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Safe LED headlight finds and discussion

danbfree

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#1
Too long - don't want to read: If you just want a good upgrade for the factory reflector housings, just buy the Cougar X-small for $36 on Amazon and save your time.
These are *the* very safest near zero glare no-brainer upgrade over the halogen bulb while still cheap too. BUT there are hardly any models out there at *any* price range that are better anyway. I would go so far to say that Ford should buy a boat load of these and use them in case their headlights are ever recalled for being too dim/non-road worthy. Obviously would never happen, but these would be the ones that are perfect for our housings at a reasonable price. They are one of the very brightest all with less glare than just about any previous model ever made *and* without the excessive side output like others either, they perform near absolute perfect.

Note: This thread was originally made for the sole purpose of helping those with the North American reflector housings find good, safe LED's for their low beams but has evolved to include recommendations for Euro projectors and the shared reflector high beams that both models share as well.

Contrary to some old school but previously accurate lighting knowledge, there are many of the latest modern LED designs that will indeed perform very well without excessive glare with proper projection reach in reflector housings. I take a conservative approach in what is recommended for proper safety, proper beam reach without excessive glare are priority over overall brightness.

Both the fogs and low beams take an H11 bulb so I also now include a couple of options for those who want dual white/yellow LED fogs, including a complete new projector housing w/built in LED option below. BUT it IS imperative to select the right bulb to use as a low beam, so for those interested in learning more about picking proper reflector low beam LED's for our FiST with stock reflector housings, read on...

NEVER rely on Amazon reviews, always check BulbFacts.com LED charts before you buy! Unfortunately you can't just buy the top premium DeAuto LED as they work poorly/TOO bright in our factory housings as I learned personally unfortunately. Too many people on Amazon just put up a good review for being "bright" after never trying LED's before and have done ZERO research on proper cutoff, THIS is why so many people hate on LED's and I don't blame them. Don't be ignorant bad cutoff guy and read on. :)

Biggest factors in using LED's as headlights overall and in our reflector housings safely:

Light source placement and design: Most important is how well the LED placement mimics a halogen's light source point to ensure it projects properly to avoid massive glare and have proper outward projection. Reflector housings are designed to reflect the light coming from a precision filament point from a halogen bulb as not to glare much and also project outward properly. THIS is one of the biggest reasons we are finally seeing some very capable LED's as they are finally addressing this, and any recommended ones have shown they do this quite well, with just the bit of glare as intended above the cutoff line. We have gone from very few to most new sets coming out addressing this, so more choices that are safe is great!

BulbFacts.com has some GREAT info/chart on brightness and cutoff/projection quality of LED headlights. They have done an amazing job actually reviewing LED's vs. those sponsored Top Reviews BS. Show them a little love and use the links to buy from their site if you choose to buy one of the highly rated sets there, which I strongly feel is the safest bet. The technology has come a LONG ways over the past 5 years but also still too many cheap crappy units on Amazon/eBay to count so feel free to post here on deals you've found that have actual good results. Good wall/garage door and "down the road" projection shots showing good cutoff with very little glare above cutoff highly desired. Keep in mind they are *technically* illegal, like even a properly done projection retrofit are, but good LED's without excessive glare can be ran actually safer than the legal halogens much like driving 5 MPH over the speed limit can be completely harmless in an areas where the speed limit is set too low anyway. DOT laws are antiquated and have not been updated to address good LED's. We've all seen these Toyota and Lexus these days with horrible glare from their approved LED headlights, these we recommend here have FAR less and actually SAFER than those legal ones!

Fit: Unfortunately, for headlights, the FiST has limited clearance that disqualifies many LED's from even fitting the housing. Unless the heatsink length is shorter than about 35mm, then they need to be no wider than 32mm, preferably 30mm or less. BulbFacts now has added dimensions based on feedback from me, so it's easy to see which ones are short or narrow enough. Unfortunately every set I've tried is of the longer variety, while 4 of the 5 top amazon sets under $100 are the short ones, the TechMax highest recommended, aren't short but is narrow at least. If you want to use rear covers, just get the domed covers linked below for under $10. Personally I haven't seen any issues with moisture running with no rear covers, even in heavy rain, but you can avoid possible water spotting on the inside of the housing by running with rear covers on, up to you, again, I don't bother. Another factor to consider is our housing themselves are very cheap to replace, so trimming the plastic rim a bit with snips is no big deal, this is sometimes needed to fit certain sets on the passenger side.

