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Old 21st July 2018, 17:19   #1
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Default Comprehensive guide to LED Headlight upgrades

Folks, this has been a long time pending thread from my end. Over the last 1 yr I have tried multiple experiments with LED light upgrades on both my cars Figo and XUV and been wanting to share with the forum. During this time there have been multiple new threads started on TBHP which give lot of information. This thread will add some more details and my story to the same and hopefully let you decide if its the right choice for you. Its a fairly DIY effort depending on the car you have and the space it offers to work behind the lights.

So the urge to have white lights aka like the germans has always been there. Ignoring the argument about how much white light scatters in rain and fog, there can be no debate that those bright white light looks swell and attractive. Maybe its the punjabi in me which is talking here but little bit of bling doesn't hurt. Also my liking to tinker a bit on my own with the car also made this an attractive proposition. Thanks to a colleague of mine whose i20 i spotted first with upgrade seeded this idea.
Before I bore you with more details and verbose. Let me share some pics for you to see the results and hopefully will ans most of the questions.

Let me start with the Figo upgrade. Figo has H4 bulbs and given my prev gen model it had really poor headlights. I chose the same H4 brand that my colleague had on his i20 elite.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

The bulb in itself. It is basically 4x 10 watt CREE Blob type LEDs per headlight. Notice the heatsink with fan inside to keep things cool
Comprehensive guide to LED Headlight upgrades-20171125_162839_2.jpg
Comprehensive guide to LED Headlight upgrades-20171125_162841_2.jpg
Comprehensive guide to LED Headlight upgrades-20171125_162855_2.jpg

The plug on H4 lights are basically a male version present on the bulb directly compatible with the ones inside the headlight assembly. Makes it a drop in replacement to swap the lights

Comprehensive guide to LED Headlight upgrades-20171125_162906_2.jpg
Comprehensive guide to LED Headlight upgrades-20171125_162913_2.jpg

In the pic below you can see the sizes perfect and a drop in replacement for the existing bulb. Ofcourse the cooling fan at the back can cause variation which needs to be understood before choosing a specific model
Comprehensive guide to LED Headlight upgrades-20171125_162945_2.jpg

First time around i chose to goto my neighourhood garage for getting the lights replaced. I intentionally got the headlights removed to do the swap so that close examination can be done to ensure no issues can arise. Once this was done I have been able to do this again multiple times on my own as part of my experimentation. Closer look at the swap

Comprehensive guide to LED Headlight upgrades-20171125_163224_2.jpg
Comprehensive guide to LED Headlight upgrades-20171125_163605_2.jpg

In the above pics you can see despite the fan on the back the light fits well and the dust cap was easily tightened without an interference. The power supply for the light goes within the casing of the headlight and doesnt cause much complexity in the fitment. A point to note that all these LED lights come with a H4/7 etc shaped ring which needs to be fixed in place of the bulb and locked down with the metal clip. The light in itself is inserted afterwards otherwise the back fan and heat sink wont allow the clip to close.

Pic of the low beam patter post install. You will notice that its missing the standard pattern of upward slant to the left. More on this later. But the cut is clean and there is minimal light spilling upwards which ensure onward traffic is not blinded despite the non standard beam pattern.
Comprehensive guide to LED Headlight upgrades-20171126_003951_2.jpg

High beam pattern. Basically all 4 LEDs turn on for high beam, which give a much brighter throw but can be quite nasty for onward coming traffic.
Comprehensive guide to LED Headlight upgrades-20171126_004006_2.jpg

few more pics of the low and high beam and a video to give a better perspective.
Comprehensive guide to LED Headlight upgrades-20171126_005953_2.jpg
Comprehensive guide to LED Headlight upgrades-20171126_010003_2.jpg


You may have noticed the beam from the right light seems lower than left, this is inherent effect of the beam pattern the light has. To fix this I raised the right light a bit more than left to make it balanced on the road. Overall the result is significant improvement compared to the Osram night breakers I had. Biggest improvement is on high beam when both hi and lo LEDs are on and they illuminate the road very nicely. To quantify the overall brightness I did some Lux measurements on my phone using an app that reports light sensor reading. Parked the car at same spot before and after the change and measured the brightest spot at low and high beam.
  • Osram -> Low Beam - 2500 lux, High beam - 2800 lux
  • LED upgrade -> Low Beam - 3500 lux, High Beam - 5000 lux

As expected high beam is way more brighter due to all LEDs being on, low beam is also better though not as significant as most brands advertise.

