JW Speaker 5×7 LED Headlights, Model #8900

J.W. Speaker 5x7 LED Headlights

These LED headlights are the best of the best in the automotive lighting world, but they are not perfect, albeit close!

Recently we reviewed and tested a set of the J.W. Speaker #8900 7×6 LED headlights and I must admit that they are totally great! There are a couple small things about them that make them slightly less than perfect, but the pros majorly outweigh the cons! These headlights are great because they are beautiful, reliable and super bright. The problems that I had with these 200mm rectangular LED headlights is pretty minimal, but to some people it may be the difference between purchasing them or not. Granted they are the best on the market, but here’s a short list of the problems these headlights have:

1. Price: These things sell for a little less than $600 each! If you must have the best, then it’s no argument, but for most of us mere mortals this price tag may break the bank.

2. Branding: The word “SPEAKER” is embossed on the inner face of the light in big bold letters, symbolizing that it is a product of the J.W. Speaker Corporation, but it confuses most people. I hear the question all the time, “This is a speaker? I thought it was a headlight…” with a funny and confused look on their face. JW Speaker needs to redesign the housing to incorporate some type of “JWS” logo inside, instead of simply the word speaker.

3. City Light: These headlights have a small single-LED city light built in for use as an indicator or just a unique looking style when you are cruising. The idea is cool, but when you turn on your city light it also lights up one half of the entire housing, dimly, so it really just looks like your headlight is on and broken.

Please take a few moments to watch the entire video, and watch the night time driving demonstration near the end too!

Back To The 50′s Car Show – Halogen Sealed Beams Everywhere!

back to the 50s

This custom low-rider was getting lots of attention even though it had stock sealed beam headlights!

This past weekend was the 39th annual Back to the 50s car show held at the Minnesota State Fair Grounds in St. Paul, MN. I got to go for a day and see everything and I must say the event was a blast! There were big name vendors like Chevrolet, Rousch, Ford and many smaller local vendors like Union Speed & Style and lots of flea-market style setups selling all sorts of automotive goodies! It was just incredible to see so many restored classics, hot rods, street rods and wild custom muscle cars. Arguably the biggest attraction for myself was trying to spot the different lighting upgrades these enthusiasts were doing to their classic domestic rides. It was unfortunate to see so many cars with stock halogen sealed beam headlights though. The vast majority of these vehicles had stock headlights, tail lights and interior lighting. It was only a characteristic of the nicest of all vehicles in attendance to have upgraded headlights.

Back To the 50s

Crowds of people watching parades of classic cars!

I noticed a trend throughout the entire show, that was if a vehicle did have upgraded forward lighting, it was a stock-style composite housing with a blue halogen light bulb inside. I did not see a single HID conversion kit fitted car, or any type of radical LED headlight. I thought for sure there would be SOMEONE there with some crazy headlights, I must have just missed them. The second most common site to see on these cars was some type of film or vinyl over the headlight to give it a different look, but sometimes it was even done on the stock sealed beam headlights! We saw mostly 7″ round headlights and many 5.25″ round headlights, but I don’t think anyone had rectangular headlights in attendance. It really goes to show how far headlight design has changed since the middle of the 20th century. If you need new headlights for your classic car, then look no further than Headlight Revolution. You can replace all of your sealed beam headlights, of any style with HID, halogen, or even new LED technology. Simply visit http://www.HeadlightRevolution.com

Unusual Headlights Found at Bemidji, MN Cars and Coffee

Excited for the event!

If there’s anything I love more than working cars and selling car parts, it’s enjoying the fruits of the hobby and attending events. This past weekend was a beautiful time for outdoor events and I had the pleasure to attend the small Cars & Coffee event in Bemidji, MN. This is their first event so there were only 14 vehicles in attendance, but much fun was had by all! You can view the entire photo album from this event at the C&C Bemidji Facebook Page here.

Something that I saw that was really cool that I want to touch on were a couple vehicles in attendance with some very unique and special headlights. First is a 2005 Nissan 350z with 3,000K HID projector headlights and white LED city lights. Second is a 1985 Pontiac Fiero with 5×7″ LED headlights from JW Speaker:

1) This 2005 Nissan 350z came from the factory with stock D2S style HID bulbs and the owner swapped them out with a set of 3,000K (JDM Gold) bulbs. Instead of doing what most people do by going to a more white or blue color, this car went to the opposite side of the spectrum for a golden look. The cool part about it though was the contrast between the bright golden (not dingy yellow like stock lights) and the bright white LED city light in the corner. It makes it look very original and creates a dual-headlight illusion from further away. The LED bulbs (5-LED 194 Style bulbs by GTR Lighting) are very bright and reflect off the inside of the housing nicely.

