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Night Flaming

In a message dated 96-12-02 08:37:23 EST, you write:

<< We positioned John Coughtrie's car ("Annie", A223 ANH) alongside mine
 JVJ) - John had the stock 65/55 watt mains, and I had 170/100s.  Both cars
 set on main beam and the results were photographed from behind as they shone

 onto a wooden rail fence up at the Nottingham UK quattro Owners Club
The bightness test really isn't going to give you much....   Try this one
instead, Phil...  Have a sign put on that fence and see who can read it in
more conditions, make it just big enough to make out the letters...  Then
change the compound of the board from a flat finish to a glossy one....  Do
this in different weather conditions, I would bet bigger ain't better...
  Just about every prorally driver runs no more than 100w on the HI beam for
a bunch of reasons, the biggest being reflectance of light back at the
driver....  A euro low beam with a 55w bulb is what you are supposed to use,
above that, you might as well get yourself a driving light, it will be more
effective...  The H4 euro and z-beam pattern are designed to be effective as
a low beam and a fog in the same lens, something well accomplished with 55w
bulbs (as comes stock with EVERY true halogen fog lite h1/h2/h3)...  What
happens when you add lumins to the low beam is that the lite is brighter, but
so is the reflectance of humidity, kinda like running a hibeam in a snow
storm, tho now humidity does the same thing....  On a clear nite with low
humidity a 100w+ low beam euro lite will be effective, but the cost will be
the first time you drive with those lites on in the fog, or even a humid
nite, you have decreased driver visibility, dangerously so, esp if you have
no fog lites, or can't shut the lows off with fogs on....  As you increase
wattage sign reflectance increases too, so does the sensitivity to
vibration...  A hi wattage bulb will reflect signs to the point where you are
flash blinded here in the states, btdt, to say nothing of the guy coming at
you who is blinded by your cool hiwatts....  Hi wattage also exponentially
increases vibration effect, actually increasing eye fatigue, in a big way....
 And audis aren't known for their non vibrating headlite assblies, I assure

Wattage has little effect on true visibility, the lens, the reflector, and
proper aiming does....  In fact, the Rallye 2000 comes stock with 55w h1
bulb, and has been the standard in the rallye field for almost 20 years now,
100w are put in them for the "dry" rallyes, but rarely, the gains are minimal
compared to just getting the right lens (pencil beam)..  Some research on
what is happeining in the ProRally world should translate to our street
world, the object is to get the best light available for all conditions,
without having to hang 8 lites on the bumper...  PR are run at nite, in ANY
and ALL weather, ck what they are running...  It isn't 100+w bulbs, not even
in the high beams, 100 is the max as a rule....  To convince yourself that a
higher watt bulb is giving you more visibility in most conditions is just
plain wrong, in fact you compromised the performance in more conditions than
you've gained in one.....  A 9004 to 9007 swap is different, there is some
gain in performance, but only cost effective compared to the euro lite
setup...  The cats meow is the euro lite...   If you wanted to maximize a
euro lite, put 55w in the low, 65 in the outer high, and a 100w in the inner
high with a switch for it....  That way, in dry conditions you have the
advantage of the 100w bulb, but in more reflectance conditions you can shut
down the inners and just run the H4 hibeam....  For fogs, if you have euros
headlites, the fogs are redundant.....  So swap out the clear lenses and put
in the amber, now you are covering the snow/dust visibility that the clears
don't....  Plus, amber tends to reduce eye fatigue on extended hibeam use,
the theory being the whiter the lite depth perception becomes harder to

This is not an unbiased opinion,  have done lite configurations that required
150amp alternators, bttt, and have lots of extra lenses and bulbs and
relfletors and hella/cibie stock in my garage to prove it....  But theory on
proper liting has been around for a long time, and legislative laws have
little to do with execution...  For the US folks, get the eurolites, or at
least a good set of aux lows....  For the euro equipped, don't try to make
the lites something that it wasn't designed for....  Properly aim them, put
some thought into some aux liting (mine is all on a removable lite bar for
city driving), talk to a Rallye driver before you go for lumins, that just
isn't the object of the lite game....    
Gotta play?  Forget the bulbs....  Put amber in the fogs, spend some money
and time designing in-cockpit lite control for "tuning" lite-on properties,
get some aux lites that do what you are trying to do, bulb swapping might be
fun, but does little in reality...  Hella and Cibie put out some really
informative charts and beam patterns in there application literature, reading
it can give you great information...  Given enough more is better, I fully
expect to see 200w bulbs soon.....  But as much good as wattage it really
does, I will continue to invest my stock in alternator manufacturers...