After seeing recent posts from other members trying to improve the output from their headlights, I decided to do the same. This time I wanted to put factual data behind it so others can make the right decision the first time around without wasting money trying to find the bulb with the best output.
First, I would like to introduce the testing instrument that was used to measure the light output from each bulb. It is an Apogee Instruments MQ-200 PPF
(photosynthetic photon flux) quantum meter. The meter is often used to measure light in horticulture and saltwater aquariums. I have used this meter to measure various lighting types such as metal halide (HID), T5, T12, compact fluorescent and LEDs for my aquariums. I am confident in using the meter for accurate results. In essence, this meter is doing the same thing a lumen meter would do. But instead of measuring in candlepower, it is measuring in PPF.
The testing apparatus was built simply using 2x4s. The sensor was placed at headlight level and 12" away from the headlight. The sensor was mounted to test the left bulb so there wouldn't be any inconsistencies from moving the sensor from left to right.
In this test, I only tested for the light output from the bulbs. As far as amperage is concerned, I do not have a variable power supply so I couldn't test for actual amperage draw. However, I used a proven formula to determine amperage based on the manufacturer's specifications. I = W/V (I = amperage,W = watts, V = voltage)
The first bulb is the old 1156 incandescent bulb
that came with my JD 425.
The second bulb is a new 1156 incandescent bulb
that I purchased.
The third bulb is an 1156 LED bulb
that I purchased from eBay.
The last bulb in the test is an 896 halogen bulb
that came with the BM21289 halogen upgrade kit.
Below are pictures of the headlights taken at night so you can have a visual comparison. In this picture, the bulb in the left side is the new 1156 incandescent and right side is the original bulbs that came with my tractor.
In this next picture, the eBay LED is on the left and the original 1156 is on the right.
The 896 halogen is on the left and the original 1156 is on the right.
Here is a picture with halogens on both sides.
Here is a picture with halogens on looking down my driveway.
Based on the testing results below, the halogens are the clear winner in terms of output and efficiency. The new 1156 incandescent was barely better than the old bulb. For those looking to get better output by replacing their old 1156 bulb with a new 1156, don't do it because it isn't worth the gain. I didn't have enough information on the LED as far as watts, volts or amps but after testing, it doesn't even matter as the output was dismal even when comparing to the incandescent bulb. The halogens used more amperage than the incandescents but if your tractor can handle the extra draw, go for it.