The Lotus Cars Community banner

1 - 14 of 14 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,122 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
OK, now I get to REALLY show my ignorance. I'm trying to understand the various lighting options for the Elise. As I understand it, our headlights are not HID. Frankly, as some have noted, they're not overly bright (like some people I know).

So, some questions, if I may:

- I understand HID can be retrofitted, but that's not really legal, is it? How effective is a retro-fit like this? Is that for the low beams or the high beams, or both?

- In the alternative, I see that Sector111 offers upgraded (plug and play) bulbs for the system, for 25% brighter output. How do those compare to HID?

- What about the Lotus driving lights -- are those HID? Are they legal for street use? Do I just use those in conjunction with the regular headlamps? How effective would that be?

- On my MR2, I have a Catz Zeta system, which simply boosts power to each (standard) low-beam bulb by 25%, for a brighter output. It's worked great for me for 2 years now. How does that compare to the other options?

So, what's the best alternative? Sorry for all the questions, but when you reach my age (47), you'll realize how important it is to get the best lighting you can! :D
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
6,941 Posts
As a start, better "normal" H1 bulbs can be tried. Generally speaking, HID kits tend not too work very well as they need optics designed for their particular characteristics. It's not just a brightness thing, it has to do with where the glass optics and reflectors expect the bright element(s) to be located. Some cars experience lots of wasted light which leads to glare, especially in foggy or rainy conditions as the stray light reflects off the moisture and back into your face. Part of the Elise issue could be the clear covers themselves. I'm near your age and live in an area with narrow roads and no street lights, so lighting is very important to me too.

You may find it worthwhile to read Daniel Stern's material. I use the Cibie CSR units on my E30 M3 and they are fantastic. Low beam is so good that high beams are seldom needed in my area. And the high beams are so bright that they bother the car directly in front of you....in the day time. Can't get 'em onto an Elise though! In some cases, HID conversions can work if there was an OE option and you can tracl it down. Doesn't the Elise use projector type optics? From what vehicle did they originate? Lotus tends to parts bin things like that, maybe there is a hidden option for us here.

Daniel Stern On HID Conversions...

Stan
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,195 Posts
It's easy to spot cars on the road with 'retrofit' HID bulbs that don't match the reflectors -- they scatter light everywhere and will blind you even at an angle. Very annoying, and not that productive.

I do hope there's a well-matched HID solution. Once you get a factory HID car, you can't go back to the dim yellow bulbs. I might as well burn an oil wick.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,834 Posts
Ground Loop said:

I do hope there's a well-matched HID solution. Once you get a factory HID car, you can't go back to the dim yellow bulbs. I might as well burn an oil wick.
I would assume the OEM high intensity bulbs will be well matched.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
970 Posts
The Elise has projector housings(which are the best) for low beams and reflector type for high beams. True HID puts out 3-4 times the luminal intensity as halogens. No matter what people say about halogens, they are nothing close to true HID's. While the optics of projector housings do differ, this is rarely the cause of stray light. Projectors usually create a very sharp cutoff in front of you(clearly visible) and the "blinding" of people is from aiming them incorrectly. These kits are plug and play and extremely easy to install when you have access to housing/bulb. Once you have had HID, you cant go back to halogens. The luminal output of 4300K HID is 3200 lumens, 6000K ultinons 2800 lumens and halogens 1200-2000 lumens. The light dispersement is also wider with HID. As you age, you require alot more light to see the same as say a teenager so HID becomes even more important. With HID, I have never had to use my high beams. And turning on so called foglights/driving lights doesnt add anything(matter of fact, cant even tell when you turn it on). Now for the Elise(which have auxillary lights, I cant comment cause Ive never seen them turned on in person). Also, dont buy caoted bulbs higher than OEM 55W, cause they can burn up your housings and the bulbs dont tend to last too long. Coated 55W bulbs are safe, but their luminal output isnt very good no matter what they claim. I had 2 sets(Sylvania Silverstars and PIAA Extreme Whites) that cost me 60.00 a set and they were not any better than halogens. Take a moment to read these pages on link.


http://www.autolamps-online.com/gasdischarge/xenon.htm
 

·
insert clever title here
Joined
·
7,702 Posts
mact3333 said:
here are some pics that I found on website that show difference between HID light dispersement and halogens.
That's not a fair comparison - light dispersement is mainly (solely?) a factor of the lens design itself, not the nature of the light emitting source. Merely switching from DOT-approved lenses to a European one will result in a dramatic change in dispersement, with a very sharp vertical cutoff in light output.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
970 Posts
Ground Loop said:
It's easy to spot cars on the road with 'retrofit' HID bulbs that don't match the reflectors -- they scatter light everywhere and will blind you even at an angle. Very annoying, and not that productive.