GTR Lighting 3K D2S

Custom 350z HID Headlights featuring 3,000K HID bulbs and white city lights.

Bemidji Cars and Coffee

Nissan 350z with custom HID headlights.

2) A surprise at the show was this 1985 Pontiac Fiero, which originally came fitted with H6054 sealed beam headlights, was now sporting a pair of JW Speaker #8900 LED headlights. These 5×7″ housings are a direct plug and play for the original lamps and are both high tech and stylish. The top/center projector focuses one high power LED for the low beam function and the lower two projectors focus another set of high power LED chips for the high beam function.

Fiero LED Headlight housings

1985 Fiero with LED Headlamps from JW Speaker

Bemidji Cars and Coffee

Pontiac Fiero with LED Headlights

Bemidji Cars and Coffee

Pontiac Fiero with LED Headlights and Daytime Running Lights.

All in all it was a great day for the event and it was even more fun to see the creative lighting products displayed by the attendees! Can’t wait until next time!

Phase 7 LED Headlights by Truck-Lite

LED Headlights 27270C

The new 27270C LED Headlights from Truck-Lite!

They are finally here and ready to go into any vehicle with a 7″ round or 7×6″ Rectangular headlight! The Phase 7 LED headlight housings from Truck-Lite are dual beam (high/low), very bright (1,350 Lumens), and very efficient! They only draw 1.5 amps to operate and are about 1.5 times brighter than stock lights!

I gotta admit though, I personally liked the look of the old headlights better. The new ones look a little too “stock-ish” because they use a plain looking, albeit complicated design, reflector housing that two small LEDs shoot into to create the main light output. So even though the older style looked cooler, these new reflector LED lamps use less electricity and have a better light output. I did a review on a set of the older 7″ Round LED headlights and my only complaint was the beam pattern and output level. It seems that Truck-Lite has remedied both of these issues now though, here is a picture of the actual light output of the new Truck-Lite 7″ Round LED Headlight compared with a traditional halogen headlight:

27270C LED Headlight Halogen

Comparison shot of the new 7″ Round LED Headlights VS stock halogen headlights. The difference is drastic – LED FTW!

The release of this new style of LED headlight is also the first time that any manufacturer other than JW Speaker has offered a 7×6 (AKA 200mm or 5×7″) LED Headlight. JW Speaker has had the market cornered in 5×7 LED headlights with their model #8900 dual beam product. The JW Speaker products are higher quality with better light output compared to the Truck-Lite product, but the pricing of the new Truck-Lite headlights cannot be beat. Truck-Lite LED Headlights come in at about half the cost of their JW Speaker, American made, counterparts.

Truck-Lite 7x6 LED Headlight

The all new Phase 7 dual beam 5×7″ LED Headlight from Truck-Lite.

For automotive enthusiasts who need these types of headlights for the cars and trucks that they need, it’s a win/win situation as more manufacturers experiment, and succeed, with LED forward-lighting technology. I’d like to get my hands on a set of these some time to do a formal review on, but I think anyone who chooses these new housings for their project will be very happy. They feature polycarbonate lenses, low power consumption, better light output than before and a cool “blacked-out” look.

What’s the difference between HID and Halogen lights?

Halogen vs Xenon Bulbs

Just because the bulbs are shaped similarly, doesn’t mean they share many traits.

The original automobiles literally used lamps (glass housing with a candle burning inside) to light the way on the roads, similar to how people would light the way on horseback. And I’m sure you’ve heard of Thomas Edison, who invented the first long-lasting incandescent light bulb in 1879, what most vehicles use in their modern day headlamps are based off of his original designs. A standard light bulb has a filament, and it gets electricity applied to each side of the filament and when this happens the filament gets very hot and reaches a state of incandescence. This is why we call light bulbs with filaments, incandescent light bulbs. High-power incandescent light bulbs used in car headlights are filled with a gas called Halogen, and it reacts to the brightly glowing filament and creates a massive amount of light, up to 1,200 Lumen of light output. This is why we call standard automotive headlights “halogen bulbs”.

This is not to be confused with Xenon or HID bulbs – they don’t necessarily mean the same thing. An HID light bulb (stands for High Intensity Discharge) is filled with Xenon gas which reacts to the spark created inside the HID bulb. This xenon gas is ignited and creates a vast and powerful amount of light output that can be measured in thousands of Lumen, depending on the power consumption (normally 35w, 55w or 75w). Today, a vehicle that comes factory-equipped with xenon lighting uses a 35w lighting system.

