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Swap: ZKW-R lens into Bosch/AL E46 Bi-xenon projector

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  • SteveYem
    replied
    Originally posted by satrya View Post
    It is my impression that e46 is more about a strong hotspot for that distance reach ahead, but not seeing that many lanes to the sides. I believe, even with the OE lens, if it were possible to slightly shorten the lens distance (i.e. moving closer to the bowl), the beam will spread out a little bit, at the expense of reduced hotspot intensity. But this exercise can't be pushed too far lest the beam pattern be completely useless afaik. I would keep the e46 for what it is good for, and perhaps look for a different pair of projectors for width.
    Interesting. For what it's worth, the headlight assemblies that I modified are US-spec which have projector bowls stamped 'SAE' that look like this:


    with this this cutoff shield:



    Meanwhile, I also have a set of European-spec headlights which are the same basic design except that the projector bowl is stamped 'RV' and looks like this:


    with this cutoff shield:


    Note, both cutoff shields are photographed looking with flow, i.e. from the bulb toward the lens, so the 'RV' shields are not pictured, but they are there on the opposite sides.


    I have been alternating between using my unmodified Euro-spec headlights and the modified US-spec headlights (swapping the same bulbs between the two sets for consistency) and I can say that the overall color and cutoff line of the modified US-spec headlights is superior, but the total light output (forward and to the sides) of the EU-spec headlights is better.

    Comparing the two projector assemblies, I noticed the following differences:
    * The US spec projector bowl has two little 'lumps' just to the left of the opening for the bulb, looking into the bowl per the photo above. I'm not sure what function those lumps serve, but they are not present in the Euro spec bowls
    * The US spec bowl appears to be flatter across the top than the Euro version
    *The contour and length (or depth?) of the ridges along the bottom of the bowl is different between the two
    * The cutoff shield for the US spec projector is much straighter than the Euro spec, which angles down significantly to the right (when looking from bulb to lens), resulting in more light being thrown up and to the left from the driver's perspective. Maybe this alone, or at least in large part, is what allows the Euro spec headlights to have better peripheral light projection?
    * The Euro spec headlights have a much more pronounced step/elbow in the shield. What I've noticed when running these unmodified headlights is that there is a dark, shadowy area between where theses steps are in the cutoff of the beam between the two projectors. It creates a dark spot on the road ahead which is not ideal for driving.


    I've really been trying to resist the temptation to modify my Euro spec headlights, because they come at a premium price here in the USA and I would rather not hurt their value by modifying them....but something tells me that the wide and strong light output I really wanted from my US-spec lights can only be had by the Euro spec lights. I already ordered a second set of ZKW-R lenses and replacement butyl sealant just in case I get inspired next weekend...

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  • satrya
    replied
    Originally posted by SteveYem View Post
    - however, the light output to the sides is not very good. I can see the cutoff line at the sides, but the intensity of the light is very weak.
    It is my impression that e46 is more about a strong hotspot for that distance reach ahead, but not seeing that many lanes to the sides. I believe, even with the OE lens, if it were possible to slightly shorten the lens distance (i.e. moving closer to the bowl), the beam will spread out a little bit, at the expense of reduced hotspot intensity. But this exercise can't be pushed too far lest the beam pattern be completely useless afaik. I would keep the e46 for what it is good for, and perhaps look for a different pair of projectors for width.

    Leave a comment:


  • SteveYem
    replied
    Originally posted by satrya View Post
    +1 Not having to go back and forth to a garage (or even worse, outside in the snow) helps a lot.
    Yes, exactly. The first time I installed the clear lenses into these headlights, I did iterate through a few setups - no washers, 1 washer at each screw, and 2 washers at each screw. Each iteration involves removing the mounting screws from the projector to the auto-leveling bracket, and removing the screws from the lens holder to the projector bowl one by one to add/remove washers, then reassemble and carefully fit the assembly back into the car to check the results. Unfortunately, I had the car parked in the garage with only ~5 feet from the front of the car to the garage door, so I could not obtain any really meaningful results. It was only after I sealed the headlights back together and went out for a drive that night that I could ascertain whether the results were favorable.

    I have to say, the aesthetic of my modified headlights in their current state is good - the light seems to be dispersed fairly evenly throughout the beam pattern with no weird shadowy areas, and the cutoff line is fairly sharp (depending on where the cutoff shield is adjusted) - however, the light output to the sides is not very good. I can see the cutoff line at the sides, but the intensity of the light is very weak. This is what has me wondering whether 2 washers was too much spacing, and maybe I should have gone with 1 instead. I am wondering whether I am fighting against the design of the projector bowl itself which may not lend itself to great peripheral light output. Unfortunately, I did not test this set of headlights in stock form before modifying them and therefore do not have a baseline performance gauge for these projectors.

