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Discussion Starter #1
Just a suggestion for anyone that has the pre-Xenon headlights in their 540I. I found these Philips Crystal Vision Ultra bulb replacements. They're an excellent replacement for the OEM H7 low beams. They are very white, not the least bit yellow.

In the daytime, they take on a slightly blue hue. They have high beams too. These are a lot better than the over-priced Sylvania Silver Stars, that burn out in 3-6 months and about half the price, or less. Technically, I think Sylvania & Philips are owned by the same company, but offer different bulbs.

Much better light than the OEM's. I can tell they provide a longer, brighter light beam on the road. I live out in the country and was looking for the best replacements I could find, other than the cheap HID kits, or going the full upgrade route and replacing them with a pair of 2003 Xenon complete headlamps for hundreds of dollars.

I'm not suggesting these are at that level, but they say: "Xenon powered Halogens deliver the brilliant blue/white look of HID..." Not sure how that technology works, but it does. This site also offers the genuine Osram Philips bulbs too.

I had to search for these so I'm guessing not too many have seen, or heard of them. Worth more than $25 for the pair!

http://www.hidconcept.com/halogen-lighting/h7-bulbs/?gclid=COnonOyTxM0CFYRrfgodvKsNkw
 

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I went with Philips 'X-treme Vision' H7's recently......I think I had 'Silver Stars' (?) in the car before these; did not note lot difference, maybe tad bit better/brighter. When I fixed my broken vertical lens adjuster and got the light pointing out in front of the car, well....that made the most difference at night ;)
 

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I had a hard time deciding between these two bulbs. I have the real deal, factory, HID lights in my 2008 Corvette. I wanted to try and get close to that same, great look. So I went with the Crystal Vision Ultra's. I think the biggest difference with the Silverstars, is the price and the fact that the Philips last a good deal longer than the Silverstars. I thnk I'm going to order another pair for the driving / fog lamps too.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bPNk-qdpvHw
 

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The "technology" behind halogen bulbs achieving a whiter beam, instead of a yellow tint, is to simply add a blue tint to the bulb. By absorbing this portion of the light spectrum, the headlight beam appears whiter to the naked eye. The tradeoff is reduced overall light output (you don't get something for nuthin'). While you may perceive the light output of a blue tinted bulb is greater, you are being fooled as the whiter beam makes things appear to have greater contrast compared to the yellow beam when in fact, the light output is reduced. This is why the video does not claim greater light output for the Crystal Vision but does claim higher output for the X-treme Vision, which is clear. Some makers (e.g. Sylvania) boost the output of their blue tinted bulbs to achieve a comparable output + the whiter beam. The tradeoff there is shorter bulb life due to the higher heat generated. Again, you don't get something for nuthin'. If you really want maximum visibility, stay with clear bulbs. But if you want that HID look, go with a blue tinted bulb.
 

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Agree with Wgosma & Fudman

If you want maximum light output for H7s go with something that has little to no blue coating on it. The manufacturers use the blue coating/tint to give the Halogens a more white to bluish light so they look like HIDs instead of the standard more yellow halogen light. Generally the more blue coating/tint the bub has the more it will look like a HID bulb, and while that may appear to be better to many people the light is not actually illuminating more or further down the road. In fact the coating/tint negatively impacts the light output and it may actually perform worse than OEM H7s. There was some good testing done on this a few years ago and I think there were some good discussions on the bmw forums and/or on HID planet.

My info may be a little dated as I did a HID retrofit, but from what I remember Philips X-treme Vision and Osram Night Breakers were the two top performing high output 55w H7 bulbs, and they claimed over 100% more light on the road. The Philips Vision Plus was also a good high performing bulb claiming 50%-60% more light on the road. The % numbers don't directly translate to that real world % brighter, but from people's reviews they seemed to think they were definitely an improvement over stock. Some people favored the 50%-60% more bulbs as they felt they got longer life out of them. [Note it seems the current Osrams are called Night Breaker Unlimited an they look like they have two blue tinted bands on them so they may not be the same as the old ones]

540 Hammer it sounds like you were after the xenon look versus maximum light output, so let us know how those bulbs work out for you over the long run. If the current silverstars are anything like the old ones I think you made the right choice as I also remember people complaining that the silverstars did not last very long. You may want to check out Philips WhiteVision bulbs too as they claim to be xenon look, but with 60% more light output. For output I think the other three bulbs would still outperform them, but they might have more output than the Crystal Visions.

One Source of Bulbs
A few years ago before I did my HID upgrade it was really hard to find good high output H7s in the USA as most of H7s available had a blue coating/tint. People on the forums were ordering European bulbs. I ended up ordering some Philips vision plus bulbs from http://www.powerbulbs.com/, but did the HID upgrade and never even ran them so I can't say how they performed vs. stock.

Lumen Ratings
I know lighting performance gets very technical and lumens does not tell the full story, but it is interesting to look at the lumens rating on the powerbulbs website under the specifications tab for the various H7 bulbs.

Some Links on Blue Tint Bulbs
http://forums.nasioc.com/forums/showthread.php?t=954736
http://www.danielsternlighting.com/tech/bulbs/blue/good/good.html
 

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Discussion Starter #6
l looked at all of those I choose what I wanted. I fully understand how the lights work (blue-ish vs. clear), and that the ones I choose have a slight blue tint. I knew all of this going in. As I mentioned also, i have the real deal, factory HID's on my Vette. So I know the difference in how they work and look. Look at the video I posted and you'll see it's very slight compared to the Extreme Vision, which I choose not to get. I never said these were brighter than any other lights, except the OEM's. Big waste of your time.
 

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I just bought some of the crystal vision ultra bulbs. They are VERY bright. I'm pretty happy with them. Now to see how long they last.
 

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I just bought some of the crystal vision ultra bulbs. They are VERY bright. I'm pretty happy with them. Now to see how long they last.
They are very bright I agree. For the price, I don't think they can be beat! Better than the Sylvania Silver Stars and last longer. I'm happy with them. I didn't want to do the complete Xenon/HID conversion for hundreds of dollars! Here's a chart of the Philips bulbs, if you're curious, like I was. :thumbup:

http://www.philipsautolighting.com/bulb-lookup.php?make=22&model=341&year=1999&trim=7
 

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Discussion Starter #11
HID's will definetely be brighter! I have OEM HID's in my Corvette and the Philips aren't close to my HID lights. HID's are typically at the very edge of the white spectrum too, I believe, at 6000K. The Philips are 4000K. I chose to use them because the cheap HID kits are known for having electrical issues and the quality units are hundreds of dollars. Not worth it to me to change them over on the 1999 540I. Comparing them to HID lights isn't even a question for me. Good Luck.
 
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