Road legal Prius headlights upgrade, new Philips H4 LEDs or HIDs?

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Accessories & Modifications' started by FXG, Nov 6, 2015.

  1. FXG

    FXG Junior Member

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    Hi all,

    first of all, I realise there's an "HID to the max" thread but I'm interrested in the legal aspect of a headlight upgrade. I'm in the EU (UK) and the regulation is a royal PITA down here... anyways, to the point!

    I put 10,000 miles a year on my Gen2 Prius, split in 5,000 miles bumper to bumper in London's congestion zone, and 5,000 miles blasting at 85mph on the French autoroutes, mostly at night. (I intend to order a UOA to see what my engine oil looks like at the end of the year after this kind of treatment, but that's another story ;)

    The autoroute miles are mostly done at night, mostly with dipped beam due to oncoming traffic, and my Gen2's halogen headlamps are just really, really poor in that scenario. Of course I'm bound to outdrive ANY dipped beam at 85mph and the difference between laserlight and my glorified lanterns probably amounts to articulating "Oh sh..." if anything goes wrong (highly unlikely on those highways). Nevertheless, the current H4 low beams are so bad I do not even see any sort of light cut-off line on the road when driving, and I've decided to find a way around this ... on to pimping!

    There never was an HID option in the UK, so there are three potentialy road-legal fixes I can think of at this stage: 1/ brighter bulbs 2/ Import HID retrofit and 3/ Philips new ECE compliant 12953BWX2 H4 led bulbs.
    [​IMG]

    1/ is what I have done now, and while it proves entirely satisfactory in high beams, the low beam issue remains.

    2/ sounds nice but EU regulations demand that HID upgrades use

    - complete E-marked headlamp assemblies

    I strongly suspect UK and Japan headlights to have the exact same beam pattern, I've looked at sourcing OEM HID complete headlights from there and tried to look for an E marking, and so far the only informationf I've found is seen in the following picture. There's a weird symbol in a circle that doesn't quite look like the "E" I'm after, and the following "HCR" letters seem to indicate that these would have to be used with Halogen's in Europe, then there's the "D4R" that indicates pretty much the exact opposite... Can anyone decipher any of this? Would these be prone to the same issues that were widely reported in the US?

    Finally these are 2005 parts and I cannot find any HID japanese headlamp past that model year, were they later dropped or are there new parts for the following years?

    [​IMG]

    - auto levelling (if low beams intensity is >1,000 lumens)

    The headlamps come with adjusting motors, so it's down to retrofitting the US or Japanese levelling sensor, ECU and wiring it all up. I wonder if EU cars come with the required mounting points on the rear axle, and if their other ECUs will play nicely once connected (like displaying an error message in the event of a fault)

    - headlight washers (same condition)

    Haven't looked into this too much but I'll just go ahead and assume that's doable.

    3/ seems intially easier, those new leds seem like a great product, but in order to comply with ECE H4 requirements their low beam is ALSO limited to 1,000 lumens. I wonder if the much cooler color could make up for that fundamental flaw... Here are some interesting beam shots: H4 Philips LED Headlight Review | H4 LED kit Review | 12953BWX2

    Regulation-wise, those bulbs would not require headlight washers, nor a new complete headlamp assembly, but the auto-levelling feature would have to be present on the car. The good news is that EU headlamps manual adjustment motors are the exact same as those used in Japan and the USA's auto levelling HIDs, so I reckon the levelling sensors and ECU could be plugged in the exact same way, and regulate those H4 leds beam height. Again the issue would be regarding the other car's ECU and whether I could obtain full functionality, notably with regards to faults reporting (when that rear sensor begins to corrode... ;)

    I've officially digged as much info as I could from the web ... any help the community can offer would be more than welcome! As anyone in the EU attempted any of those mods? John (Britprius) seemed to have some insights I'd be curious to know how things worked out for him.
     
    #1 FXG, Nov 6, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2015
  2. valde3

    valde3 Senior Member

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    How are your headlamps aimed? Drive so that your headlights sine light onto the wall that’s something like 5m (15 feet) away you can use that to aim the headlamps. And while at it test if trying to move the bulb from connector (don’t remove anything to test this) gets it back to same spot every time. If not bulb may not be correctly installed or spring is lose (maybe from bulb being incorrectly installed in the past). You can just bend the spring to be tighter (you just can’t really see what you’re doing).

