Which HID for low beam? - BMW Luxury Touring Community
 
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post #1 of 22 Old Jan 6th, 2011, 2:03 pm Thread Starter
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Which HID for low beam?

Its been a few years since I've looked at HID low beam; their seems to be a wide range in prices?

I'm looking for suggestions? Are the smaller ignighters as durable or equal to the larger ones?

Is there an advantage to go from 4300 to a higher rate output like 5000?

Many Thanks
Bob

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post #2 of 22 Old Jan 6th, 2011, 2:32 pm
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Re: Which HID for low beam?

I've been running the HID low beam from DDM Tuning about $25 Works great very simple install great light output . I am running the 5000k 35 watt , with a silver star high beam ( around 4300k ) a much whiter light at 5000k , I am planning on adding the high beam this spring. 5000k 55 watt .

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post #3 of 22 Old Jan 6th, 2011, 2:42 pm
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Re: Which HID for low beam?

DDM tuning has the best HID value hands down !!
Stay at 5000 color and 35 watts for low beam. Do wire up tho IMO using the head lights power to simply trip a 12V relay having HID ballast running from a direct battery connection and not on the factory head light circuit.

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post #4 of 22 Old Jan 6th, 2011, 3:19 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Which HID for low beam?

I found a reference to them on this site.

What I started wondering about was the $25 price when the HID bulbs seem to sell for that price?

Thanks for your time
Bob

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post #5 of 22 Old Jan 6th, 2011, 3:25 pm
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Re: Which HID for low beam?

They're really getting cheap ..... THe DDM kit is the best bang for the buck and it comes with the relay module and everything so it's easy to hook up...

Stay with the 4300-5000K and you'll be fine...

I'd also stay with the 35 watt... The 50 might get too hot and melt something important...

John

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post #6 of 22 Old Jan 6th, 2011, 5:41 pm
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Re: Which HID for low beam?

Quote:
Originally Posted by BecketMa
I found a reference to them on this site.

What I started wondering about was the $25 price when the HID bulbs seem to sell for that price?

Thanks for your time
Bob
Purchased 5 kits from them myself and extra bulb/capsules CHEAP !
Have my Low beam, 2 fog lamps and fender mounted driving high beam all with HID systems. Have kept the High beam on a conventional bulb so you can still flash other drivers if needed !! An HID high can't be flashed sadly ....

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post #7 of 22 Old Jan 6th, 2011, 6:08 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Which HID for low beam?

Ordering an extra bulb for the low beam seems like a good idea.

But, I can't find any place on their site to order an extra bulb.

It seems as if they only sell a pair of 4000.

Thanks for your time and help.
Bob

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post #8 of 22 Old Jan 6th, 2011, 6:20 pm
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Re: Which HID for low beam?

I ordered a pair for a car...used one, stored one.

Glenn
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post #9 of 22 Old Jan 6th, 2011, 9:18 pm
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Re: Which HID for low beam?

Quote:
Originally Posted by BecketMa
... from 4300 to a higher rate output like 5000?..
Just so you know, all these lamps have the same power output, but in different part of the visible spectrum. Color temperature describes the actual color of the light.

There is a whole definition what it means, but for our reference it suffices the 4700K is about the white light of the OEM HID headlight on German cars - if you see a recent Audi or BMW pass by, have a look. Above 6000K the light becomes bluish, beyond that, purple.

You can google HID kit providers to see color charts.


Personally, I prefer the 4700K range, as it is efficient and unobtrusive. I find the bluish retrofits on other vehicles annoying.

Robert in Northern NJ

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post #10 of 22 Old Jan 7th, 2011, 2:11 am Thread Starter
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Re: Which HID for low beam?

Thanks for the pix.

It seems DDM is out of stock on every HID system.

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post #11 of 22 Old Jan 7th, 2011, 8:42 am
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Re: Which HID for low beam?

Re color temperature: The best output and the best light will be if you stay at 4100-4300K, anything higher will turn bluer and the light output will go down.

As for the wattage: On an LT you can use either the 35W or the 50W if you want a little bit more light on the road. There is no damage of damaging anything, since the OEM reflector is made to handle the heat output of a 55W incandescent, which has a LOWER light and HIGHER heat output than the HID. I know all the different theories why 50W HID can be bad and they all have a flaw (They know know the physics behind either technology) Suffice it to say that the temperatures inside the lamp housing with a standard 55W incandescent lamp are always higher then with a 50W HID. The only difference with the HIDs is that *INSIDE* the glass capsule the HID produces more UV, which is then filtered by the glass (mostly).
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post #12 of 22 Old Jan 7th, 2011, 10:23 am Thread Starter
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Re: Which HID for low beam?

Thank you for you time and the information Andy.
Bset from Tucson
Bob

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post #13 of 22 Old Jan 7th, 2011, 10:54 am
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Re: Which HID for low beam?

Bob, besides DDM there are a few other "brands" around, for example VVME. Here is their product page for the H7 slim HID retrofit kit - 2 lamps and ballasts for a bit over $50. You may want to buy the set and split with someone - or just keep the other half as spare.

