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martes, septiembre 19, 2023
HomeOff-Road Vehicles3rd Gen HID vs LED vs Halogen H11 projector headlights

3rd Gen HID vs LED vs Halogen H11 projector headlights

Continued LED Output Testing

There are many LEDs tested in this post.

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  • The recommended LEDs assemblies are the OEM LED headlight assemblies covered in post #3626 here. They have excellent improved low beam and high beam, better than stock with upgraded bulbs, with unmatched quality. While the Morimoto v1.0 assemblies failed to meet the output intensity of the OEM LEDs, the Morimoto v2.0s upped the output intensity to greater than the OEM LEDs, but failed in other parts of the headlight execution such as lacking necessary uplight and poor build quality. See the full v2.0 review in post #4548 here.
  • The best performing replacement LEDs by far are the Morimoto 2stroke 3.0s covered here and the Hikari Ultras covered in this post, followed by the latest Philips covered here. These have better focus and output intensity than the competition. They are the only replacement LEDs I would recommend. Note they are outperformed by the best halogen performance upgrades. The Morimotos have a better design and better focus than Hikari, but the Hikaris are slightly higher in output.
  • See why you should not by generic amazon LEDs like BeamTech in review post #1885 here.
  • AlphaRex is not covered in this thread as they do not appear to be a legitimate headlight product. More info here.

Toyota OEM LED Headlights

Original post here.


Part Numbers
These are the part numbers for the Pro assemblies, the non-Pro lights are functionally the same without the Pro labeling. The units were purchased online from Olathe Toyota.

Beam pattern
Right beam only pictured. The beam pattern looks to be excellent, the hot spot is right up at the cut off where it should be and the highest intensity parts of the pattern carry up near the cut off across the pattern with a very smooth and full natural blend downward.

GE +130 vs OEM LED
The GEs certainly look brighter in this picture, but the measurements say otherwise. The OEM LEDs do have uplight above the cut offs unlike Morimotos, (headlights are supposed to have mild uplight) though that uplight appears less than the halogens running performance bulbs. The OEM LEDs appear to do an great job of matching the halogen pattern in light distribution.

Here is where it gets interesting.
Recall the most efficient form of lighting projection technology is well designed reflector. A reflector is far more efficient than a projector, which blocks light from leaving the assembly, but the projector does have a small form factor advantage which is often why they are often used. The 3rd Gens projector headlights were a significant downgrade in performance than the massive 2nd Gen reflectors, but it allowed for more modern styling. If you look at KC’s gravity series, their lights outperform the competition using a fraction of the power and lumen output because they use highly focused reflectors which are drastically more efficient. Their 8w G4 gravity fog can go toe to toe with a 22w projector based Rigid fog. While some might bash Toyota’s decision to use reflector LED headlights instead of projectors, it is the higher performing more efficient technology and the better engineering design decision.

Using a more efficient projection technology, one might expect the OEM LED headlights to draw less power than say Morimoto who which uses less efficient projectors. But they don’t. They draw more. Morimotos draw 1.46A, or about 20.2w. The OEM LED headlights draw 60% more power at 2.34A, or about 32.3w. Combine higher power with higher efficiency projection and the results shouldn’t be suprising.

OEM LED low beam draw, 2.34A at 13.8v. High beam 1.41A at 13.8v.

As measured at 18′, Morimoto vs OEM:

German Philips H9s vs OEM:

The OEM LEDs have excellent beam pattern distribution, they don’t have the odd dark spots below the hot spot that Morimoto has or the less than ideal double cut off low hot spot, the OEM lights have appropriate uplight unlike Morimoto and they are higher in peak intensity output than Morimoto or a Philips H9 bulb swap. To further put the low beam performance in perspective, lux at 18′ with the OEM LEDs is higher than the Xenon Depot brand HID swap, while being street legal without blinding glare.

OEM LED Headlight distance test
Headlights ran for ~30 minutes for stable temp readings.

German Philips H9 vs OEM LED in 42′ test

OEM LED vs German Philips H9 swap

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The OEM LED is the highest intensity street legal option tested yet. While the Philips H9s are about 10% lower in peak intensity than the OEM LED, keep in mind the Philips halogens will fade by 30% over the course of their lifetime, meaning in the later stages of the bulb life the LEDs will be substantially brighter.

Compared to Morimotos, the OEM has higher peak intensity at 42′. However, the Morimotos do have a slight edge on color temperature, but not enough of a difference to be a factor in the decision making.

Compared to stock the OEM assemblies are a substantial upgrade, nearing double peak intensity output.

Based on the low beam distance test, the OEM LED headlights appear to be the best performing off the shelf low beam headlight on the market for the Tacoma. If you do not need to worry about icing in snow environments, these look like a solid buy as an outstanding performing headlight. For environments where regular snow is a concern, a halogen upgrade would be more appropriate.

OEM LED High Beam Testing
This is an imperfect test. The OEM LED high beam is very different than the high beams of the OEM halogen headlights or the Morimoto LED headlights. The OEM LED high beam focus is much lower and significantly overlaps the low beam pattern at the cut off horizon. Both the OEM halogen and Morimoto high beam hot spot is cleanly above the low beam pattern.

