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Old 09-26-2009, 10:04 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Brightest non-HID headlights?

I'm thinking of taking out my HIDs and going back to regular bulbs. What are the brightest non-HID bulbs and where can you get them?

I know I've seen this here before but couldn't find with a search... thanks.
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Old 09-26-2009, 10:31 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I think your HIDs look great
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Old 09-26-2009, 10:41 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Why are you thinking about taking the HID bulbs out?
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Old 09-26-2009, 11:24 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Haha.. well I guess a bunch of little things. The electrodes create a pretty noticeable shadow in front of the car on the ground, which jumps around when you're moving as the arc moves around, making it feel like the headlights are loose. The brights take some warm-up time, so can't can't do a quick flash (it actually does work if you turn them on briefly to warm them up first). I could take just the hi-beams out, but that's where I appreciate them most. And the low beams are bright enough that people flash a lot. Not head-on, but when I'm passing someone on my right on the freeway. So it's not an aim thing. It's the upward flare to the right that shines directly in people's rearview as you're approaching their blind spot if that makes sense.

I do like the brightness, but I'm not sure it's worth the trade-off for me.
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Old 09-26-2009, 12:41 PM   #6 (permalink)
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HIR bulbs. Way more power consumption than HID when running, but if you can retrofit them to the housing they may be the way to go.

I use them a lot for two-bulb high beam applications where the low beam is HID.
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Old 09-26-2009, 03:58 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MTribe View Post
The brights take some warm-up time, so can't can't do a quick flash (it actually does work if you turn them on briefly to warm them up first). I could take just the hi-beams out, but that's where I appreciate them most.
Replace the high beams with the Osrams SilverStars (not Sylvania SilverStars). There are others too - avoid anything called "super white" or has any kind of blue tint at all, they make look brighter in to your eyes when you look at them, but not when your eyes are looking at the reflections of them from the road. etc.

Also, avoid anything over wattage (unless you are running new relays and wiring from a heavy duty battery source - NOT the head light circuit) as the stock wiring is sized for the stock wattage. Go to a higher wattage and the lights won't actually be any brighter as they won't get full voltage, and additionally, the wires may melt for over-heating

The Osram SilverStars are a significant improvement of stock. But an even bigger improvement is the factory Driving Lights (note not "fog" lights) - they are very high intensity (narrow cone of focus so it goes far down the road) supplementary high-beams )they only come on with the high-beams as they would blind people if on with the low beams).

There is a thread I start several years ago - the first part only applies to the very early cars (all there was at the time) but the rest is good and many people have added good info and links to that thread (good place to start).
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Old 09-26-2009, 05:39 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Tim, thanks for the excellent input as always.

I have some time tonight to do the swap... sounds like the Sylvania SilverStars I can get at Kragen are not the same?

EDIT: I just noticed Osram/Sylvania are the same company, and that there's an ULTRA version of the Sylvania SilverStars. Maybe those are the same as the "Osram SilverStars"?

EDIT 2: After more research:
Osram sells in Europe. Sylvania sells in US. Same company, but different product lines for each market.
Osram Nightbreakers appear to be the new brightest bulb at +90%, for the European market. Perhaps these replaced Osram SilverStars.
Sylvania SilverStar Ultras are only +50% brighter. So the +90% Nightbreakers may be too bright for US regs.


And anyone know of a good (bonus if it's somewhere I could pick them up) source for the Osrams? I didn't see it in that thread, unless it's Peter's email which didn't seem to work.

Thanks.
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Last edited by MTribe; 09-26-2009 at 06:53 PM.
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Old 09-26-2009, 06:00 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Candlepower aka Daniel Stern lighting
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Old 09-26-2009, 06:57 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Is Candlepower associated with Daniel Stern Lighting?

