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H11 bulb shootout: GE Megalight +130, Osram Nightbreaker Laser VS. Standard H11 and H9

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  • H11 bulb shootout: GE Megalight +130, Osram Nightbreaker Laser VS. Standard H11 and H9

    The Koito H11 halogen projector is found in over at least a dozen different import vehicles in the US. Its popularity means there are also many drivers that want to upgrade their lighting to something *better*. From Camry to Tacoma, Altima and Murano, Mazda 3 and 6 -- so many vehicles, so many applications.



    I had a chance to do a quick comparison of a few new H11 halogen bulbs I picked up. The Osram Night Breaker Laser and the GE Megalight +130. Both with similar specs (blue glass coating with clear window for filament and xenon infused). I actually got curious about the GE bulbs from a user on a Tacoma forum who tested these as being brighter than even a H9. I definitely had to test this for myself for sure!



    The Osram and GE are comparable in performance. Surprisingly one bulb might have a little better light output than the other at one particular test point and then move to a different test point and its vice versa. The Osram had twice more glare when compared to the GE which I presume is because of the blue coating. The GE only covers less than half of the glass while the Osram covers about 80%. But neither exceeded legal limit. Foreground for the GE did get close to the legal limit but none of the bulbs maxed out the foreground.





    Although the Osram and GE bulbs do in fact boost performance (as well as a *slight* color change), the H9 comes out on top. But at the cost of added glare. In fact the H9 did exceed legal glare limit on the lower test point. Which means that you would have to aim the beam downward slightly, and that would result in less far distance lighting and increased foreground. I did not reaim the H9 and remeasure to see if there would still be improvements over the performance bulbs.

    Peak readings were all in slightly different locations. The H11 and H9 were pointed higher on the grid while the GE and Osram were half a degree lower. The original H11 of course has the best location since it is closest to the center H-V mark. The closer to H-V the more light you see further down road.

    This is why I feel that taking a peak reading and comparing with another bulb is not exactly an accurate way to determine performance. Because they are usually never at the same location. You must measure peak at the same location as the original peak. So even though the H9 shows a 43% increase in peak output, it also is a full degree to the right.
    GE +37.0%
    Osram +38.1%
    H9 +43.6%
    Last edited by evo77; February 20th, 2019, 10:19 AM.

  • #2
    Amazing write-up!

    Wow, I never expected that a 55W performance H11 halogen could go toe-to-toe with a standard 65W H9. That's quite impressive.

    I was actually about to order a set of H9's for my Accord, but I think I'll go for the Lasers instead. It's kind of disturbing just how much more glare the H9 produces without having a distinct performance advantage.

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    • #3
      Now THIS is how you do light output reading, not just a single "peak" lux reading that tells nothing useful. Thanks evo77, hopefully we can see many more comparisons like this.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by th23 View Post
        Amazing write-up!

        Wow, I never expected that a 55W performance H11 halogen could go toe-to-toe with a standard 65W H9. That's quite impressive.

        I was actually about to order a set of H9's for my Accord, but I think I'll go for the Lasers instead. It's kind of disturbing just how much more glare the H9 produces without having a distinct performance advantage.
        From my testing on an Auris with crappy Ichikoh H11 projectors, the Osram NBU and H9 were pretty much the same, except H9 had a slightly bigger blob, as this comparison shows.
        But I wonder how much longer would the H9 work compared to Laser/NBU.

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        • #5
          Yahwnn...

          The usual, typical, fantastic and accurate post from Evo77.

          Thanks heaps!!

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by niZmO_Man View Post

            From my testing on an Auris with crappy Ichikoh H11 projectors, the Osram NBU and H9 were pretty much the same, except H9 had a slightly bigger blob, as this comparison shows.
            But I wonder how much longer would the H9 work compared to Laser/NBU.
            Good question. I would guess they're pretty close, with both probably lasting around 150-200 hours. I never had an H9 die on me in my old Accord, but I did have to change them out every 6-9 months because the decrease in brightness over time was pretty noticeable. Putting in a new set after 9 months would always result in a significant boost in brightness, while changing them every 6 months would keep the performance somewhat consistent. In my usage scenario (don't drive a whole lot, but at least half of my driving is at night), I'd guess that the H9's would last about a year. But even if they were to last that long, they'd probably be no brighter than a new standard H11 by that point. As for the Lasers, I have no clue how long they'd last under similar circumstances since I've never tried them. The only aftermarket halogens I've ever tried were the original Sylvania Silver Stars waaaayyyyy back in 2004. I remember the first pair lasting a full year, while the second pair lasted only 6 months. I gave them one more chance when the SS Ultra's came out, and never went back after those only lasted 7 months. Unless they've made drastic improvements in longevity over the last 10-15 years, I wouldn't expect the Lasers (or any performance halogen, for that matter) to last much longer than 6 months of normal use.