Brightness: If you intend to use in our standard reflector housings then you can easily go TOO bright as well. Using BulbFacts.com, I tried the DeAutoLED's (Top Premium set) and at 7000 lux were easily TOO bright, they had a badly distorted beam pattern overwhelming the stock housing design and had to return them, see the pic of the "kaleidoscope effect" it creates below. It appears the ideal is 4000-4250 lux for our housings on low beams. This is just a strong theory at this point, the stalk design matters as well, I recommend sets that have stalks that look like those recommended below

Lastly is color temperature. Regular halogen bulbs are typically around only 3500K (K as in Kelvin, not short for thousand) while many factory HID/Xenon were 4300k, which is the best for all around visibility and most efficient brightness per watt but nearly ALL LED's marketed in North America are in the 5500-6500k range. Despite LED chips being made in 4300k as well, it's just a marketing thing because people think they want blue'ish bulbs when in fact 4300k-5000k are ideal. 4300k CAN be found on Amazon and I link to some below, if you want the best overall light for actual visibility you should go for those but selection is sadly very poor. A few sets at 5000k are available too, mainly through ordering overseas and are nice and pure white. Anything that tests over 6250k+ is definitely more blue tinted. BulbFacts.com is a great way to see what they test at. But as an alternative, AliExpress has MANY more in 4300k as sadly there are so few through American marketplaces like eBay and Amazon.

Example Pics:
First up is my old oEdRo set. Keep in mind with our reflector housing that all bulbs, even original halogens, have definite spottiness straight ahead and some light escape out the sides, we are looking for only very little light/glare above the cutoff line as possible to avoid blinding anyone. The oEdRo have tiny round tips with 4 sides of LED's to mimic halogen filament placement and length and seem to do an OK job. However you can see the cutoff is moved upward a little high and had to be aimed down a bit. You can also see the spottiness/distortion inherent to our reflector housings, and how the right side is a little off from me bending the anti-glare cap trying to install alternative halogens when my car was new and I hadn't figured out how that all worked. However, I'm not recommending them when they are now up to $50 and there are ones for only $30 that are clearly better. This set is now "retired" after taking a lot of abuse being pulled in and out being ran and tested as headlights and fog lights.

oEdRo:



TechMax Mini (Gen 1) - Still one of the best available overall, but now beaten by the $2 cheaper Cougar X-small. You can see the TechMax are cleaner and brighter than oEdRo for only ~$38, unfortunately the pic is a little too close to the garage to get a good impression. These are what I settled on after trying about a half dozen sets. If you hate heat above all else or insist on running rear covers, these run very cool and have no external driver to worry about flopping about or having extra cord length to tuck into the housing to raise temps. Some members have been able to get the stock rear covers on while others get the domed ones.



Morimoto 2Stroke 2.0 - $120 Best you can get that support low voltage for DRL, so those in Canada and elsewhere that like to have a low beam ran dimmer than night for DRL's these are the premium bulbs for you... BUT, I can't fully recommend overall for the cost. Sorry for the very unscientific non-controlled pics here, looks like I was a little close to the wall but you can see how clean the cutoff is and how white they are compared to others. Also, fog lights are on too, so that's where the yellow glow is coming from. The problem here is they DO create what I call the "kaleidoscope effect" with our stock housings, this is an effect that creates angled distortions in the on road view. SOME of this is unavoidable to to the inherent reflector design but certain bulbs exacerbate this, definitely not as bad on these as the WAY too bright for our housing $140 DeAuto LED's as shown below. These *are* one of the most purely white light LED's you can get for a clean OEM look, but still, for 3+ times the price of the Cougar X -small, they just aren't worth it to me.



DeAutoLED - $135 with promo code - The epitome of the "kaleidoscope effect" from being too bright. Even though they are very highly rated by BulbFacts as they work great in most other cars, this is the perfect example why you just can't buy the brightest and highest rated ones and call it good with a FiST.



