Guide to H.I.D. Upgrades & Retrofitting Basics - Dodge SRT Forum
 1Likes
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 54 (permalink) Old 11-12-2009, 03:48 PM Thread Starter
SRTforums Member
 
-ND4SPD-'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 4,571
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Guide to H.I.D. Upgrades & Retrofitting Basics

Here's my attempt at assisting some of you with choosing the right pieces parts for the job. I'll attempt to explain things very basically here as many of these topics can get very technical. If you're looking for further explanations I'd recommend you check out HIDplanet or Automotive Lighting FAQ's as there's a wealth of endless knowledge available there for your viewing pleasure.

Please Note: I've quoted those who've simply worded things better then I could have, I've also placed links to other valuable resources for you to explore. Everything I say here is all stuff I learned from many others & appreciate them spending the time to break it down for me. As a result I'm returning the favor & doing the same for you. Enjoy!

What are HID's?

Stands for High Intensity Discharge. It's when Metal Halide Salts are juiced with 27,000 volts which causes the change in state from a salt to a gas producing the light we see. There's a misunderstanding that HID's run hotter then halogen. This is probably assumed because brighter usually means hotter. Not in this case, after the initial jolt, HID's don't use or produce much power/ heat... they usually run cooler! The light that HID's produce is much brighter & closer to the color/ temp of daylight thus making nighttime driving safer. This also makes upgrading to HID's desirable as well. Seriously, if you need a better summary, just Google it.

OEM vs Aftermarket

Many people praise the reliability, quality, & consistancy of products made by Original Equipment Manufactures (OEM). This means that fenders made by Dodge probably fit better then fenders made by Certafit. The same goes for HID's as well. Ballast made by Phillips Or Mitsubishi (Germany & Japan) are generally better quality then ballast's made in China.

Now, there are aftermarket products that can be pretty good & OEM stuff that's just average so this is where research plays a role. In general it's a good guide to start with.

Ballast Choices

Ballasts are basically used to send 27,000 volts to the bulbs upon start up. All OEM ballast's put out 35 Watts while some aftermarket ballasts pust out 35, 50, or 55 Watts. Although more watts does produce more light, they also can cause a more yellow color/ tint, shorter bulb life, as well as running 10+ degree's hotter.



OEM Ballasts

Here are a few common or popular OEM's.

Matsushita Gen 3 (found on many newer Nissan & Infinfity's) $175-200-ish


Mitsubishi Gen 4 (found on Honda, Acura, & some Mitsubishi's) $175-$200-ish


Aftermarket Ballasts $80 - $100-ish
If you're going to get an aftermarket ballast then ensure 3 things
- They are digital & not analog
- They are "potted" or in other words waterproof. Some have waterproof cases you can get for them.
- They have a good warantee of 1+ years

Basically all aftermarket ballast's are made at a handfull of factories in China. They are then re-badged & sold to many middle men accross the world. This includes companies like McCullough, ProLumen, etc... The name doesn't ensure a better product, just more mark-up on the price. The quality can vary greatly so research the seller & look for example pics as well as reviews by people actually using their products. Also know that you may need an adaptor to used these in a retrofitted projector down the road (more info below under Wiring Harness).

Digital Slim 35w Ballast & Bulbs
I like these because they are very small in size so finding a place to stick them is easy. They come with a good warantee thus making the risk almost nothing for the price. The price includes bulbs but they aren't anything to get excited about quality-wise. Some kits will include extra's like a relay harness so factor that into your price comparisons.



Bulb Choices

Again, OEM is considered to be much better quality & consistantly produce athe same output & pattern. Phillips & Osram are considered the best & are used in 90% of all cars made with HID's from the factory.

D2R= for use in reflector headlights (think R= Reflector)
D2S= for use in projector headlights (these are what you'll need)

Here's a comparison of Aftermarket vs OEM Bulb


Aftermark bulbs (the kind that usually come with aftermarket HID Kits) are junk. If you must put HID's into the stock headlights then use a phillips or Osram bulb that's been "re-based" into a standard 9007 bulb socket.