    Same light can have marking for both the halogen and HID bulbs. Isn’t the marking in the picture just E1 (E-approved by Germany)?
     
    FXG likes this.
  3. Britprius

    Britprius Senior Member

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    Hi FXG. I have the 2008 Prius Tspirit and this comes as OEM with self leveling headlamps "operating mechanism on rear NS suspension". I do not know if other UK Prius models are also fitted.
    I have come across the regulation for the need for headlamp washers, but that is easily added.
    As far as E marking on the lenses is concerned my headlamps have no markings at all, and they are the OEM units that came with the car when new. Photographs can be supplied if you would like.
    I have also come across a regulation that allows the use of headlamps without (E) markings where they come from a country that uses right hand drive vehicles such as Japan can be used in this country. I will see if I can dig this bit of legislation out, and link it for you.
    I agree the Prius headlamps are poor with halogen bulbs, but running 35w HID's with a sensible color rating I have not had problems with MOT or the police.
    Your information on the LED bulbs is useful, but as you say not much point if the low beam is not improved. Going to higher wattage halogens risks melting the lamp units.
    One thing that does help is fitting relays behind each headlamp, and bringing a heavier feed cable from the fuse box. The voltage drop on the OEM wiring is substantial. Try connecting a volt meter at the headlamps, and with the car made ready headlamps on they will struggle to reach 12 volts while the rail voltage will be at 14 volts or slightly more. That,s a 16.5% loss to the bulbs.
    Keep me informed of anything you find, and I will keep you updated.

    John
     
    FXG likes this.
  4. FXG

    FXG Junior Member

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    I checked the headlights height and they appear to be correct, will try to take a shot and post. I installed both bubls so I'm quite confident they're where they should be, I remember performing just what you're recomending when doing so. Anyway, I'll probably double check and go scratch my arms trying to reach for that bulb!
    Interresting info on the markings, I had the exact same idea about the E1 marking but they do not seem to match unless the pic really distorts it.
     
  5. FXG

    FXG Junior Member

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    My prius is an 07 (56 reg) T-Spirit, it only has a manual levelling and I didn't expect auto-levelling to be added in a later year, great piece of information. I will try to take a look at the voltage with my multimeter, although my 12v circuit never drops below 14.3. I replaced the OEM battery with a Bosch unit and these Calcium-Silver units never seem to fully charge with the prius standard voltage, or so the car seems to think. The light intensity change when the car switches the charger on as it starts (~+2V) is very noticeable.

    Marking/regulation wise I have found a bunch of informations, the "E like" symbol may be a JDM thing, and as Britprius suspected Japan conforms with ECE on a whole bunch of parts, including headlights, JASCO being the organism working on the harmonization process. There is a strict correspondance between JDM and UK headights as of today, however it us unclear whether they adhered to ECE R 98 for HIDs at the time the Prius was made. It also appears HIDs are usualy removed from japanese import cars when undegoing their type aproval here, so do these need to be type approved with the car by the manufacturer and did Toyota bother doing it or were there HIDs in smaller EU countries? Bit more research left to do here, as well as on why there appear to be no E-markings whatsover on any EU Prius headlights.

    As for those Philips H4 Leds, although they come advertised as a +150% ugrade part, their beam rating in Lumens is actually 1,000 Low / 1,250 High versus 1,000 / 1,650 for Philips' own... 130% halogen! Boyracer performance upgrade ;)
     
  6. Britprius

    Britprius Senior Member

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    FXG my car also has the manual thumb wheel adjuster. This sets the headlamps at the level you require, and this level is then maintained by the auto leveling system.
    As I suggested in my previous post though check the voltage at the headlamp bulb connectors with the headlamps turned on. You will be amazed how low this is compared with the rail voltage on your car of 14.3 volts. You will probably find as I did that it is below 12 volts at the actual bulbs.
    If fitting HID's this voltage drop does not matter because the HID inverter keeps the bulb voltage constant "self regulating" if the voltage falls it draws more current to compensate and so the power draw in watts remains constant. The HID's at 35 watts also draw less current than the OEM bulbs at 55 watts. Halogen 4.5 amps each, HID's 3 amps each. Halogen bulbs cannot do this if the voltage falls so does the current draw lowering the wattage. This also means the halogen bulb light output moves further towards the red end of the spectrum away from the whiter/blue end giving an orange/yellow light.
    Bringing in a supply through thicker wiring, and a relay makes a big difference to the light output. This could be as much difference again as what you are seeing when bringing the DC inverter charging system on line,

    John.
     
