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Old 01-18-2004, 07:13 AM   #1
eckoman_pdx
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aftermarket bulbs:color temperature and usable light output

Many people like the look of HID's, but don't want to pay the cost. Other's believe that the "higher wattage output" listed on many aftermarket bulbs prodives more light. There are many reasons people swap out headlight bulbs for something else. Despite the commen occurance of this, however, there are many facts people are not aware of when it come to light bulbs.
First off, I will discuss the meaning of "color temperature," as well as how it effects light output. We all have seen those "Simulated HID" aftermarket bulbs out there. They promise us a "simulated HID look and output" and list color temperatures as that can climb upwards of 8500K. With headlights, K refers to the color tempature. So 5,000K = 5,000 degree's Kelvin (K= degree's Kelvin, another temputure scale, 0 degree's Kelvin is absolute zero, the coldest possible temp, the temp where all movement of molecules stops). So, a 5,000K headlight has a lower color temp than a 7,000K headlight. First off, this means it burns a little cooler. The difference in the temperature produces the change in color, as well as a change in usable light. In general, the higher color temperature headlights have LESS usable light. The color output at 7000K or 8000K might look cool with it's purplish look, but the usable light output is less than a bulb burning at 5000K or 4000K. Of course, this means the road doesn't appear as bright with these bulbs, since the color temp throws out less usable visable light. This is why the output you see in terms of lighting up the road is MUCH worse with bulbs that burn at high color temperatures, like 7000K or 8500K bulbs. A friend once bought a pair of 8000K bulbs. I tired to talk him out of it. He put them in, and the light output was AWFUL! The usable light from low beam that lights up the road was cut drastically down, and the high beam was much less efficient. Luckily, it blew out after a few days, and a 4000K set was installed. It didn't look "as cool" but the visable light output was far better than those high color temperature "high wattage bulbs" he had in previously. Many people exprience this loss of light output when bulbs with a high color temperature are installed, like "Simulated HID" bulbs. Most of the time, the legal color limit is around 5200K, and there is a good reason for this. This isn't the sole reason that this color temp is chosen as the general legal limit, but it is something to consider. With that increased color output of higher color temperature bulbs, comes reduces light output, even if the bulb is a "high output bulb." I would suggested a color temp NO HIGHER than the PIAA Super Plasmas, which is around 5130K. It's a whitish-blueish/purple tint, it looks good, and the light output is MUCH BETTER than the higher color temp bulbs. I find it a good medium better visable light output and color temp.
This brings me to a second point. A lot of people just view PIAA bulbs as high priced and overrated. An important thing to remember when purchasing these aftermarket bulbs is the higher wattage and higher color temperature both lead to the bulbs burning out much quicker. This is a problem many people experience. High output bulbs burn out in a matter of months. However, it is here that PIAA is more than just an overpriced bulb. PIAA bulbs generally carry a 1 year warrenty with them. This means that if you purchase a PIAA bulb and one or both burn out before the 1 year period is up, grab your receipt. Take the bulb and receipt to the place of purchase and exchange it for a new one. That one year warrenty with PIAA bulbs is great, just make sure to check that the shop before you buy it from honors this warrenty. There is one shop here that won't honor any warrenties. Needless to say, that is a shop to aviod.
Besides the PIAA Super Plasma's I mentioned above, the PIAA Extreme White bulbs are good too. They burn at around 4300K, so it's mostly a whiteish light. It should have a little more visable light output than the Super Plasmas, though the color isn't as pretty (it's still a nice white though). I would recommend one of these. I would recommend that the 5130K PIAA Super Plasmas (if they are available in your bulb type) if you want the blueish purple color without the loss of visable light you get with the cheaper bulbs (that can run as high as an 8000k or more color temperature). Just remember, the higher the color temp, the less light is visable as helpful light output on the road. That's why those 8500K bulbs lite the road like crap.
One of the factors that scares people away from qaulity bulbs like PIAA is the price. When you factor that the cheap brands only last maybe 3 months or so (an have no warrenty), at $30 a set, that can come to more than $90 a year. This is more money in the end than a set of the PIAA's with the one year warrenty cost up front. And of course, save the recipt, and your good for a year with the PIAA's.
Remember that all bulbs are not created eqaul, and that color temperature directly affects visable light output. This is why the lower color temperature bulbs light up the road better. A good bulb like the PIAA's will help the light output a lot. Another trick that can sometimes help (especially when you have projecotrs with an H3 low beam) is aiming the lights a little high. However, only aim a little high, and only do this if you don't mind upsetting other drivers.

