5-3/4″ Options: quad quartz conversions are much less involved. Both high and low beam units are single bulb and single reflector, both using the H1 bulb. What changes is the beam pattern, through lens design, and bulb placement within the reflector. Quad systems employ a relay to maintain low beam operation when the highs are switched on. This relay is a part of the wiring system and not of the headlights.
Marchal has recently announced a new type of low beam quad light employing a dual filament. This system has not been seen by the author. Presumably, this dual filament low beam is quite similar to the H4, providing 8 flat-topped spread on low. When the high beam is engaged, the relay would activate the second filament (the first being extinguished), also providing a spread beam, but a little further out. If this is the case, it is a most worthwhile alternative.
The relay mentioned above providing simultaneous high/low beam operation may be adapted for use on the 7″ Amplilux. It must never be used with the H4 the quartz envelope and filaments could not withstand the heat of two filaments burning in such proximity. The relay is an electromagnetic switch. Current passed by the interior light switch activates a coil, making it an electromagnet. A spring contact is drawn toward the electromagnet and in the-process engages a fixed contact.
The relay is fused to prevent a short circuit (and fire hazard) should the spring contact somehow make contact with the coil. The application of a relay for simultaneous high/low operation is shown in Figure 4.
When the low beam (only) is activated, the relay coil is bypassed. Switching to high beam, power is passed to the high beam and relay coil. The coil closes the switching contacts, and battery power maintains power to the low beam. This system is already installed in BMWs with quad headlights. How it is to be installed with 7″ headlights will be explained shortly.
A popular modification in quad headlights is replacing the standard 55-watt H1 high beam with a Norma 100 watt H1 bulb. The H1/100 has the drawbacks of 50% higher cost and only a 6-8 hour life span. Such a burning time is reasonable, however, when one considers the actual amount of time the high beams are used. Should the Bosch dual-H1 7″ headlight be released, it would be an obvious choice for the 100-watt high beam.
Consider several factors before you purchase a 7″ quartz headlight system. The H4 is a simple drop-in unit, complete with three-prong SAE plug. Nothing else is required. A plethora of H4 conversions exist, with an average retail price of $43 per pair. Discounts approaching 40% are available to BMWCCA members. the Amplilux has three pigtail leads which must be fed into the correct contacts on the SAE receptacle. For maximum performance, a relay must be added and wiring altered. Important: the Amplilux reflector is too deep and round to drop into a standard Hella mounting bucket! The bucket must be removed from the car N a laborious task and treated with smart, well-aimed blows from a hammer if the Amplilux is to fit. The Amplilux lists at $59.95 per pair and the same discount information applies.
How much more powerful is the Amplilux than the average H4? The low beams are virtually indistinguishably. A relayed Amplilux will provide noticeably superior output and reach on the high beams, but bear in mind the relative use time of the high beams.
One relay is required to operate two Amplilux units, as left and right headlights are wired in parallel. Mount the relay in the left headlight well and on the battery bulkhead. Using diagonal cutters, clip the SAE headlight receptacle, leaving about 6″ of wire attached to it. Strip and tin the cut wire ends and crimp on 14-18 gauge female spade connectors (available from auto supply houses) where required. Note where two wires feed into a single connector. Nylon spade insulators are available from BMW dealers or you can obtain heat-shrink tubing from the ubiquitous electronics hobby stores.
A single wire must be added to the system: a 12-gauge stranded wire with red insulation, running from the battery to the relay. Crimp a 10-12 hole-type connector on one end and attach this underneath the lead from the voltage regulator at the ” +” battery terminal. Tape the wire neatly to the existing harness and feed it through the headlight well grommet. Spread an 18-14 female spade connector, crimp on the red wire, and push in place on the relay. End of wiring.
You must use a fused relay! Should a wiring error be made, or damaged insulation come in contact with sheet metal, nothing would prevent a fire.
Aiming instructions are supplied with all quartz headlight conversion sets. They must be rigorously adhered to, since quartz lights can blind oncoming traffic if improperly directed.
Because the lens and reflector in quartz conversions are permanently attached, it is difficult to internally clean them. But clean you must, because dirt is inexorable.
Remove the entire unit from the car and remove the quartz bulb, taking care not to touch the bulb except with a clean cloth. The merest trace of skin oil will have the effect of burning the bulb up when it is next put on. Make a 4:1 solution of warm distilled water and household ammonia; pour two or three ounces into the lens/ reflector assembly and agitate vigorously for about one minute. Then drain thoroughly. If you share the author’s aversion to ammonia, take solace in the fact that the cleaning need be done but twice a year. Rinse thoroughly several times with four or five ounces of distilled water. If you bought a gallon of distilled water, use the rest in the battery, the cooling system and the washer container. Shake as much water from the housing as possible and place on the rack of a warm (175200°F.) oven with the lens upward. A half hour should be adequate for complete drying.
One burning question remains to be answered: who makes the best quartz conversions? Reflector design and bulb placements are virtually identical, regardless of manufacturer. All use the same bulb configuration. Any difference, therefore, must come from precision assembly, shield design and lens design.
The Germans are workmanlike but somewhat uninspirational. The Italians are brilliant but imprecise. The English are off in their own corner, oblivious of accepted designs and conventions. And that leaves only the French. Wine, perfume and headlights make odd bedfellows of excellence, but when the French decide to do it right, they do it better than anyone else.
Two French firms dominate the quartz lighting field: Cibie and Marchal. The author does not use H4 conversions in his 2002 and thus cannot objectively compare the Cibie and Marchal units. He has replaced rusted (and discontinued) Cibie “Biode” twin-bulb lights with the Marchal Amplilux. The Cibie was superior in evenness of light dispersion, freedom from “scatter,” and high-beam penetration.
In auxiliary lighting equipment, competing Cibie and Marchal units always found Cibie the victor. One can easily extend this pattern to cover the entire line. Cibie is better. Mitigating circumstances which make a number of things equal include the fact that for any given equivalent Cibie and Marchal unit, the Cibie always has a higher price. Add to that the fact that BMWCCA has more advantageous discounts on Marchal products, the performance-per-dollar approach balances the performance-per-unit advantage held by Cibie. Count your cash, your convenience, your courage. But convert to quartz! You will see and be seen. It might save your life.
The author wishes to thank the following for their assistance in preparing this article: Lamp Division of General Electric Co.; Sylvania Lamp Division of GTE; Robert Bosch Corporation; Marchal America; Efpe Corporation; Philips Company of Holland.