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998 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I wanted to post this conglomerate of information that I've accumulated over the years so that people can educate themselves better on the applications and uses of different types of automotive lighting.
Much of this has been copied and pasted and tweaked from the sources listed at the bottom.

1. Is 8000K brighter than 6000K?
No. The Kelvin scale is a measure of colour temperature, not intensity or amount of light. HID setups that produce maximum light output are around 4100-4300K colour temperature, and the higher you go, the less light output. A 12000K HID kit will be dimmer than your stock halogen lights. 4100-4300K kits will have the colour of all the HID lights you see on cars that come equipped with them. The color is very white, while light output becomes progressively bluer as colour temperature rises; 6000K is white/blue, 8000K is very blue, and above that you go towards purple. 4000-4300K is the optimum visible spectrum for light. Anything else, even if brighter, produces less light on the visible end of the spectrum.

2. What HID kit should I buy? What is a good price?
None. Don't do it. Aftermarket HID is sold by a large number of companies, but only made by a few. Here's an example of a bunch of kits made by the same Chinese factory: WebCite query result
ALL of those are the EXACT same kit, made by the same company.
If you're going to be doing an HID retrofit, the only option is an OEM kit in D1R, D2R, D1S, or D2S. Any other bulb is just one of those four, rebased.
OEM HID kits are the same products fitted to many vehicles (usually luxury) by manufacturers before they are sold as new vehicles. See this link: - Europas große Sportwagen und Luxuswagen Community. Notice that almost all ballasts and bulbs used by car manufacturers are Bosch, Osram, Philips, or Hella. Bosch and Osram are not as readily available for retail, but Philips and Hella are. Kits that are not made by these companies are most likely not of the highest quality, although some aftermarket manufacturers such as Brightstar and McCullogh have been recognized as high quality products as well. Philips/Hella kits are generally considered the best.

However, projector retrofits aren't always the best idea. Although the cutoff is much nicer, it's about optics, not lighting. In many lamps, the cutoff will remain the same regardless of what light source is behind it. Halogen bulb, HID capsule, cigarette lighter, firefly, hold it up to the sun—whatever. That's because of the way a projector lamp works. The cutoff is simply the projected image of a piece of metal behind the lens. Where the optics come in is in distributing the light under the cutoff. This is why some E-Code headlights are suitable for both HID and halogen use. And, as with all other automotive lamps (and, in fact, all optical instruments), the optics are calculated based not just on where the light source is within the lamp (focal length) but also the specific photometric characteristics of the light source...which parts of it are brighter, which parts of it are darker, where the boundaries of the light source are, whether the boundaries are sharp or fuzzy, the shape of the light source, and so forth. A retrofit is a very difficult process that, unless done just right, can result in a LOT of hotspotting, even if the glare is significantly reduced.

3. Can I put HID into my stock halogen reflector lighting assembly?
Technically yes, but you shouldn't under any circumstances. Although it may not seem so, directing the light produced by a headlight bulb to the right places requires a good deal of precision. Reflector assemblies on cars that come equipped with halogen bulbs are made to direct the light produced by halogen bulbs correctly. Replacing those bulbs with HID bulbs that produce three times the light yields a terrible beam pattern. You will have light going all over the place, most importantly into the eyes of drivers of oncoming vehicles. Even if you can tolerate such a beam pattern, your lights would be a safety hazard on the road. Many people try to solve this problem by lowering their lights. However, to reduce glare to acceptable levels, you would have to lower HID lights in halogen reflectors so much that you wouldn't be able to see anything in front of you. The HID can also overload your factory wiring, and, in extreme cases, cause things to burn:

Next I'm going to copy-pasta an FAQ from my NASIOC stomping grounds that will explain the science behind all of this.