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Old 01-18-2004, 03:30 PM   #2
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Re: aftermarket bulbs:color temperature and usable light output

Out of curriousity, what is the temperature of a stock, regular bulb?

Heres another idea. Lets discuss the top, most popular and most talked about bulbs and compare them. You talked about the two PIAA bulbs.. and I'm really liking how the plasma ones sound. Now how does that compared to the ones SilverY2Kcivic is always talking about? Whats the teperature on that one?

If we can, lets try to go as far as making a list of good manufactures, their websites, and even pictures to show color. I'm just trying to think of info I wish I had access to if I was a newb.
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Old 01-18-2004, 03:44 PM   #3
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Re: aftermarket bulbs:color temperature and usable light output

Quote:
Originally Posted by SilverY2KCivic
Sylvania Silver Star bulbs will be brighter than your stock/factory bulbs. Plus they are 50 state DOT legal, and since they are stock wattage, they won't burn out prlike most hyperwhites will. I run SilverStars on my Civic.
Apearently, Matt endorces SilverStar So whats the deal with these bulbs?

Matt, for some reason, when I read the quote.. I can picture you standing next to your car and saying that... finishing it with a big smile and a thumbs up... like some kind of commercial. lol
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Old 01-18-2004, 11:49 PM   #4
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I have never been able to get a picture to come out completly true to the look of a bulb in real life. Even the pictures on the manufactors websites that compare their look to stock arn't enitrly true to real life (though some do a decent job keeping it close). If I am ever able to get true to life picture of the Super Plasma, I will post it. Unlilke Cheap high outpout bulbs that operate at a higher wattage, PIAA's actually operate at stock wattage too (like Silverstars). PIAA uses what it calls "XTRA Technology" to raise the equivently output of the bulbs to that of the cheaper "high output bulbs" without actually runnig high wattage. Silverstar is Sylvania's HID simulated bulbs. They are not "high output" like some, or "high output eqivelent" like PIAA, but the color temperature is low, around 4000K. They operate at stock watts, like PIAA does. The added brightness with the PIAA's and the Silverstars has to do with increases lummans (light output) and not increased wattage. This is why they say "55watts= 85 watts brightness, for example. Silverstars actually do increase wattage a bit to increase lumens. For example, the stock 9007 uses 55watt low and 60 watt high beams. The Silverstars are 60watt low and 70watt high. PIAA doesn't increase the wattage at all, but uses it's patented "XTRA technolgy to increase the lumans and output without raiuseing wattage. PIAA was around long before Sylvania released the Silverstar. The PIAA's light the road a little better, IMO. The Silverstars light the road well too, I pefer PIAA's myself. Still, I find Silverstar has a lot of hype. A lot of people read up and assume that ALL lights operate non-street legel, burn at a higher wattage, etc. This is just not true. PIAA's lights, similer to the silverstars, have been out for years. Another example of this is their new "turn signal bulb." In Oregon, for exampe, a white turn signal bulb is clear. Automotive Vehcile code states a front turn signal must be white, yellow, or amber. The SIlverstar signal bulb claims "get the bulb look off of a white bulb, but when it turns on. it shines a brillent, amber light. Get the look of a white bulb with a legel amber light." To me, that's hype, since white front turn signals are legel in both oregon and washington (rear turn signals must be red or amber, however). The Silverstars arn't easy to find at most stores in an H3, for those of us with projectors. They website lists them as made in an H3 pattern, though I have never seen it. If you have stock bulbs or they make bulbs for your application, they are a good choice. Decent color temperature, nice look. Like I said though, whereas a PIAA Extreme white 9007 my be "55watts low, 65high" watt out put evialalent to "110-120" or simaler, the Sylavnia is not "high output equalient per say, in this regard." The wattage in general is raised a bit to get more lumens, though not as much as cheap bulbs raise it get achive this. Another example of this is the H3 bulb. Stock wattage is 55 watts. The PIAA Super Plasma runs at 55watts, but the light output (light output is meseasured in lumens) is equivlent to what a started 85 watt bulb would rpoduce. PIAA achives the lumen output of a started 85 watt bulb with 55 watts. SIlverstar does this to a certain extent too, but the Silverstar website states the "max wattage" an H3 will have is 68 watts. The wattage is raised a bit to achive the higher lumens (though as I stated above, less than cheap bulbs). This is why I say I find the silverstars a bit hyped, since most people claim their is NO increased wattage produced. Look at the chart of lumans and max wattage on the silverstar website, and compare it to the equivilent stock bulb. The stock bulb has less lumans (meaning less light output) and a bit less watts than the silverstar equivlent. As I said, PIAA is able to achive the increaed luman output from the same stock wattage. Either way, this will cause both bulbs to burn a little hotter than stock. PIAA and Silverstar have 2 different ways to achive a similer result. I perfer PIAA. What each person perfers is up to them. The SIlverstars are a low color temp though (4000K), and look decent. For people like me with H3 low beams, they arn't possible. PIAA is a very good alternative. Also, with the H3's, the high output helps, since a lot of H3 housing's used for projectors are the cheaper fog light housing, versus the more expensive driving light housing. H3 is generally a bulb used with driving lights and fog lights. What this means is the beam pattern thrown is wider and not as far as a driving light beam pattern. This is where the higher output bulb and aiming a little high helps, since a fog light pattern in general won't light the road the way we generally expect. The stock color temperature is usually around 3000K, give or take a few hunderd degree's Kelvin. Sylvania Silverstars good, and well below the legel color temp limit. Also, the PIAA Extreme White's are as well. The Silverstars may last longer, due to standard output. However, of the Xenon High Output bulbs, PIAA tends to last the longest, and have the best slection of color temps. If you are really worried though, Silverstars work. I would sitck with these 2. PIAA is the only high output bulb I would recommend. It's hard to show the true color temp look of a bulb in pics. I have several pics of the Super Plasma's, and NONE do it justice. Same goes with the Silverstars. MY best advise is to look for a store that has displays up where you hit the button and it shines the light so you can see it. The Silversat HID aux. lighting kit burns at around 5000K, real close to the Super Plasma's.

