LED Headlights?

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Max Welton
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LED Headlights?

Post by Max Welton » Thu Aug 13, 2015 11:31 pm

I have H4s in my dd squareback, thinking about switching to leds.

Any first hand experience doing this?

Max

helowrench
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Re: LED Headlights?

Post by helowrench » Fri Aug 14, 2015 12:29 am

I was reading about this yesterday.....
http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=634622

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Piledriver
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Re: LED Headlights?

Post by Piledriver » Fri Aug 14, 2015 2:10 am

I'll argue against it, despite loving the idea.

Speaking from the standpoint of someone who commutes 80 miles a day in an ACVW....

If you use a pair of bypass relays to skip the losses in the headlight switch and hi/lo relay etc you will have a lot more light, even if you don't add another feed and just tap off the fusebox input big wire.
(I'm running some 8 ga tomorrow to power my AC stuff, so might tap into that for the headlamps while at it)

Use the hi/lo and std switch as relay controls. Easy (maybe 30 minutes), cheap (2x $6 fog lamp relays and some wire/crimps, you probably have a good crimper) and you keep your high beams/low beams and $10 bulbs that last for years.
(and can buy anywhere if needed)

Even keeps the factory fuses if you like.
(They'll still suck, a separate ATO style panel with screw down terminals will have a lot better connection)

Don't bet money on the LEDs lasting 20K hours, may be true for the low power indicator LEDs or in some lab, but the high power ones are more like a 10th that in real use, assuming they don't die of crib death in a few weeks, common.

There's not a lot of cooling airflow in a headlight bucket on a VW for that 50 cent fan.
(maybe if you are moving and ventilate the back of the headlight buckets)

I'm a huge fan of LEDs, but the price is still stupid and the reliability isn't there yet IMHO.
Maybe in 5 years...

If they were available from NAPA or such with a ~lifetime (or at least 10 year) real warranty I might consider it for that sort of $$$.

A warranty from sumguy on TOS, Ebay, or some place that can disappear/change their name tomorrow is ~meaningless.
I, for one, regularly embrace our new robot overlords, as I am the guy fixing the robots...

helowrench
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Re: LED Headlights?

Post by helowrench » Fri Aug 14, 2015 4:16 am

Pile,
Agree with most of what you said, I understand dropping $160 is possibly a one time, no warranty deal.


I was actually debating contacting the guy to see if he would do the conversions on a pair of Jeep Wrangler headlights. The lens has a much more pronounced curve (when viewed profile).
I may have to go junkyard crawling once the weather breaks. they look like they would fit.

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Re: LED Headlights?

Post by Dale M. » Fri Aug 14, 2015 11:23 am

If you need to be part of the trend setter go for the LEDs... For me in my buggy and my Jeep just converting from OEM style incandescent to H4 bulbs and lenses (a $50 kit - 2 lenses and 2 bulbs) was about a 200% improvement in night lighting... LEDS are cool for power consumption but at this time prices are stupid high so it makes them silly for me to convert...

Also if considering LED kit, in US they MUST BE D.O.T. LEGAL or the man can stop you and give you a fix it ticket...

Dale
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Max Welton
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Re: LED Headlights?

Post by Max Welton » Fri Aug 14, 2015 6:30 pm

Good info guys.

But nobody who has posted yet has tried it?

Max

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Piledriver
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Re: LED Headlights?

Post by Piledriver » Fri Aug 14, 2015 7:37 pm

I almost pulled the trigger ~3 months ago, but bailed after doing some research and talking to two locals who went there on their 4x4s.

They are both running HIDs now, one is on his second set already.(covered under warranty after a month, this time, ballasts both died) The second guys LED lights warranry evaporated after 3 months, first guy got his money back after they died in <two weeks via Paypal after trying for weeks to get a vendor refund (EBAY has its benefits)

So, out of two folks who had them locally, 100% fail, not a great sample size but also not a good trend.

But I do personally know properly powered H4s throw plenty of light and work just fine.

I really wanted to try them, but couldn't justify the cost vs reliability.
I run a 100A GM alternator anyway.

I am still considering LED TS/running/brake lamps if I can score a DOT legal set at a sane price.
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Re: LED Headlights?

Post by Max Welton » Fri Aug 14, 2015 8:08 pm

Thanks. I am not dissatisfied with the amount of light my H4s supply. They are wonderful. But I would like to reduce the load on my stock generator. I run an FI pump and the headlights 100% of the time, plus the MS ECU and WB. At idle the H4s pull buss voltage down about a volt ... to the mid 12s.

