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HID Newb Crash Course

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  • HID Newb Crash Course

    Revised - Feb, 2010.
    Removed bad links and redirects and did a major cleaning on the thread.


    We are not responsible for your mechanical ability, and therefore can not be held liable for any mis intrepretation in the information provided to you.

    Also, to any one that we have linked in this post that doesn't want to be there, simply post a reply stating so, and it will be removed.

    !!NOTICE!!! Any website using this material without the author AND site administrators consent will be considered plagairism. If you are interested in using any of the info here in the HIDPlanet University section, you must contact both the author of the original thread and any of the HIDPlanet staff!!!


    This information covers the basics of components used in HID lighting and to get you somewhat up to speed on sourcing and planning your project.

    Ok, first off, lets start with the bulbs. The common mistake some people here is that all these high kelvin rated bulbs are "the shiz". Well, they couldn't be more wrong. The higher you go in kelvin, the less light and lumens you'll have. Pratically anything over 6k is really a waste if your at all concerned with your safety and brightness of lighting. So what is the best bulb out there then you ask? 4100-4300k. It has the most lumens out of all the HID bulbs produced. Thats why car manifacturers still use them today. Below is a graph showing you the variances of the light spectrum. As you can see, 4100k would be right where the "sweet spot" is on that chart. It produces near to the suns same kelvin thus giving you daylight-like output. Think of it like this, high kelvin bulbs would be like being out in the sun with sunglasses on vs a 4100k being in the sun w/o glasses on.

    Also here is another good thing to know taken from the FAQ:
    1500 k Candlelight
    2700-2900 k Yellow painted fog halogen bulbs
    Yellowish white:
    3200 k Sunrise/sunset
    3200 k Premium H7 non painted halogen bulb
    3400 k 1 hour from dusk/dawn
    4100 k Philips/Osram OEM HID D2S
    5500 k Bright sunny daylight around noon
    Blueish white
    5500-5600 k Electronic photo flash
    6000 k Philips Ultinon HID D2S
    6500-7500 k Overcast sky
    9000-12000 k Blue sky
    28000 Northern sky
    12000-30000 k Ultra Violet light (black light)

    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 brightness (lu)
    Capsule- tecnically correct term for a HID "bulb".
    Candela- Measure of light intensity (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.
    HID (High Intensity Discharge)= Gas Discharge
    Halogen= Incandescence

    So now that you know about kelvin and some aspects of the bulbs, you might be wondering why you hear the terms D2R or D2S. Well, to put it very simply to you, D2R is a HID bulb that was designed for HID reflector housings. It has a different base than a D2S and also has a painted portion on the bulb itself. Why is it painted you ask? The paint is there to block certain areas of the bulb that would cause excessive glare in the housing. Does the paint affect bulb performance? Yes. A 4100k D2R has slightly less lumen than a 4100k D2S. Can a D2R be converted to a D2S? Yes. You would have to make a notch in the base of the bulb to match that of a D2S. you would also need to delicatly remove the painted portion of the bulb so that it would be completely visible just like a D2S. So enough about a D2R ehh, lets talk about the D2S for a sec. The D2S was designed soley for a HID projector applications. They are completely clear and give out the most efficiency of the two. Thats pratically all there is in difference between those two bulbs Below are some pics of both.


    Lets move on shall we...

    Ok, it has come to my attention some people think that if you use 2 different ballasts on the same bulbs, that one will look different than the other. Is this true? No. A ballast is a ballast (performance wise) as long as we are talking about 35W ballasts. As long as each ballast has the same exact style of connectors, they both can be used in conjunction with each other.

    However, most aftermarket HID kit suppliers usually end up making their own sort of connector thus no longer using the oem style D-type connector. Thus that means some HID kits out there that use these different types of connectors, will no longer be able to connecto to a standard D2R or D2S based bulb. They make these kits like that to be universal with their rebased bulbs. If you ever plan on retroing projectors and using oem products, you aftermakret kit balast WILL NOT work and you will either have to replace the ballasts with oem components or be brave and splice in a new plug and oem connector.