As fot Popluar bulb brands.

APC: the APC street legel "extreme white" bulbs burn at 4100K. They are a "high output bulb." They usually outlast the bulbs that burn at a high color temp. I have found 1 year commen with these bulbs. I have not seen an H3 readlily availbe at most places for this bulb (if you have H3 low beam projectors).

PIAA: Has a great color temperature selection. All PIAA bulbs are "high output." Extreme White is their highest color temp bulb available in the most wide selcetion of bulb types. H3 is available in this for people with H3 projecotr low beams. The color temp is a little higher than the APC, 4300K. It lasts a white too. PIAA also has a 1 year warrenty on their bulbs, and is the only manufactorer to offer this. This is very helpful since cheaper high output bulbs are known to blow in sometimes a matter of months. If you buy it, install it and the bulbs blow. Take it back to place to purchase along with the reciept, and exchange it for a new pair (make sure the place you buy it from honors this warrenty). PIAA's Super Plasma bulbs actually have a Color temperature and look closest to HID's. The are around 5000K or so. It is very close to the legel color limit, which in a lot of states is 5200K or so. Still, this means they are usually legel, and look very good. It has more of a whitist /purple bluish tint like High end HID's on Audi and BMW. However, the bulb selction at MOST stores is not very great. H3's are made. You CAN get these in other bulb types, but it may have to be imported from PIAA japan. Check to made sure the warrney is still honored if you have to do that. I know a store around here will honor it with that as well. Of the "high output" bulbs, PIAA tends to have the highest qaulity and last the longest. The color temperatures are nice looking, but generally street legel (low enough they light the road well). PIAA's "high output bulbs provide a higher output light while running at the normal 55watt or 60 watts. The exact output eqivualence depends on the appication, but can range from 55 watts with 85 watts eqivaulent output (Super Plasma H3) to 55/60watts with 125/135watts equilvent output (Extreme White H4).

