What Are HID Lights?
You're driving down the street at night with your headlamps on, their glorious golden light breaking through the darkness ahead. From behind a vehicle passes you at breakneck speed and you glimpse the aura of light ahead of it. It's not golden light that illuminates the road, its white light with a bluish tint from the vehicles headlamps. What is producing that strange color? And why is the light so much brighter than the average halogen bulb that produces a yellow/golden light?
High Intensity Discharge Kit- HID Kits & Accessories
The newest light technology on the road today is High-Intensity Discharge headlamps, known as HIDs. These lamps produce more light for a given level of power consumption than ordinary tungsten and halogen bulbs. HIDs are commonly referred to as "xenon headlamps" because they contain xenon gas which is ionized by a spark, similar to how spark plugs work. The light output from HIDs is 2,800-3,500 lumens at 35-38 watts while halogen bulbs produce 700-2,100 lumens at 40-72 watts. Not only are HIDs brighter than standard bulbs they are also more energy efficient.
High-Intensity Discharge headlamps require ballasts which stabilize and restrict the electric current that reaches the bulbs. Lastly an ignitor is used which is either integrated into the bulb or the ballast that triggers the xenon gas to react, thus producing light. The greatest advantage of HID headlamps is that they offer substantially greater light output than halogen bulbs which contribute to safer driving. The average service life of a xenon bulb is 2000 hours of operation compared to the 500-1000 hours of a halogen lamp. Most luxury vehicles come with HID lamps preinstalled in special housings that direct the light with pinpoint accuracy. Kits have been created to install these High-Intensity Discharge headlamps into vehicles that run halogen bulbs. However it is advised that projector headlamp housings be purchased to reduce glare for oncoming traffic.
**Although Aftermarket HIDs greatly improve visibily they are only intended for OFF ROAD USE. They are not DOT approved and you can be ticketed for using them on public roads. Make sure to check local laws for further information.**
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Written By: Kyle Duffy