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Thread: FAQ: HID - Everything you need to know

  1. #1
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    Exclamation FAQ: HID - Everything you need to know

    GoonzSVT and I have worked together to compile this HID FAQ for the Contour and Mystique.
    Thank you to GoonzSVT for putting a lot of time into this FAQ!

    The first and post will be the basics regarding HIDs and some pictures for color reference.

    The third post will be by GoonzSVT describing his custom HID setup.


    ------------------------------------------------------------

    Q: What is HID?
    Answer:
    HID stands for High Intensity Discharge.

    XENON HID lamps do not have a filament. Instead the light is created by an electrical discharge between two electrodes in an air tight tiny quartz capsule filled with xenon gas, mercury and metal halide salts. This improves durability as road vibrations can cause damage to coil lighting technologies. These light sources also produce a blue-white light that is safer because it is closer to natural daylight.

    Question: Can't I just buy a higher watt bulb and get the same results?
    Answer:
    No, absolutely not. Increasing wattage increases the power drawn from your electrical system. Your stock wiring and fuses also have limitations - exceeding them with very high wattage bubls not intended to run with your stock setup can lead to problems.

    Question: Can't I just buy a Xenon-gas filled bulb and get the same results?
    Answer:
    No. It's sometimes called a gimmick in the industry due to the fact that these bulbs actually produce little more light output than standard halogen bulbs.

    Question: Are non-factory HIDs street legal?
    Answer:
    No, and almost all sites will have a disclaimer stating "for off-road / show use only".

    Question: What do the different "k"s mean? 4100k, 4300k, etc.
    Answer:
    HID bulbs color temperature is measured in Kelvin (k). From a slightly yellow, as the number increase, the more blue (or purple) the light becomes.

    Question: So what "k" is brightest?
    Answer:
    Brightness is subjective based on what different people's eyes (brain) perceive the light to be. Brightness is measured in Lumens (lm). A 60-watt incandescent bulb produces ~830 lumens.

    Q: What "k" kits are available?
    Answer:
    Reference: Halogen bulb = 1500-2000 Lumens & ~3000k
    Reference: Sunlight at noon = 5000-5500k
    4100k Phillips D2S bulb = 3500 Lumens
    4100k Phillips D2R bulb = 3200 Lumens (due to the shield)
    5000k McCulloch bulb = 3200 Lumens
    6000k Phillips D2S bulb = 2800 Lumens
    6000k Phillips D2R bulb = 2600 Lumens
    8000k HID Bulb = 2500 Lumens
    10000k HID Bulb = 2200 Lumens
    12000k HID Bulb = 2100 Lumens
    (thanks to cougar99)

    The ones that are bold produce the max light as seen on this diagram:

    (xenondepot.com)

    Here is a kelvin color graph:


    Q: There are different types of bulbs available, which do I need?
    Answer:
    For a straight plug-and-play you want the 9006 kit. Using the kit that fits the OEM headlights is very common, but not recommended due to the amount of light scatter - creating glare and intense light in other drivers' eyes.

    Q: So what bulb is better suited?
    Answer:
    See GoonzSVT's post below

    Question: What about using HIDs with alarms that flash the headlights?
    Answer:
    General concensus is that flashing your HIDs, alarms flashing your HIDs, turning your HIDs on and off in short periods reduces bulb life and damages your ballast. According to research, turning HIDs on and off more than 3 times per hour reduces bulb life.

    Question: What about using HIDs with DRLs?
    Answer:
    If low beams turn off when high beams turn on, this will reduce bulb life and damage your ballast. HIDs need a constant, steady stream of power.

    If improperly wired, if low beams stay on with high beams, you can draw power away from the HIDs.

    If properly wired DRLs will not cause any power-related issues.

    Question: What about using HIDs with DRLs?
    Answer:
    On certain vehicles, DRLs have been known to cause problems with HIDs when they activate. HIDs need a constant, steady stream of power.

    If improperly wired, when DRLs activate, they can draw power away. This reduces bulb life and damages the ballast.

    If properly wired DRLs will not cause any power-related issues.

    Question: How long do HID bulbs last?
    Answer:
    HID bulbs can last up tp 2,500 hours.

    Q: So, what "k" kit do I need??
    Answer:
    It is personal preference. If you are serious about your light output and want the best light output, go with a 4100k - 5000k kit. The lower the k, the more yellow it becomes and the higher the k the more blue-purple it becomes. Extremes at either range of k provide less light output.

    People's eyes see color differently.
    What people's eyes perceive differs. What may appear to have a "hint of yellow or blue" to one person may be perceived as "pure white" to another.

    In addition, manufacturer/brands, headlight style/type, projector vs plug and play, age of bulbs, etc. all play a role in the color output. You may see a 5000k kit that looks a little yellow/blue to you due to your perception of color and any combination of the beforementiioned factors. Do your research and as stated previously, 4100k - 5000k should provide you with the range of purest white and best light output.

    Q: Can I create my own HID kit?
    Answer:
    Yes, but it's not recommended because not all HID components by various manufacturers fit each other. You have to know what works with what before you create your own kit.

    There are two different approaches:
    1. Plug and play HID kits - a very simple install of hooking up the kit per the instructions usually with no cutting or splicing of wires.
    2. Projector retro-fit - a more difficullt and expensive install since you have to cut open your headlights to install projectors. This is the proper way to install HIDs for the best light output.