Sylvania SilverStars: Color temperature is around 4000K or so. Standard Output. These are commenly advertised as "Street-Legel" s all 50-startes. While this IS TRUE, they are not the only brand street legel. The PIAA Extreme Whites are as well, and Super Plasma's are in a majority ot the states (as well as the APC's). However, if you DON'T WANT the "xenon high output" bulbs. This is the one that will have the highest color temperature at standard output. The Silverstar HID drving lights are street legel when run in conjunction with your high beams, and burn are around 5000K. Like PIAA, these bulbs are also reputable. There is no warrenty on them like you typically find with PIAA's, but not being high output, they will almost always last more than a year, so this is not an issue really. For those who want a little whiter light and don't really want high output, these are a good choice. These are harder to find in an H3 bulb type(for people with H3 projectors), but are made.

Nokia (now known a SPW) Bulbs: These bulbs are the typical high output bulb. Low cost, high color temp. This high color temperature, sometimes exceeding 8000K, results in very poor lighting of the road while driving. Also, these bulbs blow VERY quickly. Usually, I have know of these blowing in a matter of weeks.They are not street legel, due to the excessivly high color temperature, and blow out quickly. Even the "high output" doesn't help much with usable light output. JUst lights the road poorly, plain and simple. I won't recommend these bulbs (or similer) under any circumstance. The qaulity is just not good.

I would recommend the following aftermarket bulbs. Depending on the bulb type you need, you amy or may not be able to obtain certian bulbs for your application.
The PIAA Extreme White (4000K in 9000 series bulb, 4150 for H3 & H4 bulbs,high output), Platium Super White (3800K for 9000 series bulbs, high output), and Sylvania Silverstars (4000K, standard output) are ALL SAE and DOT complient. Also, the "Super Extreme White" H4 PIAA has a 4150K low beam and 3950K high beam. The Super Plasma H4 is 5000K low beam, 3800K high beam. The Super Plasma GT-X has a 5000K low beam and 4150K high beam. This has the highest color temp high beam of the complient bulbs. These are sites to the two manufactors I would recommend. The color of daylight is around 5200K to 5400K. Most HID's are somewhere between 4300K and this (the color of daylight).

This site explains color temperature and shows a scale explaining it and bulbs a bit.
http://www.piaa.com/Bulbs/BulbsAbout.html

PIAA's web side, the index for the information on the bulbs
http://www.piaa.com/Bulbs/Bulbs.html

This is the Sylvania Silverstar website
http://www.sylvania.com/auto/silverstar.htm

I'll wrap all this up by trying to explain lumans and watts in something a little simpler, house light bulbs. We have all seen a 40 watt light bulb that throws out more light than a cheap off brand 40 watt bulb. This is due to Lumans, the light output the bulb prodives. The higher qaulity bulb produces more light output (lumans) from the same wattage. Now, with the standard bulb, cheaper bulb, you can also get this increased amount to Lumans, but you must raise the wattage (power) the bulb draws to achive this. PIAA is the high qaulity house bulb, increasing lumans at the standard wattage. This achives a luman output (light output) eqaul to what the standard would only achive at a higher wattage. This is where the 55watts=85 watts output comes from. The Silverstars are in between the two. They DO increase lumans without drastically increasing wattage. However, the wattage is increased a bit to achive the lumans. These might be like a 68watt house bulb. It produces more lumans than a cheaper bulb would, though it has to ran at a slightly higher wattage to achive this. Now the reason you want a bulb like this, or the PIAA's, is simple. If your lamp socket is designed for only 60 watts or so, you can't install a 100 watt lamp to increaswe brightness, it will burn out or worse. You must install a bulb that increases the lumans ouput with out drastically increasing the wattage of the bulb (like the Silverstar or PIAA). Also, just like a house bulb, not all bulbs have the same expected hours they will work producing light. The higher qaulity bulbs, like PIAA and Silverstar, will last much longer than a cheaper bulb, where bulb life isn't as much of an issue to the manufactorer. The way these two manufactors go about increasing light output is similer, increase the lumans while trying to aviod having to raise wattage too much.

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Old 01-19-2004, 04:35 AM   #5
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Re: aftermarket bulbs:color temperature and usable light output

WOW! Very well done! Looks like I'll be buying PIAA Super Plasma H3 bulbs.
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Old 01-19-2004, 02:57 PM   #6
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Re: Re: aftermarket bulbs:color temperature and usable light output

Quote:
Originally Posted by Silverbolt
Apearently, Matt endorces SilverStar So whats the deal with these bulbs?