    #6 Britprius, Nov 9, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2015
  7. FXG

    FXG Junior Member

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    I would never have guessed, thanks a lot for that I will check this asap! Thanks!

    Yes I understood that right, the thinner the wire the bigger the drop, I will try to check, but those +130% bulbs are going to have one mighty bright and short life {Insert Blade Runner quote here}. Thanks so much for all the info and input John, really appreciated.
     
  8. DMC-5180

    DMC-5180 Active Member

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    FXG

    Your thread intrigued me enough that I decided to install that Philips H4 kit in my 2005 base model yesterday. All I can say at this point is HOLY CRAP these are awesome. I feel like I just got a new car. I do need to tweak the headlight alignment just a bit. It has nothing to do with the kit installation but was something I noticed when the halogens were installed. The driver light was slightly high and the high beam was above road level.

    I took some before pics but have not had the chance to get the after shots yet. I had been previously using Wagner HB2 9003BL halogens. These are similar to Silverstars ( with the same short life span). I've put 5 pairs of these bulbs in the car over the 70k miles I've put on it. I was tired of having to change bulbs every 5-6 months. When I removed the working halogen bulbs I was somewhat surprised to see both bulbs were black on the top and blistered.

    [​IMG]

    BEFORE:

    Low beam

    [​IMG]

    High beam

    [​IMG]

    AFTER

    Low beam LED

    [​IMG]

    High beam LED

    [​IMG]

    H4 Philips X-treme Ultinon LED Bulb | 12953BWX2


    Dennis
     
    #8 DMC-5180, Dec 9, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2015
  9. Britprius

    Britprius Senior Member

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    Is the wattage rating the same for the + 130% bulbs or is it achieved by raising the wattage. Two problems arise with higher wattage bulbs. One is the extra heat that is liable to damage the reflector or housing.
    Two is the higher wattage is found by raising the current that in turn increases the voltage drop in the supply circuit.
    I have seen on the market H4 bulbs rated at 100 and 150 watts. At 100 watts the current per lamp would be about 8.5 amps, and at 150 watts would be close to 13 amps per bulb.

    John.
     
  10. racersky

    racersky New Member

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    my god....is there a way to convert my factory HIDs in my 2006 prius to LEDs? These factory HIDs are terrible. Wish the HIDs on my prius can perform just like my STi.
     
  11. valde3

    valde3 Senior Member

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    Factory HIDs should be better than these H4 LEDs. What’s wrong with your HIDs? Are they aimed correctly?
     
  12. colmenedo01

    colmenedo01 Junior Member

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    interesting topic, I'd like to go deeper, could put pictures of the installation? need to change any H4 connector cable? dissipate much heat? thanks in advance, greetings!

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    I also miss transforms saw flashing LED rear

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]




    iPhone ?
     
  13. DMC-5180

    DMC-5180 Active Member

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    Unfortunately I did not take pictures of the install process. However, there is not much to it. I did remove the LH headlight housing. I have large hands and have always had difficulty replacing the burnt out halogens when it remained in place. I was able to install the RH side without housing removal. One thing to note. The black heat sink cannot be fully threaded onto the LED body. I was only able to get 50% thread engagement because the housing grommet cover is sloped at a steep angle. I'll try to get some photos posted next weekend.

    The kit is plug n play. No modifications required. I installed the RH in 5 minutes.
    The LH side took 20 minutes because of the housing R&R.
    Dennis
     
    #13 DMC-5180, Dec 13, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2015
  14. colmenedo01

    colmenedo01 Junior Member

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    ok, thank you very much for your answer, some pictures of the light beam led on a white wall thank if possible
    [​IMG]

    Also ask if dissipate much heat or reach very hot during normal use

    also I am glad that fits all ok without changing any cable instead, the LED indicators of the same brand they ok and installation is very simple if someone wants photo or video performance installation he asks and think as I put it, a greeting!




    iPhone ?
     
  15. jcgee88

    jcgee88 Member

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    There are a number of options and price ranges for upgrading the Gen II headlamps LEDs.

    I have the standard halogens on my '09, and have been looking for a reasonably priced, plug n
    play LED solution. Some plug n play LED headlamps I've seen are passively cooled, and some
    feature active (small, built-in fans) cooling. The latter seem to me to be probably more reliable,
    though I wonder how easy it is to install them in cramped quarters.