Kelvin = Measure of Color Temperature
Lumens = Measure of Brightness

4300K is what most BMW's, Mercedes, Acura's, etc... use. This is also the Kelvin Temp that produces the most Lumens. The most popular OEM bulb is the Phillips 85122 (4100K). As bulbs get older their color temp "shifts" higher slightly. If you replace a burnt out bulb with a new one, you'll norice the difference. That's why Phillips has the 85122+ (4300K) bulbs. They come already color shifted to match your older bulb.

If you're looking for the absolute best lighting performance, 4300K this is your ticket.


The lower the Kelvin, the more Yellow the light will appear. The higher the Kelvin, the more Blue/ Purple they'll appear. Either higher or lower & you will loose Lumen's thus a reduction in lighting performance.

Here's is where many people will need to make a choice or a compromise. Looks vs Performance.

Yellow:
1500 k Candlelight
2700-2900 k Yellow painted fog halogen bulbs
-------------------------------
Yellowish white:
3200 k Sunrise/sunset
3200 k Premium non painted halogen bulb <--- Close to stock
3400 k 1 hour from dusk/dawn
-------------------------------
White:
4300 k Philips/Osram OEM HID D2S <--- Most lumens available for performance
5500 k Bright sunny daylight around noon
----------------
Blueish white
5500-5600 k Electronic photo flash
6000 k Philips Ultinon HID D2S <--- Nice bulbs but $200, ouch!
6500-7500 k Overcast sky
-----------------
Blue:
9000-12000 k Blue sky
-----------------
Purple:
28000 Northern sky
12000-30000 k Ultra Violet light (black light)



Here's some OEM bulb parts numbers/ specs. Many of them can be has for much cheaper then the list prices below

John
- Mopar Stage 3 With Supporting Goodies
- Lots of Carbon Fiber
- Bunch of Darksyde Powder Coating
- Lighting Mods Out The Wazoo!

Follow me on Instagram @ND4SPD27
-ND4SPD- is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 54 (permalink) Old 11-12-2009, 03:51 PM Thread Starter
SRTforums Member
 
-ND4SPD-'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 4,571
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Projection vs Reflection

Reflector = bulb reflects light off a mirror-like reflector & outwards onto the ground. This method is only approx 27% efficient or accurate in directing light. Stray beams of light can be lost instead of focused where it should go. The pattern on the ground or walls may appear "splotchy" or "uneven" with darker & light spots.

Projector = bulb shines light outwards through a convex lense which flips & focus's the beam into an even smooth & concentrated pattern which is approx 52% efficient. There's a shield inside which blocks any light from shining above a set level (often refered to as a "cut-off"). This is to keep glare from blinding people in their rear view mirrors in front of you. The cut-off is lower on the left side of both projectors to prevent blinding passersby in the on-comming lanes. Because they're higher on the right side they can still illuminate street signs, sidewaks, etc...


Here's a comparison Haknslash did sometime back. FYI- the top pic is in the stock reflector headlight housing & the bottom is in an Acura TSX projector retrofitted


Another good example of the benefit of projectors. Look at the width & even spread of light. No light is shined above the cutoff into oncoming traffic's eyes.


Here's a video explaining/ showing aftermarket HID's being testing & legal issues.
<object width="480" height="295"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/yVuSSdZNsZw&hl=en&fs=1"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/yVuSSdZNsZw&hl=en&fs=1" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="480" height="295"></embed></object>


Color & Cutoff's

"How do I get that cool Purple/ Blue color I always see on Mercede's, BMW's, Jaguars, etc..."







Look at all the color in the cutoff while the 4300K output remains white-ish under it.



a 4300K bulb when looking directly into the cutoff

John
- Mopar Stage 3 With Supporting Goodies
- Lots of Carbon Fiber
- Bunch of Darksyde Powder Coating
- Lighting Mods Out The Wazoo!

Follow me on Instagram @ND4SPD27
-ND4SPD- is offline  
post #3 of 54 (permalink) Old 11-12-2009, 03:53 PM Thread Starter
SRTforums Member
 
-ND4SPD-'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 4,571
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Retrofitting
Most Japaneese & European manufactuors have embraced the advantages projectors provide & use them on almost all their vehicles these days. American manufactures like Ford, Chevy & Dodge unfortunately have been slow to follow suite. Although they do offer them as upgrades or as standard on their high-end luxery models. For this reason, there's a demand for putting projectors into headlights that didn't come with them originally (this is called projector retrofitting).

