If not having the ability to analyze beam pattern, light scatter, and degree of improvement of illumination proves to be too much...
If we listen to the experts, who do study actual objective data and have proper light measuring tools placed at key points in front of a vehicle, Subjective impressions of how well one can see, and actual test data of what is visible where it should be visible, are at near opposite ends on the chart.
Take for example those who drive around with their 'fog' lights always on. The extra foreground lighting gives one a sense of warm and fuzzy security, but if one were on a quiet street, and Illuminated a dark manhole cover with only their low beam headlamps, then backed away from that manhole cover until it was just barely visible, and then turn on the 'fog' lights, the extra foreground illumination causes the pupils to shrink, let in less light, and the manhole cover then disappears.
Try it, and you will find that no, you cannot believe your eyes or your brain's ability to judge just how well your eyes seeing or NOt seeing, objects illuminated before you.
And turn off your 'fog' lights if going over 25MPH. They do not help you see to avoid objects in front of you, they hinder that ability despite the perception otherwise. Also most every OEM 'fog' light provided on vehicles conform to no acknowledged proper fog light beam pattern which is supposed to be flat and wide with A sharp cutoff and minimal upwards stray lighting. Very very Few fog lights actually have this pattern, and those that do are in the 100+ dollar per light range.
Humans are horrible judges of how well thay can actually see, and this is provable time and again by those with actual equipment to do so. These 'those' are also highly critical of OEM lighting, and the current standards allowed and the lighting not allowed, legally. Very few OEMS get approvals from those informed on this subject, and the reviews on COnsumer reports or the governments own testing standards also leaves huge volumes to be desired.
A human might be able to tell if the lighting source is grossly inadequate, like excessive glare, street signs lit up so brightly that they blind the driver, but they are not able to tell if any aftermarket 'upgrade' is really an improvement to their ability to see, and avoid objects at the far end of their low beam's reach.
Excessive glare to oncoming drivers and the ability of a driver behind the lights to see as well as they need to see will always be at odds. The happy medium is a compromise of one or the other, and always will be' at least in the immediate future.
The danger of ultra self important Dimwitted brotruck driver X dropping any given LED or HID bulb into their halogen reflectors and perceiving an improvement, when the opposite occurs, is real, and I think we all wish to not be blinded by Dimwit X who thinks Blue light, and a lot of it, everywhere, is cool.
Most would be impressed at the improvement of their stock headlamps getting 13.X volts, AND aimed properly, through Clear, unclouded plastic lenses, and using a precision Halogen bulb whose filament location within that bulb is highly precise.
The absolute junk available regarding halogen bulbs available is astounding. The 80/100 watt hellas are known not only to not draw that much wattage, but also have huge, poorly placed filaments within the bulb which then causes the reflector to not be able to focus the light properly. The Hella Name would seem to preclude this horrible lack of imprecision and quality control, but it does NOT.
Long Life bulbs use bigger thicker filaments and one can see without magnification, on the store shelves, through the plastic packaging, that the filaments are not properly centered within the bulbs.
My neighbors just had to get some H11's, and because Amazon did not offer free prime shipping on the Phillips extreme +100's I recommended, the wife went out to Napa and bought some Wagner H11's for significantly more than the Amazon price on what can be considered the best of among the very best halogen bulbs available.
Comparing the 2 wagner bulbs side by side, the filaments were not in the same exact place on either bulb purchased. She was less than enthused at the result and after a week of driving, ordered the Phillips Extreme +100's that appeared to be mirror images of each other when compared side by side.
I replaced one and the difference on the white garage wall a few feet away was rather profound, and she claims the difference when driving is also much improved.
But that could also be the undeniable placebo effect which no human is immune to, but there is no doubt a properly placed and tighter filament within the bulb will better use the reflector.
Whether that reflector was designed Well, or acceptable, or horribly when it left the factory is of course not controllable, but it is not improved by putting on someone else's eyeglasses and envisioning rainbows and unicorns either.
It is near impossible for the human not to believe their eyes, or pat themselves on the back when they do/purchase something that is supposed to be an improvement. Talking in general here, not refuting Mex's observations on his LEDs in his reflectors.