Now lets look at the XUV story. After the reasonable success of Figo I decided to give the low beams a shot. XUV uses H7 for the low and high beam slots. Given the low beam has projectors I assumed the cut offs should be much better and standard. Chose the same mic tuning brand but H7 this time. Notice in the pics below how they have only 1 pair of LEDs but its 15 watt per LED. Having freq US trips and visitors from US comes in handy

Comprehensive guide to LED Headlight upgrades-20171201_215239_2.jpg

For the first time around, used my neighborhood garage again for the swap since XUV is also fairly tight on space. Pic below shows post install. Space is more tight on XUV as it has rubber caps in place of plastic on figo. But the still is not too big and allows the rubber cap to fit in fine. After the first time around I have got a good handle on doing the swap on my own. Does involve some effort but nothing that cannot be DIY. I can share details if anyone wants
Comprehensive guide to LED Headlight upgrades-20171202_133118_2.jpg
Comprehensive guide to LED Headlight upgrades-20171202_152833_2.jpg

XUV low beam pattern post install. As perfect as it gets. Can you tell something is wrong? More on it later.
Comprehensive guide to LED Headlight upgrades-20171203_002510_2.jpg
Comprehensive guide to LED Headlight upgrades-xuv_initial2.jpg

If you pay attn to the beam pattern you will notice the spread is too uniform. though it looks good on wall but has a practical problem on road. Typically the top cut off goes furthest and should be the brightest but in this case its almost other way around and the throw looks brighter near the car and gets reduced further from it. More internet research revealed its basically an issue of blob type LEDs and not having similar throw pattern as a filament of the halogen. Result was finding the latest gen of LEDs coming with CSP type LEDs which give a much closer throw like a filament and are more suitable for lights originally designed for halogens. I ordered another round from amazon after some research and reviews. Details below

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Comprehensive guide to LED Headlight upgrades-20180301_234414_2.jpg

Pic below has the mictuning LED on left and the newer CSP on the right, notice how the CSP leds have a better light pattern with more brightness at the top
Comprehensive guide to LED Headlight upgrades-20180302_001653_2.jpg

result on the road is also more impressive
Comprehensive guide to LED Headlight upgrades-20180302_004458_2.jpg

I prefer driving with both low beam and fogs on to get uniform throw on the roads. After the LED conversion the halogen fogs start to look ugly but the H8/H11 fog bulbs have a different challenge for conversion. they dont have a housing and the lights are exposed. For this i chose another design from amazon which has only a big heat sink with power supply integrated. This results in a smaller design that should work better when exposed to our dusty environment. A fan based design will not last in our indian conditions without a proper dust cap. Chose Auxbeam brand which is surprisingly very good quality

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

More pics

Comprehensive guide to LED Headlight upgrades-20180526_164617_2.jpg
Comprehensive guide to LED Headlight upgrades-20180526_164623_2.jpg
Comprehensive guide to LED Headlight upgrades-20180617_134853_2.jpg

Ok now that all the history and status is done, let me share a summary of my learnings about LED upgrades so far which you can keep in mind before giving it a shot

Types of LED in itself used for the light
  • Blob type as you see in my pics for the mic tuning model. Give very bright output and most commonly found. They are a bit of prev gen tech cause they cannot replicate a filament throw in a headlight designed for halogens. Work better on reflectors in my view though throw is not consistent
  • COB type. These are also prev gen and again have similar issues as blob. Possibly a good option for fog lamps
  • CSP LEDs - these are the small LED seen on my aux beam model. They are tiny and typically all good brands like philips etc put 3 of these in a line to replicate a filament throw to get closest beam pattern to a halogen

