Top positive review
60 people found this helpful
Quality kit - some installation and operation info
on February 6, 2012
These Philips LED DRLs are well built, bright, rugged, and the supplied harness and hardware are top notch. Heatsinking is excellent so the LEDs should remain bright for the life of the car. The LEDs on my units are also of matched tint with none appearing particularly warmer or cooler. Overall the tint is a cool white which goes well with HID headlights, but my halogen fogs look very yellow next to these. They are not as surprisingly bright as I was hoping for after reading the reviews here, but isn't that how it always is with high expectations. (EDIT: After 3 weeks in varying weather I can say they are satisfyingly bright. I find myself driving off at night forgetting to turn my headlights on since they do illuminate the road to a degree.)
Hookup is easy - 3 wires: battery +/-, and one lead to a parking light. The control module has two excellent waterproof plugs that connect to the lights. The lights have sufficiently long wires with matching plugs at the end. All wire is protected by a gloss black vinyl tubing. The lead to the parking light was not long enough for my installation (control module mounted on center of firewall to left front park light).
The lights function by sensing change in battery load and automatically turn on. When the module senses the battery is in a steady state the lights turn off after ~10 seconds. This works well enough, but has some quirks. My car has delayed-off dome lights. So when I open the door and trigger the dome lights, the module senses the current and the DRLs turn on (no key in ignition). Not quite 10 seconds later the DRLs turn off (meanwhile my dome lights are still on). Then when my dome lights turn off, the module senses another change and turns the DRLs on again for 10 seconds. So while this could seem like a fancy convenience function of the DRLs, it is the consequence of the simplified hookup design. I do not find this objectionable except when the battery is connected to a charger that is cycling on and off and the lights are turning on/off as well. Personally I would have preferred wiring them to the ignition or the option to. As is when I approach the car and unlock the doors with my remote, the DRLs come on and help locate the car as well as illuminate the walk toward it - not a bad thing. UPDATE: Upon installing a new battery I found the DRLs no longer turn on when I operate the remote. The old battery was tired and exhibited a larger voltage drop when the dome lights turned on whereas the new battery maintains voltage better and does not trigger the control module. The lights now turn on with the engine, but only with the engine. I believe this is how they were designed to function and my initial experience was due to a weak battery. If the lights begin to operate again with my remote I will know my battery is starting to weaken.
The LEDs dim when the park/headlights are on unless the park light lead is not hooked up. These are bright enough that oncoming drivers will be annoyed if they are not dimmed at night. The control module uses PWM dimming which is basically a superfast strobe. This is noticeable when waving your hand in front of them, but not when driving.
I measured the current to the system and it was 1.25 A on hi, and 110 mA when dimmed which figures to 16 and 1.4 watts. By contrast my two dome light bulbs draw 680 mA each or 17 watts for the pair, more than the DRLs on hi.
Depending on your vehicle, installation may be more involved that the 2 hr. estimate. My car (2003 Audi S6) has lower grilles which are not ideal for directly mounting these. I fabricated some brackets that bolted to the bumper support and secured the lights into openings I cut in the grilles (I uploaded a customer pic of the finished install).
If you do mount as suggested by screwing the frames to the car then snapping the lights into the frames, be advised it will be difficult to remove them. The frames are a strong spring steel and snap securely over the light housings in matching recesses. So once the light is snapped into the frame they are flush, and once in the frames the lights obstruct the mounting screws. Removing the lights would require prying the frames up to free the locking tabs - something I'd rather not attempt. There is another suggested mounting option - directly bolting them to the car via two M5 tapped holes in the back of the housings and not using the frames, but there are no M5 bolts included in the kit.
My car requires removal of the front end for certain engine maintenance. As such I wish there was also a disconnect plug at the lights and not just at the control box. Removal of the lights would require unplugging at the control box and feeding all the wire back through - PITA. I ended up adding disconnects at the lights and making 2-piece mouting brackets so I could remove the lights, their frames, and part of the bracket easily as one unit without having to pry the lights out of the frames. When I added the disconnects I removed most of the excess wire and used some to extend the park light lead which was short.
The only non-OEM quality part in the kit is the connection for the lead to the park lights, a Scotchlok-style tap splice. I've had problems with corrosion over time with these, so I placed a blob of silicone in it before I squeezed it to encapsulate the connection.
Overall I am very satisfied with them and have confidence they will last. I would have liked the ability to disconnect the lights at the housings and a more disassembly-friendly design, but depending on your vehicle these may be non-issues. If you have an easy install or have the means regardless, these exude quality and will not disappoint. I rate it 5 stars for the quality of the components and for what it is - a universal kit. Installed on my Audi they look and perform every bit OEM.
UPDATE: it is now 12/2014, approaching 3 years of daily use and not one glitch. The price has come down almost $70, but I am still happy at the price I paid and would purchase them all over again.