And as far as the reader reviews on any particular drop in LED aftermarket bulb, most of these people are hardly informed about anything on this topic. Many are judging the light 'color' and no matter what, whiter light is perceived to be brighter than a yellowish halogen, and so they go right to 5 stars when their actual ability to see the deer standing in the middle of the road was reduced by 75 feet. I bet 99% of the reviews are by those with Zero actual knowledge, and those with some, well that LED bulbs performance acceptable or not, to them, is only valid on their specific headlamp in their vehicle and that specific model year.
And these days, a lack of people flashing their high beams at offending glare does not mean they are not dazzled, but perhaps fearful that the other driver has another 1500 lumens available on their highbeams to completely blind them and send them carreening off into a ditch. I know I think twice when I am dazzled byu oncoming glare and want to return the favor, for fear that it is their low Beams, not their highs.
I'll keep driving knowing I will have to often hold up a hand to shield my eyes from offending glare coming from oncoming vehicles, and let off the gas, while looking at the white lines on the side of the road. I am perhaps a little to comtemptuous of the masses who simply believe that no matter what, a LED bulb in a Halogen reflector is an improvement, when in most cases the exact opposite is true.
And While it will NEVER be enforced, at least until they decide it is a cash cow revenue generator, Dropping a LED bulb into a halogen housing is illegal, and if the worst happens, and the Insurance company's lawyers find out about the illegal lighting, well prepare your prostate for 5 fingered exam.
This includes Amber and red external turn signal/brake lighting too. And some of the LEDS placed in these are truly horrible, and worse on newer vehicles that use Dimpled reflectors instead of crenellated lenses.
LEDs are awesome technology, and improving still, but the light has to be designed around the reflector/projector so as to not cause excessive glare or simply poor light focus.
Since LEDS are quickly getting even brighter, they are becoming even more dangerous when applied to vehicular lighting not designed around such a light source in the first place.
I don't like the satellite dish analogy either.
I do like the eyeglasses analogy.
Putting Any LED bulb into a halogen reflector/projector is like randomly picking up a stranger's eyeglasses and expecting to be able to see properly.
Perhaps some glasses would be fine, and some others hideously wrong.
Problem with headlights is 'hideously wrong' can still yield that 'Wow, OMG' result, as the tree top squirrels start glowing, and some would never acknowledge their purchase was a bad and dangerous downgrade.
Since there is an LED drop in replacement of basically every Halogen bulb out there from dozens of different sources, and there is no stopping someone from actually installing any bulb they want into their vehicle, wise legal or not.......
I urge readers here to at least know it is highly likely that their LED Bulb choice in their vehicle's halogen reflector will likely emit excessive glare to oncoming drivers, and to pretend they are that pissed off blinded driver, rather than simply assuming that the glare does not exist, or than their purchase is indeed an improvement, because they really want it to be.
No doubt some reflector designs and some LED bulbs can work together for an improvement in lighting output and with an acceptable beam pattern, but these are likely the exception rather than the rule and I thinks Mex's combo is an exception.
Regarding 2016 and 2017 factory HID projectors or Factory LEDS in reflectors, I find most of them to be extremely offensive too, but not nearly as bad as many of the aftermarket HID that are dropped into halogen reflectors behind clouded lenses which simply sear retinas and are worthy of a shotgun. Most of these are truly obnoxious and fill me with rage against the halfwitted teen tuner or brotruck driver who thought blue lights are cool.
Some factory halogen projectors are really bad too with so much light coming from such a small area, especially with a fatty in the back seat.
My opinion, I am in the Halogen bulbs in halogen reflector/projector camp. My 12AWG relay feeds my GEhighthawk 6054 sealed beams voltages within 0.3v of alternator voltage, and light output and pattern eclipse a good percentage of other vehicles on the road, and with no excessive glare to oncoming drivers. Ideally, I would get some Cibie 200MM replacements and put some Phillips extreme +130 H4 halogen bulbs in them.
The 6054 sealed beam also had a LED replacement from JWspeaker and Trucklite, which are great performers and are fully compatible with
US Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 108
I would not use the JWspeaker or Trucklites simply as they do not appear stock in daylight and certainly not at night, and i do not wish to draw attention to the lighting, also the JWspeakers are like 250$ per light. cancel.
