Vanagon – H4 led bulb update

I’ve been trying out the led bulbs since I first posted about them. I still have the same opinion, low beams good, high beams meh. In rain, and in snow, I’m not seeing a much of a drop in the high beam performance though. 

I took a little time tonight to take some pics with a 80/100W bulb in right hand side lamp and the led in the left hand side lamp. I couldn’t find a good wall close to home, I apologize for using that corrugated metal structure.

Ok, here we go, first up is both low beams on. Left is led, right is 80W halogen. Notice the halogen has more of the angled kick, better defined. The led not so much and there is a stray beam at a higher angle.

Now it’s low beam left, led, only. You can see more of the angled beam kick now, not masked by the halogen. That stray angled beam shows up better too.

And now low beam right, 80W halogen. Nice beam definition eh?

On to high beams, first is both high beams on. Not really much to say about this except it’s a blast of light.

This is the 100W halogen alone. 

And the led high beam. Oh boy that corrugated steel is not making things easy is it?

Just as in the original post about the led bulbs I have to say again that pictures don’t capture the compete picture 🙂

Ok now to a gently sloping downhill dirt road. Same drill, same comparison. You be the judge.

So what do I think? I want to like them, I really do. But I’d give them a 7.5/10. I’d like them to be brighter. And I also have the suspicion that the led element placement that I showed in the original post is not quite right (as compared to the filament position in the halogen bulb). I might take the time to play around with a spare lamp and and bulb, on the bench, and see if some adjustment to the bulb projection into the lamp has any effect. 

  1. #1 by mariusstrom on February 12, 2017 - 8:00 pm

    I bought (and have yet to install) the Philips bulbs. If you want close up photos or measurements, let me know.

    • #2 by albell on February 12, 2017 - 8:32 pm

      Oh please yes. Tell me about them, your opinions, how the led element placement compares to the halogen, and if any radio interference 🙂

      I’m hoping they are great Marius, get them in soon.



  2. #3 by Marshall on February 12, 2017 - 8:13 pm

    To me the LED on left is brighter and cleaner. I still have square hi wattage bulbs. Am looking in to LED’s and South African look.

    • #4 by albell on February 12, 2017 - 8:35 pm


      Yes, the led light colour really makes the halogens seem yellow. It’s quite interesting how dramatic that effect is. What you think is a pretty white light looks very yellow in comparison to the led.
      Let me know what you come up with. I she ti admit that I suspect that the drop in h4 led bulb route is a bit of a dead end, much better to have sprecifically designed lamps. But right now those are still pretty pricey.



  3. #5 by Simon on February 12, 2017 - 11:27 pm

    To me, it seems as though the halogens are brighter, and have more spread of the light rather than pinpoint/tunnel vision brightness. I find this affect most noticeable with the pics taken on the road.

    It’s really interesting how difficult it is to judge relative ‘brightness’ between the two bulbs. Given that the ultimate goal is optimal nighttime vision rather than “brightness” per se maybe an idea would be to have targets set up at certain distances, for example a sign with writing on it or a dark object mimicking wildlife, and see which one can be made out better that distance. Start with a big E , like at the optometrist 🙂

    • #6 by albell on February 12, 2017 - 11:48 pm

      Ok, let’s do a test with both our vans. Yours with rectangular e codes, halogen. Mine with round e codes, led.

      Targets, objects etc.


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