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Author Topic: Halogen vs. Xenon vs. LED headlights  (Read 4684 times, 24 Replies)
GoldEnclave
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« on: December 31, 2016, 06:33:47 PM »

Please discuss your experiences with and your comparative opinions about these three common headlamp options.
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« Reply #1 on: December 31, 2016, 07:11:59 PM »

Other than an admittedly whiter light, xenon never seemed to deliver noticeably better lighting performance to my own eyes than halogen......and they can't (or couldn't when I had them) be used for flash-to-pass.  I have no personal experience with LED.
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« Reply #2 on: December 31, 2016, 09:28:28 PM »

The Enclave's HIDs do not facilitate flash to pass, but my Audi Q3 does, so there's no drawback there. And, I do think that they illuminate the road a bit better than the halogens that I've experienced. Though my wife's Mazda CX5 is equipped with LED headlamps, I haven't had a chance to drive the the car at night yet. I am curious to see how they perform. 
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« Reply #3 on: December 31, 2016, 11:05:36 PM »

You should also discuss reflector versus projector lens in this debate. Whatever light source you use, it should technically be used in a lens housing that it was designed to be used in.

Halogen done right is good, but most times it's not done well and is therefore lacking in "on-the-road" light output. It tends to be in the 4300K light output range, which is the "best" output for visible light for human eyes. I prefer a little whiter light, generally in the 5000k range. The halogen light output from my F-150 is HORRIBLE - the worst I've seen since driving a 1970 Torino. It's about like trying to drive using candles for illumination. I've switched to HID in the low beams and it helped a lot. There is a local company that is designing and will be manufacturing LED low beam bulbs specifically for the F-150 halogen reflector housings that reportedly put out 40% more light focused in the proper place on the road (where it should be) than the halogen bulbs they are replacing. I will be buying a set as soon as they hit the market, which is supposed to be shortly after the first of the year.

OEM HID systems that I have used have typically been pretty good - Enclave, Corvette, Charger. They also tend to have light output in the 4300k range. Aftermarket systems run the gamut from unreliable to pretty good. I've used a lot of aftermarket systems in reflector housings and have found a couple of brands that I have very few issues with. I find that the Canbus systems seem to be of higher quality than the "regular" systems.

OEM LED light output seems to mostly be pretty good. Aftermarket replacements run the gamut from horrible to pretty good. The ones that put out enough light output are mostly bad, mainly due to scattering excess light all over the place and blinding oncoming drivers. Aftermarket LED bulbs also tend to not throw the light quite as far down the road as whatever source they are being used to replace. Current LED light output tends to typically fall in the 6000k range so you do lose a little light output. Aftermarket systems currently are mostly not "there" yet. They are very similar to where aftermarket HID systems were 15 years ago. The technology is changing/developing very rapidly and there will be a lot of acceptable replacements available in a couple of years. If you are going to attempt to use aftermarket systems today, be prepared to do a lot of due diligence before you find a really good, acceptable system.
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« Reply #4 on: January 01, 2017, 10:54:56 AM »

Here's an interesting site:

https://www.powerbulbs.com/us/blog/2016/03/headlights-halogen-xenon-led-laser-conversion-kits
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« Reply #5 on: January 01, 2017, 11:16:38 AM »

Here's an interesting comparison chart.

http://i.ebayimg.com/images/g/-BgAAOSwm0JYDhtA/s-l1600.jpg
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« Reply #6 on: January 01, 2017, 12:10:45 PM »

Here's an interesting comparison chart.

http://i.ebayimg.com/images/g/-BgAAOSwm0JYDhtA/s-l1600.jpg

That's accurate also the halogens give off heat which helps with deicing. IMO our articulating HIDS are the best headlights available. LEDS are close, but need to be in a shaped enclosure that sheds snow or has some other means to clear the lens in winter weather. I prefer the 4300k to 4800k spectrum also of hids plus way more lumens (3200) compared to leds or halogens there is no comparison in output. Halogen is old school 3200k light range "very orange". I've been researching headlights for four years for my jeep wrangler, which until 2017 came with the most pathetic H13 Halogen lights imaginable. I went with a set of DS2 hella 90 mm projector retrofit that are DOT. Headlights are like oil threads, many opinions.  Oh and the difference is headlights can be dangerous to you and others, so make sure they are LEGAL. Check out the candlepower forum.   Next up laser headlights.................Smiley 
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GoldEnclave
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« Reply #7 on: January 01, 2017, 12:34:00 PM »

You've raised good points about the winter weather advantage of halogen and HID Xenon lamps. I forgot about that.