The screwy31 gurgled every single comlpete recharge and lasted nearly 500 deep cycles. Likely has another shallow 100 cycles accumulated since. Still gurgles when up in the 14.5+ range.
Not something I stress about.
My buggest regret regarding solar was not buying the controller that had a BTS. but I am coastal S california so temperature swings are not wild.
My voltage goosing was perfomed after sundown via Meanwell power supply, and who in their right mind does not enjoy turning a 10 turn potentiometer? Goosing is fun!
I find Voltage goosing from float to absorption and watching the amps is very revealing with my AGM. If they quickly taper back to low levels, all is good, if they do not, then the battery was floating at too low a voltage, or not fully charged.
With a ~50f degree battery I found that 13.6v was too low, and a 14.7v spike needed an hour to taper back to below 0.5% of AH(20hr)
Not unexpected, but nice to see theory proven with measurement tools, and adjustable voltage power supply.
Mex's observations indicate these are not a good choice as they get too hot. They were designed as daytime running lights and would likely see adequate airflow to keep them cool in such usage, but retasked as interior lighting could be a waste of money and time to wire them up.
The ones I have appear identical to those he linked, but who knows how they match up. I've not tested mine for temperature, but they have not failed.
When my back doors are closed there is no Airflow to them, and they shine into the door 5mm away. the velcro keeps the metal backing from allowing the door frame to act as a heatsink. When back door is closed but side door is opened, and I have headlight knob not rotated all the way CW, the lights are illuminated.
I would guess mine have several dozen accumulated hours over the last year where they were lit with no ventilation and they still work.
it appears the ones Mex has tested are likely brighter, driven harder and hotter and would not survive in the location I use mine.
So buyer beware. You do not know what you buy will actually work in the intended usage, for long
I employed such LEDs in my rear doors about a year ago.
When the doors are opened 90 degrees they fire into the back, and are thin enough that they fit in the gap with the doors closed.
I hold them in place with velcro. Used Amazing goop to reinfore the wires as there is as noted, no strain relief.
Very bright, bluish tint. Functional. I forget the amp draw but it is not insignificant.
Have not used any more heatsinking on them.
I think you need to investigate the issue further. whether voltage regulation or a failing alternator or failing connections between alternator and house batteries, Something Ain't right.
If the engine AGM battery is only used as a starting battery and not deeply cycled then I'd not really worry abot the voltage it sees.
Seems all vehicle voltage regulation is about not OVercharging, and thinking 13.7v is more or less, just fine and dandy, always.
I love overriding that misconception at the twist of a dial.
A higher rated alternator sounds great always, but the fact is bigger ratings do not always translate to higher amperages at the RPM they are likely to see.
many examples of that here:
Also, the voltage regulator plays a bigger part in battery charging when idling or driving, than the numerical rating of the alternator. While a single battery depleted to 65% state of charge at 14.7v might accept 40 amps, at 13.7v it might only accept 15 amps, so a higher rated alternator will do precisely nothing when the vehicles voltage regulator chooses a 'safe and timid' voltage to aim for, thinking all it has to do is recharge or maintain a fully charged engine starting battery.
Even stepping this up for multiple depleted batteries, there is NO guarantee the 130 amp alternator will outperform a 105 amp alternator. Not when 13.7 is the voltage chosen by the regulator, and not when the amperage curve shows the max rpms are only available at the top end of the rpms where the alternator is likely to not spend any time.
My 120 amp alternator, well it can accomplish that at 2400rpm. My cruising rpms rarely exceed 1900. but I can choose voltage, and have an Ammeter on my dashboard, and can easily see what the alternator is returning to batteries. The voltage chosen plays a HUGE part. I can spin a dial at any rpm and repeat this time and again.
The higher rated alternator should in theory handle the heat it generates better, but theory and reality ore often well opposed from each other, especially if one chooses to test theory with measurement tools and influencing the variables, rather than rely on internet folklore.
It is 4 stage with and equalize function at 14.4V
You can have a 32 stage charger that will claim to perform oral sex on you after magically defying the laws of physics.
But the sad truth is, you are never going to equalize batteries at 14.4v.
