The BLF Automotive Car LED headlights, results, opinions and beamshots!

Ok, some recent talking in the Q8 thread got me thinking about LED headlights again. I never really paid attention to them before as the first few trys at a new tech like this is usually not that great, better to give it time to mature before buying in.

It has been a few years so my question is what are BLF users opinions on them? Good bad or otherwise.

We don’t really have any car headlight topics that I could find so figured I might as well make one.

The biggest issue I have with them is the designs I have seen just don’t give me a lot of confidence in their ability to shead ~30W of heat without a fan. While a fan is a fine backup, I do not want to have to count on a fan to keep the headlights working long term. Using a fan for say the high beams when more heat is being generated for example I would consider acceptable use of a fan.

So anyone tried any of the LED options on the market? Please post links, pics, videos, comparisons and anything else you may have with your post since this is new ground for many of us and we all need to get aquatinted with the options and tech involved.

I’ve had LED headlights in my car for well over a year now. Heat dissipation is through copper ribbons that draw the heat away from the ‘bulb’. No fans.

The emitter is Philips Luxeon or something. Here’s one on eBay:

I have been testing some different ones lately. It’s early days on this for me though. I don’t want to go for fan cooled either. I might go a cryogenic route, before I try to depend on a fan long term. 8^)

Like using a Hot Rod Flashlight. I will be the only one operating these headlights I have been testing. Going down the road, with the air moving nicely over everything, really goes a long way to keeping things cool. When I am going slower, or stopped. I click the lights to low beam. Cooling at that level is easier of course, but in stop and go traffic for example. Very little air is moving around.

I have a temperature probe running to one of the lights now. So that I can see in real time, just exactly what is going on. Not that this set is the most incredibly powerful (60w). But that gives me a good look at how these are acting at different times & situations. Giving me a good baseline to work from, when I go up into the next level.

This tech is moving pretty fast to. So I thought I had better get started in giving it a try. There are 100w 14,000lm LED headlamp sets out there now. :STEVE:

I have been using something like this, recently. What I like to call the ‘Heat Sock’ approach >

And it’s always a good idea to have a backup plan :smiley: >

I have sen that heat sinking design, my problem with it is what does it connect to? If it is just the car body the steel is has horrible thermal resistance. Not sure how it would provide much meaningful cooling. Could be wrong though.

Didn’t you say that the bulbs only lasted a year in the Q8 thread? That is a sure sign of way too high temps for the LED.

How was the beam and overall impressions of these?

Clever of you, using the “LED headlights” forum. :wink:

I’m interested in LED automotive headlights as well. I still have plain old Halogen bulbs in mine. A friend of mine bought some cheap XM-L2 headlight bulbs from eBay, after I told him it wouldn’t be bright enough, and he should buy the MT-G2 ones. Now, he complains that they aren’t bright enough. :FACEPALM:

Wow, a 100W LED headlight, I have no clue how they would cool that short of hooking it up to the radiator cooling loop.

Which would honestly keep the temps as low or lower then most of the setups I have seen. The cooling system on most cars is between 180-210f (about 90-100c), it would easily keep the LED’s at that temp and then it would just be a matter of reducing thermal resistance between the LED and coolant.

Some temps I saw online showed LED temps of 180-220f at room temperature. Figure it would be at least 50-80f hotter under the hood. Hooking them up to the cooling loop quickly starts to look pretty reasonable.

For guys running an A2W intercooler setup, you could easily run that loop to the LED’s and it would work fantastic. Enough to cool 100’s of watts of power easily.

lol, I wondered how long till someone caught that.

The funny thing is, if the beam could be created equal to the normal bulbs, an XM-L2 is capable of almost double a normal bulb lumens (most normal 60w bulbs are between 700-800 lumens).

The XHP70 is really about perfect for a headlight.

Wellp, both my cars’ headlight assemblies are closed chambers, with dust-caps covering the area where you’d grab the sockets to change the bulbs. I suspect most cars with similar assemblies are the same.

So “heat sock” or not, fan or not, the internal temperature of the chamber would quickly rise, no? Any long trip would have the chamber heating up, not be able to shed heat, then the LED would heat up, too.

I LED-ised pretty much everything else in my car, even all the rear lights (tail, brake, reverse, turn), and some brands (eg, JDM Astar) are fantastic.

Headlights, though? Too high-strung for me to trust them.

Plus, filament placement is critical, and the optics designed specifically for them. Even a high-strung L or L2 are squares set off from the center-axis, not a small coil of wire that’s perfectly placed.