I found Daniel Stern Lighting here Daniel Stern Lighting Consultancy and Supply
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Old 09-26-2009, 07:07 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Osram/Sylvania are both the same company - Siemens. I can check at work, but if I recall I can get a set for 24.99, but will double check on Monday.
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Old 09-26-2009, 08:00 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Philips makes a great bulb that's known to out perform the Silver Starts. The main draw back with the silver stars was how often they tend to burn out.

Philips X-treme power 80% brighter than a standard halogen lamp and 100% road legal. xtreme
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Old 09-26-2009, 10:53 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MTribe View Post
And the low beams are bright enough that people flash a lot. Not head-on, but when I'm passing someone on my right on the freeway. So it's not an aim thing. It's the upward flare to the right that shines directly in people's rearview as you're approaching their blind spot if that makes sense.

I do like the brightness, but I'm not sure it's worth the trade-off for me.
Instead of ditching the low beam HIDs, you might simply adjust the 'shutters' on the lows to a more shallow upward flare (say, 10 degrees instead of 15 degrees). It might even be possible to adjust them to create a "z" beam like the standard beam pattern on many OEM HIDs. Also, make sure that your angle downward on the lows drops the beam about 2.5 inches in 30 feet or you may still needlessly dazzle the cars you're passing.

And FWIW, DDM has an H7 that matches the color temperature of HIDs for your high beams, but using a conventional incandescent bulb. Not too pricey and it would give you matching color spectra for lows and highs...and allow you to retain the low beam HIDs.

Just my 2c -- food for thought. YMMV, etc.
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Old 09-27-2009, 12:23 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Luminics also sells very bright bulbs. I've tried silverstars but they do frequently burn out. I have never had to change the Luminics bulbs on any of the cars i've installed them on.

Luminics: Home to Luminics Bulbs
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Old 09-27-2009, 05:42 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MTribe View Post
And the low beams are bright enough that people flash a lot. Not head-on, but when I'm passing someone on my right on the freeway. So it's not an aim thing. It's the upward flare to the right that shines directly in people's rearview as you're approaching their blind spot if that makes sense.
You are correct that it is not an aim thing. Halogen headlamps and HID headlamps require very different optics to produce a safe and effective beam pattern. The HID conversion kits do nothing to change the optics which actually makes the beam pattern all wrong. Learn about it here: Daniel Stern Lighting Consultancy and Supply and "Aftermarket HID producers that make re-based kits for halogen style headlights are the ones responsible for the bad rep HID headlights sometimes get. I’ve got advice - Don’t be a ricer and throw an HID rebased kit into your car. HID kits that are rebased to fit in your 9006, h7, h4 etc. headlights actually worsen the light output in most cases. Sure the lights might be a little brighter lumen wise, but the actual output, (ahem the reason why the headlights exist in the first place ahem..), would suffer. Output would worsen because the focal points (capsule/filament) of the two bulbs wouldn’t match up. Thus when installed into a headlight reflector designed for the halogen bulb specs, the HID bulb throws light in places it shouldn’t. In the end, you just end up blasting light into the air instead of on the ground where it should be, which in turn blinds oncoming drivers." from here: The Retrofit Source (U.S.) - HID Projector Retrofit Kits, Retrofit and HID Componenents, Projectors Lens, Wiring Harnesses, Shrouds and more!.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lotusport View Post
Instead of ditching the low beam HIDs, you might simply adjust the 'shutters' on the lows to a more shallow upward flare (say, 10 degrees instead of 15 degrees). It might even be possible to adjust them to create a "z" beam like the standard beam pattern on many OEM HIDs. Also, make sure that your angle downward on the lows drops the beam about 2.5 inches in 30 feet or you may still needlessly dazzle the cars you're passing.
Just for info of those in the future who may read this thread, the shutter is adjustable on the '05-06 headlights only. '07+ do not have an adjustable shutter. 2007+ sealed headlight shutter adjustment
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Old 09-27-2009, 10:07 AM   #16 (permalink)
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sounds like the Sylvania SilverStars I can get at Kragen are not the same?
Nope, they are not.

