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High Intensity Discharge Lighting

Discussion in 'Lighting' started by Alex8181, Nov 20, 2005.

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  1. Alex8181

    Alex8181 Administrator

    May 16, 2005
    2005 Flint Mica
    Written By: Alex8181

    HID lighting is starting to become standard fare on almost all high end luxury vehicles and is also becoming a popular upgrade for those vehicles that do not. Before doing any upgrades, it is always important to know how an upgrade works and how it will affect the vehicle.

    HID lighting technology starts with a capsule of gas, usually xenon, that is activated using two electrons at either ends of the capsule. The electrons use an electric current that creates an arc of light. Don?t be fooled by halogen bulbs that claim to use xenon gas. The light output on a halogen bulb is still from the filament as opposed to the gas inside. The whiter light from such bulbs is usually due to a color coating which in turn also reduces the light output.

    The benefits of using HID bulbs are evident. The technology allow for much more light output, it measures appx. 3200 lumens of light as opposed to only 1000 lumens with a halogen light. The white light produced by HID bulbs are also beneficial to drivers as it is closer to natural daylight and allows for more focus on the road. Another advantage of HID lighting is reduced electrical usage. Because of the technology, HID?s only use about 35 watts as opposed to stock 9006 halogen bulbs which use 55 watts. Lower electrical usage means lower operating temperatures. This eliminates the risk of damaging headlight assemblies and electrical harnesses. All these attributes of HID?s also equal a longer life span than halogen lighting. The life expectancy of halogen bulbs are only 500 hours as opposed to 3,500 hours with HID?s. Doing the math will show you that purchasing halogen bulbs will cost you appx. the same amount as a full HID system over the course of an HID bulb lifespan.

    Now for the disadvantages of HID lighting. HID lighting on vehicles other than those that come stock is now illegal in the USA. This was due to improper use of HID lighting systems and their unintentional blinding of motorists. HID lighting systems were being put into halogen headlights that were clearly not designed for such a system. Most halogen headlights, including the tC, uses a reflector type housing. Light from a halogen bulb is directed out to the reflective pieces of the headlight housing and than reflected onto the road, whereas the lighting from an HID bulb is focused directly onto the road. Because of the light output of HID bulbs, putting them into a reflective type housing directs the light incorrectly on the road and the focus of the HID bulbs are misdirected as well. Doing this eliminates the advantage of more light on the road because the light is being directed elsewhere and actually being directed onto other motorists.

    Another common technique for adding HID lighting to vehicles is retro-fitting. Retro-fitting is the process of using other vehicles HID headlight housing and systems and fabricating them into your own vehicle?s headlight housing. Done correctly this can be a good cost-effective way of adding HID lighting, but done incorrectly can also lead to problems. If the bulbs are not positioned correctly and the bulb is not focused right, than you are not lighting the road in the most efficient manner and even worse, you may be blinding other motorists. This option unfortunately is currently the only way to correctly add HID lighting to the tC until an aftermarket company produces an HID or projector type housing for our cars. This being said, be careful when fabricating housings yourself or having someone do it for you. Fabrication is very hard to do correctly and just as hard to determine if someone else will do it correctly. With Scion?s current track record of aftermarket innovation though, it may not be long before a company will start producing such an item for the demanding Scion market.
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