Projector Choices
There are many choices out there. Making a decision usually comes down to Price, Performance, & Availability. Here are a few things that make some projector more desirable then others

- Intensity (brightness)
- Beam pattern (shape of the beam pattern as well as how smooth/ even it's spread)
- Color (at the cutoff)
- Width (beam spread from side to side)
- Sharpness (sharp cutoff)

Bosch, Hella, & Valeo are european made projectors. Usually a bit lower quality, & have "open" housings which vent heat but leak light which can be an issue depending on how your construct your retro.

Koito, & Stanley are japaneese made projectors. Usually a higher quality & tend to use a clearer lense. They are "closed" housing which keep the heat in but don't let any unused light escape.

A few examples of the many different projectors & their seizes next to each other


Here's a great description of what/ why many projectors are called by an Retrofitters out there

Many projectors produce different beam shapes, width, intensity, smoothness, you name it. They can me modded for color, clarity, cutoff. Here's a great thread by JVX showing many of the different single xenon combinations HERE.

Bi-Xenon
This just means that the projector has both it's low & high beams built into one projector. This is achieved by having a solinoid inside which moves the cutoff shield lower. This allows more light to escape over it providing extra down the road lighting.




Again, another awesome thread by JVX showing numerous bi-xenon hi & low beam outputs along with the defferent lense optionsHERE


Wiring Harness
Many HID kits are Plug & Play. This means they plug into to the factory wiring, no soldering required. The problem is that most factory wiring wasn't meant to handle the HID's & can cause serious damage. Once fired up and fully running, HIDs draw around 12 amps which is fine for stock 18 gauge wiring. Upon initial fire-up HIDs draw around 30 amps until warmed up. That is way too much for the stock wiring to safely handle on a regular basis.

Dodge vehicles have had numerous reported cases of fried MFS's (multi-function switch) located in the steering column. Basically it's a circuit which the power being fed to headlights passes through. Installing a relay harness is cheap insurance to prevent such electrical failures. It may seems a bit intimidating but it's a heck of a lot easier to install then trying to track down & repair electrical gremlins.

Here's an example of a relay Harness


Here's some pics of fried headlight wiring from running HID's without a relay harness.




Although this could have gone elsewhere in this thread, I felt it was similar to planning out your wiring. Aftermarket HID Kit's use different connectors then OEM HID. In order to use OEM D2S bulbs with aftermarket Ballasts you'll need an adaptor called an "AMP to D2S".

John
- Mopar Stage 3 With Supporting Goodies
- Lots of Carbon Fiber
- Bunch of Darksyde Powder Coating
- Lighting Mods Out The Wazoo!

Follow me on Instagram @ND4SPD27

Last edited by -ND4SPD-; 11-12-2009 at 03:58 PM.
-ND4SPD- is offline  
post #4 of 54 (permalink) Old 11-12-2009, 03:55 PM Thread Starter
SRTforums Member
 
-ND4SPD-'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 4,571
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by The-Violator View Post
Ok, so I know that in order to be "cool" in the HID world, your cutoff must be as sharp as a razor blade with a bunch of pretty colors, but there's somethign I just don't get...

How the hell do you ever see a street sign at night that's at the height of say a Stop sign??? The reflector headlight housings have special refractive designs incorporated into them to throw some light upwards to light up those very signs.
Good question. The cutoff is higher on the right side of each projector. The drivers projector shines in the middle of the road & the passenger's shines on the right side of the street where most street signs & house numbers are. This light is usually enough to see for most people.

If you have Bi-Xenon's (both low & high beams in one projector) then you can flick them on to see even higher/ farther down the road.

E55 w/ Clear Lense (low beam)


E55 w/ Clear Lense (high beam)

You can view the whole thread & other bi-xenon's HERE. JVX is the master at photographing & comparing different projectors.

Now, with that being said, some manufactures build in other things to assist with this.