Quote:
EDIT: I just noticed Osram/Sylvania are the same company, and that there's an ULTRA version of the Sylvania SilverStars. Maybe those are the same as the "Osram SilverStars"?
Same company, but the Sylvania SilverStars are blue tinted for the "ricer" market - the Osrams are the real thing.

Quote:
EDIT 2: After more research:
Osram sells in Europe. Sylvania sells in US. Same company, but different product lines for each market.
Yep.
Quote:
Osram Nightbreakers appear to be the new brightest bulb at +90%, for the European market. Perhaps these replaced Osram SilverStars.
Sylvania SilverStar Ultras are only +50% brighter. So the +90% Nightbreakers may be too bright for US regs.
It's actually a bit of tricky marketing. There is a range of allowable brightness. Most bulbs are toward the lower end of the scale as that makes them last longer. The +50% bulbs tend to the upper end of that brightness scale by using better quality - they tend to be the brightest LEGAL bulbs. They get the "+50%" because they are 50% brighter than the bulbs at the low end of the scale.

The +90s may be a bit brighter - usually by being higher wattage which can cause electrical problems - but in any case, they give up long life for a bit more brightness.

Quote:
And anyone know of a good (bonus if it's somewhere I could pick them up) source for the Osrams? I didn't see it in that thread, unless it's Peter's email which didn't seem to work.
That thread was written nearly 5 years ago - there has been another post with a newer link to Peter, but I have no idea where it is. In any case, if you do a google search you should be able to find several sources - that's how I found him in the first place.
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Old 09-27-2009, 10:07 AM   #17 (permalink)
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RoadDad, totally agree with everything you've said.

In my case, though, I think the issue is mostly the result of the upward-sweeping shutters of the Euro lights, and the raw brightness of the bulbs (I have the 55W, not standard 35W to boot).

You can imagine approaching a slower car, to the right of you, on the freeway. As you get closer, that upward sweep intended to illuminate road signs now shines directly in the back window of the car. Normally with a less-bright bulb, the impact is lessened but still present--but not bright enough to totally blast people. There may be some non-HID focal point-induced scatter there too, but the shutter creates a very crisp cutoff, and I've adjusted the lights accordingly. I've never been flashed coming head-on, or as the result of having driven directly behind someone.

Another point... the forward light is so bright that I have the headlights adjusted further downward than I would with non-HID, which ironically means I have less time to react to things coming up in the road. The cutoff is crisp and bright and it's easy to see when you're blasting other drivers with them, so I've adjusted them to the point that I almost never shine them in someone's face. Versus having a dimmer bulb, pointing it upward a little higher and letting the light decay naturally down the road, without too much consequence if you're going over a rise or bump and momentarily blast someone.

Anyhow, lots of reasons to potentially get better vision out of a less bright bulb!
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Old 09-27-2009, 04:29 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Old 09-28-2009, 07:56 PM   #19 (permalink)
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OK, just got some great info from Daniel Stern over at Daniel Stern Lighting/Candlepower (same despite my comment above). Finally, some definitive info on the topic. May I request that you please buy all your lighting from him--we need more people like this out there!

My question to Dan:
I'm interested to buy a pair of H1 and a pair of H7 bulbs for a 2006 Lotus Elise. I'd like to go as bright as possible, but my understanding is that brighter=shorter life. I've heard of the Osram Nightbreakers. Is that a good choice, or would you recommend something else?

His response:
Put these H1s in the low beam:
<b><font color="red">Osram Night Breaker® +90 Ultra High Output 55w H1 Bulb — Twin Pack</b></font>

Your high beams take H7. Any of the blue-glass "extra white" bulbs are an absolute nonstarter as far as seeing better is concerned. Sylvania Silverstar/Ultra, PIAA, Hoen, BlueVision, CrystalVision, TruView, Nokya, Polarg, etc. -- all a scam. Such bulbs produce significantly less light than even a standard bulb, so we'll start our comparison with standard bulbs.

