The Ultimate Bulb Lighting Thread: All You Ever Need to Know About Bulbs - i-Club


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Old 04-26-2006, 11:14 AM   #1
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Talking The Ultimate Bulb Lighting Thread: All You Ever Need to Know About Bulbs

I posted this over on www.rs25.com and www.nasioc.com and a lot of people enjoyed it. So I decided to post it over here as well.



I have been asked a lot of questions about automotive lighting, and I decided to put all my research and information together into one thread. I want this to be stickyed so people have a place to go to find out some information about bulbs.

Now, I am no expert about lighting, I just know more than the average person. I have learned a lot from searching on the internet and trying different things in my car. The main site that I learned the most from is www.danielsternlighting.com. This is a fantastic site to learn a bunch about lighting.

The bulbs that I mostly talk about in this thread are the H1 H3 and the 9005. These are the bulbs that the 04-05’s use stock. But the information is the same for all the bulbs made.




Blue Bulbs or “Xenon” Bulbs-
First thing I want to talk about is blue bulbs or those “xenon” bulbs. We have all seen the bulbs sold in auto stores and on ebay that say “XENON” or “HID” on them. What are these bulbs really? And do they even put out good light?

Well Daniel Stern has some GREAT articles on his website in reference to these bulbs. Here is a list of suggested reading on those bulbs:
- http://www.danielsternlighting.com/t...e/bad/bad.html
- http://www.danielsternlighting.com/t...good/good.html

To save you a bit of reading, basically those bulbs have a blue coating on the outside of the bulb, to make them a blueish tint. Basically the blue coating reduces the light output of the bulb. Never will a blue or purple tint on the bulb “improve” the light output of the bulb.

Here are some stats:
- Standard H1 produces 1550 Lumens at a life rating of 650 hours.
- Blue Bulbs or the “white bulbs” produce 1380 Lumens at a life rating of 250 hours.

I think that’s enough talking about those bulbs.


55w=85w!!!!-
There is another type of fake bulb myth. That is the Extreme White, or Platinum or Super White bulbs. Those bulbs claim to produce 85 watts of light with only consuming 55 watts of power.

These claims are a scam. They are simply not true.

Read this to find out why:
http://www.danielsternlighting.com/t...uperwhite.html


Sylvania Silverstars-
Next thing I want to talk about is Sylvania Silverstars (Syl. SS). I am NOT talking about OSRAM Silverstars from overseas. This is the North American version of the Silverstar put out by Sylvania. Any auto store will tell you that the best lights they sell are the Syl. SS’s. All of North America has gotten into this mindset that Syl. SS are the best bulbs from very effective advertising from Sylvania.

The one site to take a look at and that I quote from is: http://www.bmwcca.org/members/AM/Tem...6_Light&page=1

Quoted from that site: “The Sylvania 9005 “SilverStar” highbeam bulb is advertised as making “whiter and 20% brighter” light, and this is supposed to improve the driver’s ability to use the light….What is obvious in comparing the “SilverStar” to the standard Sylvania high-beam bulb is that the SilverStar makes less light than a standard bulb. The difference at the brightest point in the beam is 77 foot-candles from the SilverStar, and 109 footcandles from the normal high-beam bulb. This equates to ~23% less light.”

Now yes you’re going to say “well I have them in my car, and they look brighter.” I had them in my car at one point in time as well. And yes I agree that they do “look” brighter. But the fact is they are not. The Syl. SS has a blue coating on the bulb. The blue coating does make the light look a blueish tint just as those “xenon bulbs.” But, basically the blue coating reduces the light output of the bulb. Remember, never will a blue or purple tint on the bulb “improve” the light output.

I will again refer you to read Daniel Stern write up about blue coatings on bulbs: http://www.danielsternlighting.com/t...good/good.html

Here is a photo of a Syl. SS next to an OEM Subaru bulb. Note that the blue coating on the Syl. SS:



One of the things about the Syl. SS is they have HORRIBLE manufacturing defects. I have had 3 bulbs go bad on me in the few months I used them. One bulb went from the filament breaking off. The next went from the bracket being crimped onto the bulb to hard, which made the gas escape from that bulb after the glass cracked. The 3rd bulb just plain died.