RECOMMENDATION LIST - No 100% guarantees you will like them but these will all fit and show very good promise if not outright proven results. I try to list ones found on Amazon for fast shipping and easy returns, but WILL also list ones from AliExpress IF THEY COME UP when they are an exceptional value and/or for 4300k-5000k options that are hard to find from U.S. vendors. We found our predecessor/clone of the TechMax there first.

Fog Lights
For fog light upgrades you have 2 options: try a better bulb with stock housing or complete replacement options. Replacing the bulb alone is the least effective but if you just want to add more white light a brighter LED does help, but keep in mind they could glare in the perfectly round reflector with no cutoff style stock housings we have. You can also add Lamin-X or other brand tinted coverings, but then you have to specifically use either a dim halogen or specifically 4300-4500k LED's so the final output is white and not green, unless you dig that, then get regular ~6000k LED's like for a headlight and use yellow adhesive covers.

Complete replacement sets: There are the Diode Dynamics that are ~$160 and Morimoto BS that are like $210 and they are GREAT. Clean projector cutoff, you can't beat these in quality but not sure the availability of yellow, which cuts through actual fog. Even though we have a common fog light housing size, there are surprisingly few options, as a budget option I finally found and ordered THESE iJDMTOY dual yellow/white projector LED's for $72. I'll report back with a review.

Replacement bulbs - Standard color LED's I honestly say just get something without an external module to avoid having to mount modules behind your bumper or something when ones without a driver perform just as well, the TechMax and Cougar X-small as noted above under budget low beam reflector. Dual color: Car Rover $30 on Amazon - Dual white and yellow mode - Good option to replace stock fog lights, switch from white to yellow each time powered on/off. Not recommended to be used as headlights, they will go from white to yellow if you use auto headlights and aren't the brightest for that.

REAR COVERS: THESE deeply domed are the best way to go if you really want to use rear covers as most LED bulbs do have size issues and even smaller bulb options may need them. Our headlights are designed to not be airtight anyway (the real seal is on the bulb) and any moisture will evaporate out anyway, so I choose to not run them knowing I'm keeping them the coolest/brightest, but that's just me... Just keep in mind that the halogens our housing was designed for are not susceptible from dimming and dying early in the heat while LED's are, BUT the highly recommended TechMax run VERY cool so shouldn't be an issue and we have no proof of how much in real-word use dimming and early death is a problem with LED's ran too hot anyway. Hopefully fair food for thought to make your own choice...

***North American Reflector Low Beams***
The one upgrade everyone should make...

Budget - Up to $50 - All you need to spend to just upgrade your headlight bulb once and be done with it if you aren't a lighting nerd.

Cougar X-small $36 Amazon - These are the new budget champ with a tight focus output with less side light and overall glare than the TechMax while even a touch brighter at the beam points. Check out the difference in output on page 35 between this and the TechMax. Like the TechMax they also have no external driver to worry about mounting or tucking away, these would make a good choice for the factory fog lights as well if you want default ~6000k LED headlight color temp for your fogs.

Seriously, these are $36 and with ultra, ultra low glare and increased brightness and clarity over any halogen out there. "Premium" halogen sets are still poor in color, not as bright and/or burn out quickly and can cost even more. These are so good that I personally think it's crazy for anyone to choose to run a halogen over this. Yes, these are that good, and likely would be the ONE LED headlight allowed if only one could be legal based on how safe they are for both driver and oncoming traffic, end of story.

Legacy budget champs:

Katana ~$49 on Amazon - Previous #1 choice for light spread. Slightly dimmer than the TechMax in reflectors but this helps in contributing as having now the 2nd best light spread of any Amazon set under $100, so at $49 a great buy if you are distracted by reflector imperfections with bright LED's in our reflector housings. They also run cool and are nice and short if you want to keep your stock rear housing covers on. Tested at an actual 5950k, they are fairly white with only a slight blue tint. These are brighter and work AMAZING overall in Euro projectors, better than almost ANY, but you need H7 size in those anyway, so you can't buy these now for reflectors and re-use if you ever eventually upgrade to Euro headlights.

TechMax Mini (Gen 1) ~$38 Amazon - Proven fit and excellent output and cutoff, these were the budget champ, beating out the Katana and MaxGTRS (AliExpress version of this same design), they seem to be right at the max output our housings can handle anyway, at 4100 lux. Among the very coolest running with no external module to deal with and $15 less than the Nineo, these were THE proven set to get, regardless of price until the Cougar X-Small was tested.

