The LED headlight thread

Vasily

Well-known member
The stock headlights leave a lot to be desired. Wanted to see what everyone thinks about LED headlights? What is everyone using? Thoughts? Experiences?

Discuss below.
 

AdamSanta85

Well-known member
I guess I'll start. I have the Nolden's that come stock on the Autobiography & Heritage edition trucks. I am very happy with them, plug-n-play and all that. However I feel that there could be improvement in the beam pattern. They are leaps and bounds better then the factory and I have no intention of changing them.

When I was shopping I was bouncing between the Nolden, Truck-Lite, and JW Speaker. Then between JW Speaker and Nolden. I settled on the Nolden because I liked that they were an OEM LR option. I like the Truck-Lite because they look the closest to stock. The JW speaker from my research probably have the best beam pattern but they just look too funky for me.


 

Vasily

Well-known member
I guess I'll start. I have the Nolden's that come stock on the Autobiography & Heritage edition trucks. I am very happy with them, plug-n-play and all that. However I feel that there could be improvement in the beam pattern. They are leaps and bounds better then the factory and I have no intention of changing them.

When I was shopping I was bouncing between the Nolden, Truck-Lite, and JW Speaker. Then between JW Speaker and Nolden. I settled on the Nolden because I liked that they were an OEM LR option. I like the Truck-Lite because they look the closest to stock. The JW speaker from my research probably have the best beam pattern but they just look too funky for me.


I haven't done as much research into this as you have but I'm liking the Nolden because of the factoryish look.

I was thinking about updating the Hella 500s on the brush bar but decided to upgrade the headlights as they actually get used... That is what got me thinking about starting this thread and building a knowledge base here.
 

Jeff B

Well-known member
I'm still in favor of H4 lights.
Run them straight off the battery with a relay kit and you'll get great light output and no burned up headlight switches.

I guess the one thing I don't like about LED's the most is the way they look when off.

Also, didn't a lot of people have trouble with Truck-Lites?

.
 

Dan kemper

Moderator
Callsign: KK6ECF
I agree with Jeff. I wouldn't mind led if they looked like the stock. The Holden seem to be the best if you were going with led and look good on Adams rig. I stuck with the Ipf housings in e code and ipf bulbs. Good enough but could be much better. The round headlights are so iconic with the Rangies and defender. The led just looks off to me.
 

chris snell

Administrator
Callsign: NW5W
Staff member
I can't stand the look of the LEDs. I think that they look ridiculous on a 30 year-old truck, like the guy who puts HIDs in his 1998 Civic.

I love Hella H4s with a good Hella bulb in them. Adding Hella 550s on the brush bar is an excellent way to improve your lighting. The H4s + the 550s is just perfect for night driving off-road.
 

FlyersFan76

Well-known member
I went with the JW Speaker's. There was a long thread on defender2.net that compared the Nolden's and JW's but I have since deleted that bookmark.

The 2 guys lived near each other and used the same parking garage, etc. to show the differences. The noldens appeared to have a blueish look and I didn't care for that. I still haven't found the time to put them on yet though.

EDIT: Found the thread.

http://www.defender2.net/forum/topic21619.html
 
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Dan kemper

Moderator
Callsign: KK6ECF
I have to admit the noldens look much better than the other historical options and nice that they were on the most recent defenders. I really want to like led but have stuck with halogen all the way around including interior. I'm a pilgrim. Ha
 

Dan kemper

Moderator
Callsign: KK6ECF
It seems like it would be an easy task to make a light look like a halogen but be led technology and better light output in a heat color that isnt blue but the market dictates otherwise
 

The_Vermonster

Well-known member
One issue with some of the LED units is that they don't put off enough heat to the lens to melt snow. Trucklite makes a heated lens version that fixes that problem.

But the bigger problem is that a Halogen will almost always output more light than an LED. The advantage to LEDs are the lower draw. If light is a priority then some old school halogens are the best. But if you plan on driving without an alternator, LED will let you go farther. :p

Headlight Revolution did a nice comparison of a large number of 7in models.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XNZT6QqHHOo&index=2&list=PLhombf0sgTNzbE9ZypWlQYnZqYR4IpfC5
TL;DR JWSpeakers have the best pattern, Vision-X has the best light, Trucklite has the best value.
 

rocky

Well-known member
Spot on about my LED concerns Vermonster. But the technology will improve in the next 3-5 years. I hope.
 

