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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. Oct 8, 2019 at 6:51 PM
    #1601
    crashnburn80

    crashnburn80 [OP] Vehicle Design Engineer

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    Previous reply was to an earlier post. 'Best' and 'white' are really opposing traits for halogens. The GE bulbs are whiter than stock and have the best H11 performance, but they are not 'white'. Most people that say 'white' are expecting around 5000k, which just isn't practical with a halogen. The more blue you add to the bulb to get the color temp up, the more the output is reduced. I try to focus my testing on real performance bulbs and not cosmetic ones. The whitest performance bulb I've tested is the Osram Laser +150 at 3600k. It has the most blue coverage and because of it, the output isn't as good as some other options. Sylvania Silverstar from your local autocrats store will offer higher color temps, in the low 4000k range, but also much less performance. The GE +130 Megalight offers a good balance of 3500k while offering excellent performance, though it is slightly outperformed by the slightly warmer GE Xenon +120, and even warmer Philips H9. Hellas performance 2.0 H9s are also an option for whiter at about 3500k, as covered in post #1578. Look at the comparison vs stock in the last photo in that post to get an idea if the color temp change is sufficient.

    LEDs are certainly much whiter, but they don't project well. I'm betting the Hikari's will do a bit better than stock at distance but are not going to match a performance halogen option at projection distance. Some people are more concerned with cosmetics over performance and that could be an option. If the rain holds off this evening, I'll have distance projection data tonight.

    HIDs are the most effective way to get whiter light that projects over distance, but there are still large drawbacks. Often the bulbs 'bounce' in the 3rd Gen headlight, which annoys many. And the headlight assembly isn't intended for HIDs, so the uplight allowed for halogen gets drastically amplified by running HIDs making it not the kindest to oncoming drivers, even though it is running a projector (because it is a halogen projector, not an HID projector). Sourcing quality parts is a bit of a challenge, since by nature no OEM grade brand makes kits to run in halogen assemblies. And then you also need to deal with external ballasts.

    So you really need to weigh what is most important to you. The best current option for much whiter with good projection is the Morimoto XB replacement headlights, as they are designed from the ground up for LEDs so they project correctly. They are also $1250.
     
  2. Oct 8, 2019 at 6:56 PM
    #1602
    CB3TACO

    CB3TACO Well-Known Member

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    @crashnburn80 thank you again. I’m really shooting for the “white/blue” look without going HID and needing lots of extra wiring/ballasts hanging around. I’ll for sure check out what you Have mentioned.
     
  3. Oct 8, 2019 at 7:01 PM
    #1603
    crashnburn80

    crashnburn80 [OP] Vehicle Design Engineer

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    If you want white/blue halogens are not going to cut it for you. Hikari's will likely be the best option I have tried. Rain seems to be holding off, so I should have the data in a while.
     
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  4. Oct 8, 2019 at 7:10 PM
    #1604
    CB3TACO

    CB3TACO Well-Known Member

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    Has anyone tested them over a length of time? Did you need CANbus adapters?
     
  5. Oct 8, 2019 at 7:13 PM
    #1605
    crashnburn80

    crashnburn80 [OP] Vehicle Design Engineer

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    Lots of guys have run the Hikari's. While the optical design is better than many, I do not place that faith in their build quality. They feel cheap. The Tacomas do not use CANbus, so no adapter required.
     
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  6. Oct 8, 2019 at 7:15 PM
    #1606
    CB3TACO

    CB3TACO Well-Known Member

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    What do you feel is a better quality led that won’t break the bank.. i know I will most likely sacrifice light quality and distance
     
  7. Oct 8, 2019 at 7:40 PM
    #1607
    crashnburn80

    crashnburn80 [OP] Vehicle Design Engineer

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    Cheap doesn’t necessarily mean they will fail soon, but Diode Dynamics units feel far better built, and they are made in the USA vs China. However the Diode Dynamic ones are much larger, so they don’t project as well. I wouldn’t advocate reducing projection performance under stock.
     