998 Posts
Discussion Starter #3

Materials Science: Lambda Core

(fundamental basics)

Components: The Entrails

HID systems are hard conglomerates of metal, salt, glass, clay, carbon, whatever they make electronics out of, and design; design pioneered by very smart engineers and physicists – big fancy science-types – who probably could have made things far more destructive and far more constructive than little bright lights that fit into your palm and light up a forest. They made these High Intensity Discharge lamps because little glowing sticks of metal aren't the pinnacle of lighting technology... and frankly we've reached the physical limitations of what is essentially an incandescent bulb can do. We fill it with halogen and trace amounts of other noble gasses to make it burn as bright and as long as possible. We reached the limit and wanted more... Well, we know enough about physics to get more light, more efficiently, so why on earth stick to cheap, functional, low CRI glowing springs? Well there's an answer to that, and it's a very scientific and amazingly complex answer. The answer?


These HID's are really just salt getting electrified in a controlled environment, of something like 30 atmospheres of pressure.

They're really just fancy, high performance florescent lamps.

Why do we call them HIDs? Because someone thought “Metal Halide Lamp” or “Xenon Arc Lamp” wasn't sexy or alphanumeric enough. Who cares what we call them? They're bright, they're technologically advanced, and they're cheap as balls now that China has a ton of coal factories and Olympic precision.

If you speak Chinese, or even if you don't -- you can buy HID bulbs for six dollars a piece. They are the kind you don't want.

But enough of that... onto the tutorial:

There are three components to an HID system.

-bulb, technically a 'capsule'
-ignitor (ignitour, ignytaux, or igniter)
-ballast (or, for the severely braindead, 'controller')

Often, the ignitor is built into the ballast. This increases the convenience and the danger of the system. More on this later.

From here on out, if I say “capsule” you should think “glass piece that the light comes from” or “bulb” if you are a creature of habit. If you're a creature of hobbit, you can call it “precious.”

The Capsule :

a glass chamber that is pressurized and sealed with a wire running into it from the bottom, a vacuum with salts inside, and a separate wire coming out the top and running along the side.

It looks like this:

Many different manufacturers make them and there are a few different OE fitments on vehicles. These are designated as D1, D2, D3, and D4 capsules. There are R and S equivalents of most of these, 2 and 4 specifically. The only difference is a ceramic coating on the R capsules which blocks light from unwanted areas and vectors away from the capsule. 3 and 4 do not contain mercury, and as such are much better for the environment and humans, because mercury is so poisonous. They also have a lower operating pressure and sometimes have a higher kelvin rating.

HID bulbs were originally made for other types of lighting; movie theater projectors and other high power, high CRI applications.

There are smaller, less powerful versions that are equipped on bicycle lamps, scuba lamps, and portable lighting. There are larger, more powerful versions equipped in street lights, industrial lights, movie projectors, and other industrial and commercial lighting applications. These include sodium vapor lamps and for the most part, are all vastly different from car bulbs.

One common misconception is that there are automotive 55w bulbs. There are not. There are ballasts that are made to run 35w bulbs at 55w, but they were originally designed for industrial applications like movie theaters and then reverse engineered by modifiers who opened up their automotive ballasts. If someone sells you '55w' bulbs they are liars. Reputable bulbs made by companies that care about lighting safety DO NOT MAKE 55w BULBS.

So, how do they work?

The capsule works by running an arc of electricity through a highly pressurized gas mixture of xenon and other gasses. when the arc is not running through these gasses, there is no where near as much heat or energy, and the gasses become solid metal halides, commonly called salts. There is no table salt in HID capusles, however there are Sodium halides, which usually burn very yellow when excited in a gaseous state. If you find yourself under a bright street light which is very yellow, it's a sodium halide lamp. Xenon gas is very blue when excited, so other metal halides are included which makes the salt mixture more stable, predictable, whiter when emitting, and increases longevity of the capsule.

The arc itself is simply a beam of alternating current and runs from a cathode at the bottom of the capsule, through the gasses occupying the vacuum chamber of the capsule, and to a cathode at the top. The electricity then returns through the return wire, which is shielded by ceramics to prevent the arc from shorting and running through the glass of the capsule. If this happens, the vacuum will break and the capsule will not function, slash, explode. Hope that there is nothing flammable immediately outside of the glass in the event of this happening. Do not break, paint, cover, or modify your ceramic return wire sheath. It could be fine; it probably will not be fine. It will probably cause a fire.


