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Old 09-05-2006, 01:57 PM   #11
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This isn't Performance related, but it is Brainstorming.

Moving...
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Old 09-05-2006, 02:09 PM   #12
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Ok, I'll start by addressing the power issue.

Even though HID buners consume 35 watts...that'* after the initial startup, when they've come up to temperature. When you first turn them on, they need a surge of current to fire the burners. That'* why you should always run a separate wiring harness that uses 14-16 gauge wire, and a relay, with the power coming straight from the battery. Those harnesses are usually under $50, and the plus side, is they'll usually make your regular headlights brighter, too (depending on the state of your current wiring, and how your vehicle routes power from the battery, to the fuse block, to the headlight switch, to the headlights).

So, always use a wiring harness unless you're sure of the capabilities of your current wiring.

Second, I'll get some terminology correct.... A "kit" is when you buy one of those cheap asian HID systems that is meant to fit into a halogen housing. 9006 (low), 9005 (high), H4, 9007, H1, H3, etc.

A "retro" or "retrofit" is when you take a set of real HID projectors (or even a reflector setup, but nobody does that due to the complexity, and the fact that projectors put out more and better light due to their increased effeciency) and hack apart your current headlight housings and install them into the housings. It'* be best way to go about getting real HID without blinding people, and, maintain the correct photometric parameters to keep your vehicle projecting a legal field of light. The only thing not legal about a retrofit, as far as I can tell, is you're not going to have the correct stampings on the headlight lens. Minor issue.

Quality of parts. Any of these "kits" you see on ebay from china, korea, hong kong, whatever are kinda hit and miss. You may get one that lasts forever, you may get one that lasts as long as the typical pop song on top 40 radio.

Philips, Hella, & Denso are three OEM manufacturers of ballasts that I can think of off the top of my head. Philips and Sylvania are the two popular burner manufacturers. Yea, you can't get a complete OEM setup for $150, probably double that, but you'll have something that should last you the lifetime of your vehicle. I don't think a lot of people put upwards of 3000 hours in the drivers seat (well, i might, but that'* another story).

Why a "kit" is no good. The stock headlights on most american vehicles (and some imports) generally leave a bit to be desired. This is especially true of 80'* and 90'* vehicles. Even my 94 bronco'* headlights were "ok" but not great. Mainly due to the DOT regulations that specified beam pattern, and no maximum upward light scatter. I found out that both ECE (E-code, european specs for automotive stuff) and DOT specify a minimum amount of upward light scatter, but ECE caps it at a maximum, DOT does not.

The beam pattern of an ECE system is usually better, with a sharper cutoff for the low beam, and more of a "flood" pattern, than a "spot with some flood" pattern. Now that cars are becoming more global, the headlights are becoming a "homoganized" type, with characteristics of both ECE and DOT in them, and they pass spec in both areas of the world. Nearest I can figure, my Jeep'* factory lights are like that. Can't really find any ECE headlights for it, only the ZJ'* (93-9.

When you throw a HID kit into a halogen housing, two things happen. 1. The amount of light increases by 3-4x. So, if you had say 200 lumens of upward light scatter with a 1000 lumen bulb, you now have about 600 lumens of upward light scatter with a 3200 lumen burner. (Eh, roughly.) 2. Also, the size and shape of the arc is different than the glow from the filament. The position of the arc in the housing also may be slightly (or radically) different. I found that the cheapo 9006 burners I have, produce the EXACT same beam pattern as the 9006 halogen bulbs. Both in a set of aftermarket "jdm" "euro" "blah" housings for my Jeep (which have a surprisingly good cutoff), and Bandit'* bonne headlights. His lights did produce a crapload of glare. These burners had no masking on them to block excess light scatter, either. Masking may help, but it'* not a long term solution. You may be able to find a halogen headlight housing that has very good optics that will direct a properly rebased (or manufactured) HID burner'* output just to the ground, and not scatter it upward, but it'd be cheaper and easier to do a retrofit, since changing whole housings to a different style housings is damn near impossible (I mean radically different, not just a 92-95 to 96-99 bonne headlight swap, probably get similar results with that).

Then you have to look at foreground lighting. How much light is dumped directly on the ground in front of the vehicle? My "kit" didn't do too bad, but the light pattern was only slightly brighter at the top (far end) of the beam compared to the bottom (near end) of the beam. That was in the reflector housings. It dumped a lot of light on the road closer to the vehicle. Yea, looked nice and bright! Problem: didn't help me see further down the road.

My projectors put the most light out at the cutoff line. That is WAY down the road, the closer you get to the vehicle, the less light hits the road. They look dimmer than my reflectors. Really! But, I found that i can see better because my eyes weren't being blasted with all this close foreground light. The amount of light down the road and to the sides was much better.

Here'* a low beam comparison:

HID "Kit" in my 9006 aftermarket housings:
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Bosh E46 projector retrofit:


Hm.. even the kit doesn't look that bad, but the light is more splotchy, and there are hotspots in the beam. An even, uniform lighting is easier on the eyes, and tends to not draw attention to any one part of the pattern. The pictures don't really do it justice, though. They were on two different roads, with two different cameras. The color temp of both of those are about the same, the 9006'* were 4300K, the D2S burners were 4100K.

Damn, I need a new camera.

Anyhoo, there'* my $.02 on the whole HID thing. (What a bargain!)

BTW, the lights in my avatar are the aftermarket reflectors, obviously, that was before I put the projectors back in.
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Old 09-05-2006, 02:18 PM   #13
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Pretty good pictures if you ask me

Halogen housings WILL glare it'* that simple. To have them pointed low enough not to glare in other driver'* faces, means you're about 20-30 feet infront of the vehicle, not safe at all for anyone.

Aren't some HID bulbs coming with shields so they're safe for use in halogen housings?
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Old 09-05-2006, 03:27 PM   #14
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Yea, theyr'e callel D2R burners for "Reflector" housings. The D2S burners are totally clear for use in Projectors (where there is a shield inside the projector, hence, the "*").

Actually, i'm just making that R and * thing up, if tha'ts what they really stand for, then cool, if not, then it'* a good reference, anyway...

Here pics:

D2R


D2S
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Old 09-05-2006, 03:30 PM   #15
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And none of them will produce the results of a retrofit. But, making it safe for street use could be attainable with the proper masking on the bulb and starting with a good housing that has a sharp cutoff.

Ignore the fuzzyness of the pic, this is what the cutoff looked like when I had the reflectors in:

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Here'* what the projectors look like:




Again, 2 different cameras taking the pic.
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Old 09-06-2006, 12:59 AM   #16
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I noticed a big difference in price from the kits and the phillips brand, on ebay. 250 jumped up to 600. Where did you find your projectors?
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Old 09-06-2006, 01:38 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by looong4
I noticed a big difference in price from the kits and the phillips brand, on ebay. 250 jumped up to 600. Where did you find your projectors?
The reason for the difference is quality. Philips makes some of the highest quality bulbs and ballasts available on the market today. There are a LOT of fake philips products being sold.

if you want to go with projectors you need to chose if you want the projector to act as low and high beam or just low.

I would suggest looking at http://www.hidplanet.com/custom.html

You also need to decide if you want to go with top of the line stuff or with quality on a budget products.
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Old 09-06-2006, 02:32 PM   #18
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Another thing to note, not all projectors are equal. Some are designed for halogens and don't have the razor sharp cutoff. That cutoff is why you see so much color on the OE HID systems, where the cutoff is bending light so much at the edge.
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