And, as you've pointed out, get ready for laser headlights... My understanding is that Audi is at the forefront in their development for automotive use.
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« Reply #8 on: January 01, 2017, 12:42:26 PM »

You've raised good points about the winter weather advantage of halogen and HID Xenon lamps. I forgot about that.

And, as you've pointed out, get ready for laser headlights... My understanding is that Audi is at the forefront in their development for automotive use.

You are correct, the Germans appear to be leading when it comes to automotive lighting. OSRAM bulbs are oem in the Enclave. One thing I like about my new Hellas in the Jeep is that they have a glass lens. Never will yellow or cloud, break maybe, but thick and tough looking.

 
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« Reply #9 on: January 03, 2017, 01:23:35 PM »

The Enclave's HIDs do not facilitate flash to pass, but my Audi Q3 does, so there's no drawback there. And, I do think that they illuminate the road a bit better than the halogens that I've experienced. Though my wife's Mazda CX5 is equipped with LED headlamps, I haven't had a chance to drive the the car at night yet. I am curious to see how they perform.  

The flash-to-pass feature works on the Enclave at night only.  For some reason it does not work with the DRL's engaged (which I don't understand since the DRL's are separate bulbs, at least on the 2008-2012).  From the 2009 manual, Page 3-7 and 3-8:

Flash-to-Pass
With the turn signal lever in the low-beam position, pull the lever toward you momentarily to switch to high-beam, to signal that you are going to pass. If the headlamps are on, they will return to low-beam when the lever is released.

For vehicles with High Intensity Discharge (HID) headlamps, the flash-to-pass feature does not work while the Daytime Running Lamps (DRL) are on.


Also, this is a little OT but still related.  Here is some really good info on why it is illegal to add aftermarket bulbs to headlights that were not designed from the factory to accept them:
http://www.danielsternlighting.com/tech/bulbs/Hid/conversions/conversions.html

And more info on the main page here:
http://www.danielsternlighting.com/tech/bulbs/bulbs.html
« Last Edit: January 03, 2017, 01:29:13 PM by sklunk » Logged

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« Reply #10 on: January 03, 2017, 03:40:42 PM »

The flash-to-pass feature works on the Enclave at night only.  For some reason it does not work with the DRL's engaged (which I don't understand since the DRL's are separate bulbs, at least on the 2008-2012).  From the 2009 manual, Page 3-7 and 3-8:

Flash-to-Pass
With the turn signal lever in the low-beam position, pull the lever toward you momentarily to switch to high-beam, to signal that you are going to pass. If the headlamps are on, they will return to low-beam when the lever is released.

For vehicles with High Intensity Discharge (HID) headlamps, the flash-to-pass feature does not work while the Daytime Running Lamps (DRL) are on.


Also, this is a little OT but still related.  Here is some really good info on why it is illegal to add aftermarket bulbs to headlights that were not designed from the factory to accept them:
http://www.danielsternlighting.com/tech/bulbs/Hid/conversions/conversions.html

And more info on the main page here:
http://www.danielsternlighting.com/tech/bulbs/bulbs.html

Daniel stern knows his lights for sure. If you want more than you can ever absorb check out the candlepower forum. I had good results with a Pennsylvania outfit Susquehanna rally lights. (SMS) Total enthusiasts for anything with wheels..................Wil is a great guy there to answer questions.
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« Reply #11 on: January 14, 2017, 03:46:46 PM »

My impression is that, in theory and with proper implementation, LEDs are the best choice followed by Xenons, and finally Halogens. That is the order for efficiency, brightness, and durability, too. Only cost does not follow that order; it's the exact opposite. But, it seems like a "no-brainer" if given the option to select the headlight technology for a new vehicle.
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« Reply #12 on: January 14, 2017, 05:08:22 PM »

My impression is that, in theory and with proper implementation, LEDs are the best choice followed by Xenons, and finally Halogens. That is the order for efficiency, brightness, and durability, too. Only cost does not follow that order; it's the exact opposite. But, it seems like a "no-brainer" if given the option to select the headlight technology for a new vehicle.