A Xenon HID bulb does not have a filament, instead it has two electrodes that meet inside the xenon-glass filled bulb. A ballast is used to send up to 24,000 volts of AC electricity that creates a powerful spark and ignites the xenon gas mixture. This process is sustained and produces the exuberant amount of light output:

HID Bulb Explained

A true HID bulb uses a ballast to ignite the chemical mixture inside. It does not use a filament.

  • Xenon is 300 times brighter than halogen
  • Xenon can last 10 times longer than halogen
  • Xenon produces cleaner, whiter, brighter and safer light
  • A 35W Xenon bulb consumes less power than a 55W Halogen bulb
  • Halogen bulbs burn hotter than the same wattage Xenon bulbs

Upgrading your headlights from halogen bulbs to HID technology will make a huge difference in visibility at night by projecting a further beam of light and broadening your road coverage. You will see further, see more and be more visible to other drivers. The sooner you can see hazards on the road, the more time you have to react.

Halogen bulbs operate at 12V and use old lighting technology by heating a wire filament to emit light. Over a short period of time that wire filament becomes brittle, and small vibrations caused by everyday driving causes damage to the halogen filament affecting it’s light output and the bulb’s reliability.

xenon versus halogen

Difference between incandescent halogen light bulbs and HID xenon light bulbs.

HID Lighting 101: Just The Basics

D2S bulb dimensions

This is a High Intensity Discharge xenon gas-filled light bulb.

 

  • Xenon, or High-Intensity Discharge (HID), lighting provides more light and increases visibility of many peripheral objects (e.g., street signs and pedestrians) left in the shadows produced by standard halogen lighting.
  • HID light sources provide the brightest illumination available and are considered the benchmark against which other forward lighting technologies are measured.
  • HID light sources provide three to four times the light output of standard halogen light sources and promote better driving visibility by providing enhanced peripheral vision and improved down-road illumination. HID lighting can produce a crisp white light that stimulates reflective paint in road markers and signs.
  • HID lights do not have a filament which makes them more reliable and exhibit a longer lifespan than regular halogen “incandescent” light bulbs. Because they do not have a filament to break or degrade,  a xenon bulb may last up to 10 times longer than standard halogen lights.
  • HID light sources are very energy efficient. Bi-Xenon (dual beam) lighting uses up to 65 percent less energy than conventional lighting, reducing the CO2 emission of a vehicle considerably.
  • There are many examples of vendors trying to sell incandescent light bulbs with a filament as HID bulbs. This is a lie, because even though they may use a mixture of both halogen and xenon gases, they are still not HID. HID stands for “High Intensity Discharge” and is characterized by the power output and usage of an HID ballast. If the blue-tinted light bulb that is being sold as an “HID Bulb” does not have an accompanying ballast, then it is falsely advertised. To make sure you are always buying the right products, and the best HID products, check out TLG-Auto.

10 Things You Didn’t Know About HID Lighting

GTR Lighting ceramic base

Not all HID bulbs are created equally!

1) Standard low beams cease to provide enough visibility when driving above 35 to 40 mph. The best case scenario would be for all drivers to use high beams all the time and use technology to keep the light out of oncoming drivers’ eyes. (Osram-Sylvania)

2) ALL headlamps produce glare that can reduce the ability for oncoming drivers to see. (Osram-Sylvania)

3) According to the AAA Foundation’s report, called “Countermeasures for Reducing the Effects of Headlight Glare” (2002), as many as 50 percent of all headlamps on the road, or 110 million  vehicles, may have mis-aimed headlights! Shock, vibration and wear and tear are the greatest contributors to headlamp misalignment. (AAA Foundation)

4) Poorly manufactured, “knock-off” products can cause glare and imitate the blue hue associated with fully-compliant, street-legal HID products. In order to be a true HID product it must consist of one xenon bulb PLUS one xenon ballast.  (GTR Lighting)

5) When headlamps are aimed properly, there is no difference in the amount of light that reaches the eyes of oncoming drivers whether the vehicle has halogen or HID light sources. (HID Reviews)

6) All drivers are not equal. Glare affects each person differently, often depending on age and environment. (HID Reviews)

7) OSRAM-Sylvania is the only company worldwide manufacturing a completely mercury-free HID system solution, comprised of the light source and necessary electronics to optimally operate it. The OSRAM system allows customers to streamline the development and approval process for mercury-free systems. Mercury-free xenon technology is the future of lighting! (Osram-Sylvania)

