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I never thought I'd post this - LED retrofits

cb1111

Newbie
Location
Virginia, USA
While still illegal in the US, Osram just had a LED headlight retrofit approved in Germany and Austria.

The list of approved vehicles is very short, but it is a promising start.

This does not mean that LED retrofits in general are a good idea. In this case, Osram threw a lot of money at research and then lobbied to get it approved.

The current crop of retrofits are complete crap and decrease safety, but it looks like a safe retrofit is possible.

Here is the complete article if interested. Google translate does a reasonably job job of translating.
 

IWMTom

Autocross Newbie
While still illegal in the US, Osram just had a LED headlight retrofit approved in Germany and Austria.

The list of approved vehicles is very short, but it is a promising start.

This does not mean that LED retrofits in general are a good idea. In this case, Osram threw a lot of money at research and then lobbied to get it approved.

The current crop of retrofits are complete crap and decrease safety, but it looks like a safe retrofit is possible.

Here is the complete article if interested. Google translate does a reasonably job job of translating.
Saw this a couple of days ago.. very interested to see how they managed to design around the usual inherent flaws in fitting LEDs to reflector housings....

Can't say I'm not concerned about this.
 

Nineeightyone

Autocross Champion
Location
USA
Car(s)
19 GTI 10 MZ3
I'd love to see US DOT approved mk7.5 upgrades from the base halogen lights in general. My 2019 had the halogens, and they were borderline unsafe at night -- I believe the PO installed LED bulbs, but even with standard bulbs most reflector housings seem to be absolutely awful. Swapping to Ed's projectors made a world of difference, it's a shame they're NLA. I'd buy a USDOT approved set in a moment to have as a backup, if they were available.

Not sure why this market seems to be so largely untapped, I understand there's a fair amount of R&D involved to produce a "good" headlight, but for as readily available as aftermarket improvements are in the space of housings, it's a shame the GTI offerings are so sparse.

I've been very unconvinced for a while that LED lights make for good headlights due to their "pitch" being so short -- but if Osram has made progress in this space, that's a good sign.
 

Keehs360

Autocross Champion
Location
Denver
Car(s)
Mk7.5
Kinda looks like the diode dynamics.

will it include a housing too or is it just the bulb?
 

Chogokin

Autocross Champion
Location
So Cal
Car(s)
GTI Sport | Audi A3
I wouldn't mind come brighter bulbs for the halogens on my A3. I have flashlights that are brighter.
 

cb1111

Newbie
Location
Virginia, USA
I'd love to see US DOT approved mk7.5 upgrades from the base halogen lights in general. My 2019 had the halogens, and they were borderline unsafe at night -- I believe the PO installed LED bulbs, but even with standard bulbs most reflector housings seem to be absolutely awful. Swapping to Ed's projectors made a world of difference, it's a shame they're NLA. I'd buy a USDOT approved set in a moment to have as a backup, if they were available.

Not sure why this market seems to be so largely untapped, I understand there's a fair amount of R&D involved to produce a "good" headlight, but for as readily available as aftermarket improvements are in the space of housings, it's a shame the GTI offerings are so sparse.

I've been very unconvinced for a while that LED lights make for good headlights due to their "pitch" being so short -- but if Osram has made progress in this space, that's a good sign.
The problem is that the regulators are very conservative and the r&d to create a proper bulb - then get it to meet the existing regs - is really only available to the big companies and they need to figure out how to make money.

It isn't going to happen in the US soon because the regulations currently allow only a like-for-like replacement - halogen for halogen, HID for HID etc. - but - If I'm asked, I'd be OK with replacing a halogen bulb with one of these assuming they are type approved in Europe.

In the US, the problem is that every Tom, Dick and Harry thinks they are lighting experts and throw a 50 cent bulb into a nice package and sell it for $50 - y'all know who I'm talking about.
 

cb1111

Newbie
Location
Virginia, USA
I wouldn't mind come brighter bulbs for the halogens on my A3. I have flashlights that are brighter.
Here is the compatibility list for Germany - a bit longer than the one I posted for Austria earlier, but it looks like mostly older models. LEDriving_LED_H7_Fahrzeugliste_180521.pdf

It appears that they are model specific, so the bulb for the A3 and A4 may be different to account for differences in the reflector.

EDIT - I did a bit more research and it appears that the adapter is merely an installation aid, but the base may be different based on the CANBUS the car uses.
 
