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IcePrick

New LED Headlight Bulbs - Any Experience?

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So there are some new LED headlight bulbs being carried by reputable retailers. I'm looking at an H4 (high beam/low beam combo) for the 530, and maybe an H7 for the high beam on the XX. The 530 alternator won't drive a halogen H4 to nearly its potential and it roasts the reflector in the process anyways. These LEDs run on a much lower wattage and the heat on an LED is largely soaked to the exterior of the reflector housing/back of the bulb, potentially solving both problems. On the 'bird, an HID on the high beam is slow to warm up, and absent a custom bi-xenon setup, less than 100% effective for that reason. LED would allow for instant-on and match the color of the HID low beam (I currently have a DSL H9 halogen on an H7 base in the high beam position). Maybe even move to an H7 LED in the low beam reflector if they prove up to the task.

The H4 is claimed at 3200 lumens and the H7 claimed at 3000 - right in the range of many 35w HID bulbs (though I've seen H7s @3600-3800 somewhere, now I can't find them). In the past, LEDs have been advertised as only powerful enough for DRLs, but with the major automakers adopting LED technology for headlights, perhaps some of the high-quality stuff has trickled down to the aftermarket. I don't think these are cheapie Chinese LEDs, they are advertised as CREE emitters - if that's what they really are. I'm a pretty cynical guy.

H4: http://www.highperformancebulbs.com/h4-cree-led-bulb-headlight-bulb-super-bright-motorcycle-kit.html

Or these budget-busting H4 3600/4500 lumen (claimed) whoppers:

http://www.headlightsuperstore.com/gtr-lighting-gen-2-all-in-one-h4-led-headlight-bulbs-4-500-3-600-lumen-bulbs/

H7: http://www.theretrofitsource.com/led-lighting/morimoto-xb-led-headlight-bulbs.html

I'm guessing there could be some clearance issues behind the bulbs with all the stuff on the backside of the bulb, but that's going to be a "try it and see" thing.

Thoughts? Experience? Recommendations?

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From the reviews:

I installed a set of H7 LED bulbs in my 2007 Yamaha R1 for high beams. One thing to know is that you will need to "hack" the H7 adapter to get the proper spacer so the wire retaining clip will work. No instructions make it a trial and error situation. It would have been great to know this before hand, but in a retrofit you learn as you go I guess. But after all is said and done, the LED's are amazing!!!! So much brighter than the Osram Night Breakers!!!!

I want to try a High beam on the Bird to replace the current HID due to the instant on issue.

Mike, if you have to buy a pair like I think I read, I am interested in slitting an H7 pair with you or anyone else.

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You will not find OEM LED headlights without sofisticated projectors and lenses. The two must go together.

From a price and performance perspective, an HID projector retrofit cannot be beat.

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From the reviews:

I installed a set of H7 LED bulbs in my 2007 Yamaha R1 for high beams. One thing to know is that you will need to "hack" the H7 adapter to get the proper spacer so the wire retaining clip will work. No instructions make it a trial and error situation. It would have been great to know this before hand, but in a retrofit you learn as you go I guess. But after all is said and done, the LED's are amazing!!!! So much brighter than the Osram Night Breakers!!!!

I want to try a High beam on the Bird to replace the current HID due to the instant on issue.

Mike, if you have to buy a pair like I think I read, I am interested in slitting an H7 pair with you or anyone else.

Sounds good, John. I read that review also - there may be an alternative to the bail retention system, we just have to figure it out. Now, to choose an H7... do you have a maximum price in mind? Or a minimum lumens?

You will not find OEM LED headlights without sofisticated projectors and lenses. The two must go together.

From a price and performance perspective, an HID projector retrofit cannot be beat.

In most applications, I would agree with your first statement - but we know the same is true of HID setups, yet HIDs work pretty well inside of the 'bird's reflector due to its design. Whether an LED can utilize the 'bird's reflector as well as an HID does is probably going to be a "try it and see" thing.

I've done HID projector refits on motorcycles before, and two things are problematic - first, the hot reflash stunts bulb and ballast life, and working around that issue has it's own set of complications. Second, in the H4 installation, there isn't room for a projector (shallow reflector bowl and little room behind the housing) and bi-xenons don't stand up well to off road use in motorcycle applications. On that bike (KTM 530), the reflector is horrible and the factory headlight bulb is probably no brighter than an 1156 - seriously - so anything is likely to be an improvement. I also believe that an If an HID would fit in the housing, it would bake the housing as badly as the H4 halogen has in the short time I've used it. If the H4 LED doesn't work or improve things, I will likely go with a Baja Designs LED setup and hope I don't get called on it for DOT approval by the popo.

