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Fall 2020 LED beam pattern photos
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IdahoDoug
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 27, 2020 11:43 am    Post subject: Fall 2020 LED beam pattern photos Reply with quote

As winter and short days arrive, we will all be driving more at night than usual for several months. I've noted over the years, more discussions happen in the Fall as people consider upgraded lighting. LEDs have been on the scene for a while and getting better.

There is a thread discussing these and I realized I've asked two of the posters there to post their beam patterns, so it's probably wise to start a separate thread for photos as an excellent sticky reference tool. Thanks.

So I've started this thread and would like to ask those who have installed LED bulbs into either stock headlamps, or E code vanagon lamps to post a photo of the light beam pattern against a wall. It would be helpful for all of us to understand where the LED plug in bulbs are as they continue to improve. It would be great if you'd also include:

1- What LED bulb
2- What headlamp assembly
3- Distance from the wall

I think most of us are interested in just the low beam pattern as there is no beam discipline needed for a bulb on high beam but if you want to post that as well it would be great. Thanks in advance for contributing!

Doug
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vanis13
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 27, 2020 10:03 pm    Post subject: Re: Fall 2020 LED beam pattern photos Reply with quote

IIRC there is a headlight adjustment procedure in the Bentley (distance, height from ground, etc). possibly if you post that here, it may bring some standards. I just got LED headlights and would be happy to contribute.
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 27, 2020 10:48 pm    Post subject: Re: Fall 2020 LED beam pattern photos Reply with quote

This Daniel Stern article provides directions on how to aim headlights. In short, first, one makes a mark on the wall at the exact height of the center of the headlamp, next, back the vehicle up 25' (I recall 30' but this article says 25') and shine the headlight in the wall. The cutoff of the headlight should be a few inches below the mark for the center of the headlight, i.e. the headlight should be pointed slightly downward. If it's pointed up it'll really annoy oncoming drivers and one should expect flashing brights, birds flipped, etc.

It would be interesting to see what various lamps produce in controlled conditions. LED lamps in fresnel fixtures designed for incandescent lamps have been awful going back 15 years or so but it seems they're getting better.

https://www.danielsternlighting.com/tech/aim/aim.html

As the car is backed up to 25' away from the wall, the sharp cuttof in light should drop a few inches per the spec in the article.

Low beams: OEM DOT rectangle with relays and 9004 55 watt incandescent lamp on the left. Rectangle H4 (DIY) with relays and 55 watt incandescent lamp on the right.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

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Last edited by jimf909 on Mon Sep 28, 2020 9:37 am; edited 2 times in total
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IdahoDoug
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 27, 2020 11:09 pm    Post subject: Re: Fall 2020 LED beam pattern photos Reply with quote

Great info on aiming. However, I don't want to complicate this by requiring the folks to change things. Those of us interested in LED plug in lights in stock or E code lamps will be able to see the lamp patterns, even if they're not perfectly aligned. The purpose of this is to see the lamp patterns.

So, please just pile up some photos and don't start messing around with your alignment.

Thank you in advance.
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4Gears4Tires
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 28, 2020 5:55 am    Post subject: Re: Fall 2020 LED beam pattern photos Reply with quote

How do you expect the bulb to change the beam pattern? Am I missing something here?
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 28, 2020 6:36 am    Post subject: Re: Fall 2020 LED beam pattern photos Reply with quote

You should standardize your surface, stop , ISO, and shutter speed to compare these patterns
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 28, 2020 8:19 am    Post subject: Re: Fall 2020 LED beam pattern photos Reply with quote

IdahoDoug wrote:
Great info on aiming. However, I don't want to complicate this by requiring the folks to change things. Those of us interested in LED plug in lights in stock or E code lamps will be able to see the lamp patterns, even if they're not perfectly aligned. The purpose of this is to see the lamp patterns.

So, please just pile up some photos and don't start messing around with your alignment.

Thank you in advance.


I get the desire to make it simple, though w.o some standardization, you can't really compare. The same pattern from 5ft and 100 ft can look completely different.

Picking at least a standard distance would normalize results greatly.

And IMHO, anyone who got LEDs (and other folks) may want to take this adjustment time. I just got LEDs last week and got "feedback" from other drivers and had to unscientificly adjust one in the field even though with the same adjustment I go no feedback from the last 8? years on regular headlamps.
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 28, 2020 8:26 am    Post subject: Re: Fall 2020 LED beam pattern photos Reply with quote

4Gears4Tires wrote:
How do you expect the bulb to change the beam pattern? Am I missing something here?