I am writing "brands" in quotes, because between all my bikes and my truck I must have 8 HID-retrofitted lights, installed within last 4 years. I have DDM, VVME and another one which I do not recall off-hand - and I believe that they are all made by the same manufacturer. Aside of stick-on labels, everything else - ballasts, ignitors and cables - are identical in appearance. I had one of the slim ballasts fail in late 2009 season (unreliable start) and I replaced the ballast with one from a possibly unrelated kit - no problems in 2010.

What I am trying to say is that I would not get hung up on brands, because very likely the stuff inside is all the same. Just get anything - Google search is your friend. The kits are so cheap that it does not pay to worry, it is easier to just replace what fails. Once you think about it, the $25-35 that a single set costs is often less than that of a "premium" halogen lightbulb.


To follow up on Andy's comments : I personally stay with 35W kits because they are already very, very bright (do not forget that you are blinding oncoming traffic much more on a bouncing bike than in a car - also, you are retrofitting into a reflector shell which is designed with a different focus point, for halogen filaments) and that the 55W sets may be stressing the bulb more (not the bike).

There is a bit of confusion about ratings. 35W set generates 35W into the lamp. The inverter ("ballast") is not 100% efficient, in reality the power draw from the bike is in the low 40's - which of course is still less than the OEM halogens. This means that 35W kits are actually less of a load for the bike than the original halogen light.

Correspondingly, the 55W kits draw a bit more than the designed-in halogen current. However, we are talking here about a difference of some 500mA - it really is not a problem. The melt-down issues you are hearing about are coming from people who install 80W or 100W halogens - now, that makes a big difference in dissipation, and I would never do that.

The other issue is start-up current, which is quite high - but then, the spike on a cold halogen is also close to 6-10 times nominal. This means that start-up current does not matter as long as your connections are up to snuff, not loose and not oxidized - at that holds for both halogens and HID's.

Bottom line, from power draw and heating point of view, you could use either 35W or 55W kits.

My concern is with the blinding, mentioned above, and with longevity of the bulb. My understanding is that the lamps are the same for either power, it is the ballasts that differ, driving 35W or 55W, effectively overdriving the lamp for the higher power level. Nevertheless, I do not see reports of early failures on the motorcycling forums.

As another piece of trivia: while the ballast determines the power, the color is determined by coatings and gas composition in the lamp. That means that one could change the color by replacing the lamp, while leaving ballast in place.

Too much info?

Robert in Northern NJ

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post #14 of 22 Old Jan 7th, 2011, 2:38 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Which HID for low beam?

Once again, thank you for your time and the information.

Your prose is clear and concise, excellent.

The information about the ballast accounting for the additional wattage thru the bulb surprised me. I'm used to resistance and voltage determining the current, and thus the wattage. But, I am a rank novice with just simple electronic theory.

I had assumed that the ballast was changed to drive the higher wattage bulb.

i guess that I'm so used to the poor lighting from the low beam that my natural instinct is to go BRIGHTER!!!

I looked at the price for a replacement H7 bulb and decided the marginal cost was worth ordering two sets of HIDS with H7 bulbs.

I seem to remember that our high beam bulb has to have a special adaptor to fit the headlight?

I try scanning for other suppliers; I stayed with DDM because I didn't find another site with prices that low. Thanks for the tip.

best from Tucson
Bob

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post #15 of 22 Old Jan 7th, 2011, 3:40 pm
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Re: Which HID for low beam?

Hey, thanks for the compliment - especially since you'd be surprised by my accent.


The way a discharge lamp works is that, once ignited, it exhibits a relatively low resistance - think of it as almost a short circuit. The ballast is really a high-voltage power supply that controls current flowing through the lamp. Its function is fairly complex: together with the ignitor, it must generate some 15-18kV to strike the arc inside the bulb envelope. Then, when lit and warmed up, it must maintain about .35A at about 100V.

Ultimately, what flows through the lamp, voltage x current, is 35W - but there are losses in the power supply that account for the higher demand of the complete device. The label on the ballast specifies what the input current is at 12.6V - typically, it will be something in the range of 3.5A.

Higher-power ballast generates more current into the lamp. It is all controlled by the electronics inside, almost without regard to what the lamp is.


From the technical info I found, the 35W and 55W bulbs are the same, but since you are buying a set, that information is unimportant - unless you are worrying about stressing the bulb, as I am.


I am not sure about any high beam socket adapter - my impression was that the H11 HID bulb would fit into the socket just as the low beam does.
You may have to search the forum for a writeup on high-beam retrofit. Here is one posted by a forum member from Oz .


Food for thought: on all my bikes I elected to keep the high beam as halogen. This allows me to flash the lights when needed. HID lamps do not achieve full brightness until warmed up, which takes a few seconds. When you "flash" (meaning a short press on the high beam button to warn someone off), the lamp will emit a very brief burst of bright light as it ignites, but then it will be fairly dim for a while.