8) Although 4,300K HID bulbs are thought of as being the “brightest”, they are not the most reflective. A 6,000K or 8,000K produces negligibly less light output, but has more reflective properties making it better for spotting animals at night, and seeing road signs from further distances away. (Top Line Group Automotive)

9) Unlike other colors in the HID “Kelvin” spectrum, 3,000K gets its golden hue from an iridescent coating on the bulb. This coating has a slight affect on the power of the light output, but a 3,000K HID bulb powered by a 35w ballast will still be significantly brighter than a regular halogen bulb. (Eagle Eye Lights)

10) Neither Philips nor Osram-Sylvania are in the business of manufacturing aftermarket HID conversion kits, non-OEM style HID ballasts (35w or 55w) and they do not produce xenon bulbs in different color ratings other than original equipment colors. It is very common to find copyright infringement in the aftermarket HID world, so if you see “Genuine Philips HID Kit” or “Real Sylvania HID Kit Bulbs” just know you are being lied to. If the company selling these products is willing to lie to you about who manufactured them, what else are they willing to lie to you about? If you want to know what you’re really buying, try one of these premium HID conversion kits. (Top Line Group Automotive) (Philips Electronics N.V.)

GTR Lighting LED Bulbs – How they stack up

High Power or Low Power LEDs?  Your Choice

You can choose – low power LED bulbs or high power LED bulbs?

I had a chance to pit a few GTR Lighting LED bulbs up against some other LED bulbs to see how they stack up against their competitors and wanted to show you why I STILL stand behind the GTR Lighting line of high performance LED and HID products. If you’re in the market for luxury LED bulbs, then look no further than the GTR Lighting line, in this post I will demonstrate how not all LED bulbs are created equally!

The big thing that is worth talking about is the sheer power the GTR LED lights put out. Nothing that we’ve tested comes close and in fact, next to the GTR LED products, some of the competitors are laughable! I will show you a comparison of different pricing and light outputs to give you a better idea of how these bulbs rate.

1. Streetglow VS GTR Lighting – 1156 LED Bulb Comparison

LED Comparison

1156 LED bulb comparison: StreetGlow VS GTR Lighting

GTR Lighting LED Bulbs

Street Glow LED bulbs have only forward facing LEDs. GTR Lighting LEDs have 360 degree light output.

When comparing the StreetGlow 1156 LED compared to the GTR Lighting 1156 LED it is easy to see how they differ.
First, the SG bulb
has 12 3mm dome LED chips, which seems like an odd choice seeing as they are primarily used for indicator lights on dash boards or switches. They face only in one direction and altogether disappear when installed behind a red lens in a tail light housing. It has a heavy-duty metal base that is shaped like a mushroom and may have trouble fitting into many different styles of 1156/1157 style sockets.

The GTR Lighting 1156 LED bulb pictured above, however, utilizes 7 high power 5050 SMD LED chips, each containing 3 separate diodes. The GTR bulb is massively brighter and offers light output on all sides as well as forward-facing. This is important because the vast majority of automobile light bulb housings use reflectors to create the light output, not just the sheer power of the bulb. Without this side-emitting light the output of the light housing would be nearly useless and appear to be just a single spot. Furthermore, the construction of the GTR 1156 LED bulb is tapered and should easily fit inside even the strictest shaped light bulb socket.

The price of a pair of Street Glow 1156 LED bulbs is $28 (from Streetglow.com) and the price of a pair of GTR Lighting 1156 LED bulbs is $45 (from GTRLighting.com). Don’t even waste your money on the StreetGlow bulbs, the problem is that they are just plain cheap.

2. Streetglow VS GTR Lighting – 194/168 LED Bulb Comparison

194 168 T10 LED Comparison

The Street Glow 194 LED is dim compared to the GTR Lighting bulb.

LED 194 Showdown

The Street Glow LED bulbs are using old school, out-dated LED technology.

When comparing the StreetGlow 194/168 LED compared to the GTR Lighting LED it is easy to see how they differ again, SG is using inferior technology in a vain attempt to simply offer an LED for the sake of having an LED line without actually offering something worthwhile. The StreetGlow website states that “StreetGlow Mini-Bulbs offer greater illumination and faster response than standard bulbs.” and this is a flat-out lie. The Street Glow T10 style bulbs are so dim that they hardly output any light at all.
First, the SG bulb
has a single inverted 5mm LED chip, which does a good job of directing the light, but there’s just not enough of it – the light that is. Again, it is a uni-directional output with a narrow output pattern. The base is a standard plastic T10 housing that is very common.

