Author Topic: Converting to Halogen from sealed beam  (Read 6748 times)

Offline stan360

Converting to Halogen from sealed beam
« on: December 13, 2016, 06:20:34 PM »
Has anyone upgraded the old sealed beam head lamps to the halogen quadoptics or similar.   I was thinking about doing just that and using the plastic bowl instead of the metal ones.   

I purchased some new aftermarket metal bowls...they are s*%t.    My original Lucas ones are rusty s*%t to the point where I don't want to invest to much into them.  So I fought the after market ones half of the day trying to get things snug around the ol' sealed beams and never could manange to get a chrome trim ring around all of this.

So all this has me thinking of just getting plastic bowls and Wipac quadoptic H4's.....fits like a kit.  I am going to have the lights wired up to be fused independant high beam/low beam and seperate of one another. Will have a new alternator...should be good, or do I need something else ??
« Last Edit: December 13, 2016, 06:24:40 PM by stan360 »

Online MiniDave

Re: Converting to Halogen from sealed beam
« Reply #1 on: December 13, 2016, 06:29:27 PM »
If you're going to run halogens you need to wire in a relay - if you don't know how to do that you have a couple of options - one I can draw you a simple diagram and you can DIY or two you can go to "Wired by Wilson" and buy one of his kits already done especially for a Mini - fused and all.

I did exactly what you're thinking about on Buzz - I bought Hella halogens and bulbs and plastic bowls - everything worked perfectly. However Buzz is a Clubman, so I can't comment on fitting the rings.

The plastic bowl kits were pretty cheap from Victoria British here in Lenexa.

One more thought - how about fitting LEDs instead? Low amperage and the kits are starting to get pretty reasonable.....

Do you anticipate doing much night driving in Butters?
1989 Cooper Racing Green
2009 Clubman S
1969 Jaguar XK-E FHC
2004 Audi Allroad 2.7 TT

Offline stan360

Re: Converting to Halogen from sealed beam
« Reply #2 on: December 13, 2016, 06:33:20 PM »
I never thought about the LED's....could be good.  Do you know who  offers those ?  I did see a you tube video where someone made thier own LEDS out of some plastic lamps.

 David from Wired by Wilson is fixing me up a harness for headlamps and spots....and an upgraded alternator harness as well, that will save me some grief.....I really don't expect to drive it much at night, but safety is key and it really would be best to run some brighter lamps.
« Last Edit: December 13, 2016, 06:35:17 PM by stan360 »

Offline John Gervais

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Re: Converting to Halogen from sealed beam
« Reply #3 on: December 13, 2016, 07:11:27 PM »
Welcome to my world...  I'm currently expanding my electrical system.

I converted to Quadoptics (much brighter) and plastic bowls, running separate relays for low beams and high beams.  I've also got separate relays for the driving lamps and fog lamps.

The procedure is rather simple, but will require some hardware, bullet connectors, sleeving, wire (color-striped is nice), relay sockets, terminals and such. 

I didn't cut into the car's original wiring harness.  As you can see from my photos, I used the original wire from under the slam panel as my 'trigger wire' to the relay - which I added a 2 or 3 amp inline fuse to for relay protection.  As a power source to the relays, a separate B+ junction box which is connected to the B+ post of the starter solenoid (using proper heavy cable) is nice to have.


I've also included a drawing of my fog and driving lamp installation.  I've got separate 8mm LED indicator lamps (APEM brand, with chrome '-V' bezels that match the Smiths full-scale gauges) on my gauge panel which allow me to quickly spot if I've got a lamp, fuel pump or the electric fan turned on.  The fog lamps can only be switched on if the low beams are on, the driving lamps only if the high beams are on - a legal requirement on this side of the pond.

The switches are also from APEM, the same switches as used in various military applications, as used by Prodrive, Williams and McLaren.


