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  1. #1
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    Default Halogen Headlight Bulbs and You

    Halogen Headlight Bulbs and You
    A most complicated story by Phil Ridgwell ver2a April 2020

    Recently I have noticed modern cars with one headlight out, new models, not your normal old vehicles driving around in the far-away places. I did not understand why, but then “Ho and Below” I found my dipped beam on my 2018 (2 year old, 35000km) Ford Ranger 2.2td was blown too. I went onto the internet to find what Halogen bulb was fitted. Ford SA did not specify and other web sites gave me different answers, H11, H7 plus others. It seems the bulb fitted depends on many things; year, model, sub model, reflector, projector, HID etc. there were even headlines “Upgrade to LED bulbs”. Most Complicated. But I started to investigate, the scientific method.

    Bulb Type
    First bit of advice, don’t bother about the internet or dealers or anything for bulb type. Take the bulb out, what is fitted is what you want. In my case it was a H7 halogen, in a reflector headlight, and Ford had fitted a Philips bulb, I could not identify the Philips part number on it though, it may be a ford specific part number. Ford also fit the Osram “Highway”H7 halogen bulb and a Dela bulb (no information). Do not buy a different model bulb with an adapter. It is asking for trouble somewhere, probably on a dirt road, in the pouring rain in Limpopo! So, a new SET of H7 Halogen bulbs were needed, keeping the other one (working) bulb as a spare. Great what do I want to fit? Even more complicated.

    Case study; Halogen H7 Bulbs and Reflectors headlights. Typically, on the boxes it says +30%, +100%, +130%, +150%. This is comparing the bulbs to the minimum brightness legally permitted in Eu/UK laws. Even looking at technical specifications is difficult because a box that says +30% has a 1500lm rating, the box that says +130% has a 1500lm rating aswell, and the box that says +150% has a 1550 lm rating. I don’t understand that, and so, maybe a combination of brightness, lumen, and colour, K, or it may be just marketing rubbish. It certainly is not very intuitive to understand and decide. There are also lots of options on websites, the two primary ones cited here are ; Philips (https://www.philips.co.za) and Osram (https://www.osram.com/cb/) but I have looked at dozens of sites, including other manufacturers like Hella and Bosch, to get to this discussion, some are cited at the end. Hold onto your safety belt, here we go;

    Brightness (Lumens, or lm); brighter is better, right? Maybe not.
    Osram; The Osram Night Breaker Laser Halogen H7 is 1550 lumens (+150%) , while the Nightbreaker Silver is 1500 lumen (+130%). Philips; the Xtreme Vision H7 and the Xtreme vision G FORCE H7 are both is 1500 lumen (+130%). But the Osram Ultralife and the Philips Vision are also rated 1500lm, but only +30%. What Is brighter and what is better, and there are certainly tradeoffs elsewhere, see below?

    Colour (degrees kelvin, “K”). Higher K, whiter is better, right? Probably not really.
    A typical halogen is around 3000 k to 3800k. The Osram Nightbreaker silver range is noticeably whiter than a 3000K standard bulb, but not like a HID (high intensity discharge) bulb (around 4500K) or LED bulb (around 6000K). Anywhere around 3000k to 4000K is probably OK. Simply adding a blue coating may look “Cool” but may not do much for what you can see, especially in fog, and while the temperature is higher, 4200K, often the Lumen is the same or even lower. The Osram cool blue Boost is 4200K, but only 900lm, and only rated +30%. Be careful what you read, its complicated, or just marketing and maybe not helpful.

    Longevity/Lifespan
    This is the real killer in the “Brighter is Better”argument;
    I read lots of reviews of different bulbs, amazon.com and others. What I quickly saw was that the very bright ones, like Osram Night Breaker Laser, were often down rated with a low life. I started to look into the technical specifications on the websites. Osram cite a B3 and a Tc lifetime. The B3 is where 3% of bulbs have failed, while Tc is where 63% of bulbs have failed. For the Osram Night breaker LASER, H7, the B3 is 150hrs, the Tc is 250hrs. so if you drive for 1hr a day using your headlights, they would last about 8 months. That’s not a lot, and If you have an annual service, then you could be driving for 4 months before the bulb is replaced. Maybe this is why I see so many modern, new cars with one headlight out. In comparison, the Osram Night breaker SILVER has a b3 of 330hrs and a Tc of 550hrs. Philips only give you “Lifetime, up to 450 hrs” for the equivalent H7 bulb. An original Ford fitted Osram “Highway”H7 halogen bulb has a B3 of 330hrs, Tc of 550hrs and is a pretty standard 1500lm in brightness. I could not find any plus % or colour in the specifications.

