High-performance projector headlights were first only offered in high-end vehicles. High-intensity discharge (HID) and light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs that are too bright to be used with conventional reflector headlights can be used with them.
Projector headlights are able to illuminate more of the road surface at a farther distance than conventional reflector headlights because of the way they are built. In comparison to reflector headlights, they cast a more concentrated beam of light, which results in more light being cast directly ahead, where it is needed, and less spilling out to the sides, where it is not.
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What are projector headlights?
This style, sometimes known as projector beam headlights, initially emerged on high-end cars in the late 1980s. Projector headlights employ a mirror-like reflective steel bowl, like other headlight types, to increase the quantity of light emitted. The significant distinction, however, is that these headlights also heavily rely on the lens design.
A Fresnel-style lens, sometimes referred to as a condenser lens, is used in projector headlights to focus and limit the beam of light while concentrating and multiplying the quantity of light being emitted.
Projector headlight components
Projector headlights consist of three main components that work together to provide bright, useful light.
The projector headlight design is so efficient that conventional HID lamps aren’t advisable—the design can concentrate light so much that it dazzles and blinds oncoming drivers. Xenon HIDs are instead recommended for projector headlights. Some projector headlights are designed around halogen or LED bulbs, but state laws can vary on that style—check to be sure what your state allows.
Older headlight designs featured either two filaments for high/low beams on sealed-beam headlights or two separate bulbs. Projector headlights, instead, use a mechanical shutter driven by a solenoid that comes up from the bottom of the housing, diverting and redirecting part of the light for low-beam driving. In addition, the shutter is a different design on the driver’s side, which helps to not blind oncoming drivers. When the driver switches to high beams, the shutter is lowered so the bulb can project its full brightness.
The different design enhances the amount of light the lamp can put down the road. The lens on projector headlights is also clear, and the whole package can give automotive stylists and designers leeway to come up with aesthetically-pleasing and aerodynamic designs.
How do projector headlights work?
Projector headlights weren’t common in luxury cars back in the 1980s. They are now present in every new automobile, illuminating all of the dark roadways.
Despite being brighter than the more traditional reflector headlights, projector headlights actually reduce the amount of impending driver blindness.
Each projector headlamp, according to Lifewire, includes a bulb, reflector, shutter, and lens.
When the magic happens is at the shutter, where the reflector concentrates the bulb light. Where the light beam shines, the shutter draws a clear boundary between light and dark. This successfully directs light just at the road, keeping other drivers from being blinded.
Finally, the lens works to evenly distribute the light beam. Some brands of lenses can soften the harsh cutoff line.
While all projector headlights have the same basic design, what differentiates them is the type of bulbs they use.
Read More: How to Adjust Projector Headlights?
Pros and cons of the different headlight bulbs
projector headlights with halogen
These were the original model of projector headlight bulb. The light comes from an internal tungsten filament in these lamps.
Older halogen headlights frequently produce cutoffs that are much sharper. They provide a golden-hued light and are brighter than reflector lights.
Headlights with HIDS (high intensity discharge)
These headlights give forth a brilliant, bluish-white glare. Popular xenon HID lights have xenon gases inside the bulbs, which intensify the lights into a dazzling white, bluish glow. Compared to halogen bulbs, they are two or three times brighter.
In the 1990s, HID headlights first became popular. A ballast is needed to control the current because they consume a lot of electricity when they first turn on. That is why a vehicle’s HID lights may have large boxes hidden beneath them.
These are cutting-edge smart lights that automatically dip and decrease the driver’s high beams.
The smart headlights’ LEDs scan and evaluate the area in front of them. The LED headlights automatically alter their light beams when vehicles, persons, and traffic signs are detected to ensure that nobody is blinded.
Your preferred lighting style and color may have an impact on the sort of bulb that is right for you.
Projector headlight varieties include halogen, hid, led, and halo
Although they all share a same fundamental structure, projector headlights can employ a variety of various types of bulbs. The primary categories of projector headlights you’ll encounter on the road are as follows, along with a brief description of what distinguishes each category from the others:
- Halogen projector headlights: The original projector headlights, like reflector headlights, used halogen lamps. Despite using the older halogen bulb technology, these headlights often produce a more equal beam of light than reflectors, with a sharper cutoff between light and dark.
- HID projector headlights: The HID bulbs used in the second generation of projector headlights are still in use today. These headlights are also referred to as Xenon HIDs. They last longer and are much brighter than conventional halogen lamps. Because they are so much brighter than halogen bulbs, it is typically not a good idea to use HID bulbs in projector housings made for halogen ones.
- Projector headlights with LEDs: This innovation is relatively recent. They use a lot less energy and have a far longer lifespan than HID or halogen lamps. LED projector headlights can even outlast the operational lifespan of the car they are installed in if they are never damaged in any manner.
- Projector headlights with a halo or angel eye refer to those with the recognizable ring of light that some projector headlights have. The ring itself does not employ projector technology, despite the fact that manufacturers occasionally refer to these as halo or angel eye projector headlights. About a dozen different technologies, including LEDs, incandescent bulbs, and cold cathode fluorescent lighting (CCFL) tubes, are used to make these rings.
Read More: How to Adjust Projector Headlights?