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ZERO815

Drag Racing Champion
Location
Köln Germany
Car(s)
2017 GTI SE DSG
The bulbs are always the same. The adapters are vehicle specific. Installed them to my daughters Polo 6R for lowbeam and highbeam. The install overall was pretty easy because w/ 2 screws you can take a headlight out. Although the adapter install (stamped steel adapters as shown in the following video 1:45) to the Polo headlights was a little bit tricky.
Is it worth it? Correctly installed and adjusted IMO yes. The factory H7 headlights are a joke. I'm not talking about the light color, the light output is just poor. I don't need a white carpet right in front of the vehicle. For me it's all about reflections. The further I can see reflections on the road (street markings, signs, ...) the better. In Germany we have white poles w/ reflectors along non-city roads and the street markings are reflective as well. Here the Osram H7-LED shine. I have the impression now I can see reflections almost two times further, and the green/bushes on the side of the road are iluminated better.
 

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averyislost

Go Kart Champion
Location
Charlotte, NC
Car(s)
2020 GTI S
Yeah this is super impressive to me that they were able to pass regulations to get an LED-swap approved for road use.

I wish Osram would turn their attention towards revising their Euro-market headlights to get them DOT-approved in the US. I know Morimoto has some DOT-approved sets of aftermarket LED housings for the F-150 (and maybe other models), so I don't see why Osram could not also get their headlights approved (just add orange side markers, boom).
 

Nineeightyone

Autocross Champion
Location
USA
Car(s)
19 GTI 10 MZ3
Yeah this is super impressive to me that they were able to pass regulations to get an LED-swap approved for road use.

I wish Osram would turn their attention towards revising their Euro-market headlights to get them DOT-approved in the US. I know Morimoto has some DOT-approved sets of aftermarket LED housings for the F-150 (and maybe other models), so I don't see why Osram could not also get their headlights approved (just add orange side markers, boom).
I'm still hoping for a DOT-approved upgrade option for non-LP mk7.5s -- the mk7 got them, now let's get the mk7.5. I love my BEC reps, but they're not DOT approved which creates some issues in inspection time.

I definitely agree though that the factory reflector housings are awful, which is what pushed me to go for the BEC lights in the first place.
 

golfdave

Autocross Champion
Location
Scotland (U.K.)
Car(s)
Mk7 Golf GT Estate
A lot of the problem these days with headlight design is that the designers of the car dictate the amount of space for the headlights & how they look. Whereas function in terms of beam spread etc is secondary (& way down the designers priorities list) & only just in most cases meets the regs.

One of the reasons I ticked the very expensive Xenon's with LED "U" DRLs options for my car.....only way to get a properly functioning headlight suitable for the back country drives around here & avoiding deer/sheep/etc..
 

cb1111

Newbie
Location
Virginia, USA
Yeah this is super impressive to me that they were able to pass regulations to get an LED-swap approved for road use.

I wish Osram would turn their attention towards revising their Euro-market headlights to get them DOT-approved in the US. I know Morimoto has some DOT-approved sets of aftermarket LED housings for the F-150 (and maybe other models), so I don't see why Osram could not also get their headlights approved (just add orange side markers, boom).
Not quite. DOT doesn't "approve" anything - a manufacturer needs to certify that the replacement lighting complies with all regs - and no replacement at this time is legal for a replaceable bulb housing. The only current vehicle where a swap is legal is if the headlighting unit is sealed beam.

Morimoto is very careful in their wording:

DOT APPROVED: Make no mistake, these will produce a much different [better] result than slapping some LED replacement bulbs into your stock housings. Their quad-projector optics meet & exceed all SAE, DOT, and FMVSS108 regulations when aimed properly...and that's easy to do with their integrated vertical/lateral adjusters. US market lights are equipped with amber side markers.

And then, there is their tiny little statement that they aren't street legal Morimoto: LED & HID Headlights, Projectors, Ballasts, and Bulbs (morimotohid.com) which closes with "Please confirm your usage below and that you will not use the bulbs for illegal street usage:"
I'm still hoping for a DOT-approved upgrade option for non-LP mk7.5s -- the mk7 got them, now let's get the mk7.5. I love my BEC reps, but they're not DOT approved which creates some issues in inspection time.

I definitely agree though that the factory reflector housings are awful, which is what pushed me to go for the BEC lights in the first place.

Don't hold your breath. NHTSA is well aware of the crap out there and will continue to be very conservative.
 
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