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Another JDM Astar 8th Gen. LED Headlight Install plus Interior LEDs

I just completed installing a set of these LED headlights in my 2013 Volt and I am very well pleased. I have been researching improved headlights for several weeks now and finally, after reading SOMMES excellent review on this thread of the JDM ASTAR LED conversion kit, I decided on that one and ended up buying the kit from Amazon for $100. (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B018SV3OSM/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1) A couple things I particularly liked about this model was that there was no fan to fail and the resultant beam is extremely uniform, as well as the fact that it is rated to be over 50% brighter than the Volt halogens and uses less than 1/2 the power. Another good factor is that you can adjust the final rotational position of the bulb to the optimum 3 o'clock/9 o'clock position and still have the bulb fully inserted in the mounting.

Orienting the bulb is a little more complex than the JDM ASTAR video shows.(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B4RGOMsK9-U) He shows inserting the bulb, looking through the front clear lens and adjusting accordingly. Also you'll notice that the beam with his reflector housing is not nearly as clean as ours is with the projector lamp.

As there is no way you can see the bulb through the projector lens on our headlights, I used a simple 4 step process of getting it right the first time.

The four steps are:

1. Install the bulb as received. Make a temporary mark on the heatsink as accurately as you can on the top dead center position.

2. Remove the light and mark the locking ring with the mounting tabs (they call it the chuck) exactly in line with your temporary mark. This is the position on the chuck that is straight up when installed.

3. Loosen the setscrew and rotate the chuck to exactly align the mark with the 12 o'clock position of the bulb (the center of the metal between the LED boards). Securely tighten the setscrew. Test the tightness by trying to twist the chuck.

4. Mark the heatsink in line with the mark on the locking ring and the 12 o"clock position of the bulb. This is so you can verify the correct position after you install the bulb.

Now when you install the bulb, verify that the mark on the heatsink is truly straight up.


This picture shows the bulb after the chuck is aligned and the final marks are in place. It is ready to install now.




This shows one of the bulbs installed and the driver, cables, and connectors placed in the cavity with the bulb.



I parked the car on a flat driveway in front of a garage door and took beam pattern pictures both with the original halogen bulbs and after installation of the LED ones. I would like to have used a white door, but the one I had is light beige. I was careful to park the car in the same location and use the same manual camera settings for both pictures. I used f3.5 at 1/45 second and ISO 1600. As you can see, the LEDs produce a more uniform and brighter beam than the halogens, and there was none of the yellow/orange color of the halogens. The picture of the front of the car shows the color the bulbs produce: a bright white with just a touch of blue. Proportedly, the blue tint will fade over the first several hours of use.


Comparison of the halogen and LED beam patterns and view of the headlights.





So far I have only done a little night driving since the installation, but what I have seen is very promising. They definitely light the road and distant objects better than the halogens and I think the whiter light adds to the better visibility. The beam cutoff is still very sharp and appears to be exactly where it was with the halogens.

I would like to note that I installed this kit directly replacing the halogen lights. I did not use a relay harness or extra capacitors and the light is steady and bright with no trace of flicker or other anomalies.

Interior LED lighting.

While I was shopping on Amazon, I found a pack of ten #194 wedge base high power LED bulbs for $12 (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00OH0S5Y2/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1) and couldn't resist. Actually, they list a whole string of bulb numbers that these replace. All of my interior lights and the license bulbs are on the list. They are also JDM ASTAR bulbs. After receiving them, I tried one in the hatchback light on the left side panel, as it was the easiest to change. I really liked what I saw and continued to replace both map lights, the front dome light between the map lights, and the two rear seat dome lights. The jury is still out on the license plate as some have reported interference with the backup camera with LED lights there. Having just replaced my backup camera, I don't want to screw it up now. I may try later. If you try these or similar bulbs, remember that they are polarity sensitive. If you plug one in and it doesn't light, turn the bulb around and try it the other way. There are some reviews for these bulbs where users report that 4, 5, or even 6 of the 10 bulbs are defective. They obviously did not turn the "bad" ones around!

The LEDs inside really light it up. It's like daylight with both map lights and the dome lights on. I never use the map lights while driving, but someone on the forum used red LEDs and reported great illumination and minimum interference with his night vision.


Conclusions:

Just for kicks I ran some calculations on the performance gains and the savings resulting from the reduced current flow using LEDs. I used some assumptions such as the headlights would be on for 10% of my driving, and that the dome lights would be on for about 5 minutes for a typical 38 mile charge cycle. I also used a very low kWh rate of .03 per, as that is about what my electric company, APS pays me for the excess power from my rooftop solar at the end of each year. If I were paying normal electrical costs, the payback would be about 5 times faster.

The results:
For the increase in range on a nominal 38 mile charge, the dome light change would add 19 feet to the range. The headlights would add about 119 feet! Woo Hoo!!

As far as return on investment, the combination of all the LEDs would reach break even at about 19 million miles! (Really!) Of course without my solar and the resulting higher electric rates, it would be ONLY about 4 million miles!

I think you need to just want the LEDs and forget about the fantastic savings!

I think that as it stands today, the only incandescent bulbs remaining are my front turn signals (switchbacks coming soon!), my backup lights, and my license lights. I was very disappointed with my backup light until I replaced my backup camera. Now it is not that bad.

Dick
 

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Very nice. Good photos too. I seriously wish we lived closer so I could compare the LED headlights in OHM-RIDE to the ones you got. I think your beam pattern is better.

Your tips on alignment are one of those things that seems so obvious once you described it but I'd probably never have thought of it ahead of time.

Of course I've "enhanced" things a bit more on OHM-RIDE with some Hexfire lights so at this point I don't feel the pressing need to upgrade the headlights again <grin>.
 

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Very nice. Good photos too. I seriously wish we lived closer so I could compare the LED headlights in OHM-RIDE to the ones you got. I think your beam pattern is better.

Your tips on alignment are one of those things that seems so obvious once you described it but I'd probably never have thought of it ahead of time.

Of course I've "enhanced" things a bit more on OHM-RIDE with some Hexfire lights so at this point I don't feel the pressing need to upgrade the headlights again <grin>.
Dutch,
Those Hexfire lights look great! they really add to the overall visibility. I tried to look them up on the Walmart site, but they apparently don't carry them anymore. I only found a couple of auto parts stores that carry them and they want $35 plus shipping. How long ago did you buy them?

Great mod!

Dick
 

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About two weeks ago. They don't show on the site but they had them in the store.
I've seen nearly identical, but more expensive, versions in Advance Auto.
 

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Sorry about the pictures that were missing. I deleted the thumbnails to clean up the appearance. The pictures were still embedded in the text on my system. After a report that they were missing, I tried them on another computer and they were missing. They should be OK now.

Dick
 
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