Headlight .vs. DRL on Canyon - Chevy Colorado & GMC Canyon
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-14-2017, 10:38 PM Thread Starter
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Headlight .vs. DRL on Canyon

2016 Canyon SLT here. I've been wondering about the DRL function of the headlights .vs. the 'headlight' function. Originally I thought that maybe they run at lower power/wattage in DRL mode and then switch to a higher output when the AUTO lighting function triggers the headlights, but I swear I can't tell the difference. I've performed admittedly unscientific tests just manually turning on the headlights while sitting in a location that I can see the output (garage during the daytime, or maybe sitting behind another vehicle in traffic and watching the output in their bumper reflection).

I can't find anything specific about this in the manual. It seems to indicate that there is a difference between DRL and low beam lights, but I am wondering if anyone here knows the technical details in terms of wattage/lumen output because as I have noted, they look EXACTLY the same to me!

If this has already been covered, I apologize. I did some searches and there's lots of info on DRL override, but could not find anything like this question.

Thx in advance!

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Last edited by RandyNC; 05-15-2017 at 09:36 AM.
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-15-2017, 07:22 AM
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I've heard the same thing...that the DRL's aren't as bright. I honestly haven't had any interest in checking. They just work. LOL
Curious to hear feedback....

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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-15-2017, 08:54 AM
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Originally Posted by RandyNC View Post
2016 Canyon SLT here. I've been wondering about the DRL function of the headlights .vs. the 'headlight' function. Originally I thought that maybe they run at lower power/wattage in DRL mode and then switch to a higher output when the AUTO lighting function triggers the headlights, but I swear I can't tell the difference. I
I can't find anything specific about this in the manual. It seems to indicate that there is a difference between DRL and low beam lights, but I am wondering if anyone here knows the technical details in terms of wattage/lumen output. If this has already been covered, I apologize. I did some searches and there's lots of info on DRL override, but could not find anything like this question.

Thx in advance!
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Originally Posted by Janster View Post
I've heard the same thing...that the DRL's aren't as bright. I honestly haven't had any interest in checking. They just work. LOL
Curious to hear feedback....

The DRL or Daytime Running Lights in our, and many GM vehicles, operate at a reduced light output by what is called a Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) from the Body Control Module (BCM). Remember these terms as the BCM is used for many lighting and control functions in our trucks.

This PWM reduces the light output by rapidly pulsing the electrical power to the bulb at about 100 times a second - - - on/off. This amounts to a shorter "On time" for the bulb and therefore produces a dimmer light just for DRL. It is much like a light dimmer for home use operates.

At night, the BCM applies full steady power to the bulb for full brightness.
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Last edited by GraniteBlue05; 05-15-2017 at 08:58 AM.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-15-2017, 09:13 AM
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The low beams are 55 watt, with an output of ~1350 lumens.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-15-2017, 09:16 AM
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So they run dimmer in DRL mode which is what the OP wanted to know.

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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-15-2017, 09:40 AM Thread Starter
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So they run dimmer in DRL mode which is what the OP wanted to know.
Thx @GraniteBlue05 - I'll have to take your word for it and the explanation makes sense from a technical perspective for sure. Maybe my eyes are just bad (probably!). Can you personally tell the difference between 'DRL mode' (using PWM as you state) and 'low beam mode' using steady voltage application? Just wondering if I am the only one who thinks they look the same...
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-15-2017, 10:26 AM
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Thx @GraniteBlue05 - I'll have to take your word for it and the explanation makes sense from a technical perspective for sure. Maybe my eyes are just bad (probably!). Can you personally tell the difference between 'DRL mode' (using PWM as you state) and 'low beam mode' using steady voltage application? Just wondering if I am the only one who thinks they look the same...

I can tell a difference, buy it is slight. Unless they changed how the BCM is handling DRL.

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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-16-2017, 10:40 PM Thread Starter
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I can tell a difference, buy it is slight. Unless they changed how the BCM is handling DRL.
Yea, I am wondering that as well (if it was changed). You're running a 2017. I have a 2016, but I saw another Canyon on the road today and his DRL definitely seemed 'dimmer' than mine. Noticeably so. I wish I could have chatted with him. I'm going to ask the svc guys at the dealer next time I am there, but not sure if they will know for sure either.

Thx for your input though!

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