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Thread: Headlight brightness tip

  1. #1
    Full Member Teapot's Avatar
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    Vehicle : Signum

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    Lightbulb Headlight brightness tip

    Thought I would share this with you as it has helped improve the dipped beam on my signum, which was diabolical with ordinary bulbs, and still pants even with Osram Nightbreakers.

    For reasons unknown to me, the signum seems to use PWM (pulse width modulation) to regulate the nominal voltage to the bulbs at around 12 volts regardless of the battery voltage. With the engine running the battery voltage is about 14 volts, but the PWM means that the bulbs still only received a nominal 12.4 volts.

    I fitted a large electrolytic capacitor in parallel with each dipped beam bulb using scotchlock connectors - obviously insulating the capacitor leads to prevent shorts! The capacitor helps fill in the gaps in the PWM waveform, resulting in a higher nominal voltage at the bulb.

    I used 10,000uF/25v capacitors as I already had these from a previous electronics project which resulted in a nominal 13.3 volts measured at the bulb and a noticable increase in brightness. Using a higher value capacitor, eg. 20,000uF may give an even higher voltage (up to but not exceeding battery voltage) but then the physical size of the capacitors may become a problem.

    The extra brightness certainly makes a difference in wet/dark conditions, but they are still no where near as good as my old Astra-G!

  2. #2
    Full Member gibbon7000's Avatar
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    Or simply upgrade to HID's

    My other car. 1972 1641cc slammed beetle. On the road finally!!

  3. #3
    Regular Member Jezzy's Avatar
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    Are you sure you won't burn out the bulbs quicker than usual? Nightbreakers' extra brightness only lasts about 9 months anyway.

  4. #4
    Full Member Teapot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jezzy View Post
    Are you sure you won't burn out the bulbs quicker than usual? Nightbreakers' extra brightness only lasts about 9 months anyway.
    Hmm, they lasted about a year in the Astra which had nearly 14v at the bulbs so I can't see any problem.

    In any case I'd rather see where I'm going and buy new bulbs every 6 months than have bulbs that last 5 years but not be able to see

  5. #5
    Regular Member kenp's Avatar
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    Or disable the "PWM" bye enable Xenon in the UEC...

  6. #6
    Full Member Teapot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kenp View Post
    Or disable the "PWM" bye enable Xenon in the UEC...
    Thats a better solution, but how does one do that??

  7. #7
    Full Member keefy*2010's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by littleteapot View Post
    Thats a better solution, but how does one do that??
    Need to get Tech2 on it

  8. #8
    Full Member Teapot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by keefy*2010 View Post
    Need to get Tech2 on it
    Ah, so for those of us who don't have a friend with a Tech2, my option may be signigficantly more cost effective

  9. #9
    Regular Member kenp's Avatar
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    Or a legit version of OP-com/Vaux-com can also do it.

  10. #10
    Regular Member kdadidog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kenp View Post
    Or a legit version of OP-com/Vaux-com can also do it.
    explain more! what area of this legit software would that be.

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