In the photo below, showing both low and high beam from the OEM halogens with an H9 swap and the OEM LEDs, both lights have the low beam cut off set right to the top of the 2nd door panel. You can see how the halogen high beam hot spot is much higher, while the LED high beam is much more of a super low beam with uplight.


To give an idea of overlap, this is the right OEM LED high beam only, low beam disabled. The low beam cut off is set to the top of the 2nd panel, but disabled, showing the amount of overlap below the panel which is not present in the OEM halogens or Morimoto assemblies. Note the outstanding uniform spread and smooth uniform transition in the vertical light.


Compared to the Morimoto high beam, shown with low beam enabled. Not a uniform spread or smooth pattern high beam.


Here is where things get a little murky and why I say the test is imperfect. In my pattern testing I find the peak intensity in the pattern and if it is not in the correct location I note it in the review. With the OEM high beam having such a low aim overlapping the low beam, it is extremely difficult to determine the high beam peak intensity without bleeding into the low beam. So I decided the best way to do this was disable the low beam and measure the high beam independently, but that does pay a tax against the OEM LED high beam as it then does not benefit from the low beam uplight that the halogen high beam units benefit from. So it makes the OEM LEDs look slightly worse than they actually are. The Morimotos use projector cut offs, so they are not affected in measured numbers.

But regardless, the OEM LEDs have the highest intensity output compared to stock or Morimoto.

[​IMG] [​IMG]

I think the raw numbers are a little misleading though. They would have you think the OEM LED high beams are just slightly better than the halogen high beam. But because of the lower beam orientation and the overlap with upper cut off of the low beam, the LED high beams should offer exceptional down road visibility, prioritizing light intensity output where it is most important and most useful.

Morimoto XB LED Headlights – 3rd Gen Tacoma
Original review posted here.


Finally a proper full replacement SAE LED headlight for the Tacoma. To correctly run LED lights, the light assembly needs to be designed for an LED light source. Projected light is a system where the light source and light assembly must be designed to work together. Placing replacement LEDs in the halogen projector like the 3rd Gen Tacoma causes the distance projection to be lost. These long anticipated headlights are exciting because finally there is an off the shelf product that is designed from the ground up as an SAE LED headlight, meaning the light source and light assembly are properly designed from the beginning to work together for proper performance.

At a current MSRP of $1250, these are not inexpensive. While they certainly look awesome and the build quality appears great, this post will focus on what your hard earned money is buying you in terms of projected lighting performance.

Morimoto Low Beams

Power draw (cold)
Morimoto left: ~20.2w
Stock wattage right GE +120 right: ~58.9w

For the low beam testing, the LEDs were tested warm after 20+ minutes of runtime, as LEDs warm up their output goes down. It is ideal to test their warm stable output to get real world numbers. After 20+ minutes of runtime the LED low beam reduced power consumption to 14.2A, or about 19.6w, which is about a 3% loss, which is pretty good for a passively cooled LED. Meaning each low beam projector is about 0.71A or roughly a 10w LED.

Output comparisons

Lux comparisons measured at 18′
Stock: 623 lux vs Morimoto: 1413 lux

Impressive 2.27x lux improvement over stock. The Morimoto beam doesn’t have quite as saturated of a beam down low, but the more critical area is up near the cut off for distance projection. Compared to the stock halogen projectors, the Morimoto projector cut offs provide a much cleaner cut off and include a right side step like HID projectors to minimize glare to oncoming drivers.


Color temp is about 6000k. Light quality (CRI, hows accurately the light shows color) is about average for an LED headlight at 71 CRI.

Unlike the OEM halogen headlights with a single low beam projector and a high beam reflector, the Morimotos feature 2 low beam projectors and a single high beam projector. One projector contains the stepped cut off, while the other low beam projector has a flat cut off. Covering the stepped projector shows a flat cut off on the other low beam projector.


An obvious question would be how do the Morimotos compare to running a basic bulb upgrade such as >$20 Philips H9 low beam bulb swap.

Lux measured at 18′
Philips H9 low beam: 1294 lux vs Morimoto: 1413 lux

The Morimotos put down higher lux numbers than the H9s, by about 9.2%. Replacement LED headlight bulbs performance issues are often masked by short range testing, with these being a vastly superior product designed from the ground up for LEDs, how does the distance projection compare?

Lux measurements at 42′
Philips H9 low beam: 256 lux vs Morimoto: 265 lux

Morimoto comes out with slightly higher lux readings by 3.5% compared to running the Philips H9. (Stock lux comparisons in chart below). However, the lux reading doesn’t tell the whole story. The Morimoto uses dual low beam projectors, giving 2 points of focus. At shorter range the focus points coincide more giving greater intensity. At longer range these focus points have a small degree of vertical offset, meaning the ‘hot spot’ effectively becomes where the focus points overlap at the cut off of the lower focus point, to create the brightest part in the beam. If you look at the above photo carefully you can see the 2nd lower focus point cut off, approximately the middle of the 2nd panel up on the right. While the peak lux on the halogens was at the top of the beam at the cut off, the peak lux on the Morimotos was at this lower 2nd cut off, not at the top of the beam. This is important because for maximum distance visibility and projection, the brightest point needs to be at the top of the beam pattern, at the main cut off. Recall that the Morimoto lower beam area was not as saturated in the short distance wall shot, I’d speculate this was done to provide a slightly fuller beam pattern but in doing so compromised locating the hot spot at the top of the beam pattern. With only 2 projectors it doesn’t leave many options, compared to using many projectors on some OEM LED headlights where you could double up focus points in the critical projection area while using others to spread the pattern.

