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Let's talk about headlights...

Discussion in 'Lighting' started by Nickolisncody, Mar 22, 2019.

  1. Dec 26, 2022 at 6:08 PM
    #121
    Thatbassguy

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    Looks like your low beams are spilling a lot of light above the cutoff. Or, is there something else lighting up the trees in your low beam pic?
     
  2. Dec 26, 2022 at 6:37 PM
    #122
    4runningMan

    4runningMan New Member

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    The trees lit up on your low beam photo… that’s not good at all. Approach an 83 year old lady with progressive lenses at 60mph on a two lane and I hope it all turns out ok. Sometime, it might not. That’s just the reality of the optics on both ends of this equation.
     
  3. Dec 26, 2022 at 7:42 PM
    #123
    2016Pro

    2016Pro Why all of the Pro hate?

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    LED drop ins are a no no
     
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  4. Dec 26, 2022 at 9:35 PM
    #124
    mynameistory

    mynameistory New Member

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  5. Dec 27, 2022 at 3:04 AM
    #125
    ransom007

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    this was taken immediately after the install and the lights had not been adjusted. should have mentioned that for y'all. I have them cranked down to where the factory halogens cut off with the driver trimmed down slightly more and have never been flashed. I treat the Bajas light high beams and dont keep them on with oncoming traffic.
     
  6. Dec 27, 2022 at 3:22 AM
    #126
    Thatbassguy

    Thatbassguy New member? Really??

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    I can see the cutoff in your picture, and it looks like there's a lot of light spilling above it. Adjusting them down won't fix it. Maybe it's just a bad representation. But, I tend to think it's a result of using LED drop ins in a housing that isn't made for them.
     
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  7. Dec 27, 2022 at 3:25 AM
    #127
    ransom007

    ransom007 New Member

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    pretty sure thats just the night mode exposure on my iPhone. just drove to work and you can't see all that spill with the naked eye, just a clean line. pulled my phone out and you can see way more with that.
     
  8. Dec 27, 2022 at 6:50 AM
    #128
    Thatbassguy

    Thatbassguy New member? Really??

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    It could also be due to cramming 10000 lumen LED's into a housing that's made for like 1500 lumens. They're designed to have a small amount of light spill above the cutoff to illuminate signs. Even with proper cutoff, you're probably still sending way too much light into the eyes of incoming drivers.

    I wonder the same thing. I took my Dad's old Silverado for a drive a few weeks ago, and realized how much better headlights are now than 20 years ago. You'd think nobody ever drove at night until recently.

    One thing I have been doing is dimming the dash as much as possible, and turning off the radio screen at night when I'm not using it. I wonder if others are driving around with the dash lit up like Las Vegas and that's why they need such ridiculous headlights. :notsure:
     
  9. Dec 27, 2022 at 1:33 PM
    #129
    ransom007

    ransom007 New Member

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    bright/non factory headlights seem like a real pet peeve of yours...
     
  10. Dec 27, 2022 at 1:50 PM
    #130
    Thatbassguy

    Thatbassguy New member? Really??

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    FIFY

    Edit:. I could be wrong, too. I just know that I see a lot of obnoxious headlights coming at me at night, which could be some combination of drop in LED's, poorly aimed factory headlights, or people who don't turn off their brights.

    I drive at night a lot, so I'm probably more cranky about it than most people. :anonymous:
     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2022
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  11. Dec 27, 2022 at 2:42 PM
    #131
    mynameistory

    mynameistory New Member

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    Your 2012 headlights are big reflectors, which are much more efficient and powerful than the tiny halogen projectors that replaced them in 2014. Same thing happened to the Tacoma in 2016 when the third gen came out. Vehicle designers have decided that little squinty, angry looking cars are more in vogue than those with big reflector headlights, but we lost out on the excellent optics because of it. The factory LED projectors (released in MY 2021) are much better, thank goodness.

    @ransom007 , we're just giving you shit because as far as "upgrades" are concerned, you picked some pretty poor ones. The goofy Frankenstein Lasfit bulbs with hilarious computer fans actually perform worse than the factory halogen bulbs. I know it's hard to believe, but even a cheap lux meter will show you this. And while Baja makes excellent off-road lighting, their fog lights (and the off-road only squadrons you picked) are terrible choices for road use. There are much more performant and legal options that cost about the same amount, and you won't blind oncoming traffic while you use them.

    I know it sucks to hear especially after spending all that money, but do yourself a favor and try to return them for a refund. Then spend the money on actual upgrades.
     