On our bikes, when you run high beam, the low beam remains on as well. Since low beams are HID, leaving the high beam as halogen allows me to have all options. Of course, I also have additional driving lights (some small no-brand junk on the LT and the monster PIAA's on the GS, as shown below), so a flash or continuing high beam is fairly bright. Rather bright. Ahem...

Anyway, these are all very subjective decisions. As they say, Your Mileage May Vary.

Robert in Northern NJ

'09 R12GS, '08 R12RT, '03 R1150RT, '01 F650GS - time to thin the herd?


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post #16 of 22 Old Jan 7th, 2011, 5:08 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Which HID for low beam?

My high beam is H3.

I'll scan around and see if H11 fits my headlight.

Best from tucson
Bob

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post #17 of 22 Old Jan 7th, 2011, 5:17 pm
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Re: Which HID for low beam?

Quote:
Originally Posted by BecketMa
My high beam is H3. ...
Ooops, my bad, you are right. I must have confused it with something else, H11 may be for the GS high beam.

In the LT-land, H3 was used up to 2003 model year, H9 from 2004 on, according to Wunderlich.

You will need to replace the lamp with the same type of bulb as the one you already have. Just for what it's worth, I retrofitted the Optilux fog lights on my GS with H3 HID's and they did fit right in, no modifications were necessary.
This indicates that getting that into the LT should be no problem either - as long as the wire end of the bulb does not interfere with the backshell of the light assembly.

Robert in Northern NJ

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post #18 of 22 Old Jan 7th, 2011, 6:30 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Which HID for low beam?

I looked on MAX BMW's on line site and found two components listed that make the fitting the H3 goes into.

My guess is that might enable one to make the adapter to use the H3
Best from Tucson
Bob

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post #19 of 22 Old Jan 8th, 2011, 12:19 am
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Re: Which HID for low beam?

I went with DDM - 5000K

1. 55W low beam H7
2. 35W high beam H3

formerly had Hella 4300K - I am much more happy with the 5000K
however I might give the 4500K a chance.

As for blinding people with the 55W at night all I did was adjust the low beam
down and no one flashes me. The real reason I went with 55W was for
day time conspicuity anyway and it works!!

I might switch back to the halogen for the high beam as the HID is very
vertical however it does put out a great deal of light way down field in front.
As for flashing other people with a High Beam HID don't really understand
what people are talking about - all the oncoming vehicles will see is an HID
not up to full brightness flickering and they should get the message you are
trying to convey - who cares if the bulb is not up to full potential for that
particular purpose!! When operating at full brightness you of course get a
great deal more vision down field!!! When running with the 55W in the low
beam you really do not need to put on the hight beam all that much either.

Just visited DDM and several of the bike products are out of stock!!
Also their bulbs are not really replaceable as I recall they are wired into
the harness. I paid $62.50 which included shipping for everything. I might
just buy a spare 55W unit for replacement in the event the bulb burns out.

My 2 cents . . .

Dan Finazzo
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post #20 of 22 Old Jan 8th, 2011, 1:05 am
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Re: Which HID for low beam?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dfinazzo
Also their bulbs are not really replaceable as I recall they are wired into
the harness
Not true, DDM and others HID capsules are wired with corresponding male/female water proof connectors on @ 6" pig tails.

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post #21 of 22 Old Jan 8th, 2011, 7:56 am
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Re: Which HID for low beam?

Quote:
Originally Posted by BecketMa
I looked on MAX BMW's on line site and found two components listed that make the fitting the H3 goes into.

My guess is that might enable one to make the adapter to use the H3
Best from Tucson
Bob
Bob, checking with one of the parts lookup sites.. 99-04 lo-H3, hi-H7 05-09 lo-H7, hi-H9 I have a DDM in my 05LT lo beam and several of my buddies as well.. I also added a set in my Expedition ! so I have no reason not to trust them so far !! Also I would recommend to NOT add the high beam as a HID for all the reasons above, and I do recommend adding one of the hi-beam flasher units for daytime safety !! I can tell you people in vehicles do notice you and actually move over a bit most often !!! Well worth the few dollars ! The low beam is not a bad install in any case with only a hole for the grommet cable to exit. Also as some have mentioned in other posts, if you have a 99-04 make sure you REALLY INSPECT the ground wire inside the headlight assembly for discoloration and even replace the connection if you suspect it at all.. I have made repairs to 2 of them now where both lights fail once this wire goes bad !

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post #22 of 22 Old Jan 8th, 2011, 3:51 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Which HID for low beam?

Many thanks for everyone's time. the informative information and suggestions.

I looked up the price for the back headlight cover and was shocked that it is less than $20

I figured that if I was going to order that that I should order the valve cover gasket at the same time.

That's when I went into SHOCK!!! $52.00!!!! Holy Crap Batman!

The first time I checked the buckets, I ordered two valve cover gaskets--force of habit; one for each jug. Now I know it didn't cost $100 for two.

Time to look for used ones?

Anyone into organizing a group buy?

Best from Tucson
Bob

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