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Where DIYs with photos live. Please start new topics in DIY section. Completed DIYs are moved here for clutter control and quicker reference.
 #25453  by KuroNekko
 Mon Feb 17, 2014 7:28 am
Prologue: As some of you may know, I have posted extensively on LED conversion kits for the Kizashi's DRL/High beam H7 bulb. Find the thread here if you care: http://www.kizashiclub.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=2806
In case you didn't know or realize, the Kizashi uses the same H7 bulb as both the high beam and for the Daytime Running Lights (DRL) at lower wattage. Some owners including myself didn't care for the orange/yellow light output of the DRL so sought out alternatives such as LEDs. The issue was that a normal LED drop-in bulb would not perform as a high beam due to low light output (lumens) and poor light throw.
However, there are now LED conversion kits available that finally allow LEDs to output enough light to serve as low or high beams. After a lot of research, I decided to purchase one of these kits to try it out. I was seeking both a brighter and whiter DRL and a better performing high beam. I already had high quality JDM H7 halogen bulbs but I wanted to see if a LED kit could really deliver better performance.

I bought one of the best kits I could find on the internet. It's apparently a bespoke kit from VLEDS.com called the H7 CXA 5K. I decided to go with these given they are rated at 2000 lumens and VLEDS has a good reputation for customer service and warranty.
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Installation:

1) Disconnect the battery and then remove the bumper and headlights. I'm not going over that here since I've already posted about it extensively here: http://www.kizashiclub.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=32&t=2861


2) After removing the headlight, take the dust cap off that covers the access to the high beam and position bulb.
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3) Unclip the H7 halogen bulb in the DRL/High beam housing and remove the bulb.


4) Slip in the LED driver. The driver is what looks like a mini HID ballast. The driver is just the perfect size to fit into the bulb dust cap opening. With some maneuvering around and patience, you can get it into the headlight housing and out of the way. After experimenting with places to put it, I just opted to leave it wherever it will go without securing it. I did not mount it given there is little work space to do so inside the headlight. However, once getting the driver inside, connect the H7 harness from the driver to the headlight's connector. This will keep the driver from slipping out of reach inside the headlight. Keep in mind that when you are done, 3 harnesses will connect to the driver and keep it in place somewhat.
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5) Detach the fan mount from the LED bulb's heat sink body. The VLED's bulb was designed so the fan could be detached for easier bulb installation. It's removed by simply unscrewing the fan mount from the bulb. Note: Do not remove the small machine screws that attach the fan to the fan's mount. The end of the bulb is threaded and the fan mount screws on or off of it.
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6) Install the LED bulb into the housing. Note the shape of the bulb's base and how it's like a H7 halogen bulb. The bulb goes in only one way with the flat tab at the bottom. You do not need to unhinge the bulb retainer clip. Merely have it fit over the bulb's heat sink body and then clip it in place. It clips without too much difficultly. I did not even need pliers to clip the retainer clip.
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7) Connect the bulb's harness to the connector from the driver.


8) Screw on the fan mount to the bulb. This is the most difficult part of the installation because there is not much clearance nor can you see the alignment from the side. It took me a few tries to get it right. Screw the fan on tightly.
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9) Connect the fan's harness to the connector from the driver.


10) Once checking that all harnesses are connected, place all harnesses inside the headlight and away from the fan. It should all fit.
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11) Check the fan clearance before replacing the dust cap. If done correctly, it should all fit and the cap will go on properly. There is more than enough space between the fan and the cap. Air circulation should not be an issue given the clearance and amount of air space within the headlight.
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12) Repeat the process for the other headlight.


13) Replace the headlights to the car, but don't bolt them back on. Just reconnect the main headlight harness and other harnesses if applicable (HID).


14) Reconnect the battery.


15) Turn on the lights and confirm the LED bulbs work. Test in DRL mode and high beam mode.


16) Once confirming they work, re-install the headlights and bumper.


Epilogue: The kit works. The LEDs are bright! They are very bright even in DRL mode which almost made me wonder if they were any dimmer than high beam mode. Owners in other forums also brought up this observation, but my test drive confirmed the output difference. More on that below.