Unproven on FiST but likely excellent - Nineo Gen II ~$50 Amazon - Pushing the "budget" category price a bit, but they do often have an extra 15% coupon on Amazon to bring them down to ~$42.50. They have an even cleaner cutoff than the TechMax and even a bit brighter than the TechMax or Hikari as a low beam. They DO run a touch warmer than the 2 above and have an external driver module to deal with, but temps still on the low end of average. The module should hang out the back of the housing vs. tucked inside to help keep temps down. Not personally tested, they might be a touch too bright for our housings unless it's output is perfectly designed for our housing.

Honorable Mention - Hikari Ultra - ~$81 w/code on bulbfacts.com - Amazon - PERFECT cutoff, slightly brighter than the TechMax, these were the #1 bulb period for quite a while. Biggest knock on them is price, would be nice if they lowered the price over time now with much more competition. Also, while one of the very few with a PERFECT cutoff, may also show some reflector imperfection down road from overall brightness. Also, tested at a full 6450k in color, these are the ones to get if you want the perfect cutoff and a nice blue touch without being too obvious, but more blue than the others above.

MID-PRICE - More expensive ($75-100) Not worth considering if you don't mind the slightly bluish output, but you can find warmer 4300k ones for a stock look in this price range

LOSARON passive cooled/no fan with CREE XHP70 chips. At 4300k, most likely to have the most accurate color index but have not been tested for glare/cutoff either. Good example of factory HID-like color temp in an LED, I'd love to try these. I've removed references to AliExpress due to shipping time and possible return concerns, but these style are cheaper there if interested.

Kilakila - Best budget option for legal Canadian (lower powered/dimmed low beam) DRL's... $50 borderline "midrange" price with average decent random budget set brightness, they at least have decent genuine Cree XHP-50 chips (but step down from XHP-70). They are very short will fit with factory dust cover, no problem and temps are lower than average so keeping stock covers on is OK. Just a bit above average brightness overall, but good beam pattern at least. With average brightness at 3000 lux as low beam and brighter ones for less, only recommend for those in Canada that want to have their DRL's on (dimmer than night low beam to be fully legal) since there are few choices that do that, or you want to keep the stock rear covers without worrying about heat.

PREMIUM SETS:

Philips X-tremeUltinon gen2 - ~$135 w/promo - Claimed to be for fog lights, BulbFacts tested these as having a PERFECT cutoff when used as low beam. This is the set that my buddy who is anti-LED for headlights actually is considering for his fogs. Brightness is right in between the TechMax and Morimoto, these look to be an EXCELLENT choice for quality, cutoff and not too bright, possibly THE Premium choice for our cars. NOT easy to find in the US nor very cheap when you do, that UK site I linked has free shipping and specials quite often, so for $131.50 shipped with 20% off code right now is actually a good deal!

Morimoto 2Stroke 2.0 - Best for using low beam DRL's/Canadian DRL legal $120 everywhere, rarely discounted. Best available at any cost that we know of that supports low voltage DRL mode. the write up on The Retrofit Source on why this model is the very first H11 LED they decided to carry. Not as bright as the DeAutoLED below, but definitely a good thing as the those are TOO bright. Claimed to be 5700k they actually tested at 5250k on BulbFacts, which is THE whitest and least blue LED that has good enough output to recommend if least blue (but not brownish at all either) is most important. Unfortunately, they seem to have no other advantages over sets 1/3 the price, and from testing them I can honestly they aren't much less blue than the others. Also on of the very few that can operate more dimly at lower voltage for Canada DRL. Sadly, These DO produce a noticeable bit of "kaleidoscope effect" from being too bright, just FAR from as bad the DeAuto LED, I sold these as I liked the budget ones better overall for far less.

Premium sets clearly not worth it:
Putco Nitro Lux - Luxury high-end $256 regular price. Passive braided cooling, can cut small hole in factory dust covers to stick braids out and spread. Not on Amazon, you can find them on HeadlightRevoultion.com and brisource.com. Blaise/BulbFacts has tested them and they have a Perfect cutoff but not the brightest, which can be a good thing but still not worth $250.