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  • satrya
    replied
    Originally posted by SteveYem View Post
    Thanks, as always, for the input. I'm learning a lot here! And this trial and error is exactly why I need to get my bench power supply working!
    +1
    Not having to go back and forth to a garage (or even worse, outside in the snow) helps a lot.

    Leave a comment:


  • SteveYem
    replied
    Originally posted by satrya View Post
    When replacing a lens with another, it is difficult to know whether the replacement lens has the same focal length or not as the original one. Ideally, you want to make sure both the focal length and external dimensions (e.g. thickness, diameter, lip size, etc.) are identical. Note that identical external dimensions with slightly different lens material may result in a different focal length, as the glass' index of refraction (i.e. a material property) can affect a lens' focal length. Assuming the focal length of a replacement lens is not too different, and that the external dimension allow for mounting, the key is to make sure that the focal point of the new lens sits in the same position as the original's focal point. There is no reliable way of knowing this empirically, so you'd have to do some trial and error. So yes, ensuring that the back of the lens retains the same distance is not necessarily going to guarantee the correct beam pattern.
    Thanks, as always, for the input. I'm learning a lot here!
    And this trial and error is exactly why I need to get my bench power supply working!

    Leave a comment:


  • satrya
    replied
    Originally posted by SteveYem View Post
    - for a given spacing from back of lens to bulb to projector shield, how does the depth/thickness of the lens affect the light output? Should I have added those washers, or did the deeper lens take care of the problem for me?
    When replacing a lens with another, it is difficult to know whether the replacement lens has the same focal length or not as the original one. Ideally, you want to make sure both the focal length and external dimensions (e.g. thickness, diameter, lip size, etc.) are identical. Note that identical external dimensions with slightly different lens material may result in a different focal length, as the glass' index of refraction (i.e. a material property) can affect a lens' focal length.

    Assuming the focal length of a replacement lens is not too different, and that the external dimension allow for mounting, the key is to make sure that the focal point of the new lens sits in the same position as the original's focal point. There is no reliable way of knowing this empirically, so you'd have to do some trial and error.

    So yes, ensuring that the back of the lens retains the same distance is not necessarily going to guarantee the correct beam pattern.

    Leave a comment:


  • marcos
    replied
    About rechroming -> pls, dont do it?

    Why?

    1. Do you know layer thickness ?
    2. Are you able messure thickness of layer?


    Without drawing or laboratory measurement is no chance to know thickness of layers. Every projector has some thickness. But no chance to know how much.

    And Why is thickness of layer important? Check images. / both images compare re-coated and new projector. Check measurements ....






    Odoslané z môjho iPhone cez Tapatalk

    Leave a comment:


  • SteveYem
    replied
    ^^ Thanks as always for the great input.
    I ended up opening the headlights again to swap the cut-off shields from side to side, because during my first go-round I had bent the RV shield out of the way on the driver side but left it intact on the passenger side - which was the exact opposite thing that I should have done, because it resulted in blinding oncoming drivers and constantly getting high-beams flashed at me until I aimed the headlights so low that they were barely useful.

    So I went from this:


    to this:


    That little dip in the driver side beam pattern, created by the RV shield, gives relief to oncoming traffic with the lights aimed at a reasonable height. Meanwhile having the RV shield bent out of the way on the passenger side makes for a nice, even beam pattern across the middle. So, I think that was a successful endeavor!

    Now, I have a question (again) regarding the spacing of my ZKW-R clear lenses. As I described in a previous post, the ZKW-R lens does not sit all the way forward in the lens holder bracket, so I added flat washers between the lens holder and the projector bowl to locate the back of the lens roughly into the same position as the stock lens. But then it dawned on me that the stock lenses are 22mm deep while the ZKW-R lenses are 24mm deep. So, now I need some more education - for a given spacing from back of lens to bulb to projector shield, how does the depth/thickness of the lens affect the light output? Should I have added those washers, or did the deeper lens take care of the problem for me?

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  • satrya
    replied
    Originally posted by SteveYem View Post
    Side note: From reading various discussions here, I gather that 'E46' is a reference to the BMW chassis generation on which this particular style of bi-xenon projector was used, but I have not seen it explicitly explained that way. Can anyone confirm that?
    Yes, both e46 and e55 aren't real projector names. Rather, they refer to examples of particular car models where the OE projector can be found in.