The functional importance of your capsules is to produce light consistently with high CRI so that you can see what's in front of you. If your capsules cannot do this, they are either broken or flawed in design or construction.

Cheaper capsules generally do not warm up as quickly, provide output that is as even as OEM capsules, and have a lower CRI resultant from a gas mixture which is unsophisticated or cheaper to produce, giving a bluer or generally 'less white' light.

To simplify:

A capsule is a house. It has a front door and a rear door, and a bunch of party animals inside. When the front and rear door open, beer comes in and starts a party. The beer can exit through the back door, but if it goes out through any of the windows or walls because of lax law enforcement, the party is over. While the party is raging, the party animals glow and let you see where you're going.

Your house is made of glass and the party animals are made of salt and the beer is electricity. Oh, and the cops are a hard, solid ceramic compound, and the law is physics.

You can't see the beer, you can only see the party animals once they're drunk. People don't always understand this. When you see lighting, you aren't seeing electricity, you're seeing electricity's effects on air and metals when the electron's potential is too great. An HID arc is really just a little lighting bolt that is very controlled and very, very small. This is why it has to be sustained with alternating current. There's no way the electrons are going to power a lightning bolt with direct current for long enough to do anything.

So what gets the party started?

The Ignitor:

You can skip over this if you want, but you should know that there are two types of ignitors, internal and external to the ballast. Some companies include them in the ballast for simplicity of the system. D1 capsules include the ignitor in the base of the capsule. D3 may be the same way. Others have an external ignitor.

The ignitor takes the electrical current and discharges it in a manner that will cause a spark inbetween the capsule's cathode and anode. It does this usually using a transformer, spark gap, and capacitors similar to an ignition coil. Different ignitors probably function differently, but the type and duration of ignition will affect the capsule longevity and warm-up period. A poorly designed ignitor, especially when paired with a poorly designed ballast, will do any capsule no favors. Capsule ignition is by far the most traumatic period of operation for the capsule, as well as the electrical system. A capsule will often change color and flash after and during ignition, but this is a sign of strain, rather than a cool and amusing effect. If you see people flashing their lights on and off, you should know that they are either stupid or dumb or completely both.

One should not attempt to modify or change ignitors unless one has an advanced degree in physics and electrical engineering. These ignitors are part of a system, and it's better to replace the whole system with OEM components than to take a disfunctioning system and try to change out something as powerful and potentially destructive as an ignitor.

The functional importance of an ignitor – beyond making the lamp work to begin with – is nothing that will affect the performance of the lamp... it simply converts the salts to gas. It must do this while providing reliability and longevity as part of the lighting system. If your ignitor is busted or improperly connected, it could easily start a fire and blow up your car. This has actually happened to more than a few people.

To simplify:

Your ignitor is a Keg Tap. It starts the flow of alcohol to the party animals. It's a little more dangerous than that though, because it uses over 24,000 volts at at time.



The ignitor is controlled by the ballast, as is the capsule.

The ballast is usually the most expensive component of the system, and it should last the longest. Its function is to convert DC current from the car's battery to AC current to power the capsule. It must send the electricity to the ignitor on startup, control the output on warm-up to allow the gasses to adjust to operating temperature, and sustain the current at a constant rate during operation. Doing this is not difficult, but doing it well with longevity, reliability, and fortitude is difficult. A good ballast can withstand weather, shock, electrical input variation, and temperature extremes without damage; all while providing consistent, accurate output.

If a ballast isn't perfectly matched to the capsule it controls, or if it fails to function properly due to any of the above or other challenges, the capsule will either fail or change output drastically. It's not uncommon that a ballast does not control the capsule well and either causes damage or fails to operate, resulting in flickering and dim or aberrant coloration and output. A capsule exhibiting these characteristics usually will not function properly without another ballast, and usually is damaged permanently, regardless of ballast replacement. Cheap ballasts cause expensive replacement costs throughout the entire lighting system.

