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Old 09-26-2012, 06:50 PM   #1
burkart
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Default Evolution of my DIY headlights (quad projectors, Xenons, LED DRLs and LED highbeams..

sup dudes

I've been working on my headlights almost all year. posting this as a new thread so my experience can help others with DIY lighting mods.

i did a projector highbeam retrofit / custom job earlier this year. i wanted:
- a clean modern look,
- enhanced light output in rural areas / offroad situations,
- complete reliability over the long term,
- premium oem appearance (in traffic etc)
- no external fog or offroad lights marring the look of my front end (PIAA etc rally lights are cool but not what i wanted for this daily driver LGT)

the highbeam projector project...
- took ****ing forever and was messy with glue/headlight parts everywhere
- the halogen 9005 highbeam bulb looked like total **** compared with the HID lowbeam next to it (highbeam looked yellow and cheap)
- light output w/ halogen projector beam brights was barely noticeable over standard lowbeams
- HID's possible for highbeam projector---- but bc they light up slowly, HIDs for highbeams will be no-good. no effective "flash to pass" type of highbeam functionality

What to do?
I decided to go LED for the highbeams, using military-spec Rigid Industries inside my headlights. installing and aiming is a piece of cake. light output is outstanding. i used the 2x2 rigid industries "dually" pair, in flood specification. (vs spot/diffused/other options). they are small, high-quality items -- only downside is cost.

headlights DIY version 1 4x LED flexi side-emitting white strips

DSC_2163 led strips around projector beam by tommyburkart, on Flickr

headlights DIY version 2 - 6x 48CM LED flexi side-emitting white strips

DIY LED Headlights - HID Lowbeams 6X 20cm LED Flexstrips by tommyburkart, on Flickr

20120312_175841 DIY LED headlights - 6X white LED Flex strips - burned out in 4 weeks =[ by tommyburkart, on Flickr

Headlights DIY version 3
quad projector beams [custom retrofitted J30 big balls]

20120428_085508 DIY dual projector headlamps subaru legacy gt 2005 by tommyburkart, on Flickr

20120428_085455 by tommyburkart, on Flickr

headlights DIY version 4
- HID upgrade, enhanced aiming and cutoff + 9-LED white spotlight in top corner of lamp as accent

20120509_070835 bespoke Dual Projector beams white 12 LED spot by tommyburkart, on Flickr


Headlights DIY v5
- Dually 2x2 LED highbeams, xenon 6000k lows, 18-LED vertical blade accent in corner

subaru custom S White headlights 6000k lowbeam HID - 2x2 Dually Rigid LED highbeam - twilight pics by tommyburkart, on Flickr

S White LED D- installation - IY headlights project - rigid industries LED highbeams - vertical blade by tommyburkart, on Flickr

subaru custom S White headlights 6000k lowbeam HID - 2x2 Dually Rigid LED highbeam - twilight pics by tommyburkart, on Flickr

in summary:
- quality LEDs for highbeams = FAR SUPERIOR to any projector beams (bi-xenons excluded)
- LED quality varies A LOT. the vast majority of the LED automotive light options on amazon and ebay ==> total garbage / bad quality / fast burnout. get a name brand that is waterproof, heat-sinked and plug-n-play to orig wiring
- LED drl's (version 2 especially) = lots of traffic tickets (4 in a month)
- LED drl's / running lights = offer noticeable output improvements in both urban and highway driving

holler with any replies, extra info, or whatever you can contribute
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Last edited by burkart; 09-26-2012 at 10:12 PM.
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Old 09-26-2012, 07:03 PM   #2
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Version 2 -> tickets; why?
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Old 09-26-2012, 07:09 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by satrya View Post
Version 2 -> tickets; why?
i dont know for sure. just too noticeable and flashy for rural american police
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Old 09-26-2012, 07:19 PM   #4
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the tickets i got were for speeding, by the way. no mention of the lights whatsoever from the police guys. big white LEDs stick out in traffic from 3+ miles away, especially with a highway full of Luminas and Intrepids.