I believe that if the lamp disperses light differently or is not the correct distance from the reflector then, even with the same fresnel lens and reflector, the observed light pattern will be different. It was more common a decade ago, but people would put a crappy LED lamp in a taillight and all that would be seen from behind is a 1" bright spot with the rest of the lens throwing no light at all.

I saw this a lot with motorcycles: people raving about an LED lamp that was easy on a weak motorcycle charging system but have terrible visibility from behind.

Even with an incandescent lamp, the filament needs to be oriented correctly and the designed distance from the reflector to produce the designed light pattern.
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 28, 2020 8:28 am    Post subject: Re: Fall 2020 LED beam pattern photos Reply with quote

4Gears4Tires wrote:
How do you expect the bulb to change the beam pattern? Am I missing something here?


most (all?) of the LEDs are a couple of actualy leds mouned along the sides of something thats roughly shaped like a standard bulb.
the positioning of the leds along that bulb shape make change the beam pattern.

having said that, somewhat related, i installed a pair of LEDs in my truck last week from headlight revolution (the truck has projectors so it was less of an issue alignment wise) but the LED position was adjustable relative to the mounting tabs on the bulb. you could rotate and set the locking collar on the new bulbs with a set screw.
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 28, 2020 10:51 am    Post subject: Re: Fall 2020 LED beam pattern photos Reply with quote

So, looks like this thread is potentially going sideways. I am specifically looking for photos, not discussion of the issues of LED bulbs in housings designed for incandescent bulbs. We've done that for years. We're not going to need the subtlety of F stops to see the pattern. Does an LED bulb in an E code maintain the beautiful cutoff and such? Does an LED bulb in a stock Vanagon headlamp create a random spray of light, or look like a stock pattern? That's what people considering buying a set of LEDs want to know.

We can discuss it ad nauseum but the bottom line is let's help Samba members make the decision by having members who've installed LED plug ins show what we'll get if we follow them. So far the thread has had 260 views in some 24 hours so clearly people are interested in seeing photos. But not a single photo of an LED pattern in a Vanagon.

I'd ask people to please respect the request for photos, not further discussion of the theoretical aspects. No disrespect meant for those who have posted at all, perhaps I simply did not make myself clear enough. Just post photos on a wall of E codes or stock headlamps with plug in LED bulbs, please. Thanks.

Doug
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erste
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 28, 2020 2:39 pm    Post subject: Re: Fall 2020 LED beam pattern photos Reply with quote

IdahoDoug wrote:
Just post photos on a wall of E codes or stock headlamps with plug in LED bulbs, please. Thanks.

If you want to open this up to LED housings (not drop-in LED bulbs in incandescent assemblies), I'll try to dig up the photos I have when I aimed them against the wall following Daniel Stern's instructions. It doesn't help with the questions about current drop-in LED bulb beam patterns, but might be interesting to compare anyway?
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IdahoDoug
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 28, 2020 7:29 pm    Post subject: Re: Fall 2020 LED beam pattern photos Reply with quote

Thanks, nope - just looking for drop in LEDs in E codes or stock vanagon housings.
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2020 3:26 pm    Post subject: Re: Fall 2020 LED beam pattern photos Reply with quote

I've got a set of Bus Depot square E-codes with their brighter H4 bulbs in them and I also just bought a set of LEDs that I want to try.

Does a distance of 25' from a wall sound good?
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IdahoDoug
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2020 6:33 pm    Post subject: Re: Fall 2020 LED beam pattern photos Reply with quote

Good call. It's close enough to see a beam pattern clearly, yet a distance even urban dwellers can achieve against their home or garage door. Thank you in advance.

By the way, I know this request is a hardship. Most of us don't daily our Vanagons, and we are loathe to start up an antique after dark just to get this photo. In addition, when you're coming home at night, stopping to take a picture is the last thing on your mind. So those with LEDs/halogen lamps who post I appreciate it in advance. I have a note on my dash next time I move it to take a picture or I myself will forget also. Thanks.

Doug
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 30, 2020 5:37 pm    Post subject: Re: Fall 2020 LED beam pattern photos Reply with quote

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Heres a photo of mine. Ecode rounds, with drop in Auxbeams LED bulbs. They do have a very nice cutoff, however I now see that isn't very apparent in this photo (taken on my slanted driveway, not perfectly square against the garage door). I've had these for a couple year and never had any issues with other motorists "flashing me" so I guess they are aimed well enough to not bother the general motoring public. The high beams are REALLY bright and really nice to have for sure. Overall I am happy with the setup.