« Last Edit: December 13, 2016, 07:14:02 PM by John Gervais »
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Online MiniDave

Re: Converting to Halogen from sealed beam
« Reply #4 on: December 13, 2016, 07:33:57 PM »
If you go with LEDs you don't need the relays, they draw much less than even the standard head lights.

I saw a thread on TMF the other day on LEDs, let me go chase it down.....

Found these....spendy!  http://www.autoelectricalpartsuk.co.uk/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=1025

Can't find the one I'm looking for, it'll pop up......
« Last Edit: December 13, 2016, 07:53:20 PM by MiniDave »
1989 Cooper Racing Green
2009 Clubman S
1969 Jaguar XK-E FHC
2004 Audi Allroad 2.7 TT

Offline John Gervais

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Re: Converting to Halogen from sealed beam
« Reply #5 on: December 13, 2016, 07:48:23 PM »
When I first installed the Quadoptics, LED's weren't legal over here.  I've considered adding them to the brake light/running light and the European 'pilot' light inside the headlight. 

http://www.bettercarlighting.co.uk/index.php?act=viewProd&productId=507

There are some monstrously bright LED's available today, and I agree - it could be a sensible and cost-efficient option.

http://www.bettercarlighting.co.uk/index.php?act=viewProd&productId=556
« Last Edit: December 13, 2016, 07:58:32 PM by John Gervais »
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Offline stan360

Re: Converting to Halogen from sealed beam
« Reply #6 on: December 13, 2016, 07:59:32 PM »
Great diagrams John...that is very helpful.  I am browsing the mini forum on some of those head light threads Dave, I did find some good info.....I do run LEDS on Bmini for everything except the xenon beams, just didn't think to look into this on an older car, but yeah, they could lessen the load 

Offline stan360

Re: Converting to Halogen from sealed beam
« Reply #7 on: December 13, 2016, 08:11:19 PM »
that gauge panel is super cool and matches nicely.

Offline John Gervais

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Re: Converting to Halogen from sealed beam
« Reply #8 on: December 13, 2016, 08:45:45 PM »
Thanks - I can't take all the credit for it though.

Around 17 or so years ago, I traded a jar of my home-made mirabella (wild plum) marmelade and $20.-  to dklawson for the basic 'box' with 3 gauge holes.  He was making a new one for himself and wouldn't be needing this one.  I used it as it was for quite some time, then cut the side and bent it forward, drilled holes for the lamps & switches, gave it some paint and added the hardware.

Not to brag, boast or derail the thread, but my marmelade (both mirabella and blackberry) has gone to multiple households in Canada, the U.S., England (KC is pretty much addicted to it, I sent him a jar last week in fact - he likes it on his vanilla ice cream - yum!), Malta, Australia and Portugal in part exchange for mini parts.  Not bad...
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Offline BruceK

Re: Converting to Halogen from sealed beam
« Reply #9 on: December 13, 2016, 09:54:39 PM »
Here's my 2 cents:

My Mini came over from the UK with awful UK-spec sealed beams set up for driving on the left, so changing them for good-quality 'Wipac Quadoptics H4 quartz halogen headlights (for driving on the right) was one of the first things I did.  And I bought all new plastic headlamp bowls too and had no problems using them.  The headlights I used were Wipac instead of Hella or Bosch etc. because I wanted to stick with a British product, and the quality seemed fine.

I wired a separate relays for both low and high beams similar to the diagrams shown above, and I fused each relay too. 

I briefly considered going with a good 7" LED headlight instead because of all the light produced with lower power, but decided against using LEDs. Here's why:    Granted, the primary purpose of headlights is to light the road at night, but they have a secondary function as a traditional automotive styling element - especially on our Minis where, without intending to get all cutesy, they effectively act as the eyes on the car's face.   The problem with the LED lights I saw is that they are often dark when unlit, and way too busy with various design and technical elements within the lamp itself.  In short, fitting them would give my Mini two black eyes. And I just wasn't having it.