Comparing distance projection:
(Note: plotted 42′ lux for Morimotos is at lower cut off as described above)
‘DD LED’ is Diode Dynamics LED, to compare drop in LED performance to full replacement LED assemblies.

While the peak beam intensity is a little low in the beam pattern for optimal performance, these are by far the best LED low beam I’ve seen so far for a Tacoma and a huge upgrade over stock.


So the low beams are a big improvement over stock, what about the high beams?

The stock 3rd Gen high beams run a Philips H9 in a reflector housing, the Morimotos are using an LED projector. Larger reflectors are more efficient in distributing and projecting light than a projector, which is why many vehicles that use projector headlights still use reflectors for the high beam.

Stock high beam w/ Philips H9 low beam (left light only)
High beam hot spot: 2425 lux

The low beam cut off is aligned with the top of the 2nd door panel. The stock H9 floods the area with enough light distribution and intensity the cut off is no longer distinguishable. The high beam reflector very effectively illuminates a huge area but it also focuses a 2nd hot spot above the low beam hot spot for extended distance projection. You can see in the above photo if you look closely the blue ridge of the low beam cut off, and then the high beam hot spot above it.

Morimoto XB High Beam (right light only)
High beam hot spot: 2043 lux

For low beam, the tests were run after 20+ minutes of warm up time for stable output. For high beam the tests were run within a few minutes of turning them on, as most don’t typically leave high beams on for long extended periods.


Morimoto combined high and low beam output draw

With the low beams drawing 1.4A, the combined high and low output draw is 2.1A, meaning 2.1-1.4=0.7A or ~10w. The high beam projector is the same power as a single low beam projector. In the 3rd Gen halogen headlight, the high beam has ~2x the lumen output of the low beam. In the Morimoto XBs, the high beam has 1/2 the output of the low beam.

Despite having comparable low beam intensities when running the Philips H9 in the low beam, the stock high beam washes out the cut off with a flood of light whereas the Morimotos do not produce nearly that same flood. Instead there is a smaller targeted region above the cut off. The elevated hot spot for extended distance projection is still present meaning they will still perform that critical function though the numbers are noticeably lower than stock, but the flood function of the high beam is significantly altered and will not provide the same wide area illumination. Projectors do not produce flood light as well as reflectors, nor are they as efficient. The stock Tacoma Philips H9 high beam is a 75w H9, which is the maximum legal output for a 65w H9 bulb. Legal output specifies a range of +/-15%, and Philips (the stock bulb) has it maxed out at +15%. A 10w LED in a high beam projector is not going to matching the performance of the stock 75w (65w) H9 in a more efficient high beam reflector.


The Morimoto XBs are certainly a big improvement over the stock low beams, but they do sacrifice a lower performing high beam compared to stock. Aux lights could certainly fill the high beam performance gap. These won’t match the output of HIDs, but these are plug and play without having to hassle with a proper retrofit or dealing with bouncing issues of HIDs in the halogen projector and come with a 5 year warranty. SAE compliant products are significantly more challenging and time consuming to build than lighting products that do not meet any compliance standard, it is great to see a company take interest in building SAE compliant lighting products and tackle the challenge of providing a real LED replacement headlight for the Tacoma.

My post is purely focused on the lighting performance of these new headlights. To see install pictures, DRL function and other info see @MESOreview here.

1) All measurements in these tests were taken with a full spectrum NIST traceable digital spectrometer.
2) Tests were run at 13.8v, which is the measured voltage at the headlight connector with the truck running.
3) The stock bulb used is an OEM H11 Osram standard bulb removed from a stock Tacoma.
4) While GE +130s were used in the comparison data for easy reference to the original post, the GE Xenon +120 bulbs are a higher performing stock wattage bulb than the GE +130s.

Diode Dynamics SL1 LED Headlight
Original review posted here.


Unlike most replacement LED companies, Diode Dynamics takes a more scientific approach to their products and how they market and sell them. Many companies talk output output in raw lumens and increases in output over the previous model, but what is far more important in a replacement LED product is focus. Rather than talking about increases in output the conversations should center around decreases in size, as that delivers higher focus which is far more effective in increasing output and projection than more lumens.

One of the things that caught my eye with Diode Dynamics was their video on focus:

The science of increasing optical focus for improved automotive lighting performance is nothing new. It has been around for decades. Increased focus is why the GE H11 halogen bulbs perform exceptionally well, despite being lower power draw that a stock halogen bulb.