Matt, for some reason, when I read the quote.. I can picture you standing next to your car and saying that... finishing it with a big smile and a thumbs up... like some kind of commercial. lol
haha, we gotta get a pic of that for the site and this thread!

But seriously, I like them because they are brighter than stock yet still a non-damaging so close to stock wattage and they look somewhere between your average OEM halogen, and a PIAA Super White bulb. They light at a 4000K light temp level, though I wonder what that number is when the high beam portion is on since mine seem to gain a bluish tint around the edges of the light patter when I have them in high beam mode. Normal hyperwhites are bluish in low beam and go more white in high beam. SilverStars "at the least the H4's i have) seem to do the opposite which is kinda neat. They won't blow out prematurely like ANY OTHER high wattage bulb will, and IMO they are a more readily available if not cheaper alternative to PIAA bulbs, of which I'd also highly recommend as well if you can get them a good decent price. I actually am wanting to pick up a pair of H4 PIAA Super Plasma GT-X bulbs for my car to see how they are.

Now about their new line of "turn signal" bulbs... Pics below (the night one actually does them good justice):





I also just like you Eckoman, have yet to see H3 style SilverStars for sale at any shop/store that sells Silverstars. I'd have bought some for my fog lights by now if I had...
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Old 01-19-2004, 03:13 PM   #7
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Yea, I have the Super Plasma's. I think you'll Super Plasma GT-X matt. If you have H3's at all, I'd recommend PIAA. If you have a bulb that is an H4 or a 9000 series, it's a toss up I guess, depending on what your goals and needs are for a light bulb, etc. I still like the way PIAA's look better, so that's what I use. Also, similer to what you said about the silverstar's, the PIAA's are stock wattage, so they don't burn out prematurly in a few months and ruin things, etc. That, of course, is why they have a warrenty. I have the Super Plasma's, and I love them. As for the silverstar turn signal. I know in oregon, as I stated above, you can have a white turn signal in front, so those are not necessary. If you want the white look bulb, you can buy a white turn signal. The bulb itself reminds me of B1 Hybrid's newer line, where the housing looks like that but the bulb shines a different color when lit (white, amber, red, blue, etc). What can I say though, even my 1157 turn signals are Extreme White PIAA's, lol. Like I said though, I checked the DMV manuals up here, and it's legel to have either a white, yellow, or amber turn signal in front.
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Old 01-19-2004, 09:52 PM   #8
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From what I've read in some of the CVC (Cali VC) literature that's online, we are allowed ONLY either amber or clear bulbs for the front corner markers/turn blinker bulbs. I had Polarg M14's for mine for almost 2 years and not a single problem with cops reguarding them, even when flashed in their face. They DID have a problem with my superwhite Polarg sidemarker bulbs however and told me they could only be amber color. That was just once from a CHP officer, but she only gave me a verbal warning about it, and it wasn't the reason she pulled me to begin with. But once I got my CTR housings, I wanted a totally seemless and original JDM look to things, so I opted for SilverStar all around at the front (legal but different H4 headlight bulbs, and amber color corner blinker and side marker bulbs).

The only H3 bulbs I have are my foglights. They use H3's Right now I have your average Sylvania OEM replacement type H3 bulbs in it. If they made (or I could find) SilverStar version H3's I'd put those in instead. Since the lense glass to the fogs are blue tinted anyways, they give off a pretty near HID look to them, so I'm not so worried about changing them right now. The PIAA S/P GT-X's I can get from Inline Four for about $65 plus tax, and so because of the such inexpensive price on them, that's the only reason why I'd like to try them out. Plus I'm sure they may be more of the look I'd like to have with my headlights. Also just like SilverStars, the PIAAs are DOT legal as well.
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Old 01-20-2004, 08:37 PM   #9
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Re: aftermarket bulbs:color temperature and usable light output