            The H9 used to be my go-to for improved performance with a halogen bulb, but I noticed that after a few years of running them in my 2014 Accord, the headlight lenses had developed a significant haze right in front of the projectors. Normally, the haze wasn't visible, but when the headlights were on it was so bad that the projector couldn't be seen clearly through the lens. I suspect it was heat damage caused by the H9's, but there's no way to know for certain. Because of that, I've steered clear of H9's for my 2017 Accord. It's nice to know that there are H11 alternatives out there that can come close to the H9's performance without the extra wattage and heat. I never believed that to be possible before now.



            I've been looking at Bulb Facts' halogen charts and comparing them to the Tacoma thread and this one. It's tough to piece together what bulbs are actually worth buying. Bulb Facts' testing showed that the Night Breaker Laser Next Gen actually performed 13% worse than the standard Osram in a 2009 Mercedes E550 H7 low beam projector. The GE +130 improved performance by just 5% over standard in the same housing, but showed a 35% improvement when installed in an H7 high beam projector. Even more confusing is that the GE +120 and even the GE +90 out-performed the +130 in BF's testing. Out of all of the Osram bulbs, only the SilverStar 2.0 improved low beam output by more than 1% with a whopping 4% improvement over standard.

            I've mainly been using BF's charts as a "loose guide" for what halogen bulbs "might" be worth checking out. Outside of the higher-wattage bulbs that I want to avoid like the plague, a few bulbs on their chart have caught my attention. The first is the Philips XtremeVision 100%, which posted a 14% improvement over standard in the projector low beam and 30% in the high beam. Another is the Flosser Ultra 90%, which posted gains of 17% in the low beam and 34% in the high beam. Finally, I noticed that the standard GE Nighthawk edged-out both the GE Megalight Ultra +120% and +130% in low beam performance (+13% versus +12% and +5%, respectively), but was given a lower overall rating because its high beam performance of +19% fell short of the other two. Sadly, the highest-rated bulb on their chart, the Bosch Gigalight Plus 120%, isn't available in H11. Bummer. Out of the bulbs that I've just mentioned, I'm most tempted to try the Flosser Ultra 90%. Their numbers (low beam and high beam) seem to be the most balanced, plus they're less than $30/pair. The Philips XV 100's may also be worth checking out, and they're similarly inexpensive. The regular GE Nighthawks are on Ebay for $17, but the user reviews I've seen for the Nighthawk line in general have not been very positive.

            I may end up trying the Flosser Ultra 90's or the XV 100's. I'm not sure yet. I'll be switching back to LED once winter is over in a few weeks, so buying halogen bulbs that I probably won't use until next winter isn't exactly a top priority. Though it would be fun to do a real-world comparison between stock and the Ultras/XVs...

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            • #7
              Any chance you can measure power draw of the high performance bulbs and the H9 and maybe some bowl temperature measures comparing them as well?
              2000 Celica GTS 'slowest gts evar'
              1998 Mazda 626 FS-DE/CD4E 'mom-mobile'

              Comment


              • #8
                I applaud Bulbfacts for compiling a repository for bulb information unfortunately I do not have confidence in the numbers posted on that website. His methods are unverified and highly unlikely to be useful. I say this because simply taking random low and high measurements within the beam, without knowing where those points fall on to the field of view, offer no value. This is why I was sure to point out in this test that the peak measurements for each bulb were situated at different angles. If I had reported just the peaks and declared the H9 winner for this alone it doesn't necessarily show the whole picture. Because as you can see the H9 peak is one full degree to the right from the H11 peak which just means its situated more towards the right shoulder than directly straight ahead of the road. Now with this being said, this doesn't take away the fact that the H9 does still provide more usable light in that entire seeing region versus the H11.

                Also his tests are only using a two or three headlamps. And in one bulb application, H7. So they only apply to those specific vehicles and nothing else. Just like my test here. This test only applies to vehicles using the Koito H11 halogen projector. And so far I've documented 24 different vehicles (could be more).

                th23 I will be performing the same test on the Stanley H11 halogen projector soon which is found in 19 different vehicles (could be more). Stay tuned!

