Spacep0d
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Posts: 63
Joined: Wed Feb 13, 2019 6:14 pm
Delivery Date: 14 Feb 2019
Leaf Number: 309151
Location: Santa Clarita, CA
Contact: Website

2018 LEAF S: Low-Beam Upgrade!

Tue Mar 12, 2019 11:54 pm

Hi there,

I've been searching the forum for a while, looking for a viable solution to upgrade the 2018 LEAF S and its horrible low-beams.

What do you all recommend?

I've read that the LEDs from the SV and SL models won't work. Fair enough.

There's talk of a simple halogen replacement bulb from OEM to improve the low-beams. The high-beams work fine. Any idea which bulb I should get and in which size?

Is there a replacement for the entire headlight assembly to an LED which won't blind people, and is legal in California?

These lights are so bad, I can barely tell they're on at night, and I'm not getting adequate visibility for the speed of free-flowing traffic in the HOV lane at night. This is one mod that needs to be done ASAP.

Any help is appreciated!

Thanks!
--
2018 Nissan LEAF S
^My First EV!

LeftieBiker
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Joined: Wed May 22, 2013 3:17 am
Delivery Date: 30 Apr 2018
Location: Upstate New York, US

Re: 2018 LEAF S: Low-Beam Upgrade!

Wed Mar 13, 2019 12:29 am

I don't know the designation of your car's bulb, but mine had full halogens as well, and the low beam was fine - it was the high beam only that was bad. I'd check the aim, and then maybe try Philip's "X-Treme Power" halogen bulb. It plugs right in to the SV, and maybe if yours is a different H* they will have that one as well. At worst it should give you the same adequate low beams, and very slightly better high beams, that I had...
Scarlet Ember 2018 Leaf SL W/ Pro Pilot
2009 Vectrix VX-1 W/18 Leaf modules, & 3 EZIP E-bicycles.
BAFX OBDII Dongle
PLEASE don't PM me with Leaf questions. Just post in the topic that seems most appropriate.

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Nubo
Posts: 5314
Joined: Fri May 28, 2010 11:01 am
Delivery Date: 31 Oct 2014
Location: Vallejo, CA

Re: 2018 LEAF S: Low-Beam Upgrade!

Wed Mar 13, 2019 11:40 am

Spacep0d wrote:Hi there,

I've been searching the forum for a while, looking for a viable solution to upgrade the 2018 LEAF S and its horrible low-beams.

What do you all recommend?

I've read that the LEDs from the SV and SL models won't work. Fair enough.

There's talk of a simple halogen replacement bulb from OEM to improve the low-beams. The high-beams work fine. Any idea which bulb I should get and in which size?

Is there a replacement for the entire headlight assembly to an LED which won't blind people, and is legal in California?

These lights are so bad, I can barely tell they're on at night, and I'm not getting adequate visibility for the speed of free-flowing traffic in the HOV lane at night. This is one mod that needs to be done ASAP.

Any help is appreciated!

Thanks!
Ok, here is my opinion. I suspect the incandescent headlights in LEAF suffer not because of the quality of the bulbs or reflector, but rather the voltage that is delivered to them. LEAF's nominal "12V" supply tends to be a bit lower than your average ICE vehicle. Boosting that directly might be possible, but there is another way to increase the voltage supplied TO THE BULB.

By rewiring the headlamp circuit using heavier gauge wiring and relays, you can eliminate some of the voltage drop inherent in the circuit and increase the BULB voltage. Incandescent bulb light output is highly sensitive to voltage. A small increase in voltage can yield significant improvement in light output. If I ever get around to it, this is what I would try first to improve my high-beams performance (I have LED low-beams): http://www.danielsternlighting.com/tech ... elays.html

Here is a chart showing the relationship of light output and bulb life to voltage for incandescent bulbs:
Image
I noticed you're still working with polymers.

rogersleaf
Posts: 266
Joined: Sun May 18, 2014 7:50 pm
Delivery Date: 22 Mar 2019
Leaf Number: 307726
Location: Kent, Ohio

Re: 2018 LEAF S: Low-Beam Upgrade!

Wed Mar 13, 2019 12:04 pm

Before attempting mods to a car that is still in warranty, why not try swapping the headlight bulbs to something that is whiter & brighter? Basic Silverstar Ultra’s worked wonder for the crappy headlights in my ‘13 Honda CRV. For $50 and 15 minutes the problem was solved.
2014 SV - Brilliant Silver - returned 1/2017 at end of lease.
2019 SL - White - w/Tech Package

LeftieBiker
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Location: Upstate New York, US

Re: 2018 LEAF S: Low-Beam Upgrade!

