Lotus Elan

New headlights

PostPost by: Orsom Weels » Sat Dec 03, 2016 9:04 pm

OK Alan, I concede to not having loaded two bags of cement into the boot of any of my lotuses, but they do regularly get loaded with luggage, shopping & numerous other stuff that's sufficiently weighty enough to effect headlight aim. An Elan with an 8 gallon fuel tank equates to an 80lbs difference between empty & full, rear of the suspension, that's more than enough to make a difference, without any load in the boot.
The point is, fitted incorrectly, HID conversions can be a nuisance, if not just plain dangerous to other road users. I don't have a problem with any conversion/modification if it's done correctly & with all potential problems taken into consideration, but so many aren't, & in the case of HID's, it's such a mammoth task to fit all the necessary kit to make them legal, no one does, they just stick the bulbs in their original lights & that's it. Never mind anybody else.
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PostPost by: rcraven » Sat Dec 03, 2016 9:14 pm

This supplier has a good reputation and claims that these LED H4 bulbs give the correct (or better) beam pattern with Lucas and Wipac lights.
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PostPost by: Spyder fan » Sun Dec 04, 2016 8:30 am

rcraven wrote:This supplier has a good reputation and claims that these LED H4 bulbs give the correct (or better) beam pattern with Lucas and Wipac lights.


Robert,
Which supplier are you referring to. Did you forget a link?
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PostPost by: Spyder fan » Sun Dec 04, 2016 8:46 am

Orsom Weels wrote:OK Alan, I concede to not having loaded two bags of cement into the boot of any of my lotuses, but they do regularly get loaded with luggage, shopping & numerous other stuff that's sufficiently weighty enough to effect headlight aim. An Elan with an 8 gallon fuel tank equates to an 80lbs difference between empty & full, rear of the suspension, that's more than enough to make a difference, without any load in the boot.
The point is, fitted incorrectly, HID conversions can be a nuisance, if not just plain dangerous to other road users. I don't have a problem with any conversion/modification if it's done correctly & with all potential problems taken into consideration, but so many aren't, & in the case of HID's, it's such a mammoth task to fit all the necessary kit to make them legal, no one does, they just stick the bulbs in their original lights & that's it. Never mind anybody else.


Tim
I'm interested in improving my headlights, but not at the cost of them dazzling other road users. If the H4 LED bulbs mentioned by Robert are not too pricey I may give them a try. At the moment I can leave my lights on high beam and nobody complains, they are adjusted up as high as they will go. I know of at least 3 people with Elans who have done HID conversions, that isn't to say it's okay.

I just hoped that others on here might be using them and could report about their effectiveness/shortcomings

I have factory HID headlights on my Golf, it's quite noticeable when they switch on that they are auto levelling and I have refilled my washer reservoir twice in the last 5 or 6 weeks, 5 litres a pop.
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PostPost by: Orsom Weels » Sun Dec 04, 2016 10:03 am

Spyder fan wrote:
rcraven wrote:This supplier has a good reputation and claims that these LED H4 bulbs give the correct (or better) beam pattern with Lucas and Wipac lights.


Robert,
Which supplier are you referring to. Did you forget a link?


I too would be interested to know which supplier ? I sort of like the idea of LED's, I use them for instrument lighting on my old motorcycles & find them excellent in that application, much brighter than std 5watt bulbs, & they don't blow every time the front wheel hits a rut ! I have seen them used for the tail/stop light, but as pointed out earlier, they can give out quite a poor light.

I'm all in favour of improving the lighting, & to that end, have Cibie H4's in my +2. They are quite acceptable on dip beam, & more than adequate on high, I certainly get flashed by other drivers if I'm a bit late on the dip switch :oops: That is with standard H4 bulbs, they can be improved further with the use of some of the newer generation bulbs such as Ring Xenon ultima's, Philips White vision or Philips X-treme power. These bulbs, assuming you go for 55 watt, are 100% road legal, cheap as chips (?10 - ?15 a pair) & are a noticeable improvement over std halogens. Demon Tweeks HUD H4 conversion kit is ?119 ! :shock:
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PostPost by: 7skypilot » Sun Dec 04, 2016 11:28 am

I have fitted both a HID system and H4 LED bulbs to Elan headlights. In addition to brighter lights there is much less load on the electrics (2x35 watts HID and 2x25 watts LED). I have an alternator, relays and upgraded wiring but this reduction in load over standard lighting may well be a concern for those with 'original' electrics.

The HID system, whilst providing excellent light, proved a little difficult to fit and to conceal the components and I was concerned about component failure. HID systems use ignitors and ballast resistors as well as the bulb unit - a failure of any one will lead the loss of a headlight. Light output is excellent and I have had no problems with the MoT or annoying oncoming motorists.

HID systems are now super cheap... because they are completely outclassed by LED bulbs. HID complexity and the difficulty of concealing components make HID lighting a rather awkward fit.

I removed the HID system and bought LED H4 bulbs. The 'Fourth Generation' were good, with an integrated cooling fan, and fitting is simple with just the bulb to fit. The bulbs project a little further to the rear than incandescent H4 bulbs but there is plenty of room within the Elan metal unit. Replacement in case of LED bulb failure the same as an incandescent bulb failure.