I'm not saying it's a big problem. But I'm just curious what a little better efficiency might do.

Max

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Re: LED Headlights?

Post by Piledriver » Fri Aug 14, 2015 10:48 pm

Alternate bolt in solution to the actual problem...
http://vwparts.aircooled.net/CPR-s-12V- ... on-kit.htm

Original DIY writeup by aircoolednut
http://www.aircoolednut.com/erkson/ttt/ ... en2alt.htm

RX7s can provide a similar unit IIRC.

Here's another interesting alternative that looks like the worst of it would require <5 minutes with a 40 grit flap wheel on an angle grinder... You might recognize that alt, it's what it looks like. Kudos for out of the box thinking.
http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewto ... c&start=82

I suspect you could even use the stock pulley with minor effort to set belt tension, but for some reason they don't?
(Maybe I misunderstand)
You are crank triggered so you don't even have to do the hard part of clearancing the alt for the distributor cap.
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Max Welton
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Re: LED Headlights?

Post by Max Welton » Sat Aug 15, 2015 9:07 am

Yes, at some point I probably will convert to an alternator. I just like to look at the problem from both ends.


BTW I experimented with LED tail lights some years back. But the LED unit I used was pretty uni-directional and the results were disappointing, particularly when viewed from a little to the side.

The one I tried was something like this: http://www.backdraftparts.com/led-tail-light-bulb.html which did not utilize the stock reflector very well.

Max

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Piledriver
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Re: LED Headlights?

Post by Piledriver » Sat Aug 15, 2015 4:19 pm

The better LEDs for tail/brake lights are more of a cylinder with an array of chip LEDs running around the cylinder and some at the end.

https://www.superbrightleds.com/cat/tai ... 157,21,195:

Still not sure if DOT legal, but they'll work a lot better with your DOT lenses/reflectors.
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Dale M.
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Re: LED Headlights?

Post by Dale M. » Sun Aug 16, 2015 8:31 am

How about looking here for Led tail light solutions...

http://www.cool-leds.com/vw.htm

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Max Welton
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Re: LED Headlights?

Post by Max Welton » Sun Aug 16, 2015 9:01 am

Interesting. But sparse.

Nothing for type-3 or KG.

Max

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Re: LED Headlights?

Post by Bruce2 » Fri Feb 12, 2016 9:35 pm

Last summer I bought a set of the LED bulbs for H4s from the Samba seller.
Initially, I was quite impressed, they were so much brighter when you're standing near the front of the car looking down on them.
But after driving them for a while, I discovered their shortcoming. The LED is a very large source of light compared to the filament of the incandescent H4, so that source isn't all at the focal point of the reflector. What this does is it spreads the light out in the near field, and sends less light into the far field.
In other words, up to about 60-80', they really illuminate well. But go out beyond 100'+, they don't do as well as the old incandescent bulbs.
Another observation relating to the spread in the near field was that the hard cutoff in the beam that H4s are known for wasn't there anymore. I also ran out of screw trying to aim them.
On the plus side, at 18W ea, it takes a lot of load off the battery and charging system.

Shortly after I bought these LEDs, I noticed the seller has a new version. They may be better. I also see many sellers on ebay.

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Re: LED Headlights?

Post by Piledriver » Fri Feb 12, 2016 11:53 pm

As to non-headlight apps, while recently shopping at Walmart, spotted new style 1156 and 1157 replacement from Sylvania, maybe DOT legal and made to use your reflectors.
A bit pricey, but I plan on at least converting the brake lights to pick up that faster few ms of response a LED provides vs. a lamp.
Looks like the price has come down already, I would have bought some.
Available in 1156/1157 in white/amber and red.
Single high power LED or two in the 1157.
Mostly aluminum heat sink blade, LEDs aim ~ back at reflector.
These came out late 2015, they are ~no larger than a std 1156/1157, probably smaller width... do not have the big frosted domes like the earlier versions.

http://www.walmart.com/ip/Sylvania-1157 ... b/47056249

As a follow up, these work great, probably 2x as bright as bulbs, and use the reflectors well.
Have a full set out back save for the backups.
I'd like to put 35W halogens in for those :twisted:
Last edited by Piledriver on Sat Mar 26, 2016 12:10 am, edited 1 time in total.
I, for one, regularly embrace our new robot overlords, as I am the guy fixing the robots...

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