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Driving lights are too dim at night

Discussion in 'Lighting' started by Hornetman, Jan 13, 2019.

  1. Jan 13, 2019 at 6:08 AM
    #1
    Hornetman

    Hornetman [OP] New Member

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    wondering what I can do to improve the driving lights for my 2018 4Runner TRD PRO, driving at night the lights are hard to tell if they are even on. My Jeep was the same way and I ended up buying Truck Lites. What have you done to improve your vision without installing off road lights?
     
  2. Jan 13, 2019 at 9:38 AM
    #2
    Runforthehills

    Runforthehills New Member

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    Hey Hornetman, welcome! I just joined a few minutes ago, as well. Hoping to get some great feedback from this sight. So I have the same question as you because I often get "Are your headlights on?" when I'm driving at night and often question if I even have turned them on. There has to be a better headlight for night driving.
     
  3. Jan 13, 2019 at 9:49 AM
    #3
    Firefly21

    Firefly21 New Member

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    Welcome both of you. There is a ton of info on this site. I went with the below low beam. Our highs are also the dlr so they are difrent beast. Hid conversion takes no more then 20 minutes and is a vast saftey improvment that should have came from Japan installed

    https://www.xenondepot.com/Toyota-4Runner-forward-lighting-s/58.htm
     
  4. Jan 13, 2019 at 9:53 AM
    #4
    Runforthehills

    Runforthehills New Member

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    Thanks Firefly21! Much appreciated! Great to get such a quick response. :bananadance: I'll checkout the link and once I find something to install I'll follow-up with "experienced" feedback.
     
    scottalot likes this.
  5. Jan 13, 2019 at 11:26 AM
    #5
    Hornetman

    Hornetman [OP] New Member

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    Went ahead and got the 4300K HID Kit, $138.00...hoping these will brighten the next night. Thanks for the recommendations, will post after install my opinion.
     
  6. Jan 13, 2019 at 11:53 AM
    #6
    golfguy

    golfguy New Member

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    Subd for results
     
  7. Jan 13, 2019 at 4:56 PM
    #7
    4runningMan

    4runningMan New Member

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    These are on sale on Amazon right now. $115

    CB9098D3-628C-4A73-8274-13E000B63791.jpg
     
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  8. Jan 14, 2019 at 4:14 AM
    #8
    DGP1961

    DGP1961 New Member

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    Are these so bright people "flash" you?
     
  9. Jan 14, 2019 at 9:22 AM
    #9
    CaptainRooke

    CaptainRooke New Member

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    I'll be upgrading to LED low beams and fog lights here in the next few weeks. Will post here with results!
     
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  10. Jan 14, 2019 at 9:53 AM
    #10
    mynameistory

    mynameistory New Member

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    Here's what I got:

     
  11. Jan 14, 2019 at 9:59 AM
    #11
    CaptainRooke

    CaptainRooke New Member

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    Looks awesome! Thanks for that.
     
  12. Jan 14, 2019 at 12:59 PM
    #12
    mynameistory

    mynameistory New Member

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    Keep in mind that HID kits are brighter for low beams. But there's a bit more complication with mounting the ballasts and cutting holes in your dust caps for the extra wiring. Most people do well with HIDs as long as they get quality hardware and aim them correctly, but I think the general consensus is that LED bulbs are a little more robust and less prone to failure than the ballasts or xenon bulbs.
     
  13. Jan 14, 2019 at 1:55 PM
    #13
    4runningMan

    4runningMan New Member

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    Can we use LED's in the low beams? I thought that wasn't recommended?
     
  14. Jan 14, 2019 at 6:10 PM
    #14
    mynameistory

    mynameistory New Member

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    Up until pretty recently that was true. LED bulbs couldn't be driven hard enough to produce a usable headlight pattern- at best they are good for interior and signal lighting (brake lights etc).

    About a year ago they started making LED chips that could be driven hard to produce a bright enough light. This involves being able to mount them to a very thin PC board (remember, a halogen filament is just floating in the middle of space in a clear bulb. If your LED board is too thick, the light-emitting chips on each side will be pushed out of the focal center of the bulb, destroying your beam pattern). They also need to have very good thermal management in order to pull the heat out and away from the heatsinks. That's why LED bulbs have fins (or better yet, fans) to keep them cool.

