How to Modify H4 LED to reduce glare -- This is the one you want.

Discussion in 'Vendors' started by spiderman302, Jul 16, 2015.

  1. spiderman302

    spiderman302 Recalculating

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2010
    Oddometer:
    391
    Location:
    Ventura County
    How the shield works. Optics 101.

    Go find a Mag light or similar flashlight that you can focus the beam.

    Now this trick will work just the opposite(mirror) of the H4 shield but it will demonstrate the principle.

    Turn on the light and focus a tight beam on the wall. Now slide a card over one half the lens. As the edge approaches the center line the spot stays a circle. Now slightly defocus the spot so that there is a small dark spot in the middle of the spot (a donut). Now slide the card over the lens notice now that the ring will turns into a semi circle. If the dark side of the semi circle is opposite the shadow then refocus the beam and defocus it in the other direction till there is a dark spot (donut) in the middle. Slide the card over the lens this time the shadow and the dark side of the ring will meet. You are now at perfect cutoff. Have fun with it.

    So in the H4 system the low beam is NOT at the focus point but it sits just in front of it.
    So if you added a Spacer (o-ring) to improve the focus to supposedly "improve" cutoff then the shield will not work and your high beam will be down in the dirt, not above the low beam.


    If you look at any h4 headlight with a halogen bulb in it you should notice that the low beam light only comes from the top half of the reflector. The bottom half of the lens should be dark.

    Only adjust focus on the H4 system to get the high beam just above the low beam cutoff line. Which is where you want it.

    Now you know.

    Q.E.D.
    #21
  2. spiderman302

    spiderman302 Recalculating

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2010
    Oddometer:
    391
    Location:
    Ventura County
    So here is a photo of the 3800 LED bulb with only one side with a shield and the other side no shield in an old Cibe round head light. You can see the effect of the shield on the bottom left side of the photo which makes the cut off line. but on the right unshielded side the light falls into the bottom of the reflector and is what creates the glare for on coming drivers. Since it is a mirror when it projects the dark bottom flips to the top (cut off) and the bright top ends up on the road. No shield means no cutoff.

    P1040328b.JPG
    #22
  3. spiderman302

    spiderman302 Recalculating

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2010
    Oddometer:
    391
    Location:
    Ventura County
    Here are some more methods of making a shield. You can use aluminum duct tape. I am including the mesh light which tried to provide a shield but it fell a little short. So I added some tape to improve it's cutoff. The tape needs to be just below the centerline of the low beam led. It is OK to have a little light go below the horizontal line. This last week I also tried another method but it had thermal issues that resulted in a melted lens.... These Leds do get very hot so the shield has to keep a little distance.
    the soda can shield was attached with just a little thin bead of RTV along the bottom edge and the front edge. Make sure that you let the RTV fully cure (24hours) before you turn it on.

    moreShields.jpg
    #23
  4. nakedwaterskier

    nakedwaterskier Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2008
    Oddometer:
    276
    Location:
    Woodland Hills, CA
    I wouldn't buy a 6500K light...I don't like the color. I read somewhere that you want around 4000K but LEDs don't come in that color...moisture in air and max light issues. So I would go for the 6000K color since can't get LEDs around 4000k--In general, the higher color temperature headlights have LESS usable light. The color output at 7000K or 8000K might look cool with it's purplish look, but the usable light output is less than a bulb burning at 5000K or 4000K. Of course, this means the road doesn't appear as bright with these bulbs, since the color temp throws out less usable visable light. This is why the output you see in terms of lighting up the road is MUCH worse with bulbs that burn at high color temperatures, like 7000K or 8500K bulbs.
    #24
  5. spiderman302

    spiderman302 Recalculating

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2010
    Oddometer:
    391
    Location:
    Ventura County
    Well Cree does make a 4000k led. Some of the OEM of the bulb will offer the lower color temp. But if you read the Cree data sheet you will find that the 4000k only has about 70% of the max lumens that the 6000k does. The fact that the 6000k bulb is the one with the most lumens per watt and that it is closer to 5500k, which is considered by Kodak to be the color of noon day sun, is why 6000k is more popular.