Like "squirl spotters". It's a hole placed in the shield that allows a small amount of light to shine above the cutoff.


Look at the RED in the pic below. This is the light that escapes through the hole


They also do things to the lense like making them frosted, dimpled, or frenzled (rings). This difuses the light which helps illumintae higher. Close up it's effects are minimal but 50ft & further back they're more helpfull. Most HID entheuiests replace these lenses with clear one's thus the sharp cutoff's you see on auto forums.

Sc430 projector w/ oem frosted lense


Sc430 projector w/ clear lense swap


Does that help? Funny thing is that most people remove/ replace these to "improve" their projectors performance by swapping lenses & covering the spotters. Doesn't seem to bother most people. I think having a seperate high beam like on the aftermarket Halo Projectors or going with a bi-xenon projector are the best measures if this is a concern.

John
- Mopar Stage 3 With Supporting Goodies
- Lots of Carbon Fiber
- Bunch of Darksyde Powder Coating
- Lighting Mods Out The Wazoo!

Follow me on Instagram @ND4SPD27

Last edited by -ND4SPD-; 11-12-2009 at 03:59 PM.
-ND4SPD- is offline  
post #5 of 54 (permalink) Old 11-12-2009, 04:36 PM
SRTforums Member
 
KoldKill's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: UT
Posts: 303
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
My god... This is infinitely helpful, after scouring this forum for days I understand SO much more now! Thank you so much!
KoldKill is offline  
post #6 of 54 (permalink) Old 11-12-2009, 07:05 PM
Super Moderator
SRT of the Month
2011 Calendar Car
 
LilSparkPlug's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: RI
Posts: 8,393
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I'm stickying this, by itself. Very nice write up
LilSparkPlug is offline  
post #7 of 54 (permalink) Old 11-12-2009, 07:12 PM Thread Starter
SRTforums Member
 
-ND4SPD-'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 4,571
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Thanks

If anyone can see something I am missing, is incomplete, or would like to see something added, just let me know & I'll do what I can.

John
- Mopar Stage 3 With Supporting Goodies
- Lots of Carbon Fiber
- Bunch of Darksyde Powder Coating
- Lighting Mods Out The Wazoo!

Follow me on Instagram @ND4SPD27
-ND4SPD- is offline  
post #8 of 54 (permalink) Old 11-14-2009, 07:12 PM
SRTforums Member
 
aww sheet's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Maryland
Posts: 4,865
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
that pretty much sums up retro info

Fast, Cheap, Reliable. you can only chose two
View Modifications
aww sheet is offline  
post #9 of 54 (permalink) Old 11-17-2009, 10:04 AM
2011 Calendar Car
SRT of the Month
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: NEOH!
Posts: 17,938
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
WOW! Strong work, John

RIP Jon Timko 1981-2011
wiggy is offline  
post #10 of 54 (permalink) Old 11-17-2009, 12:36 PM
SRTforums Member
 
BOOSTINSRT04's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Ohio
Posts: 8,043
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Nice write up!
BOOSTINSRT04 is offline  
post #11 of 54 (permalink) Old 11-20-2009, 02:37 AM
Premium Member (Lifetime)
 
haknslash's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Birmingham
Posts: 7,976
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Lifetime Premium Member
Psssh kits are where its at!
haknslash is offline  
post #12 of 54 (permalink) Old 11-20-2009, 08:28 AM Thread Starter
SRTforums Member
 
-ND4SPD-'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 4,571
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by haknslash View Post
Psssh kits are where its at!
The sarcasm is strong with this one

Hak, I know where you're going with this & understand why. HID Kit's aren't better then OEM (which I detailed above) but they do have their play in the market whether anyone likes it or not.

I could say that Carl's Jr is better then McDonalds but not everyone can afford a $6 burger before fries & a drink. Mcdonalds has cheaper made food at a cheaper price that many people don't mind.

I'm suprised you still venture over here once & a while. I've seen you be more active at HIDplanet lately as well.

John
- Mopar Stage 3 With Supporting Goodies
- Lots of Carbon Fiber
- Bunch of Darksyde Powder Coating
- Lighting Mods Out The Wazoo!

