explain HID Vs xenon - BMW Luxury Touring Community
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post #1 of 21 Old Feb 5th, 2017, 7:29 pm Thread Starter
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explain HID Vs xenon

I've done all kinds of research but just can't find an understandable explanation to this. My 2006 has a Xenon light for low beam. Can someone explain what the difference is between this and the HID kits that they sell. I had installed an HID for high beam, but didn't like the slow warm up. The explanation of the Xenon says that it's an HID, but it comes on immediately. Is a Xenon bulb actually an HID, and if so, how come it come on without having to warm up.
P.S. I replaced the H9 high beam with an LED. Very happy with it.


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2006 K1200LT (Love it)
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post #2 of 21 Old Feb 5th, 2017, 8:52 pm
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Re: explain HID Vs xenon

Here you go, read the first paragraph.

Difference between Xenon HID and Xenon Gas-filled bulbs | eBay
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post #3 of 21 Old Feb 5th, 2017, 11:57 pm
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Re: explain HID Vs xenon

The first paragraph is good but a simple explanation is that a standard Xenon filled bulb still has a filament in it that heats up as current passes through it. The Xenon gas allows it to burn brighter but as that article mentions, there is an expense for that and it is usually a shorter bulb life. The HID is actually an arc across a gas filled gap like a spark plug so no filament to break or burn out. There is a ballast to generate the high voltage necessary to jump the gap and make the light and those can fail too.
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post #4 of 21 Old Feb 6th, 2017, 1:55 pm Thread Starter
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Re: explain HID Vs xenon

Thank you .. i get it now.. this is why there is no warm up time. Wonder why they don't make those for the H9 high beam.


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Palm Coast, FL.

2006 K1200LT (Love it)
2002 R1150RT (Sold)
2007 Harley FLHTCU (sold at 137k Miles)
1999 Harley Night train (blew the eng at 150k miles)
1986 harley Davidson FLTC (Sold When assigned to Europe
1982 Harley Wide Glide (sold)
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post #5 of 21 Old Feb 6th, 2017, 4:00 pm
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Re: explain HID Vs xenon

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Originally Posted by BeemerJoe View Post
Thank you .. i get it now.. this is why there is no warm up time. Wonder why they don't make those for the H9 high beam.
What, you mean a Xenon gas filled filament bulb in the H9 format?

https://www.amazon.com/Hipro-Power-5...=H9+bulb+xenon
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Gordon
Sugar Hill, GA
2001 K1200LTI Champagne (current ride) Lazy Susan
1998 R1100RT Never should have sold it
1974 Yamaha TX 750 Twin. Omni Phase Balanced


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post #6 of 21 Old Feb 6th, 2017, 4:19 pm
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Re: explain HID Vs xenon

Just found a new H3 bulb on Amazon. It looks slim so it might just fit through the hole and work plus it boasts 4800 lumens at 6K. Ordered the pair so will let the group know if it is a viable LED bulb for the early LT's high beam. Want to get that HID out of there if I can.

Gordon
Sugar Hill, GA
2001 K1200LTI Champagne (current ride) Lazy Susan
1998 R1100RT Never should have sold it
1974 Yamaha TX 750 Twin. Omni Phase Balanced


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post #7 of 21 Old Feb 7th, 2017, 7:40 pm
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Re: explain HID Vs xenon

While there are filament bulbs with Xenon gas in them, BMW calls all of it's HID units "Xenon" . If your 06 has a Xenon (the lens will say Xenon) from the factory it is an HID (my 04 BMW 330ci convertible also has "Xenon" HIDs from the factory) and it probably has a very short warm up time. My cheap HID I first installed on my 05 LT was slow to come up but I replaced the ballast with a good quality Phillips unit and now it is almost instant on. You just have to pay for quality stuff.