    Originally posted by SteveYem View Post
    Maybe I can hone in on it by having answers to the following: 1) For maximum light output, i.e. usable light on and to the sides of the road, was I right to add the two #6 washers to space the clear lens? 2) Assuming I removed the two washers and installed the lens holder directly to the bowl, still with the ZKW-R lens not fully seated in the lens holder, would I be able to dial in a sharp cutoff line with that nice blue color using just the cutoff shield adjustment screw? 3) Does the nice sharp cutoff line with blue color only come at the expense of usable light output on this style of projector? 4) Does it make sense that my current setup as described above would provide less usable light output than the
    The amount of washer may vary, and there is no guarantee that the same number of washers will work for both projectors. This is because most washers aren't guaranteed to have the exact same thickness, and lens placement may not be precise enough.

    I would take the following perspective when tweaking the lens and shield;
    The beam pattern depends on the alignment (which includes position and orientation) of the bulb, reflector bowl, and lens relative to each other. Any deviation would alter the beam pattern. When the lens lines up where it should be relative to the bulb and bowl, you will get the best hotspot and width as designed. Some adjustable flashlight illustrate this effect; turning a dial one way alters the position of the bulb relative to the bowl, resulting in a wider (but weaker) beam. Turn the other way, and the beam gets narrower (and more intense). Replacing the bulb + parabolic reflector of the flashlight example with bulb + ellipsoidal reflector + convex lens makes things a little bit more complicated, but the general principle still applies.

    Then, the shield placement affects whether the edge of the shadow (as cast on a distant wall) is blurry vs focused, and whether the colorband is on the bluer vs orange side. Many portions of the beam are generated by more than 1 light path bouncing from different parts of the reflector bowl, and tweaking where the edge is relative to the focal point of the lens has a particular net effect (of blur vs focus and blue vs orange). At this point, the beam width and hotspot intensity won't really change.

    Originally posted by SteveYem View Post
    5) As far as I can tell, the only purpose of the RV shield is to create a small 'dip' in the light beam at the cutoff line, just to the driver side of the step in the cutoff (i.e. to the left of the step for us LHD drivers), which maybe helps to keep from blinding oncoming drivers when the headlights are aimed properly. Does anyone know for sure what its purpose is? My headlight projector (in pieces), presumably 'E46' style:
    There are variations to the "RV shield" in different projectors. In some, it also has a slight tilt, allowing it to act as a squirrel finder (reflecting some unused light upwards to squirrel climbing up trees). It appears that this one has an elbow (what people here call "step") solely for the cutoff, which looks almost similar to the elbow in the larger shield. One way to explain this is that if you take a cross section of a projector from the side (i.e. a 2-dimensional projector with only up-down and forward-backward, but no sides), the path of light from the bulb outwards that end up at a particular location down the road can come from more than 1 way. The 2 separate elbows are there to ensure that light reaching opposite traffic isn't unacceptably high.

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  • mayurhuria
    replied
    SteveYem no output shots?

    Leave a comment:


  • SteveYem
    replied
    I know this is an old thread, but I read through all 14 pages of it and I think it's relevant to my situation. So, instead of starting a new thread I figured I would describe my situation and pose my questions here:

    First and foremost, I am relatively new to the headlight modding world having done my first clear lens swap just a couple weeks ago. The job was to swap a set of ZKW-R clear lenses into my US-spec OEM B8.5 ('facelift') Audi S4 headlight projectors. The headlights are made by AL and I believe they use 'E46' style projectors - photos below for reference.
    Side note: From reading various discussions here, I gather that 'E46' is a reference to the BMW chassis generation on which this particular style of bi-xenon projector was used, but I have not seen it explicitly explained that way. Can anyone confirm that?

    As others have reported in this thread, the ZKW-R lenses did not sit all the way down in the lens holder due to the rim around the OD of the lens being larger than that of the OEM lens. Photo included below shows the final fitment of the ZKW-R lens in profile view. My first iteration of the project was to install the lens holder with new clear lens directly back onto the projector bowl, i.e. with no washers to space the new lens away from the bowl. The result was a lot of yellow/orange light around the cutoff line with a weird shadowy dark spot just to the left of the cutoff.

    The next day I opened the headlights again and added two(2) #6 flat washers between the lens holder bracket and the projector bowl at each of the mounting screw locations. The goal was to re-establish the same distance between the projector bowl and the back of the lens that existed with the stock configuration. During this iteration I also bent the RV shield down out of the light path to get a sharper cutoff line. The result was a relatively sharper cutoff line, but still with considerable amount of yellow/orange/brown light at the cutoff.

