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Know about what is Headlights ??

A headlights is a lamp, usually attached to the front of a vehicle such as a car, with the purpose of illuminating the road ahead during periods of low visibility, such as night or precipitation.

The first electric headlights were introduced in 1898 on the Columbia Electric Car from the Electric Vehicle Company of Hartford, Connecticut, and were optional.
The earliest headlights were fueled by acetylene or oil.. Acetylene lamps were popular because the flame was resistant to wind and rain.  Two factors limited the widespread use of electric headlights: the short life of filaments in the harsh automotive environment, and the difficulty of producing dynamos small enough, yet powerful enough to produce sufficient current.

A headlamp can also be mounted on a bicycle (with a battery or small electrical generator), and most other vehicles from airplanes to trains tend to have headlights of their own.In 1912, Cadillac integrated their vehicle's Delco electrical ignition and lighting system, creating the modern vehicle electrical system."Dipping" (low beam) headlights were introduced in 1915 by the Guide Lamp Company, but the 1917 Cadillac system allowed the light to be dipped with a lever inside the car rather than requiring the driver to stop and get out.

The 1924 Bilux bulb was the first modern unit, having the light for both low (dipped) and high (main) beams of a headlamp emitting from a single bulb. A similar design was introduced in 1925 by Guide Lamp called the "Duple". In 1927, the foot-operated dimmer switch was introduced and became standard for much of the century. The last vehicle with a foot-operated dimmer switch was the 1991 Ford F-Series. The standardized 7 in (178 mm) round sealed beam headlamp was introduced in 1940, and was soon required for all vehicles sold in the United States.Fog lamps were new for 1938 Cadillacs, and their 1954 "Atonics Eye" system automated the switch between high and low beams.

The first halogen headlamp for vehicle use was introduced in 1962 by a consortium of European bulb and headlamp makers. Halogen technology makes incandescent filaments more efficient and can produce more light than from non-halogen filaments at the same power consumption. These halogen sealed beams remain available, 25 years after replaceable-bulb headlights returned to the US in 1983.
 

With some exceptions from Volvo and Saab, this headlamp size format was never widely accepted in Europe, leading to different front-end designs for each side of the Atlantic for decades. Australia Britain and other Commonwealth countries, as well as Japan, also made extensive use of 7 inch sealed beams. High-intensity discharge system was introduced in 1991's BMW 7-series. European and Japanese markets began to prefer HID headlights, with as much as 50% market share in those markets, but they found slow adoption in North America. 1996's Lincoln Mark VIII was an early American effort at HIDs, and was the only car with DC HIDs.

Regulations and requirements

A headlamp system is required to produce a low and a high beam, which may be achieved either by an individual lamp for each function or by a single multifunction lamp.Modern headlights are electrically operated, positioned in pairs, one or two on each side of the front of a vehicle.  Low beams (called "dipped beams" in some countries) have stricter control of upward light, and direct most of their light downward and either rightward (in right-traffic countries) or leftward (in left-traffic countries), to provide safe forward visibility without excessive glare or backdazzle. High beams (called "main beams" or "full beams" or "driving beams" in some countries) cast most of their light straight ahead, maximizing seeing distance, but producing too much glare for safe use when other vehicles are present on the road. Because there is no especial control of upward light, high beams also cause backdazzle from fog, rain and snow due to the retroreflection of the water droplets.

Functions

High beam (main beam, driving beam, full beam) headlights provide a bright, centre-weighted distribution of light with no particular control of light directed towards other road users' eyes.Low beam (dipped beam, passing beam, meeting beam) headlights provide a distribution of light designed to provide adequate forward and lateral illumination with limits on light directed towards the eyes of other road users, to control glare. Control of glare is less strict in the North American SAE beam standard contained in FMVSS / CMVSS 108.

The international ECE Regulations for filament headlights and for high-intensity discharge headlights specify a beam with a sharp, asymmetric cutoff preventing significant amounts of light from being cast into the eyes of drivers of preceding or oncoming cars.  This beam is intended for use whenever other vehicles are present ahead. As such, they are only suitable for use when alone on the road, as the glare they produce will dazzle other drivers. International ECE Regulations permit higher-intensity high-beam headlights than are allowed under North American regulations.


