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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
VIDEO ADDED, SEE BOTTOM OF POST

I wrangled a good deal, so I decided to try out the Morimoto 2Stroke LED kit.

The Contenders

The PartsSquare 9006 (HB4) [reviewed here] was installed on 4/2016 and has been in place a year and a month (gosh it seems longer). Researching the Philips LUXEON-MZ LED package revealed that it was manufacturer rated for 900 Lumens per package and since there are two packages on a “bulb” you get;
  • 1,800 Lumen per “bulb”
  • 3,600 Lumen total for a pair (RAW output)
This is a very respectable output for a c.2015 chip package and given my experience over the past year that seems like a good ballpark number to work with.

Morimoto “2Stroke” installed 5/2017
According to Cree, the XHP50 LED package based on the Cree SC5 tech can be driven to 1,600 Lumens per package (some sources say 2,200 Lumens but I’m going with the numbers from Cree) and each Morimoto “bulb” has two packages installed for a total of;
  • 3,200 Lumens per “bulb”
  • 6,400 Lumens total for a pair (RAW output)
The Morimoto kit (or should I say kits plural) surprised me when it arrived since they apparently operate in a modular fashion. Instead of everything in one box what you get are multiple packages containing….
2x “Bulbs”
2x Drivers
1x Install adaptor (the 9012 fit rings and the rubber dust caps)​



Everything about the Morimoto kit says that they put some time and effort into the quality of the design and the grade of materials. The “Bulbs” are surprisingly heavy and solid and the wires and connectors are high grade.





During the test-fit phase I discovered that the “O” rings on the 9012 adaptor collars were simply too fat to go into my headlight housings. Fortunately I happen to have an assortment of “O” rings and one set fit perfectly. I suspect the lights could have been mounted without the “O” ring but I didn’t want to risk vibration.



In spite of the somewhat large drivers, all of the 2Stroke components will fit inside the headlight housings of a Gen 1 Volt. An interesting note is that the LED emitters don’t sit at 9-and-3, more at 1-and-8 . and it would be nice if you could "dial them in", regardless of that position though, the Gen 1 projector housings this creates a “center biased” cone of light with a mostly decent pattern although there is a mild “black hole” at about 8 o’clock and 4 o’clock. This is not an actual problem though because you can’t even see those areas if you are sitting behind the wheel of the car.


You should also be aware that you will –not- be able to put the dust caps back on the headlight housings without modification. Once I was sure that I wanted to use the Morimoto lights I did some careful measurements to find the center of my dust caps and then carefully drilled with a 60mm hole saw in my drill press to make the required holes. The supplied dust caps then fit like a glove creating a very professional looking assembly. It was not a hard modification but does require a bit of patience and pre-planning. Fortunately I have 30 years of “fine scale modeling” skills to fall back on.



After drilling I still had to remove the ends of the tabs with an x-acto knife.




Installing the unit in the passenger side requires pulling the air-filter airbox. Fortunately this is simply a matter of unlatching the top and then pulling firmly up on the airbox until it pops loose. The tight fit does mean that the airbox “squishes” the rubber dust cap some when you re-install everything, however there is still plenty of clearance internally between the dust cap and the heatsink of the LED assembly.



The “MagLev” bearing fans make an audible whine, but once you put the dust caps on it is muffled to the point that the Volt’s own pumps and fans easily drown it out. I could not make out the fans when sitting inside the vehicle even with the hood open.

I let the car sit with the lights on for 30 minutes with the dust caps on, then pulled a dust cap and checked the temperatures which seemed to have stabilized at around 145 degrees (with a 68 degree ambient temperature). The interesting thing to note was that temperature was measured at the end of the heat sink whereas the base of the “bulb” was only 88 degrees, indicating that the heatsink/fan combo was doing a really good job of pulling heat away from the actual LED packages.


Testing and night drive

Right off the bat it was obvious that the Morimoto had a much tighter and well defined beam pattern. A “quick and dirty” measurement from equal distance gave me readings of 4800 lux with the old assembly vs 7100 lux with the Morimotos. Don’t read too much into those numbers, the point is simply that the new assembly is actually somewhere in the range of twice as bright. Standing outside the vehicle I was a bit concerned as to how tight the pattern was, it seemed a little too narrow side-to-side, however once I was behind the wheel it was pretty much just where it should be for driving.

Color was a very clean and bright white. This means a LOT of reflection from newer road signs if you are running “high beams” (aka the shutter is open) but not bad at all on “low beams” (aka shutter closed).

