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Old 23rd January 2018, 11:49   #1
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Default HID & LED headlamps - Are they really as good as claimed?

For over 2-3 decades Halogens have been the main stream lighting technology that was offered in most of the cars. Over past few years we have seen advent of newer technologies like HID’s, LED’s and Laser. What has changed dramatically is availability of these technology even in the price bracket of 6lacs (READ: Ignis). Despite the newer technologies one thing I hear is, "The lights are inadequate"! Examples are a plenty- The Fortuner(Full LED), Octavia(LED?), Scross(HID) to name a few. While the LED’s/HID’s are bright enough to blind the oncoming traffic, they don’t seem to serve the purpose of providing satisfactory illumination. I have stock halogens in my Innova 2008 model and always found them to be more than adequate –be it in highway/city. To me, it appears - just a good bulb is insufficient to provide good illumination but a car needs well designed headlamps, reflectors etc.

So here goes my query, what is the best recipe to make those fantastic lights that look good and also serve the purpose?

Another related query I have is w.r.to output. While 55/60W is legal output for Halogens, Is there something similar for HID’s/LED’s? I know they need much lesser power to generate similar output as halogens, but the intensities vary across cars. And what about number of lights? The Duster adventure addition came with 8 bulbs upfront! (Including high/low beams)

Autocar had an article on same and link can be found here https://www.autocarindia.com/auto-fe...plained-404826 . A picture from the article that summarizes the car light technology.

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Last edited by PrideRed : 24th January 2018 at 09:53.
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Old 24th January 2018, 11:01   #2
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Default Re: HID & LED headlamps - Are they really as good as claimed?

Thread moved from the Assembly Line to the Tech Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 24th January 2018, 11:12   #3
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Default Re: HID & LED headlamps - Are they really as good as claimed?

You can check about LED headlamps here.

Also, you may want to check out this link
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Old 24th January 2018, 11:23   #4
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Default Re: HID & LED headlamps - Are they really as good as claimed?

I have always thought along the same lines. My experience with HID has been with Baleno (extensively, I have driven other cars with LED/HIDs but for short duration only). They look brilliant when you look at them head-on or when they lit up a dark alley. But on a rainy day or with oncoming traffic on a single lane road, these lights just scatter and fade away. Heck, even on a normal four lane road, the halogens work better than those HIDs (corroborated by the owners of 3 Baleno owners who have driven my car which has halogens).

As an example of LEDs, I struggle to look at the headlights of the Dominar on a bright summer afternoon. However, the same lights are not that great at night when I see one passing by me. A BHPian shared an article about the importance of reflector design for LED lamps. This could be a reason but I was hoping an OEM would always be able to design a good reflectors of its vehicles.

During my night drives and highway trips, I always found the cars with good halogen lamps to light up the roads in the best possible way. I have Philips Rally 100/90 bulbs in my car and they do a very good job in the city and highway.

If we keep the looks and the lower power consumption aside, I haven't been convinced that the HID/LEDs are better. I would love to be proved wrong.

Last edited by ashis89 : 24th January 2018 at 11:26. Reason: Self check
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Old 24th January 2018, 12:10   #5
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Default Re: HID & LED headlamps - Are they really as good as claimed?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ashis89 View Post
I My experience with HID has been with Baleno ...
I absolutely agree with you on HID in Baleno. The Bi-Xenon HID lights are fine only when there's no vehicle coming your way. The illumination is quite spread and powerful. Being Bi-Xenon projector, there's no traditional reflector type for High beam. This, sometimes is a bummer.

But one thing for sure. Flashing these lights will definitely catch the attention of the driver in front of you and repeatedly doing so may even irritate him.
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Old 24th January 2018, 12:13   #6
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Default Re: HID & LED headlamps - Are they really as good as claimed?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ashis89 View Post
I have always thought along the same lines. My experience with HID has been with Baleno (extensively, I have driven other cars with LED/HIDs but for short duration only). They look brilliant when you look at them head-on or when they lit up a dark alley. But on a rainy day or with oncoming traffic on a single lane road, these lights just scatter and fade away. Heck, even on a normal four lane road, the halogens work better than those HIDs (corroborated by the owners of 3 Baleno owners who have driven my car which has halogens).

As an example of LEDs, I struggle to look at the headlights of the Dominar on a bright summer afternoon. However, the same lights are not that great at night when I see one passing by me. A BHPian shared an article about the importance of reflector design for LED lamps. This could be a reason but I was hoping an OEM would always be able to design a good reflectors of its vehicles.

During my night drives and highway trips, I always found the cars with good halogen lamps to light up the roads in the best possible way. I have Philips Rally 100/90 bulbs in my car and they do a very good job in the city and highway.