Quote:
Originally Posted by SilverY2KCivic
Also just like SilverStars, the PIAAs are DOT legal as well.
Yes, very true. I think I said that in one of my above posts too. That's why those are the only bulbs I really recommend. They are legel, look great, and outlast the cheaper knock-off's people buy so much. Plus, the whole wattage issue, they manage to increease the lumens (light output) with really increasing the wattage too much, if at all (depending on bulb, etc).That's what I have, PIAA Super Plasma's for my low beams. My low beams are H3 projectors. They look great with the Super Plasmas. If you like the look they give you in the H4, I highly recommend the H3's for your fog lights. Plus, it will then further compliment your new H4 super plasmas. I know I have been told by officals they "think" only amber is ok. I hunted down the DMV drivers manual and checked. That's where I found it listed. That's really the only way to fully find the law on such things, look it up. Half the time, the officers arn't really versed in that type of thing. I know up a lot of the time, the "white" light is considered clear. Of course, I don't know how they interprete it in cali. If you ever go back to the whites. get a copy of the code and carry it in your car. Then if anyone says otherwise, you can politly show them where DMV showed you the law said it was alright. I agree though, the amber bulb fits right up the ally of your car's theme, it works for your goals very well. Your car is real clean in that sense.
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Old 01-20-2004, 10:31 PM   #10
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Here's some interesting bits taken from the Californis Vehicle Code...

Quote:
24252. (a) All lighting equipment of a required type installed on a vehicle shall at all times be maintained in good working order.
Lamps shall be equipped with bulbs of the correct voltage rating
corresponding to the nominal voltage at the lamp socket.
(b) The voltage at any tail, stop, license plate, side marker or
clearance lamp socket on a vehicle shall not be less than 85 percent
of the design voltage of the bulb. Voltage tests shall be conducted
with the engine operating.
...(1) No turn signal lamp may be combined optically with a stoplamp
unless the stoplamp is extinguished when the turn signal is flashing.

25102. In addition to the lamps otherwise permitted by this
chapter, any motor vehicle may be equipped with lamps on the sides
thereof, visible from the side of the vehicle but not from the front
or rear thereof, which lamps, together with mountings or receptacles,
shall be set into depressions or recesses in the body of the vehicle
and shall not protrude beyond or outside the body of the vehicle.
The light source in each of the lamps shall not exceed two
candlepower and shall emit diffused light of any color, except that
the color red is permitted only on authorized emergency vehicles.

25106. (a) Any motor vehicle may be equipped with lighted white or
amber cowl or fender lamps on the front. Any vehicle may be equipped
with not more than one amber side lamp on each side near the front,
nor more than one red side lamp on each side near the rear. The
light source of each such lamp shall not exceed four standard
candlepower.
(b) Lamps meeting requirements established by the department for
side-marker or combination clearance and side-marker lamps may be
installed on the sides of vehicles at any location, but any lamp
installed within 24 inches of the rear of the vehicle shall be red,
and any lamp installed at any other location shall be amber.

24608. (a) Motortrucks, trailers, semitrailers, and buses 80 or
more inches in width manufactured on or after January 1, 1968, shall
be equipped with an amber reflector on each side at the front and a
red reflector on each side at the rear.

24400. During darkness, every motor vehicle other than a
motorcycle, shall be equipped with at least two lighted headlamps,
with at least one on each side of the front of the vehicle, and,
except as to vehicles registered prior to January 1, 1930, they shall
be located directly above or in advance of the front axle of the
vehicle. The headlamps and every light source in any headlamp unit
shall be located at a height of not more than 54 inches nor less than
22 inches.

24402. (a) Any motor vehicle may be equipped with not to exceed two
auxiliary driving lamps mounted on the front at a height of not less
than 16 inches nor more than 42 inches. Driving lamps are lamps
designed for supplementing the upper beam from headlamps and may not
be lighted with the lower beam.
(b) Any motor vehicle may be equipped with not to exceed two
auxiliary passing lamps mounted on the front at a height of not less
than 24 inches nor more than 42 inches. Passing lamps are lamps
designed for supplementing the lower beam from headlamps and may also
be lighted with the upper beam.

24403. (a) A motor vehicle may be equipped with not more than two
foglamps that may be used with, but may not be used in substitution
of, headlamps.
(b) On a motor vehicle other than a motorcycle, the foglamps
authorized under this section shall be mounted on the front at a
height of not less than 12 inches nor more than 30 inches and aimed
so that when the vehicle is not loaded none of the high-intensity
portion of the light to the left of the center of the vehicle
projects higher than a level of four inches below the level of the
center of the lamp from which it comes, for a distance of 25 feet in
front of the vehicle.

