Author Topic: Looking at HID in a different light  (Read 4272 times)

Online rodekyll

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Looking at HID in a different light
« on: March 21, 2015, 04:10:49 PM »
I've been studying up on HID/LED/direct sunlight lease/wooden matches for headlight alternatives.  I've whined here in the past that neither HID nor LED is designed to be used with our standard headlight reflectors and lenses -- the light from either is unfocused, scattered, and fails to send the light downrange as well as the halogen.  I've bought a trucklite complete LED module for the rodekyll, which I hope presents the LED concept in its best light.  I haven't tested it yet.

For the trike though I can do anything I want to for headlights.  I'll have 100a of alternator, so current draw won't be a problem.  My only question is what to load it down with.  To answer that question I've been looking at HID the way it was intended -- as the light source for a projector-type headlight. 

Projector headlights are different than our essentially sealed-beam technology.  They have a single-brightness HID element of either 35 or 55w.  The element sits in the back of an odd-shaped (by traditional standards) reflector.  The reflector sits a ways (some inches) behind an optical objective lens -- a simple curved lends rather than the faceted ones seen on our current lights.  The distance from the reflector to the lens helps gather and focus the light.  The lens size and shape determines the downrange focus and scatter. 

On the Bi-xenon (hi/lo) designs, the bulb is in a fixed positon and single brightness.  In low mode there is a solinoid-driven gate that lives in the gap between the reflector and lens that pops up from the bottom of the assembly to block the upper portion of the light column (remember that a lens reverses everything, so a blockage of light at the bottom before the lens results in blocked light at the top of the downrange light column).  The high-beam gate masks low-beam light away from oncoming traffic the same as an E4 lens does with its facets.

The result is that really clean light you see in some high-end modern vehicles.  From the driver's seat, reflected light an the fuzz of scatter is eliminated, compared to the HID on my bike.  The useable light *seems to* project much farther down the road than mine, and the problems I was having with the bi-xenon dual-element bulbs is eliminated as well.  a 35w HID in a proper housing is estimated (ok -- estimated by salesmen) to give 3x the useable light of halogen at the same distance, with 2/3 of the energy budget.

My thought after learning this stuff is to adapt a couple of projector housings to the trike.  They come in two lens sizes -- 2.5 and 3".  I'm thinking 3" based on the fact that you can push more light through a bigger hole.  That's the only significant dimension difference between all the common projectors I've looked at.  Otherwise they're all about 3.5"tx4"wx5"L.  These would be installed in a frame-mounted fairing lower, probably about where the crash bar top tube would be if the crashbar was there.

But among the 5 or so major mfgrs, there are differences in reflector shapes, lens shapes, high-beam 'gate' types and bulb bases.  I'm assuming one is best, most are good, and maybe a couple aren't so good.  I of course want to overthink and overengineer this before buying anything, hopefully working around potential problems in the planning stage.

So this discussion is about your experiences with HID projectors in various applications.  What has been your experience with them in your VW, BMW, Ford, whatever.  How have they worked out for you?  How have they NOT worked out?  Has anyone retrofitted standard halogen headlights with a full projector assembly?

Offline charlie b

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Re: Looking at HID in a different light
« Reply #1 on: March 21, 2015, 04:36:11 PM »
I'll be interested.  I was thinking about adapting a similar setup to mine before I decided to go to the LED (which is not optimum, but, works for me).
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Online Aaron D.

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Re: Looking at HID in a different light
« Reply #2 on: March 21, 2015, 04:52:49 PM »
My current car has bi-xenon lights (and LED running lights/tailights etc) and the lights are the best I've ever had.
On startup they go through a routine after the initial "arc" start, and the gate runs through its full travel, so from the driver perspective in sort of blinks.

I once had a standard xenon low-halogen high from the same maker. The low beams were significantly whiter than the highs.

Never had a problem with them.

Oh, both cars are Audis.