    LEDs are just plastic fluorescent lights. The early ones were made from a UV LED with a yellow phosphor on top. The UV excited the phosphor to make the white light. Modern ones use an array of 49 blue leds on one die to excite the phosphor. If you look at the color spectrum you will see a strong blue spike next to a lower bell curve that is the energy from the phosphor. This is why we perceive that even the white leds seem to be a bit blue.
    If you look you will find 4000k bulbs - but they too will have a blue spike. It would be better to use a light yellow filter to remove the blue or just use amber leds for a fog light.
    #25
  6. Anders-

    Anders- 690R

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2013
    Oddometer:
    3,866
    Location:
    Швеция
    I think leds just gets mixed up with xenon, where the highest light output occurs around 4300k.
    #26
  7. spiderman302

    spiderman302 Recalculating

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2010
    Oddometer:
    391
    Location:
    Ventura County
    Ok - so I went out tonight and added the spacer trick that someone else thinks is a good solution. It did make the "wings" fade away. But it did not create any cutoff. There was a lot of light still above a better focused beam pattern. I checked the high beam before and after. Sure enough the high beam DROPPED below the low beam. It is hard to tell because the high beam is twice as bright as the low beam but the down the road spot is now below the horizon. If that is the solution you want then go for it. But I put back on my shielded beam with no spacers. It is really nice to have true cut off and a high beam that works. They have the focus right on the 3800 bulb.
    #27
  8. spiderman302

    spiderman302 Recalculating

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2010
    Oddometer:
    391
    Location:
    Ventura County
    I got a bit distressed by several vendors putting out wrong information about these LED lights because they do not really understand how the H4 system works. They are just repeating the misinformation that is out there and the problem is compounding. So I thought that maybe I could help by trying to explain the system and what needs to be done to make it work the way it should. More importantly the more of us riders know, the better choices we can make. (hopefully this thread could be made a sticky.)

    ----------------
    If you look closely at your H4 Halogen bulb the high beam is behind the low beam filament. The critical focus point is set on the high beam. If you focus the low beam you de-focus the high beam. Because the high beam filament is off axis (lower) it will also move the high beam lower by adding spacers.

    Changing the focus on the 3800 LED is a workable compromise for some but you want to know what you are giving up. Since the 3800 is twice as bright on high beam you may not notice that your high beam is lower.

    All lights without a shield will give a soft cutoff. It was the H4 that created the hard cutoff light pattern with it's shield under the low beam. That is why it became so popular in Europe while the USA was stuck in antiquity. Modern projector lights use a shield to create a hard cutoff in the same way. Some reflectors have a built in shield to allow use of an un-shielded bulb.

    I hope hard cutoff vs soft cutoff clarifies the verbiage.

    This is stuff I learned 40+ years ago trying to optimize the lighting on my 4x4 rock Jeep and I am still tinkering with it...
    -------------------------------------------------

    Ballast or no ballast?

    Well both HIDs and LED's require a ballast. A ballast simply regulates the current through the light.

    HID's's require High voltage (170 VAC) to operate as well as a very high voltage to start the arc. These voltages are lethal. That 35 watt ballast can kill you. So be careful. Not only that but the arc tube is a bomb waiting to go off. The pressure in the tube is about 450 psi. If any water gets into the housing it will be a mess. The ballast is a boost regulator that creates the high voltage AC the arc tube requires and it controls the current so that the brightness will be at a constant level.

    LED's require Low voltage (3 VDC) So that little box between the bulb and the connector is the Ballast. the Ballast is a buck regulator. It drops the 14 volts (9 to 40 volts) down to 3 volts using a FET(switch) and an Inductor (aka ballast) the circuit precisely controls the current through the LED. By keeping the current constant you end up with a light that has the same brightness even if you change the voltage from 9 to 40 volts. However the regulator stops working if you drop the voltage below 9 volts. If you swing the voltage from about 9 to about 4 volts the LED will DIM. Somewhere below 4 volts the led will turn off. These buck regulators are very efficient (95%) today so very little power is lost so they do not get hot. LEDs are electrically safe.

    Both LED's and HID's up close will damage your eyes. Be careful.