Follow me on Instagram @ND4SPD27
-ND4SPD- is offline  
post #13 of 54 (permalink) Old 11-20-2009, 10:31 AM
Premium Member (Lifetime)
 
haknslash's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Birmingham
Posts: 7,976
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Lifetime Premium Member
Yup my work keep me extremely busty as I work on military and gov't orders now. With a war going on it seems these days I work 24/7 (12 hours at the office and 4 or so at home every night). Recently got a big project finished with military and private contractors so it has free'd some time up to be able to borwse forums more. Having a 3 week old baby takes some time away too but I get on when I can

I don't like kits at all. There are a ton of cars with them around my area. Everythign from Civics to big lifted 4x4 trucks (those are the worst). Light output it horrible (hotspots, uneven distribution light pattern, tacky high kelvin) and it pisses me off when I get blinded by all the glare. They are so cheap for a reason. Because they are cheaply made using cheap process with no regard to safety. Really wished the NHSTA would crack down again and start issueing the fines to shut these manufacturers and retailers down. That's how bad I don't like them. That being said a retro could be just as dangerous if not worse since the beam is far more intense. Just gotta make sure beam is level, sturdy and not in anyones eyes but it's definitiely the way to go in regards to HID.

I'm glad to see retros still going strong on here. I remember when I first came here and took a lot of flack for trying to curve the direction people saw with HID (kit lovin). I'm glad people began to come around. A picture is worth a thousand words.
haknslash is offline  
post #14 of 54 (permalink) Old 11-20-2009, 11:07 AM Thread Starter
SRTforums Member
 
-ND4SPD-'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 4,571
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by haknslash View Post
I'm glad to see retros still going strong on here. I remember when I first came here and took a lot of flack for trying to curve the direction people saw with HID (kit lovin). I'm glad people began to come around. A picture is worth a thousand words.
That's the truth. I had no idea what a retro was till you starting posting pics (some which are used above). I had to have one after that.

As far as kits go, I see it like a progression. Many people don't just jump straight to a GT35R turbo kit. Often they do some bolts on's, start playing with tuning, then try a decent size turbo & later go for the goods as they learn & the budget permits. Many people start with an HID Kit, then use that with a retro, & then start swapping out components for upgrading etc...

I wish everyone could have a retro but we all know that price is a factor for many so doing it in stages is the only option. That's why I also encourage DIY'ers & help them learn as I'd rather give up my secrets & loose money then they not do it right or not at all. Besides, it's not like I'm making a living off this, I barely make a profit with all the custom parts I have made to go along with the R&D costs.

Despite the tough times the demand for Retro's right now is high. I have to turn potential customer away daily. These things are time consuming & really require a lot of attention to detail. I enjoy it & still I learn something new every week.

BTW Hak- if you every want to helf design a 3D shroud/ bezel combo that will house a TL & bolts up to the factory mounting points... let me know.

John
- Mopar Stage 3 With Supporting Goodies
- Lots of Carbon Fiber
- Bunch of Darksyde Powder Coating
- Lighting Mods Out The Wazoo!

Follow me on Instagram @ND4SPD27

Last edited by -ND4SPD-; 11-20-2009 at 11:21 AM.
-ND4SPD- is offline  
post #15 of 54 (permalink) Old 11-20-2009, 12:20 PM
Premium Member (Lifetime)
 
haknslash's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Birmingham
Posts: 7,976
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Lifetime Premium Member
I can help with the design. I can reverse engineer anything as it's part of what I do at my work. I haz 3D scanner and all the shiz so just let me know. About half a year ago I helped design velocity stacks for the Honda Superhawk crowd and optimized them in CFD flow analysis. Then a few guys stepped up and had 20 sets machined from billet aluminum. Helped them pick up a few ponies and much better throttle response.

The original stacks were from a design of disconitnued Moriwaki (primo honda top shelf parts) VTR velocity stacks for the Superhawk guys. I took them one step further and increase better flow characterisitics using CFD.






Last edited by haknslash; 11-20-2009 at 12:24 PM.
haknslash is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Reply

User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode



Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome