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Lighting comparison: projector to reflector

Discussion in 'Lighting Discussion' started by reggiecab2000, Dec 29, 2012.

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  1. reggiecab2000

    reggiecab2000 Member 100 Posts

    STICKY, PLEASE?

    Okay guys, here is my entire saga ive been planning to unleash about my experience with my projector headlights for over 3 years now.

    keep in mind though that some of these picture may seem bright due to the focus of the lens, they in fact are not unfortunately.

    Now originally, i had 10,000K HID's in my OEM reflectors (wait until the last pictures before yall criticize for what you may think would be terrible scatter for oncoming drivers in the stock reflectors)

    Low beam is 10000K HID in refelctor and projector

    these are basically my headlights.

    p_LHP-SIV99JM-WJ.jpg

    notice how there is a ring directly in front of the high beam bulb, thereby completely eliminating any effectiveness of the highbeam)

    (ALL THE FOLLOWING ARE MY PROJECTOR SETUP)

    15 feet

    low
    low (640x480).jpg

    high
    hi (640x480).jpg

    hi/lo
    definitely not as bright as it looks
    hilow (640x480).jpg


    30 feet

    low
    low (640x480).jpg

    high
    hi (640x480).jpg

    hi/lo
    this is what i have criticized most about these headlights is the fact that the hi/lo beam cutoff separation is next to nothing, the high beam obviously cannot be adjusted separately from the low beam, this is why i had to add aux driving lights for hilly roads, because i could never see a damn thing on tight corners
    ALSO, i even upgraded my high beam bulbs to 100W bulbs, and still due to the emphasis on the halo design and cheap projector setup, the manufacturer did not put any effort into making the highbeams functional
    hilow (640x480).jpg

    fog (OEM) with HID

    believe it or not i would have never lasted so long with these headlights had it not been for the amazing output of my OEM foglights with HIDS, these had truly unbeatable output.
    fog (640x480).jpg

    close-up(low/hi/hi-lo)
    notice how uneven the output is on the beam pattern
    low (640x480).jpg hi (640x480).jpg hilow (640x480).jpg
    once again check out the cutoff lines between the hi and lo beams


    driving on the road(low/hi/hi-lo)

    just horrible output

    low (640x480).jpg hi (640x480).jpg hilow (640x480).jpg


    stop(low/hi/hi-lo)

    low (640x480).jpg hi (640x480).jpg hilow (640x480).jpg

    my mother refuses to drive my truck at night, whenever im in town because she complains she cant see anything, the only reason i have tolerated them so long is because they "look" awesome, and my eyesight is very good so I can see good enough with them (also the aid of my foglights was the key to having good vision on the road)

    now the comparison, since i never took pictures with HID's in my OEM reflectors...

    photo 4.JPG

    the projector from about 10 feet
    photo 1.JPG

    the reflector from about 10 feet
    photo 2.JPG

    projector on left/reflector on right
    photo 3.JPG

    First off I would like to ask, isnt it unbelievable that my OEM reflectors produce practically no scatter??? something unheard of i think...

    Now you can see what im talking about when i was the first to notice a substantial decrease in nighttime vision after the reflector HID to projector HID swap.
    they were the standard Spec-D tuning 99-02 silverado dual halo projector headlights. and i had to do some customizing to make the bulbs fit in the first place.
    For anyone wishing to get projectors on their vehicle i recommend you do it the right way and get a retrofit setup by a professional or retrofit it yourself if you have the skills. dont buy the aftermarket projectors, because they are cheaply made and do not harness the light correctly to give you the best vision.

    Of course, i cant control the young kids like i was, who would go for the killer looks with a sacrifice in performance, you will do what you want.

    But as for me now that i have removed my bumper and am back to only having the headlights for nighttime lighting, I feel i will be throwing my OEM headlights back on.

    thanks for reviewing my rant :) good luck to all!
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2012
  2. seffieldvillage@aol.com

    seffieldvillage@aol.com New Member 100 Posts

    I like my projector headlights, never had hid lights but my stock bulbs work fine. Quality is not the best, but like you said they look awesome. Your rant was a good one by the way!
  3. pmf608

    pmf608 Active Member 1000 Posts 100 Posts

    Having owned one with HIDs myself, the factory headlights on the 99-02 Silverados always impressed me because they didn't have the typical glare that you get from HIDs in reflectors - and especially with the scatter glass like that. Even with the scatter glass, those headlights did pretty well with HIDs and I was always happy with the HIDs in the stock housings on that style of truck.
  4. al1701

    al1701 New Member

    4300k better output

    You would have been much better of going with a 4300k or 5000k for light output. I know the 10000k may look cool but you really sacfrifice in light output. That is why the OEM's put that color on their autos.Higher the number bluer it gets and less light output. Remember you are putting light onto a usually black surface which absorbs light so the 10000k get sucked up on the road. That's why it looks so dim. Now the 4300k will look brighter on a black surface because there is more visible light coming from the spectrum versus the 10000k. Look up color graphs for HID lighting and it will show this comparison usually with pictures which really tell the picture. It won't change the pattern off your projector but you will get more usuable light all around, say brighter on the fringe areas.

    I tried some projectors for my 99 Suburban that took a H3 bulb. Well it wouldn't fit the HID version I ordered since it took that small bulb with the metal base to fit in the hole correctly. You can find that type of HID if you know ahead of time which I didn't. The regular bulbs are crap and the light pattern is even crappier. Has that stairstep cutoff but it is all centered in the middle, kinda like yours with no side lighting. I still have the HID kit and going to order some fog lights that use that H3 bulb design to get some light on the road.
    BTW, I had HID's in my stock housings with the them all hazed over before and it put out a whole lot better light output using 4300k HID's, then I decided to look into the projector setup, big mistake should have ordered stock replacement housings and stuck with the original HID bulbs. I decided to put them in my 2006 Honda Odyssey and they are awesome since it takes the same bulb size. Would install HID in the fogs but it is a pain to get to them since you have to pull off the bumper shroud.

    So now I'm back to looking at original style headlamps to go back to the stock HID bulb setup since you don't know what you are getting with the aftermarket projector housings when it come to light pattern, etc. Looking at some OEM style Eagle Eyes since they have the lens dispersal pattern built in and the originals with HID looked good, so new clear lens will definately be an improvement.

    I know you invested it the 10000k but you should look at buying some 4300 or 5000k bulbs and try them for improved light output. If it is the same bulb size as your stock, which I take it is since you showed pics using it then you could go back and put them into stock housings since they really have a better light pattern. Then your mom can ride with you again..LOL that could be a good or bad thing, you know how moms are.
    Just a thought about the bulb change to 4300 or 5000k, not too big an investment to see a difference.
  5. reggiecab2000

    reggiecab2000 Member 100 Posts


    yeah i completely understand the whole light output vs. kelvin temperature, that why I included my comments about choosing looks over performance and being an attention seeking little kid :p
    I think you understood that from my post in my other thread too, hopefully as money allows I will be retrofitting some Morimoto H1's into some clear headlights in the near future for a proper HID projector

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