Before: My halogen DRLs:
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After: My LED DRLs:
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The light throw: As pictured, it's very different from halogen or HID. It's a flood type of light so it does not have great distance throw in terms of a narrow beam. This had me worried until the test drive into the dark countryside. The LEDs on the bulb are located on the top and bottom of the bulb so they throw the light vertically in the multi-reflector housing. This corresponded to great light distributed vertically, both below and above the low beam.

DRL light throw:
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High beam (and HID low beam) light throw:
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Test drive/on the road: I was worried about whether this kit would be a good high beam even after installation until I tried it out. Result? Simply amazing. These LEDs function fantastically as high beams. It's not that they are great at throwing a narrow, focused light for a distance. It's that they throw such an immense amount of light everywhere that it lights everything up in every direction. Imagine an immense flood of bright light in front of your car. Instead of my old H7 halogens that threw a narrow beam of light above the low beams, these LEDs cast significant light everywhere. For driving through a dark road, it's simply a vast improvement over any halogen high beam I've ever experienced. Keep in mind that unlike HIDs, LEDs come on instantaneously at full power. No warm up time or risk of bulb damage from flashing or using intermittently.

DRL only (LED):
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Low beam (HID) only:
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Low beam (HID) and High beam (LED):
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Prior set-up Low beam (HID) and High beam (halogen):
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Conclusion: These are an incredible upgrade to DRL or high beam performance over halogens. I was initially more interested in the LED DRL function, but the high beam performance blew me away. These things rock. The only better option in terms of a more focused distance light throw is a LED driving light bar, much like what Wonson92 got. Discussed here: http://www.kizashiclub.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=28&t=2555
This is due to the fact that these light bars have LED reflectors specifically designed for each LED to cast their light out for a distance. They work similarly to high-end LED flashlights with reflector heads around their LED like a Fenix flashlight below.
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The one thing I'm worried about is that it may be too bright as a DRL. From outside the car, it almost looks like I have my high beams on even just in DRL mode. I will see if people get annoyed, but it should be okay given they will be on during the daytime. At night, I use my HID low beams via a projector lens with a good cut-off.

I also want to note that the fans work great. They don't spin at very high RPMs and don't make too much noise. They are audible from outside the car, but not much. They operate whenever the bulbs are on, DRL or High beam mode. The bulbs have not generated much heat at all. I will occasionally check after extended use to see if temperatures rise.

I also want to note that despite its 5000K color rating from VLEDS, these are more like 4300K in my opinion. They are more yellowish than 5000K and since my low beam HIDs are actually 5000K, you can tell. However, their color is great for the illumination of the darkness. Remember, lower Kelvin color temperatures cast more lightwaves that the human eye can see.

Overall, would I recommend this kit? Definitely yes. At $120 USD, it's a very high quality kit that has very impressive performance. It certainly exceeded my expectations. I installed it earlier tonight and used it for only an hour so reliability hasn't been tested much yet. They have worked without issue so far.
 #25461  by bootymac
 Mon Feb 17, 2014 4:20 pm
Nice work! Very cool to see LEDs used in these applications. Some thoughts:

1. The LEDs seem to throw light high up. Any issues with glare when facing the car?
2. How does the range of the high beams compare to the halogen bulbs?

Also, are there any pictures comparing the actual LED to a halogen bulb? I'm curious to see if the LED emitters are in the same position as the halogen filament
Last edited by bootymac on Mon Feb 17, 2014 7:43 pm, edited 2 times in total.
 #25466  by krell
 Mon Feb 17, 2014 5:06 pm
Very informative.. the kit are on back order from VLED. what the wattage on these?
 #25487  by KuroNekko
 Tue Feb 18, 2014 3:32 am
bootymac wrote:Nice work! Very cool to see LEDs used in these applications. Some thoughts:

1. The LEDs seem to throw light high up. Any issues with glare when facing the car?
2. How does the range of the high beams compare to the halogen bulbs?

Also, are there any pictures comparing the actual LED to a halogen bulb? I'm curious to see if the LED emitters are in the same position as the halogen filament


1. Yes, the LEDs throw the light in ALL directions. They don't only work as high beams, but also act like fog lights in terms of casting light low and around the front. However, the immense output would be blinding to anyone in front of the car. However, regular halogen high beams have a similar effect of blinding oncoming traffic because their beam is angled right around where the oncoming traffic's line of sight is. Basically, when using high beams you need to be aware of oncoming traffic and be courteous. In that regard, the use of these LED high beams would be no different.