SL1 Specs:
Stable lumens: 1630 per bulb (not raw)
Color temp: 5700k
Watts: 20.2
Cooling: Active fan
Heat sink material: Zinc

Color temp: 5694k (spot on spec)
Watts: 20.2 (spot on spec)
CRI: 75

It should be obvious by now that LED emitters need the correct height and length to replicate a halogen filament. But they also need the correct width, which is where the focus conversation comes into play and what very few discuss. In a halogen based lighting assembly you increase focus by shrinking the light source, aka the filament. To project and perform better than stock, the light source needs to be smaller than stock, which begs the question, just how large is a stock filament? Being encapsulated in glass that is a bit difficult to accurately measure. The solution seemed pretty obvious.


The above is a low performance long life H11 Philips bulb. Halogen bulbs are pressurized, so they will explode outward if the glass is broken. Wearing the appropriate safety equipment and covering the bulb, I broke the glass with a C-clamp in a controlled fashion as to not damage the filament. Sounded like a small caliber gun shot due to the pressurization.

The stock halogen cross section for standard focus, 1.42mm.


How does that compare to the DD LED? Measuring Diode Dynamics LED cross section, 3.03mm.


If you paid careful attention, you’ll notice my measurements differ from what was presented in the earlier video. The Diode Dynamics’ LED uses recessed emitters, which can help make the LED cross section smaller providing better focus while maintaining more material for cooling. However, it also means that you cannot measure the distance between the chip faces with traditional digital calipers, as the body is in the way so you cannot get an accurate reading of the cross section. To work around the issue in the video, the measurement of the emitter mounting plate was presented without the emitters, while comparing to the measurements of the outer face of other competing LEDs emitters. There is always a right tool for the job, I purchased a new digital caliper specifically designed to work around this issue to get accurate data.

The Diode Dynamics LEDs are over 2x the size of a standard long life H11 halogen bulb. In halogens, gains are made with making the filaments fractions of a millimeter smaller. While better than many LEDs, being 2x the size is a significant focus and projection performance loss.

So enough with all this technical stuff, how do they perform?

Pattern testing at 18′
Stock Lux: 623 vs DD Lux: 752

Compared to the XD LEDs where the hotspot was dipped far down into the beam pattern, when it should be near the cut off, the DD LED does far better. The peak beam intensity is up near the cut off, where it should be. However, while the intensity location is better, the pattern does not have quite the same focus as the stock H11 halogen, while focus has improved the hotspot does not have the same level of definition. Hot spot concentration means everything for focus and distance projection.

Comparing to the stock wattage GE +130
GE +130 Lux: 1086 vs DD Lux: 752

Note how well illuminated the uplight is above the cut off.


Too many tests end here, with one measurement at a fixed point, typically 20-25ft from a wall. A single data point does not provide very much information, what we really want is distance projection trajectory, which we do not get from a single data point.

Lux testing at 42′
Stock Lux: 144 vs DD Lux: 128

At 42′ stock H11 bulbs have higher lux output than the Diode Dynamics LEDs in a 3rd Gen Projector. Plotting the intensity over distance.


Plotting results is always illuminating to facilitate a better understanding of the data, a few different things stand out.
1) Halogen intensity slope of the stock H11 Osrams and the GE +130 is parallel and the intensity slope of the LEDs is parallel.
2) Halogens project more efficiently in the halogen housing, maintaining higher intensity over distance.
3) The GE +130s do not put out more lumens than the stock Osram H11s, in fact they may put out less due to consuming lower power. The performance difference between the two is focus, and the GEs provide superior focus.
4) The XD LEDs are actually higher in output than the DD LEDs (1750 vs 1630 stable lumens) but the DD LEDs outperform the XD LEDs for the same reason the GEs outperform the stock Osram bulbs, focus. This demonstrates how focus is more critical than lumen output.
5) What is not shown in the chart is that the XD LED info is taken from the hotspot, which is not in the correct location and dipped far further down in the beam pattern as covered in the original post. Meaning the DD LEDs are actually quiet a bit better than the XD LEDs than the chart implies.

What matters most in headlights is distance projection. Testing conducted in this review was at 42′, which in the grand scheme is very small, which is about 2.25 Tacoma lengths. At speed you need to see objects far further away than 2.25 vehicle lengths.

The Raw data:

As LEDs get hot, they heat soak and output reduces/stabilizes at lower levels. After 40 minutes of runtime, lux output of the Diode Dynamics LEDs reduced to 704 lux measured at 18′, representing a loss of ~6.3% from initial to stable output. All LEDs lose output as they get hot, active cooled (fan based) LEDs tend to lose less as the cooling is more effective. 6.3% is slightly better than average for actively cooled LEDs. It is also worth noting these LEDs are the first I’ve seen to use Zinc heat sinks rather than aluminum. Zinc thermal conductivity (cooling efficiency) is not as good as aluminum, meaning that aluminum cools better. So why would one use it instead? Honestly I did not know the answer to that one, it just seemed very strange. You do not need to be a materials expert to notice this as zinc is much heavier. So googling on the subject, it looks like Zinc provides superior shielding for EMI and RFI, which are important traits to suppress. It also costs a fair amount less than aluminum. I am unsure of DD’s exact reasoning for using Zinc.

