<October 30, 2006>

Lighting Experiment

As you may know, I have decided to go with regular old halogen lights in both wings. The HID lights, while cool, are just too pricey for my blood, especially when I consider the relatively low amount of night flying I do. I purchased the Duckworks rectangular lights from Vanís, but then I had an idea. After seeing a commercial for Sylvania Silverstar® halogen bulbs on TV, I wondered if they would make a difference for the RV. Silverstar® bulbs are still halogen bulbs, but they output light in a different color temperature than standard halogen bulbs. Regular halogens, like the 55W H3 bulbs that come with the Duckworks kits, typically produce light around 3000° Kelvin (K), which results in a sort of yellowish light, while the Silverstars® output is around 4000° K, yielding a somewhat brighter white-blue light. The Silverstars® donít come close HIDís 5500° K output, but they were closer than regular halogens, so I figured a little investigation was in order.

I found that there is a wide variety of H3 replacement bulbs out in the marketplace, some of which output higher color-temps than the Silverstars®, and some even double the wattage (110W), but the cost of these bulbs makes you think twice about experimenting. While the Silverstars® are significantly more expensive (retail) than standard halogen bulbs, I got a really good deal on eBay which made the experiment worthwhile. If it didnít work, I was only going to be out $25, and I can live with that.

The experiment was simple, replace one of the standard halogen H3 55W bulbs with a Silverstar® H3 55W bulb, hook them up to a car battery and compare.

In the end, you be your own judge. I think there was a slight improvement in brightness and contrast, and for $25 it was worth it to play around. I didn't included them in this test, but I would also like to compare some higher wattage bulbs, but then you have to deal with increased current draw. I think will save that experiment for another time.

The first shot, taken with the both lights pointed down at the driveway about 15' ahead. You can see the obvious color difference in the light. Silverstar® on the left, and the regular halogen on the right.

Sonoma decided to go sit in the driveway (no this wasn't staged), so I used her as a model. First I turned only the standard halogen on her. She is a yellow lab, the halogen really brings out the yellowness of her coat.

Next up was the Silverstar®. Compared to the picture above (taken with same camera settings), her color is less pronounced but she appears brighter.

No this isn't the eyes of an alien, but both lights turned and pointed at my garage door from about 12' away. The garage door is painted a rust'ish color, but you can still see the dramatic difference in color temperature.

Both lights pointed down the driveway again, but this time I hit the pavement about 40' ahead of the lights. Again, the Silverstar® because of its color, seems brighter for the same wattage.

This is the holgen pointed at the street sign down the driveway and across the street (approx 100' from light and camera). The light was decent, but was a warm and natural color.

From the same distance, the Silverstar® appears to provide a bit more contrast. The colors are colder, but I think that is a good thing in this case. Compared to the standard halogen, the differnce is small, but there is a differnce.

When I was finished playing around, I countersunk the light brackets and riveted the nutplates on with NAS1097 rivets.

All done. The white primer really gives these a nice clean look.