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Old 06-28-2011, 11:41 AM   #1
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H9 vs. H11 Bulbs Information

Email response from Daniel Sterling in regards to my friend's question about his 2010 Mazda Speed 3 and his headlights. The 2012 Focus uses the same H11 bulbs.


Your low beams take a 1350-lumen H11 bulb. You can easily, safely, and
effectively replace this with a 2100-lumen H9 bulb: . You may need to shave a small
ridge of plastic off the H9 bulb's connector so that the H11 socket will

snap on. Other than that, it's a direct swap. The only disadvantage is
shorter low beam bulb life - the H11 is optimised for very long life
with relatively modest light output, while the H9 is optimised for very
high output with relatively short life. The other option is the Osram
Night Breaker H11 which
gives better performance than a standard H11, but nowhere near as good
as an H9. The H11 Night Breaker also has a relatively short lifespan
compared to a standard H11 - about the same as an H9. Note that the H9
swap is not universal; it works well in projector-type low beams but is
not safe in most reflector-type low beams or in fog lamps of any type.

Your high beams can also be significantly upgraded if you will Replace
existing 9005 bulbs with 9011. The new bulbs are not some tinted or
overwattage version of 9005, but rather employ a technology called HIR,
Halogen Infrared
Reflection. The mechanical dimensions of the bulb are all identical to
9005 and 9006 bulbs, but the bulb glass is spherical instead of tubular,
with the sphere centered around the filament. There is a multilayer
coating on the bulb glass, which is transparent to visible light but
reflective to infrared. Infrared = heat, so the
coating causes heat to be reflected back to the filament at the center
the sphere. This causes the filament to become much hotter (producing
light) than it can by passing electricity through it, *without* the
shorter life or greater heat production that comes with overwattage
(to say nothing of overwattage bulbs' incompatibility with stock

Here's the comparison:

stock: 9005, 12.8V, 65W, 1700 lumens, 320 hours
compare: 9005+50, 12.8V, 55W, 1830 lumens, 175 hours
new: HIR1, 12.8V, 65W, 2530 lumens, 320 hours

These bulbs are costly as bulbs go - $22.71/ea - but their cost is worth
considering in context: Any number of companies will charge you more
this for a tarted-up 9005 with blue colored glass (PIAA and Sylvania
Silverstar come to mind) that doesn't produce more light and has a very
short lifespan.

The HIR bulbs have a double-wide top ear on the plastic bulb base, this
to comply with the law requiring different bulbs to have different
The extra-wide plastic top ear is easily trimmed or filed to make the
fit your headlamp's bulb receptacle. Once that's done, they go directly
into the headlamp, and the existing sockets snap on. Please see for details.

The direct order link for these bulbs is

There are no yellow H11 (or compatible) bulbs in quality worth buying
for your fog lamps. You can use the upgraded H11s . Yellow fog lamps do
work better than white. If you're trying for yellow fog lamps, the
stick-on films don't really tint the light very effectively. You can get

good results by removing the fogs, cleaning the lenses *thoroughly*, and

spraying them with several coats of Dupli-Color Metalcast yellow, which
is a transparent yellow paint product: . Let each coat "flash

off" (dry most of the way) before applying the next, and use thin coats
so you don't get drips and "sags" in the wet paint. With each
successive coat, the yellow tint will grow deeper. Make them about 2
shades deeper than you think looks right, and it'll turn out well in the

end. Of course, the coating needs to be permitted to dry and harden
completely before you take the fogs out on the road, otherwise dust and
grit will become embedded in the still-tacky surface.

Fog lamps should be turned OFF most of the time. They are meant to be
used in foggy (or rainy/snowy) weather to help you see the edges of the
road close to the car so you can safely make your way through foul
weather at very low speeds. That is _all_ these lamps are designed,
intended, and able to do. Leaving the fog lamps on at all times does not

improve lighting safety performance, though many people do so in the
mistaken belief that they can see better this way at normal road speeds
in dry weather. See
for more information.

Last edited by cappa; 06-28-2011 at 01:01 PM.
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