The view down the road was impressive. The PartsSquare 9006 were always decent but they always had a slightly odd pattern and felt sort of “hollow” in the middle of your field of view. The Morimoto give a very halogen-like spread with a center bias in the Gen 1 Volt projectors. Using reference points by the side of the road I measured/timed my field of view and was easily seeing things at 175+ yards ahead (which would translate to a 6-7 second reaction time for someone driving 60mph) I suspect on a straight, flat, highway you would be able to see even further, but I was on winding country roads and 150-200 yards is pretty much as far as you get to see in a straight line.

For whatever reasons, the “critters” were very active during my test drive and so I had an excellent, real-world, test of my ability to spot different animals near, approaching, or even crossing, the road while I drove. White ‘possum and deer were an easy spot, but even Raccoon and a dark grey cat were quickly spotted with plenty of time/distance to avoid any problems.

Pro:
  • Bright
  • Very nice color rendition
  • Good beam pattern (In the Generation 1 Volt projector housing)
  • Components fit into the headlight assembly and are protected (Generation 1 Volt)
  • Very high quality components
  • Quiet fans
Cons:
  • Requires modification of the Gen 1 Volt Dust Caps
  • “O” ring needed substitution
  • Has an active fan (lifespan probably no issue, but unknown at this time)
  • Entire assembly is enclosed, possible heat buildup is unknown at this time and will be monitored.
  • Difficult fit on the passenger side (Gen 1 Volt) requiring pulling the airbox to install
  • Can create a lot of glare from road sign reflections
Summary:
The original PartsSquare LED install was a definite upgrade from the stock Halogen lights on the Generation 1 Volt. The Morimoto install is a definite upgrade from the PartsSquare kit.

Recommended:
Provisionally yes. I would like to get some more “time on the clock” with them and I would also like to do more temperature testing at higher ambient temperatures before giving a whole hearted recommendation.

EDIT: Video from last nights test drive.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
I understand your question and I wondered about the heat myself because, Yes, with the dust caps installed the entire unit is enclosed into the headlight assembly.

I don't know how the heat gets radiated out, but apparently it does because the temperature of the heat sink went up and then stabilized and then stayed very constant. I'm guessing that there is enough air mass inside the assembly, and enough surface area, to bleed heat off at a pretty substantial rate.

The PartsSquare setup and it's heatsink "flower" were also completely enclosed in the headlight assemblies and they never got especially hot either.

I'm thinking about sticking the "outside" probe from a thermometer in there to monitor the temps for a while (I have one of these).

In all seriousness, I did a very careful step-by-step assembly as per the manufacturer. If it burns itself up then I'm going to make it the manufacturers problem.
 

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Image came through fine on my end... If the air can blow through the front of the headlight assembly there is probably enough air movement.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Updated, Added some video from a night drive to the first post.
However I forgot to set the camera to "night mode" so I may have to re-do it later.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
UPDATE: Headlight Assembly Temperatures

Well now I know something new about the Gen 1 Volt headlight assemblies.

As I mentioned I was going to do, I ran the thermal probe of a thermometer past the rubber cap, arranged it so it hung free in roughly the center of the headlight assembly (not touching anything) and then closed the headlight back up.

Ambient temperatures 81 degrees.

Over the course of 30 min of driving the inside of the Gen 1 headlight assembly rose to 122 degrees and pretty much stayed there. I then stopped at a store and ran in for a soda leaving the car and the headlights turned on. The Volt was stationary for about 15 minutes and when I came back out the internal temperature of the headlight had risen to 139 degrees I do not know if that was a stable temp or if it would have continued to rise over time. Once I started driving again the temperature pretty quickly dropped down to 122-123 degrees and stayed there.

So I'm not sure exactly how the heat dump is happening, it may just be airflow over the outside of the headlight assembly or there may be some sort of venting, but it is pretty obvious that when you are moving the Volt headlamp assembly is acting as some sort of heat sink.
 

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Interesting and thanks so much for taking the time to post this. I'm certainly interested in an LED upgrade for my gen 1 and will be watching this thread with great interest as you go forward with this new LED kit.

Did you get the additional "anti flicker harness"?
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Interesting and thanks so much for taking the time to post this. I'm certainly interested in an LED upgrade for my gen 1 and will be watching this thread with great interest as you go forward with this new LED kit.

Did you get the additional "anti flicker harness"?
No, it's not needed for the Gen 1 Volt.
 