tickets in SC, SC, NC, IN, IN, OH, KY - so midwest/southeast

i get tickets alot, but never so many in such a short time period.
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Old 09-26-2012, 09:51 PM   #5
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I personally would have opted for some vision x mainly for the aesthetics...but ^5 for the undertaking. Personally....not feeling the accent bar. Looks very out of place and clutters the lamp
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Old 09-26-2012, 09:55 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 02boxer View Post
I personally would have opted for some vision x mainly for the aesthetics...but ^5 for the undertaking. Personally....not feeling the accent bar. Looks very out of place and clutters the lamp
i hear ya. it was kindof a last-minute addition. i will say: to human eyes, at night... the blade looks white.


subaru custom S White headlights 6000k lowbeam HID - 2x2 Dually Rigid LED highbeam - twilight pics by tommyburkart, on Flickr

even so.. i agree its trashy. my technique for this blade thing to actually shine was... i deconstructed the 12-dollar eBay pair before installing here. took off its original case and just included the reflective part ad the led circuitboard part.

worth nothing: these fit really nicely and double-stuck in the right angle to match the lowbeams.

they'll probably burn out shortly anyway and will be disconnected. obv, the Rigid Industries ones were the big investment

Last edited by burkart; 09-26-2012 at 10:03 PM.
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Old 09-26-2012, 10:04 PM   #7
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btw.. yes my controversial LED badge is crooked
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Old 09-26-2012, 10:10 PM   #8
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Vision X looks really cool. their website is content-rich but has no prices or shopping options. <scratches head>

http://www.visionxusa.com/LED-Commer...224/index.html

are these *even more* expensive than the rigid industries ones?! rigid industries white dually pair: $180
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Old 10-04-2012, 05:14 PM   #9
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well, it didnt take long for the cheap LED 'blades' to fail.

one started flickering so i cut the wiring to both.

took some output pics

lowbeams

IMG_0387 by tommyburkart, on Flickr

low + high (yes, the aim is alittle wonky)

IMG_0382 by tommyburkart, on Flickr

lows and highbeams, brake lights engaged


IMG_0244 IMG_0248 subaru custom S White headlights 6000k lowbeam HID - 2x2 Dually Rigid LED highbeam - night pics - led subaru badge - STS superflux led brake lightbar by tommyburkart, on Flickr
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Old 10-05-2012, 11:56 AM   #10
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Interesting, i've always been curious about your lights. Thanks for taking the time to post this. So you believe from an output standpoint the Dually's are a viable highbeam replacement? The rigid industries stuff is amazing so that's pretty exciting.

Unfortunately i don't venture much outside downtown dallas at this point so i have little reason for any of this stuff
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Old 10-05-2012, 02:21 PM   #11
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Whilst I am at work and not fully reading this, I am impressed with your work.

Each headlamp effectively has:
Amber corner lamp (you must have either an amber bulb or an amber reflector or possibly both)
DRL (LED)
Low (HID)
High (LED)

The tickets I do not understand. If however you have the highs on and you do not dim them, then yes, you could get ticketed. But for the DRL-LED's?

I'm going to have to come back later and read in detail.
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Old 10-05-2012, 03:46 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mechatricity View Post
Interesting, i've always been curious about your lights. Thanks for taking the time to post this. So you believe from an output standpoint the Dually's are a viable highbeam replacement? The rigid industries stuff is amazing so that's pretty exciting.

Unfortunately i don't venture much outside downtown dallas at this point so i have little reason for any of this stuff
haha, well yes the highbeams definitely work best in the country vs city.

as far as the Rigid Dually's being a good replace? totally. 100%.

when i had HID lows and halogen highbeams, flicking to brights did jack squat. the lows stay on and the highbeams supplement them. halogens are just far too weak to make any improvement.

LEDs for the highbeams are awesome!
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Old 10-05-2012, 03:48 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big-E View Post
Whilst I am at work and not fully reading this, I am impressed with your work.

