kit will produce 3200 lumens. Best output for HIDs is in the low-mid 4000k range, often 4300k. Shifting further from the optimal color temperature will cause some losses in output. While HIDs last much longer than halogens, their lifespan is not infinite. An HID bulb typically lasts 2000-2500 hours but dims to roughly 70% of original output by the end of the lifespan.

    Snow considerations

    HIDs do produce small amounts of IR output, about 1/8th that of halogen. While the small amount of IR output may help against light icing, it will likely be ineffective against preventing icing in a significant snow event.

    EMI

    HID ballasts generate Electro Magnetic Interference. This can affect other electronic systems on your vehicle, most often it is presented as causing static on your radio when the lights are on. The ballasts can be shielded/filtered to prevent EMI from affecting other components of your vehicle. If going with HIDs you will want to be sure to utilize a ballast that has adequate EMI shielding/filtering.

    Startup Draw

    Since HIDs require a huge voltage spike at startup, the ballast may exceed the current capacity of the OEM headlight circuit which is only intended for 110w (2x 55w bulbs). If it does, a standalone harness with a relay is needed to activate the headlights from the OEM connector but draw power directly from the battery rather than the OEM circuit to power the headlights. There are kits that are designed for ‘soft starting’ of the HIDs to keep current demands down and eliminate the need for the additional harness.

    35w vs 55w Ballasts

    All automotive HID bulbs are designed to run at 35w. Using a 55w ballast to overdrive the 35w bulb results in diminishing returns as the bulb becomes less efficient the higher it is over driven. Meaning while some of the additional power is translated into more light, the increasing lost efficiency is translated into heat in the bulb. This additional heat kills bulb life cutting it in half, so while a 35w HID may have a 2000 hour lifespan, a 35w HID run at 55w will have about the same lifespan as the stock halogen bulb while only increasing output by roughly 25%. At the same time over driving an HID bulb reduces color temperature, so white bulbs will become warmer/yellower. 35w HIDs are extremely bright, almost 2.5x greater light output than stock. There is also such a thing as too much light. Having ultra high contrast at your projector cut off, with extreme light vs complete darkness makes your eyes constricted due to the extreme light, so you cannot actually see beyond the projector cut off line, which is not a good thing. Not to mention the effects on other drivers. Excessive heat, reduced bulb life, reduced color temperature and excessive light. Most all reputable companies do not sell 55w HID headlight kits, as they are not a good idea.

    Lifted and towing considerations

    Being the brightest of all light sources, HIDs are ridiculously bright. If your truck is significantly lifted, even with the projector cut offs this could be hazardous to oncoming drivers. While you can adjust your lights down, you can only adjust so much before your headlights are ineffective at seeing distance at night. If you tow regularly or haul heavy loads in your bed, as the back end squats your truck will tilt the front end up, raising your cut offs to be blinding to other drivers. If using a roof top tent for a season, you might make an adjustment once mounting the tent. For regular towing, the bouncing nature on the tow hitch may make other light sources a better fit to prevent blinding others.

    The Tacoma HID bounce issue

    Some people have reported that HID bulbs seem to bounce in the Tacoma housing when going over bumps in the road. This issue has spanned multiple brands and according to multiple brands is related to the Tacoma headlight assembly itself. Only some people experience this issue, it does not affect everyone. Looking at how the bulbs I received lock into place on these trucks, I do not see how this is possible. Both the XD Philips and XD HID bulbs lock firmly into place. But it is something to be aware of as a possible issue.

    According to TRS this seems to be a loose mounted projector in the housing. Not something that is easily solvable without taking the housing apart.

    PWM and CANBUS for LED and HID

    Pulse Width Modulation (PMW) is effectively a fuel saving technique to pulse voltage to the lights in rapid succession so fast the halogens do not dim between pulses, but allows for reduced power consumption. This works in halogens but can cause problem with flickering for LEDs and HIDs. Tacomas are presently not equipped with PWM, so no additional PWM is required for running LEDs/HIDs.

    Controller Area Network bus protocol (CANbus) is, for the purposes of automotive lighting, the ECU checking to ensure your lights are working. If the ECU detects lower than expected current draw, it may cause a warning on the dash that there is a bulb failure. This works with stock halogen headlights, but when using more efficient LEDs that draw less power the system may flag the bulb as failed because it is drawing less current than expected. It can also be an issue when using a relayed harness to draw power from the battery rather than the headlight circuit. To trick the ECU and avoid a bulb failure warning, a resister must be installed to increase the current draw to mimic the expected level. Fortunately the Tacoma is not currently a CANBUS vehicle.

    Output Comparisons

    With some background fundamentals now covered, lets take a look at some real output comparisons and measurements with actual products. There is a lot of data, so to present it in a concise way I’ll focus on mainly comparing the upgraded technologies.

    H11 GE +130 vs Standard (stock) Osram H11

    Lux: 1086 vs 623
    rgiDugH7QYarIo12sXMkCA.jpg

    You can see the high efficiency halogen does a far better job of concentrating the light source into a more intense hot spot. The greater intensity of high efficiency bulbs also can increase their color temperature to make them appear a bit whiter. The GE Megalight +130 bulbs are some of the best performing stock wattage high efficiency bulbs on the market compared to competing products, even outperforming those rated higher than +130.

    H11 GE +130 vs Standard Osram H9

    Lux: 1086 vs 952
    3jL%wFgMQIqpcNDJi7rRJA.jpg

    At first glance this photo looks remarkably alike the previous one. If you pick a specific point in the photo on the standard H11/H9 side and compare you will notice the H9 is actually brighter. This somewhat demonstrates one of the reasons why photos can be such a poor tool for judging output, which is why all photos are paired with lux readings from a digital spectrometer. The H9 has the identical color and beam pattern as the stock standard bulb, but the H9 has much higher output. Since H9s are typically standard bulbs, the key thing to look for is quality manufacturing, which means selecting a German made bulb from brands like Osram, Sylvania, Philips or Volsa as they are all relatively equivalent.

