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Hi all.



Pre-83(?) US vehicles seem all to have sealed beam headlight units, and they crop up on eBay from time to time. We never had sealed beams here in Europe. I just wonder what was the point with them? Do they last longer? Give better light? To me it seems there are only drawbacks; expensive, difficult to change, and impossible to have a spare in/on the vehicle.



Michael
 

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Hi all.



Pre-83(?) US vehicles seem all to have sealed beam headlight units, and they crop up on eBay from time to time. We never had sealed beams here in Europe. I just wonder what was the point with them? Do they last longer? Give better light? To me it seems there are only drawbacks; expensive, difficult to change, and impossible to have a spare in/on the vehicle.



Michael


I´ve been wondering about this too. As I remember, sealed-beam units were available as spares in my country a long time ago - at least for cars. But I believe they were only single-beam. I owned a Chevrolet Bel Air 1960 (sigh) by the time and that one had dual 135 mm (5 3/4") headlights on each side. The outermost one had a double-filament separate bulb in it (I´ve forgotten if it was halogen (H4) or not). The innermost one was high beam only sealed-beam type, as I remember. I don´t believe the sealed-beam ones were any better than the types with separate bulbs.



Sture
 

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Purely speculation on my part, but perhaps the bulb industry had not yet gone into the modular manufacturing thought process for automotive type lamps? As with all types of electrical and electronic things, everything got smaller and cheaper as the technology progressed. Maybe at the time it was too expensive to delve into that until it had grown in the idea stages and further developed in modes of utility.



I doubt there were advantages noted between the two types in the same application until someone actually did it. We can sure see that the differences exist now though, can't we?



Joel in the Couve
 

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I think they were just first. At least in the US. When you look at the older light they were pretty much all the same with many variations for cars or bikes. The evolution of H4 and other replaceable bulbs gave car manufactures the option to have any kind of light they wanted up front.



Pretty sure it's all in here. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Headlamp
 

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Back in the day 1920's auto manufacturers had all types of different sized headlights bulbs. Most of them went out of bussines during the depression and the unlucky owners could not get the right sized bulbs to fit the headlights. The US goverment stepped in and mandated 5" or 7" headlights with standard bulbs. Fast forward to today and in order for autos to meet gas milage numbers the headlight shells had to be redesigned but the bulbs are standard sizes and readily awailable.
 

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The USA got some of the worse lighting imaginable because of Federal "safety" requirements. US versions of Euro cars had absolutely PATHETIC lighting compared to the "Euro Lights" the rest of the world got. Osram, Sylvania, GE and a few other multi-nationals were found to be in collusion to influence Federal requirements for lighting, so they wouldn't receive outside competition and guarantee the US market for themselves. The companies had to pay very large fines and I think (not too sure, it's been a long time) a few people in the govt and companies went to jail over this.



After this fiasco was exposed and dealt with, vehicle lighting improved 1000% in the US. Installing non-US spec lights was illegal, but most people just ignored (cough) the laws and installed euro-lights anyway.



Those were the bad old days, now the rules are uniform across borders and vehicle lighting and options is the best it's ever been. Sealed beams are best replaced with reflectors which utilize modern bulbs. Just make sure and get units made specifically for motorcycles.
 

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I just want an old carbide lamp for mine. :)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbide_lamp



If my stator could put up with it I'd go with a far higher wattage conversion as I don't really like HIDs, in the meantime I'll eventually get a glass one that accepts H4 bulbs and just use the newest Sylvania SuperStars as they're pretty darn good.



The old sealed beams they used on my '96 car are upwards of $50 each now and there are 4 of them, luckily it's a piece of cake to carefully remove what's in there since it turns out to be pretty much a sealed H4 lamp to begin with. A new lamp, bit of Permatex Red and you're back in order. Of course I use 9005 lamps instead of the 9006 that should be in there but the glass envelope aims them perfectly and the few extra watts and slightly less expected hours far offsets the increased visibility with the better bulb.
 
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