The 4th stage is destratification. Gassing the batteries at 14.4v every so many hours when floating, mixes up the electrolyte so the denser stuff does not sink and chew up the bottoms of the plates faster.
Marketers paid themselves to do a study, and they decided "equalization" was a much more impressive term than "destratification" and would sell more products, then wrote that into their literature, then demanded more money. They are now trying to think up more impressive terms for more "stages" of charging to catch up with gargage charger marketing geniuses Noco and Ctek, who have already upped their game to 8 stages.
A true equalization is a forced overcharge with voltages as high as 16.2v.
But even if you were able to get your batteries to this high of a voltage and hold it for several hours, until specific gravity maxed out at 1.275+, this would not mean the batteries are restored to their full as new capacity, only that they are fully charged to their maximum remaining capacity.
If you can fit the taller gc-2 batteries, but opt instead for group 24's, you are throwing away money.
The absolute best group 24 marine battery is barely any better than wally world specials.
IF you have the height available, trojan t-105s have the same footprint as group 24.
There are no true deep cycle group24.
Limiting yourself to 12v group 24's, and you want quality, then Lifeline or Full river AGM.
There are no true deep cycle flooded group 24.
T5's are supposed to gave a 5MM wide base on them.
many of the hite on Amazon are actually T10.
I have a few T5 leds, likely a decade old with very few hours on them
Very bluish color, not very bright.
Offerings of today likely much much better, but can only be so bright due to limited space in which to apply LED chipsets.
A pretty good system, IMO, keeping the heat down proactively instead of reacting after it has built up.
Except Wfcos are hardly known for their longevity, or fast battery chargng performance
I have employed a Fan that I took from a failed WfCo. 80MM high rpm, and LOUD. ADDA labelled and it consumes nearly 0.35 amps IIRC. I use it with some Noctua fan inline resistor cables to quieten it down and reduce electrical consumption to tolerable levels in winter time and in summer remove them.
I have quieter 80MM fans which move similar amounts of air, for less current consumed.
Pretty sure JID's megawatt is the same one you use. It died when conditioning some large 8d lifelines IIRC
He mailed the failed unit to Mex who found the failed transistors, and upgraded them and capacitors, and went all mad scientist on it, and now it can do 56 amps.
Which is dang impressive considering the tiny size of a Megawatt, even with two larger fans on top of it.
I got the term 'load dump' from MexicoWanderer.
He also basically walked me through this voltage regulator modification.
What I would do differently, well I would not order the 10 ohm 50 watt resistor and pay nearly 30$ for it, when a 50 watt 10 ohm resistor can be had for under 5$. The resistance of the 'field replacement module' was an unknown at the time however. This tricks the ECM into believeing that it is still hooked to the alternator, and into not flashing the check engine light.
I'd likely order a 10 ohm 100 watt resistor instead of the 50 for a fraction of the price I did pay. I added heatsinking to the 50 watt and all appears well a year later. It does get hot and manupulating voltage does change the ampoerage passing through the resistor, though I have not done the full battery of tests at different outputs, just put my clampmeter over a wire and dialed voltage up and down.
Function wise, There is some voltage sag as the wiring/connectors heat up. I took power for the A terminal( always on) from the alternator + stud, which then goes to circuit breaker then battery switch via doubled 6awg, then 2awg to battery terminal. Ideally this A terminal wire would be 12AWG right to battery terminal.
This doubled 6awg is an old set of jumper cables. I will replace this with 2 or 1 AWG at some point, and then the voltage sag should be less.
Before the possibility of tricking the engine computer with the resistor, I was considering influencing voltage with a DC to DC booster, but was not quite sure it would not cause the VR in the ECM to fry. I was trying to determine when and why the VR was choosing the voltages it did, as it occassionally would rocket back to 14.9v for no discernable reason.
I was always extremely irritated when the ECM's VR would choose 14.9 or 14.7 of a battery already fully charged, and than choose 13.7 on one still far from fully charged.
Now of course I choose voltage. With the dashboard digital Ammeter now reading amps into battery I basically choose 14.7v, until I know for sure the battery is full. In daytime, I can lower voltage to below my solar float setpoint of 13.6v, and the alternator amperage can goto zero as the solar provides the 8.2 amps required to run engine at idle or the 12.2 amps at 2000 rpm.