  8. Oct 9, 2019 at 12:25 AM
    #1608
    crashnburn80

    crashnburn80 [OP] Vehicle Design Engineer

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    Hikari Ultra "Eyes of Megatron" H11/H9 LEDs
    Amazon link here.

    fullsizeoutput_1185.jpg

    The name and advertising admittedly sounds questionable on these LEDs. The advertising is full of way overpromised performance, as is typical many off brand LEDs, with claims like "12,000 lumens!" and "270% brighter!". The product info page reads like a bad Chinese translation. However these are the thinnest drop in LEDs I have tested. And that is important because the thinner the distance between LED emitter faces, the better the focus (which is a weak point for LEDs). And better focus leads to better performance.

    fullsizeoutput_1183.jpg

    Still not quiet as thin as the OEM halogen, but closer.

    [​IMG]

    An interesting trait on these LEDs is how they use more girth/mass under the LED emitters, and keep the design thinner over the emitters. Below the light source is not utilized much in a low beam pattern, and in the projector all that light is blocked out by the internal light shield. So by optimizing the top of the LED unit to be thinner, they have optimized the light distribution for better low beam output.

    These are actively cooled (aka fan powered). Some designs that are a bit more cleaver like Diode Dynamics work with convection to have fans blow upward over heat sinks to carry heat away more efficiently, though at the expense of added bulk. These use the traditional rear facing fan. The fans are noisy. Likely not an issue with the truck running, but I am pretty sure you'll notice them with the truck off.

    So how do they perform?

    Better than I expected. 42' distance test shot against the Philips H9.

    Philips H9 vs Hikari LED at 42'
    fullsizeoutput_118e.jpg

    Looking at the output measurements, the Hikari numbers look impressive for an LED.

    fullsizeoutput_118f.jpg

    The halogens maintain a bit of a better recognizable hotspot than the Hikari's, and the halogen peak beam intensity is up near the cut off, vs the Hikari where it is a little lower. The peak beam intensity should be up near the cut off to carry the projection as far as possible. But over all very impressive performance for an LED.

    Compared to stock these are a significant upgrade, a bit over 50% greater lux at 42'.

    Stock 42' vs Hikari 42'
    fullsizeoutput_1191.jpg

    This of course begs the question, how do they do in the high beam? Here are short range (18') pattern shots using the Hikari's in the high beam with the low beams turned off.

    Stock Philips H9 vs Hikari LED high beam.
    ggZZpdsmSWOKquk8uQKvKQ.jpg

    The LED pattern is a bit more filled out than the halogen that has a hotter area lower in the beam. But that isn't unintentional. The lower hotter spot in the halogen high beam is to project the beam maximum forward distance for down road distance vision while also giving a wider area illumination. The LED pattern has lost this defined hotspot trait and is more of a uniform light spread. I did some 42' distance testing for high beam, and the Hikari's put down better peak numbers by roughly 20%. However it wasn't easy to tell exactly where that was relative in the beam and I suspect it is higher, for example a 20% increase in light aimed up 5 degrees isn't going to be beneficial to help you see further down the road. Brighter yes, but you also want that brighter applied to where you need it to go for it to be true effective. Unfortunately it began to rain so I packed up my gear to bring it inside.
     
  9. Oct 9, 2019 at 12:32 AM
    #1609
    crashnburn80

    crashnburn80 [OP] Vehicle Design Engineer

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    TRS has talked about making wiring adapters to install the 2020 OEM LED headlights, but they also sell the Morimoto LED lights so there may not be much incentive. Saw this today.

    1E760F80-016F-4832-9666-003AFCCEA952.jpg
     
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  10. Oct 9, 2019 at 7:47 AM
    #1610
    Joe671

    Joe671 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for all your work @crashnburn80. This is by far one of the best threads on here.
     
  11. Oct 9, 2019 at 8:36 AM
    #1611
    6MTPro

    6MTPro Well-Known Member

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    @crashnburn80 still loving the functionality of the GF +130 that I have in from this forum.

