LED bulbs in Depo housings (2 Viewers)

lumbee1

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After driving in a rainstorm on a moonless night with oncoming traffic on a two lane country road, I realized my headlights were overdue for an upgrade. I seriously couldn't see s**t. I checked with the CFO before making a purchase. Once approved I checked ebay for Depo headlights. Neondials is offering his typical Depo headlight assemblies with H1 and H4 bulbs with adapters. The Depo assemblies seem to be an incredibly popular upgrade even with halogen bulbs, however projector conversions are the bees knees and come with a similar price tag.

With the wide range of LED bulbs on the market, surely there must be something that works well in the Depo reflectors. I did a ton of searching on Amazon, ebay, and youtube trying to find the best ones. My budget was more than $30 and less than $50. The amazon reviews were just about worthless. Youtube was better but folks made videos with their phone in auto mode and most of the lights looked very similar. Not only that, each housing is different and what looks great in one reflector might look like a disco ball in another reflector.

Several brand names continued to pop up in my search. Bevinsee, Auxito, Alla, Beamtech, Boslla, Hikari. The Depo low beam is H4 and high beam is H1. I wanted to concentrate on just low beam replacement bulbs for now but I will say that during my testing that the H1 halogen bulbs put out a tremendous amount of heat through the front of the glass and I will be searching for H1 replacements very soon.

A good LED replacement bulb should match the halogen bulb's filament spacing from the back of the mount. A filament is a coil of tungsten inside of a glass globe. LED's are mounted on a PCB and cannot provide that floating in air light source like a halogen filament but the thinner the PCB the better. I won't cover heat soak or cooling, internal vs external driver, or activating the high beam on the H4.

Testing:
Canon 80D with 24-70mm 2.8L MKII
  • Aperture f/6.3
  • Shutter 1/15 sec
  • ISO 400
  • Exposure 0
  • Focal length 24mm
  • While balance 5000K
I took a few test shots to make the photo on the camera image preview match what I was seeing in both color and output. Only one bulb is actually on during the test. No other lights were present including the moon. Garage to front of headlight was 17 feet (best I could do). Garage is a paneled garage door (again sorry).

4 LED bulbs with links to each.

Photos were necessary to gauge how much light spill was present above the cutoff. The cutoff with all of these bulbs was a mess but there were some surprises.

BEAMTECH H4 LED Headlight Bulb, 50W 6500K 8000Lumens Extremely Brigh (9003 Hi/Lo) CSP Chips Conversion Kit
$38.99
1602818445169.png


Exposure -2.0. Contrast -100
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AUXITO H4 9003 LED Headlight Bulbs, 12000LM Per Set 6500K Xenon White for High and Low Beam Hi/Lo Plug and Play, Pack of 2
$49.99
1602818654746.png


Exposure -2.0. Contrast -100
1602818680623.png
 
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lumbee1

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Bevinsee H4 9003 LED Headlight 60W 10000LM 6000K White Bulbs Kit,2pcs
$21.77
1602819438376.png


Exposure -2.0. Contrast -100
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AUXITO H4 9003 LED Headlight Bulb Fanless 9000 Lumens Adjustable Beam 6500K Xenon White High Low Beam HB2 Conversion Kit Pack of 2
$39.99
Full rotation. This bulb is adjustable unlike the rest. There are approximately 8 to 9 settings.
1602819597280.png


Exposure -2.0. Contrast -100
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lumbee1

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AUXITO H4 9003 LED Headlight Bulb Fanless 9000 Lumens Adjustable Beam
Same as above but rotated to notch 6.
1602819776475.png



Exposure -2.0. Contrast -100
1602819788933.png


For comparison, I purchased these.
Philips X-treme Vision +130% Headlight Bulbs (Pack of 2) (H4 60/55W)
$18.00
1602819870995.png


Exposure -2.0. Contrast -100
1602819893125.png
 
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lumbee1

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Followup:
  • The Beamtech was a non-adjustable LED bulb with a removeable collar and a large heatsink for passive cooling. The light pattern was controlled unlike the Bevinsee but was tall and narrow with lots of spill.
  • The non-adjustable Auxito looked promising. I drove with this bulb to dinner one night and was surprised to be able to see the light from the LED on the ground. The hot spot is super bright but the output is strange. The cutoff is actually at the bottom and quite jagged with scattered light above. Driving with this light I noticed spill on the back of cars which I didn't like. This is also a VERY old design with poor construction to match but it did better than Beamtech and Bevinsee.
  • The Bevinsee was just a mess. I'm not a fan of active cooling due it being one more component that can wear out and the Land Cruisers in general are subject to pretty extreme conditions. The fan on one sample was not balanced and I could feel vibrations through the fender.
  • The adjustable Auxito was a nice surprise. It was the last light to be installed and actually shocked me how smooth and controlled the light output was. The removeable collar made installation easy and the passive heatsink might be the largest of the bunch. I didn't think the adjustment would make much of a difference but again I was surprised as I rotated the bulb and the output went from tall and narrow to thin and wide with a better hotspot. Projector quality? Helllll no but better than the four other options.
  • Halogen. I have nothing nice to say about these. Short life, brown light, dimm, and runs very hot. There's no additional wires and so installation is easy but don't touch the bulb.