Offline leafman60

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Re: Looking at HID in a different light
« Reply #3 on: March 21, 2015, 04:53:27 PM »
I have several HID conversion systems running now and I am basically satisfied with them.  

We've discussed this in old threads and a lot of info is buried in the archives.

It's true that the conversions are sometimes limited by the stock reflectors that were not designed for an HID element but, even so, the HID puts out a tremendous amount of light that often outweighs any limitation based on the reflector problems.

The HID elements require a warm-up period to reach maximum light intensity.  This is why you cannot rely on a high beam HID element for instant-on illumination. Instead, to obtain a high/low beam, "bi-xenon" type system usually keep a constant HID light source and work with it to produce a high beam when needed. Of course, some people just use a constant HID system without high beam capability since the HID light output is so much greater than halogen.

One note, the "bi-xenon" bulbs used in H-4 applications have several methods of operation. Some have a solenoid shuttle that operates a shade and some, perhaps most, have a solenoid that actually moves the bulb to and fro to change the bounce angle of the light on the reflector. Still, others have no solenoid and rely on a small halogen tube located next to the HID tube for high beam service.

You also select a light temperature based on the kelvin scale.  The higher number is greener and the lower number is more yellow.

HID conversions are cheap and economical to simply try and see how they work for you.

You also have options as far as the ballasts that drive the HID bulbs.  The compact, slim ballast save space but have a separate igniter on the driving wire.  The standard ballast usually incorporate the igniter in a larger ballast box.

Herein is one of the downsides of the HID system. It incorporates additional hardware, i.e. ballast, igniter and the solenoid that requires additional space for fitment.

The alternative to HID is LED.  Up until now, I've felt like the LED conversions were up to the light output of the HID but that is changing. I have on order a pair of Cyclops LED H-4 conversions for my Stelvio.  I'm also installing a pair of Rigid Industries (Made in USA) D2 auxiliary lamps.

http://www.cyclopsadventuresports.com/

http://www.cyclopsadventuresports.com/3800-Lumen-H4-LED-Headlight-bulb-_p_83.html

http://www.rigidindustries.com/


The LED units are instant-on and require less additional components that must be housed.

I will update later on my experience with the LED.

« Last Edit: March 21, 2015, 04:58:31 PM by leafman60 »

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Re: Looking at HID in a different light
« Reply #3 on: March 21, 2015, 04:53:27 PM »

Online Aaron D.

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Re: Looking at HID in a different light
« Reply #4 on: March 21, 2015, 04:57:07 PM »
The newest Audi R8 has laser headlights-not available here.

Offline Wayne Orwig

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Re: Looking at HID in a different light
« Reply #5 on: March 21, 2015, 06:25:17 PM »
My wife's previous car (Lincoln mark VIII) had HID bulbs in a standard style reflector. No sucko projector. For high beam, it illuminated additional incandescent lighting. It worked well. The model year prior was all incandescent, and about as bright as one or two candles from what I hear.
Her current car is a 2013 Mustang. It has HID projectors. I'm not impressed. They have a mechanical hi/low shield in them. They could use a touch more wattage, (and I likely should spend some time tweaking the alignment) They have an extreme cutoff. As in, if you come over a hilltop, you can tell that the low beam lights up people faces and blinds people.
I have HID addons in my Stelvio and my EV. I like them a LOT. I plan to keep them. On low beam, they do not blind oncoming traffic (I have check with people numerous times). The cutoff is a bit muted, as in, coming up over a hilltop, low beam does not light up the faces in the oncoming cars like the projectors in the wife's car.
But, I did have one style of addon HID bulb in my EV that was crap. That bulb design was garbage. The ones I use now I highly recommend. 

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Online rodekyll

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Re: Looking at HID in a different light
« Reply #6 on: March 21, 2015, 06:26:49 PM »
I've read and participated in most of the alternative lighitng topics.  I've also spent hundreds in HID conversions to my oem headlights and driving lights.  My conclusion is that the raw light of HID is superior to halogen, but the scatter and bad focus has three bad effects -- it wastes light, scatter bothers oncoming traffic unless you aim the headlight so low the high beams are ineffective, and the scatter reflects back on chunks in the airs, such as bugs, rain and fog, to the point that it hampers visibility.

