Lighting Chit Chat

This is the place for posts that don't fit into any other category.

Moderator: RichardW

User avatar
van ordinaire
Donor 2017
Posts: 2585
Joined: 23 Jun 2015, 14:45
x 240

Re: Lighting Chit Chat

Post by van ordinaire »

My understanding of the lighting regulations [which is where I found the term "conspicuity lights (lamps?)] is they MUST extinguish when the lights are turned on - which is why I cited that as an example of manufacturers doing there own thing. Those Audi indicators (which, I have to say, I rather like) must be illegal, for exactly the same reason as the sequentials on '69 Cougars (& Mustangs a couple of years later) i.e. they do not all flash at the same rate!

"guillotine"? do you mean semaphore indicators? (my Cowley had them AND they both worked but what I really liked was the little mirrors at the top of the A-pillar (inside) focused on them, so you could see, at glance, whether they were out - never seen that on any other car) but they were dead by '59! what modern car has them? However I was talking about side markers, not repeater indicators, again, post-'67(?) Yanks had theirs disabled (often simply by removing the bulbs) on arrival on these shores - but Volvo subsequently decided their (or the Swedish govt's) take on safety trumped any local lighting regs. & kept theirs on export models. Of course they have form for that, that's why the DRL's on facelifted 240's were retained, whereas the contemporary SAABs had their disabled.

User avatar
GiveMeABreak
Forum Admin Team
Posts: 23960
Joined: 15 Sep 2015, 19:38
x 2565

Re: Lighting Chit Chat

Post by GiveMeABreak »

Audi were having an ongoing battle with their LED lights trying to get approval in America - as they were not up to their regulations - but not for the reasons you might expect - for not being BIG enough and because the high beams have to be separate - some antiquated law from the 1960s :-D


User avatar
Zelandeth
Donor 2016
Posts: 3936
Joined: 17 Nov 2014, 00:36
x 445

Re: Lighting Chit Chat

Post by Zelandeth »

Have to admit to finding the cornering lights (where a separate light comes on somewhere other than in the headlights while cornering) to be massively distracting.

If a car comes around a roundabout and I see a light on the left of the car illuminate, my brain initially processes that as being the driver signalling left - i.e. that they intend to exit the roundabout. Whereas more often than not no... they've just straightened the steering up having joined the roundabout.

Also thought the whole "turning on/off the DRLs when indicating" thing was a direct MOT fail as I recall the ruling being that "operation of the directional indicators must not affect the operation of any other lamp.". Though that's from when I was last routinely helping out in the MOT bay...and that was in 2004! So I imagine the regs have changed to reflect new technology.

I had a car with an MOT failure for the indicators not flashing in phase with the dash tell tale. I can tell you for a fact that the click and the light on the dash of the 2015 BMW 1 series has zero connection to what the lights outside are doing...was one of the many things about that car I hated. Many things bugged me, but that one really made my teeth itch!

I don't really mind the sequential turn signals...they draw your eye because your brain is programmed to detect movement, and while I did have a couple of "wait, what's that?" moments the first couple of times I saw them I don't find them particularly distracting. Horrible to be sitting next to in a queue, but that's because they're so ridiculously bright more than anything else.

Nicest one I saw of that type was probably what Ford had on the previous (and I think carried over to the current generation - in the US) Mustang, where each of the bars in the tail light light in sequence. Just looked classy to me and very much in keeping with the overall styling of the car.

Does feel like most manufacturers now have seen Ford and Audi doing it and are just determined to get it into their brochure...no matter how utterly daft it looks. Nissan I'm looking at you.

The LED matrix beam lights are actually really good. The source is diffuse enough and the logic behind it clever enough that the glare for oncoming drivers is WAY less than for HID solutions and from the driving seat (well...passenger seat as I can't drive Chris' company cars) they seem pretty much identical. I hope it's something we see more of as time goes on and that we might see HIDs go the way of the dinosaur. Seems that 9/10 times when I have to basically do an emergency stop because the world has disappeared because of an oncoming car's headlights it's one of three: Audi, Land/Range Rover or Mercedes with HIDs. Especially when I'm in the Activa as the headlights are...average. Lada gets away with it because it has really decent headlights so gets enough light on the road to keep me going and the van is okay because you're high enough above the beam that you can still see.

User avatar
white exec
Moderating Team
Posts: 6960
Joined: 21 Dec 2015, 13:46
x 1256

Re: Lighting Chit Chat

Post by white exec »

A problem with many recent headlights is that they are poorly focussed - more like floodlights than focussed beams.

