Why brighter more focused LEDs are better.

Discussion in 'Equipment' started by spiderman302, May 16, 2019.

  1. spiderman302

    spiderman302 Recalculating

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    This is it in a nut shell

    There seems to be a real problem with automotive and bike lighting. NO ONE is leading the charge to a better system.
    DOT seems to be stuck in the 1970's. It took them 20 years to approve the H4 system. DOT is a follower not a leader.

    Current metrics are dismal at best. Our present low beams only illuminate to 150 feet with the normal 900 lumen halogen bulb, (dual) headlight levels (1800 lumens). 35 mph total stopping distance is 150 feet. 70 mph total stopping distance is 300 feet.

    In order for us to see twice the distance we will need FOUR times the light! Inverse square law.
    50% brighter or twice as bright is NOT enough, we need 400% brighter to see twice as far.
    So the low beam bulb needs to increase from 900 lumens to 3600 lumens, (or 7,200 lumens total ) for us to be safe at freeway/highway speeds.

    This is exactly why the new brighter and correctly focused leds bulbs are needed.

    Now I will argue that 4 times is a minimum and that 10 times brighter is the better number.
    Our vision is logarithmic so a 10 fold increase is not a big deal.

    Now the glare issue is made into a stumbling block. The 700 cd number was derived and held over from the incandescent days before the H4 system, projector systems, and better lens/reflector designs. The newer systems with their sharp low beam cutoff can work with much brighter bulbs and still pass the 700 cd glare requirement. The interesting thing is, at the higher light levels on the road you the driver are less affected by on coming glare. With more light you do see better and your eyes respond faster. If everyone increased their low beam light level 10 fold then the 700 cd glare threshold could be increased a little.

    We are already doing this. Most of you have changed your headlights to brighter LEDs and added aux lighting to your bikes as well. There is a new truck on the road that has 4 low beams and fog lights too. The newer cars and bikes are using brighter leds. It would be nice if there were aux LOW beam led lights (narrow fog with hot spot with a sharp cutoff ) that we could add. How about a LOW beam led light bar...... future cars will not have two low beam headlights but led lights all across the front of the car.....
    If properly focused and shaped, more light is better.

    If we can increase the light level to what is needed for the speeds we drive then everyone will benefit.

    Unfortunately there is still a lot of junk lights out there that is making progress difficult..

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    So how are the newer LED bulbs more focused? You will need to take a closer look at how the LEDs are mounted. The closer they are to the center line of the bulb then you will get a tighter beam pattern. Also the shape of the led also makes a big difference too. The old square and round leds spread out the light in both directions. Where the long thin led will spread the light horizontally and less vertically. This will put more of the light where it needs to be. This is how the Halogen filament is shaped. I cut off the top ends of an older style bulb and a newer bulb so that you can see the difference. The bulb on the left has the square led that is far from the focus point because of the thick heat sink. The one on the right has a thin copper heat sink which gets the back to back LEDs closer to the focus point. This seemingly small change makes a huge improvement in the light pattern, for those of us who like to go fast...

    ledFocus1.jpg

    OK, What one needs to see is that there are now LED bulbs that have the focus and shape that is very close to the original halogen bulb.
    This will make the beam pattern and hot spot tighter and gets the light down the road for those of us who ride at the speed limit,
    The kind of riding where one really needs to see far ahead....

    focus1.jpg

    But there are those, who ride in the woods or on tight windy roads. The kind of riding where a highly focused spot would not be as effective. These riders may prefer the previous generation of LED bulbs that do not have a tightly focused pattern. These lights create a much wider and taller beam and do not have the throw that the more focused bulbs have. So there is not one solution but rather many variations that can be tailored to ones riding needs.

    I have tried to explain the differences so that you will understand what affects the pattern so that you can decide what better fits your needs.
    #1
  2. George Hanson

    George Hanson Been here awhile

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    Ok, so what LED bulb that I can use in a stock round headlight bucket fits that description?
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  3. nickguzzi

    nickguzzi Long timer

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    I can't comment on any of the LED's available, but my last car despite having projector headlamps, was not good to drive at night on its halogen. I bought some very cheap HID Chinese (but turned out good quality) burners and the rest of the stuff.
    I found the improvement on dip beam so good, I rarely had to use mainbeams. As the OP mentions, the quality of the cut off makes this possible and workable.
    Seems like once dazzle is under control, the sky is the limit.
    #3
  4. petertakov

    petertakov Been here awhile

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    That is the question he's been hoping for and here is the answer he'll give you - Evitek. Job done - time to start yet another Evitek promo thread. Have I mentioned Evitek?
    #4
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  5. George Hanson

    George Hanson Been here awhile

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    But does it work?
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  6. petertakov

    petertakov Been here awhile

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    Even with the sharpest beam cut-off a light that is too bright won't work because the roads are not perfectly level or flat and if you suddenly get hit by 10k lumens of blinding blue light because of a bump on the road or whatever you are effectively blind for several seconds at least. Most people with blinding aftermarket LED abominations don't care much about on-coming traffic ... until it passes straight through them, that is. Modifying headlights is illegal and rightfully so, I just wish cops were more strict about it. This is one of the most reckless and dangerous mods one can do to a vehicle.

