Adaptive Headlights

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I have poor night vision and need all the help I can get. Are adaptive HL worth it? Are there other accessories that I could get to help like higher
intensity bulbs?
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Adaptive headlights pivot the beam slightly for turns and curves. Don't have them myself, but I'd think they'd be useful. HID low beams are a real plus.
BMW marketed dual Xenon for awhile in which the HID bulb had a mask that would rotate around the filament when high beam was selected and allow an HID high beam (the mask effectively removed the sharp cutoff typical in an HID low beam). These can be found in the aftermarket. Not sure what wiring issues would be involved.
You can also install higher output Halogen bulbs (if you don't have or don't want HID), but if the wattage is too great, you'll risk deforming the housings and lenses from the extra heat and they also might stress the electrical wiring.
Beware of the blue tint bulbs. Most tend to put out less light than the somewhat yellowish halogen units.
R / John
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John Carrier wrote:

They are. They improve seeing range in curves and turns.

*good headlamps* are a real plus. There are good and bad HID and halogen lamps; a well-implemented lamp of either type is better than a poorly-implemented lamp of either type. Given equally good implementation, HID is preferable.

They still do offer these, known as "BiXenon" lamps. They don't work quite as you describe. Rather, there is a solenoid that moves the cutoff shield out of the light path within the BiXenon projector when high beam is selected. NB there is no filament involved in a Xenon headlamp.

Yes, nominally, but as with all aftermarket HID "retrofits" that involve HID bulbs adaptively based to fit in halogen headlamps, installing them is dangerous, illegal, counterproductive and collossally dumb. See http://www.danielsternlighting.com/tech/bulbs/Hid/conversions/conversions.html

Glare can also be a concern with higher-power bulb retrofits, though most all current and recent BMWs have good enough optics with well-focused low beams such that the use of e.g. Osram's 65w H7 bulb presents no problems and gives a large increase in seeing light.

Correct. ALL of them put out significantly less light than halogen bulbs with colorless clear glass. Properly-fed halogen bulbs are not "yellowish", that is marketeering crapola. The CRI (Color Rendering Index) of a properly-fed halogen bulb is between 99 and 100. That is the one and only colorimetric measurement that meaningfully influences visual performance in undisturbed environments (clear weather).
DS
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SNIP

Maybe I'm missing something, but I checked a couple of cars at BMWNA and Bi Xenon wasn't listed. IIRC, it was offered on most of their cars around 2003 (not the E39, however). A friend's E65 7 series had them ... now its listed with adaptive xenon. I wouldn't be surprised if they were withdrawn (at least from the US market) because of their potential to dazzle oncoming cars. (As well as our propensity to not dip hi beams to oncoming traffic ... and failure to signal turns, hog the left lane and other pecularities of US driving.)
My bad on the filament comment. HID is an arc lamp.

BMW has a (rare) retrofit kit that puts HID driving lights in place of the fogs on the E39. Of course, you lose the (on 2nd gen E39) rather weak fogs, they're not auto-leveled, and the switch implementation is a bit cludgy.
I wouldn't mind going with a bit more output on my hi beams. I do a lot of rural driving and its BLACK out there. A bit more light down the road wouldn't hurt. Will the 65W Osram bulb improve my hi beams?
R / John
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John Carrier wrote:

The AFS (Advanced Frontlighting System, a/k/a "adaptive Xenon") lamps are almost all based on BiXenon optics.

Mostly, they are just being marketed differently.

They are subject to the same intensity regulations as halogen high beams, so -- legally speaking -- there is no greater potential for dazzle with Xenon high beams than there is with halogen ones.

...and "driving" (auxiliary high beam) lamps really need to be mounted up at/near headlamp height in order to be of much use at all. The low-mount location is well suited to fog lamps, but not at all to "driving" lamps. Auto-levelling doesn't apply (legally) to high-beam lamps anywhere in the world; they're usually just along for the ride.