John
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post #8 of 21 Old Feb 7th, 2017, 10:18 pm Thread Starter
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Re: explain HID Vs xenon

jzeiler: I did pay good money for what i thought was a quality product. Xenondepot HID h9. They informed me AFTER the fact that it was not a good idea to turn it on and off (as in when approaching other vehicles. What good is a high beam light if you can't use it the way it's meant to be. I was disappointed in this, and also disappointed in the slow warm up time. Anyway, i bit the bullet and purchased their LED h9. Very happy, and to be honest i find the light output not much less the the HID. Also has almost the same color temp as the low beam. So for me anyway, I found the perfect combo.
BMWcoolk1200: I checked out those H9 in Amazon from the link you shared.. Wonder if they would work in the lt? I'm no longer going to mess with it though as i'm happy with the LED. Thanks for sharing the link though.


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Palm Coast, FL.

2006 K1200LT (Love it)
2002 R1150RT (Sold)
2007 Harley FLHTCU (sold at 137k Miles)
1999 Harley Night train (blew the eng at 150k miles)
1986 harley Davidson FLTC (Sold When assigned to Europe
1982 Harley Wide Glide (sold)
1981 Kawasaki k1000LTD (sold)
1980 Triumph Bonneville (sold)
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post #9 of 21 Old Feb 7th, 2017, 11:27 pm
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Re: explain HID Vs xenon

Quote:
Originally Posted by BeemerJoe View Post
jzeiler: I did pay good money for what i thought was a quality product. Xenondepot HID h9. They informed me AFTER the fact that it was not a good idea to turn it on and off (as in when approaching other vehicles. What good is a high beam light if you can't use it the way it's meant to be. I was disappointed in this, and also disappointed in the slow warm up time. Anyway, i bit the bullet and purchased their LED h9. Very happy, and to be honest i find the light output not much less the the HID. Also has almost the same color temp as the low beam. So for me anyway, I found the perfect combo.
BMWcoolk1200: I checked out those H9 in Amazon from the link you shared.. Wonder if they would work in the lt? I'm no longer going to mess with it though as i'm happy with the LED. Thanks for sharing the link though.
As JZ said, if it was equipped with a HID from the factory, then it is wired for that type of bulb with a high voltage ballast and a filament bulb won't work in place of an HID. He is familiar with the differences in later models where I am not. IF it had a filament bulb then it would work as long as it didn't draw too much current for the wire size. With the LED working, I would stick with that. My new H3 slim LED should be here tomorrow. At 4800 lumens or even if it is anything close, I should be happy with it if it fits the socket. No telling till I try yet another.
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Sugar Hill, GA
2001 K1200LTI Champagne (current ride) Lazy Susan
1998 R1100RT Never should have sold it
1974 Yamaha TX 750 Twin. Omni Phase Balanced


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post #10 of 21 Old Mar 14th, 2017, 2:10 am
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Re: explain HID Vs xenon

BeemerJoe does the LED bulb fit without alteration, plug and play? I have the 06and would like to upgrade the high beam
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post #11 of 21 Old Mar 14th, 2017, 7:32 am Thread Starter
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Re: explain HID Vs xenon

Knot-my-fault: Yes. the easiest thing i've done on my LT. Just remove the old bulb, and plug in the new. Fan out the heat sink ribbons and your good to go. Oh you may have to rotate the LED for proper light distribution but thats explained in the brochure. Just don't loose the incredibly small allen wrench that they give you. It's done on the bulb itself, not on the LT.


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Palm Coast, FL.

2006 K1200LT (Love it)
2002 R1150RT (Sold)
2007 Harley FLHTCU (sold at 137k Miles)
1999 Harley Night train (blew the eng at 150k miles)
1986 harley Davidson FLTC (Sold When assigned to Europe
1982 Harley Wide Glide (sold)
1981 Kawasaki k1000LTD (sold)
1980 Triumph Bonneville (sold)
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post #12 of 21 Old Mar 14th, 2017, 9:24 am
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Re: explain HID Vs xenon

Quote:
Originally Posted by bmwcoolk1200 View Post
As JZ said, if it was equipped with a HID from the factory, then it is wired for that type of bulb with a high voltage ballast and a filament bulb won't work in place of an HID. He is familiar with the differences in later models where I am not. IF it had a filament bulb then it would work as long as it didn't draw too much current for the wire size. With the LED working, I would stick with that. My new H3 slim LED should be here tomorrow. At 4800 lumens or even if it is anything close, I should be happy with it if it fits the socket. No telling till I try yet another.
How did the LED bulb work? Was this high beam?

