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Review: DD SL1 vs VLEDS Micro Evolution

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  • #31
    Originally posted by Eddie View Post
    one more suggestion, make the lead from driver to bulb longer if possible. The drivers are kind of hanging from the headlights with the current SL1s
    Honestly, kind of tough there - we get feedback both ways. It's too long for many integrated assemblies (with dust cap etc). Should be no problem leaving the driver hanging, but we may add some tabs or mounting options in the future.

    Also, thanks to whoever approved my post above. Edited too fast and got flagged for spam earlier, whoops!

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    • #32
      Originally posted by Paul J. McCain View Post
      No concern with the fan, but I don't think our dimmer would support the dimming long term with the amount of current required. Good question though, I may have to try it out. We do have some ideas cooking on resolutions for this problem, but won't be available in the near future. I know Xenondepot does have a module, not sure how well it does or doesn't work!
      I thought the PWM modules have a current capacity of 2 amps and the SL1s have a current draw a little over 1.5 amps? It's a just for shits n giggles idea anyway,I picked up a few used modules off someone who used them for halos or something.

      Originally posted by Paul J. McCain View Post

      Honestly, kind of tough there - we get feedback both ways. It's too long for many integrated assemblies (with dust cap etc). Should be no problem leaving the driver hanging, but we may add some tabs or mounting options in the future.
      Gotcha, mounting tabs would be fine.

      Originally posted by HK45
      I don't even look to see what Eddie writes anymore. I'm too busy staring at his avatar.

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      • #33
        Quick update

        Replacement SL1 arrived. I think there were some updates done to the plastic surrounds, can't compare bulbs at the moment but will post pics hopefully tomorrow and maybe some meter testing if I head to work early.
        Originally posted by HK45
        I don't even look to see what Eddie writes anymore. I'm too busy staring at his avatar.

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        • #34
          Originally posted by Paul J. McCain View Post
          Appreciate your support! The revision will adjust the focus very slightly based on evo77's feedback. It was very curious, because our filament placement is entirely based on geometric standards that are well-defined... however, they are written to the base of the filament (vertically), with allowance for variation in total length. The standards are not specified from the center distance, if that makes sense, it is one side with a total distance from that starting point. That leaves room for variation apparently in the headlamp designs. We weren't too aggressive with it, but we did make an adjustment based on more testing in different generations of designs of lamps, and it is indeed a bit more focused, which nets as much as 5% more lux in some applications now. It is handled on the PCB, since we were not able to make adjustments to the whole casting at this stage, etc. I REALLY appreciate evo's feedback on the matter, don't know if we would have found it ourselves, since the LEDs were already in the "correct" position according to the standards. But as any good engineer should know, standard vs reality is not always the same.
          That's great to hear! The SL1 is already one of the best aftermarket LED headlight bulbs out there, so any improvement is icing on the cake, so to speak.

          I'll take proper focus over raw power any day. More light is nice and all, but it means nothing if it isn't focused. Until the G11 came along, every bulb I'd tried in my Accord's projectors failed to produce a hot spot, and flooded the foreground with an excessive amount of light. They may have been brighter than halogen overall, but the extra foreground illumination and the lack of a hot spot made them almost useless out on the road.


          I will have to get some G11s to do some testing. I know evo77 has reported good things, but I suspect it is largely due to power, and less about better alignment or focus in some way. The chips are newer, but they are dimensionally not a major difference from the ZES, and theoretically should be a bit more spread from the center. He and I have been discussing all this in detail privately though, I'm not calling anyone out here. And to be fair, I really can't say until I try them myself!
          Yeah, I'm not sure what's going on with the G11's. Their focus is good, for sure, but I don't know where all of that extra power is going versus the SL1. evo77's testing shows that the modified SL1 is nearly a match for the G11F in my car's Stanley H11 projector in almost every measure despite the considerable difference in power (7-8 watts). That said, evo didn't specify if those lux readings were recorded immediately after the bulbs were powered on, or if they were recorded after the output had stabilized. I suspect it's the latter, as (according to evo77) the SL1's output only drops 7% after being powered on for an hour (and most of that drop occurs in the first few minutes. Impressive thermal stability, indeed!), while the G11F loses a whopping 19% of its output in the same amount of time. That would definitely explain why evo's numbers didn't show an appreciable difference between the modified SL1 and the more powerful G11F. Waiting to measure output until it's stabilized is a great way to do it, as stability is much more important than peak performance IMHO. That 19% drop with the G11 is very noticeable, in my experience. They're amazing when they're first powered on, but they steadily become less impressive as I drive.