So I'm trying to move forward from those discussions into new ground here -- what happens when we install a properly designed HID housing ("proper" being a projector design)?

It looks like a dual retrofit can be done for about $100/two units (I have ballasts that work with the H1 and D-series elements).  I've spent more and gotten nothing but disappointment so far, so the price is right.  The questions are the practical things -- how well do those hi-beam cutoff shades work?  Are the solenoids reliable?  What is the heat effect of a designed unit?  Do they hold up to vibration? What is the bulb life?  Do they fade in intensity over time like halogens? etc.

Also, for anyone who's done one of these conversions in a car or whatever -- What are the installation challenges?

Online rodekyll

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Re: Looking at HID in a different light
« Reply #7 on: March 21, 2015, 06:29:24 PM »
My wife's previous car (Lincoln mark VIII) had HID bulbs in a standard style reflector. No sucko projector. For high beam, it illuminated additional incandescent lighting. It worked well. The model year prior was all incandescent, and about as bright as one or two candles from what I hear.
Her current car is a 2013 Mustang. It has HID projectors. I'm not impressed. They have a mechanical hi/low shield in them. They could use a touch more wattage, (and I likely should spend some time tweaking the alignment) They have an extreme cutoff. As in, if you come over a hilltop, you can tell that the low beam lights up people faces and blinds people.
I have HID addons in my Stelvio and my EV. I like them a LOT. I plan to keep them. On low beam, they do not blind oncoming traffic (I have check with people numerous times). The cutoff is a bit muted, as in, coming up over a hilltop, low beam does not light up the faces in the oncoming cars like the projectors in the wife's car.
But, I did have one style of addon HID bulb in my EV that was crap. That bulb design was garbage. The ones I use now I highly recommend. 



Wayne, are your "addons" the element replacements for the H4 halogen, or are you talking about add-on aux lights?  I suspect the low beam cutoff difference is that the Mustang has the convex round objective lens (no faceting) and the Stelvio has a traditional, faceted lens.

Offline Wayne Orwig

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Re: Looking at HID in a different light
« Reply #8 on: March 21, 2015, 06:34:04 PM »
Wayne, are your "addons" the element replacements for the H4 halogen, or are you talking about add-on aux lights?  I suspect the low beam cutoff difference is that the Mustang has the convex round objective lens (no faceting) and the Stelvio has a traditional, faceted lens.

The motorcycle addons are HID H4 Hi/Lows from DDMtuning. My extra lighting is all LED.
The Mustang is the factory projector and appears to have a non-faceted projector lens.
« Last Edit: March 21, 2015, 06:43:23 PM by Wayne Orwig »
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Online rodekyll

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Re: Looking at HID in a different light
« Reply #9 on: March 21, 2015, 06:38:49 PM »
Thanks, Wayne.  I've still got high hopes for the LED headlight I bought, but the trike design isn't limited by 2-wheeler considerations.  I've got the room and the charging system to play around with.

I've been chatting up the DDM folks as I move into this area.  Some of them are very helpful -- some not so much.  I'm looking at their projector designs right now, but if there's something out there in oemsville that I could pull from a wreck and get the same benefits, I'd try that, too.

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Re: Looking at HID in a different light
« Reply #10 on: March 22, 2015, 06:26:55 AM »
Have you looked into LED aircraft landing lights?
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Offline rbm

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Re: Looking at HID in a different light
« Reply #11 on: March 22, 2015, 08:18:29 AM »
I investigated an HID projector conversion for my BMW motorcycle.  I had done a retro customization of my motorcycle, where I used a R52 shell for the headlight.  I never completed the conversion because the HID projector and the speedometer would not fit into the headlamp shell at the same time.  I'm considering using the HID projector on my V7 sometime in the future.