What I find most interesting about this data, is that despite Diode Dynamics having a much better design than XD LEDs, delivering better focus for higher output even while using a lower output light source, projection losses were parallel with those of the XD LED. Even though their LEDs are over 2x larger than a halogen, they are still a fair amount smaller than the XD LEDs, yet the projection efficiency over distance effectively remained unchanged. I’ll have to think on this a bit, but it is quite interesting.

While the Diode Dynamics LEDs are effectively 18% better in intensity output projection than the XD LEDs, they do a far better job in locating the hot spot location near the pattern cut off where it should be, helping to reduce the shift to foreground light. However, projection losses remain an issue. Hopefully Diode Dynamics can work to further reduce the size of their LEDs and improve the distance projection in future versions of their lights.

1) While GE +130s were used in this post for easy comparison to the original post, the GE Xenon +120 bulbs are a higher performing stock wattage bulb than the GE +130s.
2) A typical mistake in LED testing is using an incandescent grade meter which cannot accurately measure LEDs. All measurements in these tests were taken with a full spectrum NIST traceable digital spectrometer.
3) Tests were run at 13.8v, which is the measured voltage at the headlight connector with the truck running. Many comparisons online are run at artificially low voltage causing significant performance losses to halogens, but not the LEDs, giving an unrealistic output comparison.
4) The stock bulb used is an OEM H11 Osram standard bulb removed from a stock Tacoma.
5) While Diode Dynamics lists output as ‘Street Legal’, replacement LEDs are not yet legal, meaning they are federally illegal and will cause your vehicle to fail inspection in states that perform them.

Sylvania Zevo H11 LED Headlights
Original review posted here.

Sylvania is a major name brand manufacture in automotive lighting, who’s parent company is Osram which is Toyota’s OEM supplier. So how do Sylvania’s drop in LEDs stack up in performance? You expect a company of this caliber to have done their homework. The Sylvania LEDs lock into place in a fixed position, as any proper LED should, just like a halogen bulb. None of this ‘adjustable’ nonsense. They are actively cooled with a fan that blows upward through an extended heat sink.

Measuring their cross section (important for focus)

The LED cross section, or distance between emitter faces, is the best I have seen yet for an H11 bulb. Beating out Diode Dynamics at 2.95mm (Sylvania) vs 3.03mm (DD). Smaller distance between emitters equates to greater focus (if the emitters are otherwise properly placed) and greater focus helps concentrate light for greater projected output. However both Sylvania and DD are still far too large at over double that of a halogen filament.


The Sylvania box had conflicting specs on power consumption. The cover said the bulbs are 17w, whereas the side of the package claimed 14w. After ~25min of run time, the bulbs stable consumption was 16.8w as measured by the power supply readings below.

Evaluating performance
Similar to the Diode Dynamics product, the light intensity is appropriately placed up near the cut off in the beam pattern, but lacks the focus of a true hot spot compared to the halogen counterpart. However these are probably the best focused LEDs I’ve seen yet, which goes back to having the smallest cross section.

Pattern Testing at 18′
Sylvania lux 738 vs Stock lux 623 (used bulb)

Comparing to the stock wattage GE +130
Sylvania lux 738 lux vs GE +130 lux 1086

Note that the LED causes a loss in the projector uplight for illuminating street signs, clearly visible in the halogen output in both photos and hardly present for the LED. While the Sylvania LED is just slightly smaller which should give a minor advantage in focus over the DD LED, the DD LED is higher power at ~20w vs the Sylvania at ~17w. At 18′ the performance between the two seems very comparable, with Diode Dynamics just edging out Sylvania. However both fall far short of matching the output of a stock wattage performance halogen.

Sylvania advertises 6000k, but my measurements were a bit under low-mid 5600k.

Distance testing at 42′
Sylvania lux 133 vs stock lux 144

At 42′ the Sylvania Zevo H11 LEDs fall just short of stock halogen performance lux numbers when used in a Tacoma 3rd Gen Projector headlight.

The Sylvania LEDs did return just slightly higher numbers at distance than the Diode Dynamics LEDs, despite being lower power (133 Sylvania vs 128 DD). The Sylvania LEDs are .08mm smaller in cross section than the DD LEDs, which helps drive improved focus/better projection. However the DD LEDs are ~3w higher in power likely leading to higher raw output. The performance differences between the two are quite small, to the point I’d call it a wash. Sylvania technically has a better executed design, but Diode Dynamics makes up for it with a little extra lighting power to the point that the two are relatively equivalent when run in a 3rd Gen Projector.

1) All measurements in these tests were taken with a full spectrum NIST traceable digital spectrometer.
2) Tests were run at 13.8v, which is the measured voltage at the headlight connector with the truck running.
3) The stock bulb used is an OEM H11 Osram standard bulb removed from a stock Tacoma.
4) While GE +130s were used in the comparison data for easy reference to the original post, the GE Xenon +120 bulbs are a higher performing stock wattage bulb than the GE +130s.

