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Thread: LED Headlight bulbs an alternative to HID?

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    LED Headlight bulbs an alternative to HID?

    Intro

    Hi All,

    I'd like to start by highlighting that this is my first ever write-up so please be kind! I've added titles to the sections so people whom don't want my life story can skip ahead to the parts they are interested in!
    This project started when I first purchased my A3 almost a year ago after just a few weeks of proudly driving my new toy about I had a car accident.. well not so much an accident as another driver not turning a corner properly and hitting the front of my car.. luckily it was just a bit of paint work and one headlight damaged but when I looked at the prices of a replacement headlight in comparison to some fleabay ones it made more sense to swap both for brandnew!

    I opted for some fancy ones with the A4 style DRL as mine being a 07 didn’t have DRL L well the lights were purchased, fitted, coded within a week and I was very pleased with my LED’s making the car look like a much newer A3… right up until I turned on the headlight and a horrible yellow light filled the headlight and ruined the crisp white look of my LED’s.. this will not do! So I purchased a HID kit.. big mistake.. ok take two I purchased some Osram Nightbreakers and to be honest I was disappointed they didn’t look white at all.. I then moved onto some Philips Diamond white which are fantastic!

    2013-05-11 12.48.24.jpg
    And so it begins….
    Well after a month or so of driving around with the Philips DW’s I noticed that when I have the light switch set to off and the lights are running on DRL (Scandinavian) the dipped bulbs are on but on a very low voltage and are yellow.. Yuck!
    I began looking into what I can do to swap these out.. well HID isn’t an option so what about LED? That would match the crisp white look I’m after! The R8’s use it so why not me? After doing some research I found that Hella and Osram are both working on kits to make a LED headlight bulb retrofit unfortunately I could not find these for purchase so I began looking at alternatives..

    The Kit
    After looking around on the internet for a while I found a kit which looked like it might be powerful enough to run as a functional headlight and not just for display! (like most led headlight bulbs)
    This kit is from this website:LED Headligh H7 50W 360 INTERNATIONAL GROUP LTD
    After talking with the seller for a while the kit was ordered and I was supplied with a tracking number. 5 days later the kit had made its way from China to Germany and finally to me in the UK here is the kit as it arrived.

    WP_20130726_001.jpg

    The kit consist of a low voltage driver, the bulb and a fan to keep the bulb cool as LED’s on this scale will produce heat. I was advised to purchase a ‘canbus kit’ to allow the bulbs to work properly in the car.. this extra is not necessary its simply a HID relay kit to stop the wiper motor from blowing (more on this later)

    The Installation
    Not much to report on this really! Installation took less than 30 minutes, as a precaution I I disconnected my wiper motor for testing. I’ve labelled the kit below with the connections to show where they go.


    WP_20130726_007.jpg

    I was able to install the entire bulb and driver into the headlight however because of the fan you need to leave the back cover off. I intend to drill a small hole in the back of the headlight to allow the fan to vent I will use a dust filter to prevent the headlight from getting dirty.
    When the kit was connected to the wiring loom I did a quick dry run to see what it looked like

    WP_20130726_003.jpg
    Off

    WP_20130726_004.jpg
    On
    As you can see it’s a brilliant ‘pure’ white colour which I think looks fantastic!

    Testing

    So now we are all connected it’s time to run some tests.. first can I use my wipers.. in short yes you can! It works perfectly no faulty wipers at all and even better the high beams and all other bulbs work which if you have installed a HID kit before you will know that the high beams do not work instead the flicker and look crap so this is a major bonus!
    So what about the range? Well I left a halogen light bulb in the car and took it for a spin to see if the LED can provide enough light to drive with, being Kent I soon found myself a dark country lane to do my evil deeds.. I mean test the bulb. The bulb provided illumination almost as far as my diamond white bulb
    WP_20130726_008.jpg
    Here is a photo showing the projected light on the ground. Annoyingly the camera I am using was unable to capture the distance of the light travelled but I can assure you it is the same distance as my halogen.
    I changed both bulbs over to the LED and again ran the same tests nothing blown everything working so I then went for another drive. I found that under the orange street lights the LED white disappeared but if there was a slight shadow the street light could not get the LED filled it and illuminated it properly! On an unlit road or against other cars the LED light is powerful and you can clearly see the road ahead!

    WP_20130727_007.jpg

    The End

    Well guys I hope this has been helpful and given you food for thought! I would like to say at this point that I am not suggesting everyone goes out and buys these bulbs as they are technically illegal much in the same way aftermarket HID’s are illegal so if you do purchase and fit these you do so at your own risk and I bare no responsibility!