Subjective ranking:
  1. Auxito adjustable (by a FAR margin)
  2. Auxito non-adjustable (probably a short life LED that has to be aimed further down)
  3. Beamtech
  4. Halogen
  5. Bevinsee

I am actually a bit disappointed in my photos. It doesn't capture the real life in person experience of each LED. The difference between halogen and really any of the LED's is drastic in both terms of color and output but the photos don't show that. The light spill from the Beamtech is much higher than what is captured in the photo. The non-adjustable Auxito hot spot is not that bright and the light output was like a crown with strong light at the bottom but fingers that rose up. I'm pretty happy with the adjustable Auxito bulbs but will continue to watch the H4 market for new contenders.

Would a pair of $180 LED bulbs have been that much better than the samples I reviewed? Nope. LED location on the PCB is hyper critical. A 2 or 3mm difference in the fore or aft location of the LED's makes the light output jump from a narrow spot to a giant circle. The big contenders like GTR ($180) use the same LED's and quality control is better but once the light leaves the chips, it's up to the reflector to focus the light out the front. In all honesty, the GTR could look like the Bevinsee sample above.

I hope this information helps and would love to see someone else step up with recommendations for H4 LED bulbs for the Depo headlight assemblies. Last step for me is to adjust the height of the light output on the Auxitos to find the balance between viewing distance and blinding oncoming drivers.
 
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The Auxito H4 9003 adjustable (9000lm) look to be plug and play unless I’m missing something. Pop out old bulb and put in new? Any wiring needed? any issues blinding oncoming traffic?

Thanks!
 

lumbee1

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The Auxito H4 9003 adjustable (9000lm) look to be plug and play unless I’m missing something. Pop out old bulb and put in new? Any wiring needed? any issues blinding oncoming traffic?

Thanks!
You got it. Just do not expect the same level of light output that @Luke111 is showing. The plug-n-play LED's are bulb replacements. Each one has an additional wire that comes off the LED to plug into the adapter. That adapter plugs into the OEM harness.

The primary purpose of my experiment was to show the WIDE variation in LED output and demonstrate that there are LED's out there that are safe to install in Depo headlight assemblies that will not blind oncoming drivers.
 

lumbee1

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I know some of the higher end LED's are adjustable but I haven't experienced a set to date that work in a reflector without blinding on coming traffic. I hope you find the proper setup. Have you considered retrofitting an HID projector in the DEPO housing? It's a simple retrofit and the output in outstanding.

Lou




View attachment 2466875


View attachment 2466876

A projector conversion is $300 to $400 while drop in LED's are $38.99. Eventually I will gut my Depos and install projectors but dual battery, radiator, Depo headlight assemblies, and Depo corner lights ate up my budget for the rest of the year.

I might make a new post for my dual battery setup. It was done on the cheap with a used National Luna intelligent solenoid, battery controller, BlueSea breaker, and 2AWG Windynation cables run underneath the cross member.
 
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You got it. Just do not expect the same level of light output that @Luke111 is showing. The plug-n-play LED's are bulb replacements. Each one has an additional wire that comes off the LED to plug into the adapter. That adapter plugs into the OEM harness.

The primary purpose of my experiment was to show the WIDE variation in LED output and demonstrate that there are LED's out there that are safe to install in Depo headlight assemblies that will not blind oncoming drivers.
Nice. Going to give ‘em a go. For what it’s worth, Amazon has a $8 coupon to go with, so $31.99 for the pack of two.
 

lumbee1

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No LED bulbs lower than 6000k color temp? That’s too blue IMO. I’ve done projector retrofits, the first being done in 2005 and found nothing beats 4300k. Especially when the road is wet.
I am very sensitive to LED color temperature and have been working with high power LED's for more than 10 years. I actually prefer white with a slightly green tint but I digress. I set the camera white balance to 5000K to match the color temp of the LED's. I did this based purely on what I was seeing on the garage door and the image preview on the camera. My guess is that the LED color on all the bulbs is closer to 5000 to 5300K. 6000K is an ugly color and manufacturers should be working to reduce the color temperature and not advertise 6000K as a good thing. I prefer light between 4500 and 5000K for headlights personally but use warm white LED's throughout the interior of the truck to give that older incandescent feel to match the age of the vehicle.
 

lumbee1

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Don’t have to be moving.
I know :) Just kidding. Finding a long enough straight road in my area might be tricky. Plenty of country roads but intermittent activity could also lead to a dangerous situation with some guy in a Land Cruiser stopped in the middle of the road taking pictures.
 

Luke111

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One test would be to sit in a sedan as your truck approaches at night.. don’t base whether people flash at you as a baseline for blinding on coming drivers. I run LED’s in the stock projectors of a 2011 Prius.. the projector provides a cutoff and I have them adjusted properly . I did the drive by test and even with a cutoff I adjusted them lower.
 
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I drove with the Auxito adjustable LED's tonight. Really like them. I still need to make final adjustments but very nice upgrade without blinding oncoming drivers.
What did you do for the rubber boots around the headlight housing and bulbs? I was hoping the LEDs would split at the heat sink so I could slip the boot over, but short of potentially breaking it, I don’t see how?

EDIT: Disregard, I’m a klutz. Here I am trying to separate when they TWIST:rofl:

Also, new Silverstars in driver’s and Auxito adjustable in passenger...

3BD5D5C7-78C4-4E20-8356-4615542EC719.jpeg
 
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