    H11 GE +130 vs XD Pro LED

    Lux: 1086 vs 636
    uJ25tJdwRoaE7fMIqPXCQA.jpg

    The stock wattage performance halogens have great hot spot and intensity, compared to the LEDs which do not present any hot spot. Looking at the beam pattern you can tell the higher intensity parts of the pattern have started to bleed down and are no longer up near the cut off where they are required to be for distance projection. But what is most interesting, is the halogen is 1200 lumens while the LED is 1750 stable lumens, meaning the LED has 46% more output than the halogen. Yet the halogen is 70% brighter at the focused hot spot than the significantly higher output LED. This difference is due to shrinking the light source to enhance the highly engineered halogen optics vs utilizing a much larger non-uniform light source not at all compatible with the designed assembly optics. XD has since released an updated slightly higher output LED rated at 1900 lumens, but the fundamental design issues for an LED in a halogen housing remain unchanged.

    You can see the halogen filament on center, with reflections off the rear of the projector concentrating the light into a focused hot spot. And recall smaller light sources create better focus for higher intensity.

    [​IMG]

    Compared to the LED, there is no center focus at all. It is difficult to say if those even reflect off the back of the projector since they are side firing, but for focus you should have light in the very center of the housing, and it is absent. Affect on the beam is predictable.

    [​IMG]

    The effect of non-uniform LED lighting is easier viewed in a reflector housing, though the exact same thing is happening in a projectors internal reflector. Side-firing LEDs are not uniformly lighting the reflection surfaces, they are only illuminating the sides because they are directional and that is what they are pointing at. Which then leads to large dead spots causing spotty and inconsistent beam pattern and lack of a fully saturated pattern.

    [​IMG]


    XD Philips H11 HID vs XD Pro LED

    Lux: 2104 vs 636
    E5BC4FAD-422F-4B54-BC25-B51E8E8C710C.jpg

    The HIDs have about 82% higher output than the LEDs (3200 vs 1750 lumens), but because the HIDs are much more similar to the halogen they are able to far better utilize the optics to project their output when compared to an LED. So while they are only 82% brighter in output, the HIDs actually come in 3.3x brighter than LEDs at the hot spot.

    XD Philips 4300k HID vs XD 4300k HID

    Lux: 2104 vs 1553
    zro5paVsR2itCHgmpQYC8A.jpg

    One of the things I like about the XD HIDs, is they offer genuine German made Philips HID bulbs that have been rebased onto a halogen style base. Since no OEM brand like Philips and Osram makes an HID with a halogen assembly base, this provides a way to get a higher quality OEM manufactured bulbs into the halogen assembly. The Philips bulb upgrade is at a significant premium over the XD bulb, but I prefer paying the extra for the established benchmark brand, quality and performance.

    While XD specs the output between the XD 4300k and XD Philips 4300k about the same on paper with the Philips coming in slightly higher, that was not inline with my measurements where the Philips came in substantially higher, while also consuming lower power draw. Looking at the spectrum output, it almost appears the Philips bulb was attempted to be duplicated. The result is the XD bulb output has a strikingly similar spectrum signature but the German Philips bulb is 35% brighter than the alternative house brand bulb from XD. The Philips bulb is also on spec for color temperature whereas the XD bulb comes in lower than the 4300k spec.

    fullsizeoutput_e65.jpg fullsizeoutput_e66.jpg

    HID Power draw
    XD vs Philips XD.
    Z6HcrRjQQuiDVNpEb8VbuA.jpg

    You can see the XD (left) is consuming more power and producing less output than the Philips (right). Note that both are drawing over spec on the wattage. The XD bulb is pulling 42w while the Philips is pulling 41w. Spec is 35w, meaning the ballast/bulbs are pulling higher than spec. Amps x Volts = Watts.

    XD left, XD Philips right
    [​IMG]

    The XD bulbs pictured on the left use a floating silicon type gasket that is not attached to the bulb, which leads to a spongy bulb mount feel in the headlight housing. It is tight and actually somewhat difficult to lock in place but not like OEM. But by comparison the XD Philips bulb pictured on the right locks in identical to OEM, feels like OEM and looks like an OEM seal. The bulb is very fixed and does not move, the seal is mounted to the bulb like OEM. However, that said, people have reported bouncing issue with the Philips bulbs too. Looking at how the Philips bulbs mount in my 2016 headlight assemblies, I do not see how that is possible for the bulb to bounce or move. But the bounce issue turns out to be an internal projector issue.

    Ballasts

    The XD ballasts utilize a soft start low power draw of 4.5A at startup. 4.5A x 12v=54w, or about the exact same as a 55w H11 bulb, meaning these can safely be run without utilizing a standalone harness relayed to the battery, since they draw the same amount of current as stock bulbs. I did verify the startup draw on my own equipment, and it does meet the 4.5A spec. The XD ballasts are also shielded/filtered to prevent EMI interference in the vehicle, so you shouldn’t get static on the radio or other undesirable effects.

    H11 GE +130 vs XD Philips HID

    Lux: 1086 vs 2104
    JAFJDdy5SsKyDka7wOUhTQ.jpg

    Not a shocker that the HID is far brighter than the stock wattage halogen.