Hikari Ultra «Eyes of Megatron» H11/H9 LEDs
See the original review in post #1608 here.
Amazon link

$90 HIKARI Ultra LED Headlight Bulbs Conversion Kit -H11(H8,H9), Prime LED 12000lm 6K Cool White


The name and advertising admittedly sounds questionable on these LEDs. The advertising is full of way overpromised performance, as is typical many off brand LEDs, with claims like «12,000 lumens!» and «270% brighter!». The product info page reads like a bad Chinese translation. However these are the thinnest drop in LEDs I have tested. And that is important because the thinner the distance between LED emitter faces, the better the focus (which is a weak point for LEDs). And better focus leads to better performance.


Still not quiet as thin as the OEM halogen, but closer.


An interesting trait on these LEDs is how they use more girth/mass under the LED emitters, and keep the design thinner over the emitters. Below the light source is not utilized much in a low beam pattern, and in the projector all that light is blocked out by the internal light shield. So by optimizing the top of the LED unit to be thinner, they have optimized the light distribution for better low beam output.

These are actively cooled (aka fan powered). Some designs that are a bit more cleaver like Diode Dynamics work with convection to have fans blow upward over heat sinks to carry heat away more efficiently, though at the expense of added bulk. These use the traditional rear facing fan. The fans are noisy. Likely not an issue with the truck running, but I am pretty sure you’ll notice them with the truck off.

So how do they perform?

Better than I expected. 42′ distance test shot against the Philips H9.

Philips H9 vs Hikari LED at 42′

Looking at the output measurements, the Hikari numbers look impressive for an LED.


The halogens maintain a bit of a better recognizable hotspot than the Hikari’s, and the halogen peak beam intensity is up near the cut off, vs the Hikari where it is a little lower. The peak beam intensity should be up near the cut off to carry the projection as far as possible. But over all very impressive performance for an LED.

Compared to stock these are a significant upgrade, a bit over 50% greater lux at 42′.

Stock 42′ vs Hikari 42′

This of course begs the question, how do they do in the high beam? Here are short range (18′) pattern shots using the Hikari’s in the high beam with the low beams turned off.

Stock Philips H9 vs Hikari LED high beam.

The LED pattern is a bit more filled out than the halogen that has a hotter area lower in the beam. But that isn’t unintentional. The lower hotter spot in the halogen high beam is to project the beam maximum forward distance for down road distance vision while also giving a wider area illumination. The LED pattern has lost this defined hotspot trait and is more of a uniform light spread. I did some 42′ distance testing for high beam, and the Hikari’s put down better peak numbers by roughly 20%. However it wasn’t easy to tell exactly where that was relative in the beam and I suspect it is higher, for example a 20% increase in light aimed up 5 degrees isn’t going to be beneficial to help you see further down the road. Brighter yes, but you also want that brighter applied to where you need it to go for it to be true effective. Unfortunately it began to rain so I packed up my gear to bring it inside.

Morimoto 2.0 Stroke 12/5/19
See the review in post #2120 here


Morimoto’s H11 LED bulbs use a fixed locking collar to ensure the LED is positioned correctly in the housing with emitters pointed at 6 and 9 o’clock, which is the correct orientation, unlike lesser ‘adjustable’ designs. (Light sources should not be adjustable). These LEDs feature active cooling in what appears to be a unique drum based centrifugal fan design, much like your trucks interior cabin fan, also referred to as a squirrel cage. It is a more efficient design that traditional propeller style blade fans, however while the fan blade design is more efficient, it curiously lacks very many cooling vents to operate as the majority are actually covered on the rear of the LED.

As discussed before, the critical design trait for a replacement LED is focus. Focus is what drives projection performance. The 2 key traits for focus are that the emitters need to be placed in the same X and Y locations as a halogen filament and the cross section between the faces of the emitters needs to be as narrow as possible. Most companies have the emitter placement down, it really has started to come down to getting the cross section narrow enough to achieve reasonable focus.

Target distance to replicate a halogen filament cross section: 1.42mm

Morimoto 2.0 Stroke cross section: 3.48mm

The Morimotos are pretty far off target. For some comparisons numbers Diode Dynamics is at 3.03mm, Sylvania at 2.95mm and Hikari at 2.64mm, the Hikari’s being the best I have tested yet.

Output testing performed after roughly 15 minutes of warm up time to stabilize output for the Morimotos.

18′ Wall Shot
Morimoto 2.0 Stroke 793 lux vs Stock used H11 Osram standard bulb 623 lux

42′ Distance Test
Morimoto 148 lux vs Stock used bulb 144 lux

The Morimotos are only the 2nd LED I have tested that have come in higher in peak intensity than stock at the 42′ test, though the numbers are so close I’d nearly call it a wash. The Hikari’s were substantially higher. But despite the peak output number, the thick blade design does pay a tax here, as the peak pattern intensity is much lower in the beam pattern that it should be. Peak intensity should be up near the cut off, for maximum distance projection while minimizing foreground light. It is a bit difficult to tell in the photo, but the intensity is dipped in the pattern, you can see the LED pattern lacks intensity above the boxed section of the door, unlike the halogen section. Diode Dynamics, Sylvania and Hikari all did better jobs at hot spot placement near the cut off. Even though Diode Dynamics and Sylvania came in slightly less in peak intensity they produce a better, more correct beam pattern than the Morimotos. Lowering of the hot spot will cause reduced distance projection, even though peak intensity may be brighter. This is an example why peak intensity doesn’t tell the full story.

