There are 2 types popular headlamp housing: projector headlights and reflector headlights. Reflector headlamps are the old style found on cars or trucks made earlier. Projector headlamps are newer, but not every new car has projector headlight. High-performance projector headlamps that were originally only available in luxury vehicles since 2000, and now become more and more vehicles are equipped. They are able to work with the extremely super bright HID (high-intensity discharge) headlamps and LED (light-emitting diode) headlights bulbs. Some vehicles’ low beam headlights are projector type, and high beam headlights are reflector type.
So, we are always asked what is the difference between projector and reflector headlamps? And, whether our LED headlights bulbs will have great performance in projector or reflector headlamp housing? This article will discuss what is the projector headlight? what is the reflector headlight? What is the difference between projector and reflector headlights? How the LED headlights bulbs work inside the projector and reflector headlamp housing?
Reflector headlights have been featured as standard since the invention of electric headlights in 1898. Reflector headlamps have two main components: a light source (bulb) and a reflector bowl.
The reflector bowl is a hollow hemisphere shape. The inside is painted with reflective chrome paint and covered in precisely-located mirrors. The bulb sits right in the center of this device. Mirrors are place within the bowl to reflect light out onto the road.
In older reflector headlights, the shape of the light beam was determined by the lens in the front of the headlight. With this type, known as a sealed-beam headlight, the casing cannot be removed to replace a burnt-out bulb.
In the 1980s, improvement in LED technology at reflector headlights is to use mirrors inside the headlight housing itself to guide the beam, that means it was no longer necessary for the lens and the headlight housing to be sealed, and bulbs could be easily removed or replaced.
When the bulb is switched on, beams of light hit the mirrors and are reflected in front of the vehicle and onto the road.
Because of this, reflectors headlights produce a wide beam that covers a large surface area, but also cause the light less intense and focused, which wastes a lot of light.
Until now, many new vehicles are still equipped with reflector headlamps due to its advantages:
Projector headlight is a newer development in auto headlights development. Projector headlamps are like reflector headlights, they consist of a headlight assembly with a replaceable bulb, and also include a reflector component, but that’s at the similarities end.
The overall design of a projector headlamp is based around the idea of focusing light with a specially shaped reflector, then using a shutter to project it on the road with a beam pattern that is evenly distributed and light focused. And adding a lens acts as a magnifying glass, increasing the brightness of the light beam.
A projector headlight includes below components:
Unlike the reflector headlights, projector headlamps are equipped with round lens that magnify the intensity and focus of the light beam. Think of those lenses as a magnifying glass. The light is absorbed and projected in a smaller yet more focused and concentrated beam. The lens also shapes the unique and premium look of projector headlamps.
A projector headlight is also equipped with cut-off shield (shutter). This allows the beam of light to be directed further down the road. This unique feature also prevents the light from glaring other drivers on the road. This cutoff shield is responsible for the sharper cut off beam of reflector headlights.
Projector headlight is also perfect if you are looking for an HID kit or LED upgrade. In some places, installing HID(high-intensity discharge headlight) bulbs in a reflector headlight is illegal. In this case, the light will be too bright and scattered in all directions, which will blind oncoming traffic. However, it won’t be a problem if your vehicle is equipped with projector headlight.
All projector headlights have the same basic design, but they can replace different light source like halogen, HID or LED projector headlight.
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