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Xenon Depot H11 HID bulb review

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  • Xenon Depot H11 HID bulb review

    Aftermarket HID bulbs are a very controversial topic. There are plenty of bad examples on the market that have ruined aftermarket bulbs for people. OEM bulbs are king, but not everyone can run OEM bulbs. Whether they’re using an H1 HID projector or installing them in adequate halogen projectors, all that’s left is aftermarket. Yes, I said it. Don’t be that guy who puts HIDs in reflector housings.



    The three most important aspects of an HID bulb are brightness, capsule alignment, and UV output. The first two are self explanatory, but UV output is often ignored in considerations for new HID bulbs. Running HIDs in halogen housings, or even in aftermarket HID projectors, will eventually burn your bowls to a crisp. The UV in particular is what roasts that reflective coating. You want the UV output to be as low as possible. Xenon Depot’s HID bulbs claim to use German-made Philips UV quartz glass to prevent premature damage to the internal headlight optics.

    Build quality:



    Another popular option for aftermarket bulbs is CNLight, which is fairly trusted on the internet. On the regular CNLight bulbs you’ll find on AliExpress, the wires are coated in regular rubber insulation and the H11 connector is garbage. It does fit the factory Lexus connector, but it has about a quarter of an inch of movement back and forth, thus not making a connection at all unless held together.



    The XD bulbs have wires coated in fabric, which is a big step up even from the techflex braided sleeve that some companies use. They feel very soft and premium. You also get the benefit of black and white wiring instead of the obnoxious red and blue wires of CNLight under your hood. The H11 connector is OEM quality and snaps into the Lexus perfectly. The 9006 connector has a thicker seal, likely giving you a better waterproof connection to your ballast.

    The higher tier of CNLight bulbs does avoid the H11 connector issue and does use nicer insulation, but the H11 connector doesn’t have seals on the backs of the wires and the XD bulbs are still far more premium feeling.



    It should also be noted that both tiers of CNLight bulb have a messy, rough cut at the tip of the capsule while Xenon Depot’s is smooth and well done. It also looks identical to a Philips bulb’s glass capsule, backing up Xenon Depot’s claims that it uses real Philips glass.

    Fitment:

    I actually had an issue with fitment on the CT 200h. The tabs and seal combined were too thick for the bulb to rotate into the headlight. The XD bulbs use this pretty blue seal, but it’s about twice as thick as the stock seal.

    Thankfully it was an easy fix. I cut the small bumps off the tabs with a cardboard knife and swapped the blue seal with the one from the halogen bulb. Afterward, the bulbs fit my headlights fine. The CNLights did not have this issue as the tabs, while still thicker than a halogen bulb, did not have the bumps. Since the bumps are on the back, this will not affect bulb alignment at all.

    Xenon Depot has not heard of this issue before, so it might just be tight tolerances specific to the CT 200h headlights.

    Output:

    These bulbs were tested in a 2017 Lexus CT 200h. It uses a Koito H11 halogen projector shared with plenty of cars including the Camry, Prius, and more. It’s a halogen variant of the RX350. Powering them was an aftermarket ballast sold by the now defunct company Alpha HID, which in testing was shown to provide a true 35W output.

















    The beam pattern remained identical between HID and halogen. The only difference is the staggering amount of brightness the HIDs put out. With quality ballasts, you’re looking at over double the output.

    These halogen projectors have decent width but a somewhat weak hotspot and a little more foreground than I’d like. With the upgrade to HID, Everything was multiplied. This speaks to the excellent bulb alignment of the XD bulbs, as the beam pattern wasn’t warped or worsened like with cheap bulbs.

    The intensity at the width is stronger, making for better vision to the sides. The hotspot is stronger for better distance vision. Unfortunately, that also means that the foreground is stronger.

    Foreground is brightness directly in front of the car. Your eyes adjust to the foreground first, so if your foreground is bright, your pupils will shrink to adjust and your overall visibility will go down. This is also why you shouldn’t use your fog lights unless they’re needed.

    The squirrel spotter (the dim rectangle above the cutoff used for illuminating street signs) is also brighter, which means there is more glare those around you. It’s still very minimal and far from unsafe or annoying, but it’s another pitfall of PNP HID to consider.

    The 5000K light is a beautiful white with no blue tint at all. It isn’t pure white; it’s whiter than an OEM HID system but it’s warmer than 5500K CBIs and OEM LEDs. I think it’s an ideal color for aesthetics, and it’s almost as bright as a 4300K bulb. It also matches the OEM Lexus LED DRLs reasonably well.

    Conclusion:



    Is PNP HID the right answer? That greatly depends on your situation. Many halogen projectors simply can’t handle HIDs well. Many projectors have poor optics, and more brightness can actually be a bad thing. And if it’s going into a halogen reflector, forget about it. But if you have a quality halogen projector, an HID upgrade may be a good idea. But it comes with its pitfalls. In the case of an H11 projector, an H9 halogen bulb swap is a great idea to gain a ton of brightness without some of the complexities of HID.

    But if you want the ultimate brightness and a beautiful white color, HIDs are the way to go. Make sure to pick up quality parts as they could make the difference between safe, reliable output and a total mess. Xenon Depot HID bulbs are the best I’ve tested of all the aftermarket brands in overall capsule alignment, build quality, and brightness.
    Last edited by Haloruler64; September 24th, 2017, 05:17 AM.

