Headlights - LED vs Halogen


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This article is well written and researched, and gives food for thought. Naturally LEDs are attractive to us because they have a much lower current draw than halogens, but I have noticed with the Stedi LEDs in the two small ZXR250 Kwaka headlights on the SFQ that while low beam is very bright, there's something amiss with the high beam projection - and high beam is where I really want good headlights. With the ND alternator I should have no probs running two hi-quality H4s at 60/55W. I might have to chuck in a pair and compare. Glare for oncoming drivers on low beam seems to be a major issue with LEDs.

LED high beam seems to lack a bright spot that penetrates further, which we are used to from Halogen, and even the incandescents before them. Lots of new LED equipped cars here seem to have these accessory LED light bars mounted, no doubt to see elk before it is too late.
Looks like my slightly illegal, relay-connected Competition only H4 90w130 is staying. The first time I used it in anger I found it very hard to overdrive it, that's up to 130kph, not really smart with Kangaroos about anyway. The last time I got caught out and badly needed it, it was shooting Possums. That was just a nightmare ride. If they're not aimed correctly it hardly matters what you have. Set your Headlights mounting snug enough to stay put but loose enough to adjust mid-ride if you really need to.
The fella's certainly gone to a lot of effort and should be congratulated for that.

All in all, it conforms what I've read elsewhere. LEDs fitted into halogen reflectors don't produce much , if any, benefit to the driver - see Tippie's comment - and can blind oncoming vehicles.

Not really what you want.
On recommendation by Mark Rimmer and David Finch, I got one of these, Auxito LEDs, a straight plug'n'play.

Headlight Auxito LED.jpg

£14 and 18W, what's not to like?
Incandescent, an Osram Nightbreaker, first.

Headlight incandescent dip.JPGHeadlight incandescent main.JPG

The Auxito

Headlight LED dip.JPGHeadlight LED main.JPG

The cutoff on the dip was a bit scattered, cured by an application of tape on the lens.
It makes night riding significantly easier on my old peepers. It's also quite effective in shifting lane hoggers, even in bright sunshine.
We had a similar discussion going on in a car forum for classic cars, as there are now 2 LED supliers offering replacements for Young & Oldtimers (in local definition, that means Youngtimers = 20+ years, Oldtimers = 30+ years).

keeping in mind, that the above linked report (which indeed is looking well and professionally analyzed) is more than 7 years old (and even the last posts are 2 years+ old) and that technology has gone further in development, I would assume that the German TÜV would not allow something as critical as the light bulbs for road use if they would not offer at least the same amount/shape of lights. Today's LED replacements from Osram or Philips also do look different to the one shown and tested in the linked report. So - I assume, that an update would be needed to make this report really a source of truth for todays offerings. That said, both Osram and Philips do test their bulbs with certain reflectors and only approve usage in those reflectors tested.

Just my 2 cents

I have found Philips "RacingVision" 60/65W H4 bulbs to be excellent. Supposedly 150% more brightness compared to regular H4. Far superior than the previously fitted 90/100W!

They work very well with the often-criticised RGS headlamp and even let me see something with the otherwise quite mediocre lights of the Skoda. They produce a good spread of light with great penetration under adverse conditions. In rainy conditions, the 90/100 would create a wall of light directly in front of you that you really couldn't see beyond!

Granted, the Philips are pretty expensive and don't last anywhere near as long (Philips states 200h!) as regular 60/65W items, but that's the price you pay to get the best out of what you've got. It seems overall wattage isn't as important as proper design and compatibility with the reflector.

Looks like they've been up-graded to RacingVision GT200, 200% more now... the sky's the limit. ;)


Dunno about the earlier statement that LEDs are not effective in Halogen shells. My experience on my Morini 3 1/2 with its 140W alternator is that it throws way more light, and does it without flattening the battery. On my Guzzi Le Mans project it’s way brighter, and once we put one in my brother’s Le Mans 3 I could actually see him in the daytime when he was following me in the distance, unlike the H4 he had on it before.
in my own experience they are way better overall.
Good feedback from all. I'll have a play with adjustment and see if I can get a decent high beam. More than happy with the low beam Stedi LED. They are very small H4 lights, only about 5 inches dia.
...and even with these LED's, please make sure you have enough current at the connector... A relais with a direct plus line from the battery to the connector that goes onto the bulb helps A LOT to improve even the standard lights. I have done that on all of my bike and that alone brought back 30 - 40 % of brightness. Not sure how the LED bulbs handle voltages around 9 Volt instead of 12,x or more, but it worked really well on the H4 in my bikes.
Been a died-in-the-wool relay installer for decades. Even though the LEDs don't draw much current and run on highly variable voltage, I have relays for high and low - and if I need or want to swap to halogens I know I'll have good current.

Incredible the number of cars i see with dull yellowish headlights at night. On country roads I come up behind cars and wonder how the hell they can see anything. When I overtake and flick on high beam they must surely realise they have a problem?!
If cars can't see anything at night, they go slower, which is a good thing.
That'll be the day...

Now that HID and LED lights are the norm, it highlights how pathetic our old incandescent lights are. No more than a candle in a jam jar.:rolleyes:

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And they still teach drivers here to snap up to high beam when the oncoming car is 2 lengths ahead of you, which most interpret as half a second or more. Might have been fine with 45 watt incandescents in use when they started teaching that, but with modern lights you often get blinded. Supposed to be so you see the animal that the incoming car just drove past, that you will hit as you are dazzled.
In Egypt, on desert highways, oncoming trucks run at night with little or nothing in the way of lights until they are about 75 metres from you. At which point, they hit you with everything they've got, then turn them out again. Freaks me out, every damned time!
In Egypt, on desert highways, oncoming trucks run at night with little or nothing in the way of lights until they are about 75 metres from you. At which point, they hit you with everything they've got, then turn them out again. Freaks me out, every damned time!
Don't fully understand that??? Oncoming or overtaking? And they drive with their lights OFF at night?
The question I have is concerning the heat generated by the LED's, doesn't that pose a risk in a Jota headlight shell given all the spaghetti in the shell?
I run LED's on the RGS but the globe is outside in the breeze.
I thought other than using less juice the other advantage with LEDs is they produce less heat. That's just what I had heard, no idea if it's correct.
My view from afar is HID have complicated electronics and things called Drivers and take up a lot of space. LEDs or at least the ones I used are direct replacements for ye oldy Incandenceants, never done a headlight but I am very happy with the LED brake taillights I have on the 3c and Atlas. Happy to learn something new.