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Headlights and the law

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Old 12-09-2006, 03:10 AM
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Tomcat7742 Tomcat7742 is offline
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Headlights and the law

These bright white headlights seem to be all the rage, you know the ones with the blue tint? I don't think you can walk into an auto parts store anymore without running into a stack of them infront of you. They look really good, I've read a few things on FTE about their pro's and con's. I just wanted to let you guys know about Virginia's position on them.


Reject inspection if bulbs are not of an approved type (must have DOT stamp and the manufacturer's name) or are over 32 candlepower. (Sealed beam lamps including the ones which permit the use of a replacement halogen bulb are the only lamps approved with over 32 candlepower.) Ordinary lenses and reflectors were not designed for over 32 candlepower bulbs.

NOTE: The Sylvania 9003 (HB2), 9004 (HB1), 9005 (HB3) and 9006 (HB4) Cool Blue xenon bulbs were found to comply with FMVSS 108. There is a noticeable blue tint around the outside of the lamp pattern but the concentrated light is white. Only the Sylvania has approval and is marked with DOT.


I wanted to point this out due to their popularity and all the other brands hitting the shelves right now. I wanted to try the new bulbs by General Electric, I beleive they are called Nighthawks. I've backed off on that idea for now since I found out about this law.

One last thing about the blue tinted white light bulbs that are out there. I know that they look really cool and you would think that they would do much better then stock bulbs. Though I have read a few posts here at FTE about how they are awful when it rains. If I do try them out then I'll defenitly bring the topic back up and give you my opinion on them.

- Chris
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Old 12-10-2006, 10:44 AM
BigBlue88 BigBlue88 is offline
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I wonder if the Sylvanias are DOT approved just to have a legal alternative to full-tint bulbs, or if they're actually better?

There's true "bright white" HID lights, and then the drop-in fake ones. HID Xenon-arc lights in high-end cars have a tiny bit of purplish light, and only at certain angles and seem to "wink" at you as the car is coming down the road. The light reflected back at the driver is pure white. That's the real deal. These other lights are just filters on regular lights that mimic the HID lights, but do it poorly. At least thats how it started. Then they got a bunch of other tint colors (yellow, green) for the tuners. You have to cut out alot of the red, yellow and green light spectrum to get a bright blue tint, which means that the fake lights are usually 80W bulbs with a tint on them so you get 80W levels of blue and 55W levels of everything else- they're still bright enough, but noticeably blue, and sometimes they over-do it. They're known for melting headlight housings- 80W in a 55W housing.

Blue light (and purple, due to the large blue component) diffracts easily. Same reason it's hard to read a blue lighted sign at night. Now combine that with the added diffraction of raindrops. Purple haze!

Let us know how it goes. I'm going to add big amber driving lights to my F100.
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