    Anyways, in addition to the Philips H4 LEDs* discussed throughout this thread, here are
    some other options I have found. Anyone tried any of these? [*$289 per pair, which is
    more than I want to spend, from XenonDepot.com]

    1. Some "German-made," $150-200 per pair, depending on options selected:

    [​IMG]

    Source: Dual Beams - Bi-LED: H4 (9003/HB2) Full LED Headlights Kit for Toyota Prius 2009: LED Headlights Kits - LED Conversion Kits - FREE Shipping & Lifetime Warranty | LedHeadlightsPro.com

    2. CREE, $119 for two from XenonHIDS

    [​IMG]

    Source: Dual Beam - Hi/Lo: H4 (9003/HB2) LED Headlight Kit | XenonHIDs.com

    3. Putco, CREE LED, $140 per pair.

    [​IMG]

    Source: Putco LED Headlight Bulbs - Best Price on Putco LED Headlight Conversion Kit

    4. Passively cooled, Philips LED from XenonDepot.com, $199 per pair (sorry, website would not let me cut/paste photo):

    Source: H4 LED Headlight Kit | H4 LED Upgrade

    --

    There may be others as well, but at this point, there are already too many
    choices to choose from, and given that any option is in the couple hundred
    bucks range, it's not easy to just try one.

    Disclaimer: I have no affiliation with any of the vendors listed above.
     
  16. colmenedo01

    colmenedo01 Junior Member

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    ok, I agree on everything, but I personally only inspire trust the Philips LED, soon buy I say that I installed the LED of the same brand in the rear indicators and quality and performance shows.



    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I note that only uses Philips screen projection beam of light on the road?

    Greetings!


    iPhone ?
     
  17. DMC-5180

    DMC-5180 Active Member

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    Here are my install photos.

    Driver side: Note the black heat sink touches the grommet at the top due to the steep angle. This only allows the heat sink to be installed on the LED base about 50%.

    IMG_1333.JPG

    Control box sitting above fuse cover. I have not secured it to a fixed position yet. The kit comes with zip-ties to aid in this. I may use two-sided VHB and stick it someplace convenient.

    IMG_1334.JPG

    Passenger side: You can see the thread engagement of the heat sink better on this side

    IMG_1330.JPG

    Control box tucked away.

    IMG_1335.JPG

    Some recent night shots after a snow storm.

    LOW BEAM

    IMG_1322.JPG

    HIGH BEAM

    IMG_1321.JPG

    Interstate highway drive: LOW beam only I forgot to take a High beam shot due to traffic approaching from behind me.

    IMG_1323.JPG

    Wall shots : I have NOT adjusted the AIM alignment from the halogens yet. The Product Details at for this kit at the XenonDepot are very accurate and clearly states you cannot expect the going from one lighting technology (Halogen) to another (LED) without some need to make alignment adjustments. Also that the nature of LED technology will always have some light scatter.

    LOW

    IMG_1336.JPG

    HIGH IMG_1337.JPG

    NOTE: the CAMERA makes makes the HOT spots appear much stronger and larger that it really is. In reality their are 2 hot spots L & R to the naked eye. I don't know how to adjust the camera to more accurately show what my eye sees.
     
  18. colmenedo01

    colmenedo01 Junior Member

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    hello, thank you very much for the photos, I see fit perfectly, although the heat sinks fail to curl at all?

    [​IMG]


    by the angle of the light bulb and the lid will change soon, Greetings


    iPhone ?
     
  19. FXG

    FXG Junior Member

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    That looks pretty impressive

    Just to close my remarks on the legal Front and ECE regulations:

    ECE regulaton with regards to light bulbs appear to be in terms of filaments positions and sizes, not in terms of beam patterns, therefore a LED bulb, no matter how closely it mimics the end results of a filament bulb, cannot be considered strictly road legal. The good news is that ECE have a working group at work on this matter as of now, so expect legal LED retrofit bulbs available in a few months / years.
     
    #19 FXG, Jan 3, 2016
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 3, 2016
  20. Britprius

    Britprius Senior Member

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    We will probably be out of the EC before they make a ruling,;)
    Can you confirm if your Prius has the headlamp leveling mechanism on the rear suspension and the actual model;- T3, T4, or Tspirit?
    The light output in the picture looks great, but unless it is the fault of the exposure in the camera the beam pattern is all, but none existent

    John
     
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