    If you want to create your own custom kit like GoonzSVT, do the research to understand what it takes.

    Q: What brands do BMWs, Mecedes, Lexus, etc. use?
    Answer:
    Manuf - bulb / ballast
    Audi - Phillips / Hella
    BMW - Osram / 90% Hella & 10% Bosch
    Lexus - Osram / Denso
    Lincoln: Osram / Sylvania
    Mercedes - Phillips / 90%+ Bosch ballasts
    VW - Osram / Bosch

    Q: What brands do you recommend?
    Answer:
    There are many brands available. The most popular by far is Phillips. McCulloch is readily available and being used more now.

    Q: I've read a lot of bad things about McCulloch though...
    Answer:
    "McCulloch is considered to be the best HID kit in the industry (even with Philips). About 3 years ago many people started bootlegging the kit by making [censored] ballasts and bulbs and putting the "McCulloch" label on it. When thos kits started failing within one month of use, it started giving McCulloch a bad rep. Now since all that got cleaned up, McCulloch also started making their Generation 5 ballasts which are considered to be the best in the industry..." -vendor (I know, it's a vendor...)

    Q: Where can I buy full HID kits?
    Answer:
    Xenon Depot
    XenonKing
    Ebay

    Question: What other mods are needed?
    Answer:
    Everything is pretty straight forward - instructions should be included with your kit explaining pre-installation prep and installation. Various "Generation"s will vary in size and need for ingnitors. Your installation kit may recommend upgrading a fuse or two which can be found at any local auto store.

    Q: Ok, I'm ready to buy but still unsure of what "k" to get...
    Answer:
    = 5000k =


    = 6000k =


    = 8000k =


    = 5000k =

    **Note that you will NOT get a nice cutoff line like in the pic above with a standard 9006 plug and play kit. This vehicle used projectors.
    Last edited by GTO Pete; 09-13-2006 at 04:10 PM.
    2005 GTO IBM - 341hp/341tq
    - Volant intake, JBA catless midpipes, H-pipe, GMM ripshifter, BMR skidplate, HIDs, SAP bumper & grilles, CV8-R taillights

    Local CEGers: If you need detailing PM me

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2001
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
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    Post

    = 4100k vs 6000k =

    **Note that you will NOT get a nice cutoff line like in the pic above with a standard 9006 plug and play kit. This vehicle used projectors.

    = 6000k vs 4300k =

    **Note that you will NOT get a nice cutoff line like in the pic above with a standard 9006 plug and play kit. This vehicle used projectors.

    = 4300k vs 7000k =



    Q: I have additional questions unanswered in this very thorough FAQ, what should I do?
    Answer:
    1. Search first
    2. If you cannot find the answer, then post your question
    3. PM GoonzSVT - I've appointed him resident HID goon
    4. Additional HID info

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    Post

    =GoonzSVT's custom HID setup FAQ=

    Q: So what bulb is better suited?
    Answer:
    D2R is for a regular reflector based headlamp like us Contour owners have, BUT you will have to piece together a kit in order to use the D2R bulb. D2R bulbs have a little cover/shield on them to protect the light from scattering out onto on-comming traffic.

    This is what it looks like (I circled the shield):


    Question: What do I need to make the D2R bulb work with the Contour 9006?
    Answer:
    You will need to purchase what is called rebased bulbs. In the case of the Contour, D2R bulbs on 9006 bases in order to fit into the Contour/Mystique housings.

    Q: Is there something even better?
    Answer:
    Yes. Using the D2S bulb and retrofitting projectors into the headlights. D2S bulbs are for projector-based headlights like many BMWs, Acuras, etc. To get the most out of your HIDs, projectors will project much more light far better than a reflector based (D2R) headlamp. D2S should only be used in projectors, under reflector headlamps. They scatter light like a mother and really are deadly if not aimed correctly.

    This is what they look like:


    Q: What about ballasts?
    Answer:
    Ballasts with built in ignitors are bigger. Ballasts with extrernal ignitors are slimmer.

    Generation III ballast w/ built in ignitor:


    Generation 4 ballast: slimmer w/ external ignitor:


    Q: What setup are you running?
    Answer:
    Here is my setup pictured below (from top to bottom):
    1x xenondepot 9006 wiring harness
    2x Phillips 4100K D2R Bulbs with 9006 base
    2x Hella Generation III Ballasts (D2r/D2S) w/ covers


    Q: What do I need to create my own HID kit?
    Answer:
    1x 9006 HID kit
    2x D2R Bulbs with 9006 base

    Q: Where can I buy the parts to make my own HID kit?
    Answer:
    Hella Ballasts - ebay Xenon Depot
    Phillips/Hella Osram Bulbs - This guy from ebay has them for GREAT prices!!
    Wiring Harness - Xenon Depot


    Q: I have additional questions unanswered in this very thorough FAQ, what should I do?
    Answer:
    1. Search first
    2. If you cannot find the answer, then post your question
    3. PM GoonzSVT - I've appointed him resident HID goon
    2005 GTO IBM - 341hp/341tq
    - Volant intake, JBA catless midpipes, H-pipe, GMM ripshifter, BMR skidplate, HIDs, SAP bumper & grilles, CV8-R taillights

    Local CEGers: If you need detailing PM me

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