So what good is 2000lm if half of them go, well, other than where they’re supposed to?

Dunno, I’d love LED headlights, but to me the tek is still flawed.

Yeah, that’s the problem with most LED retrofit bulbs, including the ones my friend bought. To get the most out of the emitters, they need to be matched to a reflector (or projector lens) made for LEDs, not made for a hot wire.

Pretty much all the heat from an LED goes out the base and into the mcpcb. The inside of the light would heat up but should cool off fairly quick due to airflow. The real heat issue are the 150+ degrees temps in the engine bay.

I also swapped out all my other lights to LED’s many years ago, so far they have worked great and no complaints. I am sure they have improved a lot though since then (around 2008-9 I would guess).

Some lights kick ass. Those JDMs in back (red tail/brake/turn) are even brighter than the 40W (vs usual 32W) 3357s I was running in back.

The yellow turns in my other car are about as bright, but are more saturated vs NA (natural amber) bulbs. It’s a more “pure” light.

I ain’t ever going back…

I’ve owned my car for 3 years. I put in those LED lights months into ownership, so actually those LED lights have been in my car for at least 2 years. There’s 3 cars in the family, and they all use the same design LED lights. None has failed. They work as they did since day one, day in day out, summer and winter.

We took a 3000 mile road trip recently and the lights stood up to long stretches of driving. Heat generated by the LEDs are transferred via the metal tube they sit on to the back of the ‘bulb’, where it’s transferred to the 4 copper ribbons for dissipation.

Despite everyone’s concern about heat, all I can tell you is that it works fine, for months or years now, in multiple cars, in all seasons. Either this design is great, or Philips makes some tough, tough LEDs.

Lights are no brighter than factory halogen but acceptable. They look cool, and make my cars look cool. Let me know if I miss anything.

That explains things. If they are only putting out say ~1000 lumens then that is only around ~10W worth of power. That should be easily manageable with the setup you showed. A lot of the lights I have looked at say they are ~4000 lumens and ~30w (which is about right and what I would expect.). That is another ballgame and much harder to cool down.

Honestly? Do an H11 to H9 conversion, and be happy. 55W goes up to 65W, and you get almost double the lumenage, with whiter light.

Oh, and 100CRI.

Whiter but still no match for the 6000-6500K of LED. If I care for night stadium level of lighting, I would go with HID. I’m perfectly contented with my setup and if this set ever fails, I’d go with the same lights again.


Umm, sorry. But I’m hard-pressed to do CW in a flashlight, nfw would I get CW headlights if I had any choice in the matter.

4000K-4500K would be about my limit for headlights.

I’ve seen those “bug-eye” LED headlights in some newer cars. Ugh.

“C’mon, man, look how white they are!!”

“Umm, ya mean how blue they are??”

Naw, no thanks.

Maybe if they at least come out with high-CRI lights, or better yet, run 219Bs or something…

Do you think sunlight is blue as well?

In daytime, yeah, kinda. It’s noticeable on white objects that are indirectly lit (eg, in shade).

At night, 6500K is kinda hideous. Browns and reds are muted, take on a dull grayish quality. So out in the sticks, watching for brown things like trees, deer, etc, they’ll look muted. Red stop-signs will also look dull.

Warmer lights bring out those colors and make them “pop”. They’re just more vivid.

Can someone help me out here? Before anyone sends me hate mail, know that I love LED as much as everybody else here. My whole house is converted, and has been for 3 years or so. I surely believe in the merits of LED’s. But what would one gain by converting automotive headlights to LED?

Halogen last quite some time during normal usage.

The decreased power consumption of LED is really a non-issue in an automotive application.

The negatives really seem to outweigh the positives here. Such as:

Heat dissipation
Reflector placement/design issues

Again don’t kill me for asking, but I’ve been curious about this for quite some time.

Basically they would have more light output and a better color temp then Halogen.

Take for example proper HID’s vs Halogen. There is no comparison in the beam. It is soooo much nicer to drive with good HID’s over normal Halogen, there is simply 4-5x as much light on the road and a better beam as well.

LED’s are simply the next step, they do reduce the power consumption, although this is not a big deal in this case.

They have better CRI in most cases then HID but the real benefit is the instant on of the LED’s compared to the HID and (assuming you can keep the heat in check) the much longer lifespan.

A well designed LED should last the life of the car.

I don’t mind HID but the warm up time and inability to “flash” them is rather annoying.

Stock Halogen is around ~700-800 lumens compared to an HID of around 3000 lumens and LED of 4000. Pretty easy to see why they would be better for driving at 60mph+.