          Another important point: as evo has said, I think the SL1 really shines when it comes to the thermal design. There was a ton of work put into it, especially with fluid modelling on airflow to pull the heat away effectively. Anyway, even with all this, we are limited in brightness right now due to photometrics - NOT total power. We have to limit output at some point to meet photometric requirements, something we are still serious about here at Diode. Even if perfectly focused, you cannot put a 3000 lumen light source in to replace a 1500 lumen one, and expect to avoid glare, etc - this is the problem with PNP HID, moreso than the geometric differences of arc vs filament. We have to limit the lumen output as soon as we start pushing too much light above the cutoff, particularly in reflectors. Better focus is the only way to shine more light into the reflector segments that constitute the hotspot, while not also shining more light above the cutoff, etc. If anyone is still following me - basically, if you are serious about preventing glare, you cannot just keep pushing more and more output from the same chips. As an example, Philips replacement bulbs run at about the same total lumens or even less than halogen. End of the day, you cannot force more light out of the lamp design no matter how well you're focused. The design of the lamp is the limiting factor. (If you want to improve your intensity from there, buy a good set of SAE LED driving lights - best money you can spend to improve your vision at night - the purpose is specifically to supplement the center intensity of your lighting pattern with another 75,000 candela.)

          Anyway, even if we did want to blast as much power as possible, we are always at a disadvantage from that perspective too, since we design bulbs to run with J575 standards, which includes operation at 85C long-term. Most Chinese bulbs will melt if you try that, or "blue out" as the chips overheat... we've tried it. We scratch our heads at how some of these bulbs run at so much power, then we find out... they just do not last at those power levels. They are overdriven, running at temperatures that are way too high for long-term lumen maintenance, or even function for that matter for more than a year or two. So, we know we won't win on intensity. Someone else will run the chips hotter since they don't care about long-term performance or meeting SAE environmental standards.
          The SL1's thermal performance is incredible. As I mentioned before, evo77 noted only a 7% loss in output after an hour and most of that occurred in the first few minutes. That kind of thermal stability indicates that the SL1's cooling is more than up to the task.

          I definitely understand that there are limits to the amount of light that a housing can handle. I saw that just by running the H9 conversion in an H11 halogen projector. The overall output was great, but it came at the expense of added glare and increased foreground. While the glare and foreground were nowhere near PnP HID levels, the H9's would still annoy other drivers on occasion (especially if my headlight lenses were dirty). I've never had that issue with the stock H11 halogens, unless they were aimed too high, of course.

          I wish I could get a set of driving lights, but there's nowhere to put them on a 2017 Honda Accord sedan (without looking ridiculous, at least haha).

          And yeah, I have to wonder about the potential lifespan of the G11F considering that it's running at almost 30 watts. The fact that it loses nearly 20% of its intensity after running for an hour isn't very comforting, either. I suspect that they only have a 1-year warranty for a good reason.

          Instead, overall quality is our long-term focus. We want to offer a high-quality bulb that produces a safe LED beam pattern long-term, within photometric standards, with a reasonable upgrade in output. As we analyze our competition - entirely overseas designers and manufacturers - we know that this is a viable strategy, because we are better integrated. We are literally able to put more money into materials than others out there, that must go through another level of distribution from China to US distributors. The BOM cost on our products, before any assembly, is higher than the cost of buying the G11 and rebranding it. For example, the fan inside is the Sunon MC20100V1-000U-A99 - check the pricelist there (AND the new tariffs on this part, ugh). You can buy a set of headlight bulbs from China for less than one of our fans. Our intention is to invest more in the engineering and total build quality to offer a better-performing product from all aspects, not just one maximum lux point in one headlight, or a total lumen number.

