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Turning The Light Onto Hid's

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*Update* I have added a few more indepth details as well as a very nice graph. I would like to give credit to HIDplanet.com and its members for the some the information below which is duely noted*


Since I'am often the one to step in and explain not only what HIDS are but they work and concepts behinds both I have decided to create this thread. In addition to covering some new material I will simply be cutting and pasting serveral of my posts into this one arena for reference by all numbers, and quite frankly, so I don't have to answer a PM every day as well as a long drawn out post in multiply threads. please note that due to the format some information may be repeatedI encourage all members past, present, and future to reference this whenever in need.


Some important terms to know:

Watt- Measure of electrical power (w)

Volt- Measure of electrical charge (v)

Kelvin- Measure of color temperature (K)

Lumen- Measure of light mathamatical in given time and space (lu)

Capsule- tecnically correct term for a HID "bulb".

Candela- Measure of light intensity (1cd = 1 candle burning) (cd)

Ampere- Measure of electrical current

Cut-off- A distinctive line of light produced by the shield in a headlight that blocks light above a certain height in order to prevent blinding of other motorists.

Beam Pattern- The pattern of light that is projected onto the ground which includes angle of lateral dispersion, width and depth of illumination.

Capsule- Another term for an HID bulb. Some refer to HID bulbs as gas discharge capsules.

Optics- The lighting control assembly structured around the bulb, which effects the dispersion of light and it's characteristics to a great degree.

Halogen= Incandescence


Automotive lighting can be divided into 4 simply areas, however, make no misake that within each are many other catagories.



The basic light bulb, not all too altered from franklins basic design. A thin wire filament enclosed in a gas charged vacuum sealed camber. A current is passed through this filament and glows, as such putting out light. The vacuum sealing ensures that no oxygen allows the filament to burn itself, this is why if a light bulb is ever cracked it will instantly burn out. For automotive lighting these have been used since the first auto was created by karl benz in 1886. the technology and design has changed greatly over time but the concept remains true. These produce roughly 900-1200lumens of light depending on design and currently have a life span of 200-250 hours


*Lumen* - The mathmatical measure of the amount of a light in a given space and time


Tinted halogens(Rice lights)

This is where all the problems seem to come about. Make no misake that there is no way these are better. Sometimes they are even dangerous for your car. This bulbs are often called "Xenon" on ebay, car stores, etc. almost all are made in some overseas sweat shop and burn out in a several months, however some do last 150-200 hours. Most of these have altered gas structures by roughly 20%. Although some do infact use the gas Ne it is used as in inert gas (All 8 orbitals are filled) Most however use Argon because it it cheaper to produce and work with. The gas however does not control color, does not control color, does not control color. As you may notice from reading the package almost none of these run at the same stock wattage, instead they up the wattage. This is done in an ATTEMPT to MATCH the STOCK OUTPUT. The color in these bulbs is actually caused by the placement of the thin blue film over the bulb. Not only can this degrade and burn over time, but it acts as filter for the light. When you place ANY film over a light source it reduces the light, it does not matter if its red, yellow, purple, blue, or peach, it can only reduce light. Now of course, if you up the wattage you are placing more current through the bulb and as such producing more light. The rough estimate is a tinted bulb required 15-20% more power input to match. Now keep in mind your car was not designed to handle this. Some of you have experianced wire burn up, blown fuses, or worse, bulb meltdowns (requires replacement headlight housing). Now I know your all sitting there saying it produces more light, well it doesn't and ill explain below. Also please note that only 10% of this are DOT legal, and most states do nto allow them at all


HID (High Intensity Discharge)


*Note* HID's do not use "bulbs" they use what are referred to as "capsules" just so no one's confused while reading