    Unfortunately, this forum is turning into a p!ayground for people selling all sorts of crap.
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  7. George Hanson

    George Hanson Been here awhile

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    Perhaps, although not as dangerous as not being able to see shit at night, like on my Scrambler. Absolutely worthless headlight
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  8. petertakov

    petertakov Been here awhile

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    Well, then your scrambler has a shit headlight, but that's not because it's not LED and it will most certainly not get better if you put an aftermarket LED bulb in it - be it Evitek or similar DIY crap. The shittiest headlight I have aver seen is on the new Yamaha MT09 and it's stock LED. One of the best is on my Kawasaki W800 (halogen H4 with a properly designed lens) - It puts a lot of cars to shame.

    If you are riding off-road, put whatever you want, but on the road it's just stupid, dangerous and illegal. As long as there are no road certified LED retrofits by reputable manufacturers (Philips, Osram, GE) then it means it can't be done properly. There is much more to a headlight than just blunt lumens. The LED cult will try to make you believe that LED is better because it's supposedly brighter but that is a lie. It's not brighter - it's just more efficient and that is the only reason it is being pushed nowadays. The brightness of road legal bulbs is not limited by the halogen technology - there already are halogen bulbs that are too bright to be road legal. LED light is also way worse for your eyesight and that has been discussed to death already.
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  9. Sonny S.

    Sonny S. Long timer

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    I've had vehicles with 6 Volt systems and sealed beam headlights and I NEVER hit something because I couldn't see it. Lighting has gotten out of control because it's CHEAP to produce CHEAP lights. You can't even look at a candy bar in the grocery store without being blinded by bright LED's.
    #9
  10. Tripped1

    Tripped1 Smoove, Smoove like velvet.

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    Phillips you say?
    https://www.philips.com.sg/c-p/12985BWX2/x-tremeultinon-led-headlight-bulb/specifications



    In the US, there is NO DOT (Federal) regulation covering the light source, ONLY the lens/enclosure. Those must be DOT marked to be road legal (so yes, all of your aux lighting is illegal) you can look this up yourself its CFR Title 49 Section 7.2.

    Its also the DOT we have to blame for the fact that motorcycles here don't get the standard LED marker/signal lights that everyone else does, because there is some ancient surface area requirement so the smaller, lower power, more reliable AND brighter markers standard literally the rest of the world over and we get "euro signals" with an orange halogen in a clear enclosure.

    Now when you get into states and localities this becomes a different ball of wax, some states prohibit modification full stop, others don't regulate at all.

    That all LEDs are illegal is erroneous, at least in the US, it goes back to Audi's "smart lights" system that was flat out banned due to a 60s era NSTA requirement that the main lighting of an automobile be switchable (because the US is about 50 years behind in such matters) seen here https://www.roadandtrack.com/new-ca...volutionary-audi-headlight-tech-banned-in-us/


    In Japan its damn near anything goes as long as its both focused properly and bright enough (you will get dinged for both at annual inspections) as long as your aux lights are 1) switchable 2) Below the main beam 3) the switch is labeled.....all of which the guy running Shaken-jo may or may not get you for (a friend got dinged for the label, with a light-bar mounted over his cluster)
    #10
  11. petertakov

    petertakov Been here awhile

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    @Tripped1 take a look at the "homologation" line in the spec you shared - there is a big "NO" there that you've missed. And I am not saying ALL LEDs are illegal - just the retrofits and just in the civilised world. But I agree with you that LEDs are the best option for blinkers, signals etc. and that is why almost all new bikes in Europe come with them, so you got that wrong too :-))
    #11
  12. Tripped1

    Tripped1 Smoove, Smoove like velvet.

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    Not in the US. Want to see the stock turn signals from my US Spec KTM . I promise you they are different from the LED units on European spec bikes.

    https://books.google.co.jp/books?id=vhEJBAAAQBAJ&pg=PA677&lpg=PA677&dq=49+U.S.C.+30115&source=bl&ots=6nwamygpGt&sig=ACfU3U2GXLYtIPTYQ9Q6hSm3OdYvnlfukg&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjbn4TruaTiAhWGVbwKHTvhBkIQ6AEwB3oECAkQAQ#v=onepage&q=49 U.S.C. 30115&f=false

    Page 342

    Only that the lightsouce must conform to Section 11 i.e. since DOT is not a certifying authority. You are supposed to "conform" to there standards

    By this FMVSS-108
    file:///C:/Users/kenke/Downloads/TP-108-13.pdf

    There is no maximums listed in the test spec. So in by US (Federal) law if it meets the minimum and is marked correctly. The light source is legal. Like I said after that its state by state. Focus is more important than power, I ran into this one with the LED in my KTM. emitters are just a bit to far forward and high (compared to halogen) so I had to shim the baseplate across the to top to get it into a proper lower than horizon beam.