Ruggedalaskaman

Active member
I went with built in heating element Truck-Lites. With the long Alaska winters the added light projection has helped me avoid moose collisions. The subtle heating element lines also help to mask the LED making them look more stock in appearance.
 

AdamSanta85

Well-known member
But the bigger problem is that a Halogen will almost always output more light than an LED. The advantage to LEDs are the lower draw. If light is a priority then some old school halogens are the best.
You have a source to back that up? I don't buy it. There is a reason newer high end cars (and Defender's in 2015/16) come with HID/LED. There is a reason the USMil swapped the HMMWV lights to LED.

The heat/icing issue is definitely a thing for sure.

Halogen vs LED/HID in halogen housings - Halogen wins

Halogen vs HID/LED in proper housing - HID/LED wins

Also if you ever need to use your headlights without running your engine, LED wins again.

 

rovercolorado

Well-known member
We just sold our 2015 LR4 that had VERY nice headlights and replaced with the top of the line Mazda CX-9. It has state of the art LED headlights that include adaptive steering and the difference is INCREDIBLE!
I am now convinced that LED is the way of the future. The problem is retro fitting this into a 7" headlight is not optimal. I also think the costs are still a little high compared to Halogen solutions.
I will purchase a set of cheap knockoff headlights (currently under $100 on eBay) and still be ahead of the standard headlight and I plan on upgrading in a few years when the LED is even more mature.
 

RiverMike

Well-known member
Although I am normally quite fanatic about classic appearance and originality, I think the NOLDEN's are the best ones available. I have also installed Trucklites on some of my trucks as well as JWSpeaker but the Noldens remain my favorite. Last year I sold around 30 sets to customers in the US. I should have another 50 sets in the next 6 weeks.
 

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The_Vermonster

Well-known member
You have a source to back that up? I don't buy it. There is a reason newer high end cars (and Defender's in 2015/16) come with HID/LED. There is a reason the USMil swapped the HMMWV lights to LED.

The heat/icing issue is definitely a thing for sure.

Halogen vs LED/HID in halogen housings - Halogen wins

Halogen vs HID/LED in proper housing - HID/LED wins


From my understanding the primary reason the USmil switched was durability. An LED unit is significantly harder to break. Given the roads and speeds most vehicles drive in the Mid east, a Halogen bulb would probably only last weeks at a time.

It is really tough to compare LED and Halogen bulbs because LEDs require a lens and Halogens are normally rated without the lens. For instance the JW Speakers list a Lumen of 1700 low and 2600 high. A decent H4 bulb is about 1200 low and 2000 high. But that is unfocused light, from a bare bulb. So the light that makes it down the road is going to be partially dependent on the reflector and lens.

Another example is house light bulbs. These are great to compare because they normally operate in a very small space. Almost all LED replacement for Halogen bulbs will have a lower lumen rating. Not much, but it can be as much as 20%. But they also have a significantly lower power draw, as much as 95%, and extended lifespan, generally over 1000%.
 

AdamSanta85

Well-known member
From my understanding the primary reason the USmil switched was durability. An LED unit is significantly harder to break. Given the roads and speeds most vehicles drive in the Mid east, a Halogen bulb would probably only last weeks at a time.

It is really tough to compare LED and Halogen bulbs because LEDs require a lens and Halogens are normally rated without the lens. For instance the JW Speakers list a Lumen of 1700 low and 2600 high. A decent H4 bulb is about 1200 low and 2000 high. But that is unfocused light, from a bare bulb. So the light that makes it down the road is going to be partially dependent on the reflector and lens.

Another example is house light bulbs. These are great to compare because they normally operate in a very small space. Almost all LED replacement for Halogen bulbs will have a lower lumen rating. Not much, but it can be as much as 20%. But they also have a significantly lower power draw, as much as 95%, and extended lifespan, generally over 1000%.
Ok I agree durability is also a benefit.

What about high end cars? They are using them because they illuminate the road better.
 

AdamSanta85

Well-known member
I completely understand the opposition to the LED's styling. I think truck lite are as close to halogen look as you are going to yet. This is what the Hummers run too, which is cool.

Whats up with the little lights in the center? I wouldn't want those on unless the head lights are on.


 
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