    As I was getting ready to open the headlights yet again for iteration #3, I discovered the cutoff shield adjustment screw on the side of the projector, accessible from the back of the headlight housing when it is fully assembled. I started to play around with it and quickly found that at the ~20 foot distance between my headlight and garage door, having the screw backed out all the way such that the shield rested as far back as possible in stock form yielded the sharpest cutoff line with the most blue-ish color. Conversely, adjusting the screw all the way in to push the shield as far our as possible blurred the cutoff line and shifted the color to yellow/orange/brown. Again, this is at ~20 ft distance.

    (The plane is circling but I'll land it soon.....)

    All of the above pertains to the driver side headlight. For the passenger side, I also swapped in a ZKW-R clear lens and added the two(2) #6 washers at each connection point between the lens holder and projector bowl, but I left the RV shield intact. Currently on both projectors the cutoff shield screw is backed out to allow the shield to sit as close as possible to the bulb, giving me that nice sharp cutoff with blue coloration at my ~20 ft test distance.

    My observation is that the driver side, which was the RV shield bent out of the way, has a narrower beam spread than the passenger side which has the RV shield intact. For example, when I am driving on a two-lane road, I can see the cutoff line off the opposite side of the road, shining into a field or whatever is over there, but the light over there is not very intense. I played with adjusting the side-side adjustment of the projector to try sending more light over there but it did not seem to help. Meanwhile, the passenger side seems to send more light off to the side. AND, overall, the peripheral light output of both modified projectors seems to be less than the set of OEM European spec headlights that I was using right up until I put the modified lights in, and the only difference between the OEM US-spec and OEM Euro-spec headlights is that the US version has lenses with dimples/fresnel throughout the entire lens while the Euro-spec headlights only have ~8 dimples right around the center of the lens. I transferred the bulbs from the Euro-spec headlights into the modified US-spec lenses so there is no variable there. For reference the bulbs are Philips Xtreme Vision gen.1 with probably 200-300 hours on them.


    (Deep breath....we're almost to the end....)

    So - before I go baking these headlights apart yet again and spend another weekend on this, I'm wondering if anyone can clue me in to what is going on here. Maybe I can hone in on it by having answers to the following:

    1) For maximum light output, i.e. usable light on and to the sides of the road, was I right to add the two #6 washers to space the clear lens?
    2) Assuming I removed the two washers and installed the lens holder directly to the bowl, still with the ZKW-R lens not fully seated in the lens holder, would I be able to dial in a sharp cutoff line with that nice blue color using just the cutoff shield adjustment screw?
    3) Does the nice sharp cutoff line with blue color only come at the expense of usable light output on this style of projector?
    4) Does it make sense that my current setup as described above would provide less usable light output than the
    5) As far as I can tell, the only purpose of the RV shield is to create a small 'dip' in the light beam at the cutoff line, just to the driver side of the step in the cutoff (i.e. to the left of the step for us LHD drivers), which maybe helps to keep from blinding oncoming drivers when the headlights are aimed properly. Does anyone know for sure what its purpose is?


    My headlight projector (in pieces), presumably 'E46' style:





    Seated position of ZKW-R lens in lens holder bracket:



    Typical photo showing two(2) #6 flat washers sandwiched between the lens holder leg and the projector bowl:



    RV shield bent forward, out of the light path:



    For reference, the headlight assembly put back together:

    Leave a comment:


  • DaY
    replied
    Originally posted by KurumaOtaku View Post
    Please show how you make new aluminum coating. Thank you.
    this factory technology, example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L-y8uuzg2eE

    Leave a comment:


  • KurumaOtaku
    replied
    Originally posted by DaY View Post
    This is NO CHROME, this is aluminum coating in vacuum. Surface pre- prepared and primed. I have test in small box with four hours and bowls looks as new without any degrade surface.
    Please show how you make new aluminum coating. Thank you.

    Leave a comment:


  • DaY
    replied
    Originally posted by roman_8k View Post
    Sorry for this noob question, but how do you get these pictures? Very short exposure time?
    apply magic pencil filter in photoshop to composite color images. perfectly visible intence difference, because to eyes so excessively bright.

    exposure manual, see color photos.

    Leave a comment:


  • roman_8k
    replied
    Originally posted by DaY View Post
    Sorry for this noob question, but how do you get these pictures? Very short exposure time?

    Leave a comment:

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