    Spectrum

    LEDs produce significant short wavelength light high amplitude spikes. Wave lengths under 500nm cause significant refraction, which is effectively bouncing light off rain/snow/fog in the air in front of you so that you see the precipitation the air, rather than the road way beyond it. If driving in regular inclement weather, LEDs with high aptitude short wavelength light would be counter productive. See the spectrum comparison below. Note the graph below is normalized for output, the GEs are actually far higher performing when not normalized.

    fullsizeoutput_e6f.jpg


    Lux output chart

    upload_2019-1-25_0-26-55.png

    Color temp output chart

    upload_2019-1-25_22-45-0.png

    A common misconception is that HIDs produce better output than LED because they are brighter. Yes, but no. LEDs are terrible at projecting output in a halogen assembly. I think a helpful way to understand this is to look at measured lux divided by lumens to look at how efficient the light source is at projecting light for the given level of output. (Note I think the HIDs are cheating a bit in these measurements, as a 3200 lumen HID should be 35w, 40+ watts as measured will increase output beyond 3200 lumens, artificially inflating their numbers.)

    Lumen efficiency for the housing

    upload_2019-1-25_22-31-8.png

    Predictably the LED is on the bottom of the spectrum since it is incompatible with the halogen housing, so while it has much higher power than the stock wattage halogens, it lacks the ability to focus and project the light to make effective use of the output. The high efficiency halogen optimized by real engineers to work with the halogen light assembly is at the peak of the spectrum, by a long shot. The stock wattage performance halogen provides 2.5x the output per-lumen compared to the LED.

    Distance Projection
    The issue with the data presented so far is lack of data presenting the performance delta over distance. Had I taken measurements 3' from a wall like many of the LED photos on TW, the LEDs would likely look much better because at close range the lack of focus is not readily apparent, neither is the negative impact that it causes. The point of a parabolic reflector in a headlight assembly is to focus and project light over distance, so while data from a fixed point is good, data to understand the projection performance over distance is much more illuminating.

    So I did some distance testing at 42' for more data. Distance measured on the rack by a laser measure.

    [​IMG]

    Intensity Focus
    All my measurements prior were at peak intensity in the beam. As mentioned earlier, the peak intensity for the halogens and HIDs were near the cut off in the hot spot, but the LED was much further down in the pattern. When taking the measurements at 42' the peak intensity for the halogens and HIDs was still right near the cut off, where it should be to project light as far as possible, but the peak LED intensity was way down in the pattern, almost on the ground. This is what I refer too when I say the loss of focus shifts the pattern toward the vehicle. This is further evidence of 'lack of throw'. The pattern focus shifted from projecting peak intensity light outward for maximum distance projection to projecting peak intensity light downward. Often people suggest aiming their headlights up as a way to fix the problem. But if the peak pattern intensity is near the vertical center of the beam instead of the top where it should be, you would have to aim them way up to try and 'correct' the issue, but that places your cut offs sky high and would blind oncoming drivers and really not address the actual problem of lack of focus.

    What I didn't like about only using the peak intensity measurement from the LED was that the data was then very misleading. All the other measurements were taken at the hot spot under the cut off where beam will be projecting furthest, but using peak intensity only the LED measurement was taken at a very different point in the beam and not at all a good indicator of projection distance. So I decided to keep the peak intensity measurement for the LED but also add a new measurement taken at where the hot spot should be just under the cut off, in the same area as the halogens and HIDs, and named it "LED Comparable" or "LED Comp" for short.

    Visualizing your data is one of the best ways to quickly understand and identify trends in the data. So naturally I plotted the results of my measurements.

    The large values of the initial HID data on the Y-axis made it difficult to analyze the smaller value distance distance data, so I used logarithmic scaling on the Y-axis to allow for better spreading of the data points for easier results analysis.

    [​IMG]

    What immediately jumps out is that all the output intensity change over distance looks strikingly parallel, except the diverging LED, which drops in intensity quicker than the other light sources. Meaning the LEDs ability to project distance is less than that of the other light sources. Parabolic reflectors (inside the projector) project light by focusing the light in a hot spot to project it distance. The hot spot carries further than the rest of the pattern, which is why it is so important. You can see the "hot spot" of the LED (very loose use of the word) carries better than the LED Comp measurement that was taken up near the horizon where the hot spot should be. Meaning the part of the LED pattern responsible for distance projection does not project light as well as the part of the pattern pointing at the ground. Again, moving the light focus away from distance projection and shifting it toward the vehicle. Not something you want in a device who's purpose is to project light distance.

    I always like to quantify things, so seeing the data makes me want to normalize a value for an easier numerical comparison of the projection efficiency. Dividing the second measurement by the first measurement will normalize out the value differences for higher or lower intensity light sources and just leave a percentage value showing how much of the original light measured at 18' was present when measured at 42'. This way the different light sources effectiveness to project distance can be compared, even though they greatly vary in intensity.

    [​IMG]


    As indicated by the plot, the Halogen and HID sources are almost identical, meaning their ability to maintain intensity over distance is all about the same. But the LEDs are far lower.

    Comparing projection
    Since the first LED measurement is pointed at the ground, comparing the LED Comp vs Stock and using the D2/D1 value to normalize for output:

    Stock .231 / LED Comp .145 = 1.593

    Meaning that:
    A stock halogen bulb in the 3rd gen H11 projector maintains intensity 59% (1.59x) more effectively than the LED over a distance of 24'.

    Aka, scientific proof that LEDs in halogen projectors do not project correctly and "lack throw", even when normalizing for output level differences.


    Data crunching is fun!
    Just for fun, lets look at a rough comparison of what it would take to match the lux intensity at the designed hot spot at 42' of the stock wattage GE performance halogen by increasing the luminosity of the LED.

    GE 230 Lux /LED 85 Lux = 2.7x.

    At 42' the GE bulbs are 2.7x brighter than the LED. So then the LED would need to produce 2.7x the output of what it does already to match. The LED is rated at 1750 stable lumens, already much higher than the 1300 lumen halogen. So:

    1750 x 2.7 = 4725 lumens.

    Most LED makers advertise raw lumens, which are typically near double the actual lumen output, it makes for more impressive sounding numbers. So:

    4725 x 2 = 9450 raw lumens per bulb.