A ballast is a fancy transformer and inductor circuit. It works the same way as it does in a florescent lamp, except a xenon lamp uses metal halides that burn brighter and require more energy. The ballast has to be faster and more accurate, though the same problems can arise. There is basically a transformer that changes the current and makes it alternate, and an inductor that slows down the current change. This controlls and balances the flow of electricity so the lamp will operate without blowing itself up. The circuitry to control these electronics can be very simple or very, very complex.

You know how florescent lights sometimes buzz and flicker at an astronomical frequency? They even sometimes cause seizures? Chances are your HID ballast will shut off or die before it does either of these things, but instead of seizures, you risk driving into a ditch and off a cliff.

The functional importance of the ballast is to make the capsules function using your car's DC electrical system. They require very, very substantial and technically correct wiring. A functional, quality ballast will keep your lights working properly over time. If your ballast is busted, your capsules probably are too – or will be soon.

To simplify: The ballast is the beer delivery system. It keeps your party animals from dying of alcohol poisoning, and keeps them inebriated enough to party.

998 Posts
Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Housing: The only thing that really matters.

The surrounding structure of the lamp system, including the optics of the lamp, are paramount.
You can put the hugest turbo and air/fuel delivery system in the world into your car, but without a block, pistons, rods, crank, heads, valves, seals, bolts, and rings that are up to the task of containing that power- you're going to be smoking on the side of the road, lucky to limp home.

Special Editor's Note:
Lighting equipment is safety equipment. Too many people are far too quick to forget this. If it fails, you're boned. If it works improperly, you're creating hazards to other motorists AND yourself.

There are several structures that are designed around a light source. You probably can guess this, but the fancy pants scientists that design the lamps have designed the housings to match the light source... you wouldn't put a motherboard in a pizza box if the computer is guiding a 3000lbs box of steel less than 3 feet from grandma and Fido in the crosswalk.

Let's reflect on what these housings and optic structures do, and why they must be designed and manufactured so specifically and exactly.

We'll work from the capsule itself out.

Capsule Base:

The capsule has a base fitted for, we'll assume, d2s lamps. OEM bulbs are attached to the base in a solid, precise manner that allows for proper cooling and electrical function. The construction should include no glues that fume and change shape, just precise welds and insulating plastics and ceramics. The base of an OEM bulb is made to both seal the lamp and seat the bulb to extremely close tolerances. squishy plastics that seal but don't seat are unacceptable cost cutting materials that are insufficient for on road use... if your bulbs feel like gummi bears, they're crap.

The capsule is one unit, but part of the capsule is the base. Let's assume it's a d2 base, which doesn't include an ignitor. What you have is a structure that, while comparatively low-tech and simple, has a profound impact on the output and function of the system.

The plastic base must be properly sized for placement and to seal the lamp at its insertion point. All replaceable lamps have a big hole where the light source goes, and that hole has to be sealed (reasonably) for weather to not muck up the optics or cause failure to the components.

The plastic base also includes some metal structures, which place the bulb in the exact location for the designed optical focus and insulate the capsule thermally from the housing. This has to be perfect, because even a nanometer will have a large effect on output over a large distance. Any fault or inaccuracy in the capsule's orientation is multiplied with distance as the lamp's beam expands and projects over a distance.

The reason I'm talking about this is that aftermarket capsules – especially rebased capsules – aren't always precise... they're usually quite flimsy. A large number of rebased HIDs are actually glued into other bulb base sizes with epoxies and gels. Some of these fume and deform with heat. Some are placed approximately close to the original bulb focus; some aren't even close. All are substandard. This is a criminally stupid design flaw for something in a lamp that sees the amount of current that HIDs do.

Other bulb bases are also less purpose-built to seal out moisture and dirt, so a seal is never quite as sure as with purpose built and designed systems. I won't get into what moisture and dirt can do right now, but at best you'll have to buy new lighting components.

The functional importance of the capsule base is huge: it has to allow the capsule to cool, seal the lamp, and position the capsule. It also has to not present any optical abnormalities. A failed capsule base can result in a severely misaligned or unfocused beam, as well as cause a separation or bad connection that can cause fire... at any time. Just because a lamp system has been "working" for 3 days, or 4 months, or 5 years, doesn't mean the design and materials are safe and won't cause an electrical fire... tomorrow.