Ah yes, the star child of why were here today. HID's are totally different in both there design, function, and purpose. HID's do not contain filament, they work passing an electric current through a glass orb within an hid capsule. The entire capsule is sealed and then charged with Ne gas (Xenon). The electrical arc floats through the air and due to the power creates light. Think of the common carpet spark, with you touch something metal a small electric arc forms between your fingers and the object slightly before it. You can see the spark because it emits light. This is exactly what HIDs are, a carpet spark multiplied a thousand times over. Now, HID lighting isn't anything new, it has been around for decades for industrial use, NOT Fl lighting as every office uses. It first entered the automotive scene in the mid 90's. The 1995 ferrari F50 had it as an option, as well as some porsches. It wasn't until 98 really that merecedes benz and bmw started offering it as a high end, and pricey option (roughly 2000 dollars) Then in 99 Acura started offering it on there TL model. Although a very poor design it was clear that HID's were hear to stay. This is when all the rice lights came into being. I will later discuss this in depth. HID capsules on ALL cars, even the shitty cars, (lexus,toyota,honda etc) are made by two companies, Philips, and Osram austria. Please note that osram has many sister companies but only osram austria makes the stock parts. STOCK hids are divided into the following capsules sizes/purposes.






they conbine to form the ballast type and capsule purpose. for example, D2S is the current standard with the S denoting a project housing. D2R would denote use in a reflector housing. An "R" bulb is semi self shielding to assist in reducing glare.




As youu can see, 4300k, the ONLY oem capsule type used is right in the "sweet spot" if you will


HID's REQUIRE!!!! the use of a ballast system to ignite and run them. when burned in ALL stock hids burn at 35w, and ignite at 55w. Even in the true hid aftermarket less then 1% have higher inputs.

HID's last 2000 hours or more and give out 3200-5800 lumens. Types of hids, color temp, and uses will be discussed below.


*Below are two statements from "howstuffworks.com"


The simplest sort of ballast, generally referred to as a magnetic ballast, works something like an inductor. A basic inductor consists of a coil of wire in a circuit, which may be wound around a piece of metal. If you've read How Electromagnets Work, you know that when you send electrical current through a wire, it generates a magnetic field. Positioning the wire in concentric loops amplifies this field.


This sort of field affects not only objects around the loop, but also the loop itself. Increasing the current in the loop increases the magnetic field, which applies a voltage opposite the flow of current in the wire. In short, a coiled length of wire in a circuit (an inductor) opposes change in the current flowing through it (see How Inductors Work for details). The transformer elements in a magnetic ballast use this principle to regulate the current in a fluorescent lamp.


A ballast can only slow down changes in current -- it can't stop them. But the alternating current powering a fluorescent light is constantly reversing itself, so the ballast only has to inhibit increasing current in a particular direction for a short amount of time. Check out this site for more information on this process.


Magnetic ballasts modulate electrical current at a relatively low cycle rate, which can cause a noticeable flicker. Magnetic ballasts may also vibrate at a low frequency. This is the source of the audible humming sound people associate with fluorescent lamps.


Modern ballast designs use advanced electronics to more precisely regulate the current flowing through the electrical circuit. Since they use a higher cycle rate, you don't generally notice a flicker or humming noise coming from an electronic ballast. Different lamps require specialized ballasts designed to maintain the specific voltage and current levels needed for varying tube designs.


So whats an electromagnet?

An Electromagnet

An electromagnet starts with a battery (or some other source of power) and a wire. What a battery produces is electrons.

If you look at a battery, say at a normal D-cell from a flashlight, you can see that there are two ends, one marked plus (+) and the other marked minus (-). Electrons collect at the negative end of the battery, and, if you let them, they will gladly flow to the positive end. The way you "let them" flow is with a wire. If you attach a wire directly between the positive and negative terminals of a D-cell, three things will happen:


Electrons will flow from the negative side of the battery to the positive side as fast as they can.


The battery will drain fairly quickly (in a matter of several minutes). For that reason, it is generally not a good idea to connect the two terminals of a battery to one another directly. Normally, you connect some kind of load in the middle of the wire so the electrons can do useful work. The load might be a motor, a light bulb, a radio or whatever.

A small magnetic field is generated in the wire. It is this small magnetic field that is the basis of an electromagnet.