Searching for still more light, and just a little concerned about the LED cooling fan failure case on long night runs, I bought 'Fifth Generation' H4 LED bulbs this autumn. They are give a significant increase in light output and offer a simple adjustment to allow LH or RH dipping. There is no cooling fan, but a short wiring loom attaches the bulb to a 'ballast resistor' (?) which is a close fit within the Elan headlight shell. But it does fit! No cooling fan is required - a finned heat sink does the job. Each bulb draws just 25 watts and on my rather simplistic view that one LED watt is worth about ten incandescent watts, that is an equivalent of 250 incandescent watts a side!

LED bulbs are continually improving. The only incandescent bulb on our Elan is the alternator warning light. I can see the instruments clearly at night and have much brighter rear lights. I have also used tiny LED's concealed in the centre of the chrome dashboard fixing bolts as 'tell-tales' for radiator fan, rear fog light (fitted where the reversing light would fit in the rear light cluster) and a pair of tiny (but very powerful) LED driving lights concealed on the front grill.

Driving on the last two November Sun Runs - a 1000 mile rally in the French mountains - the lights have proved to be uttery reliable, with no adverse comments from fellow entrants or other motorists.

I highly recommend the LED lighting route!
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PostPost by: Sea Ranch » Mon Dec 05, 2016 5:47 am

Okay, Mr. Pilot, I'm all in. :mrgreen:

But as you comment, LED quality and output and updating lead to a burning question: which bulbs do you use and where/from whom do you buy them?

Thanks!!

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PostPost by: 7skypilot » Fri Dec 09, 2016 8:17 pm

Apologies for my tardy response - Christmas is racing up on me just a little too fast!

Here is a little more info on the types of LED bulbs I've used:

When buying LED replacement bulbs it is worth appreciating that, as with all things Lotus, a little 'fettling' may be required. The only area I had a (very small) problem was in fitting the instrument panel lights. A tiny 'squeeze' on the bulb holder was required to hold the LED bulb securely.

LED's seem to run on about 2.7volts, so if they are connected directly to 12volts they will burn very brightly but only for an instant before failure! It's worth checking the LED bulbs are for 12v use or else a resistor will need to be wired in series. All the suppliers I used provided 12 volt bulbs.

Yacht chandlers are a useful source for waterproof, robust LED bulbs (and other electrics).

H4 LED bulbs: Try searching for '5th generation LED headlight Cree/Phillips'. As I mentioned in an earlier post, the '5th Generation' LED H4 I've used come with a rather bulky heat sink, which is easily unscrewed and reversed to allow an easier fit, and a 'igniter' unit which is a tight fit within the headlamp shell. The light output really is worth it!

Dual filament stop/tail rear lights: from Moss Europe GLB380LR

Indicator bulbs: SVC or Moss Europe

Instrument bulbs: MES E10 Instrument lights (Mini Edison Screw) from Stafford Vehicle Components or Moss Europe. I used bulbs that have LEDs all round the bulb, not just on the end , for better instrument illumination

Interior and number plate festoons (38mm) from eBay

Reversing light festoon (42mm white) from eBay

The red rain light needed wiring into the unused RH rear light reversing light space and the bulb was sourced from a yacht chandler (try Boatlamps) - port (red) nav light (42mm red festoon nav light 3.2 watts).
The green indicator repeater I made up from a green 3.2mm LED.

I haven't changed the wing repeater bulbs - yet!

Hope this is of interest,
Don
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PostPost by: JJDraper » Sat Dec 10, 2016 10:04 am

I've also been using LEDs for over 10 years now and have seen the quality and effectiveness of the units increase dramatically. Cheap LEDs generally will not give a pleasing response and colour temperature is important - go for warm white if available. To get back on topic, headlamps - one area I haven't used LEDs yet... I fitted a pair of late model Land Rover Defender headlamps, possibly Wipac. The important difference is that they have the clear front 'glass' (plastic) and the beam control is in the reflector. I use legal Osram Night breaker bulbs and the beam output and control is fantastic. Better than any of the moderns I have. MOT man even commented that they were spot on when he tested their level. Now they look slightly odd compared to standard, but you only ever see them at night, and staring at them will not do your eyes any good. As a bonus, the whole unit is considerably lighter than a metal or sealed beam unit, taking the strain off the lift mechanism, There is chatter that the Nitghbreakers burn out faster, but in 6 years and 30-40k miles they haven't failed (but I keep a spare set).

I can't say where I got the rear stop/tail LEDs as that was a long time ago - pre resto, so sometime 2005. They were expensive then, but worth it. The light output is red and they have side panels to give light out at all angles. They are so much better than the originals for light output. Ones in the front sidelights came a couple of years ago and are Osram branded (about 7 quid each), again with multi faceted output, lighting up the whole unit so much better than the dim originals. I tried three versions of increasing sizes; smallest were OK, middle much better, largest were brilliant but too long to put the covers back on.. The only downside is that they are ''white', not warm white so are a little jarring to the sensibilities. At least they are not 'blue white'..

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PostPost by: rcraven » Sat Dec 10, 2016 10:48 am

Spyder fan wrote:
rcraven wrote:This supplier has a good reputation and claims that these LED H4 bulbs give the correct (or better) beam pattern with Lucas and Wipac lights.


Robert,
Which supplier are you referring to. Did you forget a link?



Yes, very sorry. Old age creeping up. Here's the link: http://www.norbsa02.freeuk.com/goffyWhyNotLEDs.htm
Robert
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