Overall LED Light Assembly designs
  • Heatsink with a fan and separate power supply - Best option in my view where everything goes inside the headlight assembly behind a dust cap/cover. Fan only has to cool the LEDs in itself and not the heat from power supply. Would keep things cooler.
  • Power supply integrated into the light with a fan - usually results in bigger size of the light and also runs hotter as all heat generating elements are in one unit. Not desired in my view
  • Heat sink in place of fan, power supply integrated - This is exactly like the auxbeam model i got for the XUV fogs. Works best for H8/11 designs where light body is exposed and there is enough air flow to enable convection cooling from the heat sink fins. But still i have concerns with longevity due to higher temps

Realistic Expectations from LED upgrade
  • Dont go by advertised brightness of sellers. LEDs are typically at best 1.5 times brighter than a halogen. Most are same range as halogens
  • LED throw wont be as perfect as a halogen. Perfect throw comes from design. But halogen headlights are designed for halogens filaments, hence the challenge
  • Reliability of LEDs is a big suspect irrespective of brand. Silicon material has its limitation. Typically it cant sustain beyond ~130 deg C without damage. I have seen 2 pairs of mictuning H4 set get damaged in 6m to 1 yr usage on my colleague's and couz's i20 elite. All depends on environmental condition, air flows, usage duration etc. Luckily mine have lasted so far but I havnt done long night trips where they get used for 5-6 hrs at a stretch
  • If you travel to US or have visitors, then just buy from Amazon US. Stick to brands giving warranty. 100% are made in china irrespective of brand. Same lights are sold at 3x prices in INdia on ebay or local stores with minimal warranty
  • There are literally 100s of brands on Amazon US selling LED lights, stick to online review rating, look what brand of LEDs are being used (preferred are CREE, philips, Seoul), make sure it has 1-2yr warranty, look at the size details else it wont fit within a dust cap

Hope this helps you guys in deciding whether you want to try your hand on it.

Last edited by supertinu : 22nd July 2018 at 16:41.
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Old 23rd July 2018, 08:47   #2
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Default Re: Comprehensive guide to LED Headlight upgrades

Thread moved from the Assembly Line to the Modifications Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 23rd July 2018, 13:04   #3
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Default Re: Comprehensive guide to LED Headlight upgrades

Quote:
Originally Posted by supertinu View Post
Realistic Expectations from LED upgrade
Thank you for the detailed posts, and more so for the realistic points you have mentioned. I made the mistake of getting a cheap LED projector for my Vespa and learnt it the hard way. Thankfully Vespa is not ridden at night anymore.

Same learnings I implemented in the Abarth as well. However, the high price of LED units and the minimal differential gain in throw / brightness compared to my setup made me stick with 90/100 bulbs on the main lights and a 35W bi xenon projector lamp in my fogs.

The biggest drawback of 90/100 setup is the high beam usage. No, I'm not complaining about the throw, but the relatively higher temperature than stock. I rarely use high beams for more than 5 mins at a stretch. I believe that high beam should be the last resort i.e. just like driving the car at 80% of its capacity so that you have some reserve left over if needed. 90/100 allows me to do that. I don't recommend this setup to folks who use high beam extensively on highways.

Seeing your throw images, I'm sure my next upgrade will definitely be towards the LEDs. Pardon me, but do we get yellow light LEDs?
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Old 23rd July 2018, 15:30   #4
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Default Re: Comprehensive guide to LED Headlight upgrades

Quote:
Originally Posted by supertinu View Post

Hope this helps you guys in deciding whether you want to try your hand on it.
Hi Supertinu - Thanks for the informative post.

Quick question - I recently purchased a pair of H4 LED bulbs for my Ritz from Aliexpress. I just received the bulbs alone. The bulbs were fitted by Bosch service centre and they function as expected.

But, my question to you is - The seller didn't provide any Canbus system (or) Converter, yet the bulbs function. So, am I overloading the existing system?

Please help.
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Old 23rd July 2018, 15:53   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by supertinu View Post
Let me start with the Figo upgrade. Figo has H4 bulbs and given my prev gen model it had really poor headlights. I chose the same H4 brand that my colleague had on his i20 elite.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
supertinu, first of all thank you so much for such a detailed and wonderful write up.