I have the factory HID low beam which is impressive, but has a pretty sharp cur-off. The feeble yellow high beam is not great at illuminating above the cut-off line. I am looking at something to replace the high beam bulb and would like an LED solution if a bright enough one is available.

2017 KLR650 "Mule"
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post #13 of 21 Old Mar 14th, 2017, 12:37 pm
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Re: explain HID Vs xenon

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How did the LED bulb work? Was this high beam?

I have the factory HID low beam which is impressive, but has a pretty sharp cur-off. The feeble yellow high beam is not great at illuminating above the cut-off line. I am looking at something to replace the high beam bulb and would like an LED solution if a bright enough one is available.
Matt, after purchasing several H3 that simply would not fit through the square hole for the high beam, I found a new form factor with a narrow tip that DOES fit through the opening and with 4800 lumens, almost double my 2500 lumen LB LED, should fit the bill if I can get it mounted.

I tried fitting it this weekend and it fits in the metal carrier just fine but as expected, the black plastic piece that has to be modified for wiring if used for an HID that the metal carrier clips over and also keeps the bulb from rotating in the mount, does not fit over the bulb lower housing that extends down to the heat sink bands and the lower silver region of the bulb extends farther out the hole so the existing clip will not clip to at least hold it in without some modifications.

I think I can make some sort of holder for that but in order to do so, I think I will have to remove the headlight fixture from the bike to adequately see and work with something to fasten in the bulb and keep it in the correct orientation. It will be spectacular if it works but I didn't have that much ambition on a cold Sunday so I put the HID back in for another day. I have some disassembly planned to replace my external fuel lines and QD's and may pull off the front at that time to see what I can do with it.

The particular vendor I got these from no longer currently has them listed on Amazon but here is another that is very similar for reference if you wanted to attempt this yourself.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...=A63AVRRFM3OU2

Attaching a composite picture of the things I am talking about for those who may not have ventured into the HB H3 socket yet.
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Gordon
Sugar Hill, GA
2001 K1200LTI Champagne (current ride) Lazy Susan
1998 R1100RT Never should have sold it
1974 Yamaha TX 750 Twin. Omni Phase Balanced


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post #14 of 21 Old Mar 14th, 2017, 3:55 pm
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Re: explain HID Vs xenon

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Matt, after purchasing several H3 that simply would not fit through the square hole for the high beam, I found a new form factor with a narrow tip that DOES fit through the opening and with 4800 lumens, almost double my 2500 lumen LB LED, should fit the bill if I can get it mounted.

I tried fitting it this weekend and it fits in the metal carrier just fine but as expected, the black plastic piece that has to be modified for wiring if used for an HID that the metal carrier clips over and also keeps the bulb from rotating in the mount, does not fit over the bulb lower housing that extends down to the heat sink bands and the lower silver region of the bulb extends farther out the hole so the existing clip will not clip to at least hold it in without some modifications.

I think I can make some sort of holder for that but in order to do so, I think I will have to remove the headlight fixture from the bike to adequately see and work with something to fasten in the bulb and keep it in the correct orientation. It will be spectacular if it works but I didn't have that much ambition on a cold Sunday so I put the HID back in for another day. I have some disassembly planned to replace my external fuel lines and QD's and may pull off the front at that time to see what I can do with it.

The particular vendor I got these from no longer currently has them listed on Amazon but here is another that is very similar for reference if you wanted to attempt this yourself.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...=A63AVRRFM3OU2

Attaching a composite picture of the things I am talking about for those who may not have ventured into the HB H3 socket yet.
The headlights are about the only area of the LT I have yet to delve into. Is the high beam bulb not a standard type?