Each headlamp effectively has:
Amber corner lamp (you must have either an amber bulb or an amber reflector or possibly both)
DRL (LED)
Low (HID)
High (LED)

The tickets I do not understand. If however you have the highs on and you do not dim them, then yes, you could get ticketed. But for the DRL-LED's?

I'm going to have to come back later and read in detail.
hey you mostly got the jist. i no longer have any kind of LED DRL.

regarding the tickets: i definitely was not using brights all the time, lol. the LEDs just draw too much attention from Police, who then pulled me over for speeding. they never asked about the headlights.
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Old 10-09-2012, 10:32 PM   #14
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DIY HONEYCOMB GRILLE + WHITE LED BADGE LIGHT

another day, another mod.

re-did my old DIY honeycomb grille, to replace the Legacy GT one i have now. used a ford crown victoria grille honeycomb [ a $20 donor new ebay], custom snipped then zip-tied thru six drillholes for mounting. sprayed together to a dull flat black via 2000-degree rattle-can paint.

LED grille badge lives on! used the small LED emblem backing - in white + OEM subaru grille badge and chrome surround.

i considered a 4.5" big white LED emblem mount- but it is too big. it looked to me like the Jurassic Park III Mercedes grille star - just huge and unnecessary.

also totted around the idea of an old chrome 3D subaru badge - backlit by white LED. result was alittle iffy


subaru DIY LED badge - indoor testing - emblem comparisons - DIY honeycomb grille Legacy GT - flat black high-temp enamel by tommyburkart, on Flickr

Last edited by burkart; 11-14-2012 at 05:59 PM.
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Old 11-08-2012, 09:02 PM   #15
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quick update on the headlights.

the side blades that were "white" leds burned out/started flickering so i turned them off.

also, i noticed that the headlamp light 'color' in the output pics seemed different. (one from another, i mean). i was puzzled, but recently resolved and traced the problem to the engine compartment fusebox. the main RH and LH headlight fuses didnt match -- one a 15a and the other a 25a.

OEM was 15a but upping amps to 25 to account for the HID system power draw.





my new thinking on a DIY LED headlight is to put a bunch of SMD LED lightboards around the projector beam area. these 48-LED white SMD boards are marketed as interior dome light replacements. so therefore, they are not weatherproof. this wont be an issue for my application bc they'll be going inside the light assembly.

took some pics of 3 boards - mounted around the projector glass ball (which is off during these pics)

i dunno. the looks it out-there. they are extremely bright, however



DIY LED headlamps - indoor testing 48-LED SMD boards around projector by tommyburkart, on Flickr


DIY LED headlamps - indoor testing 48-LED SMD boards around projector by tommyburkart, on Flickr


DIY LED headlamps - indoor testing 48-LED SMD boards around projector by tommyburkart, on Flickr



DIY LED headlamps - indoor testing 48-LED SMD boards around projector by tommyburkart, on Flickr

Last edited by burkart; 11-08-2012 at 09:08 PM.
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Old 11-09-2012, 09:33 PM   #16
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big day! i pulled the lights from the car to work on them. most of my other removals have been forced -- either by failing bulbs or other issues.

this one was voluntary.

decided to use four SMD boards per lamp, a 196-LED total DRL. i lit up the highbeams to supplement the DRL for the pics. keep in mind, there would usually be a BAF (Bright AS ****) HID Xenon bulb behind that projector beam / glass semi-circle.



Rigid Industries Dually 2x2 LED High beamsDIY LED Headlights v7.0 indoor pair testing by tommyburkart, on Flickr


DIY LED Headlights v7.0 indoor pair testing by tommyburkart, on Flickr


Rigid Industries Dually 2x2 LED High beamsDIY LED Headlights v7.0 indoor pair testing by tommyburkart, on Flickr

Last edited by burkart; 11-09-2012 at 09:45 PM.
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Old 11-09-2012, 09:40 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mechatricity View Post
Interesting, i've always been curious about your lights. Thanks for taking the time to post this. So you believe from an output standpoint the Dually's are a viable highbeam replacement? The rigid industries stuff is amazing so that's pretty exciting.

