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Quick intro, and a question about halogen or LED lights


Toshi
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First post here. I've been the happy owner of this 2007 3.4ltr Boxster S for just over a year, and I love it.

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Over the last 12 months I've had a few things sorted (front crossover pipes & coffin arms / ignition coil pack / water pump / front discs and pads) and it's running very nicely, but there is one thing that I want to do that I need some advice with. I use it daily and the headlights are rubbish!

I would really like to upgrade the low & high beam for better visability at night, but should I be sticking to halogens? or are there any LEDs that I could fit without issues?

Any help appreciated

Edited by Toshi
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Welcome!

A very common complaint sadly.

You can get "120% better" halogens, but actually they are 20% better, which means not great, and likely they'll blow after a year or so.

I gather the laws have changed in the last few years, certainly converting to xenon lamps is a big No - IF you have a tough MOT test place. Some say when they are inside projector headlamps no-one notices/bothers to check. 

Not sure about LED, they get inconsistent reviews here, perhaps as the products themselves are inconsistent, previously "direct from China", not sure if anyone has a trusted brand yet?

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I fitted LEDs to mine, that were standard halogen before. They are easy to fit as the headlights come out as a unit so you can work on them on a bench. The bulbs just swap over, the only complication being the need to get the box of electronics and an additional Philips anti-flicker/CANBUS unit into the back of the headlight. It’s just a matter of gently arranging all the parts in there.

Mine have gone through two MOTs with no comment. The light colour is much whiter and more modern looking and they are noticeably brighter than before. They are not however “transformational” as you are limited by the crapness of the projector design. I would summarise it as a very worthwhile modification for the cost.

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On 1/8/2023 at 1:40 PM, BBB said:

They are not however “transformational” as you are limited by the crapness of the projector design.

Surprised to hear that. I bought a recommended HID kit for my Toyota (no legal problem here) and I would describe it as transformed, far more than “uprated” halogens. 
I thought it was the reflector design that was cr*p, not projector. 

Edited by Menoporsche
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I had projector headlights on my 200SX and they were similarly limited IMHO. I went the HID route for those and it did make a big difference, but I’ve been underwhelmed with the LEDs on the Boxster. It has made a noticeable difference so I would still do the same again but I think the projector lenses are too small and if the front of the headlight is at all dirty then they are laughably poor. My 5 series BMW has OEM HID projectors (2006 plate, so roughly the same age) and they are stunningly good.

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Thanks for the replies. I realised that fitting HIDs was not a good idea, but I was hoping there was an LED option that was tried and tested. I did read a post about NovSight LEDs so may give them a try

 

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I know it doesn't help but I am always intrigued by the posts on here (and elsewhere) about the standard lights being so poor. The optional HID's are excellent, and I'm lucky enough to have them fitted. 

FWIW, 944's have very poor headlights and it's very easy to swap the bulbs for more powerful ones (120/100 or 100/55) and run them through a small bank of switched relays. That improved things massively on my S2. Would such a thing be possible on a 987? 

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Philips Ultinion Pro  for the low beam and the very lastest Novsight (N60) for the high beam.

No errors and works fine doing this. I did try the Novsights on the low beam but they throw errors when the air temperature is cold. I have a set to sell!

The Novsight high beam brightness is VERY good with the N60.

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4 hours ago, zcacogp said:

I know it doesn't help but I am always intrigued by the posts on here (and elsewhere) about the standard lights being so poor. The optional HID's are excellent, and I'm lucky enough to have them fitted. 

FWIW, 944's have very poor headlights and it's very easy to swap the bulbs for more powerful ones (120/100 or 100/55) and run them through a small bank of switched relays. That improved things massively on my S2. Would such a thing be possible on a 987? 

Might upset the CANBUS for the electronics somewhat.  That said even H7 Osram Nightbreakers as their standard wattage were an improvement on my 986 which has Litronic dipped beams.  Some report these fail quickly but that might be the higher wattage ones, but mine are now in their second car having been in my Mk6 Golf for 2½ years and now 4½ years in the 986.  (Yes I was tight enough to swap them out for the original standard bulbs when selling)

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5 hours ago, zcacogp said:

I know it doesn't help but I am always intrigued by the posts on here (and elsewhere) about the standard lights being so poor. The optional HID's are excellent, and I'm lucky enough to have them fitted. 

