Sylvania Silverstar headlight bulbs..great or gimmick??? anyone tried em?

Brett Dikeman brett at
Sun May 16 22:18:19 EDT 2004

At 1:32 PM -0400 5/15/04, JordanVw at wrote:
>has anyone tried the Sylvania Silverstar headlight bulbs?   they sell for
>$38.00 a pair at wal-mart..   has anyone tried them?  do they really 
>put out more
>light?   says they are supposed to be "brilliant white"..   true or false?   
>how about some called "XQ" "Xenon Quartz "cyber White"  by Navigator..
>wal-mart also sells these, but theyre cheaper..  any good?   or just 
>a gimmick?

They are all gimmicks- most are simply coated.

I have a little gel sample book from when I worked in theater, and I 
can give you exactly the same effect in any color your heart desires 
for about 50 cents' worth of gel material.  A nice light aqua green? 
No prob :-)

I can even show you the spectrum chart to show you what portions are 
being blocked to give you that lovely blue look.  Depending upon the 
effectiveness and amount of tint you can be loosing at least a couple 
percent of total light output.

When you're driving with HID lights, you don't really see them as 
"blue"; your brain adjusts to it over a few minutes, and in fact, 
everyone else's headlights start to look really warm.  They see their 
headlights as normal and think your are really blue looking. This 
effect is most noticeable for folks in the HID car when the brain has 
no other reference source of light, such as on an unlit highway. 
This effect can be exploited to some degree by theater lighting 
designers; the overall color temperature of one scene affects how the 
next will be seen by the audience.

Also in the theater industry, it is well known that the higher the 
wattage bulb you install, the less life you're going to get out of 
that bulb, because it's going to run hotter.  HID-look bulbs will run 
hotter because a)they have to put out more light to maintain the same 
overall light output after the filter and b)they're filtering some of 
the light out(and that turns into heat).  You loose twice.

As someone pointed out, the Silverstars are just overdriven 
filaments; they get hotter, so the color temperature of the light is 
higher- but nowhere near HID (by several thousand degrees Kelvin!)

HID isn't used because the higher color temperature is better- 
they're used purely because they are much more efficient than halogen 
bulbs; the same light output takes far less electrical energy.  That 
may seem silly, until you think about all the power being used by the 
navigation system and all those other fancy do-dads being installed 
in luxury cars these days (I seem to recall the top of the line lexus 
even has seat massagers?)  "Oh, put in a bigger alternator" you say. 
That energy has to come from somewhere, and that's +$2/galon gasoline 

I noticed Volvo's latest 18-wheeler rig (which is insanely popular 
along the OH<->CT route I just drove a week ago; they were a dime a 
dozen) is equipped with projector HID's, although I suspect the HID 
lights may take vibration better and thus last longer...just as many 
fleets have moved to LED taillights/markers.  Fleets tend to do what 
takes the least time maintenance-wise, even if the up-front cost is 

"They that give up essential liberty to obtain temporary
safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Ben Franklin

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