I will adjust voltage slightly for battery temperature too.
The turns counter is not really so helpful as 14.7v when battery is depleted is not the same as when it is full, but perhaps thicker copper will narrow the gap. This appears to stretch a bit more than when first installed too, so I rarely ever look to see what the turns counter reads. I'd have no issues with a non turns counting 10 turn potentiometer.
With voltmeters right next to ammeter and potentiometer, it is so easy to adjust I am not worried about the turns counter not being exact or repeatable at different amperage outputs.
50 amps max at hot idle is a factor the voltage regulator cant overcome when the loads are 60 amps. I usually can crank up the voltage at hot idle and get it to the higher voltage( field current goes way up and so did VR temperature before fan), but then when I accellerate voltage will jump well past 14.7v, and more than 30 seconds of 14.7v+ when the ECM would have chosen 13.7v fires off the check engine light and goes into limp home mode where MPG suffers until I reset the ECM by removing power. The CEL will go out on its own if I lower voltage and restart engine, but the limp home sensor settings stay active until ECM is reset.
When my 140 amp breaker tripped at sub 110 amps, It was not my first thought, and I kind of assumed the VR itself was somehow responsible, or had lost power. I drove several miles with headlights on and a battery depleted well below 50% and voltage 11.9v or so.
The I terminal is for the switched ignition 12v, and I found a wire under the dash which becomes live only after engine start. I thought this might have blown an OEM fuse so I checked those first.
But this wire also powers the fan I have attached to the heatsink on the VR, and this was still turning on after starting engine. I then probed the A terminal and found no voltage, then scolded myself for not immediately checking the 140 amp breaker.
My 14 awg fusible link on my OEm cabling was installed by an auto electric shop, whom I assume had no 10AWG fusible link, back in 2005 or so. Back then my 40/90 alternator failed and I replaced it with a 50/120, and did not charge my batteries before starting engine. The original needle ammeter went higher than I ever had seen before, and then went neutral. I was unaware of the fusible link's failure, but the Sparkies zeroed in on it immediately.
Strangely the original 10AWG link did not blow as designed, and still tested fine , with no load.
I've been meaning to properly replace it, but with the parallel circuit it has not been an issue since.
I did use 14 or 12AWG wire to the I terminal of the voltage regulator, but this wire carries so little current this was several degrees of overkill.
So overall I love the modification, and it is working quite well, even with the voltage sag at high amperages. It can be improved with thicker copper.
As for tricking an internally regulated alternator, I do not know how one bypasses the internal VR and wires up an external VR like the transpo540HD in its place.
Tricking the ECM and installing the 540HD on an externally regulated alternator is likely cakework in comparison to modifying an internally regulted alternator for external regulation.
Lance neville 8MR external regulation modification
What I really love about the VR modification is I can stop the belt squealing when cold and wet by lowering the voltage, and of course I can now visibly see the difference in amperage the battery accepts at different chosen voltages. 3x more amps at 14.7v vs 13.7v is not insignificant.
The Cb I bought, in 2012, is branded 'Absolute' and is the pushbuttonj disconnect/ lever reconnect type similar in appearance to Bussman's hi amp series.
I noticed when I added it, my maximum idle amps at the time were reduced by ~5.
I was noticing that Blueseas has relabbelled cooper/Bussman products and added some extra price to them.
I used to use the lever to see how much amperage increased when I switched the lever and closed the thicker parallel circuit with depleted house battery.
Much was dependent on how hot the 14awg fusible link in OEM circuit was at the time of switching.
Anyway I am glad that I finally had reason to move Hall effect sensor to a battery cable, and thaat I did not fully reassemble until I was sure I did not have to flip the sensor over( I did). Most all the mystery of how much total amperage the alternator was making disappeared a while back, but today was the hardest I pushed it with lights blower motor and a thirsty battery, and enough rpms to maintain 90+ amps output.
Now my dashboard mounted digital ammeter will show amps into or out of battery only.
Evy. If maximizing alternator charging is a desirable goal for you.....
On your diagram above you have 'Existing wire' going from 130 amp alternator to original battery.
This existing wire already has a fuse in it somewhere.