    A few companies are finally doing this well. The Morimoto lights I linked above are not as bright as HID, but testing has shown them to be roughly double the brightness of the stock halogen bulbs. Xenon Depot also has great stuff, but I preferred a fan for inside the dust cap of the 4Runner low beams.

    Headlight Revolution has some great YouTube videos discussing this, as well as real tests of various products (including the knockoff eBay bulbs). I believe they also sell the Supernova v.4 bulbs, which are supposed to be the brightest usable LED bulbs so far.

    Remember, it's not just about what's the brightest! It's also important to have stock beam pattern, hotspot, and cutoff to ensure that you and other drivers are safe.
     
  15. Jan 14, 2019 at 6:56 PM
    #15
    4runningMan

    4runningMan New Member

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    My #1 concern is other drivers when choosing lighting options. Most lights these days are good enough to be acceptable. As such, exceptional lights need to be examined first from the point of view of other drivers.
     
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  16. Jan 14, 2019 at 6:58 PM
    #16
    4runningMan

    4runningMan New Member

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    When you say "driving lights" are you talking about the headlights or fogs?
     
  17. Jan 14, 2019 at 7:01 PM
    #17
    4runningMan

    4runningMan New Member

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    For those not interested in retrofits, these Philips bulbs are an improvement over stock. I get about 2 years service from them.

    They are slightly whiter than the stock fog lights.

    I will say that these were brighter in my old Tacoma reflectors than they are in the t4r projectors. They'd be s great bulb for older runners.

    F3D78A1C-165C-442A-8504-B51F0600805F.jpg
     
  18. Jan 15, 2019 at 5:28 AM
    #18
    DGP1961

    DGP1961 New Member

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    So I'm confused and have maybe asked 5 or so questions (sorry) in other threads. Are these bulbs/replacements truly just plug and play with everything currently existing on the 2018? I'd like to go brighter (driving/headlights) but I'm reading things about folks cutting their housings to make some replacements work. I do not want to cut anything what do I need to unplug the old and plug in the new (and improved?) Thanks again (and I won't ask again.) :rolleyes:
     
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  19. Jan 15, 2019 at 6:08 AM
    #19
    CaptainRooke

    CaptainRooke New Member

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    Should be plug n play with a LED swap... HID's are another story w/ the ballasts.
     
  20. Jan 15, 2019 at 10:41 AM
    #20
    Runforthehills

    Runforthehills New Member

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    Thanks to everyone for their feedback and experience. I'm new to this sort of thing. I understand the difference in bulb types but what I'm not understanding is how the beam pattern is affected. Is something that can be easily explained? Is it just a matter of aiming correctly or is there something more to it?
     
  21. Jan 15, 2019 at 12:25 PM
    #21
    mynameistory

    mynameistory New Member

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    So, the headlight aim is something you can adjust. However, the beam pattern is not adjustable. Think about the halogen bulb filament, it is at a fixed point in the center of the bulb.
    [​IMG]
    The precise location of this tiny little bright point of light is important to the function of your headlight. If it's located even a fraction of an inch out of the focal point, your beam pattern loses focus and is rendered ineffective. Think about blurry focus on an overhead projector if it's not focused correctly.

    This is why LED bulbs have had a hard time replicating this "bright point" and getting it precisely into this small plane that the halogen filament occupies. See the circuit boards on these Morimoto bulbs (they look like blades)? They're as thin as the heat management allows so that the LED light-emitting chips are as close together as possible to emulate a coil filament bright spot. A circuit board that is slightly too thick will push the chips out of the focal point and ruin the focus of the light, destroying the beam pattern.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    That's why LED bulbs have had a hard time working as headlights until recently. They couldn't design a board thin enough, with effective heat management, in a compact space with cooling, with LED chips that were bright or efficient enough without the whole thing going up in smoke. I think the real breakthrough is super efficient LED chips like Philips LumiLED or similar.

