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.)

Auto Makers Introduce LED “Bulbs”

LED Light Bulb

New LED technology: Reflecting LED “bulbs”

Since the introduction of LED lighting in automobiles it has been common practice for manufacturers to construct an array of forward (or rearward) facing LEDs in a housing which holds a flat structure. This flat structure holds the configuration and it projects in a linear direction. Today, showcased in the tail lights of the 2012 Chevrolet Malibu LTZ, GM has broken tradition with the use of an all new bulb-style LED apparatus (pictured below), following Ford’s lead by introducing the use of this bulb in the 2010 Mustang. In the aftermarket, when consumers would search for high quality LED bulbs they are required to purchase a product that is shaped like a traditional light bulb, but is covered with various LED bulbs. For example, here is the GTR Lighting TW6 high power LED bulb replacement:

GTR Lighting TW6 Bulb

This type of product works great, but it doesn’t have the full 360 degree output left-to-right & top-to-bottom, forward-and-backward type of illumination like an incandescent bulb. The best an LED bulb replacement has been able to achieve is nearly solid side output and a strong forward output. But because LED bulbs have a strictly linear output (spot light) style, in order to get something useable the LED needs to be incredibly powerful, this is because a light housing relies on the reflector behind the bulb, as much as it relies on the bulb itself, to create the desired output.

The new LED “bulb” found in the new Chevy cars is part number L123OR-4C, Manufactured by Osram (Sylvania) and it is called a “Joule” bulb. Another noteworthy piece of information is that they are made in the USA. Other identifying marks on the bottom of the product are the numbers 07182011 and 102382.

Osram Joule LED Bulb

Made in the USA LED Technology

They’re bulb-shaped, so they fit into a traditional lens and reflector housing with a push-and-turn base, drastically reducing the replacement cost of the tail lamp after crash damage (costing about half as much). They typically last the life of a vehicle and are unaffected by shock and vibration, so they’re ideal in extreme applications.These so-called “Joule” lamps incorporate the LEDs, the thermal management (that ring sitting just behind the reflector housing), and the control circuitry (which resides in the connector).

Osram Joule LED Bulb

Looks like a bulb, but with LED tech.

Osram Joule LED Bulb

Looks like a bulb, but uses LED tech.

What makes this product so interesting is that it inserts into a traditional reflector style housing the same way a normal incandescent bulb would. It has a wire connector that plugs in with 4 wires, presumably the common ground, parking lights, brakes and a signal to activate blinking.

OEM LED in a Reflector Housing

Twist style bulb LED

The bulb has several red LED components placed inside the round base that face upwards through the acrylic shell of the bulb lens, then the top is shaped like a mushroom and diffuses the light output both forward, to the side, and most importantly back to the reflector.

Osram Joule LED Bulb

Reflects backwards onto the housing.

Osram Joule LED Bulb

The light from the LEDs inside the base travel up the shaft to the top part that diffuses the light output into different directions.

Osram Joule LED Bulb

LED Bulb Side View

The way a reflector housing works, is that it simply reflects the light in different ways. It does not rely on the bulb itself to promote light output in a direction away from the housing, but back into the reflective surface and the housing itself directs the light outward. LEDs have a hard time doing this because they do not output light backwards into the housing, but only forwards and to the sides. This last picture shows how good the LED bulb developed by Sylvania for use in cars and trucks really works. The entire housing is illuminated and it is probably just as bright as a regular bulb, but creates less heat, uses less electricity and lasts longer.

LED Bulb in Housing

This photo shows how well the new Sylvania LED bulbs work in a traditional reflector housing.