    Link to a HID Thread highlighting the issues they cause: question about aftermarket headlights + HID conversion
    Last edited by TheAnticitizen1; 30th July 2013 at 10:25.
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    T3nnant's Avatar
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    Good write up and seems a decent item.

    Only downside is that they are from china... a lot of components we have at work are supplied from china and are totally naff... don't last at all.

    Can I ask why "no to the HID idea" I have them and im very happy with them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by T3nnant View Post
    Good write up and seems a decent item.

    Only downside is that they are from china... a lot of components we have at work are supplied from china and are totally naff... don't last at all.

    Can I ask why "no to the HID idea" I have them and im very happy with them.

    Well in the A3-8P aftermarket HID's are known for blowing the wiper motor

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    If you do "The Big Three" grounding they won't blow your wiper motor, ground the headlights to the car and not the wiper motor
    2008 A3 1.8t FSI Sportback S-Line - Avus Silver - Full spec.

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    Quote Originally Posted by thesmileyone View Post
    If you do "The Big Three" grounding they won't blow your wiper motor, ground the headlights to the car and not the wiper motor
    That doesn't work for everyone the LED headlight requires no mods just the installation and you can use your Highbeams instead of getting the flashing :P

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    Quote Originally Posted by thesmileyone View Post
    If you do "The Big Three" grounding they won't blow your wiper motor, ground the headlights to the car and not the wiper motor
    I'm having difficulty understanding this! An earth return just goes to the body/chassis and back to the battery? Surely it makes no difference where the earth is situated, it just completes the circuit? The best earth being directly back to the battery negative terminal.

    Can you explain how a different earth point can blow a motor?

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    Quote Originally Posted by fangio View Post
    I'm having difficulty understanding this! An earth return just goes to the body/chassis and back to the battery? Surely it makes no difference where the earth is situated, it just completes the circuit? The best earth being directly back to the battery negative terminal.

    Can you explain how a different earth point can blow a motor?
    In normal set up your headlights use the same earth point as the wiper motor. On initial arc of the HiD unit it sends a voltage spike down this common/shared earth and frys the motor controller. By removing the headlights from this and earthing them directly to another point - or battery it Should eliminate this problem.

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    The LED lights look good, appear to have a lot of glare though

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    Quote Originally Posted by fangio View Post
    I'm having difficulty understanding this! An earth return just goes to the body/chassis and back to the battery? Surely it makes no difference where the earth is situated, it just completes the circuit? The best earth being directly back to the battery negative terminal.

    Can you explain how a different earth point can blow a motor?
    Like Jonathaan said the earth between the Wiper Motor and HID ballast is shared and HID's have a high earth discharge at startup. One thing to note is it has never conclusively been proven that the shared earth is the killer if you read through the thread on the forum several people have still experienced the blow motor after changing the earth or using the relay trick.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonathaan View Post
    The LED lights look good, appear to have a lot of glare though
    Thank you I can assure you the glare is the result of using a Nokia Lumia 820 instead of a proper camera :P

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    haha, good wright up though pal

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    That's a really thorough write up, thanks for taking the time to do it. I've got factory xenons, so don't need the mod myself, but it's an interesting read.

    In VCDS I noticed there's a section for enabling LED Headlight cooling fans (presumably for something expensive like an A8 or R8), which surprised me as I always thought LED's ran cooler than halogen bulbs. At least that seems to be the case with my interior LED's.

    It's hard to tell from the photo's, but I just hope these aren't as dazzling as aftermarket HID kits. If not, then they'll prove to be a better option for people wanting to upgrade their halogens.

    If you don't mind me asking, how much were they? I clicked on the link to the site selling them, but there weren't any prices.
    Now: 2010 A3 SB S-Line Black Edition 2.0TDi 140CR. Panther Black
    Retro'd: Black S-Line badges | Private Plate | Come home lights activated | Fogs as corning lights activated | Hill hold assist activated | TPMS (via VCDS) activated | 3.5" s/s tailpipe | LED interior lighting.

    Gone: 2007 A3 SB Sport TDI 140. Dolphin Grey




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    I've just thought of another question - How would you rate the light output compared to your Philips halogens?
    What I'm getting at is whether these would be an upgrade in terms of being able to see the road better, or whether they're just good as a cosmetic improvement?
    Now: 2010 A3 SB S-Line Black Edition 2.0TDi 140CR. Panther Black
    Retro'd: Black S-Line badges | Private Plate | Come home lights activated | Fogs as corning lights activated | Hill hold assist activated | TPMS (via VCDS) activated | 3.5" s/s tailpipe | LED interior lighting.

    Gone: 2007 A3 SB Sport TDI 140. Dolphin Grey




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    Quote Originally Posted by danb986 View Post
    That's a really thorough write up, thanks for taking the time to do it. I've got factory xenons, so don't need the mod myself, but it's an interesting read.