          Thanks for letting me get on a soapbox - enjoy your weekend fellas!
          And that quality is why I look forward to the revised SL1. As I've said before, the G11 is a good bulb, but I'd rather have the peace of mind of DD's customer service and long warranty. If the SL1 V2 comes anywhere close to the G11's performance, I'm 100% sold! I can't wait to see a comparison of the two. Maybe I'll even compare them myself since I already have the G11.

          Wow, that fan is expensive! I don't know how much the tariff is, but even without it, just one of those fans costs a third of what the G11 costs when purchased from Alibaba (at a quantity of 10 for both items, at least). Yikes.

          Thanks for sharing all of that information, Paul! I look forward to the new SL1!

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          • #35
            I might be darn tempted to get a set of the SL1 to try out in my mothers 2010 Mazda3 H11 projectors, currently running H9's which are nice but I'm slowly growing concerned about the longevity of the bowls and wiring.

            I'm also eager to see how the improved bulbs stack up in high beam testing as well since that's the only thing that's still running a filament on the Celica besides my cosmetic fog lights.
            2000 Celica GTS 'slowest gts evar'
            1998 Mazda 626 FS-DE/CD4E 'mom-mobile'

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            • #36
              H9 won't cause you problems (unless you have cheapie without UV cutting glass).

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              • #37
                The heat might get to some cheaper made headlights. H9 is indeed a 65W bulb.

                2000 Toyota MR2 Spyder
                2017 Lexus CT200h F Sport

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                • #38
                  Originally posted by Bitter View Post
                  I might be darn tempted to get a set of the SL1 to try out in my mothers 2010 Mazda3 H11 projectors, currently running H9's which are nice but I'm slowly growing concerned about the longevity of the bowls and wiring.

                  I'm also eager to see how the improved bulbs stack up in high beam testing as well since that's the only thing that's still running a filament on the Celica besides my cosmetic fog lights.
                  Originally posted by niZmO_Man View Post
                  H9 won't cause you problems (unless you have cheapie without UV cutting glass).
                  Originally posted by Haloruler64 View Post
                  The heat might get to some cheaper made headlights. H9 is indeed a 65W bulb.
                  Yeah, that's another thing that worries me about the H9 conversion. I ran H9's for over 2 years in my last car (2014 Accord), and by the time I traded it in, the headlight lenses had a noticeable haze on the inside, right in front of the projector. I could only see it when the headlights were on, though, but it was pretty bad (the glare it created was pretty offensive, as well). The outside of the lens had no visible oxidation, only some very light scratches and swirl marks, so the haze must've been on the inside.

                  I have no way of knowing for sure if that haze over the projector was directly caused by the H9's, but it did seem to get progressively worse over time while running the H9's. My 2017 Accord is now 18 months old and is showing zero haze over the projector so far, which is something I couldn't say for the 2014. I've been running LED bulbs since March, and before that I was running the stock H11 halogen bulbs. Maybe the added heat is too much for some headlights, after all? FWIW, I was using the Philips Standard H9.

                  Another downside to the H9's was how quickly their output diminished over time. After just a year of use, I found they were no brighter than a brand new H11 bulb. But man, when they were new, they were amazing. I could travel about 100 feet behind another car and my low beams would put more light ahead of that car than their own headlights (if that car had halogen headlights, of course). I miss that, and no other bulb I've tried has been able to effectively put that much light down the road. They were so good, I never even felt the need to use the high beams as I could see clear to the cutoff line 400 feet ahead on a flat road. Ugh, just typing this almost makes me want to switch back to the H9's even if they do damage the headlights...

                  I will say, even though LED bulbs have come a long way in a short period of time, even the best ones can't match the down-road performance of the H9's in my car's projectors. It's not that the output isn't there, because it's close with the G11 (and modded SL1). It's how the light is dispersed below the cutoff line. With the H9 and H11 halogen bulbs, the hot spot sits tight to the cutoff line, which is optimal for distance performance (obviously). Every LED bulb I've tested, including the G11, has exhibited a slight gap between the hot spot (or hot area, in the case of everything that I've tested besides the G11) and the cutoff line. That gap might only be half an inch thick when projected on a wall from 6 feet away, but it becomes a lot more pronounced at greater distances. I'm not smart enough to calculate how much of an effect that half-inch loss in hot spot height at 6 feet has at a distance of say...300 feet, but I can tell you from experience that it reduces maximum distance illumination noticeably compared to halogen. I've found that this ultimately gives the impression that the lights aren't aimed quite high enough, even though they are.

