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[pics] Upgraded factory projector HIDs to aftermarket Laser projectors

lonertic

Member
Feb 2, 2017
49
21
Sydney
Hi guys

Long time reader but seldom poster. Thought I'd share a recent mod I've done on our nosecone P85D.

As some of you know, the factory HIDs on the nosecone cars are among the dimmest on the market, I've also driven facelift models and I didn't like the scattered beam pattern of the newer LED headlights so i never looked into possible retrofits. Instead, I've decided to replace the projector module inside my headlight altogether!

Sorry I didn't take enough photos or videos to make this into a proper write-up, then again there are already enough videos and write-ups on headlight assembly removal/install. So I'll just stick to what i have.

Firstly I've ordered a pair of replacement 3" laser/led projector module. I've already tried simply replacing the HID with an LED bulb and it hasn't worked. I might write up another post on why that won't work another day but tldr, I've tried many already, and none have had the desired effect.

Here's the new projector module itself
View media item 122220
I've taken apart the projector lens as the module they sent was a LHD version, I'm in a RHD region so the beam pattern had to be reversed. That required a bit of modification to the bi-led shield.
View media item 122227
Once that was done, headlights had to come out. Refer to other online videos on how to do that. I may add links here if required.
View media item 122224
The hardest bit of the whole conversation, for me at least, by FAR, was removing the polycarbonate lens from the factory headlight housing. Again, plenty of videos/articles online but nothing prepares you for the actual job. Afterall you're basically brute-forcing apart a perfectly fine $2000 part, that tends to screw with my mind a little. It was made easier convincing myself that replacement projector headlight modules are relatively cheap and available on eBay , but still, was tough to do... Heat gun, patience and finesse is your friend here. In the end, getting the lens out wasn't even the worst part, cleaning out every bit of the original butyl sealant (so then new sealant can go on and be perfectly airtight/watertight) took me about 8 hours! I started in the day, it was well part midnight by the time I got to this point.
View media item 122223
I took the liberty of taking some before/after shots. These were taken with my phone, i know how pics of headlight can be a bit deceiving or inaccurately represent brightness, so I've tried my best to set the camera to manual mode and take all the shots under the same exposure setting to get a fair comparison

Camera was set at f1.5, 1/2 sec shutter speed, 4.32mm ISO 500 for all the pics. Taken on a Samsung S10 5G, at the same location but a few nights apart (cos needed to install it!)

This was the low beam BEFORE the install
View media item 122226
This was the low beam AFTER the install
View media item 122222
Then this was the high beam before the install
View media item 122225
This is the high beam (led+laser emitter) AFTER the install
View media item 122221
Needless to say I'm pretty happy with the outcome. The pictures don't do it justice.

The main objective I wanted out of the install isn't just to get a brighter headlight, but a much wider spread as well as a sharp cutoff beam pattern so then the brightness don't end up blinding other cars or mirrors, without substantially increasing energy consumption. (Factory HIDs are 25W, i measured the new projector at 3A on low beam, and the laser high beam was an extra 1A draw, so that's 36W on low and 48W on high)

This mod has achieved all of those when none of the HID/LED retrofit bulb options did. Most simply threw more lumens at the expense of more wattage, but none of the replacement bulb options improved the beam pattern.

I hope this have been useful to others. Thanks for reading. Feel free to ask any questions. Cheers.
 

Doanster1

Member
Feb 14, 2018
895
470
Oregon
Factory D3S bulbs are 35W, but do suffer overall just like other manufacturers std HID systems.
I share your views on the perfect setup - having the brightness of LEDs, but the sharp cutoff of HID projectors would be utopia. Sounds like you solved the issue after much work, but will wait for the pic links to be fixed.
 

krsgio

Member
Nov 8, 2018
343
329
Colorado
I hope this have been useful to others. Thanks for reading. Feel free to ask any questions. Cheers.
curious to see the pics. i had debated retrofitting the projectors when I did my headlight blackout but never did. also agree, removing the lens from the sealant was a nightmare.
 

lonertic

Member
Feb 2, 2017
49
21
Sydney
oh no.. I'm so sorry guys.. lol first time posting pics/album and I think i screwed up the album permissions :) .. I've recreated an album and moved all the pics, not sure if i have to edit the original post to link to the pics... lemme know if pics permissions still fail? thx
 
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lonertic

Member
Feb 2, 2017
49
21
Sydney
Factory D3S bulbs are 35W, but do suffer overall just like other manufacturers std HID systems.

I know US cars have D3S 35W HIDs but unfortunately for the rest of us, we have 25W D8S's which are even dimmer... I do have a 35W ballast+bulb and that was one of the options I tried to "upgrade" to cos I really didnt want to take the headlight housing apart, but the difference between the 25W and 35W is negligible.. whereas a complete projector unit swap was literally night and day difference! For me it was well worth the effort.
 