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Many headlight units have some sort of rain proof venting to get rid of moisture that would cause fogging in a totally sealed unit. That could be how some of the heat is being dissipated at speed.

Interesting test. Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
UPDATE: Headlight Assembly Temperatures II

Weather was rainy with a steady ambient temperature of 60 Degrees F

Speed was a steady 65 MPH for most of the trip with a short (10 min) 35 MPH stretch.

Total trip time with headlights on was 1hr 5 min.

Headlight assembly ambient temperature* rose very, very, slowly to 117 degrees F and stayed there for the last 10 minutes of the trip.

[* again a reminder that the probe is hanging free in the middle of the headlight assembly measuring the heat of the total air mass inside the headlight, NOT the temperature of the actual heat-sink]

So admittedly we're only at two solid data points, but it does seem to be fairly consistent that the interior volume of the assembly heats up to about 55 degrees above ambient before it stabilizes when the vehicle is moving.
 

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Pulled up my chair with my bowl of popcorn to keep an eye on this thread as I find in very interesting. I know you don't have the means to do it but I wonder what the temperature would be with HIDs in the same housing.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Pulled up my chair with my bowl of popcorn to keep an eye on this thread as I find in very interesting. I know you don't have the means to do it but I wonder what the temperature would be with HIDs in the same housing.
That would be an interesting test. I wonder if anyone wants to loan me an HID setup <grin>.
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
Here's an interesting shootout but not applicable to the Volt as the car they tested has a completely different type of headlight.

http://betterautomotivelighting.com/2017/05/03/15-brands-led-headlight-bulb-shoot-ones-best/
Yeah one thing I'm VERY aware of is how different the lights will behave inside different housings which is why I'm so specific that I'm fiddling around with a Generation 1 Volt projector housing. Put it in something like my wife's Mazda and you'd get a TOTALLY different pattern.

Part of the reason this setup works in the Volt is the Shutter system cutting off the top of the beam, otherwise the pattern would be dangerously blinding to oncoming drivers.

The GTR Gen 3 sounds amazing but it's not available in as 9012 bulb and I don't know if the 9006 would lock in correctly or not and boy it's a bit pricy!
 

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Discussion Starter #17
UPDATE: Headlight Assembly Temperatures III

First one side note. There is another thread on the Morimoto 2Stroke as well in case anyone wants to read it.

Now on to Temperatures III

I came out of work to find clear and sunny weather with a steady ambient temperature of 81 Degrees F

Speed was a steady 65 MPH for most of the trip with a short (10 min) 35 MPH stretch.

Total trip time with headlights on was 1hr 12 min.

This time the headlight assembly ambient temperature STARTED at 100.8 degrees F before I even turned the headlights on due to direct sunlight warming of the car.

Once I started driving the temps rose slowly to 134.8 degrees and then dropped pretty abruptly to 126 degrees where it stayed steady for the second half of the trip (about 35 minutes).

At this point I feel that there has got to be some kind of temperature actuated shutter or valve or something that opens around 135/140 degrees to increase cooling of the headlight assembly because the temperature drop is too sudden and consistent for it to just be totally passive.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Update: Terminating temperature monitoring

At this point I've monitored the temperature through multiple work commutes and the temp ranges all fit with what has been previously reported so I feel a high degree of confidence in reporting that even though the Morimoto 2Stroke led assemblies are completely enclosed, temperature is not going to be an issue.

I'm going to remove the thermal probe and go back to just reporting occasionally over time.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
A "not much to report" update

So the 2Stroke kit has been in place for a couple of months now and I would estimate that the lights have a total of around 60-70 hours run-time on them now. Recent Light meter readings actually show a slight bit -more- output than initially measured but that may be an error on my part with setting up the meter.

Driving conditions so far have included a couple of heavy night-time rain storms, an overnight drive (400 miles) up to NY, and a lot of rural commuting as I've been pulling graveyard shift. My only complaint so far is that you get a LOT of bounce-back in heavy fog, but I think that is pretty much a function of just how much light is being put out. On "low beam" it was still okay to drive with, high beam was impossible.

The ability to notice/spot deer off the sides of the road is just plain astounding. The least flicker of white (tail, ears, belly) and your eyes are yanked right to the critter(s). This is a -very- good thing for rural night driving.

Still very happy and would still recommend this kit for the Gen 1 Volt.
 

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great write up!! but i can't see the pictures... is it possible you could rehost them somewhere like flickr or imgur or something? this is the great kind of post that makes this forum so useful...
 
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