Some things I found out by reading:
- as I found out, space can be at a premium, even for an H4 HID conversion projector
- there has to be a startup delay so that any load shed circuitry doesn't cause the HID to re-strike.
- The HID pattern may not be suitable for motorcycles because of the sharp cutoff of the projector and the seating position of the rider.  For example, objects on the side of the road while cornering on the motorcycle (at night) will  not be illuminated.  The cutoff gets angled as the bike leans.
- finding a place for the ballast can be challenging on a motorcycle

There's lots of discussion on The HID Planet forum
- Robert

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Online rodekyll

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Re: Looking at HID in a different light
« Reply #12 on: March 22, 2015, 02:11:14 PM »
Thanks for the link to the HID forum.   ;-T

I'm thinking the cutoff gate could be modified if it interfered with cornering.  I do plan to have two on the trike, placed in fairing lowers somewhere near the valve covers, maybe.  Since the trike doesn't lean much I don't think the cutoff will be a problem.

What are the dimensions of the retro-unit you shelved, what is the weight, and what does it have to attach to a mount?  You said it's an H4.  Do you mean it uses an H4-base bulb, or that it fits in the space of a traditional H4 headlight assembly?

Online keuka4884

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Re: Looking at HID in a different light
« Reply #13 on: March 22, 2015, 03:26:13 PM »
I owned a 1998 Lincoln Mk VIII for a few years. Bloody awesome car. It was the first car with HID headlights. They threw out some serious light. One went bad and I had to buy a used one (no longer made the original) on Ebay for $125.00. That and the neon tail light were great ideas. I've owned a few Caddys with the Northstar V8 and the Intech V8 motor in the Lincoln was better. That car could get you into some serious trouble. It was silky smooth above 100 mph.
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Offline rbm

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Re: Looking at HID in a different light
« Reply #14 on: March 22, 2015, 04:04:21 PM »
Thanks for the link to the HID forum.   ;-T

I'm thinking the cutoff gate could be modified if it interfered with cornering.  I do plan to have two on the trike, placed in fairing lowers somewhere near the valve covers, maybe.  Since the trike doesn't lean much I don't think the cutoff will be a problem.
You're right; a trike doesn't lean so a moving cutoff won't be a problem for you.

Quote from: rodekyll
What are the dimensions of the retro-unit you shelved, what is the weight, and what does it have to attach to a mount?  You said it's an H4.  Do you mean it uses an H4-base bulb, or that it fits in the space of a traditional H4 headlight assembly?
I bought a Morimoto Stage II D2S retrofit kit from the Retrofit Source that replaced the H4 bulb in a halogen system.  The projector fits inside the reflector and screws into the H4 hole. So long as you have enough depth, it is pretty much plug'n'play.  I didn't have the required depth so I slightly modified my reflector on my R52 headlight.  It got too stuffed inside the shell with wires, which worried me because of heat so, I went with a standard H4 reflector.

Specs for the new v3 D2S is here
« Last Edit: March 22, 2015, 04:14:53 PM by rbm »
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Offline JayDee24ca

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Re: Looking at HID in a different light
« Reply #15 on: March 22, 2015, 10:36:41 PM »
Have you thought about Carbide, in a nice shiny brass housing? Less current drain for sure. ;D
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Online rodekyll

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Re: Looking at HID in a different light
« Reply #16 on: March 22, 2015, 11:11:11 PM »
I was thinking about a carbide housing, but it was too Munsters for me.   :BEER:



If I was going for a model T theme I might have used Bass era trim.  But I went with model A instead. -- duolamps, even.  That way I didn't have to use wood spokes.

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Re: Looking at HID in a different light
« Reply #17 on: March 22, 2015, 11:16:23 PM »
http://3dprint.com/52616/mhox-3d-printed-eyes/
"Italian Researchers Expect 3D Printed Eyes by 2027, Providing Enhanced Vision & WiFi Connection"

I'll just take a set of these.   8)


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