    So if you increased the output of this LED to 9450 raw lumens, then it could match the output of the stock wattage performance halogen at 42'. But at 43' the halogen will be better because of the LED intensity over distance slope does not maintain intensity as well as the halogen, because of the lack of focus in using a bi-directional light in an housing designed for omni-directional light. Of course doing this does not address shifting the pattern toward the vehicle and the intense large blob of light this would place on the ground making it difficult to see distance anyway.

    Some people may still be swayed by the marketers and still be lured into thinking that somehow a new LED will behave differently. The housing is designed for omni-directional light, LEDs are directional light, it doesn't work. You can build an LED brighter, smaller and make all sorts of claimed improvements but all the fundamental flaws are still there. You cannot change physics, unless the LED is as small as a halogen filament and emits light in an omni-directional manor like a wire filament (not opposing chip sets on a blade), it doesn't work. LEDs to not project correctly in an assembly designed for a halogen light source.

    XD
    Unfortunately between the time the materials were provided by Xenon Depot for this thread, and the time I published the results, Xenon Depot has been sold. The new owner TRS appears to have decided to discontinue the high performing German made Philips HID bulbs. Shout out to Steve from Xenon Depot for the LEDs and HIDs to put together this thread.
    (The measurements and observations in this thread are 100% my own. They were not approved, agreed upon or otherwise run by XD).

    Other lighting upgrades
    If you found this interesting you may be interested in my other lighting threads.

    Fog light upgrades:
    The LED SAE J583 Fog Pod & Fog Light Review
    The ultimate foglight upgrade H11 (not LED or HID)
    The H10 to 9011 HIR Foglight upgrade (better than LED)

    Other lighting upgrades:
    The ultimate headlight upgrade H4 (not LED or HID)
    Gy6.35 HIR 921 reverse light upgrade (vs high power LEDs)
    The 921 LED Reverse Light Bulb Study

    More information on automotive lighting:
    Automotive Lighting 101
    Why LEDs should not be run in Halogen reflectors

    Home lighting upgrades:
    High quality efficient home lighting using LEDs, HIRs and Halogens
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2019
  2. Jan 25, 2019 at 2:36 AM
    #2
    crashnburn80

    crashnburn80 [OP] Vehicle Design Engineer

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    Continued Halogen Output Testing

    I've tested many more bulbs after the initial experiment and summarized the results here. There are better bulbs than the GE +130s used in the initial experiment as show below.

    upload_2019-4-20_14-22-58.png

    upload_2019-4-20_14-34-24.png


    Recommended setup for best performance

    Low Beam: Philips H9s (bulb base modification or adapter required)
    H11 foglight: GE Nightbreaker Xenon +120

    If you wanted a plug and play H11 for the headlights, (not want to modify the H9 base or make an adapter), the GE Nightbreaker Xenon +120 would be the recommended option.

    The GE +130s H11s are also excellent at a lower price than the GE Xenons.

    Note that Philips does not distinguish between the German and China bulbs, meaning if you order online you can end up getting either. In my testing the difference between them is negligible.

    Bulb life
    Bulb life is something to consider. H9s have a rated life of 250 hours. I believe the GE H11s are 150 hours. I run 200 hour bulbs in my 2nd Gen, they last me almost exactly 1 year. Based on my use, 250 hours would be ~15 months, and 150 hours ~9 months. I use my headlights conservatively, your use may vary. Fogs should only be run when needed, they are not aux driving lights, so with infrequent use even the 150 hour rated bulbs should last many years in the fogs.

    I've tested numerous more bulbs than what is shown above. Many non-reputable brands publish blatent marketing lies about their products with over-promised hollow performance claims. I have decided to not dilute the high quality reputable brands and products with noise of the others so that there is a higher density of quality products and data.


    H11->H9 Adapter Harness


    Many people have built H11->H9 adapter harnesses so you don't need to modify the bulb base to make H9s plug and play in the low beam projector.

    The H11->H9 adapter harness people are making is covered in post #738 here. Using this harness from amazon.
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2019
  3. Jan 25, 2019 at 2:36 AM
    #3
    crashnburn80

    crashnburn80 [OP] Vehicle Design Engineer

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    Morimoto XB LED Headlights - 3rd Gen Tacoma
    Original review posted here.

    [​IMG]

    Finally a proper full replacement SAE LED headlight for the Tacoma. To correctly run LED lights, the light assembly needs to be designed for an LED light source. Projected light is a system where the light source and light assembly must be designed to work together. Placing replacement LEDs in the halogen projector like the 3rd Gen Tacoma causes the distance projection to be lost. These long anticipated headlights are exciting because finally there is an off the shelf product that is designed from the ground up as an SAE LED headlight, meaning the light source and light assembly are properly designed from the beginning to work together for proper performance.

    At a current MSRP of $1250, these are not inexpensive. While they certainly look awesome and the build quality appears great, this post will focus on what your hard earned money is buying you in terms of projected lighting performance.

    Morimoto Low Beams
    [​IMG]

    Power draw (cold)
    Morimoto left: ~20.2w
    Stock wattage right GE +120 right: ~58.9w
    [​IMG]

    For the low beam testing, the LEDs were tested warm after 20+ minutes of runtime, as LEDs warm up their output goes down. It is ideal to test their warm stable output to get real world numbers. After 20+ minutes of runtime the LED low beam reduced power consumption to 14.2A, or about 19.6w, which is about a 3% loss, which is pretty good for a passively cooled LED. Meaning each low beam projector is about 0.71A or roughly a 10w LED.

    Output comparisons

    Lux comparisons measured at 18'
    Stock: 623 lux vs Morimoto: 1413 lux
    [​IMG]

    Impressive 2.27x lux improvement over stock. The Morimoto beam doesn't have quite as saturated of a beam down low, but the more critical area is up near the cut off for distance projection. Compared to the stock halogen projectors, the Morimoto projector cut offs provide a much cleaner cut off and include a right side step like HID projectors to minimize glare to oncoming drivers.