Side note, those four floaty arrow shaped glares above the actual main beam cutoff line are also much more visible in the photograph than they are in real life. When you stick your face in that spot and look at back towards the front of the van, its not like a crazy weird glare or anything. Just slightly brighter than ambient. Sorry if that was a horrible description, best I could come up with to describe it.
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dhaavers
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 12, 2020 8:41 pm    Post subject: Re: Fall 2020 LED beam pattern photos Reply with quote

OK - I'll play...

I bit on the Chinese LED bulbs suggested here by markswagen and plugged them right into my stock rectangles...
https://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?p=9466206&highlight=#9466206

The item in question: https://www.amazon.com/Auxbeam-Headlights-Headligh...6387f8bcf1

Granted, it took a few nights of significant re-aiming, checking, driving & fine tuning but tonight I got them
dialed in to where I'm pretty happy with them. Here's the beam pattern with the van 30 feet from the wall:

(pic underexposed by one stop, FWIW)

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Later on the road, low beams:

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

...and with stock halogen high beams...note 2nd telephone pole on left side:

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

For my money these are a deal. I picked mine up at $20 off (new/open box) and am quite pleased.

The beam pattern on the wall is no better than the stock 9004 bulbs, but the color temperature (6000k)
really lights up the road better, and all while running only 50 watts (25Wx2 LEDs, low beam) compared
to 160 watts (80Wx2, high power 9004 halogens). I used to be the guy night driving below posted speed
because of lighting, but I already know I'm seeing better because I'm already much more comfortable driving
at posted speeds. (You whippersnappers hold your tongues...someday your eyes will be old & tired too...) Evil or Very Mad Laughing Wink

I'm convinced I'll soon upgrade to the LED (high beam) H3's, if only to match the color temperature of these bad boys.
(It's just kinda weird/jarring to switch from these to the warm yellow of the stock halogen high beams)... Rolling Eyes <shrug>

Anyhoo, there's my 2¢...with change... See you on the road! Cool

- Dave
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 13, 2020 9:45 am    Post subject: Re: Fall 2020 LED beam pattern photos Reply with quote

Take this for what it's worth...I phone 6 pics from three years ago. E code Hella's, Driver is high wattage Incandescent with relays, passenger is LED H4 bulb from ADVmonster.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Prior to aiming

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


High beams

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


LED alone prior to aiming

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Incandescent alone

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


LED post aiming

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Both Low beams post aiming.

I have to say that while the cutoff is definitely not as precise... the camera is not picking up how much more light is cast by the LED. I'll also say that if the high wattage incandescent bulbs drew the same current as the LED's, I'd probably keep them.

For fun, I'll try to take pics of the projector lamp with H1 LED in my 640 ADV and the HID projectors from Morimoto in my F150 on the same wall.

J

P.S. for fun pic, morimoto projectors retrofit into stock f150 housings. HID drivers/bulbs... insane light

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.
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dhaavers
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 13, 2020 8:26 pm    Post subject: Re: Fall 2020 LED beam pattern photos Reply with quote

Gotta say, that ^^^ is sexy. Ballpark $$$ for those setups? Just curious...

Thanks for posting, J! Cool

- Dave
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 13, 2020 8:38 pm    Post subject: Re: Fall 2020 LED beam pattern photos Reply with quote

dhaavers wrote:
Gotta say, that ^^^ is sexy. Ballpark $$$ for those setups? Just curious...

Thanks for posting, J! Cool

- Dave


Hi Dave,

These setups are $1500-2000 done for you. I think I was in for $500ish for the parts plus an immense amount of labor.

That said... my subtle point is any Morimoto projector whether DIY or a 7” round retrofit is the “shite”.... compared to fooling around with stock-oe lamps. I’m not sure I would spring for proper lighting on my Syncro as it’s not a daily and I can live with what I have... but each of my every day cars now have projectors.

YMMV,

J
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 14, 2020 10:55 am    Post subject: Re: Fall 2020 LED beam pattern photos Reply with quote

Thank you, another Morimoto projector + HID fan. Last time I mentioned them I was ignored. They have an excellent 7" round LED retro fit, but nothing compares to HIDs with a projector. That crisp blue line at that the top of the cut off just look so cool imo.

Either way, projectors > reflectors.
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