I do hope there's a well-matched HID solution. Once you get a factory HID car, you can't go back to the dim yellow bulbs. I might as well burn an oil wick.
The HID retros that you have seen that scatter light all over the place are usually from kids retro'ing their Civics and such. The problem with their system is, they are using reflector type OEM housings and they are clearly worse than projector housings. The bigger problem is that they dont care enough to point the beams correctly. All they care about is that they can see far and that they are noticed. To bad cause people like that ruin it for the rest of us who have retofitted HID's. But the Elise has projector housings so this shouldnt be an issue if you have them pointed correctly because the cutoff should be very noticeable. . But even if you have reflector type housings, if you carefully point the light, shouldnt be a problem. I currently have 6000K ultinons on my MDX(which sits very high) and as you know have reflector type housings and have never been flashed. There is a night and day difference between this kit and original lights.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
970 Posts
MattG said:
That's not a fair comparison - light dispersement is mainly (solely?) a factor of the lens design itself, not the nature of the light emitting source. Merely switching from DOT-approved lenses to a European one will result in a dramatic change in dispersement, with a very sharp vertical cutoff in light output.

Matt, if you would have taken the time to read my previous post/link you would know that both pics were taken from an M5 and all that was switched were the bulbs/ballasts. The optics of the housings were the same. So it is a fair comparison. Look at the pics, you can tell it is the same car. Go to my link on my previous post and read on.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
970 Posts
The 10 Most Frequently Asked Questions About Gas Discharge Lighting

1. What is Xenon Light?
The xenon bulb is a micro discharge bulb filled with a mixture of noble gases including Xenon. The bulb has no filament as is the case with a halogen lamp. The light is created by striking and arc between 2 electrodes. The xenon lamp needs a starter for quick ignition and an electronic ballast to function properly.

2. What are the advantages of Xenon Light?
The xenon lamp produces 2 to 3 times as much light as a halogen lamp whilst only consuming half of the power. Therefore the driver can see more clearly and the car is more economical to run. The light produced by the Xenon bulb is the same as daylight. Research has shown that this enhances driver concentration and thus safety. The life expectancy of the xenon lamp is that of the life of the car and only needs replacing in exceptional cases.

3. Why was Xenon Light developed?
The car over the last decade has been made safer and more comfortable with the introduction of such technologies as ABS, Airbags and Air-conditioning. However 60% of all accidents take place in the dark. Therefore vehicle lighting plays a very big role in road safety. It is a fact that a 60 year old requires 10-11 times the amount of light to perform the same functions as a 20 years old. With the increase in the average age of the population more light is required to drive safely.

4. What is meant by active safety measures?
Better lighting leads to earlier and improved recognition of objects, cyclists, pedestrians and potential hazards ahead. it is also vital that you get as much notice as possible of traffic signs and road markings to be able to react in good time. Therefore better lighting delivers an active contribution to road safety and driver comfort and can save lives.

5. Can't we improve halogen lamps?
The limits of the halogen technology was reached with the introduction of the PREMIUM lamp. This lamp offer 30% more light on the road ahead compared to a standard lamp. The only way for further improvements was via a new technology. The gas discharge lamp proved the answer.

6. Why does a Xenon bulb produce blue light?
The light produced by a xenon bulb is not in fact BLUE but WHITE falling well within the International specification for white light. The light only appears blue compared to the warmer yellowier light produced by halogen lamps. It clearly appears when compared to daylight.

7. Why can a xenon lamp produce the same colour as halogen?
Technically speaking it could and it is possible to adapt the light colour produced. However, this would lead to substantial loss of intensity, thereby canceling out the particular advantages gained. i.e. Increased driver concentration and reflection of the road marking etc of white light.

8. Doesn't the use of Xenon lamps cause more irritation amongst other drivers?
The International regulations governing light distribution and intensity on the road are very strict. Xenon light falls well within these standards. Technically speaking , xenon lighting is less irritating than halogen lamps. This is because the light darkness transition border are much more clearly defined. Less light is reflected into the eyes of oncoming drivers.
The increased light output is used to give more homogeneous light distribution and to improve the illumination of the verges. The above are only achieved if the following 3 International regulation conditions are met.

The headlamps must be correctly aligned according to the regulations.

The vehicle must be fitted with an automatic headlamp leveling system.

The vehicle is fitted with an automatic headlight cleaning system. Without such the dirt acts as a diffuser for the light and distributes it in areas beyond the prescribed range.

9. Why is it that Xenon light sometimes causes irritation to oncoming drivers?
In normal conditions drivers look straight ahead. Due however to the conspicuous colour of the new technology drivers are more inclined to look into other cars headlights.