Unfortunately i don't venture much outside downtown dallas at this point so i have little reason for any of this stuff
new reply- white LED DRLs are taking over. they are SO visible as to become mandatory
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Old 11-11-2012, 10:54 AM   #18
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installed!

they look okay, in my opinion. the projector ball seems extra bright with the LED assistance to the HID bulb.


Rigid Industries Dually 2x2 LED High beamsDIY LED Headlights v7.0 pair testing by tommyburkart, on Flickr


Rigid Industries Dually 2x2 LED High beamsDIY LED Headlights v7.0 pair testing by tommyburkart, on Flickr
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Old 11-11-2012, 11:59 AM   #19
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i don't know the purpose of those led panels, but they don't belong in there in any way.
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Old 11-12-2012, 03:55 PM   #20
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You need a shroud for the HID projector. There is a lot of glare/errant light in your low beam output pictures. Or are you running HIDs in the stock halogen projector? If so then that is causing the glare and I would recommend retrofitting a proper HID projector not only for optimum light output but also for the safety of yourself and others on the road.

Another note, you should not need higher amp fuses for the HID system. Most HID bulbs and ballasts are 35w @ roughly 12 volts. Halogens are typically 55/65w @ 12v therefore you actually need lower amp fuses for your HIDs than your halogen bulbs.

Last edited by ski.wrx; 11-12-2012 at 04:09 PM.
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Old 11-12-2012, 06:40 PM   #21
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At start up they draw more though
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Old 11-12-2012, 08:15 PM   #22
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^^^ whathesaid
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Old 11-14-2012, 01:51 PM   #23
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thanks for the comments guys. i will think about replacing the shroud around the projector. more likely, i will buy some HID projector glass semi-circles. the HID ones are more convex - aka stick out more like an egg shape.

anyway, i felt silly driving around with the LED panels in my lights. i want to be proud of my DIY stuff, obviously.


i changed tack completely and ripped them all out. Im now finishing the new version - with four big white leds making a square around the projector beam. these things are pretty cool little bulbs. they're each 3W which in LED terms is alot of light.

havent installed them yet but here are some pics of the process.

PS- i added silicone caulk to the lights this time before re-baking them together. i had condensation issues with the LH lamp last wk, so am also duct-taping the edge of the whole assembly to keep it watertight.


DIY LED Headlights v8.0 testing quad 3W white points by tommyburkart, on Flickr

LEDs on

DIY LED Headlights v8.0 testing quad 3W white points by tommyburkart, on Flickr


DIY LED Headlights v8.0 testing quad 3W white points by tommyburkart, on Flickr


DIY LED Headlights v8.0 testing quad 3W white points by tommyburkart, on Flickr

Last edited by burkart; 11-14-2012 at 06:00 PM.
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Old 11-14-2012, 03:18 PM   #24
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Man that is seriously going to screw some people up when they see that coming! Lol. Definitely looks better then the previous panels.

Question: why not just run 5W cree's?

Also, how did you heat sink those?
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Old 11-14-2012, 03:41 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spyrule View Post
Man that is seriously going to screw some people up when they see that coming! Lol. Definitely looks better then the previous panels.

Question: why not just run 5W cree's?

Also, how did you heat sink those?

i'm not familiar with the cree's. these were a pretty good deal.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/120990864899...84.m1497.l2649

in terms of heat sinking, the LED has a metal rim, backing and screw behind it - the metal also serving as the heat sink.

i have had them on for 15-minutes or so inside my house and they are still cold to the touch.

the LEDs were kindof tricky to attach to the projector beam housing. i used clear 3M trim adhesive (a little grey tube) and electrical tape.

1- dab of glue on plastic projector housing
2- stick the LED back piece to the projector housing
3- electrical tape over the work to keep it tight while drying and allow for proper alignment
4- repeat on other corners of projector housing, making a square shape and perfecting placement during glue curing time


DIY LED Headlights v8.0 testing quad 3W white points by tommyburkart, on Flickr


$(KGrHqN,!lkFBshCjNkEBQb7fbDcvg~~60_12 by tommyburkart, on Flickr
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