  12. Dec 27, 2022 at 3:17 PM
    #132
    ransom007

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    I sorta get where you guys are coming from. Sorta... What are you basing this "perform worse than the faculty halogens" off of. The halogens I replaced were pretty terrible (I understand that there are varying levels of quality out there in terms of bulbs), but the lasfit are much brighter and I'm rather happy with them, wether or not they last remains to be seen. Ive had buddies with the same lights pass me head on (one of them in my vehicle) and IMO they're no brighter or more blinding than any other factory LED out there (I get that some people dont know how to adjust a headlight...) Do any of you guys actually have first hand experience with the lasfit bulbs (like not pictures, videos or "I heard") or do you guys just rag on them bc they're not HIDs or because they're cheap and on Amazon?

    I tend to do a moderate amount of research before purchasing stuff and you pointing out that my upgrades were poor choices made me question my purchases. If you believe there's better options lets hear it, and if you don't like the lasfit thats fine but share the proof or the research and not solely your opinions. Opinions are fine (there are plenty of mine on here), but back them with some experience or a little data :)

    there are quite a few videos and reviews out there showing the the lasfit bulbs have significantly higher lux readings....

    This is a thread on another 4runner forum where someone took readings with both a factory halogens and the lasfit. At 25ft the Lasfit read 1085LUX to the factory halogen 643LUX but read for yourself: here's a vid comparing stock to the lasfit (725LUX halogen vs 1816LUX lasfit)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k0UInI0A5Aw&t=449s


    I appreciate the lesson on the Baja designs, I specifically picked those for Offroad driving. I spend a lot of time on gravel in northern NH and was looking for the brighter, non SAE version of the light. I ran legal diodinamics before and wanted something brighter. I dont use or feel I need them on the road, my regular headlights are much brighter than the factory halogens and factory fogs combined.

    not trying to pick any fight, always down for a good debate and I feel like the lasfit get a lot of shit so this is just my 2 cents since ive been pretty pleased with them. :cheers:
     
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  13. Dec 27, 2022 at 6:58 PM
    #133
    4runningMan

    4runningMan New Member

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    The drop in LED’s tend to put a lot of light down close to the truck. This bright light restricts your pupils, thereby making them less sensitive to dimly lit objects further ahead. Without light being projected farther down the road, those dimly lit objects are even dimmer still.

    It’s a particularly bad scenario on the highway at higher speeds. You don’t have time to react to hazards.

    This is just one example of why these drop in LED’s aren’t a good choice. Driving around town, the bright spot in front of the truck up close does feel good.
     
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  14. Dec 27, 2022 at 7:39 PM
    #134
    Thatbassguy

    Thatbassguy New member? Really??

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    25' isn't a great place to measure, though. I'd be curious what the readings were at 100' or more.

    Nothing wrong with off-road lights for off-road use. I'd hate to not have fog lights, though. Did you sell the DD fogs?
     
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  15. Dec 27, 2022 at 7:42 PM
    #135
    ransom007

    ransom007 New Member

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    yeah theyre sold sorry :)

    I was looking for a longer range one but I most of the stuff I found was in that 25 foot range...probably because its convenient for the people shooting the videos
     
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  16. Dec 27, 2022 at 7:46 PM
    #136
    Thatbassguy

    Thatbassguy New member? Really??

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    Nice! I was going to say to list them here, otherwise. The SS3's are a very popular fog upgrade. I'll be picking up a set eventually.
     
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  17. Dec 27, 2022 at 8:02 PM
    #137
    mynameistory

    mynameistory New Member

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    Information here: https://www.tacomaworld.com/threads/3rd-gen-hid-vs-led-vs-halogen-h11-projector-headlights.589465/

    Summarizing- As @4runningMan said, the chief problem is not brightness- it's focus. The bulbs are brighter than H11 halogen bulbs, no doubt. However, LED chips on a board just can't replicate the focal point of a tiny halogen filament (they're too thick). The result is that you shift and spread the focal point of the pattern out to one that is not as useful as the factory halogen bulbs.

    This is why measuring headlight intensity is useless at 25 feet. At 70 miles an hour, 25 feet passes in less than a quarter of a second. What does the bulb measure at 50 feet? 100? You will see a demonstrable drop in hotspot intensity as well as a shift of brightness closer to your truck due to this focal point discrepancy.

    I know this sounds counterintuitive, but having a brighter splash of LED light closer to your truck is much worse then having a dim halogen bulb that reaches further out. Your pupils are simultaneously constricted by the brighter light, and drawn closer to the truck at the same time. It's like riding a motorcycle and only looking at the front tire.