    [​IMG]

    Color temp is about 6000k. Light quality (CRI, hows accurately the light shows color) is about average for an LED headlight at 71 CRI.

    Unlike the OEM halogen headlights with a single low beam projector and a high beam reflector, the Morimotos feature 2 low beam projectors and a single high beam projector. One projector contains the stepped cut off, while the other low beam projector has a flat cut off. Covering the stepped projector shows a flat cut off on the other low beam projector.

    [​IMG]

    An obvious question would be how do the Morimotos compare to running a basic bulb upgrade such as >$20 Philips H9 low beam bulb swap.

    Lux measured at 18'
    Philips H9 low beam: 1294 lux vs Morimoto: 1413 lux
    [​IMG]

    The Morimotos put down higher lux numbers than the H9s, by about 9.2%. Replacement LED headlight bulbs performance issues are often masked by short range testing, with these being a vastly superior product designed from the ground up for LEDs, how does the distance projection compare?

    Lux measurements at 42'
    Philips H9 low beam: 256 lux vs Morimoto: 265 lux
    [​IMG]

    Morimoto comes out with slightly higher lux readings by 3.5% compared to running the Philips H9. (Stock lux comparisons in chart below). However, the lux reading doesn't tell the whole story. The Morimoto uses dual low beam projectors, giving 2 points of focus. At shorter range the focus points coincide more giving greater intensity. At longer range these focus points have a small degree of vertical offset, meaning the 'hot spot' effectively becomes where the focus points overlap at the cut off of the lower focus point, to create the brightest part in the beam. If you look at the above photo carefully you can see the 2nd lower focus point cut off, approximately the middle of the 2nd panel up on the right. While the peak lux on the halogens was at the top of the beam at the cut off, the peak lux on the Morimotos was at this lower 2nd cut off, not at the top of the beam. This is important because for maximum distance visibility and projection, the brightest point needs to be at the top of the beam pattern, at the main cut off. Recall that the Morimoto lower beam area was not as saturated in the short distance wall shot, I'd speculate this was done to provide a slightly fuller beam pattern but in doing so compromised locating the hot spot at the top of the beam pattern. With only 2 projectors it doesn't leave many options, compared to using many projectors on some OEM LED headlights where you could double up focus points in the critical projection area while using others to spread the pattern.

    Comparing distance projection:
    (Note: plotted 42' lux for Morimotos is at lower cut off as described above)
    [​IMG]
    'DD LED' is Diode Dynamics LED, to compare drop in LED performance to full replacement LED assemblies.

    While the peak beam intensity is a little low in the beam pattern for optimal performance, these are by far the best LED low beam I've seen so far for a Tacoma and a huge upgrade over stock.

    [​IMG]

    So the low beams are a big improvement over stock, what about the high beams?

    The stock 3rd Gen high beams run a Philips H9 in a reflector housing, the Morimotos are using an LED projector. Larger reflectors are more efficient in distributing and projecting light than a projector, which is why many vehicles that use projector headlights still use reflectors for the high beam.

    Stock high beam w/ Philips H9 low beam (left light only)
    High beam hot spot: 2425 lux
    [​IMG]

    The low beam cut off is aligned with the top of the 2nd door panel. The stock H9 floods the area with enough light distribution and intensity the cut off is no longer distinguishable. The high beam reflector very effectively illuminates a huge area but it also focuses a 2nd hot spot above the low beam hot spot for extended distance projection. You can see in the above photo if you look closely the blue ridge of the low beam cut off, and then the high beam hot spot above it.

    Morimoto XB High Beam (right light only)
    High beam hot spot: 2043 lux
    [​IMG]

    For low beam, the tests were run after 20+ minutes of warm up time for stable output. For high beam the tests were run within a few minutes of turning them on, as most don't typically leave high beams on for long extended periods.

    [​IMG]

    Morimoto combined high and low beam output draw
    [​IMG]

    With the low beams drawing 1.4A, the combined high and low output draw is 2.1A, meaning 2.1-1.4=0.7A or ~10w. The high beam projector is the same power as a single low beam projector. In the 3rd Gen halogen headlight, the high beam has ~2x the lumen output of the low beam. In the Morimoto XBs, the high beam has 1/2 the output of the low beam.

    Despite having comparable low beam intensities when running the Philips H9 in the low beam, the stock high beam washes out the cut off with a flood of light whereas the Morimotos do not produce nearly that same flood. Instead there is a smaller targeted region above the cut off. The elevated hot spot for extended distance projection is still present meaning they will still perform that critical function though the numbers are noticeably lower than stock, but the flood function of the high beam is significantly altered and will not provide the same wide area illumination. Projectors do not produce flood light as well as reflectors, nor are they as efficient. The stock Tacoma Philips H9 high beam is a 75w H9, which is the maximum legal output for a 65w H9 bulb. Legal output specifies a range of +/-15%, and Philips (the stock bulb) has it maxed out at +15%. A 10w LED in a high beam projector is not going to matching the performance of the stock 75w (65w) H9 in a more efficient high beam reflector.

    [​IMG]


    The Morimoto XBs are certainly a big improvement over the stock low beams, but they do sacrifice a lower performing high beam compared to stock. Aux lights could certainly fill the high beam performance gap. These won't match the output of HIDs, but these are plug and play without having to hassle with a proper retrofit or dealing with bouncing issues of HIDs in the halogen projector and come with a 5 year warranty. SAE compliant products are significantly more challenging and time consuming to build than lighting products that do not meet any compliance standard, it is great to see a company take interest in building SAE compliant lighting products and tackle the challenge of providing a real LED replacement headlight for the Tacoma.

    My post is purely focused on the lighting performance of these new headlights. To see install pictures, DRL function and other info see @MESOreview here.