Color Temp: 5700k
Lumens: 2440 raw per bulb
Power: 23w
Warranty: 3yr

Measured Data:
Color temp: 5981k
Power: 19.6w

Power draw 19.6w

Measurements at 18′ and 42′
[​IMG] [​IMG]

The Morimotos used in this test were a year old and lent to me for testing by @mynameistory. Shout out to @mynameistory for contributing the LEDs to the thread for the data to share with the group.

Philips X-treme Ultinon H11 LED headlights
Not available for sale in the USA, I imported these from Japan.
Not to be confused with the H11 Philips low output fog light version commonly available in the USA.

H11 halogen filament cross section, 1.42mm. This is the target width for proper focus.

Cross section, Philips LED 3.09mm. Over 2x wider than a standard halogen.

For comparison to others, Sylvania’s LED is 2.95mm and Hikari Ultra is 2.64mm. The Philips cross section is subpar, wider LEDs cause loss of focus and a dip in peak beam pattern intensity in the beam pattern from where it should be located near the top of the pattern. Not impressive.

Interestingly the Philips LEDs specify right/left on the blade. The bulb tabs should prevent incorrect installation, so the cause seems somewhat dubious. As a credible manufacture Philips doesn’t make those garbage ‘adjustable’ style LEDs promoted by lessor manufactures.

The Philips LEDs are advertised as 22w. After 15min runtime in 59 degrees ambient temp, they pulled 20w. (1.45A at 13.8v).

After 15 min of runtime in 59 degrees ambient heat, the Philips heat sinks were hitting nearly 180 degrees. Note these are the highest performing passively cooled LEDs I am aware of. Others performing at this level are using active fan cooling. As such you’d expect high temperatures on the passively cooled heat sinks.

18′ indoor test.
Philips LED 809 lux left vs GE +130 1085 right. Recall photos make higher color temps look brighter.

The Philips LED Hot spot is poor, which is not surprising given the cross section width. While the halogen peak intensity is near the cut off, where it should be for proper distance projection, the LED ‘hotspot’ is clearly dipped in the pattern.

42′ Distance test
Philips LED 152 lux left vs GE +130 230 lux right

A basic H11 performance halogen (GE Megalight +130) outperforms the peak output intensity of the Philips LEDs by over 50% in the 3rd Gen Tacoma projector. And the GE Xenon +120s perform even better than the +130s.

But compared to stock, the peak output intensity of the Philips LEDs is slightly higher than stock at 42′. Philips LED at 152 Lux vs Stock at 144 lux.

But here is the problem with simplistic single peak intensity lux numbers, they do not tell the entire story. While halogen peak intensity lux values are up near the cut off maximizing distance projection, here is where the peak Philips LED lux value was recorded at:

15″ down below the cut off for peak intensity output, which is far from ideal. Dipping peak intensity causes increases in foreground light and losses in distance projection. This picture should speak volumes about how LEDs will cause loss in distance projection performance.

While these Philips LEDs have the 2nd best peak intensity recorded behind the fan driven Hikaris, and are the highest output passively cooled LEDs, I’d still rate the performance as poor and not recommend them.

Headlight Revolution GTR Ultra 2
Original post in post #2816 here.

Headlight Revolution constantly rates GTR products as some of the best performing LED lights. They claim that they «have optimized the position of the LEDs so that once locked into the headlight, they are directly in-line with what the optics of the projector or reflector was designed for». They do lock in place and are not ‘adjustable’, which is a plus.

To put that statement to the test about the optics, the critical width for focus is 1.42mm. This is the target objective.

GTR Ultra 2

Just wow. 3.3x larger than the halogen, this is the worst width of any LED tested in this thread (save the joke of testing BeamTech) while also being the most expensive. Recall that wider off spec widths lead to poor focus and reduced distance projection while shifting the light pattern from distance light to foreground light.

While width is a challenge for all LED manufactures (though GTR is so far the worst) most are able to get the height and length of the LED emitters similar to the halogen filament. GTR botched it again here. The emitters should be no more than 1.42mm high, but they are still significantly larger, which will further cause poor focus.

Halogen vs GTR 2 LED emitter vs halogen filament of stock H11

So all the science says these will perform poorly, but what does the actual data say? These things are really damn bright.

GTR 2 LED vs Philips H9 at 18′

GTR 2 LED vs Philips H9 at 18′

One of the best tools of poor performing LED products is short range distance test readings. It conceals the loss of focus and poor distance performance of poorly designed products that blow out high amounts of foreground light while losing distance projection.

42′ Distance test, GTR 2 vs Philips H9

GTR 2 vs Philips H9 at 42′

So a Philips H9 swap is 32% brighter at 42′. But numbers alone are exceptionally misleading. While the halogen hot spots are up near the cut off for maximum distance projection as a proper functioning headlight should work, the GTR bulbs peak output are an abysmal 12″ below the cut off. Meaning a significant shift to foreground light and loosing distance projection. The blow out in foreground light will look impressive initially, but this is counter to seeing distance, which is the entire point of a headlight. It should also be noted the GE +130 bulbs handily outperform these overpriced LEDs while being a plug and play solution, and not even being the best halogen compared to the Xenon +120s. These are significantly brighter than a stock bulb, but the light is in the wrong place which does more harm than good.