Here is a photo of the bulb that cracked:



So to put it nicely, Sylvania Silverstars are one of the worst bulbs you can purchase.


HID “Retrofit” Kits-
HID’s we all want em, but we can’t afford em. So we look to the cheaper HID kits to “retrofit” into our cars that are made for halogen bulbs. I was thinking about them at once, and then I decided against them. The fact is, they are NOT safe to use.

PLEASE read this if you are thinking about a HID retrofit into your car:
http://www.danielsternlighting.com/t...nversions.html

To save the lazy ones some reading, HID’s and Halogens require different optics to produce the light in a safe and LEGAL way.

The filament in a bulb produces light in one spot. Lighting engineers shape the reflector and optics around where that filament is placed. The reflector and optics will place the light in a pattern in front of the car so you can see. If you move the location of the filament, the location of where the light is going changes as well. So when you put an HID retrofit in one of these halogen housings the light scatters into places you don’t want it to go. The light will most likely go into oncoming traffic instead of right in front of your car. So putting HID’s in a lamp housing made for halogens will not only be unsafe to you, but they are illegal as well.

The only safe way of putting HID’s in your car is replacing the entire lighting housing to a housing that is made for HID’s. For the 04-05’s the STi’s HID’s work great! I have seen people selling these on NASIOC for around $700.


Osram Silverstars–
So now that you know the truth about the Sylvania Silverstars and all the BAD ideas with bulbs, its time to hear about the best bulbs you can buy. They are called the 55W Ultra High Efficacy Plus 50. These bulbs include the Narva Rangepower+50, Osram Silverstar, Tungsram Megalicht or Philips VisionPlus.

These bulbs produce the maximum amount of legal light and don’t have any coatings on the outside of the bulb.

- A standard bulb produces 1550 Lumens.
- A Plus +50 bulb produces 1750 lumens.

These bulbs are manufactured with the highest quality standards and are the best legal bulbs you can put into a car. I have these bulbs in my car, and I love them. They are the brightest bulbs I have used, and highly suggest these.


HIR Lighting (Halogen Infrared Reflecting)–
These are a new type of bulb originally created by General Electric. According to www.hirheadlights.com “It was GE's goal to create a bulb that produced 75% of the light output of HID headlights at 25% of the cost.” These bulbs are used as OEM bulbs for the Dodge Viper, BMW Z8, Infiniti I30, Chevy Avalance and new Nissan Maximas.”

This is a bulb made for the replacement of the 9005 and 9006 bulbs. The bulbs are similar in the fact that the filaments are the same size and located in the same place. But the base is a little bit different. The use of a file or a knife for about 5-10mins will make the HIR bulbs fit into the socket of the 9005’s or 9006’s. Here is a site in reference to the minor modification to the base of the bulb that has to be made to fit into our cars. http://shnu.us/HIR%20Trimming%20Stock.htm

Here is a photo of the Sylvania Silverstars next to the HIR 9011 bulb:



“These bulbs attain light levels 75% to 110% brighter than stock as a result of an engineering process that deposits multiple, yet almost invisible, layers of semi-reflective coating on the surface of a specially shaped quartz bulb. This coating… reflects a portion of the infrared energy emitted by the filament back onto the filament, causing it to glow brighter and emit more light from the uncoated forward portion of the bulb. Although the filament gets hotter, the glass does not. It generates no more heat than a regular halogen bulb, and it draws the same wattage and amperage as the stock [9005 and] 9006 bulb it replaces”

- A standard HB3/9005 bulb produces 1700 lumens of light.
- The HIR1/9011 bulb produces 2500 lumens of light.
(http://www.hirheadlights.com/stats.htm)

The bulbs are made to draw the same amount of amps and voltage, and put out the same amount of heat as a normal 9005 bulb.

Here is a photo of the light output compared to a Sylvania Silverstar. The HIR light is on the right, and the Silverstar is on the left. (NOTE: In the picture with the Syl. Silverstars on, the steering wheel is covering up the indicator for the highbeams.)



It’s hard to tell in the photo but the HIR lights are TONS brighter. I have the HIR lights in my car. In my personal experience, when I turn the HIR’s on, they light up the road just like they are made, the distance that the light it thrown onto the road is amazing.