24405. (a) Not more than four lamps of the following types showing
to the front of a vehicle may be lighted at any one time:
(1) Headlamps.
(2) Auxiliary driving or passing lamps.
(3) Fog lamps.
(4) Warning lamps.
(5) Spot lamps.
(6) Gaseous discharge lamps specified in Section 25258.
(b) For the purpose of this section each pair of a dual headlamp
system shall be considered as one lamp.
(c) Subdivision (a) does not apply to any authorized emergency
vehicle.
I couldn't find any provision that mentions about headlight color emitance, so that's all on the officer or patroling city I think and their interpertation of what's considered legal and not.

You can look up further Cali Vehicle Codes here.

Hope that helps some of you guys out at least with legalities reguarding lights on cars in CA.
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Old 01-21-2004, 02:50 AM   #11
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Re: aftermarket bulbs:color temperature and usable light output

Quote:
Originally Posted by SilverY2KCivic



I couldn't find any provision that mentions about headlight color emitance, so that's all on the officer or patroling city I think and their interpertation of what's considered legal and not.

You can look up further Cali Vehicle Codes here.

Hope that helps some of you guys out at least with legalities reguarding lights on cars in CA.
That was a very good addtion above to the thread. I know I have talked with people at the Oregon DMV before concerning legel headlight color, and it requires much digging and such to find a mention at all. If I am able to find anything current anywhere, here or cali, I'll post it. So, you CAN have a white fender lamp in cali. Print that out and carry it to show the CHP officer for next time. As has happened to many people I know before, the officer pulling them over and telling them the "color was illegel" was misinformed. I've had that happen before. He as very polite, and having the copy of DMV lighting regulations on hand helped. He said his superiors had misinformed them, and actually thanked me for carrying that in the car and showing it to him. It was rather suprising actually.
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Old 01-21-2004, 04:18 AM   #12
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Here is what I could find in the California Vehicle Code on light color. It doesn't list a color temperature though.

CALIFORNIA CODES
VEHICLE CODE
SECTION 25950-25952




25950. This section applies to the color of lamps and to any
reflector exhibiting or reflecting perceptible light of 0.05 candela
or more per foot-candle of incident illumination. Unless provided
otherwise, the color of lamps and reflectors upon a vehicle shall be
as follows:
(a) The emitted light from all lamps and the reflected light from
all reflectors, visible from in front of a vehicle, shall be white or
yellow, except as follows:
(1) Rear side marker lamps required by Section 25100 may show red
to the front.
(2) The color of foglamps described in Section 24403 may be in the
color spectrum from white to yellow.
(b) The emitted light from all lamps and the reflected light from
all reflectors, visible from the rear of a vehicle, shall be red
except as follows:
(1) Stoplamps on vehicles manufactured before January 1, 1979, may
show yellow to the rear.
(2) Turn signal lamps may show yellow to the rear.
(3) Front side marker lamps required by Section 25100 may show
yellow to the rear.
(4) Backup lamps shall show white to the rear.

That's all I could find for now, but here's more lighting stuff for cali I found.

25109. Any motor vehicle may be equipped with two white or amber
running lamps mounted on the front, one at each side, which shall not
be lighted during darkness except while the motor vehicle is parked.


On a side note, since I see pics of lots of cars in here from cali with windsheild banners, etc...it seems windsheild banners, etc...are illegel in cali, though it is contrdictory in regards to the side windows. Section a 1 an a 2 state none on side windows, and section b4 says it does not aply to "Side windows which are to the rear of the driver."