    Regarding the Baja squadrons: they're fine lights. But you're sort of compromising them by mounting them in the fog pockets. They'll simultaneously be useless in actual fog or inclement weather (since they don't have a cutoff or pattern constraints, they're no better than turning your high-beams on), and they're also limited in capacity by mounting them so low in the bumper (where actual fog lights excel). I realize that installing them there is a matter of convenience rather than optimization (bolt-on kits certainly save time).

    Fog lights are meant to drastically increase foreground brightness and width, for finding the road in obstructed, low speed driving. That's why they're mounted low, to illuminate the road under the weather without reflecting it back into your eyes. The reverse is true for headlights and driving lights: they have the most range and effectiveness when they're mounted as high on the grill as allowable.

    Remember, I'm not trying to sell you anything: unlike Lasfit (or that guy they gave free products to in exchange for a favorable review).
     
  18. Dec 27, 2022 at 10:36 PM
    #138
    4runningMan

    4runningMan New Member

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    If you’ve ever used a maglite flashlight, you know how you can spin the bezel on the lens and either make the beam a spotlight that maintains focus and brightness at a long distance or a much larger but dimmer “flood-light” pattern that lights up the near-field with a wide angle?

    Your drop in LED’s are kinda like a floodlight, whereas the halogen bulbs are more like a spotlight with long distance projection. The LED’s are flooding the foreground with light, and while it might be brighter at 25 feet at particular spots, it’s not “better” at doing the job a headlight is intended to do.

    It can all seem counterintuitive. Lots of people, myself included, come into this conversation thinking exactly what you’re thinking now. And then change their mind after learning more about the topic. That thread on TacomaWorld is a great primer.
     
  19. Dec 28, 2022 at 12:07 AM
    #139
    McSpazatron

    McSpazatron New Member

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    I would argue the new OEM factory LED lowbeams that came out in 2021 are also too bright. The hyper sharp cutoff also gives the effect of driving into a black hole at 45-50mph on dark roads, probably because of the constricted pupil thing. High beams solve the problem in no-traffic situations, but are no help when you have a steady stream of other LED equipped cars coming at you, with their own sharp cutoffs bouncing over the road surface and sweeping over your eyes. This winter has really been exhausting on the eyes on the drive home.
     
  20. Dec 28, 2022 at 1:20 PM
    #140
    mynameistory

    mynameistory New Member

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    I agree that projectors can have this effect, and reflectors allow for a fuzzier cutoff. In either case there is supposed to be a certain amount of light above the cutoff in order to illuminate reflective road signs. Best way to combat this tunnel effect is to load the vehicle as accurately as you can (for your given scenarios) before aiming the headlights.

    For example, I'll load my truck up as if I had the family, dogs, and gear aboard as if for a trip and then aim the headlights (as the suspension settles and tilts the headlights a bit more upwards). This results in them being pointed down a bit during daily driving, which is fine because I live in an area with lots of street lighting. Unfortunately it's a bit of a compromise since we don't have auto-leveling headlights.
     
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  21. Dec 28, 2022 at 2:10 PM
    #141
    ransom007

    ransom007 New Member

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    This makes more sense. They are brighter, they just may not be as good at range.. Kinda like the lumen vs candela argument in flashlights. I would be interested to see what the output is at range compared to the standard halogen. They seem better to me, even at range, but its obviously hard to tell without a direct side by side or a lux meter. I have no doubt that lasfit gives out free stuff for positive reviews. frustrating how common that is and how hard it is to find unbiased reviews.....

    I trim mine down a bit because I tow a boat pretty frequently and dont want to blind folks. Used to live in Germany and most of the cars over there have a little "dimmers style switch" that lets you adjust the headlight aim on the fly. every car ive ever been in over there has had that and ive always wondered why they dont equip cars here with that.
     
  22. Dec 28, 2022 at 2:12 PM
    #142
    McSpazatron

    McSpazatron New Member

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    The aiming the lights is definitely a compromise. Last time I did, I resorted to slowly raising bit by bit until people started to flash me. Then I backed it down to the previos level. I dont think can go up anymore without being an a**hole lol.

    But dammit, it’s starting to feel like an arms race haha

    Anybody have any recommendations on aftermarket lights that can give me a bit of distance straight down the middle. Something a little fuzzy, but controlled, and dim (oddly enough). I got a set of KC Halogens spots I was thinking of angling down. Even though they are a tight beam, im not sure how bad spill would be for oncoming vehicles.
     