                  Still, despite my complaints, I'm happy that we now have LED headlight bulbs that at least provide usable light output without creating excessive glare or foreground illumination. While I miss the H9's superior output, I much prefer the "aesthetic appeal" of the LED's. With LED fog lights and running lights, my car just doesn't look right with the ugly brown stock halogens (even if they did perform slightly better than the optional OEM LED headlights in IIHS testing).

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                  • #39
                    Maybe they build stuff differently over there

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                    • #40
                      Originally posted by th23 View Post
                      I will say, even though LED bulbs have come a long way in a short period of time, even the best ones can't match the down-road performance of the H9's in my car's projectors. It's not that the output isn't there, because it's close with the G11 (and modded SL1). It's how the light is dispersed below the cutoff line. With the H9 and H11 halogen bulbs, the hot spot sits tight to the cutoff line, which is optimal for distance performance (obviously). Every LED bulb I've tested, including the G11, has exhibited a slight gap between the hot spot (or hot area, in the case of everything that I've tested besides the G11) and the cutoff line. That gap might only be half an inch thick when projected on a wall from 6 feet away, but it becomes a lot more pronounced at greater distances. I'm not smart enough to calculate how much of an effect that half-inch loss in hot spot height at 6 feet has at a distance of say...300 feet, but I can tell you from experience that it reduces maximum distance illumination noticeably compared to halogen. I've found that this ultimately gives the impression that the lights aren't aimed quite high enough, even though they are.
                      Any time I test a lamp I always compare before and after against 6 specific points which represent far distance seeing. I add up the total and average it out. The first row is at 0.5 degrees down and the second row is at 1.0 degree down. Measuring closer to horizontal doesn't seem to be beneficial because this region starts infringing on the cutoff line gradient. Half degree down is usually where light intensity begins its ascent as you move downwards.

                      In your Stanley projector the G11F had significant gains in far distance despite any perceived gaps seen close to the cutoff line. I know you were originally having some issues with seating these bulbs so I wonder if there is some strange anomaly going on in your case.

                      But I can vouch that the G11F had a 75% increase in this region over the stock halogen (powered at 65W)!


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                      • #41
                        Awesome visual.
                        2000 Celica GTS 'slowest gts evar'
                        1998 Mazda 626 FS-DE/CD4E 'mom-mobile'

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                        • #42
                          Originally posted by Bitter View Post
                          Fantastic thread! Looks like there's finally some LED bulbs that match and exceed halogen performance in all metrics not just some or none and that may actually beat halogen in high beam application, might even edge out the 9011 bulbs!

                          So how good/bad is color compared to HID, OEM LED, and Halogen with the aftermarket LED? On par with OE LED? I have a low tolerance for blue light for long periods of time, really fatigues my eyes badly.

                          As always thank you to Evo77 and Diode Dynamics for their great posts on our forum.


                          I hope the DD SL1 V2's can edge out the 9011's. As of recent, I have been desiring a farther reaching high beam. The GTR Gen 3's, which I haven't found to be tested in a 9005 and the Supernova V4's (yet to be tested in a 9005) have been the only options short of retrofitting a Baja Designs S2 Pro or Squadron Pro into the high beam portion of my headlight housing (2nd gen GS300).
                          Last edited by TheMeenGreen; December 10th, 2018, 10:20 PM.

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                          • #43
                            Have the DD SL1 V2's been released yet? I am looking to order a 9005 set for my Yukon high beams and want to make sure I get the Evo77 properly aligned set with what sounds like a better built base.

                            EDIT: Got a response email from DD and they are saying the SL1 V2 is live now. I received their email response on Jan 30, 2019.
                            Last edited by torchred04; January 30th, 2019, 05:17 PM.

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                            • #44
                              Yes, all SL1 shipping are the v2 now. The main changes are cosmetic and for durability, but they also added rotational adjustment to the collars, and the chips are indeed slightly adjusted in focus, along the lines of what Evo77 discovered. Thanks!

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                              • #45
                                Is there a new version of the LED bulbs coming though? Like SL2? Not just a SL1 v2?

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