I just retrofitted my jeep wrangler with Hella hids, I could have done the best leds setup available for between $600 to $800, but I opted for the older technology the Hella 90mm bi-xenon hids with 4300k Osram  bulbs. On sale they cost be a bit over $1300. Why? Still more light output than any of the current led lighting retrofits, real glass lens, "so no discoloring", and hopefully a little heat to help melt melt ice. I did this because I liked the hids so much on the enclave I wanted somrthing similar. Plus a lot of these leds have artifacts that would drive me crazy as I focus on them.
« Last Edit: January 14, 2017, 05:13:54 PM by silvervettes » Logged
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« Reply #13 on: January 16, 2017, 12:24:39 PM »

I just retrofitted my jeep wrangler with Hella hids, I could have done the best leds setup available for between $600 to $800, but I opted for the older technology the Hella 90mm bi-xenon hids with 4300k Osram  bulbs. On sale they cost be a bit over $1300. Why? Still more light output than any of the current led lighting retrofits, real glass lens, "so no discoloring", and hopefully a little heat to help melt melt ice. I did this because I liked the hids so much on the enclave I wanted somrthing similar. Plus a lot of these leds have artifacts that would drive me crazy as I focus on them.

I agree with your choice for aftermarket applications. My thoughts pertain to the headlights coming from the factory on new cars.
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« Reply #14 on: April 04, 2017, 08:32:44 PM »

I have gotten to experience my wife's Mazda CX5's LED headlights a few times, and I have to say that I prefer my Enclave's and Q3's xenon headlights. The LEDs cast an uneven color temperature, with purple superior borders around a bright bluish white projection. It is quite noticeable when stopped at a light behind another car. I think that the LED headlight technology is still a work in progress to some extent, and will probably outperform the xenons in short order, based on theoretical advantages. Meantime, I'm satisfied with my xenons.  wink
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« Reply #15 on: April 04, 2017, 10:45:11 PM »

I have gotten to experience my wife's Mazda CX5's LED headlights a few times, and I have to say that I prefer my Enclave's and Q3's xenon headlights. The LEDs cast an uneven color temperature, with purple superior borders around a bright bluish white projection. It is quite noticeable when stopped at a light behind another car. I think that the LED headlight technology is still a work in progress to some extent, and will probably outperform the xenons in short order, based on theoretical advantages. Meantime, I'm satisfied with my xenons.  wink

Not to be confrontational at all, people have been telling me now for seven years that leds would surpass Bi-xenon hids, Still not there in my eyes. If you ever want to deep dive lighting in general spend some time on the candlepower forum. Oh and the Germans pretty much are pioneering automotive lighting. The Hellas I retrofitted to my jeep with Osram bulbs on high beam is like strapping your own portable sun to the front! Another draw back to the leds is they run so cool that if the shape of your housing is recessed and don't have a mechanical way of clearing them or a heat source you will get snow and ice buildup rendering your lights useless. Hids give off some heat, not like a halogen, but still more than an led. All four of my vehicles are hid equipped now and in the rural area I drive I really appreciate them. I think GM use Valeo and the stock bulbs are osrams. Our E's have awesome headlights.
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« Reply #16 on: April 09, 2017, 10:00:14 AM »

I think that the LED headlight technology will become the standard in coming years, due mainly to, among a number of attributes, high efficiency. Once the final kinks have been worked out, the only drawback that I can fathom is that it can't help to clear ice and snow from the headlight assembly.
« Last Edit: May 23, 2017, 10:08:29 AM by GoldEnclave » Logged

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« Reply #17 on: May 19, 2017, 06:58:02 AM »

I just traded an '04 Blazer for a '10 Enclave.  The Blazer had Sylvania Silverstars (still halogens but very white).  I just took the Enclave on a night drive tonight and I have to say, I'm not overly impressed with the HIDs (headlights are clean and not yellowed).  I think the Silverstar halogens have a brighter light.  Different HID bulbs might make a difference.
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« Reply #18 on: May 20, 2017, 08:37:20 AM »

I just traded an '04 Blazer for a '10 Enclave.  The Blazer had Sylvania Silverstars (still halogens but very white).  I just took the Enclave on a night drive tonight and I have to say, I'm not overly impressed with the HIDs (headlights are clean and not yellowed).  I think the Silverstar halogens have a brighter light.  Different HID bulbs might make a difference.

I would have someone check your enclave lights. No way the hids are inferior to halogens in anyway unless they are not working properly. Something is wrong. 
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« Reply #19 on: May 20, 2017, 03:37:03 PM »

Have them checked for what?  What would be wrong?
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