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Old 08-02-2010, 05:47 PM   #11
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Re: Sylvania EcoBright headlight bulbs

Draco - I'm interested in both weight savings and energy draw when I get the VRX going. I've got an 89 CRX - I would like to save as much weight and amperage as possible. I'm looking at a decent stereo on all the time so I will be using some draw. No CRX clock in the HF - save the $1 and put it in the stereo LOL.

Your recommendations there? I would also like to have the brightest lights possible - my vision sucks at night. Need the tradeoffs but want to save on weight and wattage.
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Old 08-15-2010, 03:59 PM   #12
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Re: Sylvania EcoBright headlight bulbs

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Originally Posted by 101mpg View Post
Draco - I'm interested in both weight savings and energy draw when I get the VRX going. I've got an 89 CRX - I would like to save as much weight and amperage as possible.
If your CRX is like mine, it has more of the little/smaller lights than most cars do. While such lights may only be 3-5watts each, the large number of such bulbs (in the CRX) adds up to a fair amount of total power. Converting those "secondary light" bulbs over to LEDs can save a lot of current (every time you have any of your car lights on). And if you pick your LED modules carefully (by module specs, vs getting the cheapest LED modules that will fit), the light output can even be cleaner and brighter than stock (at least that's been my experience).

BTW: Don't forget "hidden" lights when converting, as they can add up to a lot of power. For example, swapping the two license plate lights saves around 9 watts all by itself. And if you are up to swapping the dash backlights (with LED modules), which unfortunately means pulling the dash panel to get to, you can easily save close to another 15 watts for your effort.

NOTE: For the best color/light results, always have your LED modules match the color of light you need, vs simply trying to use white light everywhere (like the original bulbs did). For example, use RED led modules for tail/brake lights, amber modules for turn lights, etc. While white LED modules will work (with a colored car lens), they will greatly "wash out" the color vs generating the light in the correct color to begin with.

BTW: I personally buy my LED modules from http://www.superbrightleds.com . Since I don't have a lot of experience with other LED shops to compare against, I don't know if they are the best place to purchase from or not. But I do know they have decent prices, decent selection, and (perhaps more importantly) list the module specs (including current used, and light output) directly on the web site (so you can make informed decisions BEFORE purchasing).

NOTE: I recently upgraded the main CRX tail/brake lights from the LED models I previously had in there, to a brighter (and lower current) model (I plan to put the older modules in my wife's Civic). The new ones I went with are the brightest ones (that superbrightleds sells) that fit in the CRX, and cost $16.95 each:
http://www.superbrightleds.com/cgi-b...115x-x3X1W.htm

However, if you are going to save power on a CRX, be sure to convert all those small wedge bulbs (at least the ones you can easily reach) to LED modules as well. Since the amber corner lights seem to use different directional current (when flashing), depending upon if the main lights are on or off, you need a LED module that is "unpolorized" (will work with current in either direction). However, most of the other small wedge bulbs can use an easier to find "polarized" LED module (just try plugging those modules in the other way, if they don't light the first time).

BTW: This module will work in the corner turn light (at least on my CRX). And since this module also comes in a "warm white" (3300K), which closely matches the color of decent headlights, it is also a good module for the white front facing corner lights:
http://www.superbrightleds.com/cgi-b...Fwled-whp6.htm

And while this one is polarized, and therefore won't work in the corner lights, this module is a good fit (and lower power than the one above) for some of the other CRX small wedge bulbs):
http://www.superbrightleds.com/cgi-b...FWLED-xHP5.htm

Quote:
Originally Posted by 101mpg View Post
Your recommendations there? I would also like to have the brightest lights possible - my vision sucks at night. Need the tradeoffs but want to save on weight and wattage.
With the main headlights, you will not get everything you want (low power, good light, and cheap to buy/install). So you will have to make a few choices as to which is most important to you. As a see it, these are the options:

1) Go with the lights at the start of this thread, and save a little power draw.

While it looks like nobody in this thread has tried them yet, my guess is that this won't help light output at all (and may even hurt it a small amount). So the trade-off here, is a little less current usage (and easy to do), but with no better light.

2) Or go with HIR bulbs, for example the ones sold here: http://store.candlepower.com/hirlighting.html, and get much better lighting at the stock wattage/current.

NOTE: HIR-1/9011 (65w) and HIR-2/9012 (55w) have slightly different mounts than the stock CRX 9005 (high beam) and 9006 (low beam) lights. However, if you are willing to cut away a little plastic (from the bulbs) to make them fit, HIR-1 does make a good replacement for the stock 9005 (high beam) and HIR-2 works well as a 9006 (low beam) replacement. Not only do they give much more light than stock (while only using stock power/current), but (perhaps more importantly) the light is the same beam pattern as the stock bulbs (which means they work well in the stock CRX's headlight assembly/optics, without any modifications to those optics)!

