As the benefits of LED headlights become more prominent, they have already overtaken halogens and HID lights to become the most popular type of car projector headlight housing. And we always receive inquiries about LED bulbs, and in addition to how to install the LED bulbs, some people are still hesitating to replace to the LED bulbs because they are not sure if they will work well in projector headlights.
So in this article you will learn how projectors work, whether LED bulbs are good for projector headlights, and how to choose the best LED bulbs for projector headlights.
- The Difference Between Projector Headlights and Reflector Headlights
- Projector Headlight Working Principle
- Can I Use LED Headlight Bulbs in the Project Headlight?
- LED Projector Headlight Bulbs Buyer’s Guide
Based on the headlight housing, the headlights are generally divided into projector headlights and reflector headlights.
Of course, whether it's a projector headlight or a reflector headlight, you have to make sure it's intact to get the best light output. If your headlight assembly is damaged, AUXITO offers you a wide variety of OEM headlight assembly replacements!
You can also check out the blog "Your Concerns - Headlight Assembly Replacement" to address some of your concerns about replacing your headlight assembly.
Next, you will understand the difference between reflector headlights and projector headlights and understand why more and more people prefer projector headlights.
Before the introduction of projector headlights, reflector headlights have been used in automobiles. The reflector is these fluted lines inside the headlight assembly that you can see the lines go up and down and then they work their way out. Think of those reflectors as like a mirror, the halogen bulb is Illuminating bouncing off those mirrors and then aligning onto the wall to give you that beam pattern.
But the main cons of a reflector headlight are that the beam cannot be controlled. This provides a less distinct light source that isn’t consistent across the entire width of the light output, i.e. the headlight illumination will fade in brightness as they taper away from the center.
Compared to typical reflector headlamps, projector headlights have an added lens that works as a magnifying glass to increase the light beam’s brightness. This lens, known as a condenser lens, project a focused beam of light that can increase brightness and illuminate more road surface at greater distances than typical reflector headlights. And there is an even display of light across the light beam, which will appear as if your light doesn’t fade as the beam reaches the left and right edges, increasing visibility left, right and forward. Otherwise, like a reflector headlight, the light output would fade away from the center.
But when used as a low beam, does such a high brightness from projector headlights blind the oncoming traffic? The key to their effectiveness is in the special shutter/cut-off shield design of the projector's headlights. A cut-off shield can help direct light down toward the road, giving a very sharp cutoff to the light output from the projector.
Thanks to this crisp and clear cut-off line, you can have incredibly bright headlights without blinding other drivers in front of you. All the components in the projector are designed to focus the bright light in a pattern of evenly distributed and tightly organized beams. How do they all work together to create that beam pattern?
Projector Headlight Working Principle
Differing from that of traditional reflector headlights, the design of the projector's headlight is based on the idea of focusing light with a specially-shaped reflector, then using a shutter to project it on the road with a beam pattern that is evenly distributed and tightly organized. It is designed to project brighter beams of light on the road without blinding anyone. This picture will show you how the projector headlight work.
Light Source: Every projector needs a light source. And projector headlights can use halogen, HID, and LED bulbs as the light source. Due to the design of the Shutter in the projector headlight, the bulb in a projection headlight needs to be much brighter than the bulb in a reflector headlight.
Reflector: Like classic reflector headlights, projector headlights actually include a component called a reflector that reflects the light source to the front. The difference is that they use an elliptical-shaped reflector instead of a parabolic-shaped one. The difference in shape causes the light emitted from the bulb in a projector headlight to focus on a narrow point near the front of the reflector, where it meets the cut-off shield.
Cut-off Shield/Shutter: The cut-off shield can also be referred to as a shutter. The shutter is one of the most important components in a projector headlight, and it's something that classic reflector headlight housings just don't have. This component is cut off part of the beam pattern from below, which causes a sharp cutoff and effectively aims the light at the road instead of allowing it to blind other drivers. In some vehicles, the shutter can be raised and lowered to switch between high and low beams. That is, the shutter will be activated in low-beam to provide the crisp cut-off but will lower in high-beam to allow all the useable light to be projected through.
Lens: This is the final component found in projector headlights, and it's designed to evenly distribute the beam of light that has already been shaped and aimed by the elliptical reflector and the shutter. Some projector headlight lenses also have a feature that softens the cutoff line between light and dark when the headlights shine on the road.
Can I Use LED Headlight Bulbs in the Project Headlight?
There are different types of bulbs you can choose from in your projector assembly, such as halogen bulbs, HID bulbs, and LED bulbs. Halogen lights give you ample brightness but do consume more energy than other options, while HID bulbs also have the disadvantage of being inefficient (HID needs at least 2 second response time while starting). If you are looking for an alternative to halogen bulbs, LED headlight bulbs would be an excellent choice for projector applications as they are energy efficient and deliver an optimum amount of intensity for a unique visual experience.
However, LED bulbs can be used for projector headlights, but not all LED bulbs are suitable. Before choosing an LED bulb for your projector headlight, you need to consider factors such as the brightness, beam pattern, and light source position of the LED bulb, as well as if its compatibility with the projector housing.