    So now you may be asking yourself, "so what all does a ballast do in general"? Well, here is a little bit of info on how flouresent ballast work and their basic simplicity. The same somewhat applies to automotive ballast. Our automotive ballast take in your cars DC power and converts it to AC current.

    Originally posted by how stuff
    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.
    Ok, so now that you've read that, whats a electromagnet...

    Originally posted by how stuff
    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.
    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.

    More about relays!

    -or this one-<-------link

    What a relay does

    A relay is a kind of "remote controlled switch".

    From the inception of the electric starter, some kind of remote switch was required in order to provide the power to the starter motor without bringing the heavy, unwieldy wires to the dash and, as a result, making them longer with consequent voltage drop. Having a remote switch allows application and interruption of current to be done at the most electrically efficient point in the circuit, even if it is the most ergonomically least suitable position. At first, starter motors were operated by pulling on a cable which operated the switch, much in the same way that a bonnet (hood) latch is still actuated today.

    The solenoids used for inertial engaged starter motors were effectively relays. A switch, sometimes operated by a key, could pass a small current to the solenoid which would move an actuator that would in turn engage a bigger switch capable of carrying the very large current the starter required. Later, pre engaged starter motors required that the solenoid had to do more work, throwing the pinion into the ring gear before making the electrical connection to the motor itself, and so its electric current requirements went beyond the capability of the ignition/starter switch. To overcome this limitation, a relay was used to remotely switch the solenoid. Indeed, the first relay fitted to MGB's was for this very purpose.

    Basically, inside a relay there is a small electromagnet that requires, in most automotive relays, about 0.25 Amps to operate it. Once this small current is flowing, the electromagnet can pull-in (or if so configured, let-go) a switch capable, depending on the relay, of controlling many times that current, but usually from 30 Amps to 70 Amps. Not only does the relay deliver more power to the load than could be efficiently achieved with a dash or column switch and its associated wiring but the dash switch and wires can be smaller, lower cost and have longer life owing to the minimal heating and arcing that results from switching, carrying and interrupting only 1/4 Amp.

    Now that you know how a relay works, lets look at some diagrams to show you which way you need to wire your car.

    *These diagrams are property of the FAQ so I do not take credit for their design*

    **Special thanks to Herman, Eric, Vick and everyone else for supplying such a great database for everyone to use.**


    NOTE-You'll need to use a diode for cars that use H4, 9004 or 9007 type bulbs in this type application so that power isn't turned off to the HID once high beams are in use.

    Ok so now you know a good bit or you should be up to speed on things. But lets go over a few terminlogy we use for the projectors out there....

    Originally posted by Civicsilover43
    Ok, this is starting to get me irritated. Ok everyone is saying oh what is the e46 projector, is it the same as an m3 or what about the e55 is it the same as an e-class, Or what about the a6 is it the same as an rs6. And i know some are new comers and dont know much about the hid lingo or termonology, so this is why i am posting this. Ok let me set this straight:

    Hella, stanley, bosch, valeo, Zkw, and kioto= They are all headlight and projector manufacturors.

    E46= The current chassis code for the newer 99 to present 3-series models. Yes this does include the m3 because it is just a high performance 3 series coupe. In 99-01 they used low beam bosch projectors and in 2002-2004 they used bosch bi-xenon. But in the new 2005 models they use the new bi-xenon ZKW projector.

    E55= the e55 is a high performance e-class mercedes benz sedan. This e-class family currently includes the e500 and e320, they all use the same projectors bi-xenon hella projectors. The mercedes "e55" projector is a different version of the hella bi-xenon than the audi's.

    Rs6, a6= The rs6 is just a twin turbo v8 model of the audi a6 sedan and uses the exact same projectors as an audi a6. Now in the earlier years from 99-01 they used hella low beam projectors and in 2002-2004 they used hella bi-xenon projectors. In this forum the names for the newer bi-xenon projectors for the audis are the rs6 and a6 bi-xenon. The older low beams we call the a6 low beam because the audi rs6 was introduced in 2003? maybe 2002, and used the hella bi-xenon by then. The audi version is a different version of the hella bi-xenon, rather than say the e55.

    7 series, e38 and e65, e60= The current Bmw 7 series sedans (e65) use the "e55 version" hella bi-xenon projectors. The older 7 series (e38) used the bosch low beam projectors. We just call them e38, e65, or 7 series bi-xenon depending on which car the projectors came from.

    x5, e39, e60= The x5 is the Bmw sport utility vehicle that just happaned to use the same projectors as the 01-03 5 series sedan (e39). There is no such thing as an e39 bi-xenon projector because the e39's never came with bi-xenon. Now the older (e39s) 97-00 used the hella low beam projectors but were way different and werent seen in other cars. The 01-03 e39s got a facelift and different "angel eye" headlights with different projectors. The e39 bmw was made from 97-03. The e60 is the current 5 series updated sedan from 2004-present. They use the same version of hella bi-xenon projectors as the mercedes benz e-class "e55".

    S2k, tl, tsx, fx and maxima= The honda s2000's came equipped with a powerful stanley/kioto made projector that hasnt been seen in any car so we called that projector the s2k. The tl came with a bi-xenon stanley made projector that hasnt been seen in any car so we called it the tl projector. The same with the Acura Tsx and the Infiniti fx45/fx35. But the Nissan Maxima uses a bi-xenon hella projector very similar to the "e55 hella bi-xenon" but has a different sheild. The a4.s4 uses a smaller version of the other valeo projectors. The saab uses a valeo bi-xenon and the cadillac and jaguars use the valeo projectors with a 3" lense.

    Audi A4/S4, Valeo D1S/D2S, Valeo= Audi a4/s4 uses the Valeo xenon projectors. The Audi A4/s4 for the years 1999.5-2001 and S4 for the year 1999-2001 use a the D2S Valeo Projectors. In 2002 the Audi A4 switched to the new body style and changed the projectors from using a D2S type bulb to a D1S bulb, then later on the new s4 was added in 2004. The difference between the A4 and S4 is that the s4 is a performance version of the s4, much like the m3 of the 3-series. There are many versions of the valeo including the valeos with the large 3" lense and the valeo bi-xenon. The audi a4s that were eqipped with halogen got projectors that were an h7 version of the a4/s4 valeo d2s projectors.

    You will probably be able to figure it out from here on. e39,e46,e38,s2k,tl,tsx,fx, these are all just names they have aquired because of the car they came euipped in. These are not the names that the manufacturors named them. It would be easier just to say "audi version of the hella bi-xenon" or "e38 version of the bosch low beam projector", Lol you know what i mean. Well i hoped this helped some people figure out our termonology on HIDPLANET.

    Ok, so now we've covered the basics and you feel confident somewhat to tackle your project. All you need now is a few ideas to help get you in the right direction. Check out our forum pics/video section for some great ideas and how-to's. Here are a couple of other links outside the forum that may help:

    We hope that helps you guys with your future projects! Now go out there and do it! :rock:

    Originally posted by gearbox

    Let me help out on some of these questions.

    DOT cutoff has a short slope between the cutoff lines, this allows them to be aimed higher without blinding traffic. The DOT design also incorporates a way to let small amounts of light out above the cutoff to reflect off road sign on the right, as you can see from the faint upward flare of light. Here is a DOT valeo projector cutoff.

    ECE also known as E-code is what they use in Europe. Alot of these projectors have different bowl designs and can offer increased light output based on the design. The most important part of an HID projectors performance comes from the bowl. The lens can be changed to make a sharper cutoff with clear lens, but the actual output beam is controled by the bowl shape behind the lens. The cutoff also has a much larger slope, and there is no light above the cutoff because Europe has lit road signs. If you use E-code projectors in the USA, they must be aimed lower so they don't blind traffic. Here is a cutoff from the E46 BMW M3 ECE projectors.