I personally have the Toshiba HIR bulbs in my CRX (the even brighter, but even more expensive, Phillips HIRs weren't yet available when I upgraded), for both the low and high beams (the high beams are almost "too bright" IMHO). These bulbs aren't cheap ($25/each for Toshiba HIR, and more for the even better Phillips HIR), they are stock wattage (so no current/power savings), you have to make minor bulb modifications (cut a little plastic off the bulb) to make them fit in the stock housing, but they are much brighter (close to 2x stock brightness on the lows, and around 3x brightness on the highs) and use no more power/current than the stock CRX bulbs. So while this option doesn't save any power/current (and therefore is stock FE for the headlights themselves, although you can still save power/FE by converting the other car lights to LEDs), it is a fairly easy/clean way to get much better light on the road!

If you haven't guessed, this is the option I use on my CRX. The trade-off here is that I still use stock current (power) for the headlights (although I have most of the other car lights converted over to energy saving LEDs), but in exchange I have VERY GOOD light that works (safely, without undo glare) in the CRX OEM light mounts.

3) Or you can convert your low beams (but not your highbeams) to HID lighting. However, if you do so, you will have to totally replace your stock CRX light mounts with externally mounted headlight projector housings (because the stock CRX light optics can't safely focus HID lighting, even though the stock headlight housing is safe for HIR bulbs). Not only is this likely to be a PITA to do, but if you aren't careful with how you mount the headlight projectors, you may actually lose FE due to additional aerodynamic drag.

The advantage of HID low bulbs, is that option will lower your current draw from the stock 55watts/bulb to only 35watts/bulb (a savings of 40 watts for the pair of bulbs), while also giving you more light. BUT, HID lighting requires special optics (to be "safe" and "street legal") that the stock CRX headlight assembly won't do. So to go with HID, you would have to replace the full headlight assembly with a properly rated "projector" assembly, and find someway to mount that assembly (which would be a different size/shape than the stock CRX assembly) in the proper place on the front of the car. This is likely to be a major PITA to accomplish.

And even after doing all this work, you still would have the stock "high beams", unless you did something to upgrade them as well (for example, putting HIR bulbs in the high beams).

4) Some LED headlights are already on the market. And I suspect that LEDs might (eventually) end up being the biggest power saving headlight option out there (likely saving more power than even HID lights). However, such modules are only starting to be made, and (as far as I know) there isn't yet any "drop in replacement" LED headlights that will fit a CRX. There are some LED modules that will fit 9005/9006 sockets (which the CRX uses for headlights), but (as far as I've seen) those module are lower light modules meant to replace "running lights" vs being acceptably bright as headlight replacements. As a result, at this time, it may be even more of a challenge to get LED headlights for a CRX than it would be to get HID headlights. But if you did somehow accomplish this feat, it would likely give you the lowest possible current option for the headlights.
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Old 08-15-2010, 05:47 PM   #13
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Re: Sylvania EcoBright headlight bulbs

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Originally Posted by DracoFelis View Post
If your CRX is like mine, it has more of the little/smaller lights than most cars do.
I'm curious: Are they all necessary, or can some of the excess lights be removed?
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Old 08-15-2010, 06:31 PM   #14
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Re: Sylvania EcoBright headlight bulbs

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Originally Posted by theholycow View Post
I'm curious: Are they all necessary, or can some of the excess lights be removed?
The answer to that really depends upon how you define "necessary" in this context. Almost all of the CRX's light do something "useful", you just have to determine for yourself how "useful" it is.

It is true that before first upgrading to LEDs, I had several of the small (5 watt mini-wedge) bulbs burn out without ever noticing it (until I checked the sockets when doing my LED upgrade), and without the cops stopping me and giving me a ticket. So from that perspective, some of these lights may be "redundant".

However, when I put the LEDs in, and therefore "fixed" these burned out bulbs, I noticed that the car is much easier to see (for other vehicles). And it's also true that you can (at least in theory) get a ticket and/or fail to pass inspection if any exterior car light isn't working (even if/when the light it produces isn't strictly "needed" to be seen). So running with any of these lights out is a (legal) risk. And since they do help other cars see you (which is IMHO important for a low profile car like the CRX), running without those lights may also increase your risk of getting in an accident.

As to the interior (panel back-lighting) lights, I imaging they are only "needed" to the extent you need them to see what is happening at night. So you could use your judgment on them.