 

1988 Austin Mini
2002 MINI Cooper S
2007 Triumph Bonneville

Offline BruceK

Re: Converting to Halogen from sealed beam
« Reply #10 on: December 13, 2016, 10:09:16 PM »
Oh, and for brighter rear 1157 taillights/brake lights, I discovered a fantastic LED product made by Phillips. Unlike most automotive LED bulbs, these are completely street legal and they come well-engineered from a very trusted company - they are not some half-assed Chinese-built junk like 95% of automotive LEDs out there.   

https://www.amazon.com/Philips-1157-Intense-Vision-light/dp/B00P2D415K/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1481687902&sr=8-2&keywords=phillips+1157+led

I saw how well they worked when I followed behind my Mini at night in traffic (Dave, when you drove it in Phoenix) and no BS, these things kicked ass.  Much brighter on both taillight and on brake light functions than the lights of nearby cars on the road at same time.   Driving a Mini in modern traffic, I want every advantage I can get, and I think these are just the thing to help make the car more visible.

 
1988 Austin Mini
2002 MINI Cooper S
2007 Triumph Bonneville

Offline BruceK

1988 Austin Mini
2002 MINI Cooper S
2007 Triumph Bonneville

Online MiniDave

Re: Converting to Halogen from sealed beam
« Reply #12 on: December 13, 2016, 11:19:36 PM »
Yep, I have to agree those are not attractive, same problem I had with the early aftermarket Zenons......there are new ones out now that are fairly standard looking, but they have those BMW style "angel eyes"....

I was happy enough with the Hella halogens I bought for Buzz, roughly $100 for bulbs and lenses, and they fit the plastic buckets perfectly.

These look pretty good for Zenons, I guess you could just not use the halos....

http://www.quadratec.com/products/97009_0304.htm?gclid=CLypj7v58tACFZGGaQodir4DWg
« Last Edit: December 13, 2016, 11:39:50 PM by MiniDave »
1989 Cooper Racing Green
2009 Clubman S
1969 Jaguar XK-E FHC
2004 Audi Allroad 2.7 TT

Offline stan360

Re: Converting to Halogen from sealed beam
« Reply #13 on: December 14, 2016, 12:09:34 AM »
There are some LED bulb options to use in place of the H4 halogen in the standard 7" lamps....would probably have to mod the plastic bowl a bit. Some of these are extremely pricey for a good manufacturer .  But I am sure they are bright.


http://www.xenondepot.com/h4-philips-12953BWX2-LED-Bulb-p/12953bwx2.htm



https://www.amazon.com/Headlight-Rigidhorse-Conversion-Perfect-Pattern/dp/B01DU30SGY/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1481696444&sr=8-1-spons&keywords=cree+h4+led&psc=1
« Last Edit: December 14, 2016, 12:22:17 AM by stan360 »

Offline BruceK

Re: Converting to Halogen from sealed beam
« Reply #14 on: December 14, 2016, 09:51:05 AM »
Those LED H4-type replacement bulbs are interesting.  I would imagine that much like regular LED light bulbs for the home, the prices for the automotive replacement headlight bulbs will drop over time until it just becomes stupid to not use them.  But until then, their current prices make them difficult to justify.   

Especially when you can get a pair of quality, proven Hella H4 e-code headlights, with bulbs, for just $70

https://www.amazon.com/HELLA-002395801-Halogen-Conversion-Headlamp/dp/B001G72SKQ/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1481730122&sr=8-3&keywords=h4+headlight+7%22+round+hella
1988 Austin Mini
2002 MINI Cooper S
2007 Triumph Bonneville

Offline BruceK

Re: Converting to Halogen from sealed beam
« Reply #15 on: December 14, 2016, 10:04:19 AM »
Here's a detailed evaluation of fitting the that Phillips H4 LED retrofit bulb.

http://www.xenondepot.com/2016-tundra-Philips-H4-led-bulb-s/82.htm

1988 Austin Mini
2002 MINI Cooper S
2007 Triumph Bonneville

Offline tmsmini

Re: Converting to Halogen from sealed beam
« Reply #16 on: December 14, 2016, 11:46:41 AM »
John: Not to derail the thread, but you never offered marmalade for the distributor I sent you.
Anyone looking for a similar gauge plate, I have something similar I ended up not using.
Terry

Online MiniDave

Re: Converting to Halogen from sealed beam
« Reply #17 on: December 14, 2016, 12:17:17 PM »
Gauge plate?