26708. (a) (1) No person shall drive any motor vehicle with any
object or material placed, displayed, installed, affixed, or applied
upon the windshield or side or rear windows.
(2) No person shall drive any motor vehicle with any object or
material placed, displayed, installed, affixed, or applied in or upon
the vehicle which obstructs or reduces the driver's clear view
through the windshield or side windows.
(3) This subdivision applies to a person driving a motor vehicle
with the driver's clear vision through the windshield, or side or
rear windows, obstructed by snow or ice.
(b) This section does not apply to any of the following:
(1) Rearview mirrors.
(2) Adjustable nontransparent sunvisors which are mounted forward
of the side windows and are not attached to the glass.
(3) Signs, stickers, or other materials which are displayed in a
7-inch square in the lower corner of the windshield farthest removed
from the driver, signs, stickers, or other materials which are
displayed in a 7-inch square in the lower corner of the rear window
farthest removed from the driver, or signs, stickers, or other
materials which are displayed in a 5-inch square in the lower corner
of the windshield nearest the driver.
(4) Side windows which are to the rear of the driver.
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Old 01-24-2004, 02:07 PM   #13
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I just bought some PIAA Super Plasma GT-X bulbs yesterday. They look pretty nice, but upon testing them out (in my driveway) and comparing PIAA bulb to my SilverStars I'm replacing with the PIAAs, the SilverStars almost seem brighter... I haven't had a chance to go out driving with them yet to see how much better if any they really are. In the meantime I packed the Sylvanias in the box the PIAAs came in and have them in my glovebox. I always carry a spare set of headlight bulbs with me as well as other bulbs. I'll post back with results of the PIAA bulbs. I couldn't beat the $66 price I paid for them though, compared to other shops that retail them for $110+
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Old 01-25-2004, 02:59 AM   #14
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Re: aftermarket bulbs:color temperature and usable light output

Quote:
Originally Posted by SilverY2KCivic
I just bought some PIAA Super Plasma GT-X bulbs yesterday. They look pretty nice, but upon testing them out (in my driveway) and comparing PIAA bulb to my SilverStars I'm replacing with the PIAAs, the SilverStars almost seem brighter... I haven't had a chance to go out driving with them yet to see how much better if any they really are. In the meantime I packed the Sylvanias in the box the PIAAs came in and have them in my glovebox. I always carry a spare set of headlight bulbs with me as well as other bulbs. I'll post back with results of the PIAA bulbs. I couldn't beat the $66 price I paid for them though, compared to other shops that retail them for $110+
Yea, I am the same way. I also always carry a spare set of everything (all the light bulbs) in my glove box just in case. If it's not as bright, that's likely due to the raise in color temp, as I mentioned above somewhere. The silverstars are 4000K and the PIAA Super Plasma's 5000+. Not a huge difference, but still. In general, the higher the color temp, the less usable light is left to light the road. It's like with a flashlight. The more color the light has, the less it lights the room (even at the same wattage). This is most likely why it's a little less if it indeed is. If it's less, it's most likely not too much less. I think between the 2 sets, the major main difference is the slightly higher color temp and the color of the light as a result. I know I love the color, so I'll live with it, lol. The PIAA are definatly brighter than any other light throwing out a similer color (non-HID of course), thats for sure.
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Old 01-25-2004, 04:35 PM   #15
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Here's what I observed. I was out and about last night driving some local sparsely used unlit roads, so I was able to make good observations with the PIAAs. First and foremost Eckoman is correct that they light at about a 5000K color temp rating. Very differant from the SilverStars I had in. The light output from the Super Plasma GT-X bulbs is the closest to HID I have seen yet in terms of color and look appearance. I'd compare them with Acura TL HIDs running at about half the brightness. But the color is almost exactly the same. I was stopped next to one so that's how I conducted that comparison. With the high beams on they transform into a more white output level of color. They seem to have a blueish/green tint at the edge of the light pattern that I'm not terribly fond of. Still very bright, but definitely NOT any brighter than ther SilverStars. The Silverstars are as bright if not brighter than the PIAAs when in highbeam operation. This could be due to the color temp differance, but maybe not. When the S/S's are in highbeam operation, rather then the light going whiter, they seem to tint slightly BLUER which is opposite of what almost every other bulb does. But I almost liked them better because of that.

As for lowbeam operation each bulb between the S/S's and the Plasma GT-X's they are about equal as far as lumens brightness output. Actually the PIAAs I'd almost go with saying are slightly brighter. Because of the color of the light been emitted from them, they seem to reflect the light back up better off the ground as well as off of road line marks and cateyes, better. When I bought the bulbs, the shop told me I should match a yellow city light bulb with them in my city light sockets to enhance the affect of the GT-X's. I'm thinking of trying that out. rightnow I have Polarg M-4 wedge bulbs in my city light socketsfor my CTR headlights.
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