If we keep the looks and the lower power consumption aside, I haven't been convinced that the HID/LEDs are better. I would love to be proved wrong.
It should be noted that headlight designs and bulbs are not only about brightness. Headlights too bright are also not good since you eyes will adjust accordingly and hamper side and front far visibility. I have noticed that my Baleno does not fare very well in the tough lighting conditions you have mentioned but my 10 year old swift with old HIDs would absolutely kill it. But they glare monsters blinding everyone even on low beam. OEM lights are designed to have minimum glare and not be too bright. Aftermarket lights can be brighter since if you have selected the model, you are expected to know what you are getting into while purchasing them. A Baleno's lights are designed for a city commuter but the Fortuner's LED ones are designed for occasional trail/off road driving which is why they are more powerful (no contest compared to Baleno.)

Hence at OEM level, apple to apple comparison between lighting technologies may not be fair.
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Old 24th January 2018, 12:39   #7
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Default Re: HID & LED headlamps - Are they really as good as claimed?

The catch here is the beam temperature measured in Kelvin. As we all know, the other end of the light spectrum penetrates through fog/mist etc. That is why we have Red as the universal colour for tail-lights and traffic signals.
Going by this, fog lamps should ideally be yellow-ish to cut through the fog. But aesthetics seem to have taken over with people going for projectors even for the fog lamps!

Also, this is the main reason why many new models still retain the halogen. It is because they are typically below 1200K (Lower the better for visibility). Hence, they are of great use when it comes to visibility on a black tar road which is wet due to rains.

Coming to the new age lighting, all of the HIDs and LEDs are rated either 4300K or above, the Chinese ones being 8000K which is slightly blueish. The further you move away from yellow, the worse is the visibility. (Lower the Kelvin rating, warmer the light). They may seem to be brighter but are pathetic for visibility.

If going for an aftermarket installation of headlights, I would strongly recommend going for anything rated 4300K or below (which maybe a bit difficult to source).

Last edited by abhi7013 : 24th January 2018 at 12:48.
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Old 24th January 2018, 16:28   #8
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Default Re: HID & LED headlamps - Are they really as good as claimed?

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Originally Posted by abhi7013 View Post

If going for an aftermarket installation of headlights, I would strongly recommend going for anything rated 4300K or below (which maybe a bit difficult to source).
As most HID's/LED's are 4300K and above, Halogen should perform better in real world? Take my case, I have an Innova Crusta with Quad beam Halogens and are fantastic. Only thing I don't like is they are yellow! If I am to upgrade, should I consider a better Halogen or LED's? There are plenty of halogen options available which offer improvement from 60-150%.
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Old 24th January 2018, 16:50   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PrideRed View Post
As most HID's/LED's are 4300K and above, Halogen should perform better in real world? Take my case, I have an Innova Crusta with Quad beam Halogens and are fantastic. Only thing I don't like is they are yellow! If I am to upgrade, should I consider a better Halogen or LED's? There are plenty of halogen options available which offer improvement from 60-150%.
Would strongly recommend you to test drive the variant which has LED during the night. Specifically in the rains, you will find the halogens providing way better visibility on the wet road.
If there are better halogens available offering a way better improvement over your current ones, then do go for it!

PS: You may find the LEDs brighter as compared to your current setup. But more brightness does not mean more visibility! If you feel however that the LEDs do perform better than stock, find a way to also compare them with the powerful halogens that you're considering to upgrade to.
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Old 24th January 2018, 17:10   #10
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Default Re: HID & LED headlamps - Are they really as good as claimed?

Would like to add my 2 paise.

I have experienced cars with halogens, 90/100 setup and LED and Hid projectors.

My vespa had a very bad stock headlight, so in some poor judgement, I get an LED projector fitted in. Its all nice and rosy as long as I am alone on the road. Once there is light from other road users or street lights, it gets so bad that at times I slow down to 30 kmph on certain stretches. The lesser said about rain the better.

My Punto has a 90/100 setup and it is simply the best. Non-blindling to oncoming vehicles yet powerful enough throw. The main advantage of this over stock is that low beam itself is more than sufficient on the highway. Rarely do I switch on the high beam for extended periods of time. Works nicely in rain as well.

bi-xenon setups - Have experienced this on friends cars - though aftermarket. A fellow Abarth owner has got bi-xenon projectors installed as his fog lamps. The headlamps are stock. This is one of the better implementations of the bi-xenons I've experienced. While I'm not yet 100% confident of having these as main lights, I don't mind them as auxiliary lamps. Colour temp. plays a role here and 4300K should do good.

LED - Have tried Audi's matrix, Skoda's adaptive LED, BMW's adaptive lights as well as Merc's and others. The biggest flaw I find in them is the whiter light. I'm not saying they are poor, but personally I've developed a linking to yellow over white lamps. The LED ones on the higher end get adaptive high beam assists as well which are too good on the highways - they ensure maximum coverage yet prevent blinding the oncoming drivers. But, at the end of the day, such lights are way costly over halogen lights. You can have almost a 4 aux lamps mounted on the grille of your car for an amazing light throw for a fraction of the cost.

Last edited by blackwasp : 24th January 2018 at 17:11.
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Old 24th January 2018, 17:26   #11
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Default Re: HID & LED headlamps - Are they really as good as claimed?