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Bitter View Post
                  Any chance you can measure power draw of the high performance bulbs and the H9 and maybe some bowl temperature measures comparing them as well?
                  The power draw numbers are listed in one of the images above (small font).

                  I could take some bowl temperatures with my thermal imager. You may have to give me some time on this one.

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                  • #10
                    Oops, I totally missed that. Interesting that the standard H11 used more amps than the performance bulbs, I wonder if that's due to a heavier filament for longer life? Are you measuring voltage at the supply or are you measuring at the bulb, curious what kind of voltage drop you're seeing on the wires for H11 vs H9, as in a car that difference in voltage drop can be large enough to close the gap between a H9 and lower power draw H11. I've seen some very small wires feeding H11 bulbs and start to wonder if the ideal conditions of the test bench aren't mirroring the real world under the hood.
                    That would be cool to see, no pun intended. I'm curious if the higher performance bulbs get that much hotter than the standard or as hot as the H9.
                    2000 Celica GTS 'slowest gts evar'
                    1998 Mazda 626 FS-DE/CD4E 'mom-mobile'

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by evo77 View Post
                      I applaud Bulbfacts for compiling a repository for bulb information unfortunately I do not have confidence in the numbers posted on that website. His methods are unverified and highly unlikely to be useful. I say this because simply taking random low and high measurements within the beam, without knowing where those points fall on to the field of view, offer no value. This is why I was sure to point out in this test that the peak measurements for each bulb were situated at different angles. If I had reported just the peaks and declared the H9 winner for this alone it doesn't necessarily show the whole picture. Because as you can see the H9 peak is one full degree to the right from the H11 peak which just means its situated more towards the right shoulder than directly straight ahead of the road. Now with this being said, this doesn't take away the fact that the H9 does still provide more usable light in that entire seeing region versus the H11.

                      Also his tests are only using a two or three headlamps. And in one bulb application, H7. So they only apply to those specific vehicles and nothing else. Just like my test here. This test only applies to vehicles using the Koito H11 halogen projector. And so far I've documented 24 different vehicles (could be more).

                      th23 I will be performing the same test on the Stanley H11 halogen projector soon which is found in 19 different vehicles (could be more). Stay tuned!
                      I agree. Without knowing exactly how the measurements are being taken, it's difficult to trust the numbers posted there. Besides that, those numbers really only pertain to those specific housings (as you said).

                      I can understand why their testing is limited to just those 3 headlamps (E550 H7 low beam projector, Kia Sorrento H7 high beam projector, and MKV Jetta low/high beam reflector). Adding more headlamps and bulb applications would be extremely expensive. I mean, just adding one bulb application for the volume of different bulbs/kits they've tested would've doubled the cost of their whole testing operation. They've tested at least 60 different halogen bulbs, not to mention the LED kits (50+) and HID kits (10+). That's several thousand dollars worth of bulbs and kits for just that one application. The only alternative would've been to test more applications of fewer bulbs/kits. That would broaden the relevancy of the test results, but at the same time, it would narrow the scope of the products being tested. It's difficult to say which is the best approach. Obviously, having more of both applications AND products would be best, but the cost of testing all of them would increase accordingly.

                      So I have to give Bulb Facts props for putting in the time, money, and effort of testing so many different products. Not many have dared to do that with lighting products on that scale (that I know of). I know Headlight Revolution has done tons of testing, as well, but they sell the products they test and they regularly make YouTube videos on those products. So it's obviously in their best interest to do that testing because it helps them sell more products, and therefore make more money. Bulb Facts doesn't have a store, nor do they upload to YouTube very often, so they don't seem to profit from their testing at all.

                      I really appreciate all of the work and testing you've done, evo77. I can't get enough of all of the information you've shared, and I especially look forward to seeing your next round of testing!

                      And I hate to make requests, but I'd love to see a head-to-head comparison between the Koito and Stanley projectors with the same bulb. I'm obviously biased towards the Stanley, but I'm curious to see which of the two is the best overall performer.