    Notes:
    1) All measurements in these tests were taken with a full spectrum NIST traceable digital spectrometer.
    2) Tests were run at 13.8v, which is the measured voltage at the headlight connector with the truck running.
    3) The stock bulb used is an OEM H11 Osram standard bulb removed from a stock Tacoma.
    4) While GE +130s were used in the comparison data for easy reference to the original post, the GE Xenon +120 bulbs are a higher performing stock wattage bulb than the GE +130s.




    Diode Dynamics SL1 LED Headlight
    Original review posted here.

    [​IMG]

    Unlike most replacement LED companies, Diode Dynamics takes a more scientific approach to their products and how they market and sell them. Many companies talk output output in raw lumens and increases in output over the previous model, but what is far more important in a replacement LED product is focus. Rather than talking about increases in output the conversations should center around decreases in size, as that delivers higher focus which is far more effective in increasing output and projection than more lumens.

    One of the things that caught my eye with Diode Dynamics was their video on focus:

    https://youtu.be/WGmoDtdNqIk

    The science of increasing optical focus for improved automotive lighting performance is nothing new. It has been around for decades. Increased focus is why the GE H11 halogen bulbs perform exceptionally well, despite being lower power draw that a stock halogen bulb.

    SL1 Specs:
    Stable lumens: 1630 per bulb (not raw)
    Color temp: 5700k
    Watts: 20.2
    Cooling: Active fan
    Heat sink material: Zinc

    Measured:
    Color temp: 5694k (spot on spec)
    Watts: 20.2 (spot on spec)
    CRI: 75

    It should be obvious by now that LED emitters need the correct height and length to replicate a halogen filament. But they also need the correct width, which is where the focus conversation comes into play and what very few discuss. In a halogen based lighting assembly you increase focus by shrinking the light source, aka the filament. To project and perform better than stock, the light source needs to be smaller than stock, which begs the question, just how large is a stock filament? Being encapsulated in glass that is a bit difficult to accurately measure. The solution seemed pretty obvious.

    [​IMG]

    The above is a low performance long life H11 Philips bulb. Halogen bulbs are pressurized, so they will explode outward if the glass is broken. Wearing the appropriate safety equipment and covering the bulb, I broke the glass with a C-clamp in a controlled fashion as to not damage the filament. Sounded like a small caliber gun shot due to the pressurization.

    The stock halogen cross section for standard focus, 1.42mm.

    [​IMG]

    How does that compare to the DD LED? Measuring Diode Dynamics LED cross section, 3.03mm.

    [​IMG]

    If you paid careful attention, you'll notice my measurements differ from what was presented in the earlier video. The Diode Dynamics' LED uses recessed emitters, which can help make the LED cross section smaller providing better focus while maintaining more material for cooling. However, it also means that you cannot measure the distance between the chip faces with traditional digital calipers, as the body is in the way so you cannot get an accurate reading of the cross section. To work around the issue in the video, the measurement of the emitter mounting plate was presented without the emitters, while comparing to the measurements of the outer face of other competing LEDs emitters. There is always a right tool for the job, I purchased a new digital caliper specifically designed to work around this issue to get accurate data.

    The Diode Dynamics LEDs are over 2x the size of a standard long life H11 halogen bulb. In halogens, gains are made with making the filaments fractions of a millimeter smaller. While better than many LEDs, being 2x the size is a significant focus and projection performance loss.

    So enough with all this technical stuff, how do they perform?

    Pattern testing at 18'
    Stock Lux: 623 vs DD Lux: 752
    [​IMG]

    Compared to the XD LEDs where the hotspot was dipped far down into the beam pattern, when it should be near the cut off, the DD LED does far better. The peak beam intensity is up near the cut off, where it should be. However, while the intensity location is better, the pattern does not have quite the same focus as the stock H11 halogen, while focus has improved the hotspot does not have the same level of definition. Hot spot concentration means everything for focus and distance projection.

    Comparing to the stock wattage GE +130
    GE +130 Lux: 1086 vs DD Lux: 752
    [​IMG]

    Note how well illuminated the uplight is above the cut off.

    [​IMG]

    Too many tests end here, with one measurement at a fixed point, typically 20-25ft from a wall. A single data point does not provide very much information, what we really want is distance projection trajectory, which we do not get from a single data point.

    Lux testing at 42'
    Stock Lux: 144 vs DD Lux: 128
    [​IMG]

    At 42' stock H11 bulbs have higher lux output than the Diode Dynamics LEDs in a 3rd Gen Projector. Plotting the intensity over distance.

    [​IMG]

    Plotting results is always illuminating to facilitate a better understanding of the data, a few different things stand out.
    1) Halogen intensity slope of the stock H11 Osrams and the GE +130 is parallel and the intensity slope of the LEDs is parallel.
    2) Halogens project more efficiently in the halogen housing, maintaining higher intensity over distance.
    3) The GE +130s do not put out more lumens than the stock Osram H11s, in fact they may put out less due to consuming lower power. The performance difference between the two is focus, and the GEs provide superior focus.
    4) The XD LEDs are actually higher in output than the DD LEDs (1750 vs 1630 stable lumens) but the DD LEDs outperform the XD LEDs for the same reason the GEs outperform the stock Osram bulbs, focus. This demonstrates how focus is more critical than lumen output.
    5) What is not shown in the chart is that the XD LED info is taken from the hotspot, which is not in the correct location and dipped far further down in the beam pattern as covered in the original post. Meaning the DD LEDs are actually quiet a bit better than the XD LEDs than the chart implies.

    What matters most in headlights is distance projection. Testing conducted in this review was at 42', which in the grand scheme is very small, which is about 2.25 Tacoma lengths. At speed you need to see objects far further away than 2.25 vehicle lengths.