Capacitors in the ballast or ignitor store electricity even when the vehicle ignition is off. Because of this, connections, especially to stupidly designed bases, should be checked routinely and often- the cheaper the components, the more often they need to be checked if in operation or hooked up to a battery. If you can ensure that no one will be harmed in the event of a ballast/ignitor fire, and no extensive property damage will occur, this could be a great way to have less unsafe mismatched HID kit systems operating on our public roadways. (I'm just kidding, better informed law enforcement and consumers are the way to achieve this. but seriously, if every hid kit in halogen lamps exploded tomorrow and burned the vehicle to the ground, i'd be overjoyed.)

Optics: Handsdown's favorite Point of Contention.

The Optics Make the Lamp.

I can't stress this enough. The optics are what make the lamp function well. if you throw a chocolate milkshake into your headlights, they won't light the road for Cherry Garcia. Unless you're dealing with a light source about the intensity of the Sun, at about the distance from the Sun- you need optics to direct light to see by.

The moon serves as an optical structure during some nights. If it's in the right place, and the conditions are clear enough, it reflects enough of the Sun's light to see pretty **** well by. You must let your eyes adjust to it, but you can actually read a book by Moonlight if the conditions are right. If the moon isn't full, and it's waning to a half, odds are your eyes are going to fall out before you finish Gravity's Rainbow.

The optics make ALL the difference.

But if someone like me just said that the moon is an optic, let's try to define this a little more down to earth before we continue.

There are two main types of automotive optic: a reflector system and a projector system. Older cars had parabolic reflectors and fluted glass lenses. Glass lenses direct light very well but it's very hard to change the direction of the light a great deal with fluting.

Reflectors, or more specifically multi-reflectors- are parabolic reflectors with many different surfaces that are specifically shaped to put light from a particular source into a particular area, creating a specific beam.

We call this output the beam pattern.

DOT and ECE are institutions that evaluate and test beam patterns to certain standards. Because they have a set of standards that holds across manufacturers for certain beams like low-beams, high beams, and other types of beams or marker lamps, a lamp is usually called a DOT lowbeam, or an ECE highbeam, or vice-versa.

DOT highbeams allow more glare and wider spread, but the lights don't have to be as bright in any defined area. ECE, what most of the developed world requires, has stricter glare requirements and higher lumen rating standards in particular areas. A lamp that passes DOT standards will, more often than not, fail ECE standards. ECE is not necessarily better, but in many situations they are.

Multi-reflectors can have relatively sharp cutoff and defined beam, but they are actually less efficient at projecting light across distance than a projector system. This is because the small edges between areas of reflectors scatter light in unusable directions, and more energy is wasted. This lost light decreases the efficiency of the lamp. Some of the light energy is absorbed by the reflector as heat, and some is scattered. because of this, the lamp is usually larger to make up for the inefficiency. A larger lamp, quality held constant, is more thermally efficient. A common misnomer with multi-reflector lamps is when people refer to the reflector 'lens.' A multi-reflector lamp with no fluted glass in front of it HAS NO LENS. It has reflectors, no lens.

The other type is a projector, which uses a parabolic reflector to focus light into a glass lens. The lens is usually flat on one side and convex on that other, called a 'plano-convex' lens in optic terminology. This type of lens takes a beam of light and spreads it over a wider area as the distance increases. This requires the lamp to have a focal distance from light source to lens that depends solely on the lens shape and magnification index. a very, very small change in the shape of the lens will cause a different focal length. Similarly, a minute change in lens positioning will throw the focus of that focal length off. Side note: When people "color-mod" projectors, they're messing with the specified focus of the lens to change the color banding effect in the projected image... it is NOT a measure of how 'focused' the beam is... it's a measure of the prismatic quality of the lens, not the light it is projecting.

This is the reflector bowl end of a projector: don't underestimate the importance of this piece of equipment: it's the first thing the light hits after leaving the light source.