                      Originally posted by Bitter View Post
                      Oops, I totally missed that. Interesting that the standard H11 used more amps than the performance bulbs, I wonder if that's due to a heavier filament for longer life? Are you measuring voltage at the supply or are you measuring at the bulb, curious what kind of voltage drop you're seeing on the wires for H11 vs H9, as in a car that difference in voltage drop can be large enough to close the gap between a H9 and lower power draw H11. I've seen some very small wires feeding H11 bulbs and start to wonder if the ideal conditions of the test bench aren't mirroring the real world under the hood.
                      That would be cool to see, no pun intended. I'm curious if the higher performance bulbs get that much hotter than the standard or as hot as the H9.
                      My Accord has pretty thin wires for the H11 low beams, but as far as I can tell, they're no thinner than the wires that feed the 65W, 9005 high beam bulbs. I notice a huge difference in light output between a standard H11 and a standard H9 in my car, so the wires must not be holding the H9 back too much.

                      I'm more worried about the heat output of the H9 versus the H11. The H11 gets hot enough to melt heavy frost on the headlight lens within 60 seconds of being lit, which is impressive considering that the headlight lens is spaced apart from the projector lens by what appears to be almost 2 inches. So if the H11 is pushing that much heat through a thick glass projector lens and into the outer lens that's some distance away, I'd hate to see how much heat an H9 is producing. No wonder my old car's headlights were showing a haze over the projectors after running H9's for 2 straight years...

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Round 2 of the performance halogen test kicks off with the next most popular H11 halogen projector on the market. Made by Stanley, this projector is found in at least two dozen vehicles (possibly more). How much better can we improve the beam performance? Let’s take a look at the numbers and see!

                        Important note:
                        > None of the test points for any of the bulbs failed compliance to the US photometric standard except for one. And that was with the H9 bulb at test point 1.5U, 1R. This angle and its geometry points towards sign illumination on the right side as well as infringing on the center rearview mirror of preceding vehicles. By exceeding the maximum set forth, retroreflective signs could be “washed out” at certain angles which would make it difficult to identify the sign.

                        I was a bit surprised with far right-side illumination (near the cutoff) on the performance bulbs. I usually don’t see such small gains on that edge. I was expecting to see increases similar to that of the left edge. But it turns out that the GE and Osram both exhibited the same slight optical change which resulted in that right edge of the beam to point downwards just a bit more, reducing light output at that test point. The H9 had no problem maximizing that area but what’s interesting is that the GE and Osram made up for it by really punching through more light just below and to the left.

                        You’ll notice that the GE hotspot was slightly taller than the other three bulbs. This translated into more central intensity as well as more foreground illumination. The Osram for some reason had a very low peak on the vertical line despite having comparable numbers everywhere else in the beam.

                        Overall peak gains for the performance bulbs were relatively close to the original location of the H11 peak. Unlike the Koito halogen projector which had quite some separation between all peak points.













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                        • #13
                          Awesome! Thank you for doing this comparison test in the Stanley projector.

                          It's interesting that the Osram and GE bulbs actually change the shape of the cutoff towards the right edge. That's something you wouldn't expect with a halogen light source. The G11F produces a similar "droop" in the cutoff on that side in this projector, but that's expected since it's an LED.

                          It's a tough call between the Osram and the GE. The GE has better distance numbers, but I'm not fond of the tall hot spot and extra foreground. The Osram is disappointing at the V test point, but its width is pretty good, glare levels are low, and it produces less foreground than the GE. The H9 wins hands-down in average width and distance illumination, but that glare is pretty scary and I now know why people were so eager to get out of my way while I was running them in my 2014 Accord (something I've also noticed while running the G11's in my 2017). So it's basically a toss-up between the GE and Osram, but I think I prefer the Osram for producing less glare and foreground, as well as for having slightly better width to the right. The GE is about 20% cheaper, however, and that's also something to consider. Hmmm...

                          Going by your previous test numbers for the evo77-modded SL1 and G11F in this projector, I'm assuming it's safe to say that while the LED bulbs probably have a slight edge in width compared to the NBL/GE/H9, they can't match them in peak intensity and distance? If so, that seems about right based on my real-world experience with the G11F and H9. It's too bad the upgrade bulbs still look stock (though their color temperature is slightly higher), as color is really the only reason I prefer LED.

                          One thing that I do like about the H9's that isn't obvious in the output shots above, is the thick blue (err, should I say white?) cutoff band that they produce. When viewing the car in motion from a distance, they almost don't look like halogens due to the "color flicker". The stock bulbs produce more of a bronze/rainbow color flicker. Looking closely at the pics above, I'm going to assume that the NBL's and GE's produce the same effect as the H9, because I can see a bit of "white" in the cutoff directly above the step that isn't there with the standard H11. Unlike the other two, the standard H9 of course has no tint on the bulb, so I'm not exactly sure how it creates that effect. But that was definitely one of my favorite things about the H9, besides of course the dramatic performance improvement over stock.