    Question: What are your thoughts pros vs cons on the Lightwerkz RX350 retrofits that people are doing? Seems more comprehensive than other HID swaps which I would venture to guess is a better finished product and longevity of use? Or is is just the same issues that someone would have with an HID application?

    https://www.lightwerkz.net/index.php/bi-xenon-lexus-rx350-sti-r-projectors.html
     
  12. Oct 9, 2019 at 11:29 AM
    #1612
    crashnburn80

    crashnburn80 [OP] Vehicle Design Engineer

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    RX350 projectors are regarded as some of the best projectors out there and they are an OEM Toyota product. Unlike using HIDs in halogen projectors, those are actually correctly designed to run HIDs, control the uplight and utilize proper OEM grade D2S bulbs like factory HIDs. Meaning you can get a 100% German made bulb by high quality brands like Osram and Philips, the same that would go into an OEM equipped HID vehicle. None of this rebasing an HID capsule to a halogen bulb base, which no reputable brands do. Pair the setup with quality Toyota Denso 35w ballasts and you have some pretty solid components. Having quality components is important but of course the quality of work by the retrofitter matters to. Did they use a quality OEM assembly, how accurate the projectors are placed, are they level, and how well the unit is sealed. Lower quality assemblies often have adjustment issues, can have play in the lenses, and can have early lens hazing. Retrofits like drop in LEDs are not legal. But it is certainly a better way to go about running HIDs than using a rebased HID bulb in a halogen projector assembly.
     
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  13. Oct 9, 2019 at 12:14 PM
    #1613
    replica9000

    replica9000 ./$0|./$0&

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    I've never taken apart a projector assembly before, but what are the chances swapping the projector portion is easy?
     
  14. Oct 9, 2019 at 12:36 PM
    #1614
    6MTPro

    6MTPro Well-Known Member

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    Thats great information, the kit itself seems relatively cheap Im curious what the cost would be to install. I guess follow up question would be

    1. If they are street legal for the RX350 does that automatically make them legal when paired with a Toyota or is the street legal aspect tied to a specific vehicle?
    2. Why would someone buy this lightwerkz setup as opposed to dropping into a Lexus parts dept. (appears to be OEM)? Assumption is that it's hard to find based on age?
    3. This would only solve the low beams and it would still would be a more visual transition from cooler to warmer if you were going back and forth with the highs and the lows? Think thats how it was on the RX's t00.
     
  15. Oct 9, 2019 at 12:45 PM
    #1615
    6MTPro

    6MTPro Well-Known Member

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  16. Oct 9, 2019 at 1:00 PM
    #1616
    TACO_ROCKET

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    You left out a major factor, but I got your back.

    I'm very happy to see the Hikari's performed as well as they did in your testing so far. Otherwise I'd have been really sad about ordering them before I saw the results. Lol. They should be on my doorstep any moment now.

    Thanks for the reassurance that I didn't make too terrible a mistake. Now it's just a matter of whether or not they last as long as an LED should.
     
  17. Oct 9, 2019 at 1:22 PM
    #1617
    Joe671

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    So you argued the fact that not all LED's were created equal having us thinking you already had some sweet LED's installed but really you were just waiting for crash to test some that meet your standard. LOL i see what you did there.
     
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  18. Oct 9, 2019 at 2:15 PM
    #1618
    replica9000

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    Reflection of my Nokya Hyper yellow H9s and Amber Morimoto fogs.

    IMG_20191009_160847~01.jpg
     
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  19. Oct 9, 2019 at 2:28 PM
    #1619
    AMC_Unlimited

    AMC_Unlimited Active Member

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    After reading some of this info... I’m thinking of taking the LED’s out in the winter in favor of the stock bulbs.

    My cheap LED’s are fine in the summer and I live in the city so there is plenty of illumination at night. I just don’t have enough confidence in the winter that they can penetrate through moderate snow fall and would light up the snow flakes instead of the road.
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2019
  20. Oct 9, 2019 at 3:08 PM
    #1620
    crashnburn80

    crashnburn80 [OP] Vehicle Design Engineer

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    1. No. The Rx350 headlight assembly as a whole factory unit is street legal. Individual components are not.
    2. If you go to the dealer you'll likely have to buy the entire headlight assembly which will be very expensive. Recall these are not intended to be serviceable. Yes, people bake them and pry them apart and then reseal them, but that was never any OEMs intention or approved procedure.
    3. B-Xenon means the low beam projector light shield is dropable, so the single HID projector functions as both low and high. Installed in a 3rd Gen with a separate high beam, you could then have dual high beams.
     
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