*End howstuffworks.com*


With that being said, you now know the basics of what all is going on inside a ballast. The DC power from your car is being turned into AC power to supply the charge needed to power up the HID bulbs. The ballast throws out 23k +/-1-2k of volts to the HID bulbs upon start-up often refered to as warm-up. This is when you seeing HID trun on and start to change colors and get brighter as they warm. This usually lasts only around 25 seconds or so on OEM ballast. Cheaper aftermarket ballast tend to warm-up longer thus causing premature bulb life loss.


Sometimes when people first get HID, they tend to show boat infront of their friends turning their HID off/on rapidly. Is this good some say? The answer is no. If you've ever seen HID turned off and on you would of noticed a 4100k turns redish-orange for a second. This is the bulbs way of saying OUCH! What happens is the bulbs have already created Xenon gas to for the light but hasn't cooled back into salts and then when the bulbs are turned back on, the ballast are sending out a start-up of 23k volts which IS NOT a good thing. The bulbs already had enough Xenon in them to supply light and didn't need the 23k shot to them. This kills bulb lifespan.


So you've learned about ballasts and bulbs now. Lets move on to the wiring now shall we....


Some people out there just aren't aware of the dangers with wiring HID straight off of your existing oem wiring. Should a relay be used to power HID, yes and always needs to be used. Why you ask perhaps? Your oem halogen equiped car was never designed or intended from the manufacturer to use or run high voltage/high current/ high amperage HID ballasts. Ballast draw a imense amount of amps upon start-up and could very seriosuly damage your wiring and not just at where its connected. We are talking serious damage to fuse boxes, ecu's, or worse could short and cause fires on very old cares that even have a hard enough time trying to power halogen. The reason why is, that when the ballast "demand" power, your car has to supply it from somewhere. Lets say its tapped into your oem headlight wire ok. Now you power up the ballasts, the draw current from your wiring, your wiring might not be up to the task so its needs help, t searches for a source and before you know it, you've now weakend not only one source but two now just to try and supply the ballast good clean power. This is why a relay harness is needed. A relay harness gets its power straight from the battery via relays. These relays are then wired to go to your ballasts now.


*Wiring and high useage qouted from hidplanet.com




Fairly new technology as the timeline goes. LED's or Light Emitting Diode" work by just that, a diode ignites and turns the color of the dye placed inside. Although in there early stages they show much promise. LED's produce little to no heat, can use at little as a fraction of a watt, instantly turn on, and have a life span of around 200,000-1 million hours of use. In addition to this, leds use "True color" That is, led's are clear, but can emite any color, or even multiply ones, but what you do see is the purest form of that color. I.E a red LED is blood red, blue is like the ocean in a fairy tale, yellow is like a flower etc. Although LEDs are not offered for forward facing light as YET, there are seeing uses in the brake and turn signals of higher end cars. There are some "drop in" leds, however none can close to the same performance. Audi is currently working on a LED headlight system, however due to the directional propertys of LEDS is it highly unlikely that someone in hong kong will find a way to place them in existing lamp housing... I think there cool but not much more to discuss on them.


Below are posts I have made throughout my Mazdaworld career as well as some pics for fun. Keep in mind most of this is a repeat, just an a slightly more heat of the moment state.


"You want hids for 2 reasons, better light, and a luxury look, for that you want to go with a white/slight purple kit, what you want if you want something thats not made in taiwan crap is a philips 6000k, for the millenia 9006 D2R capsules. your best bet is ebay where these will run you about 450 shipped. keep in mind hids capsules last 2,000 hours as oppose to 200 hour halogens, which means the life of the car and then same, el cheapo's, i.e ANYTHING but philips and osram capsules will fail within a year."


"What you see in stores are properly referred to as rice lights. those are the bulbs you see with the fuzzy slight blue tint and provide no extra light. all they do is take a stock bulb and put a film over it, sometimes they change the gas for a filiment but mostly up the wattage. best of the best your frying your wiring and losing only 5% light as oppose to 30.


now what real hids are, so lets start with the basic's


all halogen bulbs regardless of what they say contain a filament which a current is run though and glows so hot that it produces light.


