Have you ever looked up a bulb number for that HID or LED headlight conversion install you were doing and the bulb size didn’t match any part numbers? Here is a list of the most common bulb bases that you’ll need to cross reference. 9003 is the same as H4 HB2 is the same as […]
Vision X is known for both quality and durability. As the inventors of the LED light bar, they know a thing or two about LED lighting. Much of their technology that stems for the best light bars on earth is transferred to their 7″ Round LED Headlights. Let’s talk about the features that make the […]
Headlight Revolution tested all the top brands of 7″ Round Headlights to find the very best of the best for the Jeep Rengade. There are many factors that go into determining whether a 7″ Round Headlight performs well or not, the most important being beam pattern and brightness. In order for a headlight’s performance to […]
CK Bulb Socket vs. Standard Bulb Socket CK also knows as SCK, SACK, or SRCK like this: 3157CK, 3157SACK, 3157SRCK Only a handful of vehicles made in certain years, from a few manufacturers use a CK wired socket. Sometimes different car and truck manufacturers will change the type of wiring configuration they’ll use to power certain […]
Headlight Revolution tested all the top brands of 7″ Round Headlights to find the very best of the best for the Jeep Wrangler JK. There are many factors that go into determining whether a 7″ Round Headlight performs well or not, the most important being beam pattern and brightness. In order for a headlight’s performance […]
Factory sealed beam headlights are terrible because they are dim, not very reliable, and have poor beam patterns. With the non-removable halogen bulb and the fluted lens, there is just no way to get a decent beam pattern for useable light output. That’s why we recommend switching to a sealed beam replacement from Vision X!
If you have 4×6, 5×7, or 7″ round headlights you have two options. Replace the housing with one that allows a replacement bulb, or go with an integrated LED housing. Going with an integrated LED housing will be your best option, but, can be very pricey. Prices vary by the brand and quality and can be anywhere from $150 – $450 for a single headlight.
So we decided to put the 2 best LED bulbs currently on the market head to head and see how they perform. We compared a factory 55w halogen bulb, Supernova v4, and the GTR Lighting Ultra Series bulbs in the Vision X 5×7 headlights, part #VX-57. The original halogen bulb is rated at approximately 1,000 Lumen, the GTR Lighting Ultra LED bulbs are rated at 3,700 Lumen and the Supernova V.4 LED bulbs are rated at 3,600 Lumen each.
Original Halogen Bulbs
First up, the 55w Halogen bulb:
Low beam maximum Lux is 348 measured 20′ from the wall. As you can see, it has a very small hot spot and a very narrow beam pattern.
High beam maximum Lux at 20′ is 897. The hot spot is a little bit better, but still, a very narrow beam pattern. I’m not very impressed with the performance of the halogen bulb in this housing. Overall, I give it a 4/10 because it’s narrow and not very bright.
Maximum low beam Lux for this bulb was 1,161. A 333% increase in brightness! The hotspot is improved greatly, and the beam pattern is slightly wider. The beam pattern isn’t the greatest, it’s distorted and produces a small amount of glare. Overall though, much better than the halogen bulb.
The high beam Lux is 1,509 with the GTR bulbs. The beam pattern is taller than the halogen bulb, but is slightly more narrow and is 168% brighter. Overall, I’m pretty impressed with this bulb so I’d give it a 7/10 because it retains the original shape but extends it’s width and creates extra brightness.
Supernova V4 + Vision X:
Now for the Supernova v4 bulb. It was released late 2018, and since then it has performed great in every single headlight we have tested it in. Let’s see how it does in these housings.
As you can see, the beam pattern is much wider. The low beam lux for this bulb is 1,214 coming in at 348% brighter than the original halogen bulb! There is no glare whatsoever, and the beam pattern shape is just like the original and the hot spot is much bigger.
The high beam Lux is 2,090 with the v4 bulbs. The beam pattern is almost identical to the halogen bulb beam but is 232% brighter! Overall, I’m extremely impressed with this bulb. I’d give it a 9/10 because even though it’s brighter, it mimics the original beam and would be safe to use on the street with other drivers.