    The Raw data:
    [​IMG]

    As LEDs get hot, they heat soak and output reduces/stabilizes at lower levels. After 40 minutes of runtime, lux output of the Diode Dynamics LEDs reduced to 704 lux measured at 18', representing a loss of ~6.3% from initial to stable output. All LEDs lose output as they get hot, active cooled (fan based) LEDs tend to lose less as the cooling is more effective. 6.3% is slightly better than average for actively cooled LEDs. It is also worth noting these LEDs are the first I've seen to use Zinc heat sinks rather than aluminum. Zinc thermal conductivity (cooling efficiency) is not as good as aluminum, meaning that aluminum cools better. So why would one use it instead? Honestly I did not know the answer to that one, it just seemed very strange. You do not need to be a materials expert to notice this as zinc is much heavier. So googling on the subject, it looks like Zinc provides superior shielding for EMI and RFI, which are important traits to suppress. It also costs a fair amount less than aluminum. I am unsure of DD's exact reasoning for using Zinc.

    What I find most interesting about this data, is that despite Diode Dynamics having a much better design than XD LEDs, delivering better focus for higher output even while using a lower output light source, projection losses were parallel with those of the XD LED. Even though their LEDs are over 2x larger than a halogen, they are still a fair amount smaller than the XD LEDs, yet the projection efficiency over distance effectively remained unchanged. I'll have to think on this a bit, but it is quite interesting.

    While the Diode Dynamics LEDs are effectively 18% better in intensity output projection than the XD LEDs, they do a far better job in locating the hot spot location near the pattern cut off where it should be, helping to reduce the shift to foreground light. However, projection losses remain an issue. Hopefully Diode Dynamics can work to further reduce the size of their LEDs and improve the distance projection in future versions of their lights.

    Notes:
    1) While GE +130s were used in this post for easy comparison to the original post, the GE Xenon +120 bulbs are a higher performing stock wattage bulb than the GE +130s.
    2) A typical mistake in LED testing is using an incandescent grade meter which cannot accurately measure LEDs. All measurements in these tests were taken with a full spectrum NIST traceable digital spectrometer.
    3) Tests were run at 13.8v, which is the measured voltage at the headlight connector with the truck running. Many comparisons online are run at artificially low voltage causing significant performance losses to halogens, but not the LEDs, giving an unrealistic output comparison.
    4) The stock bulb used is an OEM H11 Osram standard bulb removed from a stock Tacoma.
    5) While Diode Dynamics lists output as 'Street Legal', replacement LEDs are not yet legal, meaning they are federally illegal and will cause your vehicle to fail inspection in states that perform them.




    More halogen bulb testing

    Hella H9s

    Egn1jIpXSAy2np87ZC9v0A.jpg

    Power draw 72.7w

    [​IMG]

    Hella H9 lux vs GE +130

    fullsizeoutput_f96.jpg

    Even these Hella H9s have a hard time beating out the GE bulbs in peak intensity. However, if measuring outside of the hot spot, the H9s really start to excel. What is a bit misleading in photos is color. The photo below looks like the GEs on the right are far brighter due to the whiter color temp, but in person and by measurement that is not the case. Also spacing a measurement 12" off the hotspot places the Hellas 20% higher in output than the GEs, meaning that the Hellas are almost identical to peak hotspot intensity output while providing a fuller uniform light pattern outside the hotspot.

    Hella H9 vs GE Megalight +130

    [​IMG]

    This was so close that even with professional grade lighting equipment I really had a hard time determining which was best. These bulbs were impressive.

    Hella H9s:
    https://www.rallylights.com/hl78178-h9-12v-65w-xenon-bulb.html
    NOTE: The Hellas are available made in Korea, or made in China. These were the Korean bulbs. Hella does not manufacture their own bulbs and outsources the manufacturing, meaning quality can vary depending on who built them. I have not tried the China made bulbs, but would not recommend them.

    ----------------

    Volsa released their latest H11 +120. Always wanting to test the latest and greatest, I ordered the latest recently released performance +120 bulbs from Volsa to compare to the GEs.

    Volsa +120

    [​IMG]

    GE +130 vs Volsa +120

    [​IMG]

    Output measurements

    [​IMG]

    While the Volsa bulbs are a good improvement, the GE +130 bulbs provide better output.
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2019
  4. Jan 25, 2019 at 3:26 AM
    #4
    AugustusJack

    AugustusJack Well-Known Member

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  5. Jan 25, 2019 at 4:18 AM
    #5
    crashnburn80

    crashnburn80 [OP] Vehicle Design Engineer

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    Go Hawks!
    Often people say "I wish they could just figure out/improve LEDs" or they "are continuously improving and will get there some day" or similar sentiment for LED headlight use in their Tacoma.

    Engineers are so far beyond basic LED lighting it isn't even funny. The technology already exists and is being employed to do exceptional things with dynamic vehicle lighting way beyond what you could ever hope for in an aftermarket product. The problem is that people discussing LEDs are not buying real engineered LED headlights. They are trying to incorrectly put aftermarket LED products into light assemblies designed specifically for a halogen bulb. Round hole with a square peg.

    Check out Audi's LED lighting video, this is what quality LED engineering looks like, and what was finally DOT approved for US headlights this year in 2019:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P5bBEfphebI&feature=youtu.be
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2019
  6. Jan 25, 2019 at 4:44 AM
    #6
    kakwvu

    kakwvu Almost Heaven

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    Your LED charts mimic what I see without all of the testing. The output on a wall looks fantastic, but I’m having a hard time translating it to good night driving.

    Bummed about the XD Phillips not being offered. I’d read all about how great they were, and now they’re gone :(

    Awesome thread. Probably have to re-read this a few times to full appreciate.

    Edit - Currently running VLEDS Micro 5K (3500LM) H11s in my LB. I have their new ‘extreme’ LEDs on order that have 30% higher output (4500LM). Now doubting it’ll help that much, but we’ll see.
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2019
  7. Jan 25, 2019 at 4:47 AM
    #7
    Jrgymie

    Jrgymie Tuf MuddR

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    Anybody know what a good replacement bulb for the aftermarket spyder blacked out headlights which take H7 bulbs? These headlights throw less light than the stock ones. Love the look but light output is bad. I have plenty of light with my BD fog lights and Rigid light bar but I don't want to blind oncoming drivers during normal driving conditions.
     
