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BMW 3-Series (E90 E92) Forum > E90 / E92 / E93 3-series Technical Forums > Cosmetic and Lighting Modifications (exterior/interior) > Hellst XRT angel eye bulb review



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      08-17-2013, 10:57 PM   #1
wheen
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Thumbs up Hellst XRT angel eye bulb review

I was looking to replace the amber stock halogen H8 bulbs in my 2011 335i E90.
I looked at GP Thunder, Lux, MTEC, DTEC, as they had much more realistic pricing for me, compared to more exotic units like OSS. I was also looking to DIY, and didn't really feel up to putting any parts in the oven.

Then I came across Hellst XRT which did not have many reviews.

The price point was excellent -- $145, which is significantly lower than LUX. I had strongly considered LUX v3, but were replaced with V4s, and I started seeing reviews about flickering, and so I decided to jump on the XRTs, figuring at worst, the 2 year warranty plus the lower price create a great value if the performance is at least on par.

I ordered from bimmereyes.com, and got the package in my mailbox within 5 business days. The packaging was fairly nice, and I thought they were well insulated from shipping damages.

First attempt at install was a miserable failure . I spent about 1.5 hrs wiggling the bulbs into the light housing and just could not get it to align properly. Then I found that LUX instructs removal of a small plastic cylinder in the housing to make room, and thought I'd give that a try the next day. Using pliers, I was able to remove the plastic cylinder in about 2 minutes, and roughly another 3 minutes from there, I was finally able to get the bulbs seated nicely into the socket.

A little side note: I had questions about the install so I contacted Ross at Bimmereyes (more than once); he consistently replied to my emails to answer my questions within hours . Here was his reply on the wiggling:
Quote:
There shouldn't be too much play when the Hellst XRTs are installed. However, a bit of "wiggle" is okay as long as there is still a good seal between the rubber gasket and the headlight housing. Typically it is a pretty tight fit.
And about the little plastic cylinder removal:
Quote:
You raise an excellent point here. The movement of the small plastic cylinder is required to make room for the Hellst XRTs in the 335i sedan. This should have been covered in the installation guide. We will bring this to the attention of Hellst. We will also make a special note of this in our website...thanks for the feedback.
I did notice that a *lot* less torque was required to snap the bulbs into place, than what the stock H8 bulbs required to snap them out. It's a good thing, because w/ the rounded base design, there is not much leverage point to apply much torque, other than small indents.

Once fully twisted in, I noticed there is some wiggle that the stocks did not have. Then I found this post (http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=346300) and lacking such a piece at the time, tried applying a couple of layers of electrical tape. The result: nice and snug fit, and still allowed complete twist install in the cramped space using two index fingers.

I've taken 3 sets of pictures for comparison, each with Hellst XRT in one socket, and stock H8 bulb in the other. Shown are pics I think that best represents this comparison (attached at bottom of post).

1. Angel eyes on only at night, which would best show brightness comparison vs stock
2. Xenons on, to show color of Hellst XRT during xenon use (I believe GP Thunders change color)
3. Angel eyes on during the day, to show their visibility in daylight

(I also included a pic of the physical unit vs stock bulbs, just so you know what to expect)

My opinion is that the brightness is just about on par with the stocks (actually, just a tad dimmer than the stocks but pretty close), at least based on pic #1. However, since the color is much closer to natural light, they don't show too well in the daylight, and I guess any bulb of this color would need to be significantly brighter than stocks to "pop" in daylight. Also, the bulbs don't fade in like the stocks; they are simply on/off.

Overall, I'm pretty happy w/ the look. I do wish they were a bit brighter, but honestly they look great in anything but direct sunlight. I've read reviews claiming these were brighter than Lux v3's, so at worst I got same performance at much better price point and warranty.