In DRL mode, they are significantly brighter than the dimly lit halogen, but not exactly blinding. They are more like 4300K HIDs in terms of appearance. I looked at them facing the front of my car and took photos. They are bright, but not exactly blinding especially given the amount of ambient sunlight during the day.

2. The halogens cast a beam further and more focused. The LEDs send the light everywhere at a much greater intensity. Halogen high beams are designed to cast a light beam above the low beams to help you see further down the road. They may light the peripheral area better, but not that significantly.
The LEDs aren't that great in putting the light specifically above the low beams, but they cast an increased amount of light everywhere. This results in you seeing through the darkness much better, including as high beam usage. Imagine a mini construction zone work light in front of your car. That's what it's like. It casts a nice amount of light to the entire area in front of the car. It helps you see better further, to the sides, and close up in front. I prefer this to any high beam halogen bulb I've ever had and I've had some of the best the JDM offers.

Lastly, the kit I bought has two LEDs. Most other cheaper and older kits have only one. The LEDs face top and bottom based on how the bulb is mounted in the Kizashi's headlight housing. This helps them cast the light to the top and bottom area in front of the car very well.
Keep in mind that halogens work by glowing a filament that is suspended in the bulb. This gives them 360 degrees of light radiance. LEDs have to be mounted on a surface so they cannot have the same effect unless LEDs are mounted all over the bulb surface. The ones that looks like they have many LEDs everywhere aren't the type that can emit 2000 lumens like mine as those are just many low performing LEDs together.
HIDs work by arcing a gas discharge in the bulb. Their light radiance is similar to halogen in that it's not mounted to a surface, but the way they emit light is different from halogen and that's why they don't do well in halogen-specific multi-reflector headlights. They also have the return wire shadow issue.

Look at some of my pictures above. You can clearly see the two yellow LEDs as they are mounted on the bulb and in the headlight.
 #25488  by KuroNekko
 Tue Feb 18, 2014 3:39 am
I took a photo of the DRLs during the bright daylight to show how they look. They are white and bright, but not exactly blinding as DRLs. The sun's glare is on the RH (left side in photo) headlight.

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 #25557  by KuroNekko
 Wed Feb 19, 2014 3:56 am
An update:

They still work fine as DRLs and high beams however, I have noticed that when I turn off my low beams and the DRLs come on, the RH LED sometimes turns off. I have to flash my high beams before it comes on again as a DRL. It's only the RH side.
I've been watching the DRLs in reflections from walls and other people's cars when I drive and they seem to work fine other than for this odd phenomenon of low beam to DRL mode. I may check the wiring for the RH soon.

I also noticed that they dim and brighten with engine RPM at low speeds such as pulling into my driveway therefore I think my battery may be weakening from age and the colder weather. Starts on cold mornings have been a little long.

I still think the LED kit is rather good for the money, but the LEDs as DRLs may be a bit too bright. I was going more for the whiter color than the greater light intensity for the LEDs in DRL use. Oh well. No one has flashed their lights in annoyance at my headlights yet.
 #25577  by bootymac
 Wed Feb 19, 2014 8:03 am
Thanks for all of the info. I'm glad to see LEDs become feasible as headlights. Aside from that minor glitch, your kit looks great and works well. Very cool stuff

Have you explored LED options for other applications such as the reverse lights?
 #25610  by KuroNekko
 Thu Feb 20, 2014 3:00 am
bootymac wrote:Have you explored LED options for other applications such as the reverse lights?


Not yet for the Kizashi. I did years ago for my Mazda but was discouraged to pursue it further due to a number of reasons:
1) LED bulbs even a few years ago were not great and not nearly as bright as the current ones.
2) Turn signal LED bulbs set off the bulb outage warning (fast blinking) and you needed to cut and splice in a resistor to remedy that. I wasn't going to do that.
3) Lots of fake, crappy LEDs sold falsely as high quality ones. Some did not even last a few weeks.

I then decided to hold off on these mods until the market for LED bulbs got better. I then became far more interested in HID and LED conversion kits for headlight usages.

However, I'm thinking about replacing my exterior bulbs (reverse, license plate, door/mud lights) to LEDs soon to match the HID/LED headlight look that I have.
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