LED Projector Headlight Bulbs Buyer’s Guide
What LED headlight bulbs perform best in projectors
What factors should be considered when finding so many LED headlight bulbs that claim to be the best for projector headlights? We have summarized three points based on the structure of the projector - High Brightness, 360° illumination, and 1:1 Same Beam Pattern.
In low beam mode, the light from the lower surface of the light source is blocked by the cut-off shield, which means that the final projected light is not 100% of the light source. So the light source in the projector requires more lumens to provide optimal illumination.
Halogen bulbs typically emit 1,000 to 1,500 lumens. In contrast, LED bulbs emit over 3,000 lumens, which is significantly brighter and solves the problem of insufficient lumen output from the projector due to the light source being partially blocked by the Cut-off Shield.
When upgrading a halogen bulb to the LED bulb in a projector headlight, we often find a blind spot directly below in the projected light. This is because the board between the LED chips is too thick and the beam angle on both sides does not reach 180 degrees resulting in a blind spot in the output light. Therefore when choosing an LED bulb to replace a halogen bulb in a projector headlight, the thin board design are important parameter for reducing the blind spot in the light output. The shorter the distance between the LED chips, the closer the "point" light source can be to the original headlamp design, which outputs 360° of light.
LED light bulbs are made up of several small LED beads, so that they can be arrayed in any shape. Whether it is a reflector headlight or a projector headlight, if upgrading a halogen bulb to an LED bulb, the 1:1 beam position and size are one of the parametric considerations for the reflector in the headlight assembly to capture the light properly. They provide a more distinct light rather than diffuse light when installed in the projector housing.
Best LED Bulb for Projector Headlight
Based on the desired features, we have selected two series of the best LED bulbs for projector headlights from our store, so you don't have to compare multiple products to find the one you need most.
Top 1 - Y13 Series LED Bulb
If you want the best and brightest LED headlight bulbs for projector headlights, then the Y13 series is your top choice. Adopt double-sided LED chips and ultra-thin interval arranged. 80W 16,000LM per set, 400% brighter than halogen bulbs, and get better headlight output.
What we like
- 80W 16,000LM per set, 400% brighter than halogen bulbs
- Each bulb has 1,2000RPM cooling fan to provide supercooling ability
- 0.08in between opposing CSP chips and 1:1 OEM Beam position and size
- Need to find space to prevent additional drivers.
Compared to the Y13 series LED bulb, the Q16 series LED bulb in the projector headlight occupies the advantage of its thinner base board, ultra-thin 0.039 base board allows the beam angle to be closer to 360° illumination, no blind spot, and has a more perfect projection pattern.
What we like
- 1:1 beam pattern technology and ultra-thin 0.039 base board
- Luminous flux of up to 13,000 lumens, 55W, and 6000K color temperature
- The directly plugged wireless design, driver, and fan all in one unit, no hassles
- Larger fan at the bottom.
Q: How do I install the LED bulb so that I can get the best light output in the projector headlight?
A: In the above article we learned that the projector headlight has a cut-off shield and Halogen bulbs have full 360 degree light output so it does not matter what orientation the bulb is in. But for LED headlight bulbs, you need to rotate it during installation so that the LEDs are side by side (9 and 3 o'clock) and you will get a better light distribution, otherwise, there will be blind spots in the beam that will be unevenly distributed on the left and right sides.
Q: The LED bulb I have is not 360° illumination, so there will be a blind spot underneath when projecting light rays, how should I improve it?
A: Since the LED chip is designed with two sides, if the base board where the LED chip is placed is too thick, the dispersion of the light source on either side will be less than 180°, resulting in a blind spot under the pattern projected through the lens. It is recommended to replace the thin base board and 360 ° lighting LED bulbs, designed to minimize the blind spot, or put back the original halogen bulb.
Q: How do I determine which LED bulb I need when replacing the halogen bulb in the projector housing?
A: You have to find answer to the following questions.
a)What type is your older lights socket (h11, h7, h4, h3) .
b)What is the wattage of your older lights (60w,55w) . A more "power hungry" bulb needs thicker wiring (more amperage) .
c)Are the lumens, color temperature, and other technical parameters of the LED bulb sufficient to meet your lighting needs?
d) How compatible are LED bulbs with the vehicle electrical system? Is it a CANbus design to prevent error codes?
Q: What is the best h7 led bulb for projector headlights?
If you want the best and brightest H7 bulbs for projector headlights, then the Y13 series H7 LED headlight bulb is your top choice. Its brightness of 16,000LM is 400% brighter than halogen h7 bulbs, making it the brightest H7 LED bulb available.
Compared to the Y13 series H7 LED bulb, the Q16 series H7 LED bulb in the projector headlight occupies the advantage of its thinner base board has a more perfect projection pattern.
You can read the blog "TOP PICKS FOR THE BEST H7 LED BULBS" to view more H7 LED bulb options.