    Smart people will argue that LED bulbs can never fully replicate a halogen or xenon filament, which is a bright point of light with 360º of luminescence. They're right, because LED chips will always be mounted to a flat PCB to allow proper heat conduction. However, I think the newest batch of quality LED bulb manufacturers (Morimoto, Xenon Depot, Headlight Revolution, etc.) are closing the gap and creating products that work well enough as retrofits.

    P.S.
    A good beam pattern is one that has a high concentration of light (hotspot) at the top center of the beam. This is what "throws" your light down the highway. The rest of the light should fill in the area under the hotspot and gently transition brightness into darkness near the edges. This is what helps illuminate the objects on the road closer to you, without straining your eyes or dazzling them so brightly that you cannot see objects outside the cone of brightness. Lastly, you want a defined cutoff at the top. This is what keeps your headlights from blinding other drivers, and it's why aim is important. If the bulb is not engineered correctly, any of these characteristics can be destroyed. See the picture below.

    [​IMG]
     
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  22. Jan 15, 2019 at 5:12 PM
    #22
    4runningMan

    4runningMan New Member

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    Any halogen replacement bulb is going to be as simple as removing old bulb and inserting new. That's it.

    No change in beam pattern no matter what bulb you use. The only difference is some bulbs are dimmer and run longer; others are brighter and burn out more quickly.

    The more research I do, the less I'm inclined to try led/hid.

    There are some really bright/white GE +130 bulbs available on eBay. I'll post up a link a little later tonight. But as I've mentioned before, the Philips +100 on Amazon are a great bulb.
     
  23. Jan 15, 2019 at 5:31 PM
    #23
    4runningMan

    4runningMan New Member

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    emcan4runner likes this.
  24. Jan 16, 2019 at 2:46 AM
    #24
    WanderlostOverland

    WanderlostOverland New Member

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    We agree, the lowbeams are horrible on our '17. After much research and comparing we eventually decided on converting to an HID system. The process is really very simple. Here's how we did it;

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=obNjXuNgvkI
     
  25. Jan 16, 2019 at 10:59 AM
    #25
    Runforthehills

    Runforthehills New Member

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    This is an excellent explanation! Thank you very much!
     
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  26. Jan 16, 2019 at 11:59 PM
    #26
    4runningMan

    4runningMan New Member

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    Did you have to adjust your fogs after installing the Philips? Is it a significant improvement over stock?
     
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  27. Jan 17, 2019 at 12:10 AM
    #27
    4runningMan

    4runningMan New Member

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    The Philips led fog lights are plug and play. Pull out old, insert the new. I might try them.

    I don't want to cut up my dust caps either to run HID in the low beams. And I'm worried about blinding other drivers with led in low beams. So for now I'm sticking with overdriven halogens (ex. Philips +100's).
     
  28. Jan 17, 2019 at 11:44 AM
    #28
    mynameistory

    mynameistory New Member

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    I did not adjust my fogs, mostly because I know they're definitely not aimed higher than my headlights. They seem to fill in the area under the headlight nicely, and they're definitely brighter, giving them more width along the sides of the road. They're also more yellow than amber, which offers a nice contrast to the white headlights and should help illuminate the road under heavy fog.

    I have not had the opportunity to test them in inclement rain or fog yet, at least not on the open /unlit road. Most of my driving (to and from work) has streetlights.
     
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  29. Jan 17, 2019 at 2:36 PM
    #29
    4runningMan

    4runningMan New Member

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    I got the 6500k white ones. Haven't installed yet. Plan to put yellow laminX on the lenses. More side lighting is what I was after. But kinda worried about light scatter, regardless of where the hit spot is.
     
  30. Jan 17, 2019 at 4:23 PM
    #30
    mynameistory

    mynameistory New Member

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    I will say that I can definitely tell when the fogs are on, as it adds a yellowish tinge to objects that aren't directly in the beam. This is indirect lighting that won't blind or dazzle anyone, so I wouldn't call it scatter. For example, in this picture, you can tell that they're turned on, but the camera isn't directly in the beam path. That small amount of observable light is what shows a yellow tinge outside the beam.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2019
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