The same phenomenon was experienced with the introduction of halogen lamps in the sixties. In those days drivers spoke of those 'irritating white lights'. Everybody will gradually become accustomed to this type of light as they did to the introduction of yellow lights in France and the use of a third brake light.

10. Why is xenon light so expensive?
Xenon lighting is not just merely the question of a new type of lamp but a whole system consisting of :

A highly complex and hi-tech lamp, manufactured to the very highest standards of precision

An electronic ballast and starter. The manufacture of the electronic ballast in particular requires very very complex technology.

Automatic leveling and cleaning systems
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,938 Posts
I was intent on getting HIDs until my friend at work had his stolen -- right out of his one-month old 40th Anniv 911, parked in a very open and trafficed parking garage, in broad daylight. He and I then started doing research on the theft problem, and discovered what we have here is essentially a nationwide epidemic: The rate of HID theft from new 911s and Boxsters is out of control, especially in urban centers.

While the headlight housings will only fit in Porsches, the bulbs and transformers can be installed in every pissant rice rocket or nouveau American jalopy you want. And there is something about Porche's design that makes theft extremely easy. (Sidenote: Porsche decided to go with a headlight assembly that is extremely easy to install at the factory, and work on during service. Saves money upfront, saves labor charges for the customer, but all this is negated if your bulbs are stolen 2-3 times a year.)

Porsche Excellence has the definitive article on this problem in the issue currently on newsstands (new yellow 997 on the cover).

I would like to know just how difficult Lotus is making it to revmove the bulbs and transformers. If they make it a PITA, then I might go HID. If not, I'll take the stock bulbs and keep my piece of mind. The car is already an *******-beacon. I don't want to make it any more so...
 

·
insert clever title here
Joined
·
7,702 Posts
mact3333 said:
Matt, if you would have taken the time to read my previous post/link you would know that both pics were taken from an M5 and all that was switched were the bulbs/ballasts. The optics of the housings were the same. So it is a fair comparison. Look at the pics, you can tell it is the same car. Go to my link on my previous post and read on.
Ok, so you're right - if I follow your link, then click the 'back' button on that website twice, I finally learn that it was indeed an M5.

Now, that said, after perusing that site you linked to, I found
this:
Also because the arc is totally different both in its position and construction compared to a filament you also need specially designed optics.
Which just confirms the point I was trying to make:
That's not a fair comparison - light dispersement is mainly (solely?) a factor of the lens design itself, not the nature of the light emitting source.
I see on that website that the bulbs have been designed specifically for these retrofit applications though, with the addition of an 'optical shield'. Sounds like a way of overcoming the need for specially designed optics - block the light in certain areas to maintain decent light output.

Getting back to the point - light dispersement is a physics problem, involving the light source and reflector and/or lenses. An HID light source can have whatever light dispersement a manufacturer chooses to design in - you will not get the sharp vertical cutoff by default just because you have HID lights.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
6,941 Posts
Bear in mind it's not light at the bulb (quoted above) that matters. It's the light that actually gets to the road and lights it up. Where, how evenly, how far, how much scatter. Only a percentage (often under 30%) makes it to the road.

Stan
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
970 Posts
MattG said:
Ok, so you're right - if I follow your link, then click the 'back' button on that website twice, I finally learn that it was indeed an M5.

Now, that said, after perusing that site you linked to, I found
this:

Which just confirms the point I was trying to make:


I see on that website that the bulbs have been designed specifically for these retrofit applications though, with the addition of an 'optical shield'. Sounds like a way of overcoming the need for specially designed optics - block the light in certain areas to maintain decent light output.

Getting back to the point - light dispersement is a physics problem, involving the light source and reflector and/or lenses. An HID light source can have whatever light dispersement a manufacturer chooses to design in - you will not get the sharp vertical cutoff by default just because you have HID lights.

I agree with you 100% that light dispersement is a physics/optics issue...the cutoff is directly related to the housing optics and doesnt have much to do with the bulbs itself. The bulbs are essentially the same. When you say that bulbs are specifically designed for a certain application that is wrong. Thise bulbs were not specifically designed for an M5!. The bulbs are the same no matter what kind of car you have and the only distinction is whether you use projector or reflector housings. There are only 2 types of bulbs. D2R which has shielding and are made for reflector type housings and D2S which dont have band around the bulb itself and are used for projector applications. But most people just buy D2S whether they have projector or reflectors. The only other difference is the mixture of salts/gases they use hence giving off different color in kelvin scale. This effects color and luminal output. There are only a few co's that make the legit bulbs itself so they are all essentially the same. Phlips and Sylvania makes them. All other co's make the 7000K bulbs and above which are not very good. As you get avove 4500K, you lose light intensity.

OK, this is my last post on lighting. Although Im off today, this is way too time consuming...Im going karting!...:)
 
1 - 14 of 14 Posts
Top