    Now for the question about putting hid bulb in a halogen housing, you cannot do this. Any reflector or projector designed for a halogen bulb will not work with hid. the reason is the different ways the two bulbs emit light. Halogen has a small filament in the center of the bulb, whereas hid has a very large arc tube that emits light. The two require completely different optic design for the lens. The hid reflector and projector are designed based on the geometry of the hid bulb and how it emits light. This is why the oem hardware works so well.

    Now if you decide to go with a cheap kit and throw it in a halogen housing, bad things will happen. One, there will be alot of stray light (glare) above the cutoff line which will shine directly into drivers eyes. This is very dangerous due to the angle and brightness of the light. Also, you will have areas on the road where there is no light, and areas with more light. This produces hot spots, or uneven areas of lighting. While some kits provide decent ground light, much of it is lost above the cutoff and never makes it to the ground. in addition, halogen headlamps just do not provide a wide enough beam to really put the extra hid light to use. For example, lets put an H4 rebased hid kit into this civic halogen reflector. Look what happens on the wall, the cutoff is nothing but a large blob, and there is alot of light above the blob where there should not be any.

    Now lets take a look at the ground. While this kit provides acceptable results, the beam is still similar to stock. There is alot of foreground missing, and the beam does not go very far or wide.

    Now what happens if we switch to an oem hid projector and look at the ground. There is perfectly even lighting all around, stretching out from the edge of the bumper to the far distance. Also look how wide you can see to the left and right, into the field.

    And another to show how much wider the beam is. Since hid is so bright, engineers can adjust the projector to output a much more spread out beam. Halogen projectors on the other hand must focus light more to a smaller area.

    Now look what happens when you put a real hid projector up against a wall. Instead of a big fuzz, you get a sharp straight line with light below and darkness above to limit glare to other drivers.

    Originally posted by gearbox
    And here is how to make a quick new harness

    Originally posted by DarkAngel
    Here is a PNG image I made for everyone to understand the differences in a Single and BI-Xenon HID Projector.

    Two Different Types of HID Projectors

    There are two types of Projectors. One is a Single Xenon and the other is a Bi-Xenon. The way to differentiate them is one has a Solenoid attached to the bottom or on either side of the projector and sometimes in front of the Shield.

    Example of a Single and Bi-Xenon Projector:

    Originally posted by gearbox
    Originally posted by thisismetcalf
    I'm going to attempt to put Xenon-HID's in my 2002 Toyota Avalon XLS. And...

    Wow, I read up on this University section, there definitely is some stuff I was completely unaware of, but thanks for not flaming me too much guys.

    I'm trying to wrap my head around all that I need to know.

    I think I am going to stay away from a bi-xenon-hid kit because I just don't use my hi-beams enough to really warrant that kind of install. I also do not want to mess with the whole extra relay/shield issue.

    But here comes some questions:

    1. Is there a recomendation on the manufacturer of ballast? Phillips and Hella seem to be mentioned a lot, any preference?

    usually people here prefer sealed ballasts where the electronics are waterproof like matsushita. most oem ballast will be good quality, but ive rarely seen one that is totally waterproof. so mount it in a dry area. aftermarket ballasts seem to handle this much better. ive seen a video of an aftermarket ballast completely under water and still lighting a bulb. i and many others have had excellent results with aftermarket ballast such as some sold by ebay seller yourhid.

    2. 1 ballast per HID light, correct? So if I wanted to put Xenon-HID's for my headlights, I need two ballasts. If I wanted to put them in my headlights AND foglights, 4 ballasts are need. Correct? yes

    3. How do I decided on whether I need D1S or D2S type bulbs?

    it depends on the projector you choose. some like tsx, tl, s2k use d2s bulb, others like certain valeo use d1s. you have to use what fits the projector. then you have to get a ballast that fits the type of bulb you have.