Use in daytime

Countries requiring DRL include Canada, Colombia, Estonia, Iceland, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Poland, Slovenia, Sweden, Finland and Norway.
Some countries require automobiles to be equipped with automatic daytime running lamps (DRL), which are intended to increase the conspicuity of vehicles in motion during the daytime. DRL may consist of the manual or automatic illumination of the low beams at full or reduced intensity, or may not involve the headlights at all.
 

Compatibility with traffic directionality

Most low-beam headlights are specifically designed for use on only one side of the road. Headlights for use in left-traffic countries have low-beam headlights that "dip to the left"; the light is distributed with a downward/leftward bias to show the driver the road and signs ahead without blinding oncoming traffic. Because wrong-side-of-road headlights blind oncoming drivers and do not adequately light the driver's way, and blackout strips and adhesive prismatic lenses reduce the safety performance of the headlights, most countries require all vehicles registered or used on a permanent or semi permanent basis within the country to be equipped with headlights designed for the correct traffic-handedness.

Headlights for right-traffic countries have low beams that "dip to the right", with most of their light directed downward/rightward. Within Europe, when driving a vehicle with RH-traffic headlights in a LH-traffic country or vice versa for a limited time (as for example on vacation or in transit), it is a legal requirement to adjust the headlights temporarily so that the wrong-side hot spot of the beam does not dazzle oncoming drivers.

North American vehicle owners sometimes privately import and install Japanese-market (JDM) headlights on their car in the mistaken belief that the beam performance will be better, when in fact such misapplication is quite hazardous and usually illegal.This may be achieved by adhering blackout strips or plastic prismatic lenses to a designated part of the lens, but some varieties of the projector-type headlamp can be made to produce a proper left- or right-traffic beam by shifting a lever or other movable element in or on the lamp assembly.

 

Construction, performance, and aim
 

ECE low beams are characterized by a distinct horizontal "cutoff" line at the top of the beam.  SAE low beams may or may not have a cutoff, and if a cutoff is present, it may be of two different general types: VOL, which is conceptually similar to the ECE beam in that the cutoff is located at the top of the left side of the beam and aimed slightly below horizontal, or VOR, which has the cutoff at the top of the right side of the beam and aimed at the horizon. Below the line is bright, and above is dark. On the side of the beam facing away from oncoming traffic, this cutoff sweeps or steps upward to direct light to road signs and pedestrians.There are two different beam pattern and headlamp construction standards in use in the world: The ECE standard, which is allowed or required in virtually all industrialized countries except the United States, and the SAE standard that is mandatory only in the US.

ECE headlights' aim angle is linked to headlamp mounting height. This gives vehicles with high-mounted headlights a seeing distance advantage, at the cost of increased glare to drivers in lower vehicles.Japan formerly had bespoke lighting regulations similar to the US standards, but for the left side of the road. However, Japan now adheres to the ECE standard. The differences between the SAE and ECE headlamp standards are primarily in the amount of glare permitted towards other drivers on low beam, the minimum amount of light required to be thrown straight down the road, and the specific locations within the beam at which minimum and maximum light levels are specified.

Headlights must be kept in proper alignment. Regulations for aim vary from country to country and from beam specification to beam specification. US SAE headlights are aimed without regard to headlamp mounting height.

Proponents of each headlamp system decry the other as inadequate and unsafe: U.S. proponents of the SAE system claim that the ECE low beam cutoff gives short seeing distances and inadequate illumination for overhead road signs, while international proponents of the ECE system claim that the SAE system produces too much glare. Comparative studies have repeatedly shown that there is little or no overall safety benefit to either SAE or ECE beams; the two systems' acceptance and rejection by various countries is based primarily on inertial and philosophical grounds.
This gives all vehicles roughly equal seeing distance and all drivers roughly equal glare

Headlights on new vehicles must produce white light, according to both ECE and SAE standards. Previous ECE regulations also permitted selective yellow light, which from 1936 until 1993 was required on all vehicles registered in France. Yellow headlights are no longer required anywhere, but remain permitted in France, Belgium, The Netherlands, Switzerland, Japan, New Zealand, and some other countries.

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Last Updated : 01/10/2014 21:23:15