    Both HID's and LED's use switching power supplies for the ballast. These devices create Radio Frequency noise. They are capable of interfering with any type of communication device that you may be using. Cell phone, blue tooth, FRS, CB, Ham radios, AM / FM Radios... Now the "good" lights will have enough filtering to minimize this but there are some that may cause problems and you will not know why your communications gear is not working.... the easy way to detect this is use a AM radio and tune it to no radio station where you only hear noise / hiss. Now turn on and off your lights. If you hear a loud tone (HID) or total silence (LED) there is a problem. If there is a slight change you are most likely OK.
    #28
    MileMark likes this.
  9. flinders_72

    flinders_72 Long timer

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2008
    Oddometer:
    2,422
    Location:
    Murtoa, Australia
    I found this out the hard way the other day. I fitted some LED driving lights and other electrical bits and pieces to the bike and included an inline fuse with an LED indicator that tells you whether the fuse is blown or not (or if there's power available, I'm not really sure). I fitted it in a hard to see and get to place thinking it might blow once every year or two, if that and I could clean the bike while I had the covers off. Unfortunately that LED circuit still allows around 9 volts through when the fuse is blown, so everything else that was connected to the line was working fine except for the driving lights, which meant (I presumed) it couldn't be the fuse. I spent ages checking and rechecking until I decided the only thing left was the fuse and that's also how I learned never to use one of those fuse holders again!
    #29
  10. rallyben

    rallyben n00b

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2015
    Oddometer:
    7
    Location:
    SoCal
    I don't have time to write a full response here at work, but I did make a little diagram of my thoughts about the LED H4 bulbs and how they're currently set up. Feel free to pick apart my diagrams and let me know where I'm wrong with it. I've been lurking a lot in regards to the LED H4 bulbs and following Cyclops' vendor thread so I can buy some new H3 LEDs when they become available and because I'm interested to see how everyone else's experiences have been with these types of bulbs.

    Attached Files:

    #30
  11. catweasel67

    catweasel67 RD04

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2009
    Oddometer:
    17,429
    Location:
    Vienna, Austria
    Time, or close to time at least, to bail out of Halogen - the end is nigh for them, with LED taking over, on price point, performance and, at least in the EU, legislatively.
    #31
  12. spiderman302

    spiderman302 Recalculating

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2010
    Oddometer:
    391
    Location:
    Ventura County
    you need to re-read my "optics 101" above again. Cut off does not work at the focus point.

    There is a reason that the high beam halogen filament and LED are set lower than the low beam elements. If you have an H4 bulb rotate it and you will notice that the hi beam is off set lower than the low beam filament. by setting the high beam filament (and LED) low it will move the projected beam higher than the low beam.
    #32
  13. rallyben

    rallyben n00b

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2015
    Oddometer:
    7
    Location:
    SoCal
    I haven't had a chance to mess with a focusing flashlight and playing card, but I understand what you're saying Spiderman. It's definitely not easy to visualize something like optics without actually seeing it, haha. I've for a long time been wondering exactly how replacements like to 3800 H4 from Cyclops are not always able to exactly reproduce the beam pattern that seems consistent with a Halogen H4 bulb, and like what you've experimented with, there's some more technique involved in reproducing it. Looking back to a halogen bulb though, your modifications are very similar to what already exists on that bulb. It makes sense what you're doing, I'm just curious if anyone will try to design their LEDs in a similar and effective way, more so than the Chinese fan-less one you've messed with.

    My father has a 2008 Tacoma and I've installed the 3800 H4 bulbs, but there's a fair amount of scatter through the stock reflector and I am gonna try what you've done to help clean up the beam pattern. Thanks for sharing your insight!
    #33
  14. LexLeroy

    LexLeroy Whiskey Tango Foxtrot Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2011
    Oddometer:
    11,926
    Location:
    Lexington, KY
    I purchased a 3600 H4 from Cyclops prior to the introduction of their 3800 H4 unit for installation in a Buell headlight bucket with a 7" Cibie reflector. The back of the bucket, BTW, had to be heavily modified to accommodate the LED's fan.

    [​IMG]

    The low beam pattern, while lacking a crisp cut-off line, was useable when the headlight was sufficiently deflected.

    [​IMG]

    The high beam pattern was almost identical to the low beam pattern but it was noticeably brighter.

    [​IMG]

    After going through this thread I decided to re-visit my headlight project by re-establishing a baseline with a Halogen H4 in the Cibie reflector. Here are the low and high beam patterns. Note the sharp low beam cut-off.

    [​IMG]



    And the high beam -
    [​IMG]

    I cut a shield out of a beer can, not quite like Spiderman302's, but close.

    [​IMG]

    And here are the new low beam and high beam patterns with the shield in place. It seems that the low beam cut-off is a bit sharper, but otherwise there's not a huge change in the patterns. I can live with it, nonetheless.