Hopefully this review helps the next member who's looking for a similar upgrade. I know if something like this was available it would have helped in my decision and in the installation process. Oh, and if you do decide on the Hellst XRTs, here's few additional tips:

1. The installation guide mentions not fitting the ballast and other pieces all in the housing, to prevent physical interference w/ adaptive xenon moving parts. I asked Ross for clarification on the topic:
Quote:
Hellst erred on the side of caution as some BMW models have more mechanical parts exposed for the adaptive headlights than others. In your case, there shouldn't be an issue with putting the wires within the housing. If there was an interference, it would result in the adaptive mechanism not working properly which would show up as an error on your display screen.
2. When refitting the light housing cap back on, I was not careful the first time and pinched the wires between the cap tabs, resulting in small tearing of the wires. If I were to do this again, I'd take more care to properly "stuff" the wires into the housing, clearing the cap ring to ensure no such pinching or tearing happens.

3. The installation guide notes the "T" orientation of the tabs in a specific way, but mine was not exactly as described. I think the best thing to do is to note the T orientation as the stock bulbs are removed -- and also note the twist direction for loosening and tightening of the stocks.
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Last edited by wheen; 08-18-2013 at 02:02 AM. Reason: Added startup info
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      08-19-2013, 03:23 PM   #2
wdeerfield
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i dont know why people want these to be so bright for the night.. daytime is what matters.. stick with halogen to evenly light up the rings. just get a blue coated bulb to fix the color
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      08-25-2013, 12:18 AM   #3
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I just installed these into my M3. They seem brighter than the stock - or at least as bright. During the day in bright light it's difficult to see either the halogen or the Hellest. Right now I have one side halogen and the other side Hellest for comparison purposes. I'm gonna take some pictures and maybe start a thread about it (or add to this thread?).

They definitely look better and a decent price compared to other vendors, especially for Canada. We get ripped by shipping/duty/fees from some vendors.

The only thing I can complain about so far (besides installation), is that there is no gradual dimming as mention by the website (A review that says this: "The new Hellst LED has a good startup and shutdown look with the right dimming, I was worried that it might flicker or give a sudden on and off look but nope, it comes up nicely and dimms before it shut down."). It's instant on and instant off compared to the halogen gradually dimming in and dimming out. And another strange thing is that I see flicker when looking at them through the camera. It's not a big deal because you can't see any flicker in person, but the strange thing is that there is a flicker in the camera?!?

One question to wheen:

What does the manual mean with the upside down T and aligning the bulbs in a special way? Does that mean if I don't align them correctly they will not light correctly? Or is it just to be able to twist the bulbs in? I noticed it has to be a special alignment to even twist into place, but once in place they seem to show fine? I did notice if I push them in a little further they are brighter - there is some room to wiggle, so I will try the rubber band / electrical tape trick to see if it helps.
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Last edited by Pinz; 08-25-2013 at 12:46 AM. Reason: Asking wheen a question
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      08-25-2013, 02:43 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pinz View Post
It's not a big deal because you can't see any flicker in person, but the strange thing is that there is a flicker in the camera?!?
I noticed this too. Some of the pics I've taken looks like they're turned off. In person, though, they look solid on.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pinz View Post
What does the manual mean with the upside down T and aligning the bulbs in a special way? Does that mean if I don't align them correctly they will not light correctly? Or is it just to be able to twist the bulbs in? I noticed it has to be a special alignment to even twist into place, but once in place they seem to show fine? I did notice if I push them in a little further they are brighter - there is some room to wiggle, so I will try the rubber band / electrical tape trick to see if it helps.
I think the manual is trying to help align the T shape just so you can twist them in right, but that position just didn't apply to my car. I think they only really fit one way, so if you're able to get it in and twist, and it's in there snug enough to withstand some nudging, it's probably in there correctly.

Looking forward to your compare pics.
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      08-25-2013, 06:48 PM   #5
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I think I need to take the pictures somewhere other than the underground garage. Or with a different camera. With auto white balance, the halogens look whiter than they are in person, and the Hellest look quite blue even though in person they're not blue. There is no white balance setting that works for the lighting in the underground lot. I need to get myself a white piece of paper to calibrate it.

What's funny is that on the camera LCD while underground, it looks good - not too blue. But now watching them on the laptop screen in sunlight, it's totally off. I'll try to take some pictures outside today after dinner.
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      08-26-2013, 12:58 AM   #6
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go oss
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