GTR peak lux location, which should be near the cut off. This is awful.

Headlight Revolution says: «We challenge you to find an alternative that produces the same amount of output with the same small footprint that the Ultra 2 has.»

Umm, ok. If set on LED then Hikari Ultras handily beats the GTR product while offering vastly superior focus, placing the hot spot up where it is supposed to be near the beam cut off while offering higher peak intensity output and drastically better optical design.

Headlight Revolution claims the GTR 2s are 41.5w, measured stable output:

That is 37w stable output rounding up, so the power consumption falls short of the spec by my measurements. (W=A x V)

This product is poorly designed by those that do not appear to understand headlight optics, not untypical of generic LED headlight companies. It has the worst optical design of all products in this thread. Prioritizing output over focus is a novice mistake that exploits itself to marketing videos and misleading advertising demonstrating how much brighter the product is, without noting how much worse it performs in real world environments. In a reflector assembly the oversized LED will also cause far worse glare than those that do a better job of mimicking a halogen filament. Unfortunately blowing out your headlight pattern with crazy high amounts of foreground light looks impressive from the driver seat, even though that is the last thing you want from a headlight performance standpoint. Hikari Ultra, Sylvania and Diode Dynamics all did far superior jobs at correct hot spot locations and far better focus for an LED headlight.

It is also worth noting, all those ‘independent test’ videos Headlight Revolution does that proclaim GTR as the winner… are proclaiming themselves as the winner. Headlight Revolution and GTR are the same company, the brand labeling is just changed for their products so the consumer wouldn’t be aware they are recommending people buy their own products in the ‘independent reviews’.

Tungsram Nighthawk H11 «Fog+» LEDs
Originally posted here.


This is the first LED I have seen from Tungsram. Tungsram purchased GE Lighting last year, which produced the outstanding performing GE Nighthawk Xenon +120 and the GE/Tungsram Megalight +130 H11s. Effectively having the two highest performing H11s on the market for a projector assembly, my hopes for their entry into the LED market were high.

It is worth noting that replacement LEDs in headlights are not legal, however fogs are not federally regulated. Meaning to make a somewhat legitimate product, some manufactures label their LEDs as fogs, as they are therefore not federally regulated. Unfortunately this is a bit of a grey slippery slope as LEDs intended for actual fog use are often much lower output than headlight LEDs masquerading as a «fog» product to sidestep regulations banning their use. So some «fog» LEDs are actual lower output fog while others are headlight LEDs are labeled as «fog» to avoid regulation scrutiny, and if you don’t know what to look for you can easily purchase the wrong product for the application.

Tungsram has two fog models, «Fog» which is lower output and passively cooled, and «Fog+» which is higher output and fan cooled (wink, wink, headlights).

Examining the Fog+ model for headlight use, recall the target filament width (LED cross section) is 1.42mm:

For as amazing as the GE/Tungsram bulbs are, their LEDs were a disappointing 3.01mm. Hikari and Sylvania both best this measurement.

Tungsram Nighthawk Fog+ LED vs GE Megalight +130 halogen

As typical with LEDs in projectors the hot spot focus is poor, the light appears less focused.

As tested at 18′

My measurements after 15+ minutes of runtime show draw of 23.6w, pretty close to the 24w spec.

After 15+ minutes active fan based cooling keeps things only mildly warm on the LED, the driver of course gets quite hot.

42′ Distance test. Tungsram LED vs GE Megalight +130

What is important to pay attention to here is where the brightest part of the beam pattern is. Note how the GE Megalight +130 very clearly has the brightest part of the beam right up near the cut off, for maximum distance projection. The Tungsram LEDs lack of focus dips the beam pattern intensity significantly.

Here is the LED peak intensity location in the beam pattern, which should be up at the cut off.

Measurements from 42′:

The GE/Tungsram Megalight +130s halogens produce 58% higher beam intensity than the Tungsram Nighthawk LEDs. Needless to say this LED product is disappointing from such a high performance bulb manufacture. The Tungsram LEDs are comparable in peak output intensity to a stock standard bulb, but the LED hot spot is significantly dipped in the beam pattern making their output performance actually worse than the numbers would suggest. Needless to say this is not a recommended product. It is worth noting that credible sources suggest Tungram may have rushed to market with their LEDs and relabeled competitively priced Chinese LEDs rather than developing their own design, explaining such a wide disconnect in brand performance.

Best performance H11
It is worth noting that the GE Nighthawk Xenon +120 is the best performing direct replacement H11 bulb tested, based on peak intensity. The GE/Tungsram Megalight +130 is #2. This is because the Xenon bulb does not have the light reducing blue coating on the back of the bulb like the +130. However, since Tungsram’s purchase of GE Lighting, the GE H11 Xenons have sold out, and I have yet to see a rebranded Tungsram version available yet.


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