    Stock;
    As I drive a 4x4 I am attracted to the Philips has the H7 Xtreme Vision G Force with extra shock resistance, and a similar life time. I liked this bulb, so, went onto the “where to buy” tab on the philips.co.za website and got no places to buy it. Nothing. So, even after studying all this, you have to find stock. I also emailed Philips SA and several retailers looking for stock. No reply so far. In the absence of the Philips, I chose the Osram Night breaker silver H7. I found a website ATL.co.za and the price was good, so I ordered, but of course, no stock.

    Replacing the bulb;
    I studied a Youtube video on my exact model to see how to replace a bulb (the bulb cited in the video was wrong by the way). While it’s not hard, it’s not easy from a physical space perspective, so with a pipe spanner and some Vaseline making the rubbers slide better, I can now do it, but my preference is to replace bulbs less often, but have a bright bulb.

    My choice so far;
    Philips H7 Xtreme vision (gbp21) or, preferably the Philips H7 Xtreme vision G FORCE (gbp31) with a lifespan of “Up to”450hrs, 1500 lumen and 3500K
    Osram H7 SILVER (gbp14) with a lifetime Tc 550 hrs, 1500 lumen and 3300K
    I can get both on Amazon.co.uk, (1gbp = R23) but am trying to find stock in Johannesburg now. Autostyle in Mayfair has some of the cooler ones, the blue, intense stuff, on their website, but will still have to see what else they have in stock. In the absence of the bulb I want, most autospares places sell and unboxed H7 at about R60. I bought one philips H7 to tide me over. There are also Hella bulbs unboxed at a similar price.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Halogen Headlight Bulbs and You

    Stay away from LED, looks bright, crap illumination.

    Nightbreakers will do fine.

    Usually H4 globes gives issues as they run hot, H7's not so much?

    I had HID H7's in my Duster, lasted for the 2 years I had it, and I sold it with it.

    Was a nice white illumination, never had uncoming traffic warn me that it was too bright.

    You'll have the people warning you against HID, for me they worked best in the boosted catagory.

    But Osram Nightbreakers, you can't go wrong.

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  4. #3
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    Default Re: Halogen Headlight Bulbs and You

    Any new experience/info? H4/H7. My local toyota guy told me to only replace with Osram night breakers as they give the least amount of problems.
    "When a clown enters a palace, he does not turn into a prince, the palace turns into a circus."

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    Default Re: Halogen Headlight Bulbs and You

    Quote Originally Posted by Luka View Post
    Any new experience/info? H4/H7. My local toyota guy told me to only replace with Osram night breakers as they give the least amount of problems.
    Syncro LED, if the reflectors are suited to LED. www.syncrogroup.co.za (no affiliation)

    If you don't like LED, stick with Osram halogen as mentioned.
    Last edited by An3s; 2023/11/27 at 02:41 PM.
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    Default Re: Halogen Headlight Bulbs and You

    Quote Originally Posted by An3s View Post
    Syncro LED, if the reflectors are suited to LED. www.syncrogroup.co.za (no affiliation)

    If you don't like LED, stick with Osram halogen as mentioned.
    Its a brand new hilux raider, the toyota guy said they experience endless issues with LED lights. So I am stick to halogen. Just a bit confused by H4 or H7 and the main brands; OSRAM, PHILIPS........
    "When a clown enters a palace, he does not turn into a prince, the palace turns into a circus."

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    Default Re: Halogen Headlight Bulbs and You

    H4 and H7 refers to the bulb type. H4, as far as I remember, has filaments for both bright and dims and has three terminals at the back. H7 is typically used where the bright is separate and only has two terminals. Your owner's manual should state what type is used or should say how to remove/replace, but I have noticed that with some new cars even replacing a bulb is a dealer trip to get something reset.

