Gone are the days when all cars and trucks had the same type of lights. Instead, there are a variety of different headlight types and technologies in use today, differing depending on the type of bulb, the number of bulbs, or the type of housing (which affects how light is emitted) used.
Let’s take a look at these (sometimes unusual) types of headlights used today.
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types of headlights
#1 : Incandescent Bulb Headlights
The oldest cars on the road used a simple incandescent bulb, not unlike the ones you may still have in your home.
Heavy-duty bulbs were common in sealed beam-type reflector headlights and consisted of a filament suspended in a vacuum. When electricity passes through it, it lights the filament, releasing light.
They emit yellow light, use more energy to operate, and are much hotter than other types of bulbs. As a result, this type of bulb is being phased out worldwide in both the automotive and domestic markets.
#2 : H4 Conversion
This is a modified type of reflective headlight that allows the bulbs to be replaced without throwing out the housing, like modern reflectors. However, the housing design is compatible with LED and HID bulbs.
Like reflector headlights, the H4 produces a narrower, uneven beam than projector headlights. This makes them a cost-effective way to upgrade the reflective headlights of older car models, but a poor choice for the default headlights of modern cars.
#3 – HID headlights (also known as arc, plasma, or xenon headlights)
Short for high-intensity discharge, these bulbs have two electrodes in a glass tube filled with xenon gas and vaporized metal. An electric current passes between the electrodes, melting the metal vapors into plasma. The resulting bluish-white light bounces off a reflective housing and can be focused into a narrow or wide beam.
HID lamps are controversial. On the one hand, they are increasingly popular due to the amount of light they emit, which is more concentrated and has a greater range than filament bulbs. They also have a longer lifespan. So when you are driving, bulbs are very beneficial.
On the other hand, they take a while to reach maximum brightness and can interfere with your ability to see things outside the beams due to their intensity. Although they remain popular, they are slowly being replaced by newer technologies, such as LEDs.
Related: HID v/s LED v/s Laser Headlights (Which is Better?)
#4 : headlights with halogen bulbs
Halogen bulbs replace the incandescent bulbs used in older cars. Instead of a vacuum, the filament is suspended in a mixture of bromine and iodide gases.
Halogen filaments burn brighter because they also heat the surrounding gas. Therefore, they are a cheaper and more efficient alternative to old filament bulbs. However, the rays are still weaker and slightly more yellow than the other options and have a shorter range.
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#5 : LED headlights
LED headlights may be relatively new to the automotive industry, but they are already making waves with HID headlights. These lamps are extremely economical and overcome the disadvantages of most other types of bulbs. Additionally, they can be turned on or off instantly because there are no gases or other fluids that need to be cooled. They are also very compact and have a very long lifespan.
LEDs do not burn out, although the emitter chip can get quite hot and requires a heat sink, making the initial purchase of an LED bulb quite expensive. However, when purchased, their increased energy efficiency quickly recoups that cost. The semiconductors are also highly adaptive, allowing the focus and light level to be adjusted to precise levels in a fraction of a second.
Although LEDs are better than HIDs, the initial cost is putting off automakers, limiting this new technology to only certain vehicle models. However, their popularity is growing rapidly, as LEDs’ ability to use any part of the light spectrum makes them much safer than HIDs.
Even funnier, LED headlights aren’t actually necessary, meaning we can have cars with smooth faces like those with retractable lights, but they don’t look like light emitted from nowhere.
That said, because LED headlights are so bright, they must be aimed precisely so as not to blind oncoming traffic. Even then, there are constant complaints that some automakers (Honda and Toyota in particular) offer their vehicles with headlights that many consider too bright.
#6 : laser headlights
Laser technology has come a long way since its inception, and laser headlights may be the future of the road. A laser headlamp can produce light thousands of times more intense than LED light with a fraction of the (already small) power.
Three blue laser beams collide in a chamber containing yellow phosphorus gas (the same thing that makes things glow in the dark). The beams cause a chemical reaction in the gas, which produces light.
With a range of 2,000 feet and the ability to rival natural daylight in terms of brightness, you may be wondering why laser beacons aren’t common. However, the technology is completely new and requires more cooling than LEDs. As a result, only a handful of BMW and Audi vehicle models currently offer them as an option, and the price is high.
Although laser headlights are the future, they likely won’t replace headlights with features like taillights.
#7: Matrix headlights (also known as adaptive LED headlights)
There’s no denying that cars are getting smarter and making good use of on-board cameras and computers. A great example of this is in Matrix Lighthouse. These cool inventions won’t slow down time or protect you from Agent Smith, but they can still do cool things.
A matrix headlight consists of several lights per housing and a front camera. The on-board computer registers other vehicles using the camera and sends a signal to the lightbox.
This causes the bulbs that interfere with oncoming or ahead vehicles to go out, while the others are on. As a car approaches, the space in the beam actively follows them, getting darker in front and lighter in the rear.
The advantages of this type of beam are obvious. No need to switch between a high beam and a low beam. The risk of accidents is considerably reduced. It also produces a really cool visual effect.
Unfortunately, the big disadvantage is that there are more components that the lights need to function properly to do their job, namely the camera and the computer. If any of them fail, the lights will fail.
Although these “smart” headlights are currently used in many European countries, their use is banned in the United States… until recently.
#8 : Non-Quad Headlights
Small cars generally have headlights that are not four lights. This simply means that the vehicle has only two headlights at the front, one on each side. Although not as bright as the quad design, non-quads are a bit cheaper to maintain.
#9 : Projector headlights
First used on luxury automobiles in the 1980s, the projector headlight is an evolution of the reflective headlight. It consists of a mirrored steel housing, a curved lens that magnifies the beam, and a cutting screen that prevents light from escaping outside the intended beam radius.
The improved lens design is what made the projector headlights better than their reflective counterparts. The beams are pointed at the ground, making them less disruptive to oncoming traffic.
They are brighter and more evenly distributed, as well as being compatible with HID bulbs. The only drawback is that it can be difficult to get used to for older drivers who are used to the different types of light beams emitted by a reflective headlight.
#10 : Quad headlights
Common on many modern cars, the quad headlight design has a wider housing and additional wiring to accommodate two bulbs on each side. This provides stronger light output than non-quad headlights, but may result in higher maintenance costs.
As a result, most large vehicles use the quad layout and most small cars do not have a quad.
#11 : Reflector headlights
This was the standard headlight housing shape from the beginning until 1985. Although it is not as common now, it is still one of the most effective types of headlights. accommodation.
The design is simple: the bulb is housed in a bowl-shaped housing made of reflective metal. When the bulb is on, any light projected into the container is reflected, making the headlight beam brighter than it would otherwise be.
Originally, reflective boxes were called sealed beam headlights. The design used a lens as part of the housing and sealed the bulb within this housing, which meant that the entire housing had to be replaced when a bulb burned out.
In recent years, the lens design has been replaced by a reflective surface. This advancement meant that it was no longer necessary to seal the lens to the housing, allowing mechanics or car owners to replace the bulb as needed.
By design, reflector headlights are smaller and less expensive than other types of housings, although they do have some disadvantages. For example, the design is not compatible with high-output bulbs and the low beams are not as visible to oncoming traffic. They also provide less light in bad weather, such as heavy rain or fog.