                          Again, it's nice to know that there are H11 halogen bulbs out there that can nearly match the output of the H9 without most of its drawbacks. If only there were an LED bulb that could match them in terms of distance. As good as the SL1 and G11 are, they still fall a bit short (no pun intended). HID is the only plug and play alternative that can beat an H9 halogen in raw output, but we all know why plug and play HID isn't a good idea.

                          From now on, I'm going to recommend the GE and Osram bulbs to other Accord owners who are just looking for better light output. Thanks to this thread (and others), I can actually make recommendations to others and have the data available to back them up. Thanks again!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Interesting that other 'shops' can't be bothered taking multiple measurements of a beam like evo77 does HMMMMMMMMM

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I was going to buy a set of the Osram Night Breaker Lasers for my Accord after seeing this thread, but ended up getting sidetracked looking at different bulbs on Amazon. Actually ended up getting a set of Philips Xtreme Visions instead because I was able to purchase them for less than $10 (with a $5 off coupon and $7 worth of rewards points).

                              At first glance, they look very similar to the stock Philips Standard bulbs but with a semi-transparent "chrome" glare cap (with a thin blue band below it) instead of a solid black cap. Upon closer inspection, the filament coil of the XV is noticeably more compact than the standard bulb's filament coil. I don't know the specifics of the Xtreme Vision's construction, but it seems like Philips focused solely on making the filament as compact as possible rather than resort to a creative application of laser-etched blue tint (as with the NB Lasers).

                              As for performance, I'm not exactly blown away. They failed my "naked eye" test, where after installing one side in the daytime, I stand in front of the car and see if the new bulb is noticeably brighter than the old one. I know, it seems like a silly test, but in the past I've been able to see a clear difference between bulbs. The most notable being H9 versus H11, and 9012 versus 9006. Surprisingly, the biggest difference I ever noticed was when I replaced my E90 328i's stock H7 halogen bulbs with a set of Philips Vision Plus, but that may have been due to the stock bulbs being original equipment and therefore over 6 years old at the time. My Accord's stock bulbs have "only" been used for 18 of the 26 months that I've had the car, so that may be why I couldn't see a clear difference compared to the new XV bulb. Anyway...

                              Behind the wheel on pitch-black back roads is thankfully a different story, however. I didn't notice a staggering difference like I did with the H9's in my last Accord, but the difference was at least somewhat apparent. Whereas the H9's are proportionally brighter in almost all areas compared to stock (as you can see in the test results of this very thread), the XV's mainly provide a boost in areas where the stock H11's fall short. In other words, peak brightness doesn't seem to have changed much over stock, but there's better light spread towards the outer edges of the beam. With the stock bulbs, the output is heavily biased towards the center of the road ahead (including the foreground) with considerably less intensity off to the sides. The XV's appear to add a tiny bit of extra distance lighting without increasing the foreground, while also spreading more light out to the sides where the stock bulbs were sorely lacking. The result is a much smoother overall output, without that relatively heavy concentration of light in the center of the road that you get with the stock bulbs. As far as color temperature is concerned, the difference is extremely minor. Looking directly at the car, I honestly can't see a color difference between the XV and stock. On the road, the XV's appear to be slightly "whiter" but only just so. If the stock bulbs are 3200K, the XV's are 3400K at best. While I wasn't really counting on whiter light output, I am disappointed that they don't at least add a bit of blue color flicker to the cutoff line. Even the H9's do that in this projector, and they do so without any fancy tint on the capsule. Oh, well.

                              If Philips' goal was maximum peak intensity out of a 55W H11 halogen bulb, then I'd say they failed compared to the bulbs evo77 tested in this thread. However, if their goal was to more effectively fill out the beam compared to a standard bulb, then I'd say the Xtreme Visions are fairly successful. I was hoping for a greater increase in overall intensity, nearing what you get with the H9 conversion (something the NB Lasers and GE MegaLight +130's provide, but at a greater cost compared to the Xtreme Visions), but I can live with what I got. After all, poor width was my only real complaint concerning the performance of the stock bulbs (aesthetics are a another story, and why I'll soon be switching back to LED until Winter) and the XV's at least provide a noticeable improvement in that area.

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