    In VCDS I noticed there's a section for enabling LED Headlight cooling fans (presumably for something expensive like an A8 or R8), which surprised me as I always thought LED's ran cooler than halogen bulbs. At least that seems to be the case with my interior LED's.

    It's hard to tell from the photo's, but I just hope these aren't as dazzling as aftermarket HID kits. If not, then they'll prove to be a better option for people wanting to upgrade their halogens.

    If you don't mind me asking, how much were they? I clicked on the link to the site selling them, but there weren't any prices.
    Hi Dan,

    Funny you should mention the VCDS I was playing around with the settings on there yesterday evening and found the LED setting but the car would not accept the code I'm guessing there is a missing component required to enable that function! The LED's do get hot on these bulbs I believe it is due to size if you google led flood lights you will see the larger the LED the bigger the headsink required to cool, the fans in this kit are powered by the LED driver so there is no need to source additional power

    I've made a point of standing infront of the car in the day, night and in rain to make sure the LED's dont dazzle my fellow road users and as far as I can tell they don't! I guess the next test is to swap cars with a friend and get them to drive past me in mine!

    The kit was around £70 in total and included two wiring looms for 'canbus' it turns out these were not necessary so you could probably shave some money off for that!

    I doubt these would be a improvement over your factory xenons I found in my testing that they project just a bit shorter then the Philips bulbs (maybe 2 feet). Although I do not own a fancy pants camera our R&D department at work has one I may see if I can borrow it one night to try and capture a 'true' image of the lights head on and another showing how far they project!

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    I wasn't thinking about replacing mine, I'm just curious to see if they were better than halogens.
    You say they're a couple of feet shorter in range, could this be compensated for by adjusting the height of them using the switch in the car? What about the light in the range it's got though. Would you say it lights up the road/kerb/signs better than your halogens did?

    Sorry for all the questions, I'm just fascinated by anything to do with lights for some reason.
    Now: 2010 A3 SB S-Line Black Edition 2.0TDi 140CR. Panther Black
    Retro'd: Black S-Line badges | Private Plate | Come home lights activated | Fogs as corning lights activated | Hill hold assist activated | TPMS (via VCDS) activated | 3.5" s/s tailpipe | LED interior lighting.

    Gone: 2007 A3 SB Sport TDI 140. Dolphin Grey




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    This is interesting. Speaking as a complete lights novice will led headlights supersede xenon headlights on cars in the future?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stol1975 View Post
    This is interesting. Speaking as a complete lights novice will led headlights supersede xenon headlights on cars in the future?
    I reckon so.

    Think there are about 20 models of cars with LED dipped beams already according to a discussion I had the other day.

    Can't say I have seen any yet though.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Danny-boy View Post
    I reckon so.

    Think there are about 20 models of cars with LED dipped beams already according to a discussion I had the other day.

    Can't say I have seen any yet though.


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    How long before Trups is selling them?
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    Does the new A6 not use LED lights ?? I was waiting for the dealer to fix the door alignment on my car last week and there was an advert looping in the showroom for the new A6 - I'm sure it said it used LED lights??
    MY 2012 A3 Sportback TDi 140 Sport - Ibis White - Bluetooth.


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    danb986's Avatar
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    You're probably right, those new A6's are like supercomputers.
    They didn't mean the other lights did they, because mine has got LED sidelights, DRL's and rear lights.
    Now: 2010 A3 SB S-Line Black Edition 2.0TDi 140CR. Panther Black
    Retro'd: Black S-Line badges | Private Plate | Come home lights activated | Fogs as corning lights activated | Hill hold assist activated | TPMS (via VCDS) activated | 3.5" s/s tailpipe | LED interior lighting.

    Gone: 2007 A3 SB Sport TDI 140. Dolphin Grey




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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonathaan View Post
    In normal set up your headlights use the same earth point as the wiper motor. On initial arc of the HiD unit it sends a voltage spike down this common/shared earth and frys the motor controller. By removing the headlights from this and earthing them directly to another point - or battery it Should eliminate this problem.

    Ah, I couldn't see how it could blow a motor! It just f***s up the controller.
    But I still fail to see how a common earth could do that. Mebbe Nige will come along and explain it in words of one syllable for my ancient brain!

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    danb986's Avatar
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    I think it is the actual motor that fails from what I've read. People have written that they've had to replace the wiper motor, but no mention of replacing the module. I'm sure if the module went then there would be loads of things that stopped working. Aren't the wipers controlled by the CE09 module and that's pretty important for controlling loads of things.