The website http://www.bmwcca.org/members/AM/Tem...6_Light&page=1 also talks about these and recommends these headlights for use replacing the 9005 and 9006 bulbs.

I would strongly recommend getting these in your car. If you talk to Daniel Stern, he highly recommends buying these. They are $30 each bulb and very well worth it. To purchase go to www.hirheadlights.com and go to their ebay link from there.


Selective-Yellow Bulbs-
These are bulbs that produce a yellowish tint mainly produced for use in fog lights. Please read this article from Daniel Stern:
http://www.danielsternlighting.com/t...ght_color.html

These bulbs are recommended for use in fog lamps because they are better for use in rain and weather conditions.

Here is a photo of the Selective-Yellow H3 bulb next to an OEM H3 bulb:



I have these bulbs in my car, and I love them. The yellow brings a very pleasant look to the road when you are driving with them on. I would highly recommend these to put in fog lamps.


LED Turn Signals-
I want to pass on a little bit of personal information about these bulbs. They are awesome when you clear your headlights to give it a solid clear look inside the reflectors. But honestly, the bulbs are very annoying.

Here is a photo of an LED bulb next to a normal turn bulb:



When you install the bulbs in your car, and turn your blinker on, your blinker will blink like crazy. It will blink twice as fast as normal. The reason being is because the car wants to see a certain “load” or ohms on the end where the bulb is. When a standard working bulb is there, the load is correct and the blinker blinks normally. When the bulb burns out, there is no more load, and the blinker will then blink twice as fast to show that your bulb is out.

Now, when you put an LED Turn Signal Bulb in there, the load from one of those is so little that the car will think you have a burnt out bulb. Which will in turn make your blinker blink twice as fast.

The only way to fix this using LED’s is to purchase a resistor to put inline with the bulb so the car sees the correct load. This resistor produces heat and it’s quite a pain.

The other thing that is bad about LED bulbs is it doesn’t produce very much light. Here is a photo comparing the light output of an LED bulb vs. a normal turn bulb:



So to bring the LED’s to a close, they are cool, I agree. But I don’t want the pain of having my blinker blinking twice as fast. So you can use those if you want, it's totally personal.


Where to buy bulbs?-
It’s easy! Go to http://www.danielsternlighting.com/p.../products.html and send him and e-mail of what you want.

Daniel Also runs out of this place: http://www.candlepowerinc.com/

Quoted from an e-mail from Daniel:
"NEW! Toll-free ordering!

You may now phone-in or fax-in your order toll-free on 1-866-861-8668.
This is an unmanned, recorded order line only; if you wish to speak to a live human, please call 416-766-2327."

Also for the HIR bulbs, go to www.hirheadlights.com.


What I use in my car-
In my car I use:

Low-Beams = H1 55W Ultra High Efficacy Plus 50
High-Beams = HIR 9011
Fogs = H3 55W CPI-Universal Gold
Hella 500 Diving lamps I currently use normal H3’s

In the future, I will be putting 100w bulbs in the Hella 500 Driving lamps and 55w Narva H3’s in the Fog pattern Hella 500’s.


Conclusion-
That wraps up my long thread for automotive lighting. I hope this helps clear up some things for you guys with buying bulbs. If you have any questions please feel free to send me a PM.


Drew Brashler
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Old 04-26-2006, 11:15 AM   #2
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Saving this spot incase I add to this post.
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Old 04-26-2006, 11:30 AM   #3
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Thanks, this is a great write up. I will definatly be coming back to this. Is there any way that you can add a portion on installation, with some picture? That would make this thread perfect.
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Old 04-26-2006, 01:46 PM   #4
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^^ Thanks man! The installations of bulbs are different for the different chassis. Bust out your owners manual to find how to install the bulbs. I know there are writeups over on www.scoobymods.com.
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Old 05-01-2006, 09:41 PM   #5
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This should be a sticky IMHO!!!
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Old 06-02-2006, 06:46 PM   #6
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The only question i have is that in the pictures comparing the Silverstar 9005s and the HIR 9011s, in the second picture why is the blue light for the high beams on?
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Old 06-05-2006, 03:49 PM   #7
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For the LED turn signals, what k resistor do you need to install to get it to blink properly. I have all of the tools to properly wire it up (i get them free from work), but it would be easier to just get it right in one go then have to do trial and error.
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Old 06-05-2006, 07:56 PM   #8
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I have most of those bulbs installed in one vehicle or another. I've had quite a few conversations over the years with Daniel. He's a super nice guy that does not BS about lighting. Something you didn't mention that he helped me with is an upgrade to the H7 bulb. I'm not sure which other Scoobies use this bulb but my wifes B9 does and possibly other newer scoobs:

http://www.scoobymods.com/forums/showthread.php?t=6124

If you just search Stern on scoobymods you can find all my install pages.