As for the 'bird, if the LEDs don't work, I will probably do a dual bi-xenon projector conversion as a last resort. I don't cherish the task of opening that huge, expensive housing and trying to align two projectors that share an elevation adjustment - get one or the other "off" a little, and you'll either have a light gap between low and high beams, or not enough throw on high beam. The alternative is paying $500+ for one already done. I have two Morimoto bi-xenon projectors with a pair of Denso 55w ballasts and bulbs, so cost would be negligible for me to mod it - it's just the investment in time and patience involved.

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For the KTM...have you thought about buying a nice LED driving light with a good lens and simply inserting it into the headlight housing? I'm thinking about doing this for my ATV.

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Sounds good, John. I read that review also - there may be an alternative to the bail retention system, we just have to figure it out. Now, to choose an H7... do you have a maximum price in mind? Or a minimum lumens?

As bright as can be for as little cost as possible!

I looks like there is enough space that the bail retention may work with a little finesse

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For the KTM...have you thought about buying a nice LED driving light with a good lens and simply inserting it into the headlight housing? I'm thinking about doing this for my ATV.

Hmmm... I haven't thought of that - have you found one that has high beam/low beam capability so I don't piss off other drivers? I'd be up for trying a retrofit like that, the 530 headlight assembly is pretty cheap if I hack it up and it doesn't work. Like the 990, many people upgrade the OEM housings to the Euro or aftermarket setups so the OEMs can be found on the forums at bargain prices as well.

John - I'll hunt around a little more. The Morimotos at $100 ($50 apiece, split) sound like a good deal, but only 3000 lumens. But I'm not sure I want to pay an additional $50 for a *claimed* 600 more lumens (GTRs @ $199/pair or $100 each if we split a set). Morimotos are from The Retrofit Source, good folks with whom I've done business in the past.

GTRs: http://www.headlightsuperstore.com/gtr-lighting-gen-2-all-in-one-h7-led-headlight-bulbs-3-600-lumen-bulbs/

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Hmmm that is a bit tricky to do high low beam with prefab LEDS...

What about one of these where you can control each beam type independantly?

You could leave the directional setting aimed lower and turn the floods on for highs?

https://www.superbrightleds.com/moreinfo/off-road-lights/65-quad-row-heavy-duty-off-road-led-light-bar-with-multi-beam-technology-72w/1497/

Other options.

https://www.superbrightleds.com/cat/mini-auxiliary-lights/

Edited by TuffguyF4i

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I love that 72w monster! Over 5000 lumens! Not sure it would fit, though. I may have to do something like your second suggestion, two separate patterned units - a flood for low beams, and a driving pattern for high beams.

These things are great - but priced accordingly. I don't know if they are switched separately to give a high/low beam effect, but my guess is no.

I have to find something waaaay cheaper than that anyways.

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Check out amazon. I just bought a monster 144W light bar for $89 delivered.

I can't speak to the longevity yet, but the quality is pretty good and absolutely insanely bright.

I mounted it to the front rack on the atv.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/s?ie=UTF8&k=Eyourlife

Edited by TuffguyF4i

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Mike... get ahold of Stan... he ran the LED headlights for a while... and has since pulled them out. Talk to him.

...

My take, the LED's cannot emmit the light from a small enough spot, in order to be focused propperly, therefor they are junk from the start, and I won't even try them.

Think about how small that point is on a standard filament bulb. All the light comes from that one tiny spring.... which in turn makes it easy to focus the light exactly where you need it... down the road. Any light that does not go where you need it could therfore be labed as diffused or wasted light.

Now... HID's still have a very small emitter, although not as tight as a tiny spring, they are still very focused, and therfore still work great. Also, what they lose in diffusion they make up for with power.

Additionally LED's don't emmit light in a 360 degrees patter either... making matters worse, the best ones I've seen have an emitter on each side of a board, and each of those emmiters has it's of angle of projection. Start adding it all up... the lack of focus that is... and you'll quickly see why they are inferior.

It's all about the Focus.... you've gotta have Focus.

