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