I don't have the equipment to measure or properly show the difference between this halogen projector's bowl and an HID bowl like the TSX ones in my car, but... they are vastly different.

The beam is formed by the shape and contours of the parabolic reflector, commonly called the reflector bowl, which reflects the light from the source into the lens. Often, the reflector bowl is shaped with multiple reflector surfaces and textures as well to give the beam certain characteristics. The other element that shapes the beam is commonly called a cutoff shield, which shields the lens from vectors of light that are unsafe or undesirable. Low-beams need to have a dead space of no light over much of the area so as to not blind and dazzle oncoming or leading drivers. The cutoff shield is flipped upside down from the desired cutoff so that once the light is flipped through the lens, it will be right side up. Think of looking in the concave side of a spoon... that's what the light sees when it goes through the lens.

Because optical glass and lens forming is expensive, many optic companies will make the same lens for halogen and HID based reflector systems. They then change the cutoff shield, focal length, and reflector bowl to shape the light coming into the lens differently. The desired output is a function of the vectors of light coming into the lens. Luckily, this makes some lenses serve double duty for halogen and Xenon lamp modification, as you can swap lenses for your desired output. Unluckily, this data is mostly never publically available and whether or not a lens from a halogen lamp can be used in a xenon lamp is complete speculation, and vice-versa.

Lenses in projectors are sometimes fluted, sometimes frosted(texturized), and sometimes fresnel. Fresnel lenses appear to have concentric circles like a tree trunk. These are all ways of changing the output, usually having the effect of a more diffuse, even, and uniform output. Some lenses are instead clear, with areas of fluting, frosting, or lines shaped into the glass for a desired amount or area or light throw or distortion. Sometimes a cutout on the very lip of the lens is enough to change the output. Many lenses are directional, in that they must be oriented to their intended rotation in order to put such features to use. If your fluting is in the wrong area or angle, it can throw glare to an undesired location of the beam pattern.

The lens end of a projector looks like this: You can see the Fresnel concentric circles in this 06 wrx projector lens easily:

A clear lens will be more intense, but less even and have a crisp, colorful cutoff at certain focal spacing. This is seen as desirable to some, as certain brands or models of cars are often associated with particular cutoff color. This is where the misconception of colored HIDs comes from. OEM HID is all very white; it's a prismatic effect of the projector lens that makes them flicker in particular colors... and with some systems, there is no colored cutoff at all. Cutoff color or flare is widely discussed in HID enthusiast communities, but it's even more widely misinterpreted by less knowledgeable HID purchasers. It serves NO purpose in lighting performance to the driver using it.

The functional importance of lighting optics- whichever their design- is paramount. It puts the light where it needs to be, and keeps it from going where it shouldn't. It does this with great specificity and intense amounts of design and engineering, and must be done with a deep understanding of physical science, optics, and human vision. When you change anything in the lighting system, the optics determine the change in output that systematic change will affect. Sharper, brighter, or wider are NOT universally better characteristics of a lighting system. A problem in the optics directly affects the output of the lamp system and these effects are as wide ranging as there are possibilities to change the system. With optics, there's hardly any change that can make things better unless the optics are upgraded to focus on the change, speaking literally and figuratively.

To simplify:

The optics is the society, culture, and effects of partying- the context. If the party happens in a bad part of town, or a part of town where the party animals are not liked, nothing good is going to come from the party. Context can change a funny joke into a death threat. It can change a heartfelt thanks into a hateful condemnation. You need the party to be about the right thing, with the right action in mind.


The last part of the housing is the actual external housing, where the lamp is housed. Usually this is a polyurethane or ABS plastic rear housing and an acrylic or polycarbonate urethane front lens cover which is optically clear.

If the front surfaces are dirty, pitted(so pitted), hazy or warped, they will affect the beam pattern or lamp adversely. If the lamp is disassembled, say, to paint the housing cosmetic structures, it must be cleaned properly and allowed to breathe so fumes don't damage the optics inside of the housing. Just a small amount of haze from curing paint can have a large impact in the lamp efficiency and output.