Osram Silverstar, Narva Rangepower+50, and Philips VisionPlus are all "Plus+50" H7 bulbs. Philips Xtreme Power and Osram Night Breaker are both "Plus+80"/"Plus+90" bulbs. They are, as a class, the best 55w H7s you can buy. But, Osram offers (and I stock) an even better option with higher output and longer life. Here is the comparison (figures at 13.2 volts):

Standard H7:
55w, 1500 lumens, 500 hours

H7 ultra "Plus+50" (any brand):
55w, 1580 lumens, 225 hours

H7 Xtreme "Plus+80" (Philips) or "Plus+90" (Osram):
55w, 1620 lumens, 200 hours

H7 rallye+65 (Osram only):
65w, 2100 lumens, 500 hours, obvious choice.

The extra 10w is of no consequence as far as electrical power or heat --
those 80w to 100w bulbs are a different story, and they produce less light
and have a shorter lifespan than the Osram 65w item. Direct order link is
Osram Rallye 65w Ultra High Output H7 Special-Service Bulb <b>SALE!</b>

Make sure the lamps are aimed correctly per the "VOL" instructions at Daniel Stern Lighting Consultancy and Supply


Thanks Dan! And I'll put more detail he sent in the next post if you want more...
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Old 09-28-2009, 07:58 PM   #20 (permalink)
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And here's more from Dan:

For reference, here's manufacturer data for output and lifespan at 13.2v for standard-wattage H1 bulbs. The numbers here are a composite of values applicable to the products of the big three makers (Osram-Sylvania, Philips-Narva, Tungsram-GE). Each manufacturer's product in each category is slightly different but not significantly so. I picked H1-type bulbs for this comparison, and while the absolute numbers differ with different bulb types, the relative comparison patterns hold good for whatever bulb type we consider (H4, 9006, whatever). Lifespan is given as Tc, the hour figure at which 63.2 percent of the bulbs have failed.

H1 (regular normal):

1550 lumens, 650 hours

Long Life (or "HalogenPlus+")

1460 lumens, 1200 hours

Ultra Long Life (or "DayLight")

1430 lumens, 3000 hours

Plus-30 High Efficacy (CPI BrightLight, Osram Super, Sylvania Xtravision, Narva Rangepower, Tungsram High Output, Philips Premium):

1700 lumens, 350 hours

Plus-50 Ultra High Efficacy (CPI Super Bright Light, Philips VisionPlus, Osram Silverstar, Narva Rangepower+50, Tungsram Megalicht, but not Sylvania Silverstar):

1750 lumens, 350 hours

Plus-80/90 Mega High Efficacy (Philips Xtreme Power, Osram Night Breaker):

1780 lumens, 340 hours

Blue coated 'extra white' (CPI Bright Light Blue, Osram CoolBlue, Narva Rangepower Blue, Philips BlueVision or CrystalVision, Tungsram Super Blue or EuroBlue, Sylvania Silverstar or Silverstar Ultra, also PIAA, Hoen, Nokya, Polarg, etc):

1380 lumens, 250 hours

So that's the pattern for how lifespan and light output are related. It's worth noting that the lumen differences are not the extent of the performance differences. The filament changes required to make a long-life bulb tend to reduce the beam focus, which shortens seeing distance. And, the light color is less white and more brown. But lifespan is lengthened. The opposite filament changes are made to create the "Plus" (+30, +50, +80, +90) or Osram "Hyper" type bulbs: Lifespan is reduced, but the beam focus is better so seeing distance is longer. Light color is whiter and less brown. The takeaway message here is that even if all the filaments put out exactly the same amount of light — the same lumens from a long life, a +30, a +50, a regular, an ultralong-life, etc. — the headlamp performance and appearance with the long-life bulb would still be inferior compared to the same headlamp performance and appearance with a regular, or +30, or +50, or +80, or Hyper bulb.

All the H1 options are at H1 bulbs
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