    [​IMG]

    High beam w/ shield -
    [​IMG]

    The next step will be to make a permanent shield from something more fatigue-resistant than beer can aluminum.

    I use a 10w spot to augment the top of the high beam pattern, although I should have spent the extra money and gone w/ the 25w unit. No picture of the filled pattern with both lamps burning unfortunately.

    [​IMG]

    So Spiderman - thanks for the work that you did w/ shields for LED H4 headlights. It saved me tons of time and aggravation. :thumb
    #34
  15. spiderman302

    spiderman302 Recalculating

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2010
    Oddometer:
    391
    Location:
    Ventura County
    your shield is flat and mine is at 45 degrees. you will get a better cut off by bending up your shields. look closely at the top of my 3600 sheild in post #20. The two shields are 90 degrees to each other. it will work better. the black paint also helps sharpen the beam. the downfall of the 3600 LM bulb is its large round emitters which makes it hard to make a tight beam.

    but since you have the awesome Cibie Z beam. I would highly recommend the 3800 LM bulb with my shield.

    or you could use this one with no modifications. It is the best light for ROUND headlights. (This light is not very efficient in a rectangular lens.)

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Pair-H4-Hig...Kit-/251808550394?hash=item3aa0f58dfa&vxp=mtr

    Ride safe.
    #35
  16. spiderman302

    spiderman302 Recalculating

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2010
    Oddometer:
    391
    Location:
    Ventura County
    I know a lot of you have looked at my thread. How many of you actually tried to modify your 3800 lumen light bulb?

    It is actually a very easy modification and the results are impressive.
    #36
  17. Anders-

    Anders- 690R

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2013
    Oddometer:
    3,866
    Location:
    Швеция
    I have!

    Used an U-shaped piece of aluminium under the light, backside bent in a little to prevent light from leaking out that way, used black paint to fill in the small gaps where unwanted light could come through.
    It's attached using superglue and safetywire.

    While the result isn't a razorsharp cutoff like with a halogen h4, the improvement is rather large and I'm happy with the outcome.
    #37
  18. spiderman302

    spiderman302 Recalculating

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2010
    Oddometer:
    391
    Location:
    Ventura County
    Good news for all of us. It appears that the OEMs have found my thread. (with a little prodding from me and on their own.) and there will be lights coming to dealers near you that have a SHEILD to prevent glare. Yes real DOT worthy LED lights. The internet and e-mail is amazing that one person can make an improvement that will benefit all of us going forward. enjoy....
    #38
    AZ Dean likes this.
  19. sendler

    sendler Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2012
    Oddometer:
    875
    Location:
    Syracuse, NY USA
    Which vendor will be selling the shielded bulbs?
    #39
  20. RaZed1

    RaZed1 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2015
    Oddometer:
    38
    Location:
    Upstate NY
    Some bikes are staring to come with LED headlights from the factory. My Z1000 has four- two inner for low, and also turns the two outer on for high. The low beam has a perfectly sharp cutoff. I can pull up behind a car and see a sharp line across the trunk lid, just below the level of the side mirrors. Exactly as it's supposed to be. They appear to be the 6000K led's, they have that "cool" slightly blueish tint to them. Looking at the back of the headlight housing, you can see the two outer are just molded at a very slightly higher angle. They're extremely bright, far any away the best stock headlight I've ever had on a bike. Every factory LED system I've seen uses a fish-eye lens. The line isn't reflected, it's projected out. Think a film movie projector- when you looked up in a movie theater, you could see the cone of light shot out of the booth, gradually widening until it hits the screen. I'm not sure why a LED replacement bulb, with a projector lens on it, couldn't be stuffed into a conventional headlight. The projector lens would shoot 99% of the light straight out the center, never hitting the round/rectangular reflectors in your stock housing and eliminating all these issues with glare and uneven light the reflectors cause.

    One of my buddies I ride with put one of the el cheapo ebay LEDs in his bike. It's fairly bright, but the focus sucks. Most of the light on high beam is scattered off into the trees, and there's really no cutoff on the low beam so it still glares annoyingly in my mirrors when I'm in front. Personally, I think it's worse than the stock halogen- it's brighter, but none of the light is focused where you want it- the road and shoulders- and it's ultimately less useful.
    #40