Oh, for the instruments....sorry, got all involved with the lights discussion and lost my place in the thread..... ;D

John, what's the little gizmo just above the steering wheel? a hands free mic for your phone?
« Last Edit: December 14, 2016, 12:19:53 PM by MiniDave »
1989 Cooper Racing Green
2009 Clubman S
1969 Jaguar XK-E FHC
2004 Audi Allroad 2.7 TT

Offline MtyMous

Re: Converting to Halogen from sealed beam
« Reply #18 on: December 14, 2016, 09:46:40 PM »
I'm a bit obsessed with lights. Headlights, HID's, projectors, and LED's are my obsession. I will tell you that MANY of the LED bulb replacements are pure crap. They may be bright, but they don't disburse the light properly in a reflector housing because the filament of a haloven bulb is in a very precise location. Moving a LED chip too far from that pinpoint location causes light scatter and unusable light.

If you want LED's, I recommend the Truck-Lite's for a plug and play solution. It'll get you a bright light with high and low bean and arguably one of the best beam patterns of a drop in replacement without a projector. Not the absolute brightest, but it will dominate your current sealed beams. http://www.truck-lite.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?storeId=10001&urlLangId=-1&productId=48710&urlRequestType=Base&langId=-1&catalogId=10002

If you don't like the look of those and you truly want to go with a bulb replacement in a new halogen housing, I would recommend doing plenty of research and don't go cheap. You'll regret it if you do.

If you want to start your research, I recommend this YouTube channel to start with and go from there. They do a lot of unbiased reviews and they measure the bulb's utility in lumens/lux instead of the "oooh, look how blue and cool it is" factor that most sites do.  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCv0mG3NopUNFWYDsf_t9fqQ

I can help more with that if you're interested.

Offline John Gervais

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Re: Converting to Halogen from sealed beam
« Reply #19 on: December 16, 2016, 08:26:37 PM »
John: Not to derail the thread, but you never offered marmalade for the distributor I sent you.
Anyone looking for a similar gauge plate, I have something similar I ended up not using.
Terry

Hi Terry, I didn't make any in 2014 or 2015, so didn't have any at the time.  Sorry about that -

Dave, yes, the microphone is for the telephone, though people can't hear me over the vehicle's noise.
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Online MiniDave

Re: Converting to Halogen from sealed beam
« Reply #20 on: October 17, 2017, 11:54:46 AM »
Well, here we are a year later and I'm still wanting to do something with my lights....I don't drive at night that often in the classic but if I get caught out some evening it would be nice to be able to see......

To that end, buying the H4 bowls/reflectors and adding an LED bulb seems to be the best way to go even yet.....although it can be a bit spendy....looks like about $250 for all now.

I did H4's on Buzz and those were pretty good, especially on high beam, plus I had driving lights so I could get plenty of light on the road, but that was only on high beam, and most of the time when you need the extra light you can't use high beams due to oncoming traffic.

BTW, props to John for some really good diagrams for wiring up lights with relays.....especially for someone who's never done it before. I think I'll copy and print those to give out to people who ask me how to wire up their lights - with your permission of course.

These are the bulbs I'm looking at now, they apparently fit into standard halogen H4 reflectors and are a plug and play solution, very low amp draw like all LEDs. One thing interesting to me, apparently they get hot, as they have large built in heat sinks......I didn't think LEDs got hot - learn something every day.