2017 KLR650 "Mule"
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post #15 of 21 Old Mar 14th, 2017, 4:35 pm
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Re: explain HID Vs xenon

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The headlights are about the only area of the LT I have yet to delve into. Is the high beam bulb not a standard type?
Yes, the high beam is a standard 55W halogen H3 for the earlier integrated HB but it is deeply recessed within the fixture with that silver piece and the black plastic piece in the picture above to hold it in place. Per the recommendation of jzeller, I removed the 100W halogen I put in there as he informed me that the wiring was not of sufficient gauge and would melt and short something out. I really didn't see much difference between the 100W and the stock 55W compared to the LED low beam, maybe because of the wire size dropping some voltage but don't know. It didn't give me what I wanted though so I started looking for LED possibilities. Finally I have one that is scathingly bright that will fit in the hole but it is too long by itself to be held in by the existing clip. I haven't given up on it but didn't want to remove the front of the bike that day. Once you stick your head up there, you will see what I mean. HID is plenty bright and some like Saddleman run with the HID HB but he must leave it on or cycle it periodically most of the time to overcome the slow cold start. He mentioned something about doing that last ride together. jzeller has a fast start ballast HID and seems to be happy with that as a HB. Mine, not so much.

The H3 LED bulbs that don't require a heat sink are too large in diameter to fit through the reflector and would likely not be bright enough. do an Amazon search for H3 LED bulbs and you will see what I mean. The big fans would likely not come close to fitting. These new slim LED bulbs offer part of the solution. They fit into the reflector, now all I need to do it get it to stay there and not rotate.

Gordon
Sugar Hill, GA
2001 K1200LTI Champagne (current ride) Lazy Susan
1998 R1100RT Never should have sold it
1974 Yamaha TX 750 Twin. Omni Phase Balanced


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post #16 of 21 Old Mar 14th, 2017, 4:59 pm
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Re: explain HID Vs xenon

Quote:
Originally Posted by bmwcoolk1200 View Post
Yes, the high beam is a standard 55W halogen H3 for the earlier integrated HB but it is deeply recessed within the fixture with that silver piece and the black plastic piece in the picture above to hold it in place. Per the recommendation of jzeller, I removed the 100W halogen I put in there as he informed me that the wiring was not of sufficient gauge and would melt and short something out. I really didn't see much difference between the 100W and the stock 55W compared to the LED low beam, maybe because of the wire size dropping some voltage but don't know. It didn't give me what I wanted though so I started looking for LED possibilities. Finally I have one that is scathingly bright that will fit in the hole but it is too long by itself to be held in by the existing clip. I haven't given up on it but didn't want to remove the front of the bike that day. Once you stick your head up there, you will see what I mean. HID is plenty bright and some like Saddleman run with the HID HB but he must leave it on or cycle it periodically most of the time to overcome the slow cold start. He mentioned something about doing that last ride together. jzeller has a fast start ballast HID and seems to be happy with that as a HB. Mine, not so much.

The H3 LED bulbs that don't require a heat sink are too large in diameter to fit through the reflector and would likely not be bright enough. do an Amazon search for H3 LED bulbs and you will see what I mean. The big fans would likely not come close to fitting. These new slim LED bulbs offer part of the solution. They fit into the reflector, now all I need to do it get it to stay there and not rotate.
I would love a brighter high beam, but not sure it is worth redesigning my headlight housing.

I don't ride at night all that much anyway. However, if you do find a solution...

I may have to look into JZ's solution. I prefer LED, but a fast acting HID is a close second.
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2017 KLR650 "Mule"
2007 K1200LT "Starship Enterprise", VOICE II, Navigator V, Motorrad Communicator
1987 Kawasaki Voyager XII
1976 Kawasaki KH400
1973 Kawasaki 100 G5
1970 Rockford Chibi (the orange one)

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post #17 of 21 Old Mar 14th, 2017, 5:10 pm
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Re: explain HID Vs xenon

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Originally Posted by Voyager View Post
I would love a brighter high beam, but not sure it is worth redesigning my headlight housing.

I don't ride at night all that much anyway. However, if you do find a solution...

I may have to look into JZ's solution. I prefer LED, but a fast acting HID is a close second.
Once I get to taking it apart enough to see how I can fasten in the new bulb, I will document it. If it looks like too much trouble, I will get a faster ballast like JZ and just live with it.

