The conventional light bulb has been used in the automobile for more than a hundred years. It has represented the lion’s share of light sources for around 85 years now. And yet now light-emitting diodes are taking over more and more lighting functions. Designers are a driving force behind this. They are enthused by the possibilities that LED offers them.
The topic is a major one among our readers and in the various forums: Moisture inside the headlamps, usually evidenced by fogging on the inside of the lens. Headlamp engineers say they can never prevent it entirely, but we’ll tell you what you can do.
Part one: Prevention is better than drying
You all are familiar with fogged up windshields. In the cold and wet seasons of the year, moisture brought into the car from outside or from exhaled air condenses on the window surfaces. A similar thing happens inside the headlamps: the moisture in the air collects on the lenses. The only difference is that no simple devices exist to control it like they do in the car’s interior. In other words, there is no fan and no air-conditioning system to dry out the air.
But you do have a kind of defroster for the headlamps, and it is activated by the light switch. The heat emitted by the lamps serves the same purpose as the warm air from the blower vents. Unfortunately, it is not quite so effective as on the front windshield, but driving with the lights on helps a lot to avoid fogging. Some of you will have noticed that xenon headlamps still tend to fog up more than their halogen counterparts. This is due to the low electrical output of the xenon lamps (that‘s right: the best light consumes less power!). They just do not lose as much heat.
The moisture frequently does not get into the headlamps from the air or with rain, but rather from excessive cleanliness. Pressure washers are one of the main culprits. Cleaning agents added to the water have a particularly harsh effect. Simple moisture from the air does not leave spots on the headlamps and cannot attack the surfaces, but cleaning agents from those high-pressure spray lances most certainly can. So never aim the pressure spray directly at the headlamps. It‘s better to keep a distance of 50 centimeters. And be very careful when it comes to an engine wash. Never aim the spray at the headlamps from the inside, because that’s where the ventilation openings are. But we’ll get to those in the next post!
We often hear critical remarks about the ECE’s regulations for approving products, and even more often the opinion that the ECE is holding back the advancement of the LED.
But no, we can’t let that stand.
Many readers may well have wondered about the many photos that have appeared on our Facebook page since mid-December featuring cars with golden details, be they golden garlands on the headlights, gilded ice-scrapers or a gleaming trophy collection on the bonnet. No, gold is not the new trendy colour among car enthusiasts. The pictures are from participants in the Osram “Gold Rush” photo competition. This was brought into being to celebrate the fifth birthday of the Night Breaker. The task was to show how much gold there is in or on vehicles using photos. The results are creative, funny and surprising entries from Germany, Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain and the Czech Republic, which have given the Osram jury numerous “golden moments” in the last couple of weeks, but have also caused them a headache. After all, unfortunately only one photo per country could win the main prize of an iPad.
Who has translated the topics of gold, cars and light most creatively and can look forward to receiving an iPad?
Belgium: Eric Kinziger from Battincourt
Germany: Sarah Schrems from Tirschenreuth
The Netherlands: Robbert Dijkstra from Delft
Austria: Verena Artinger from Pischelsdorf
Poland: Sławomir Malinowski from Wąbrzeźno
Spain: Luis Manrique from Almería
Czech Republic: Jaromír Havrlant from Rybí
“We really liked the surprising golden details that the winners had thought of. These included a gold ingot on the dashboard, a ‘firework display’ around the car, and even the golden Night Breaker itself”, said the jury.
All the winning photos can be seen on Facebook.
Many thanks for taking part!