Here's a link, seems the prices have come down about $40-50 compared to before and the power is up.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Philips-X-tremeUltinon-LED-H4-bi-LED-Bulbs-Set-of-2x-Bulbs-6500K-200-12901HPX2-/362129326267?epid=1866904126&hash=item54509700bb%3Ag%3AHk0AAOSwoL5Z3lIi&vxp=mtr

« Last Edit: October 17, 2017, 12:13:26 PM by MiniDave »
1989 Cooper Racing Green
2009 Clubman S
1969 Jaguar XK-E FHC
2004 Audi Allroad 2.7 TT

Offline BruceK

Re: Converting to Halogen from sealed beam
« Reply #21 on: October 17, 2017, 03:24:59 PM »
My goodness those LED "bulbs" are expensive!   

I share your desire for good lighting- the xenons on my '02 Cooper pale in comparison to the decent output of the HID headlights on my wife's Infiniti.   Like night and day, as they say.  ;D  I am actually considering upgrading the lights on that car to the xenons light housings as fitted to the later R53 models.

But, I've been pretty happy with the old fashioned H4 halogen headlights that I fitted to Emma.  Yes, it is lighting technology circa 1980, but they put out a decent enough light pattern and brightness when adjusted correctly.   Within the past several weeks I have driven the car at least 8 hours in the dark and I didn't find it wanting.   So Dave, which brand H4 headlights are you using now?  Are they decent aftermarket ones like Hella or Bosch?    If not, that would be the first thing I would swap out and see if that makes a difference.  My car has Wipac H4 housings.  I like them because they have the parking light built in, but I'm sure some Hella or Cibie could be even better.
« Last Edit: October 17, 2017, 03:27:22 PM by BruceK »
1988 Austin Mini
2002 MINI Cooper S
2007 Triumph Bonneville

Online MiniDave

Re: Converting to Halogen from sealed beam
« Reply #22 on: October 17, 2017, 03:55:42 PM »
Right now the green car just has sealed beams in it, I went ahead and ordered the Hellas that you linked. I had those in Buzz, but I used 55/100 bulbs.

I figure I'll try those first then I can always add the LED bulbs later if I feel I need them.

Don also needs better lights in both his Pup and his Midget, so we'll put a set of the Hella halogens in his Midget first as he's driving it a lot right now, then again depending on how those do we may add the LED bulbs later. One of the advantages of using the expensive LED bulbs is that you don't have to use a relay like you should do with the halogens, or else you may wind up burning up your weak ass Lucas switches.

John McGee says he's tried about every LED bulb out there and he thinks these are the best ones on the market right now, especially if you don't want those weird looking headlights like Bruce mentions, and the price has come down some - about $40-50.......

BTW Bruce, the Zenons in my 03 JCW were just OK, the one in my 2009 (if they would fit your car) are orders of magnitude better.
« Last Edit: October 17, 2017, 04:02:07 PM by MiniDave »
1989 Cooper Racing Green
2009 Clubman S
1969 Jaguar XK-E FHC
2004 Audi Allroad 2.7 TT

Offline BruceK

Re: Converting to Halogen from sealed beam
« Reply #23 on: October 17, 2017, 04:39:31 PM »
1988 Austin Mini
2002 MINI Cooper S
2007 Triumph Bonneville

Online MiniDave

Re: Converting to Halogen from sealed beam
« Reply #24 on: October 17, 2017, 06:25:18 PM »
Yes, I've had a number of email conversations with him in the past, but the answers he provided were going to be REALLY expensive....guy has to make a living I guess.

Expanding on the difference between the Zenons in my 03 and my 09 for a minute, not only are the newer ones considerably brighter, they also are a different color - the ones in the 03 were very blue white, these have a much more natural and yellow sort of color, they're not yellow like a sealed beam or halogen, but just not that pale blue white of the early ones.
« Last Edit: October 17, 2017, 06:27:50 PM by MiniDave »
1989 Cooper Racing Green
2009 Clubman S
1969 Jaguar XK-E FHC
2004 Audi Allroad 2.7 TT