Yes, it would help. One of the problems with US headlamp regulations is the unreasonably low axial intensity limit of 75,000 candela. The international ECE regulations permit double that intensity. As a result, many setmakers simply de-focus their ECE high beam optics for the North American market, giving the effect of a ring of light with a relative dark spot in the middle (think of those adjustable handheld flashlights you can twist to go from a spot beam to a "flood" beam, the latter of which always has a black hole in the middle). BMW's lamps don't exhibit this effect to nearly the degree some other makers' lamps do.
DS
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Potential be damned, they're blinding. Why is that?
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Richard Sexton wrote:

All high beams are blinding by simple dint of intensity. That's why they're illegal for use in traffic. For spectral factors, see my previous post.
DS
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Daniel J. Stern wrote:

So that would be your recommend upgrade for an E46?
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dizzy wrote:

Yep. Hit Candlepower ( snipped-for-privacy@candlepower.ca) to get 'em.
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Daniel J. Stern wrote:

Cool. I'm curious, don't you want to sell them to me? I found them easily on your Web site, while finding candlepower's Web site a bit, err, opaque.
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dizzy wrote:

Be happy to. Send me an e-mail. I don't like getting all commercial-like in public, is all-obviously, I was meant to be a marketer, LOL!
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Daniel J. Stern wrote:

We're talking about the high-beams, here, right?
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dizzy wrote:

How about checking a junkyard to see if you can find a set of BMW OE Xenon HID adaptive lights? I would imagine it would be a straight swap. Brand new, it sold for a *bargain* price of $700 or $800!
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bfd wrote:

Not at all a trivial swap. The headlamps themselves are usually a direct bolt-in, but there's a great deal of additional wiring and ancillary gear (steering angle sensors, yaw sensors, vehicle height sensors), additional brain boxes and/or different and/or reprogrammed BCM.
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HGL wrote:

The factory OE Xenon adaptive headlights is an excellent option for those needing better night vision and at what, about $800, is a BARGAIN. I pity the fool who passes on this bargain and then later decide he wants it.
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Well, in all fairness it is possible to install halogen driving lights that will light up the road better, cost at least half as much, won't give you nast backdazzzle in inclement weather and aren't as offensive to oncoming drivers.
Yeah those blue lights sure are purdy and all, but...
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I'm not quite sure how you'd do this? There's no problem with getting a main beam to be as bright as you want, but providing a decent dipped one without dazzle is the difficult one. And in the UK at least you can't use 'driving lamps' to do this.

Discharge lamps of the type used on cars can be any colour temperature you want. However, the eye is more sensitive towards the blue end of the spectrum than it is to the red, so 'red' halogen lamps don't really make sense. But of course HID lamps *are* brighter so more likely to offend others.
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You can have auxilliary driving lights right? I mean you aren't going to need them in downtown London at night but in the country you can turn them on and light up the next three counties.

Yeah and everybody wants that damn blue.

"brighter" than what? I've got some Marchals halogens here than will melt the bumper of the car in front of you if you get too close, to say nothing of the Cibie CSR's.
Also, blue reflects the short wavelenghts so in cloudy/foggy conditions (how RARE in merry 'old) they're the last thing you want. Effectove "fog" lamps are yellow, not blue.
I'm just not sold on HID lamps. Too expensive, too useless around here - which is almost as foggy as ukkers.
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They can only be used with main beam - and on most cars main beam is already fine. It's dip that is the difficult one, and in a crowded country like the UK you spend most of your time using that even on the open road due to oncoming traffic.

Currently, the most efficient HID lamps do look blue compared to halogen. But are in fact closer to daylight.

You can have HID lamps of near any power - same as halogens. Film lighting have been using them for years with sizes in the killowatts.

You'll find as many opinions on the best colour for fogs as you will fogs themselves - but most are now just plain old halogen. It's the beam pattern that gives the best results.

Then you really need custom foglamps. Which could use an HID lamp.
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So you want brighter low-beams? Uh... it's a bit of a contradiction to want to light up the road better but nor blind the guy in front or the guy coming the other way.

Daylight is blue. The sky is blue not yellow.

Sure, and GE make a 10 kilowatt carbon arc lamp for lighthouses but we're talking car bulbs here.

It's not an opinion that you can see bettwe in fog with yellow light. Or why shooting glasses for foggy says have yellow lenses.

Other than the fact none exists, sounds swell.
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