    4. Am I able to pick and choose the style of projector that I need for my non-projector headlight assembly? Or, am I limited to what I need in this area depending on the make and model of my standard halogen car? I see that I can choose from Acura, BMW, Audi, Mercedes..etc. Are all of these options available for my particular car?

    since you are custom mounting a projector into your original headlight, you can choose any hid projector you want, so long as you can fit it in the headlight. there are very tiny projectors like the e46, then there are projectors that are double the size like tl. some are single xenon, others are bixenon. bixenon are usually larger. again it all depends on how big your headlight housing is and how much clearance you have in the rear. dont forget alot of them require shrouds to cover open areas of the projector where light may escape and cause glare. so you must keep in mind final product as well. if you can fit a big projector but not have a way to cover around it and on top to make it look normal, then it might not be worth it.

    5. Relays. Do I need a seperate relay installed for each light? Or one relay per pair of lights? (i.e. 1 relay for headlights, 1 relay for fog lights).

    you really only need to have one relay harness for a pair of lights. but some have used a separate relay harness for each single light, so if a relay fails, you only lose light on one side instead of both. more of a safety thing i guess.

    6. Where I am still confused on is where the harnessing comes into play?

    your car comes from the factory with a relay harness already installed. however in most cases, the wires are too small to support the much larger power draw from hid ballasts. so you must upgrade the wiring size and add a new relay. this totally bypasses the stock wiring and "protects" your factory harness as well as provides enough power to safely run the hids. i think i posted a pic of how a harness is made in previous pages already.

    To finish, I'd like to know the checkoff list of what is all needed in order to properly install a pair of Xenon-HID's for my headlights as well as my fog lights. Please correct me where I am wrong:

    -Pick series of K (color) you would like (4000-10000)
    -Pick type of bulb (D1S, D2S, etc.)
    -Match type of bulb with ballasts (D1S bulb must match a D1S ballast)
    -Choose a projector style (obtain projector from a make such as Acura, Audi, BMW, etc.)
    -Purchase relays for these lights

    You need

    1. pair of hid projectors
    2. pair of hid bulbs (philips or osram) that matches projector
    3. pair of ballast that matches the bulbs. either 35w stock, or 50w aftermarket with boosted output.
    4. some sort of shroud to cover the sides of the projector, and a bezel to mount around the lens for looks (search ebay for 'projector shroud')
    5. make a custom harness with relay, thicker wire, and a fuse. average is 14 gauge wire and 15 amp fuse.

    Apologies for the many questions and long post, but this I think will be beneficial to many if answered properly. Thanks again!!!!!!

    I understand after more reading that a ballast is a ballast and it doesn't matter.

    I understand that I need one ballast for EACH light.

    I understand that I am going to get D2S bulbs as they are made for projector housings.

    not all projectors use d2s, some use d1s. depends on the projector brand.
    Originally posted by gearbox
    thought i would make some more additions that i didnt see mentioned before.


    Alot of people wonder which is the best bulb to use, oem or aftermarket, and whether there are whiter/blue bulbs that can be used.

    as a general rule, aftermarket bulbs should not be used because their manufacturing tolerances are usually very poor. this can lead to a glass capsule that does not have enough reinforcement, a mis-positioned arc tube, or even a "pair" of bulbs that are different color tints. It is always best to stick with oem manufactured bulbs from the leading 3 companies philips, osram, and GE.


    the most well known and widely used bulbs are the philips 85122. These are standard 35w bulbs that have a good overall life span, white 4100K output that shifts to a higher temp over time, and excellent output. here is a life curve for this bulb. by 1500hrs, i would recommend changing to new bulbs (or 1000 hrs preferably if you have the money). These bulbs are sold at wholesale for $22 a piece and these days a new pair can be found anywhere between $50-75.

    another updated bulb by philips is the 85122+ bulb which is 4300K color temp and puts out roughly 100-200 more lumens over the standard bulb. The most notable difference is that these bulbs have a special salt mix that allows the color to remain a yellow/white for most of its useable life (no colorshifting to a brighter blue/white over time). this bulb is mainly for drivers who prefer to keep the yellowish/white light. these bulbs are priced the same as the previous model and have the same lifespan.