Gordon
Sugar Hill, GA
2001 K1200LTI Champagne (current ride) Lazy Susan
1998 R1100RT Never should have sold it
1974 Yamaha TX 750 Twin. Omni Phase Balanced


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post #18 of 21 Old Mar 14th, 2017, 5:11 pm
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Re: explain HID Vs xenon

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Originally Posted by jzeiler View Post
While there are filament bulbs with Xenon gas in them, BMW calls all of it's HID units "Xenon" . If your 06 has a Xenon (the lens will say Xenon) from the factory it is an HID (my 04 BMW 330ci convertible also has "Xenon" HIDs from the factory) and it probably has a very short warm up time. My cheap HID I first installed on my 05 LT was slow to come up but I replaced the ballast with a good quality Phillips unit and now it is almost instant on. You just have to pay for quality stuff.
John,

Is there a thread here that describes the parts you used and modifications required to the LT to convert to HID high beam? Any reflector change needed?

2017 KLR650 "Mule"
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1987 Kawasaki Voyager XII
1976 Kawasaki KH400
1973 Kawasaki 100 G5
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post #19 of 21 Old Mar 14th, 2017, 10:11 pm
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Re: explain HID Vs xenon

I never did convert my high beam. Most quality HID bulbs are the Phillips DS2 globes. The part that makes them work in a particular headlight housing is the plastic base that makes it a "H7" or "H3" HID bulb. The base is designed to place the arc globe of the DS2 in the exact same location that the filament of an incandescent H7 or H3 is located in the housing. Thus no mods to the housing or reflector. But you need to get a quality unit.
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2009 K1300GT Red Rocket
2009 R1200GS (Gone)
2005 K1200LT Ocean Blue Blue Wizard 110 K and counting...
2006 Bushtec Turbo+2 Spell
2004 330 Ci Convertable
K4AN

Have ridden a Motorcycle in all 48
But lack DE, MA, RI and CT with the 2005 LT

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post #20 of 21 Old Mar 29th, 2017, 5:32 pm
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Re: explain HID Vs xenon

Xenon is a term used fairly indiscriminately from a marketing and product description standpoint. There's really not a difference between HID and Xenon, because Xenon is the gas used in HID lamps.

When the term Xenon is used as a descriptor for the much more common incandescent-style bulbs, it is fairly disingenuous labeling. Most "xenon" filament-style headlights are simply halogen bulbs, with a blue coating on the glass, thereby actually reducing lumens, effectively. Some incandescent bulbs can be filled with xenon gas instead of halogen gas, but in both cases the gas is just there to preserve the filament, not produce light (as it does in an HID).

Terms like HID, LED, and incandescent all describe the style of lighting technology. Xenon is simply a gas. When xenon is used to describe an incandescent bulb product, it is usually BS.
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post #21 of 21 Old Mar 29th, 2017, 9:27 pm
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Re: explain HID Vs xenon

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Xenon is a term used fairly indiscriminately from a marketing and product description standpoint. There's really not a difference between HID and Xenon, because Xenon is the gas used in HID lamps.

When the term Xenon is used as a descriptor for the much more common incandescent-style bulbs, it is fairly disingenuous labeling. Most "xenon" filament-style headlights are simply halogen bulbs, with a blue coating on the glass, thereby actually reducing lumens, effectively. Some incandescent bulbs can be filled with xenon gas instead of halogen gas, but in both cases the gas is just there to preserve the filament, not produce light (as it does in an HID).

Terms like HID, LED, and incandescent all describe the style of lighting technology. Xenon is simply a gas. When xenon is used to describe an incandescent bulb product, it is usually BS.
Yes, in the sense that there is no difference between car and Ford. There are many different gases used in HID lamps (Mercury, sodium, etc.), Xenon being one of them. My understanding is that many BMW lamps are actually metal halide lamps that use a Xenon gas. So the Xenon description is accurate as it describes the particular type of metal halide HID lamp.

2017 KLR650 "Mule"
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1987 Kawasaki Voyager XII
1976 Kawasaki KH400
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1970 Rockford Chibi (the orange one)

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HID Xenon Conversion experience? Please have a look here wkclark K1200LT 8 Jan 4th, 2008 8:15 am
Xenon or HID ferggie K1200LT 12 Apr 18th, 2007 10:54 am

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