I too have been running LED setup on my Pajero Sports for more than 1.5 yrs and am very happy with the performance, especially so due to more bang for the buck you get with this upgrade provides.

Instead of ordering from Amazon.com, I would strongly suggest you use Aliexpress, there are amazing options available for lower price. After a detailed study of products available on both sites, I suspect, USA vendors are sourcing LED headlights from Aliexpress and selling on Amazon.com at a marked up price. Below is what I have been using on high as well as low beams.


Product link -https://www.aliexpress.com/item/hlxg...27424c4dc11yyG
Name:  hlxg.jpg
Views: 21899
Size:  124.1 KB

Quote:
Originally Posted by supertinu View Post
If you pay attn to the beam pattern you will notice the spread is too uniform. though it looks good on wall but has a practical problem on road. Typically the top cut off goes furthest and should be the brightest but in this case its almost other way around and the throw looks brighter near the car and gets reduced further from it. More internet research revealed its basically an issue of blob type LEDs and not having similar throw pattern as a filament of the halogen. Result was finding the latest gen of LEDs coming with CSP type LEDs which give a much closer throw like a filament and are more suitable for lights originally designed for halogens. I ordered another round from amazon after some research and reviews. Details below
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
Here again, I would recommend Aliexpress very strongly. Have a look at below product I have ordered as an upgrade to my existing high beams.
Product link -https://www.aliexpress.com/item/Zdat...3ddb4c4dVZt7TU
Name:  Zdatt.jpg
Views: 21775
Size:  68.2 KB


Quote:
Originally Posted by supertinu View Post
Overall LED Light Assembly designs
  • Power supply integrated into the light with a fan - usually results in bigger size of the light and also runs hotter as all heat generating elements are in one unit. Not desired in my view
I have this setup running for 1.5 years and there are 10 more people who are using this setup based on my inputs for more than a year now and havent heard any complaint so far. To me external power supply is a bit of worry as its one extra component hanging the engine bay which might get subjected to shocks and may break wires sometimes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Prodigy07 View Post
Hi Supertinu - Thanks for the informative post.

Quick question - I recently purchased a pair of H4 LED bulbs for my Ritz from Aliexpress. I just received the bulbs alone. The bulbs were fitted by Bosch service centre and they function as expected.

But, my question to you is - The seller didn't provide any Canbus system (or) Converter, yet the bulbs function. So, am I overloading the existing system?

Please help.

Nope, you are all good.
You dont have to worry a bit. Some of the european manufacturers use Canbus for operating these lights.
Canbus as such doesnt have any bearing on whether the existing system is over loaded or not, its just a protocol. So, only if you plug a bulb with higher wattage than specified in the existing setup then over load happens.


For now, just relax and enjoy your LED setup.

Quote:
Originally Posted by blackwasp View Post
Same learnings I implemented in the Abarth as well. However, the high price of LED units and the minimal differential gain in throw / brightness compared to my setup made me stick with 90/100 bulbs on the main lights and a 35W bi xenon projector lamp in my fogs.

I guess you havent heard of AliExpress isnt it.

There are lot of LED headlights available there at a very cheaper price than what is available here locally or on some other websites like Amazon.com.

I would strongly suggest trying LEDs for your high beams if you are not too much worried about the white light in range of 6000K. You can check couple of links in some of the replies I have posted in this thread.

Last edited by navin : 23rd July 2018 at 17:22.
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Old 23rd July 2018, 16:27   #6
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Default Re: Comprehensive guide to LED Headlight upgrades

Quote:
Originally Posted by blackwasp View Post
Seeing your throw images, I'm sure my next upgrade will definitely be towards the LEDs. Pardon me, but do we get yellow light LEDs?

AliExpress has 3500k/4000k/4300k LEDs available. I've been toying with the idea of buying a set for the low beams in Linea as they are below par even with bulb upgrade.