All in all, the Supernova v4 bulb takes the cake. There are huge improvements in both the low and high beam. So if you are looking for a great budget option, that doesn’t break the bank, you can’t beat this. The total cost of this setup is $234, you cannot get any better lighting for that price.
The higher the Kelvin Rating color, The lower the Brightness
Many people think that the higher “K” number (e.g. 3,000K; 5,000K; 8,000K; 12,000K, etc…) the brighter their HID headlights are going to be… and they’d be wrong! This is because the K number doesn’t describe brightness, only color.
When it comes to brightness, you get the most usable, real-world brightness (measured in Lux) in colors that more closely resemble the color of light created by the sun! Did you know that if you could see the sun in space it would look white? The actual color of the sun is 5,800K not that yellow color that you were taught to color with crayons as a child. The more you deviate away from the 5,000K – 6,000K colors, the harder the time you have “perceiving” the intensity of the light! At the end of the day, it’s all about human evolution and perception – we can’t see ultraviolet light very well, so 8,000-12,000K colors aren’t very bright to us and we can’t see infrared colors very well, so 3,000K golden yellow is also less bright!
Which HID Headlight Color is the Brightest? 35w or 55w? Color Shift and Lux Explained! - YouTube
Brightness jumped about 50% when going from 35w ballast to 55w ballast:
In the test in the video above, each color produced different amounts of brightness and usable light. Because of this, you’ll see that the 5,000K color HID was the brightest of all 7 tested, powered by both a 35w or a 55w ballast: 3,000K with 35w ballast: 350 Maximum Lux 3,000K with 55w ballast: 490 Maximum Lux 4,300K with 35w ballast: 1,070 Maximum Lux 4,300K with 55w ballast: 1,510 Maximum Lux 5,000K with 35w ballast: 1,140 Maximum Lux 5,000K with 55w ballast: 1,430 Maximum Lux 6,000K with 35w ballast: 980 Maximum Lux 6,000K with 55w ballast: 1,350 Maximum Lux 8,000K with 35w ballast: 970 Maximum Lux 8,000K with 55w ballast: 1,340 Maximum Lux 10,000K with 35w ballast: 750 Maximum Lux 10,000K with 55w ballast: 890 Maximum Lux 12,000K with 35w ballast: 420 Maximum Lux 12,000K with 55w ballast: 570 Maximum Lux
If you’re looking for information on LED headlight bulb color and brightness, you’ll find that the same information exists but in fewer color options. Color and brightness in headlights has the same relationship regardless of if you’re looking at HID or LED.
I’m guessing you’re reading this article because you are having trouble with your Ram truck… Yea. So is everyone else. Take a minute to familiarize yourself with the info in this article before proceeding on your journey, and take a look at the different LED and HID headlight upgrades for your truck here.
For some reason, the 2015 model year of the Dodge Ram 1500 truck is different than the rest… It’s like the black sheep of the Ram truck family when looking at lighting upgrades. If you want to do HID headlights or LED headlight bulbs on your 2015 Ram truck you’ve probably already experienced issues first hand or read about them on the internet… Most people chalk it up to the fact that “It’s a Mopar thing…” but I think you’ll be surprised why there are specific difficulties in the 2015 model year of Ram trucks specifically. It has to do with that pesky PWM system!
Starting in about 2003 Dodge converted the lighting control system in their Ram trucks from a traditional switch and relay system to a more complex CANBUS and TIPM system. CANBUS is a computer network built into your truck (CAN = Computer Area Network) that monitors the circuit that your lights are being powered on. The headlight switch sends a data signal to the computer in the vehicle. The computer sends a signal to the TIPM (Totally Integrated Power Module) which is the gateway or distribution box for nearly the entire electrical system in late-model Chrysler trucks. The TIPM has a circuit for the headlights and fog lights and sends power down the line to power them. That’s where CANBUS steps in… If it “sees” a power draw too high or too low as compared to your original halogen bulbs, it will shut down the system entirely, or maybe give you a warning light. So, 2003 is when this nightmare started and in 2015 they stepped it up a notch!
2015 – The nightmare year for Ram Trucks!
