The Street legal NON-HID LED replacement bulbs?

subaru
impreza

#1

Hey all,

I do a load of night driving during my commute, clocking 4 hours a day during the winter. I have been using the Sliverstar Ultra bulbs, but due to my night drives, I am blowing though a pair every 6 months or so. I recently found out by actually checking the packaging that the lifespan of the bulbs is 150 hours, and at $50 a set, is both expensive and ecologically dubious.

I have seen threads and done some research on LED replacement bulbs that will be a simple swap in the same headlight housing. However, I am not clear on what can actually be used. Some have SAE and/or DOT certification, some are reviewed as not being bright enough… Some are said not to fit in the housing without intervention. The most recommended LED headlight replacements I have seen often come with an “Offroad use only” disclaimer.

What is actually required to use drop in non HID-LED lights without getting a ticket/being a hazard to other drivers? Does anyone have any brand/model recommendations?

I figured if anyone one would know, You lot would!


#2

Phillips makes direct-replacement LED bulbs that they say are street legal, but you would want to verify that by looking at your state’s laws. You’d just pop out the silverstars and insert the LEDs.

FYI, LED life span is as I understand it based on the life span of the LED itself - not the controlling circuitry. So while the LED might last 12 years, the circuitry might blow in 6 months and, of course, the LED is useless without the circuitry.

I’ve noticed that a lot of the LED bulbs I bought for my house are failing after 1 or 2 years, when they should last at least 10 times longer than that.


#3

Aside from them simply being poorly designed, LEDs do best when they are not subjected to repetitive thermal cycling. A light bulb in a pantry that gets turned on/off repeatedly for example might not fare well compared to a family room lamp that remains on for an entire evening. The other end of the spectrum is heat dissipation and how the lamp is designed to effectively remove heat from the die(s). Heat kills…

OP, one thing to consider when doing this swap is whether or not your DRL function is divorced from the headlamps. Cuts down on hours of usage if they are…


#4

For me, they fail pretty equally regardless of use. I have an entry light that’s on about 10-15 hours straight per day, and have lost 4 bulbs in that. I also have a kitchen light that gets turned on and off multiple times throughout the day, and I’ve lost about the same number in it.


#5

@TwinTurbo My car does have separate bulbs for DRL. Its just the night driving that is a bear. That being said 2 hr trips should save on the on/off cycles a bit.

@shadowfax RE: LED house lights: I would check the manufacture rating for input current. I had issues with CFL’s that did similar things. What I found was that the Input current rating was MUCH lower than U.S. House VAC.


#6

@shadowfax The Phillips Replacement bulb Chart shows they do not have any NON-HID LED offering for the front light arrays of my car. Not sure if that is across the board, for any H11 headlamp, or just the specific lamp dimensions of my Subi. That does give me direction though!

Is SAE certification the thing i should look for?


#7

Yup!
While ~98% of the bulbs in my house are either CFLs or LEDs, there are a couple of fixtures where I am using-up my supply of old incandescents, simply because those fixtures are turned on and off so frequently.


#8

Sorry, do not know what this means. Current and voltage are two different things, you can’s say one is less than the other.


#9

Take a look here: https://www.superbrightleds.com/moreinfo/low-beam-headlight-bulb/led-headlight-kit-h11-led-headlight-bulbs-conversion-kit-with-compact-heat-sink/3924/8559/


#10

True enough I meant voltage. If the Boards are rated for 120 Volts, If your house voltage fulctuates at all (thought it shouldn’t), you will burn the board out early. I was looking for my source… but i can’t seem to find it now. However, The shortening of lifespan of CFL bulbs is widely known to burn out prematurely depending on quality, humidity, and possibly orientation. Houselogic NY times Blog


#11

Thanks! I have looked there before. The SuperbrightLEDs come highly recommended from a few forums. However, In talking with the Sales team they are neither SAE or DOT compliant. :frowning:


#12

Most house current will fluctuate unless you’re really lucky and have a very good power situation. Things designed to be installed in houses should be able to handle at least a 10-volt fluctuation.

Interestingly, I’ve never had an LED light in any of my cars go out, and cars experience fluctuations routinely.


#13

You must have a good ballast, and reliable diodes!

Electronics, require specific power conditioning to work properly. In LED’s there are components inline to step down your house or car voltage to something usable by the diodes. This is usually a pretty straight forward circuit consisting of transformers and resistors changing AC to DC power, or stepping down voltages to usable levels . CFL’s have a very complex driver by comparison, requiring both AC and DC power from a single ac source.


#14

I dunno but I think you are going to needto just trade cars to get either effective HID or LED. Our LRD lightis something like a string of 5 or 6 leds in a row in a housing designed for it. Just taking a standard housing and replacing one bulb with an LED I don’t think will do much. Until then really, $100 a year for being able to see at night is not that bad. Mine last about a year and I’m happy to pay the $50 for a brighter light.


#15

You’re right. Normal design rules range is 102-134 for nominal 120VAC and nominal 230VAC +/-15%.

Bus voltage varies pretty much in the U.S., more than most realize. It’s gotten far better than it was years ago (to be able to share grids) but it’s still wise to design for the wider spread.

Japan has notorious low voltage requirements. Need to accommodate 120V nominal dipping to 85VAC in order to guarantee things work properly…


#16

And don’t they have 50 cycle on the west, 60 cycle on the east (or vice-versa)?


#17

So to bring this back to the topic at hand. Is there a good solution?

To bring this back to one. I have found a LED H11 replacement blubs on Amazon From Hikari LED. They Claim DOT compliance, but I can not find a manufacturer website, nor compliant certificates. What actually needs to be shown for this compliance?


#18

Call DOT and ask them.

All that said, even if something is in compliance, it can still cause a hassle. In my state a set of auxiliary lights consuming no more than 55w is perfectly legal. So years ago when I lived in the deer-infested sticks and drove at night a lot, I got myself a set of PIAA driving lights. They were indeed 55w, but thanks to good reflector design the things were like miniature suns in my bumper.

I always made sure to switch them off when there was oncoming traffic, but I still got pulled over and cited more than once for illegal lighting, and then would have to go through the hassle of proving to the government that the lights weren’t illegal.

The flip side of that is that people put illegal stuff on their cars all the time, and if the cop doesn’t happen to care, they get away with it, so even if the lights aren’t DOT-compliant, you might not have any problems with them.


#19

A proper solution would include replacing the housings with ones designed for leds.
It’s impossible to make leds have the same radiative pattern as a tungsten filament.
Also to get as much light as a silverstar there will need to be a substantial heatsink; maybe even a small fan.


#20

Greater than the one supplied on the back of the LED lamp? Most i have seen have some sort of heatsink on the back in the engine compartment.