Then your diagram takes power from original battery (+) to feed 200 amp isolator/relaty/solenoid/isolation device and has another fuse, as it shoud.
But, this Existing wire was never designed to pass the additional current required when a depleted set of GC batteries is added onto the end of the circuit. it becomes an electrical bottle neck, and might blow the 'existing wire's' fuse. This alternator load dump might fry the diodes in the alternator.
IF you INSTEAD, take power for isolator not from engine battery, but from alternator(+) stud, you eliminate the too thin 'existing' wire from limiting house battery amperage, AND you also likely have a shorter circuit, AND one which does not require a Fuse as you ony need to fuse close to the battery, either battery.
So take power for isolator from engine battery = fuse required, longer distance, more copper length, and existing wire acts as bottle neck, limiting charging amps to depleted house batteries.
Take power instead from alternator (+) stud, and one bypasses the too thin existing wire. A shorter circuit with no fuse required at the alternator then goes to isolator, and then to a fuse, then to the house battery(+)
Much shorter circuit, much more effective when batteries are depleted. This orientation might also allow the vehicle's voltage regulator to hold a higher voltage for longer, since the fully charged engine battery is not 'in between' the alternator and the house battery.
Also if the fuse on the house battery circuit blows with the engine running, there is not as much of a load dump situation for the alternator's diodes to tackle, as there is the 'existing wire' to the engine battery that is still carrying the current to hold that battery at 13 to 14.x volts, and run the engine/ chassis electrics.
So UNless you are intentionally limiting alternator amps into house battery, or the back of the alternator is so incredibly difficult to reach to stack another ring terminal on the (+) output stud, it is much more effective to take power from alternator rather than engine battery.
Also if you ground house battery to nearby frame, then you should also add a ground from frame neary alternator to alternator mounting bolt or (-) stud, as the current for house battery will have to go through the original grounds, which would otherwise be another bottleneck when the house batteries are depleted.
When the alternator has a thick copper path to feed depleted house batteries, it can get very hot. Especically when Idling and not moving. Very platform specific, but once engine is upto full temperature idling, I would not Idle any longer with a depleted battery bank, but start moving, as the alternator might very well be flirting with 220F after 10 minutes at max output and that is their temperature tipping point that they prefer to remain under.
So if one intends to idle for long periods to recharge, then intentionally limiting alternator amperage into house bank by thinner longer copper is acceptable for the life of the alternator, but at the expense of the batteries which will recharge significantly slower due to increased resistance in the circuit.
Taking power for isolation device from engine battery is not wrong. Just bypassing the Existing wiring is Usually a much shorter circuit, that can yield significantly more alternator amperage into house bank, and eliminates one of the fuses otherwise reqired, and might be able to prevent an alternator load dump situation from frying the diodes in the alternator
I have a pushbutton/lever type of 140 amp circuit breaker on my 120 amps alternator to house battery feed.
Not Bussman or Bluseas brand = Mistake.
After less than 5 minutes of 70 to 90 amps of total current flow as I drove, I turned on my blower motor on high for another 20 amps of load, ~110 amps max, and the 140 amp circuit breaker tripped within 15 seconds.
Surprisingly, the alternator appears fine. Still capable of over 50 amps at idle.
I had a 6awg parallel alternator charge circuit(OEM) disconnected so my Hall effect sensor ammeter would read total alternator current accurately. I have relocated that sensor to battery cable to read amps into or out of battery instead of total alternator current, and reconnected the OEM parallel 6awg circuit to take some load off of the "140 amp" circuit breaker.
Dang POS could have taken out my Wilson brand Remaufactured alternator as it making 100 to 110 amps when the circuit was opened.
Transpo540HD adjustable voltage regulator modification still working awesome. While driving and accellerating, I was backing off voltage when single V belt started slipping in wet weather and huge loads or after a puddle.
After all tools were put away, I went for another drive. On my return, Idling, at 14.7v, battery was accepting 29.2 amps. When I lowered voltage to 13.7v slowly, and waited for the rebound, amps settled at 9.4.
Battery was accepting less than 1/3 the amps at 13.7 as it was at 14.7v.
All hail the adjustable alternator voltage regulator!
Now I need to get some better cabling and a quality circuit breaker.