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Colour temp. plays a role here and 4300K should do good.
Older vehicles with OE projectors that use 4200/4300K HID bulbs puts out more light on the road. Now all of them look like they are above 6000K and comes with beams that has too much of a bluish tint to it, just for the looks. It might work well in developed nations with illuminated roads but here its not enough. The tilt is now towards cooler looking lights rather than useful lights and this is true for hatches/sedan/suv trying to imitate the cool look of advanced lighting system in higher end vehicles but without the added tech of beam placement as seen in matrix lights etc.

That said, I would like to experiment with LED headlights as the lower power draw attracts me
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Old 24th January 2018, 21:19   #12
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Default Re: HID & LED headlamps - Are they really as good as claimed?

I have to agree with what Sankar says. There has been enough debate and discussion on how good or bad LED and HID are in comparison to Halogen. Just to sum up my views,
  • These lights need a projector to actually perform. Put HID or LED in a reflector meant for halogen, you will have light all over the place with very less light going where it should actually go.
  • Coming to a projector setup, both HID and LED give a consistent and uniform spread in Low beam with a nice cutoff, which looks cool. Of course, this also gives a better output compared to a Halogen low beam whose light distribution isnt that great compared to the others. This is in LOW BEAM. Of course, I am referring to 4300K only. 6000K and higher somehow doesnt impress me.
  • The fundamental difference between these sources lie in the high beam. Now, in a halogen setup, the high beam works in such a way that whatever is the output of the bulb is directed towards one hotspot and its surroundings. This gives amazing range and intensity. The HID/LED sources lack performance in high beam since the high beam works by just opening the cutoff plate with a solenoid. This results in an even spread of light all over the place. Though it works in dark and semi dark places, it will shy away when facing oncoming traffic since the light is not concentrated in one spot. Hence, this will compromise the range.
  • Thats exactly the reason in some setups like the earlier S-Cross, Baleno as well as the LED headlights of the Dzire, Ignis etc the low beam is nice and fine, but the high beam isnt that great.
  • My personal choice for an ideal setup like I have said elsewhere is a HID/LED low beam and a Halogen high beam. I have experienced this in my uncle's Corolla Altis and this is a killer combination.
  • I drive regularly in Germany and most of the cars I drive have LED headlights. This is best suited for countries where your reference to drive in the dark is mainly the lane markings and iridescent surfaces. You neednt spot potholes, you dont have people running into you in high beam, there is no dog crossing the road randomly etc. Having driven the same cars here, the lights are just pathetic for our conditions.
Hence, the answer to the question if HID/LED are really better from my opinion is 'It depends', upon scenario, application and usage.
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Old 24th January 2018, 21:59   #13
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Default Re: HID & LED headlamps - Are they really as good as claimed?

Prefer a combination of HID/LED + halogens. My car came with low beam HIDs from the factory with a reflector and the light cut off is perfect. These are purpose made HID reflectors different from halogen/incandescent bulb reflectors that lower trim level models came with. The halogen high beams complement the comparatively white HIDs and are a perfect combination in all weather conditions.

And yes, I've tried those hideous blue bulbs in my earlier car. Poor visibility during fair and foul weather plus hazardous to oncoming traffic. They were uninstalled the very next day and returned to the seller.

Driving in fog or rain? Forget HID/LED I need yellow/warm light in the fog lamps.
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Old 24th January 2018, 22:34   #14
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Default Re: HID & LED headlamps - Are they really as good as claimed?

Baleno / scross have 25w hid. Inadequate.
I have gti lights on my polo.
They are Bi-xenons along with a halogen high beam as well.
2x low 4x high.
Compared to h4 and h7 halogen's these are way better. I find halogens to be candle light in comparison.
My Mamu has the Crysta. And I find low beam good, but since it's not bi-led the high beam is really lacking.
For me, a good bi-led or Bi-xenon system is the best. Halogens are terrible in all means.
Friends Fortuner has great lights imo. The bi-led set up us terrific. If it were adaptive would be even better. The world has moved on from halogens for a long, long time.
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Old 24th January 2018, 23:10   #15
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Default Re: HID & LED headlamps - Are they really as good as claimed?

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Originally Posted by audioholic View Post
The fundamental difference between these sources lie in the high beam. Now, in a halogen setup, the high beam works in such a way that whatever is the output of the bulb is directed towards one hotspot and its surroundings. This gives amazing range and intensity. The HID/LED sources lack performance in high beam since the high beam works by just opening the cutoff plate with a solenoid. This results in an even spread of light all over the place. Though it works in dark and semi dark places, it will shy away when facing oncoming traffic since the light is not concentrated in one spot. Hence, this will compromise the range. .
The newer led bulbs address this issue. They are exact replica of the halogen bulbs including led size (Compared to filament size), placement of the leds and the glare shield. You can see the type of bulbs that I'm talking about here:
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/Osla...746715742.html

I have leds installed in my car and the beam cut off and spread isn't bad. You can see this here:
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/offici...ml#post4339566
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