  23. Dec 28, 2022 at 9:50 PM
    #143
    mynameistory

    mynameistory New Member

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    Aiming isn't guesswork or trial and error. Best aim for headlights is 2" down from center of lamp optic at 25 feet. Park away from a wall on a flat surface, measure ground to headlight (let's say it's 40"). Put a piece of tape at 38", and adjust headlights until cutoff meets the tape.

    As far as auxiliary low-beams go, there used to be an automotive standard for it (SAE J582), but it is a canceled standard so I don't think any manufacturers are in the business of making compliant lamps any more.

    The closest useful thing will be SAE J581 lamps, which are also called driving lights or auxiliary high-beams. As you might gather, they are only legally used on the road in the same conditions as your high-beams (can't use them with opposing traffic).

    I have a set of Diode Dynamics SS3 pro driving lights (4000K warm white) hidden in my upper grill. They are wired to a relay and two-way switch. LOW switches them on anytime the key is in (for off-road use etc.) while HIGH will allow me to toggle them with the factory high-beam stalk control.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    You can see a bit of the patterns here, this was when I still had halogen headlights (with H9 bulb upgrades). I've since switched to the factory LED assemblies.



    Diode Dynamics makes a similar, bolt-on kit using their first-gen 6 inch bars. Not quite as powerful but they bolt right on with no need for custom fabrication.

    [​IMG]

    https://hotshotoffroad.com/collections/2014-toyota-4runner/products/sae-dot-led-lightbar-kit-1

    More info on J581 lamps here:

    https://www.tacomaworld.com/threads/the-sae-j581-aux-high-beam-thread.696597/
     
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  24. Dec 29, 2022 at 11:06 AM
    #144
    McSpazatron

    McSpazatron New Member

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    Thanks for this post. Useful info!
     
  25. Dec 30, 2022 at 7:10 AM
    #145
    Too Stroked

    Too Stroked New Member

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    I think a number of other members have answered most of your questions - except one. You mentioned that you were still experimenting with aim on your headlights after installing the new LED bulbs. I do not buy into the theory that one should have re-aim headlights just because you installed new bulbs. If they were designed and manufactured correctly, you shouldn't have to do anything other than pop them in.

    LED "bulbs" (and they're not truly bulbs) present numerous challenges with placement and shape of the actual illumination source. An incandescent filament produces an omnidirectional "orb" of light. An LED is a flat chip whose surface emits light. No matter what the marketing folks tell you about "solving the problems with early LED bulbs by matching the placement of the chips to the location of a filament", you still have the fundamental problem of which way the light is going. They try to solve this by asking folks to "clock" (adjust) the bulb within the housing. (But the light is still facing only two directions.) Now I ask you, how many people are capable of doing this correctly? Further proof that one should not have to adjust anything in a properly designed product.

    Finally, I offer the biggest reason I always bring up as to why drop in LED bulbs in housings designed for halogen bulbs do not work. Since the public wants LED automotive lighting - for whatever reason - manufacturers are going to give it to them. And they're going to do this in the most cost-effective manner possible. Wouldn't it be cheaper to install drop in LED bulbs in existing housings rather than re-designing the entire assembly as all manufacturers do? Why is that? Simple. Because the drop in bulbs do not work properly in those housings. Mike drop.

    Happy New Year!
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2022
  26. Dec 30, 2022 at 10:41 AM
    #146
    mynameistory

    mynameistory New Member

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    Absolutely. If Toyota could have safely added drop-in LED bulbs to the existing 5th gen 4Runner platform, they 100% would have done it. Instead, they undertook the massive task of re-tooling the lamps from scratch, with dedicated LED projectors and heatsinks. All this for a vehicle that is sunsetting a year from now. I'm glad they did though, as I was able to snag used headlights for a song and add them to my 2016 truck very easily.
     
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  27. Dec 31, 2022 at 4:41 PM
    #147
    ransom007

    ransom007 New Member

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    if your closing argument is correct then how come Toyota started selling 4runners after 2020 or 2021 (not sure which exact year) with the same exact headlight housing and factory LED bulbs :duel:
     
  28. Dec 31, 2022 at 4:46 PM
    #148
    4runningMan

    4runningMan New Member

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    I wouldn’t necessarily call them “led bulbs”. The innards of the housing are a new design top to bottom.
     
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  29. Dec 31, 2022 at 5:01 PM
    #149
    Too Stroked

    Too Stroked New Member

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    That would be the only one I'm aware of - out of all the vehicles on the road. And I believe that one is high beam only.
     
  30. Dec 31, 2022 at 5:22 PM
    #150
    mynameistory

    mynameistory New Member

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    ... so they wouldn't have to change the rest of the truck. No point in facelifting when the 6th gen is debuting next year.
     
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