    That bike also has relatively large 55w aux lights
    20180919_232103.jpg

    That photo is full bright, when not on "brights" those all pulse modulators that spool all of that down to 20% of max intensity, I can also have a thumb wheel for the aux lights so I can bring them up a bit so I can see where I am going without firing off the lights of doG.

    Stock that main bright light was only good for going maybe ~50mph 80km/h and then ONLY if the bike was vertical the aux lights are a spot flood pattern than lets me see where I am going when the bike is off center. Now I have options depending on environment.

    There roads here frequently feature greater than 90* corners in the mountains, stock lighting was a leap of faith after dark OR a matter of humping someone's rear tire that DID have adequate lighting. The drivers in Japan run their brights nearly full time after dusk outside the cities/towns for that very reason.
    #12
  13. petertakov

    petertakov Been here awhile

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    @Tripped1 sorry, I tried but I still can't really understand what is your point? In a sentence or two, if possible.
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  14. Tripped1

    Tripped1 Smoove, Smoove like velvet.

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    'Only that the lightsouce must conform to Section 11 i.e. since DOT is not a certifying authority. You are supposed to "conform" to there standards

    By this FMVSS-108
    file:///C:/Users/kenke/Downloads/TP-108-13.pdf

    There is no maximums listed in the test spec. So in by US (Federal) law if it meets the minimum and is marked correctly. The light source is legal. Like I said after that its state by state.

    So yes, retrofits can and are legal (at least in the US) whether or not you like them.
    #14
  15. petertakov

    petertakov Been here awhile

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    I never said they are illegal in the USA and I couldn't care less, to be honest.
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  16. Tripped1

    Tripped1 Smoove, Smoove like velvet.

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    They aren't illegal in Japan.

    ...and trust me they DO check both focus and brightness.
    #16
  17. spiderman302

    spiderman302 Recalculating

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    Those who say that modifying headlights is illegal, using leds, will then tell you that you can upgrade to a brighter halogen bulb. Hypocrites.

    I will highly agree that the previous leds bulbs were bad and should not be used because they had poor focus and created glare.

    But the new crop of leds have better focus, create clean cut off, and put more light down the road where it needs to be and makes driving at 70 mph safer.

    3,000 pedestrians and bicyclist die, 33,000 are injured each year because of inadequate lighting, drivers over driving their ability to see at night and react in time.

    The real driving factor should be How far the low beam projects down the road to see danger at 70 MPH.

    If we raise the light floor up to see better, we will be less sensitive to glare..... we have to change the paradigm.

    If you want to know what works, There a some other web sites that do light comparisons for you. bulbfacts, headlightrevolution, and others.

    If you are looking at reviews check the dates as many are old.....
    #17
  18. rockland213

    rockland213 Been here awhile

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    My two cents ......
    The lights on most cars, trucks and motorcycles are way to bright now.
    I go to work when it is dark and almost every morning get the temporary blinding from someone coming the other way.
    Last year at march moto madness I was amazed at the number of BMWs with extra lighting and the way they had them mounted. Most of them do very little to no off-roading and leave them on all the time, even cruising the campground because they think there kool....... FYI. If your one of these people ( your not kool)
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  19. Navy Chief

    Navy Chief Long timer

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  20. ricochetrider

    ricochetrider MotoMojo

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    I drive rather a lot- I've averaged 2200 miles a month in the Mid Atlantic region, east coast USA over the past few years. The largest part of my drive time is at night. Mostly freeway driving, like 99.99%. I can say definitively that there are a good number of vehicles- and a growing number of -if not the majority of, 18 wheeler and over-the-road trucks using over-bright LED lighting. Meanwhile my 2017 VW has pretty decent lighting straight out of the factory. I did raise the headlamp beams up a bit to see further on low beam- BUT did so with my car parked on a flat surface with my GF's car parked 70 or so feet in front of me- raising the headlamp beam up enough to greatly improve my vision while not so much as to blind oncoming traffic or blind people in their mirrors. 2 of my bikes have aftermarket lighting- not LEDs, they have old school halogen PIAAs. These, too, I have aimed high enough to drastically increase my night vision, but not so high as to be a nuisance to other drivers.

    When folks use super bright lighting on their trucks and cars, it really does present an issue for other drivers. I don't know the laws, and I'm not sure it matters much any more- some laws seem to have fallen by the wayside, as has courtesy. It may or may not be illegal to run extreme LED lighting on one's vehicle- but it sure as hell is discourteous to blind other drivers in the name of seeing.
    I suggest if you feel a need to see further down the road at night, before going apeshit with crazy lighting upgrades, simply crank your headlight(s) up a bit. A little of that really does make a pretty big difference.
    Don't get me wrong, I love the IDEA of low wattage LED lighting for motor vehicles. I just don't love the current crop of cheap ass over-bright LED headlights and aux lighting that more & more people are using on their cars, trucks, and bikes, with complete disregard for everyone around them on the road.
    #20
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