Starting in 2015 Dodge changed how their lighting control and management system works and implemented another system inside of the already existing complex system called PWM (Pulse Width Modulation). Here’s the problem though… they made a mistake in the programming that would later be resolved through a TSB (Technical Service Bulletin) at the dealership. The problem is that the original CANBUS/TIPM/PWM computer system was programmed to run the original halogen bulbs all the way down to 11 volts, sometimes lower, sometimes higher. It wasn’t uncommon to find a 2015 Ram truck with the PWM voltage set to only 13 volts when it was supposed to be at 14 volts!
This excerpt from a Dodge dealership work order shows that the customer’s OEM halogen headlights would sometimes flash because the vehicle was configured incorrectly.
This issue was so bad that even some vehicles with the original halogen headlight bulbs would show signs of flickering, a malfunction. This issue happened on the popular projector headlights and the “quad” single-beam reflector headlights alike. No submodel was immune to this supposed programming mishap and therefore changing out the lighting to a more sensitive technology like HID or LED proved to be problematic.
2015 Ram HID and LED Headlight Upgrade Issues:
Error message on the dash/gauges saying a bulb is burnt out
Intermittent operation of one headlight side or the other
Intermittent operation of both headlights, low beam or high beam
Strobing headlight bulbs
Headlights would work fine for a time and then shut off after about 18-20 minutes
Headlights would not turn on at all
There are several companies out there that claim to have fixes for the complex 2015 Ram truck HID and LED headlight bulb issues but almost never work. Even if they DO work, many times they would just fail later on anyway…
This Dodge dealership work order shows that on cold days the customer’s headlights will flicker on and off, when driving, even on smooth roads. When installing HID or LED headlight bulbs this same problem that exists with the OEM halogen bulbs becomes much worse!
Here are some options that some say work to fix the horrific problems plagued by the 2015 Ram trucks:
If you have a 2015 Ram and you want to upgrade your headlight bulbs to HID or LED I would recommend 2 things:
#1: Go to the Dodge/Ram/Chrysler dealer and ask them to perform any TSB’s relating to intermittent flickering headlights. Even if yours don’t, you still might not be calibrated correctly.
#2: Good luck – Install the cheapest / easiest system first, and then move on up the list. There is no guarantee anywhere that any of the available fixes will work, your best bet is to get in with a company who is willing to work out the kinks with you until your truck is where you want it.
With the development of LED lighting and the high demands from consumers, LED chip manufacturers continue to improve and innovate. The development of CSP has several new advantages, no substrate, solder-free wiring, small size, and high optical density.
CSP, or Chip Scale Package, is defined as a LED package with a size equivalent to a LED chip, or no larger than 20%. The CSP product features integrated component features that do not need soldered wire connections which reduce thermal resistance, reduce heat transfer path, and reduce possible failure points.
Traditional SMD LED chips are mounted on a holder and connected to the PCB by alloy wire. The electrical current flows from the PCB board and through the alloy wire to power the LED chip. During use, too much heat or a surge in current can damage the wires resulting in LED failure. CSP chips, on the other hand, can be directly applied to the PCB effectively shortening the heat flow path to the substrate and reducing the thermal resistance of the light source. Under the same current, CSP chips have higher intensity and lower current consumed compared to SMD chips. And since the CSP LED chip has no chip holder or wires connected, two possible LED failure points are removed.
Compared to traditional 2835 SMD, or the popular flip 2835 SMD, CSP chips are small size but feature high intensity per unit with less heat. CSP is ideal for applications like LED headlights. Automotive LED light manufacturers use CSP chip to replicate the size and location of the tungsten filament in halogen bulb to create beam patterns much like halogen bulbs.
There are so many different LED headlight conversion kits on the market; it’s hard to decide which one is the best. Most will specify the Lumen output on the packing; normally 4,000 Lumen, 5,000 Lumen, or 6,000 Lumen. Sometimes you’ll see some headlight bulbs marked with 8,000 Lumen, 10,000 Lumen or even 12,000 Lumen. But what is the true Lumen of a LED headlight bulb?
In order to find out what’s actually true, let’s understand Lumen first.