    I don't know why or how, its just what I've read.
    Canbus wiring is pretty confusing.
    Now: 2010 A3 SB S-Line Black Edition 2.0TDi 140CR. Panther Black
    Retro'd: Black S-Line badges | Private Plate | Come home lights activated | Fogs as corning lights activated | Hill hold assist activated | TPMS (via VCDS) activated | 3.5" s/s tailpipe | LED interior lighting.

    Gone: 2007 A3 SB Sport TDI 140. Dolphin Grey




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    Quote Originally Posted by fangio View Post
    Ah, I couldn't see how it could blow a motor! It just f***s up the controller.
    But I still fail to see how a common earth could do that. Mebbe Nige will come along and explain it in words of one syllable for my ancient brain!
    Like I said although it looks like it might be the earth there is no proof that the common ground blows the motor, there are reports of people with the ground modification still suffering the effects!

    The important thing to note is that the LED bulbs don't drawn anywhere near as much voltage so they won't stop your wipers from working :P
    A3-8P2.0LTDISport . Akoya Silver Metallic
    |RNSE Retrofit|Carbon Interior|LED DRL Retrofit|LED Dipped Beam Bulbs|CH/LH Retrofit|More to come!

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    I'd love to know if these compare up to Halfords Ultra Brilliance bulbs for light output
    54 8P2 A3 Sportback 2.0TDI BKD - Shark stage 1 - EGR delete - Dolphin Grey

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    Quote Originally Posted by Boon View Post
    I'd love to know if these compare up to Halfords Ultra Brilliance bulbs for light output
    These are just straight replacement for standard bulbs right?

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    Quote Originally Posted by tally2425 View Post
    These are just straight replacement for standard bulbs right?
    they list a H7 fitment so I guess so...

    Just noticed they say they are 1800 lumen... That's urm, ALOT!!! At least for a LED!
    54 8P2 A3 Sportback 2.0TDI BKD - Shark stage 1 - EGR delete - Dolphin Grey

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    Quote Originally Posted by Boon View Post
    they list a H7 fitment so I guess so...

    Just noticed they say they are 1800 lumen... That's urm, ALOT!!! At least for a LED!
    Yeah they are a straight swap no modification which means you can quickly revert back to stock

    Also I'm not sure about the Halfords bulbs but these have been compared against Philips Diamond White and I feel they did pretty well I would say there is maybe a 2 foot difference in been distance
    A3-8P2.0LTDISport . Akoya Silver Metallic
    |RNSE Retrofit|Carbon Interior|LED DRL Retrofit|LED Dipped Beam Bulbs|CH/LH Retrofit|More to come!

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    Quote Originally Posted by fangio View Post
    I'm having difficulty understanding this! An earth return just goes to the body/chassis and back to the battery? Surely it makes no difference where the earth is situated, it just completes the circuit? The best earth being directly back to the battery negative terminal.

    Can you explain how a different earth point can blow a motor?
    Fangio you are right.
    It makes no difference at all.

    The problem with the wiper motor is produced by the 26.000v Xenon bulbs start up that creates Electromagnetic field that interfere with the car electronics.

    This electromagnetic field spreads by air, and anything inside the range of that field might suffer from interferences.

    Some Audi A3 are not affected by the wiper motor issue. No matter what kind of HID they use they won't blow away their wiper motor.

    That's why some people believe they found the solution by adding relays, battery harness, grounding.
    In other forums people even said the solution was to use the fog lights cables to power the HIDs...
    Finally always turns out that other user try the same solution & burn the wiper motor.

    Anyway the solution has been out since 2008.
    There is an European company called Welldonehid that has been selling HID since then.
    I was able to find up to 9 Group Buys in different Audi forums around the world for this HID & no one had any issue since then.

    The last one was made in Vortex Forum and after the success of that GB there is a new one running on Audi-sport.net

    This is the link just in case some one is interested:
    *** GROUPBUY: Welldone HID for Audi A3 8P ***


    About the LED KIT I have to say It looks really interesting.
    I saw information talking about 3000 Lumens output & really good specs in general but somehow I can't belive all the info from the suppliers & I would like to get info from real users.

    - How is the light cut off? same as with the halogen bulbs?
    - The 3000 lumens seems to be more like 1000-1500 if they are the same as the halogen bulbs and far from the 3000 Lumens they claim.
    - Any info about light output compared to HID?
    Last edited by blazedani; 12th October 2013 at 08:57.

  30. #29
    MrLapou's Avatar
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    Great write up.

    Leds are normally quoted running at full power and chip junction temp of about 20c.
    Huge heat sinks and cooling fluid are required to keep the temp around 20c..not practical for most applications.
    If the temp rises, the life of the LED drastically reduces and light output falls.
    So most manufactures run the LED at about 50% full power. Even then the light output will drop a little.

 

 

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