Last edited by theredliner : 23rd July 2018 at 16:34.
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Old 23rd July 2018, 17:04   #7
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Default Re: Comprehensive guide to LED Headlight upgrades

Quote:
Originally Posted by deepaktpatil View Post

I guess you havent heard of AliExpress isnt it.

I would strongly suggest trying LEDs for your high beams if you are not too much worried about the white light in range of 6000K. You can check couple of links in some of the replies I have posted in this thread.
Thanks, I did order mat bi-xenon lights from Aliexpress. Its just that I'm not yet 100% convinced of LED bulbs in a conventional reflector. I'm ok in case of projectors or lights like Mercs and BMWs.


Quote:
Originally Posted by theredliner View Post
AliExpress has 3500k/4000k/4300k LEDs available. I've been toying with the idea of buying a set for the low beams in Linea as they are below par even with bulb upgrade.
IIRC, Linea has an H1 and H7 setup right? Why not try to get an 80W H7 bulb like this (low beam) with a Roots relay?
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Old 24th July 2018, 00:46   #8
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Quote:
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Seeing your throw images, I'm sure my next upgrade will definitely be towards the LEDs. Pardon me, but do we get yellow light LEDs?
There are amber colored ones available as well. Infact the mictuning lights i got also have a glass sleeve which makes them amber for fogs. However I found the amber color too orangish and not as close to halogens. I dont have much experience with other color ranges.

Quote:
Originally Posted by deepaktpatil View Post
Instead of ordering from Amazon.com, I would strongly suggest you use Aliexpress, there are amazing options available for lower price. After a detailed study of products available on both sites, I suspect, USA vendors are sourcing LED headlights from Aliexpress and selling on Amazon.com at a marked up price. Below is what I have been using on high as well as low beams.
Very true, all the ones selling on Amazon US are same as Aliexpress, as i wrote 100% are made in china ones. My reliance on US is cause warranties are honored more easily but if you want something in INdia directly then aliexpress is the best choice. The high beam model you shared is the same that I got for my low beams .

Btw the extra big groove on the black ones, dont they cause shadow in the throw for high beam. I use them for low beam and its ok cause the shadow gets cut off. I did have to rotate the holder 180 deg to get the shadow cut off.

Quote:
Originally Posted by deepaktpatil View Post
I have this setup running for 1.5 years and there are 10 more people who are using this setup based on my inputs for more than a year now and havent heard any complaint so far. To me external power supply is a bit of worry as its one extra component hanging the engine bay which might get subjected to shocks and may break wires sometimes.
Thats good to know. Is the fan exposed or inside the dust cap. Integrated light surely reduces an extra component but now you have the LEDs and the power supply all together getting hotter for sure. THere are lot of youtube videos show temp measurement and typically these would run hotter. But if designed well surely can work.

Quote:
Originally Posted by blackwasp View Post
Thanks, I did order mat bi-xenon lights from Aliexpress. Its just that I'm not yet 100% convinced of LED bulbs in a conventional reflector. I'm ok in case of projectors or lights like Mercs and BMWs.
You can give it a trial and see. Biggest advantage of LEDs is the drop in replacement, no wiring, lesser power, no risk of elec warranty loss in my opinion

Last edited by supertinu : 24th July 2018 at 00:52.
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Old 24th July 2018, 08:29   #9
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Default Re: Comprehensive guide to LED Headlight upgrades

Quote:
Originally Posted by supertinu View Post
Chose Auxbeam brand which is surprisingly very good quality

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
Excellent thread Supertinu. Your findings matches exactly what I encountered when trying out multiple LED options.

https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/diy-d...s-upgrade.html (DIY: Ford EcoSport LED Headlights upgrade)

The CREE array 2x2 LEd with the dome just don't provide proper beam pattern as the light source is different. The 1x3 CSP LED's come the closest.

I narrowed down to the same conclusion and went for xenon depot lights which were way more than the Auxbeam.

If anyone is coming down from US, I would recommend the Auxbeam or the Beamtech (both identical) LED. The reviews are really good and since they don't have a fan they will be more reliable.

The ones with fan are known to fail in our dusty environment, especially if the fan is exposed.