FWIW, 944's have very poor headlights and it's very easy to swap the bulbs for more powerful ones (120/100 or 100/55) and run them through a small bank of switched relays. That improved things massively on my S2. Would such a thing be possible on a 987? 

I have had 2 987.2 cars, 1st one had standard headlights - I had read the complaints but assumed they would be OK - nope - truly dangerous - first time I drove it at night I got out to check they were working. 

2nd (current) 987.2 - has PDLS - so bi-xenon (low and high beam), with aux halogen main beam and steerable - they are fantastic.

Don't know what brighter bulbs are available - but heat inside the units - might be an issue more than a seperate power feed but I feel the issue is beam pattern so in that case brighter bulbs will only be partly successful.

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I found the original halogens useless (dangerous) and fitted HIS4U 35watt kit. White and much brighter but wish now I'd gone for the 55W kit. Passed the MOT no problems, aim is good and nobody has ever flashed me for dazzling them.

The two boxes for each bulb that come with the kit fit inside the headlamp pods but no room to uprate the main beams to similar.

Recommended upgrade.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 1/11/2023 at 3:53 PM, Ti Rich said:

Philips Ultinion Pro  for the low beam and the very lastest Novsight (N60) for the high beam.

No errors and works fine doing this. I did try the Novsights on the low beam but they throw errors when the air temperature is cold. I have a set to sell!

The Novsight high beam brightness is VERY good with the N60.

Hello @Ti Rich. I'm also looking to change out my main beam bulbs for something brighter. Are the N60s you fitted H9s? If so do you have a link for them? Cheers....Rob (AKA Gramps)

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On 1/11/2023 at 5:34 PM, Paul P said:

I have had 2 987.2 cars, 1st one had standard headlights - I had read the complaints but assumed they would be OK - nope - truly dangerous - first time I drove it at night I got out to check they were working. 

2nd (current) 987.2 - has PDLS - so bi-xenon (low and high beam), with aux halogen main beam and steerable - they are fantastic.

Don't know what brighter bulbs are available - but heat inside the units - might be an issue more than a seperate power feed but I feel the issue is beam pattern so in that case brighter bulbs will only be partly successful.

Just to add to this heat is not an issue. LED’s are far more energy efficient than halogens but a factor of about 10:1.

in other words the light output of a 55w halogen can be matched by a 5.5w led.

if you retrofit LEDS the heat inside the headlight unit will be much, much less.

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1 hour ago, Menoporsche said:

On a 987.1 does that not throw CANbus errors, which then require a (heating) resistor?

I didn’t get CANBUS errors, but did get flickering when the outside temperature was low. Philips CANBUS correctors solved the flickering and the units seem to be too big to be just a resistor, so I figure they have voltage regulators inside them. 

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welcome @Toshi

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5 hours ago, Ti Rich said:

Just to add to this heat is not an issue. LED’s are far more energy efficient than halogens but a factor of about 10:1.

in other words the light output of a 55w halogen can be matched by a 5.5w led.

if you retrofit LEDS the heat inside the headlight unit will be much, much less.

Ok.  But the resistor in the back that fakes out the canbus surely results in heat build up. Control modules  need to.see  current draw if that doesn't goto the bulb then something must consume it. .  I have seen led headlight bulbs with fans and heatsinks. Not seen that on tungsten or halogen bulbs. So perhaps inside the lens it's much cooler but what about the whole headlight unit. 

 

 

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The halogens draw 55w. Of this a very large proportion of the energy goes into heat.

These LED units draw 18w ( I have measured it) and most of that energy goes into light, not heat as LEDs are far more efficient at converting energy to light. The 18w includes the resistor packs (if any) and cooling fans etc. These more modern LED units don’t use resistor packs to get back to a 55w load.   They trick the canbus in some other way.

Heat really isn’t an issue. 

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OK - my thoughts came from the comment about running seperate power via a relay - which given the lower or at worst similar draw I thought was probably not an issue.

as Meno says - if there is a proven "just works" setup - then it would make a great "how to" - because it comes up a lot.

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