The functional importance of this is a no-brainer; the front has to be clear and the rear has to be intact for the lamp to function properly and resist damage from weathering and contamination. Sometimes the best modification to a lamp system is to polish the front lens element properly and restore its optic characteristics. If these housing pieces fail, the lighting system can become damaged. If they are repaired improperly, they can become far worse than before repair.

To simplify:

The housing front and rear are like the sewage system and water quality of the party. If the water gives everyone ebola, the party's gonna suck. If the sewers can't handle everyone's piss, everyone's going to start smelling like piss.
*end Handsdown copypasta*

998 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Now, let's talk about the Kelvin color spectrum and those "blue" lights like Sylvania Silverstars and the new "HID LOOK zXe EXTREME!!!11!!" bulbs.
These have the same issues as HIDs with risking burning and overloading your wiring.
The problem is, due to the way these bulbs are designed, the light output on the visible end of the spectrum is actually diminished.
Stern explains it as such:
"White light is made up of every color of light mixed together. But the colors are not all present in equal amounts. The output spectrum of filament bulbs, including halogen headlamp bulbs, includes a great deal of red, orange, yellow and green light, but very little blue or violet light. Blue bulbs have colored glass (or a filter coating applied to clear glass) that allows only the blue light through the filter — this is why the bulbs appear blue. Because very little blue light is produced by a halogen bulb in the first place, it is only this very small amount — a tiny fraction of the total amount of light produced by a halogen bulb filament — that ever reaches the road.

Blue and violet are the shortest wavelength/highest frequency colors of visible light, and, as such, they scatter the most readily. This is why the sky is blue rather than any other color from the sun's white output spectrum. Blue light doesn't just scatter most readily in the sky, but also in the eye. To observe this effect, try this informal experiment: Next time you see a dark blue storefront sign or a row of blue airport runway landing lights after dark, notice how blurry the edges of the sign or landing light appears compared to adjacent lights or signs of different colors. Decades ago, hot rodders would install "blue dots" in their cars' taillamps. These small bits of blue glass cause the taillamps to appear not red with a blue dot in the center, but rather pinkish-purple, because the observer's eye easily focuses on the red but has trouble with the blue, which remains out of focus and appears to tint the entire area of the red light."

More can be found on his website, but, in short, they are technically brighter because they overload the wiring, but the light is less useful for your eyes and causes electrical danger and serious roadway glare.

More information is available here:
Daniel Stern Lighting Consultancy and Supply

Not all of these bulbs are bad, you can read about the good ones here: Daniel Stern Lighting Consultancy and Supply

998 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
I hope this helps everyone choose good, legal, safe lighting for their Veloster. Please don't hesitate to ask if you have any questions and I'll answer to the best of my ability or direct you to someone more knowledgeable (Handsdown or Daniel Stern, for example) who will be able to help.

1,720 Posts
Re: HID head lamps.

I noted the following on page 4-100 of the Vster Owner's Manual:

If you install an after market HID (high intensity discharge) head lamp, your vehicle's audio and electronic device may malfunction.

998 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
That has a lot to do with the electrical feedback from an HID bulb, as I understand it.
One more reason not to install the HIDs.

1,759 Posts
The AC inverters in the ballast create a lot of electrical noise that can ride through the wiring back into vehicle electronic components. Placement of the ballast and proper grounding can help alleviate this problem.

578 Posts
If i read this entire post, my brain would XXXplode.... hahaha but great write up! thanks for taking the time to inform the uninformed =D

998 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
Well that kind of sucks. So is there no hope for an HID setup in the velo? What about the KDM projector lights?
As I understand it, the KDM lights are Halogen projectors - better than reflectors in my opinion, but still not HID suitable.
The KDM projectors should be able to accomodate the H9 bulbs, however.

578 Posts
Okay, i have to speak up about this... there are MILLIONS of people running HID's on stock non hid intended headlights.. my mazda3 had halogen's and i ran HID's for 120,000 miles problem and worry free.. lower the lights and your done. you dont have to completely lower it to the floor (as exaggeratedly stated here) just lower it enough to where it doesnt hit the car in front of your's mirror.