***Euro projectors***
Also, see my other stickied thread on the Ultimate guide to Euro headlights...
Remember to select H7 for the low beams for these housings. Katana ~ $47 Amazon: Hands down the cleanest output for projectors and best overall value. This is what I run in my Euro projectors and I'm VERY happy with them. The Hikari Ultra cost nearly twice as much but are a little brighter and more blue if you're interested in that and if money is no object, the Lumibright XT1 are the brightest overall while the same color as the Katana.
NEW: The new Cougar Motor X-Small put out even a tiny bit more light as a projector low beam and are a good $12 less than the Katana. They, unlike the Katana, also have an internal driver so there is no external module to tuck away either, which is very nice.

***High beams for all styles***:The reflector and Euro projector both use identical H1 reflectors for high beams. The Aukee H1 ~$27.50 Amazon are not only cheap, they simply have the best output, compared to any other H1 we have found so far. Others will act as "super fogs" with tons of light down low, yes, even in the high beam socket, but only help light up the road ahead a little better than just low beams, while these truly have great forward output. You will also need THESE bulb holders. You remove the ring from the H1 bulbs and use the bulb holders to clip into position in the housing. Then insert the bulb into the mounted ring and twist in to position. You can try halving the stalk in a vertical or horizontal position, but usually the stalk vertically with chips on the sides works best for low and high beam 2 sided LED's.
 


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TyphoonFiST

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Starting this thread out of respect to those who don't like LED's and don't want their serious technical threads littered with "See? You're wrong..." type posts, so please no general LED bashing here in return...

One of the other members here found a great site: BulbFacts.com that has good info on brightness and cutoff/projection quality of LED headlights. The technology has come a LONG ways over the past 5 years but also too many cheap crappy units on Amazon/eBay to count so feel free to post here on deals you've found that have actual good results. Good wall/garage door shots showing good cutoff w/no glare above highly desired. Keep in mind they are technically illegal, like even running ANY aftermarket downpipe, but if they don't smoke or smell at all like a catted downpipe, then good LED's without above cutoff glare can be ran with little moral issues, up to you.

Just found this insane deal, rated #4 out of 25 sets tested on the BulbFact.com chart. Nice and white, only 5700k color, very whitest out of all tested, for those who hate the blue crap like myself, the DWVO. Has over 3800 lux of low beam brightness and shockingly, only $16.49 on eBay ($31.99 on Amazon) Just an incredible bargain, it's not perfect, they recommend re-aiming which could hurt throw distance. Take that site FWIW, I have the #11 Oedro set and am very happy with them and I thought they were a steal at $28 on a flash sale.

Up first for example pics is my Oedro set. Keep in mind with our reflectors that all bulbs, even original halogens have crappy spottiness, we are looking for as little light/glare above the cutoff line as possible to avoid blinding anyone. The Oedro have tiny tips with 4 sides of LED's to mimic halogen filament placement and length and seem to do a good job. Again the BulbFacts.com site shows them having more glare bleed over cutoff than on my FiST but I still like the DWVO for the insane deal and clean 5700k color with even better brightness than my Oedro's, I'm picking up a set even though I'm broke as I want as little glare as possible for very little money, it's worth a shot so I'll add comparison pics.

Oedro:
Noice Danbfree! I'll see if I can get some posts of the xenondepot up to show the output and spread!



Sent from my SM-N950U1 using Tapatalk
 


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Jerickson88

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I bought a set off of eBay for the headlights and fogs. I’ll be going with a yellow in the high beams (nokya) but I wanted to try them. It took time to get used to the color, and I feel like I have more visibility, and I don’t get the high beam flash from other cars, so maybe I’m good?!

Will post a photo of them against a wall from xx’
 


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I purchased the Oedro LED's and in my 16 FiST they have a cutoff that is similar to what BulbFact.com has in their review. Not a clean cutoff.
 


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danbfree

danbfree

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Thread Starter #6
I bought a set off of eBay for the headlights and fogs. I’ll be going with a yellow in the high beams (nokya) but I wanted to try them. It took time to get used to the color, and I feel like I have more visibility, and I don’t get the high beam flash from other cars, so maybe I’m good?!

Will post a photo of them against a wall from xx’
Yellow is great for fogs, great for... actual fog. Not sure about yellow for high beams, maybe counter how the slightest fog/mist makes using high beams pointless sometimes? What model did you go with for the H11 low beams?
 


