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TL lens swap on Mini

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  • TL lens swap on Mini

    Got some RX330 & 09-11 TL 2.5" lenses from a moderator/member here (thanks) and wondered how much the Mini D2S cutoff and the spottiness of the low beam distribution can be softened.

    I realize that the small reflector size of the Minis make it more sensitive to surface imperfections than projectors with larger reflector bowl. The clear lens favored by many to produce the sharp cutoff doesn't help imho.

    Here are a few quick pictures.


    Last edited by satrya; May 30th, 2012, 11:08 AM. Reason: added closeup shots of the backside of lenses
    Jul 2012 ROTM (3-way quad headlight) ; Sep 2015 ROTM (custom muli-lens 7" fogs)

    3-way quad wiring; foreground limiter; squirrel finder;

  • #2
    Size comparison

    Below are some side depth & rough diameter comparisons.

    First one is RX330 (left) vs. Mini D2S (right) lens. Unfortunately, the lip diameter of the RX 330 is too large to fit into the Mini D2S lens housing. Note the RX330's flatter curvature & shorter height. This should make the RX330's focal length longer. Either way, the lip precludes the RX330 from the next test.


    Next is the TL (left) vs. Mini D2S (right) lens. The TL vs. Mini comparison is qualitatively similar to the RX330 vs. Mini. However, the lip is slightly smaller in diameter that it can be somewhat force fitted into the original Mini D2S lens housing (that black plastic connecting the lens and the reflector bowl). Without heating the plastic lens housing, I was able to fit the TL lens into the lens housing. It was mounted about 1 degree off axis because I didn't want to force it too much lest I break the housing.

    Taking a (very) rough estimate of the focal lengths, the Mini D2S seem to have a focal length of about 1.5", while the TL seem to have a focal length of about 1/4" longer than that. I did this by shining a 3 LED flashlight from "infinity" (which I approximated by a mere 16" ) and then moved the lens along the beam until the projected 3 LED image on the wall is the most focused. This tells me that the TL may need to be spaced about 1/4" farther. That's much more than the 1 to 3 washers needed in other mods posted in hidp.
    Jul 2012 ROTM (3-way quad headlight) ; Sep 2015 ROTM (custom muli-lens 7" fogs)

    3-way quad wiring; foreground limiter; squirrel finder;

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    • #3
      Below are 2 outside closeup shots of the TL lens (first picture, left side) and the original Mini lens (second picture, right side). The magnification of the solenoids differ only slightly (as suggested by the 1.5" to 1.75" focal length ratio).
      Jul 2012 ROTM (3-way quad headlight) ; Sep 2015 ROTM (custom muli-lens 7" fogs)

      3-way quad wiring; foreground limiter; squirrel finder;

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      • #4
        Output shots

        Here are some output shots. I realize that the ideal wall comparison should be 25ft or so, so some of the differences here may not be representative. However, there is one feature that stands out as a result of the focal length difference. I placed the projectors on top of each other, with the top one placed upside down so the low beam patterns don't interfere with each other. Can you guess which one has a longer focal length? :P

        The TL lens swap also exhibits a slightly yellower hue compared to the original Mini. My guess is that the refractive index of the warmer color plays with the focal length to produce this result.

        2 important notes (aside from the HID capsule image being projected in the middle of the hotspot):
        • While the TL lens looks almost as clear as the original Mini lens to my eye, it does soften the cutoff considerably (which is what I wanted).
        • However, the low beam spottiness seem only slightly reduced. Perhaps the small reflector bowl design is the limiting factor here.

        The second image below shows the periphery of the low beam pattern.


        Jul 2012 ROTM (3-way quad headlight) ; Sep 2015 ROTM (custom muli-lens 7" fogs)

        3-way quad wiring; foreground limiter; squirrel finder;

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        • #5
          Since the focal lengths (of the TL and the original Mini) are different enough, I tried to see if there is any hope for the focal length to be resolved. If so, I like the benefit of the softer cutoff and the smoother low beam spread.

          Again, since this was a quick exploration, I didn't go find a sufficiently far projection wall and stayed with the ~4ft wall comparison. First is the Mini D2S reflector only (i.e. lens taken out). I was surprised to see how big the blind spot due to the HID capsule is. Note that the camera position is about the same as the previous images. Also, light projected above the low beam seem similar in intensity to my reverse squirrel finder mod.


          Compare this to the original Mini D2S under identical conditions (below). The original Mini D2S lens turns the projection image above into the one below, more width and less foreground light (and we're talking about Mini D2S here, which has a relatively high level of foreground lighting compared to many other projectors).
          Jul 2012 ROTM (3-way quad headlight) ; Sep 2015 ROTM (custom muli-lens 7" fogs)

          3-way quad wiring; foreground limiter; squirrel finder;

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          • #6
            Here's what happens when the TL lens is placed flush with the outside of the lens housing. I guesstimate around 2mm increase in capsule-to-lens distance.


            Holding the lens ~2mm away from the housing (for a total of 4mm or ~ 2/16-3/16" extra distance) gets rid of some of the orange near the slope, and better slope cutoff shape. Naturally, it will never become sharply focused.


            I wanted to see if the solenoid tip could ever get into focus within a reasonable distance. Placing the lens ~5mm ahead of the housing (for a total of around 7mm extra distance from standard mounting) produces the solenoid tip image.
            Jul 2012 ROTM (3-way quad headlight) ; Sep 2015 ROTM (custom muli-lens 7" fogs)

            3-way quad wiring; foreground limiter; squirrel finder;

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            • #7
              very interesting!
              The time you enjoy wasting, is not wasted time

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              • #8
                Originally posted by soundman98 View Post
                very interesting!
                Thanks. If only grinding a glass lens is easy; the focal length change could be solved by some washers.
                Jul 2012 ROTM (3-way quad headlight) ; Sep 2015 ROTM (custom muli-lens 7" fogs)

                3-way quad wiring; foreground limiter; squirrel finder;

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                • #9
                  Anyone try something similar with the 3.0? Non-clear OEM-style lenses? I'd like to see that option for the square ones but highly doubt I'll see that.
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                  • #10
                    The only other projector I've seen with square-ish lenses are the dual Avalon ones, but those lenses are probably a lot smaller than the X lens MD2S 3.0...


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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by csjoh View Post
                      The only other projector I've seen with square-ish lenses are the dual Avalon ones, but those lenses are probably a lot smaller than the X lens MD2S 3.0...
                      Yes they sure are. I think the Corolla LED projector's lens would be the next closest thing honestly, and even then it's not even close.

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