However, keep in mind that many of the small wedge bulbs are 5 watts each, whereas many of replacement LED modules are 2/3 of a watt or less each. This means that converting a single small wedge bulb to a LED module will save 85%+ of the power you would save by removing the bulb entirely. Or to put it another way, you get better power savings (and much better lighting) converting 3 CRX mini-wedge bulbs to LEDs, than you would get by removing 2 bulbs entirely (and just leaving the 3rd in place).

With numbers like those, I went ahead and enabled all the CRX's lighting (except for the radio, which I did kill the annoying back lighting on), but used LEDs extensively for that lighting. And I must say I really like how visible the car is when I have her exterior lights on (even if/when I am only using the secondary lights, and not the main headlights). And while I might be able to save a watt or three more by disabling some of those "redundant" LED modules (that replaced the small wedge lights), doing so wouldn't save much power, but would make the car harder for other drivers to see.

Edit/Addition:

From memory, here's the list of exterior lights my CRX uses:

(2) 9006 (replaced with HIR2 in my car) low beam headlights (needed if you want to drive at night).

(2) 9005 (replaced with HIR1 in my car) high beam headlights (needed if you ever want your "high beams" available).

(2) 1157 (red) used for main brake and tail lights (needed).

(2) 1156 (white) backup lights (needed). Since they are only needed (and therefore only using power) when backing up, you can save money by just going with the stock (incandescent) bulbs. The only reason I put in LED modules, was that I liked both how they looked, and the LEDs help protect me from a "burned out bulb" (because the LEDs last so much longer).

(4) 1156 (amber) used for the main front/back turn lights (all 4 needed).

(2) mini-wedge (white) license plate lights (at least one is needed to be street legal, 2 are better for even lighting).

(2) mini-wedge (white) front indicator/running lights (possible candidate for removal, but IMHO are nice to have).

(2) mini-wedge (amber) corner lights. Since these also act as secondary turn lights, I recommend keeping them (even if they may not strictly be necessary, as you would still have the main 1156 turn bulbs).

(2) mini-wedge (red) high brake lights (the OEM for this part is a 9 watt bulb, not the smaller 5 watt bulb used in some other places). However, since these only use power when braking, they aren't a large power consideration any way you slice things. However, they do give crisper light (that lights up a fraction of a second quicker) when you use LEDs here. So LEDs can actually be "safer" to use than the stock OEM bulbs (which is a key reason I did that upgrade on my CRX).

(4) mini-wedge (red) back indicator lights. These are probably the lights you could most afford to lose, as you would still have the main 1157 brake/tail bulbs (even with the mini-wedge bulbs removed). However, I can tell you from experience (when I've tried the experiment) that the back looks more dark, and more like it "has a burned out bulb" or two, unless you light up all 4 of these lights. Thankfully, lighting up all 4 of them with LED modules uses under 3 watts of power total (making the FE cost of powering these LED modules trivial).
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Old 08-16-2010, 04:36 PM   #15
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Re: Sylvania EcoBright headlight bulbs

This has been an very informative and education discussion for me to follow. I installed a set of high and low beam eco-bulbs and am very happy with them. My experience has been that they throw the extra light as promised. My night driving is usually done on rural county roads the extra light is greatly appreciated.
I would like some supplemental information. What is an LED module and what are HIR lights?
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Old 08-16-2010, 07:40 PM   #16
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Re: Sylvania EcoBright headlight bulbs

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I would like some supplemental information. What is an LED module
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Light-emitting_diode

A "LED module" for a car, is a combination of light emitting diode(s) (one or more), with their electronic driving circuit, and the socket to make them plug in where the original light bulb (that they are replacing) previously fit. The practical upshot of such an approach, is that you can in many cases replace OEM light bulbs with energy efficient LEDs by just removing the standard bulbs and plugging in the LED module (making a "LED light upgrade" for the car almost a drop in replacement for the original bulbs).

NOTE: Read the cautions on the http://www.superbrightleds.com site, for things to watch out for. For example, I had to replace the car's flasher to get the "turn lights" to flash at the proper rate (with the LED modules replacing the stock car bulbs).

Quote:
Originally Posted by goldie View Post
and what are HIR lights?
http://hirheadlights.com/

HIR lights are a recent patented technology, where they put a special coating on the inside of the (quartz, not glass) bulb. This special coating reflects non-visible (heat) light back into the bulb's filament, making the light glow brighter WITHOUT putting additional energy/power into the equation.

The practical upshot of this tech, is that you have essentially a halogen bulb (with the same light pattern as a normal halogen bulb), but you get a lot more light (sometimes 2x or more) for the energy you put in then you get with traditional halogen lights.