With halogen H1/H4 lights the filament is a 'point source' of light, which, with properly designed reflectors and baffles, does two things: it puts the dip beam where it's needed (down, wide, and in front of the car), and it provides an effective top-edge cut-off, preventing dazzle to traffic ahead. This works well, irrespective of how bright the halogens are - even the latest Osram Nightbreaker and Philips Xtreme lamps.

Most after-market 'conversions', whether HID or LED, fail to control light scatter, and often have a geometry which the reflectors and optics of the headlight unit were not designed for. In the cae of slot-in LED substitutes, there is no 'point source' of light, but a large number of SMD LEDs covering a central cylinder. This destroys any notion of focus or beam control which the original unit would have had. For this reason, headlight conversions to these lamps are now (in UK at least) illegal, except where the car is equipped with both working headlight washers, and a self-levelling system – presumably to mitigate the dazzle. As said, experience out on the road suggests that this ban - poorly enforced - was done for a good reason.

HIDs, although generally 'point source', just seem (to me, anyway) to deliver a poorly controlled flood of light, with excessive dazzle. This is particularly true of aftermarket conversions, but also of many factory-fitted units.

It is interesting to follow, or be overtaken by, some vehicles which have been equipped with HID or LED dip, and compare the light pattern ahead of the car with that ahead of your own H1/H4 car. While the halogen dip beam provides a controlled 'apron' of light with top-edge cut-off ahead the of the car, HID/LED appears as a essentially a forward 'flood', scattering across left and right, and even up into the air . . . and this is just on Dip! It's also interesting to compare how well the road surface and kerbs/lanes are lit - all that scatter just doesn't put the light where it is actually needed.

Complaints have been raised across Europe about dazzle from HID and cheap LED, but regulations seem poorly enforced, and seem to have had limited effect on car manufacturers. It's not a matter of asking for the clock to be put back, more a matter of having decently designed light units and lamps that don't create hazard for other road users.
_________

Nearer to home, XM and Xantia both share indifferent dip-beam performance. With XM, a lot of attention has been paid to this, and a very worthwhile improvement can be had with either of the two lamps mentioned above: Osram Nightbreaker (+150% in the latest version) or Philips Xtreme (+130%). Both remain standard H1 (or H4) 55W fitting, EC approved. Working life seems much the same as the standard lamps. They are pure white halogen, with a tiny blue tip to the lamp. For maximum illumination, it is best to avoid the overall blue-tinted versions.

User avatar
GiveMeABreak
Forum Admin Team
Posts: 23960
Joined: 15 Sep 2015, 19:38
x 2565

Re: Lighting Chit Chat

Post by GiveMeABreak »

Zelandeth wrote:
29 Dec 2019, 01:59
Have to admit to finding the cornering lights (where a separate light comes on somewhere other than in the headlights while cornering) to be massively distracting.

If a car comes around a roundabout and I see a light on the left of the car illuminate, my brain initially processes that as being the driver signalling left - i.e. that they intend to exit the roundabout. Whereas more often than not no... they've just straightened the steering up having joined the roundabout.

Also thought the whole "turning on/off the DRLs when indicating" thing was a direct MOT fail as I recall the ruling being that "operation of the directional indicators must not affect the operation of any other lamp.". Though that's from when I was last routinely helping out in the MOT bay...and that was in 2004! So I imagine the regs have changed to reflect new technology.
On my X7, the DRLs are completely separate from the headlamps, fog lamps and Angular lighting - they only come on in daylight and when the headlamps are not switched on - they extinguish completely when the headlights come on. So that is a good idea to me providing some additional reaction time for other cars and pedestrians during the day.

Regarding the dynamic angular lighting units - these are literally angled out to the corners and only light up the inside of a bend when the vehicle speed is lower
than 40 km/h (25 mph). This maximises the lighting at intersections and when parking, for example. So these come on when the direction indicators are activated,
and/or from a certain angle of rotation of the steering wheel.

So these shouldn't give any 'indication' of wanting to turn as they are aimed to the front corner / sides of the vehicle and not straight ahead like some of these other designs where they use the standard fog lamps to switch on and off. To me those aren't proper angular lights and are just a gimmick to save a few quid by the manufacturer on a proper system. :)

Peter.N.
Donor 2020
Posts: 10664
Joined: 02 Apr 2005, 16:11
x 519

Re: Lighting Chit Chat

Post by Peter.N. »

I considered the X7 cornering lights just a gimmick when I first got the car but driving round here in country lanes - with no street lighting I now find them quite useful.