Scaring people out of HID's is ridiculous.

sorry. unless you drive your car at speed limit, hands at 2 and 12 oclock, radio off, no distractions, cell phone off, blinking for a full 30 seconds before lane changing 100% of the time... then ignore this whole "omg hid's will explode your radio and make you drive off a cliff" idea...

While i agree that HID's are meant for HID specific projectors. ANY projector + hid will work just fine. and... THERE ARE INFACT NON PROJECTOR OEM HID's that came stock on (again, NON PROJECTOR) HEADLIGHTS.

Glare doesnt need to be perfected. buy a 35w (as apposed to 55W) hid kid and point it alittle down and you will not blind anyone. it will take up less wattage than a stock bulb (stock bulbs use some 65 watts) so there is no risk of burning anything (less wattage/safer) and your 100% good..

I dont understand the people on this forum trying to scare people out of every mod...
(tinted taillights kill motorcyclists), (HID's make cars run into you head on and set your car on fire)

inform people but come on... these are all one in a million chances of any of these happening

578 Posts
sorry. unless you drive your car at speed limit, hands at 2 and 12 oclock, radio off, no distractions, cell phone off, blinking for a full 30 seconds before lane changing 100% of the time... then ignore this whole "omg hid's will explode your radio and make you drive off a cliff" idea...

sorry. unless you drive your car at speed limit, hands at 2 and 11 oclock, radio off, no distractions, cell phone completely shut off, blinking your turn signals for a full 30 seconds before lane changing 100% of the time... then ignore this whole "omg hid's will explode your radio and make you drive off a cliff" post...***

edited for "imperfect glare, i mean grammar" :cool:

1,720 Posts
There are several kinds of modders:

-Those who don't.
-Those who shouldn't.
-Those who mod tastefully.
-Those who annoy immensely.
-Those who tow to & from the track/competitions.

There's room for some in the world and no room for others.

578 Posts
The subaru you see in that link put an oversized HID kit in the foglight.. as in.. he put the wrong bulb there. (retarded install)

Also, here to further my argument, this is straight from that exact subaru thread.

Quote: Originally Posted by 5230EVO
as eBay, i mean eBay brand
those brands that can only be found on eBay

seriously, i just finished reading over this thread. i dont know if you post or look at the electrical forum, but theres a few guys in here that really know what theyre talking about, and everyone needs to listen to them.

regardless of the brand/quality of the kit, HIDs in your foglamps were a horrible idea.

first is light quality. HIDs make for terrible lights in fog and other inclimate weather. thats why fogs are traditionally yellow. there is scientific data that explains how bluer light will reflect up into your eyes while driving.

the other problem is that you put an hid in a small, weather sealed foglight housing. from what i have seen in the pictures, this is where the ignition started. someone has already stated that yes, HIDs run at lower temps per lumen output, but overall run hotter.

you basically put a capsule that runs hotter than a halogen in a completely sealed, unvented, small housing. it got too hot, and caught fire.

you say its plug and play? it doesnt matter. this doesnt look like faulty wiring, and even if it was? with simple research you would know that these kits are not plug and play. even if your kit didnt melt the front of you car off, simply pluging them into your stock wiring would have probably caused a problem in subaru's already weak wiring system.

like handsdown said, these products have been outlawed in the states for a good reason. not only because they are normally manufactured to inferior quality control standards, but asstards install them improperly and they fail. not to mention they blind people, and provide no improvement on lighting."

To clarify..
1- very rare incident
2- owner put the wrong size hid kit and assumed that since it lit up it was safe. (complete diregard for electrical specs)
3- Owner did all of this in a weather sealed foglight housing (that already gets hot enough as is)
4- as CLEARLY stated, subaru has a very weak electrical circuitry (more risk of damaging electronics/causing a fire)

sorry, but im not buying this whole (HID's ARE THE DEVILS NECTAR) talk. And i would hate to see other forum members be distraught by such a misguided post.

(although there are aspects i do agree with)
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