As a result, replacing a 9006 (CRX low beam halogen headlight bulb) with a HIR2 bulb (after you modify the fittings so they work in the stock 9006 socket) results in a light that gives the desirable light properties of the stock bulb (close to stock color spectrum, stock light/beam spread, turns on/off just as quickly as stock lights, and even has stock power requirements), BUT (due to the extra energy efficiency of the technology) they are much brighter than stock (a stock 9006 "low beam" bulb is maybe 1250 lumens with many being less, whereas a HIR2 bulb is around 1900 lumens but uses no more power than the stock 9006 bulb)! And the bonus light with the HIR1 (high beam bulb) is even more energy efficient (even higher bonus light) vs the stock 9005 bulb (again while maintaining the stock power usage of the bulb you are replacing).

NOTE: HIR lighting was originally designed to be almost as bright as HID at a fraction of the cost (that was one of the design requirements when the technology was first being invented). And while HID lighting is still more "energy efficient" than HIR lighting, HIR lighting has the key advantage that it will work with stock light optics and stock power drivers (whereas with HID you have to replace both). And HIR lighting will also turn on/off just as fast as stock bulbs, which can NOT be said for HID (HID lighting has a considerably longer "warm up time" than traditional bulbs, which is why HID lighting is seldom used on the "high beams" which may have to be turned on/off quickly).
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Old 08-17-2010, 05:48 AM   #17
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Re: Sylvania EcoBright headlight bulbs

The thing that held back the brightness of halogen headlights all these decades was never inability to produce enough light, it was a safety issue of not blinding oncoming drivers with glare. You say that HIR bulbs produce twice the light output. Are HIR bulbs available that instead produce the same output using half the energy?

Please, please don't blind other drivers. Different people have different sensitivities to glare. OEM halogen configurations are generally accepted as reasonable...try not to exceed that by too much.
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Old 08-17-2010, 06:27 AM   #18
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Re: Sylvania EcoBright headlight bulbs

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Originally Posted by theholycow View Post
The thing that held back the brightness of halogen headlights all these decades was never inability to produce enough light, it was a safety issue of not blinding oncoming drivers with glare.
Proper optics point the light to where it needs to go, and cut it off from where it doesn't need to go. On my CRX I have no problem with the low beams pointing light into oncoming driver's eyes (it points it at the road, where it should point it), and hence no safety problem with blinding oncoming drivers.

NOTE: It is possible to get stock halogen bulbs that are as bright (or brighter) than HIR. However, you have to increase the current/power to do so. This means that such bulbs would be lower FE and require more robust wiring/alternators/etc to use. And finally, (unlike HIR bulbs which produce stock heat) such bulbs would produce more heat than stock, which means more "heat sink" issues as well. However, such halogen bulbs are certainly possible (and probably even on the market), as all it would take is a higher wattage bulb to accomplish that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by theholycow View Post
You say that HIR bulbs produce twice the light output.
It varies with exact application, 2x was an approximate figure. I think my HIR low beams are really closer to 1.9x the nominal 1000 lumens of stock 9006 bulbs, with the actual figure being a little lower (as many 9006 bulbs already did a little better than the 1000 lumens rating for the bulbs).

Quote:
Originally Posted by theholycow View Post
Are HIR bulbs available that instead produce the same output using half the energy?
As far as I know, there is nothing technically preventing them from being made. However, I don't think those (lower wattage) HIR bulbs are on the market, no.


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Originally Posted by theholycow View Post
Please, please don't blind other drivers.
Of course NOT! If you put the light where it belongs, you won't blind oncoming drivers. That's what the (low beam) headlight optics is designed to do.

Now, it is true that my "high beams" (but not my low beams, that properly point the light at the road, not the driver's eyes) are more glare inducing than stock high beams. However, you should always turn your high beams off when you have oncoming drivers anyway! And if you are the only car on the road (which is the only time you should be running your high beams anyway), who are you going to blind?!?

NOTE: Brighter lights do make it important that your lights are aimed properly. Some cars have badly aimed lights, and incorrect aiming of the lights is a key reason for blinding drivers. And don't even get me started on the glare produced by those bluish bulbs that some idiot drivers like to use. Or those trucks that have the headlights mounted so high that it actually points the beams directly into the eyes of drivers of oncoming cars.

However, if you car has the lights mounted sufficiently low, and the optics are properly aimed, the light (from low beams) will go where it should (to the ground, below eye level). And in in that case it really doesn't matter how "bright" the light is, as its not being pointed in a direction that will blind oncoming drivers.
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Old 08-17-2010, 07:06 AM   #19
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Re: Sylvania EcoBright headlight bulbs

I disagree that merely aiming the lights properly makes glare a non-issue when increasing brightness, but we've already explored the issue pretty thoroughly I guess.
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