Peter

User avatar
GiveMeABreak
Forum Admin Team
Posts: 23960
Joined: 15 Sep 2015, 19:38
x 2565

Re: Lighting Chit Chat

Post by GiveMeABreak »

^ There are 2 different systems Peter, Static angular for vehicles like yours with halogen lamps and Dynamic angular for vehicles with Bi Directional Xenon units like mine. They have different lamp units & bulbs - not to be confused with the directional Headlamp system on the Xenon systems.

Peter.N.
Donor 2020
Posts: 10664
Joined: 02 Apr 2005, 16:11
x 519

Re: Lighting Chit Chat

Post by Peter.N. »

Mine is not the posh one, but its useful. My 'upspec' one although not an executive has daytime driving lights, were they an option?

Peter

User avatar
GiveMeABreak
Forum Admin Team
Posts: 23960
Joined: 15 Sep 2015, 19:38
x 2565

Re: Lighting Chit Chat

Post by GiveMeABreak »

ALL X7s were all fitted with DRLs Peter (earlier models with HP24W bulbs and later facelifted models with an LED bead along the lower edge of the headlamps). It was European law for DRLs to be manufacturer-fitted from Feb 2011.

The issue is whether they are activated or not.

C5 X7s destined for countries like the UK prior to 2011 had them fitted but they deactivated the feature via the software in the BSI as they were not a UK requirement at the time (unlike a lot of European countries where it was a requirement to have them).

So basically you will have them and they need to be activated in 2 locations.

First, the BSI needs to have the correct parameter set, and then secondly, this will then activate the relevant option in the lighting menu in the small LCD display on the instrument display, where it can be turned on or off as required.

User avatar
Stickyfinger
Donor 2016
Posts: 10006
Joined: 28 Mar 2013, 22:05
x 735

Re: Lighting Chit Chat

Post by Stickyfinger »

That is very funny :)
GiveMeABreak wrote:
20 Dec 2019, 00:50
Audi were having an ongoing battle with their LED lights trying to get approval in America - as they were not up to their regulations - but not for the reasons you might expect - for not being BIG enough and because the high beams have to be separate - some antiquated law from the 1960s :-D


Peter.N.
Donor 2020
Posts: 10664
Joined: 02 Apr 2005, 16:11
x 519

Re: Lighting Chit Chat

Post by Peter.N. »

Hi Marc. The only reason I noticed them is that they are on, and yes they are bulbs, just went and had a look. Could the fact that they are on be due to the vehicle spec, electric leather seats, satnav parking sensors etc

Peter

User avatar
myglaren
Forum Admin Team
Posts: 19783
Joined: 02 Mar 2008, 14:30
x 1500

Re: Lighting Chit Chat

Post by myglaren »

Stickyfinger wrote:
29 Dec 2019, 14:14
That is very funny :)
GiveMeABreak wrote:
20 Dec 2019, 00:50
Audi were having an ongoing battle with their LED lights trying to get approval in America - as they were not up to their regulations - but not for the reasons you might expect - for not being BIG enough and because the high beams have to be separate - some antiquated law from the 1960s :-D

Those people are just too damned irritating to have to listen to.

User avatar
GiveMeABreak
Forum Admin Team
Posts: 23960
Joined: 15 Sep 2015, 19:38
x 2565

Re: Lighting Chit Chat

Post by GiveMeABreak »

Peter.N. wrote:
29 Dec 2019, 14:15
Hi Marc. The only reason I noticed them is that they are on, and yes they are bulbs, just went and had a look. Could the fact that they are on be due to the vehicle spec, electric leather seats, satnav parking sensors etc

Peter
No, nothing to do with the spec. Peter - they are fitted as standard across all the X7 models. It's just by default they are not enabled in the BSI prior to 2011. Some owners, after realising this and who wanted the option activated, either asked the dealer to enable it for them so they could then turn the feature on or off themselves in the car dash menu later - or enabled it themselves with Diagbox. That is why you will see some X7s with them on and other with them off.

Mine were disabled when I bought the car - I enabled them myself and have since upgraded the bulbs as I hated the yellow look which did not compliment the other lights. Perfectly ok to do so as the DRLs only come on in the day.

Peter.N.
Donor 2020
Posts: 10664
Joined: 02 Apr 2005, 16:11
x 519

Re: Lighting Chit Chat

Post by Peter.N. »

Thanks Marc, a font of knowledge as always. :-D

Peter