Wed Mar 13, 2019 1:53 pm

Nubo, I believed the low voltage theory - until I tried a simple experiment: I turned the wipers on and off while driving on a dark road. This raises the 12 volt system voltage in the Leaf. I did it several times, for quite a few seconds each time. There was NO detectable improvement in the headlight brightness on high beam. I don't remember if I tried it on low beam, because as I wrote earlier, I thought my low beams were fine.
Scarlet Ember 2018 Leaf SL W/ Pro Pilot
2009 Vectrix VX-1 W/18 Leaf modules, & 3 EZIP E-bicycles.
BAFX OBDII Dongle
PLEASE don't PM me with Leaf questions. Just post in the topic that seems most appropriate.

User avatar
Nubo
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Joined: Fri May 28, 2010 11:01 am
Delivery Date: 31 Oct 2014
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Re: 2018 LEAF S: Low-Beam Upgrade!

Wed Mar 13, 2019 11:22 pm

LeftieBiker wrote:Nubo, I believed the low voltage theory - until I tried a simple experiment: I turned the wipers on and off while driving on a dark road. This raises the 12 volt system voltage in the Leaf. I did it several times, for quite a few seconds each time. There was NO detectable improvement in the headlight brightness on high beam. I don't remember if I tried it on low beam, because as I wrote earlier, I thought my low beams were fine.
There's a bad assumption in there somewhere. Any significant change in voltage is definitely noticeable with an incandescent bulb.
I noticed you're still working with polymers.

LeftieBiker
Moderator
Posts: 12789
Joined: Wed May 22, 2013 3:17 am
Delivery Date: 30 Apr 2018
Location: Upstate New York, US

Re: 2018 LEAF S: Low-Beam Upgrade!

Wed Mar 13, 2019 11:30 pm

Nubo wrote:
LeftieBiker wrote:Nubo, I believed the low voltage theory - until I tried a simple experiment: I turned the wipers on and off while driving on a dark road. This raises the 12 volt system voltage in the Leaf. I did it several times, for quite a few seconds each time. There was NO detectable improvement in the headlight brightness on high beam. I don't remember if I tried it on low beam, because as I wrote earlier, I thought my low beams were fine.
There's a bad assumption in there somewhere. Any significant change in voltage is definitely noticeable with an incandescent bulb.
I think I may have it. I have read - and been taken to task for saying so - that the climate control also raises the system voltage when on. I almost never drive with the CC off, so the voltage may well already have been up when I activated the wipers. This could, possibly, also explain why some people think the low beams are crappy, and others, like me, don't. Some Leafers drive with CC off as the default, many (more?) drive with it on as the default. This is worth exploring by people with Gen I Leafs...Wouldn't it be funny if it turned out that the best cheap headlight upgrade was to...turn on the blower?
Scarlet Ember 2018 Leaf SL W/ Pro Pilot
2009 Vectrix VX-1 W/18 Leaf modules, & 3 EZIP E-bicycles.
BAFX OBDII Dongle
PLEASE don't PM me with Leaf questions. Just post in the topic that seems most appropriate.

Spacep0d
Forum Supporter
Posts: 63
Joined: Wed Feb 13, 2019 6:14 pm
Delivery Date: 14 Feb 2019
Leaf Number: 309151
Location: Santa Clarita, CA
Contact: Website

Re: 2018 LEAF S: Low-Beam Upgrade!

Fri Mar 15, 2019 1:01 am

rogersleaf wrote:Before attempting mods to a car that is still in warranty, why not try swapping the headlight bulbs to something that is whiter & brighter? Basic Silverstar Ultra’s worked wonder for the crappy headlights in my ‘13 Honda CRV. For $50 and 15 minutes the problem was solved.
Thanks, I think this might be the best way to go. Is it size S4?
--
2018 Nissan LEAF S
^My First EV!

goldbrick
Posts: 539
Joined: Tue Aug 01, 2017 3:33 pm
Delivery Date: 01 Aug 2017
Leaf Number: 311806
Location: Boulder, CO

Re: 2018 LEAF S: Low-Beam Upgrade!

Fri Mar 15, 2019 10:11 am

I tried turning the climate control on/off last night on my 2017 S and didn't see any change in the light output (low beams). I rarely if ever use the high beams so I didn't bother to check them.

I'd guess that standard halogen bulbs are designed to run at the normal voltage an ICE car alternator puts out, which is about 14V IIRC. LED bulbs should be less sensitive to bulb voltage than halogens so that may be a reasonable upgrade if the Leaf runs the bulbs closer to 12V.

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