    2000 Toyota MR2 Spyder
    2017 Lexus CT200h F Sport

  • #2
    I got some rough lux measurements at 25 feet. The H11 was 120 lux at the hotspot, which was a couple inches lower than the cutoff. The CNLight bulb got 220, but it seemed to produce some noticeable glare when crouching at 25 feet. The XD bulb got 420 right along the cutoff, so it moved the low hotspot a bit up. Glare was not noticeable like it was with the CNLight.

    2000 Toyota MR2 Spyder
    2017 Lexus CT200h F Sport

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    • #3
      Looks great for sure!

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      • #4
        I can vouch for the XD H11, was using them on my 2015 Sienna SE and the cutoff and color were great. I tried the Morimoto XB versions and was very disappointed with the greenish color and poor alignment. The Moris didn't not produce a nice cutoff compared to the Xenon Depots.

        I have TL-R now with XB D2S and put my old XD H11 in my dads 2012 Camry to replace his crappy DDM H11 which needed extra O rings rigged to stay tight.

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        • #5
          Glad to hear you have the same experience. After testing two tiers of CNLights and an older gen of Morimoto XB, the Xenon Depot bulbs are by far the best. The real Philips glass is a huge upside IMO.

          2000 Toyota MR2 Spyder
          2017 Lexus CT200h F Sport

          Comment


          • #6
            Haloruler64 thanks for the review.
            Although xb bulbs are ok for me in case of allignment but what irritates me is the green tint and as per your review, I recomended XD bulbs to my friends(esply h11) but I have no idea wheather they ship internationally or not.

            I also have one question for you.
            Like cbi and xb5500k both produces more lux then regular 4300k lineup. So in case of XD which holds more 4300k range or 5000-5500k range?
            My feedback thread
            https://www.hidplanet.com/forums/for...for-mayurhuria

            Comment


            • #7
              I couldn't say, honestly.

              2000 Toyota MR2 Spyder
              2017 Lexus CT200h F Sport

              Comment


              • #8
                Love your reviews, and I was about to order a set of H7 XD bulbs for my Mazda3 halogen projectors. Been running the Morimoto elite H7 kit for a couple of years now with no issues, and Id love to put some good new bulbs in there.

                Also, XD put your LED output shot in their email they sent out a few days ago.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Real happy to have my work appreciated

                  I have not had to chance to directly compare them to the new Morimoto bulbs unfortunately, but they're very good bulbs. The lux ratings speak for themselves.

                  Oh really? Neat! I have some new ones as well to post soon.

                  2000 Toyota MR2 Spyder
                  2017 Lexus CT200h F Sport

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    He's using your output shots (garage door photo) to promote the LED bulb

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Yeah I sent the pics to XD.

                      2000 Toyota MR2 Spyder
                      2017 Lexus CT200h F Sport

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Haloruler64 View Post
                        I got some rough lux measurements at 25 feet. The H11 was 120 lux at the hotspot, which was a couple inches lower than the cutoff. The CNLight bulb got 220, but it seemed to produce some noticeable glare when crouching at 25 feet. The XD bulb got 420 right along the cutoff, so it moved the low hotspot a bit up. Glare was not noticeable like it was with the CNLight.
                        .

                        Great article Haloruler! Thanks for taking the time and effort. Those photos really tell the story. What settings did you use on the camera to get those exposures? It really helps to take out the glare and pinpoint the hotspot more effectively.

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                        • #13
                          Thanks! I use settings that apply to the situation, not the same every time. In this case I used a set of three exposures at 18mm ISO-1600 f/3.5 on my Nikon D7200 and 18-55mm VR II lens. The exposures were 1/160s, 1/400s, and 1/1000s. I believe they were either 3 or 4 steps apart each.

                          2000 Toyota MR2 Spyder
                          2017 Lexus CT200h F Sport

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Haloruler64 View Post
                            Thanks! I use settings that apply to the situation, not the same every time. In this case I used a set of three exposures at 18mm ISO-1600 f/3.5 on my Nikon D7200 and 18-55mm VR II lens. The exposures were 1/160s, 1/400s, and 1/1000s. I believe they were either 3 or 4 steps apart each.
                            Thanks Haloruler...this is really helpful for anyone looking to get some decent photos of a retrofit/PnP/conversion. I'll have to brush off my digital camera.

                            I've found that the "eye-ball-ametric" test rarely has value. You're eyes just don't see the whole picture. On a side note, can you recommend a lux meter? Searching for one uncovered a wide price range, from $15 to several hundreds. I'm just looking for something that will get the job done without draining my wallet! I have a pair of Morimotos 5500 and XD 5000 that I'd like to do a comparison on. Thanks again for all your help.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by calabs View Post
                              Thanks Haloruler...this is really helpful for anyone looking to get some decent photos of a retrofit/PnP/conversion. I'll have to brush off my digital camera. I've found that the "eye-ball-ametric" test rarely has value. You're eyes just don't see the whole picture. On a side note, can you recommend a lux meter? Searching for one uncovered a wide price range, from $15 to several hundreds. I'm just looking for something that will get the job done without draining my wallet! I have a pair of Morimotos 5500 and XD 5000 that I'd like to do a comparison on. Thanks again for all your help.
                              I use these two...

                              https://www.amazon.com/Dr-meter-LX10...ords=lux+meter

                              https://www.amazon.com/Holdpeak-Digi...ords=lux+meter


                              Both get the job done. One just has a hold/peak feature and a night light that I like using sometimes.
                              www.automotiveLEDresearch.com

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