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lonertic

Member
Feb 2, 2017
49
21
Sydney
The main difference in lighting performance of a projector swap vs aftermarket LED bulbs is this:

1) the emitter chips in projectors designed ground-up for LEDs are placed horizontally, this tiny change makes a huge difference to the way the beam is spread lengthwise. LED bulbs can't easily achieve this due to the narrow opening intended for a HID bulb to poke through


upload_2021-1-8_15-49-43.png


2) the fact that the chip faces upwards, means almost 100% of the LED's light output makes it past the projector's low beam shield with very little light being blocked by the shield as they would in HID/bi-xenon projectors. So when HID's quote 3200lms, technically you're only getting 1600lm's down the road until you turn on the high beam. But when these LED modules quote 3200lms, all 3200lms are sent down the road. In my case I think these chips are over 4000lms... so it's putting out almost 3x the amount of light down the road compared to a 35W HID...

3) you can see from the above pic the entire projector module is made of aluminium.. so every part of the projector works together as a giant heat sink with a fan at the back, this design is much better for heat dissipation than any aftermarket LED bulb alone, one of the main reasons why aftermarket LED bulbs eventually fail after a year or even just a few months. If you've ever held one of those aftermarket LED's in your hand whilst it's on, you'll quickly burn yourself in under a minute... I've had the projector running in my hand (low+high+laser) for 10-15 mins whilst modifying the low beam shield for RHS and the hottest it gets is like the warm water you'd use to wash your hands, I had to test it before putting it into the housing as I don't want it to melt any plastic since taking it apart again will be such a pain
 

lonertic

Member
Feb 2, 2017
49
21
Sydney
Can you provide a link to your replacement projectors? tia
The module I bought is from AliExpress: US $520.0 |SANVI New Arrival 3inch Bi LED&Laser projector lens headlight 62w 5500K Auto LED Projector Headlamp Car light Retrofit Kits|Car Headlight Bulbs(LED)| - AliExpress .. not trying to promote a particular product or brand, it's just what I ended up going with...
There seems to be a few brands but Sanvi brand seems to be getting the most orders and positive reviews so that's what I went with. They have non-laser versions which are around half the price.. The mounting holes are NOT a direct fit to Tesla's headlight housing, I did need to drill 2 holes of my own to make it fit right, I wish I took some pics of this but since it was getting late during the install and I just wanted it done so I forgot to take pics :( ... Basically I had to drill 2 holes here where I marked the red dots. The top 2 bolts just goes on the outside of the module but perfectly holds it in place once the bottom 2 are in.
upload_2021-1-8_16-15-38.png
 

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krsgio

Member
Nov 8, 2018
343
329
Colorado
So the heatsink on the back of the projector cleared the back of the headlight housing without any modifications beside to the mounting bracket?
 

lonertic

Member
Feb 2, 2017
49
21
Sydney
Yes it's smaller than the factory projector. The back clears the rubber cover by around 2-3cm so there's still an airgap behind the projector for air to circulate inside.
 

lonertic

Member
Feb 2, 2017
49
21
Sydney
Beam alignment? Does it work straight away or need tweeking?
Slight adjustment needed, that part was easy and just needed a 5mm hex bit to turn the adjuster and no other tools in the middle of the carpark. Mine was pointing downwards by a few turns, both lights. But the left/right adjustment was perfect.
 

IslandHydro

Member
Oct 24, 2018
209
130
Washington State
Slight adjustment needed, that part was easy and just needed a 5mm hex bit to turn the adjuster and no other tools in the middle of the carpark. Mine was pointing downwards by a few turns, both lights. But the left/right adjustment was perfect.

I could be wrong, but I think I've read that only cars equipped w/ air suspension have the ability to adjust the vertical alignment on headlights. If so, those w/out air might want to think twice about this mod.
 

KalJoMoS

Member
Aug 11, 2019
315
189
EETN, EST
The ability to adjust the light vertically on the air suspension cars is automatic, without drivers interference. On coil suspension driver needs to select approximate hight from the menu manually, there are three levels to select, photo attached. Each light is designed to adjust the beam on the housing both vertically and horizontally, it is required. Even the fog lights have the ability on their housing, there is dedicated hole in the front undercarriage for it.

219CA7FB-1302-41F1-AD8D-9ECC784A81A7.jpeg
 

lonertic

Member
Feb 2, 2017
49
21
Sydney
The adjustment screw is in the housing itself, best accessed from the top by taking the two side pieces of frunk trim off. The one directly next to the low beam projector is the horizontal adjustment, the one further back is the vertical one. The vertical one is actually on a detachable cable so on auto adjusting cars (mine has air suspension but doesn't have headlight leveling?) I'd imagine there's just a small motor there turning the gears instead, so you'd probably adjust the baseline alignment manually first then reinstall the motor
 

r1200gs4ok

Active Member
Jul 17, 2019
1,357
454
Irvine
The ability to adjust the light vertically on the air suspension cars is automatic, without drivers interference. On coil suspension driver needs to select approximate hight from the menu manually, there are three levels to select, photo attached. Each light is designed to adjust the beam on the housing both vertically and horizontally, it is required. Even the fog lights have the ability on their housing, there is dedicated hole in the front undercarriage for it.

View attachment 626197
I have a 2020 Model S and I dont see or have not noticed the headlight lowering adjustment on the control panel...what year is your car....I have the air-suspension and need to raise headlights.....Tesla says alignment is ok, but they are low and I can hardly see 50' down the road.....wish I could install HIDs on this car
 

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