The lumen (symbol: lm) is the SI derived unit of luminous flux, a measure of the total quantity of visible light emitted by a source. We measure the lumen of a LED headlight kit within a device called an integrating sphere. A bulb is positioned in the sphere and the light given off by the bulb is scattered inside the integrating sphere and evenly distributed to 360 degrees. The total brightness amount of a source of light can be measured accurately since light could be captured from all angles in the sphere without any interference from other light sources.
But when the suppliers claim the high Lumen amounts of their LED headlights, they are usually giving just a theoretical peak Lumen amount based on the LED chip data (raw Lumen). For example, a single 1W CSP LED chip can emit 130 Lumen at most according to LED chip specifications. So hypothetically if their headlight bulb has 16 LED chips, they will claim the bulb has 16W working power and 2,080 Lumen, (16 chips x 1W = 16W, and 130 Lumen x 16 chips = 2080 Lumen) so a pair of LED headlight bulbs will theoretically have 4000 Lumen (raw Lumen). But remember, this is just a theoretical peak Lumen amount of what the LED chips are capable of reaching in a perfect environment on their own. This does not take into account the thermal efficiency of an array of LED chips working alongside each other, over time, in a sealed environment like a headlight housing. In reality, if a LED chip was used at maximum capacity as the raw lumen rating suggests, it would burn up quickly in a real world scenario.
In actual use, the LED headlight’s Luminous efficiency is restricted by many subjective and objective factors and is unable to reach the peak lumen amounts the individual chips are capable of. LED bulb size, heat radiating area, working temperature–all these affect and reduce the LED Luminous efficiency. A pair of LED headlight bulbs that claim 4,000 Lumen (raw Lumen) may actually only reach 1,300 lumen (effective Lumen) each.
Let’s look at how heat can affect the lumen amounts of a LED headlight bulb. Anytime the LED headlight bulb turns on, the LEDs begin producing heat. Some of the energy gets turned to heat, so as the heat grows the bulb begins to dim in brightness. As the bulb rises and reaches its normal operating temperature, the bulb enters a state of equilibrium as the bulb also dims to its normal operating brightness. This brightness is the true lumen output of the LED headlight bulb and will keep working at this brightness level for hours. Most of the products on the market reach thermal equilibrium after working for 5-15 minutes. The best LED headlight bulb designs have a small gap between the peak Lumen value and the stability Lumen value.
After you grasp an understanding of real lumen numbers you also need to understand Lux, the usable brightness focused onto a certain point. When you understand Lux, raw Lumen and Effective Lumen you can start decrypting the crazy claims made by different LED headlight bulb manufacturers. Realistically, the best of the best LED headlight bulbs on the market today might have an actual effective lumen rating of 1,800 – 2,000 per bulb at most. Anyone who claims more than double these figures is flat out lying to you.
bullshit lumen ratings on amazon
Here’s my hypothesis on why so many people just flat-out lie about their lumen ratings… It gets lost in translation! Did you know that the first LED headlight bulbs in the world were invented in, and manufactured in China? It’s not a knock-off product if it comes from China – that’s where they were first made. The Lumen ratings in China have turned into a marketing gimmick:
“He Who Has the Highest Lumen Rating Wins the Race.”
It’s really quite ridiculous but it’s the truth. Their definition of success has nothing to do with efficiency, fitment, beam pattern quality, color quality or usable light output… More often that not it’s al about that sweet sweet lumen rating! So, one company said “Hey everyone, our bulbs make 2,000 lumens each!”. Then the next competing manufacturer says “Oh yea, well our bulbs make 2,500 Lumens each!”. And then the next LED company down the street had a brilliant idea: “Pssst… let’s combine the lumen rating of both bulbs into 5,000 and tricck people who think it means PER BULB!”. And then the next company, out of their confusion of the tactic, said “Oh no, now ours need to be 10,000 per pair to be competitive!”. Then the next guys said “Oh now, we need ours to be 15,200 Lumens!” and so on, and so on, and so on. Some were talking about pairs, others were talking about singles but didn’t want to lose a sale and thus the Lumen marketing war was born!