    for drivers who desire a more custom and unique look, there are several other options available from philips. first is the 5000K color match bulb also known as 85122CM which starts off whiter than the standard bulb (and has 100-200 lumens less output). these bulbs are harder to find and generally sell for almost $100 per bulb. They have a clear capsule. If you cannot find these bulbs, then look to an almost identical upgrade called philips crystalvision. These bulbs come in retail packing, have a 5000K color temp, and a lightly blue tinted capsule. They sell for roughly $180 a pair and I believe costco online carries them.

    for comparison, here is a standard philips 85122 at 4100K

    now here is the 85122CM at 5000K

    another option for even higher color temperature (5800K crisp white with slight blue/purple tints) is the philips ultinon 6000K 85122WX. This is strictly an "aftermarket/tuner" type bulb that is illegal for use in usa and europe. It also has 1000 lumens less light than the standard philips bulb. This is mainly used when light output is not as important, for example in well-lit cities. most retail for almost $200 a pair and must be purchased overseas.

    The latest release by philips is another coated bulb called ultra blue. this bulb has the same light blue coating as the 5000K bulbs but with two extra dark tint strips around the horizontal plane of the arc tube. this causes a majority of the light output to be 5000K in color, with the extreme sides to appear as pure blue. this bulb is legal and sells for around $140 per bulb at

    Originally posted by gearbox

    less known and with far fewer bulb types, osram is another bulb to consider. their standard bulb line is the Xenarc 4250K color, which is comparable to the philips 85122. they also make a specialty bulb, which has a 5400K color temp and lumens comaprable to the philips ultinon. These bulbs shipped with the discontinued X1010 driving lights from sylvania. They also have shorter lifespan and are not recommended.


    These bulbs generally are not used because they are hard to find, often vary from batch to batch, do not provide consistant performance, and do not retain brightness as long as philips bulbs. There is also the Xensation line which includes higher color temp bulbs like 5100K and 10000K, but these bulbs perform so poorly that they are not worth considering. After only 700 hrs, the 5100K bulb will be dimmer than most halogen lamps. The philips 5000K (CM or crystalvision) bulb is a much better choice. Xensation are available from and for a hefty price.


    This is also a major lighting manufacturer that had a wide variety of specialty hid lighting products. Unfortunately, their $500+ price tag puts them out of reach for most people.


    This company also carries several hid bulb styles, but again the price is just too high for most people when philips equivalents cost much less.

    Originally posted by gearbox
    How do you make your current HID setup brighter? say you got stuck with one of the lower end projector units like the valeo or e46 (bosch) and they are just not bright enough when compared with other projectors like s2000, TL, sc430, etc. Well the safest and easiest way is to upgrade your current 35w ballasts to 50w aftermarket versions. right now the best way to make an hid bulb brighter is by increasing the wattage the ballast outputs. this can be safely done to a point, but going too high will cause damage to lower watt bulbs and the projector units.

    this is a 35w bulb running at 35w.

    this is the same bulb running at ~90w.

    For daily driving, I would not recommend giving more than 45-50w to an oem 35w bulb. doing so will reduce bulb life much faster as well as damage the chrome finish on the projector bowl from excess heat.

    CATZ sells a 42w upgrade ballast kit, but it is cheaper to find one from other aftermarket companies for around $100. Just be sure the ballasts you end up with are properly shielded and do not cause radio interference.

    here is one image comparing 50w ballast to 35w ballast using standard 35w philips bulbs. there are many more around the forums.

    By now you have also heard that philips makes a true 50w bulb (DL-50/740) that can also be used. However, the light output difference may not be worth the extra cost. In this pic you can see that the 85122 35w bulb is just as bright as the 50w version for a fraction of the cost.

  • #2
    Thanks for the helpful introduction article


    • #3
      Need to migrate off photonugget.