H.I.D, which stand for High Intensity Discharge contain no filiments at all. what your actually seeing as a pure electric arch being formed inside a controlled area and in the simplest of terms, glowes brightly and gives off light.


difference's - halogen's you plug them in and run a current though, HID's on the other hand MUST use ballasts, the ballasts have 2 task, 1 ignite the capsule (they are not referred to as "bulbs") and to maintain the high enegry needed for the arc. What the ballast does it take your 12 volts, and and channels it into something like 30,000amps or whatever it is and ignites the arc inside the capsule which is controlled by PURE xenon gas and crystaline salts at about 55watts from the car. then it slowly draws back the current and settles into using only 35watts from the car.


What your seeing when hids turn on is pure energy, not controlled fire. as such a whole shit load of things happen. first off intensity can be controlled, color is a pure white at burn-in and when you turn on the capsules they will change colors as the power input changes.


Now for what people hate to hear but is the truth. hids contain ZERO color, they are all 100% pure white (color temp 4100-4300k) the only thing that causes the color you see, which by the way is actually a very slight purple in reflector housings and slight blue in projectors, is the use of a prizm to shield all the extra light output. halogens burn at a color temp of around 3200k and produce 900-1200lumens of light. HID's produce 3300-5800lumens of light, when that much light is passed through the shields thats where the color comes from. when you get into the direct beam pattern of any real oem hid its pure white, even the s2k which people say is purple/blue, not true, you sit down in front of the light and its pure white.




I know some of you didn't look at the graph like you were suppose to. Here it is again.


This goes back to why there illegal, hids produce roughly 300% more light then halogens, and as I hope you've learned, that applies to real hids or oem quality, however, they are not in hid housings, which means about about extra 250% of the legal light limit is bleeding over your stock cutoff (not shield) and blinding people. now when the little ricer lights get in our eyes its annoying, but it doesn't cause long term damage and blindness.



Why not to go cheap. HID output, performance, and color CANNOT be replicated at all, except with the use of special color shifter capsules (philips 6000k) or oem hid shielding. even a blind old lady can tell the difference between those cool blue shit dipped in glitter and real hids.


halogens basically burn a wire and as such produces a fuzzy kind of light, and because its burning the bulbs onlyu last about 200 hours. now hids on the other hand use an electric arc of enegry to perform the lighting task, since nothing is being consumered except power which the car always supplies hid capsules last around 2,000 lite hours, and the only reasons its 2,000 is because after a while the relay wiring just wears out with time. Because it as a pur arc it produces a very very crisp clear light, regardless of housing, its like taking 2 camara's, 1 with a regular bulb and 1 with a strobe/led bulb, 1 will be fuzzy and slow, the other crisp and more intense.


Now the bad news, the law in the u.s does not say hids are illegal, it simply states that all lighting devices on any DOT spec auto must contain filiments...which means no hids. auto makers can use hids because the cars have gone through the proper testing and met DOT hid regulations, this is why all oem hid cars contain such a sharp cutoff point.


the only reasons to get hids are better light output and a luxury car look, certainly if you could do this by buying 10 dollar bulbs they would not be considered a luxury option, just a few years ago when hids were only on top top of the line cars teh option to have them ran nearly 2,300 dollars. now the option is usually around 800-1200. and aftermarket kits which do not contain the shielding run 450-750 for a proper kit.


the best way to go about getting those 2 objectives are by buying a kit from an oem maker that supplies color shifted bulbs. color shifted means they applied a uv filter (NOT FILM) as well as changed the power relay input to get the color given off by the shield of an oem hid car. that color rating is known as 6000k.


there are only 2 companies that make oem hids, philips, and osram, even shitty ass toyota's won't use crap from there own country, they out source to germany for philips.


What you want in a millenia is this


Philips 6000k 9006 D2S or D2R you will then want 2 ballasts which aren't as big a deal but quality wise still go philips. this kit will give you the color of say an acura tl or maxima (non-projector)


what it will not give you is a different beam pattern, anyone that says dropping in hids will give you a wider beam patten knows nothing and you should walk away. if you light a bare halogen bulb and a raw capsule just hanging from a string, both will shine 360 degree's in every diminision. but your beam pattern is in the housing, you'll have better light out put, but you won't have a wider beam pattern thats for sure.