The GTR Lighting 194/168 LED bulb pictured above again provides more light output and in more directions than it’s StreetGlow counterpart. It features 5 high-power 5050 LED chips, with 1 facing in each direction, including forward-facing. This is a great light if you need it to penetrate a colored lens found in parking lights and brake housings. It is easily 10 times brighter than the SG version and still creates very little heat.

The price of a pair of 194/168 LED bulbs from Street Glow is $9.99 (from StreetGlow.com) and a pair of 194/168 LED bulbs from GTR Lighting is $20 (From GTRLighting.com). Obviously you get what you pay for!

2. Plasmaglow VS GTR Lighting – 7440/7443 LED Bulb Comparison

Plasmaglow 7440 7443 LED Bulb

The Plasmaglow LED bulb is dwarfed by the GTR Lighting counterpart!

The Plasmaglow line of LED bulbs is very similar to the StreetGlow lineup, in fact they may even use the same manufacturer. Either way, they are equally inferior, these bulbs amount to nothing more than a pretty plastic light fixture, but pretty useless in the automotive world.
First, the Plasmaglow bulb
uses nine faint 3mm dome top LED chips, all forward facing, and a clear plastic housing. It does a good job of directing the light, but there’s just not enough to be used safely or effectively to replace an OEM light bulb. The Plasmaglow LED 7440 bulb is uni-directional and of relatively poor quality. This is surprising because Plasmaglow has been affiliated with prestigious organizations like SEMA and the Fast and Furious franchise.

If you look at the GTR Lighting version of a 7440/7443 LED bulb you will see that it is innovative, super-bright and downright impressive. It features 4 high power 1.5w flat LED panels, featuring 3 chips a piece. This is a total of 6w power from 12 surface mount LEDs. The base is a heavy duty plastic and the top is constructed from beautifully designed aluminum. Again, the GTR Lighting bulbs soar where others fail, by producing full 360 degree light output, great style, and high quality.

The price for a pair of Plasmaglow 7440/7443 LED bulbs is $18 (from JCWhitney.com). The price for a pair of GTR Lighting 7440/7443 6W LED bulbs is $65 (GTRLighting.com).

Conclusion: You get what you pay for!

Some people are interested in the least expensive option, but I’m afraid in this scenario all that will happen is you will end up spending ~$20 and getting nothing in return! Both the StreetGlow LED bulbs and the Plasmaglow LED bulbs are a waste of money, even coming in at half the price of GTR Lighting bulbs. Even if you saved a little money here you still wouldn’t have anything nice in the end. And after all, isn’t that what it’s all about? You “invest” money in the vehicle you love and hope to make it better than it was. My vote is to let GTR Lighting help you make your favorite ride better than before.

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C4 Corvette HID Headlights Explained

C4 Xenon Headlight

C4 Corvette with aftermarket HID Headlights.

The original headlight in the Chevrolet C4 Corvette car (1984 – 1996) is a sealed beam 200mm rectangular housing called the H6054. Most sealed beam halogen gas filled headlights are rated at an output of approximately 700 lumen, whereas a factory halogen light bulb is rated from 900 – 1,200 lumen of light output. Modern day halogen light bulb capsules are far superior to all sealed beam headlights, but they still do not perform like xenon options that are available today.

Sealed Beam Headlight Housing

An original sealed beam headlight on the left, new composite headlight housing on the right.

The sealed beam headlight housing must be completely swapped out when it burns out. The new style of headlight, commonly called H6054 conversion, 200mm headlights, 7×6 headlights or 5×7 headlights, are all versions of what is called a composite headlight. It’s called a composite because it has two parts, the housing and the replaceable light bulb. Composite headlights can be found in many different styles, and TLG-Auto offers one of the widest varieties of composite headlights to fit the C4 Corvette:

5x7 sealed beam headlights

C4 Composite headlights come in many styles including projector-style, reflector, OEM style and True-Projectors with halos.

The way a C4 Corvette HID Kit works is to pair a new 7×6 composite headlight with an aftermarket HID conversion kit. You choose the power level and the color then all the pieces are put together to create a plug and play headlight conversion system. If you convert your C4 to HID using the TLG-Auto kit, you will never again replace the entire housing, but only change bulbs in the rare occurrence you will even need to.

C4 xenon HID Kit

HID Headlights installed in a C4 Corvette.

Corvette Xenon Bulbs

Light output from a projector headlight fitted with HID bulbs in a C4 Corvette.

In short, the TLG-Auto HID conversion kit for the C4 Corvette is an easy to install modification that yields greater light output and more up to date styling for your car. Remember, save the wave and keep driving!