Jerickson88

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Yellow is great for fogs, great for... actual fog. Not sure about yellow for high beams, maybe counter how the slightest fog/mist makes using high beams pointless sometimes? What model did you go with for the H11 low beams?
Yeah, that’s my thought. You know how most colors can give you a white-out effect; that’s my thoughts of high beams. I typically only use them in special situations anyhow. That’s why I think they may be ok in the highs.

I used these in fog and low beam. Keep in mind, they are low cost; seem to be OK. Will be getting a better analysis later in the week.




Here’s an idea, probably around 60’

 


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danbfree

danbfree

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Thread Starter #8
I purchased the Oedro LED's and in my 16 FiST they have a cutoff that is similar to what BulbFact.com has in their review. Not a clean cutoff.
So, not comparable to my pic above? I wonder what the heck changed, how strange! Mine also seem brighter and whiter than BulbFacts show too, how long ago did you buy yours? Possibly manufacturing variance, I might have gotten a good set while others maybe not so lucky.... I'm just super curious about these DWVO, just can't believe that they look pretty decent for a whole $16.49 at only 5700k and and 140% of stock halogen brightness.
 


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danbfree

danbfree

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Good option for $7 to have rear covers for your LED's with fans or braids that stick out... I like how they are flexible/accordion like for adjust-ability: https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B071L26GF7

Order the size that matches your fan base width, so 30mm is what fits in ours...
 


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I've got those yellows for the high beams, they seem to work fine. I can take some photos if anyone is that interested.
 


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danbfree

danbfree

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I am most likely going to purchase these and was wondering if anyone has tried them; they are fanless versions of the standard aftermarket LED package:

Auxbeam H11 NF-S1 Fanless
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B074GX852M/

Slow boat from China versions:
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/2Pc...r-Headlight-S1-N1-50W-8000LM/32779913086.html
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/2-P...0-W-8000LM-6000-K-Automobile/32834119247.html
Never heard of an LED upgrade package? But not seeing that great of reviews for the 2 Auxbeam with fans on bulbfacts.com chart... Are you REALLY trying to avoid fans? I don't even really hear mine, had to bend over with the hood open to even hear them...
 


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TyphoonFiST

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What I mean is usually the LED bulbs have a chip, metal base and then a fan and a plug; they're all basically the same in my uneducated opinion.

Here is another version of the fanless LED bulb that is shown on the BulbFacts website with a near perfect low beam rating.
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XHDYTGL
http://bulbfacts.com/led-kits/reviews/beamtech-led-kit-review.html
Xenondepot sells the fanless type of LEDs..I have both generations of bulbs also.....I like them a lot! [wrenchin]
 


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With the tight space in the headlight housing, especially the right side I wonder if the beamtech fanless would fit.
 


Jerickson88

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It's been about 3 years since I got them, pretty sure those are the ones. I know they're Nokya...and they're yellow. [tongue] I'll take a couple photos tonight.
I’ve always felt like properly adjusted lights would provide visibility. I have my cheap LEDs, but in extreme low visibility circumstances, high beams would suffice, and I’d rather have the yellow contrast thrown in. Would love to see pics


If anyone has pics of h1 (high beam) 2500k LED, please send me a link!
 


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danbfree

danbfree

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Thread Starter #20
What I mean is usually the LED bulbs have a chip, metal base and then a fan and a plug; they're all basically the same in my uneducated opinion.

Here is another version of the fanless LED bulb that is shown on the BulbFacts website with a near perfect low beam rating.
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XHDYTGL
http://bulbfacts.com/led-kits/reviews/beamtech-led-kit-review.html
I see what you mean, I guess I've been looking at them and trying them for a few years now so I just many, many differences in the style and types of chips, etc between them that I don't see any standard at all...

As far as those Beamtech, I wouldn't settle for only 49% of stock brightness, that's why I ordered the DWVO non-Philips for only $16.49 plus 15% off from eBay, I'll be reporting back once I get them... I do see how they may be a little too bright and create some glare, so I'll re-aim a little if I have to. Re-aiming is fine when the whole cut-off is raised from overpowering, I just have to hope the glare is not excessive.
 


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