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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
First, a quick primer. The 194 is a 3.8-4 Watt, 25 lumen bulb.

What I found in my car is a W5W, which is a 5 Watt, 50 lumen bulb. But since the base is the same, you can just consider it a brighter 194.

Diode Dynamics offers a number of different bulbs that fit the 194 base.

Based in their write-up in another another thread, and the website's recommendation of the SMD2 for the license plate bulb, I decided to test the following: SMD1, SMD2 and HP3. All in the Cool White (CW) color. (My aversion to warm white is probably based on my experience with CFLs - their warm white tends to be warmer than incandescents.)

SMD1 - 16 Lumens
SMD2 - 24 Lumens
HP3 - 56 Lumens

At it turns out, I probably should have paid more attention to the specs than the write-up. In addition, the SMD1 and SMD2 are "end fire" type bulbs. But the Cruze license plate fixtures only uses the side-light from the bulb. The fixture apparently isn't reflective - so some light is lost. Notice the SMD2 actually lights things to the left of the license plate better than any other bulb as a result of the "end fire" pointing left.

One of the first lessons I learned with these bulbs is the SMD1 and SMD2 are polarity sensitive. Which means you need to test the light before sticking it back in the fixture. That kind of surprised me since I would have thought the bulb would have included the simple electronics needed to make them bipolar. It also makes the bulb unsuited for a sidelight on older cars - as the polarity between day mode and night mode reverses. Either the blinker won't work in the day, or there's no side light at night. The HP3 doesn't care. It will work either way. Not a problem for the Cruze, but something to keep in mind if you're looking to add them to your classic car.

The SMD2 may claim to have almost as much light as the stock bulb, but it doesn't have the dispersion pattern. I'd suggest the HP3 is the better bulb for Cruze license plates. It also does't seem to be as blue as the SMD models. So I have to disagree with Diode Dynamic's application recommendation of the SMD2 for license plate bulbs for the Cruze. Go for the HP3.

P1130828as.JPG P1130831as.JPG P1130833as.JPG P1130835as.JPG

During the week I hope to find time to test them side-by-side in the map lights. With the black on black interior, the stock lights are a bit dingy. While the inside is friendlier to the end-fire style bulb, I'm guessing I'm going to favor the HP3 there as well.
 

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Thanks for the review @Chevyguy!

We do typically recommend the newer HP3/HP5 models for most 194 applications. Here's a quick video explaining the new HP bulbs:


Feel free to give us a call if you would like to exchange your SMD2's for HP3's

We appreciate your support!

Nick C.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Feel free to give us a call if you would like to exchange your SMD2's for HP3's
Thanks, I'll probably do that after the next round of tests.

Question: What is the color temperature of the "warm white"? I see the cool white is listed as 6000K.

Also, what are the thoughts between using a white bulb vs a colored bulb for the side markers? Would the yellow bulb be brighter because less of it's light is filtered by the lens? (Yeah, I know I could call, but I think more people can learn from a forum post.)
 

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We are currently updating our website to include more measurements and technical specifications for every bulb model. All the measuring is done in-house so it does take some time.

I'd stick with a colored bulb to match the lens, otherwise the color can wash-out a bit. I like the deep red/amber you get when using the HP5's

It's all personal preference of course

Nick C.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Something I forgot to add to my initial post: current.

OEM Bulb: 370 mA
SMD1: 24 mA
SMD2: 30mA
HP3: 47 mA
 
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