Very nice write up BTW. You should post it on Scoobymods in the contributions section too, I can then move it over to our FAQ.

I've also done the HIR upgrade which is a very good mod.

Last edited by Peaty; 06-05-2006 at 07:59 PM.
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Old 06-06-2006, 07:43 AM   #9
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I will read up on the website posted, but my biggest question is what about PIAA??
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Old 06-06-2006, 08:19 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by emajnthis
For the LED turn signals, what k resistor do you need to install to get it to blink properly. I have all of the tools to properly wire it up (i get them free from work), but it would be easier to just get it right in one go then have to do trial and error.
It's actually a very low resistance value, not in K ohms but more like 10's of ohms, and at a high wattage. Each LED bulb would need to have a resistor wired in parallel with it, to simulate the load of a normal bulb so the blinker will work properly. The resistors will get hot and this is a consideration when installing them.
A better alternative is to replace the flasher unit with an electronic one that does not have the "bulb out" rapid-flash mode. This will negate the need for the resistors.
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Old 06-06-2006, 08:22 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 06WRX4ME
I will read up on the website posted, but my biggest question is what about PIAA??
PIAA falls in the category of generally overpriced aftermarket bulbs that don't really give improved lighting (the 55W/85W "equivalent" etc.). You can get better lighting performance for less money.
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Old 06-06-2006, 08:22 AM   #12
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great info!
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Old 06-07-2006, 06:14 PM   #13
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I have the 9011's in for my high beams.. that and the hids LIGHT up those DARK DARK country roads!

I love them!

-Nigel
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Old 06-08-2006, 01:46 PM   #14
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Cool PIAA's Are Junk! Don't Fall For The Hype!!!

Forgive me, but I will get it right off my chest! 55=85watt PIAA's ('product' is too nice of name!) is simply RUBISH!!! And they DO NOT equal 85w's.

As most of you know, or should. Our lights (fog and headlights) are made of plastic lens. The last thing you want to do is run 100 watt bulbs to increase your lighting. If the high beams are in continued (or Fogs) use, you'll be frying plastic pretty soon.

There are some great lighting solutions for those who want to stick to stock wiring harnesses. Available through Daniel Stern Lighting 'quoted' at the head of this sticky.

I am running:
H1 55w (Low Beams) Narva Range Power + 50's ($13 Each)
H3 55w (Fog Lights) Tungsram Gold ($13 Each)
9011 55w (High Beams) HIR's ($27 Each)

I finally got them all in last night and they are SO good, I could not believe it. MUCH brighter then OEM and all the Asian crap I have tried since I owned the car. These are all 1st quality Euro-Peon bulbs and deliver + light as promised. The 9011's require a slight mod with a file or Dremol tool ~ they are worth the extra money and the Infra Red Technology really seems to light up the road with clean, clear light.

This combination helps my old eyes see and is glare free for hours at a time...

Cheers Daniel!
For some great products!

www.danielsternlighting.com

PS: Blue lighting is NOT cool. It is the hardest color for the human eye to sort through and deliver info to the brain. The ONLY reason HID's are blue (cool?) is they still don't have the technology to turn out enough light in a warmer color (or a true white). Don't believe me? Watch your HID lights disappear on a wet road in the rain ~ your eyes can't find the light. That means in Oregon ~ I can't find the road!

Last edited by NW OBS; 06-08-2006 at 01:49 PM.
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Old 06-25-2006, 02:04 AM   #15
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Peaty, did you use the H7 bulbs in your impreza? How are they working out? I am replacing my low and high beams and I want the brightest bulb that I can get without any serious fabrication.
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