Edited by EVLXX
  • Upvote 1

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My only LED experience is with my friend's sandrail. It has about a 3' bar on the roof and 4 round 4" lights out front, 2 spots 2 floods. When I fire it up in camp it's like fuckin daylight, very impressive. When I get out on a run I'm quickly reminded that they suck. The light just doesn't seem to project out much and it tends to illuminate any dust or scratches in my goggles more than regular bulbs. If the windshield is on it lights that up too. It's mostly because of the bar that is on the roof and that light also hits the hood of the car, but even the ones down low out in front seem to spread light back somehow. They seem to light up close things more, including dust in the air, further drowning out far vision. Better housings/reflectors should make them better, I have seen good LED flashlights that rock, but they still seem to illuminate things up close and dusty air more than regular bulbs so that could be an issue. In fog I think they'd suck. On-comming from a distance they're spectacular, I can see an on-comming LED'ed vehicle several bends out on the trail because everything is illuminated around it. My sandrail just had two cheap old Chinese off road lights with 55w bulbs that were under powered, light wiring and a weak generator, and they seemed to do better altho it was a much slower car so I didn't need to see as far out. Another friend we go off-roading with replaced his 2 old 55W off road lights with LEDs, a 3' bar and 4 round lights, and he doesn't seem too impressed with them. Maybe LEDs designed for on road headlight use have a different color that works better? Maybe the type of light made by an LED just can't be made to work well for the purpose? Things to research.

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I spoke with a guy that makes aftermarket headlight setups for trail riding, he is testing a bunch of the "new breed" and one seems promising. He said that only a year ago, they weren't anywhere near an HID - today, they are close to surpassing.

I'm waiting for him to complete his testing before I try one. I'll be getting one of his housings for the 990 as well - Bosch projector low beam, BD Squadron XL high beam.

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My LED bar is about 144W and very bright. It is half flood amd half spot. I'm impressed so far but I only ride alone.

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I've bought from DDM before, I like theretrofitsource better. Wider selection, brand names.

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So I've done the led upgrade. I bought a kit from suoerbirghtleds there aren't really any instructions. So far I've had to make a spacer for the high beam, my low beam had one already for the hid. My only question now is the orientation of the bulbs. The low beam is just as good as the hid. The high beam however is really fucking high, like 100' treetops high. 

Tech support said they should be mounted sideways but I don't see that working with the birds reflectors. It's facing down now, but I'm going to face it upwards to see how it affects the pattern. The job shouldn't be hard, the base is a split ring with two screws and it can be rotated 0/90/270 degrees. IMG_20160818_144911.jpg

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With conventional headlamps the really old style used to have a blockoff on one side. Memory tells me the blockoff mounted down. The rest of the light went up to the parabolic reflector and went straight forward, or down.

 

I tried out Google. I did not know what a projector was.

 

https://www.xenonsupply.com/blogs/xenonsupply-hid-xenon-blog/projector-headlights-vs-reflector-headlights

 

I think this guy may have dismissed putting in a projector/lens/reflector setup? At the end he points out that they are blinding.

 

 

 

 

http://www.danielsternlighting.com/tech/lights/codes/codes.html

 

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So I should have the low beam bulb facing up, and the high beam down, it's kind of what I thought. I pointed the high beam bulb up last night, and it didn't seem to make much of a difference, it still lights up tree tops. I'll have to try the low beam, it wil,probably be a little harder to rotate, as it harder to access with the fairing on.  

Low beam

image.jpeg

 

High beam

image.jpeg

 I did a run with the bulbs at night, and didn't see a difference in the orientation of the high beams. No one flashed me when I had the low beam on either. I can't seem to find the comparison pic I took of my hid vs led, but the beam dispersion and intensity look the same. 

My bulbs don't have a fan, they have a radial heat sink, I suspect that the ones in that video have a heat sink as well as the fan in that screw on piece. 

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What I looked at earlier mentioned lenses, like putting glasses on the headlight to focus it down.

 

Are your bulbs three sided?

 

I don'have any idea how these would mont securely.

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You could always epoxy a mirror on the outside of the housing to reflect the light down.

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On 5/3/2015 at 2:41 PM, IcePrick said:

As for the 'bird, if the LEDs don't work, I will probably do a dual bi-xenon projector conversion as a last resort. I don't cherish the task of opening that huge, expensive housing and trying to align two projectors that share an elevation adjustment - get one or the other "off" a little, and you'll either have a light gap between low and high beams, or not enough throw on high beam. The alternative is paying $500+ for one already done. I have two Morimoto bi-xenon projectors with a pair of Denso 55w ballasts and bulbs, so cost would be negligible for me to mod it - it's just the investment in time and patience involved.

 

I.P. already called it...

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1 hour ago, XXitanium said:

What I looked at earlier mentioned lenses, like putting glasses on the headlight to focus it down.

 

Are your bulbs three sided?

 

I don'have any idea how these would mont securely.

One sided, I compared the pattern to my car, on high beams they are about the same spread and height, so I'm going to call it good. 

  • Upvote 1

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