For the Figo H4 is a challenge in fitting since the entire LED assembly needs to fit within the headlight enclosure.

The H11, H1 and H7 are so much simpler and really plug and play types.
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Old 24th July 2018, 12:35   #10
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Quote:
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The high beam model you shared is the same that I got for my low beams .

Btw the extra big groove on the black ones, dont they cause shadow in the throw for high beam. I use them for low beam and its ok cause the shadow gets cut off. I did have to rotate the holder 180 deg to get the shadow cut off.
The first product shown in my earlier post is what I have in both my hi and low beams. I didnt face any shadow or focusing problems with those.

The second one with the groove, which you are referring to, I have ordered it recently and yet to receive it. Pajero Sports has a reflector setup for hi beam, so I guess I will most probably face the problem you have mentioned. Will share results once I try out this product.



Quote:
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Thats good to know. Is the fan exposed or inside the dust cap.
Yes, fan is open to engine bay and is exposed to dust. I can see there is some dust accumulated but its been going good so far. Hopefully it stays that way.
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Old 24th July 2018, 15:03   #11
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Default Re: Comprehensive guide to LED Headlight upgrades

In the same context, has anyone tried the Philips x-treme Ultinon LED Headlamps?
https://www.philips.co.in/c-p/12953B...headlight-bulb
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Old 24th July 2018, 15:17   #12
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IIRC, Linea has an H1 and H7 setup right? Why not try to get an 80W H7 bulb like this (low beam) with a Roots relay?
Yes. Linea has H1 and H7. I had thought about upgrading to higher wattage ones, but dropped the plan as I was concerned about reflector damage due to the extra heat and ended up buying 55W X-treme Vision +130%.

Have you noticed any reflector damage due to higher wattage bulb in your Abarth?

Last edited by theredliner : 24th July 2018 at 15:26.
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Old 24th July 2018, 15:25   #13
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Have you noticed any reflector damage due to higher wattage bulb in your Abarth?
None, but only because I'm careful of using the high beam. My old Punto too had such a setup and lasted well over 5 years without any issue before we sold off the car. In Abarth, there is no damage to reflector since I brought her home in 2016.

Further, the Linea having 2 separate bulbs, hear dissipation would definitely be better than Punto.
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Old 24th July 2018, 19:15   #14
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Default Re: Comprehensive guide to LED Headlight upgrades

Hi Supertinu,

How did you plug the open rubber gromet in the XUV?
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Old 24th July 2018, 22:18   #15
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Originally Posted by Vid6639 View Post
Excellent thread Supertinu. Your findings matches exactly what I encountered when trying out multiple LED options.

For the Figo H4 is a challenge in fitting since the entire LED assembly needs to fit within the headlight enclosure.

The H11, H1 and H7 are so much simpler and really plug and play types.
Hey Vid, yes look like we pretty much went through similar experience in parallel. You are right BeamTech and Auxbeam have the same sourcing mostly.

Figo headlights actually have lot of space between the body and reflector, so fitting it all inside was relatively easy.

Also periodically you can use compressed air to clean the fans, that should give them longer life since they are exposed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by deepaktpatil View Post
The first product shown in my earlier post is what I have in both my hi and low beams. I didnt face any shadow or focusing problems with those.

The second one with the groove, which you are referring to, I have ordered it recently and yet to receive it. Pajero Sports has a reflector setup for hi beam, so I guess I will most probably face the problem you have mentioned. Will share results once I try out this product.

Yes, fan is open to engine bay and is exposed to dust. I can see there is some dust accumulated but its been going good so far. Hopefully it stays that way.
Maybe what you can do is use the black ones for low beam only. Inside the projector if the groove is facing down it wont cause shadow, but in high beam with reflector it will create a dark spot.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ravi Parwan View Post
Hi Supertinu,

How did you plug the open rubber gromet in the XUV?
Ravi, i am not sure i understood your question. The LED lights dont protrude out, so the back rubber cap fitted with ease. I kept the power supply also inside.

Last edited by supertinu : 24th July 2018 at 22:19.
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