    In my experience, I did not get long life out of Osram night breakers (in an Opel Astra many years ago) and they broke my wallet more than the night. I prefer a standard Osram or Philips globe (not the Chinese cheapies), but a standard Hela should also be fine. Then, I also always replace two bulbs at a time and keep the "good" one as a spare in the vehicle.
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    Default Re: Halogen Headlight Bulbs and You

    Quote Originally Posted by Namakwalander View Post
    In my experience, I did not get long life out of Osram night breakers (...) and they broke my wallet more than the night.
    Me too.
    Beat-up rat rod of a '96 Nissan Patrol that bears the evidence of many wonderful adventures (and a few stupid indiscretions).

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    Default Re: Halogen Headlight Bulbs and You

    Thanks, I have just confirmed that the 2023 Raider has HB3 for Main Beam (Bright) and HB11 for low beam. Except for the whiter color of the light produced, there is not much of a benefit to all the after market bulbs (Osram, Philips and Hella). At least from what I could find.
    "When a clown enters a palace, he does not turn into a prince, the palace turns into a circus."

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    Default Re: Halogen Headlight Bulbs and You

    Quote Originally Posted by Luka View Post
    Thanks, I have just confirmed that the 2023 Raider has HB3 for Main Beam (Bright) and HB11 for low beam. Except for the whiter color of the light produced, there is not much of a benefit to all the after market bulbs (Osram, Philips and Hella). At least from what I could find.
    In my previous Hilux I changed the H4 to Osram Night breaker unlimited and the park light to LED, it made quite a difference. It was quite a mission to change the lamps because of the lack of space. The newer shape like yours seems just like too much of a hassle with the amount of lamps that have to be changed and even less space to work with.
    Last edited by Hennie84; 2023/11/29 at 01:04 PM.

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    Default Re: Halogen Headlight Bulbs and You

    Chat to Lappies from Syncro, he is really very helpful and would be able to say if a specific make and model of vehicle has known issues with LED lamps.
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    Default Re: Halogen Headlight Bulbs and You

    Quote Originally Posted by Luka View Post
    Thanks, I have just confirmed that the 2023 Raider has HB3 for Main Beam (Bright) and HB11 for low beam. Except for the whiter color of the light produced, there is not much of a benefit to all the after market bulbs (Osram, Philips and Hella). At least from what I could find.
    Many years ago I read an article that said that the blue coating on the bulbs is there to block out red, yellow and orange light. Meaning that you actually have reduced light output from the same wattage. But then, to counter this, the manufacturers (at least the ones not from China) wind the filament just a little tighter to have the same wattage, but a slightly brighter light. Problem is then that the tighter wound filament is also much hotter and therefore does not last as long.
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    Default Re: Halogen Headlight Bulbs and You

    When I looked into changing the bulbs on my Disco 2, I found that Osram made a bulb that was specifically made for off-road use. It's designed to be able to handle the higher vibration levels when off a tar road. I never followed up on where to get them as the Disco's lights are good enough for the limited night driving I do.
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    Default Re: Halogen Headlight Bulbs and You

    Regarding the LED lamps, there are lots of videos on YouTube to say what to look out for when changing to LED. Some say the part where the LEDs are needs to be as thin as possible to be as close as possible to where the filament would have been, and then there is also the debate around active (fan on the back of the globe) or passive (large fixed or flexible heatsink).

    Best would be to talk to someone that knows their stuff and has experience and I would also suggest testing back to back in the same location to compare.
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    Default Re: Halogen Headlight Bulbs and You

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Namakwalander
    In my experience, I did not get long life out of Osram night breakers (...) and they broke my wallet more than the night.
    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Connan
    Me too.
    Yip, me to.

    The night breakers on my Cruiser were far from great wrt brightness, one eventually failed and for what I paid for them made it an unwise purchase.

    Replaced them with "white light" halogen cheapies, which were brighter and cost about a quarter of the price and they are both still working a few years later.

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