I recommend going on ebay and searching for the philips kits, there are alot of fakes out there, the 1 seller Ican recommend is NTKB, just do a search for "philips 6000k" and he'll usually have 3-4 for sale for around 450-470 shipped. there all real, contain a 4 year warrenty I believe, and are sold outside the u.s so you should be fine."





"For the last time, no bulbs are going to be brighter then stock, or OE match bulb. ANY BULB IN EXISTANCE used at the same wattage will be dimmer. I really don't know what I can do to make you guys understand, plus 90% of what is out there is made for the look, not performance. Now some of you will get all pissy and say "oh but silverstars etc makes bulbs that aren't blue"


first off, most of these are still tinted, just not as much


next, the concept of lighting. the color white is all colors mixed together

the color red is at the lowest end of the light spectrum. blue and uv are at the far end


thats right, think back to basic grade school science class.


the reason fighter pliots, etc use red lights in the cockpits is because red is very close to night, so when you turn it on, even at say triple the wattage, it doesn't cause your eyes to greater adjust, and more or less, doesn't shock your corenias. now, blue however is at the other end, what this means at that this will give you the greatest difference between light and the absense of light (except for pure white).


Now since real hids are actually pure white this should end it all right here but ill continue. because blue (which is what there tinted, and or GAS CHARGED WITH is blue, is does give off light, but rather, creates a , now go get a pen children, it creates the greatest difference between the 2 light zones. In effect your seeing dimmer light, but because the difference between your light and the night is at a greater difference your cornenia opens wider, allows more OUTSIDE SURROUNDING LIGHT in, and as such, makes you THINK your saying SLIGHTLY BETTER...there is also the issue or you paying money and thinking it.


thats right children basic science crushes your hopes and dreams of finding rice dreams.


let me say it again if you've just joined us, its because of the difference in color, this is why when your a pliot and turn off a red light your eyes can adjust to the night right away, whereas when you turn off your headlights it takes you longer to adjust. Most males are also color blind but thats another issue.


Now with hids they do not use tinting, it is an electrical ARC of enegry which contains enough kw of enegry to generate light. you know what hid light is, you know when you get a bad carpet shock, you see the shock, well you see it because its giving out light, think of that only like a 50,000 times stronger.


no matter what that crap will give you less light, in fact in some of the lower quality (ha oxymoron, quality rice lights) bulbs even at 100w you will get less light then a 55w mazda bulb.



I make the following challenge, get a cheap radio shack light meter that measures lumens. I will get a brand new stock replacement bulb rated at 55w, you choose whatever rice light you want up to 75w, or any hid capsule rated over 8k and I will bet you 500 dollars my stock bulb will be better.


and just for kicks lets but a 4300k philips hid capsule and see if you'll even believe the difference.


seriously people, if those things were really better wouldn't auto makers use them?. if you buy a 650,000 dollar ferrari they will put philips 4300k in those projectors, what are you going to do, tell them they don't know what there doing and you want some silverstars in there "



80w silverstars in 99 millenia, reflector housing.


Notice the dull blue "fade" around the light output as oppose the chrisp white of real hids, not to mention output



Here is a picture of my millenia with OEM hid parts retrofitted. This is a pic taken in broad day light BELOW the cutoff. Note the EXTREME difference in output and quality.






Here is a pic in the same spot of the HIDS off, but the fogs on, and yes, the fogs were on in the first pic



My own custom Retrofit. Project rook about 20 hours total labor. Uses a a Valeo D2S projector and philips 4300k capsule powered by philips gen 4 ballasts.



This picture is to show the current highest quality LED's for drop in auto use. I do have a retrofit under way however for now this is what I have. Please note that I only advise this for 01/02 owners (Millenia) as the smaller the light housing the better the LEDs will perform. Even with all of this there still remains a hotspot and a greater difference between high and low remains to be seen









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