  8. Jan 25, 2019 at 5:04 AM
    #8
    HelloMyNameIs

    HelloMyNameIs I know words, I have the best words.

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    This is peak Tacoma World right here.
     
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  9. Jan 25, 2019 at 5:39 AM
    #9
    Critical05

    Critical05 Well-Known Member

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    crashnburn80 can there be a situation of having too much light/lumens, specifically too bright of a hot spot? The reason I ask, I had looked for better lighting and went with the XD Phillips 4300k 35w kit. I had the setup installed for less than a month before decided to pull them out and went for high performance H11 halogen.

    My biggest problem, while they were bright (maybe too bright), I felt there was too much light reflected back at me causing my pupils to be contracted. It felt like i had eye strain after driving at night. I could see great where the light shown but above the cutoff, it seemed pitch black. My primary driving is city driving with alot of items to reflect the light back; trunks of the cars ahead of me, road signs, even off of light colored pavement (concrete roads).

    I've had multiple BMW, Audi's with factory HID's and never thought I had this problem. Looking at your test results, maybe I sold the XD kit too hastily and should have tried the non-phillips 4300k bulbs that had less output.
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2019
  10. Jan 25, 2019 at 8:00 AM
    #10
    r1200gs4ok

    r1200gs4ok Well-Known Member

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    Hey crash.....you should be published in a magazine somewhere.....or maybe lecture some place...i would come
     
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  11. Jan 25, 2019 at 8:20 AM
    #11
    Tacosrus

    Tacosrus ipso facto

    Joined:
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    Mike
    Northern California
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    2018 Blazing Blue Pearl SR5 DCSB
    Can't wait to what the Lunex H9 + 100 is all about. And it's not coated. Should be the new champ. I'm holding off on another bulb change till it happens.
     
    crashnburn80 [OP] likes this.
  12. Jan 25, 2019 at 8:28 AM
    #12
    Boghog1

    Boghog1 Jack of all trades, master of none.

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    Southern, NH
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    2019 AC V6 4x4 SR
    I know it is in another thread but could you link to the place that sells the harness?
     
  13. Jan 25, 2019 at 8:40 AM
    #13
    tonykarter

    tonykarter Crappie Savant

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    Snuff Gully Texas
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    2018 DCSB 4x4 Sport 1993 4Runner SR5 4x4, 411,000 miles
    Pine tree air freshener
    Thank you so much for your in-depth research. Using your findings I went with the GE-130s and they vastly improved my down-range visibility. Next, my wife's Chevy Cruze.
     
    crashnburn80 [OP] and kakwvu like this.
  14. Jan 25, 2019 at 9:09 AM
    #14
    slick7108514

    slick7108514 Well-Known Member

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    Male
    Arizona
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    2018 White Tacoma TRD Offroad DCSB
    @crashnburn80 This is awesome. Thanks for sharing all of this information.

    I just recently purchased the GE+130 bulbs based on your testing. Can't wait to receive them. All of the reports of bouncing from the XD Phillips HID bulbs scared me away, otherwise I would have gone that route.
     
    crashnburn80 [OP] likes this.
  15. Jan 25, 2019 at 9:40 AM
    #15
    jnjoiwngs

    jnjoiwngs JnJOwings

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    Jessie
    PNW
    Vehicle:
    2018 White Tacoma TRD
    Hondo radio knobs, Rigid ditch lights, Cali-raised bumper light
    @crashnburn80, Thank you for providing this infomation. I have been dealing with the stock H11 lights for the last year. I had been reading the light threads on this site for almost the entire time I have owned my truck. While I prefer the look of whiter light sources, I struggle with night driving and eye fatigue when the headlights are the only light source. While I do most of my night driving in the city with lots of light provided by the street lights, the long trips on open roads without additional light sources is where I notice the lack of output. I am a data driven person and your information convinced me to go with the GE 130+ bulb. I installed the bulb last night and could see a noticable difference in the city. I will be testing these out tonight on a drive through the mountains. This is a long winded way to say THANK YOU!!!! I am very happy with my choice. For less than $40 shipped to my door, the choice seems like a no brainer. Better output and cheaper. That sounds like a win-win to me.
     
  16. Jan 25, 2019 at 9:45 AM
    #16
    El Duderino

    El Duderino Howzit \000/

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    Kahalu'u Oahu
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    Stuff, things, this, an ADS
    Let me start off by saying, those Audi headlights are bad ass. Next bro thank you so much for the in-depth research you do for us here.
     
    crashnburn80 [OP] and r1200gs4ok like this.
  17. Jan 25, 2019 at 10:06 AM
    #17
    avi8or_co

    avi8or_co Well-Known Member

    Joined:
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    I don’t even want to think about what that option costs....let alone what the housing costs when it breaks or it gets backed into
     
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  18. Jan 25, 2019 at 10:12 AM
    #18
    Skymaster

    Skymaster Well-Known Member

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    Atwater CA
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    TRD OR, White DCSB
    Cheers to you sir!
     
    crashnburn80 [OP] likes this.
  19. Jan 25, 2019 at 10:18 AM
    #19
    El Duderino

    El Duderino Howzit \000/

    Joined:
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    Jeremy
    Kahalu'u Oahu
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    16 MGM Sport 4x4 DCSB & 19 nautical blue SR5 premium 4x4
    Stuff, things, this, an ADS
    Was thinking the same thing lol
     
  20. Jan 25, 2019 at 10:49 AM
    #20
    MrGooch

    MrGooch Well-Known Member

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    Gooch
    Vehicle:
    2019 Black TRD Pro
    best documented forum post ever?
     

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