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HID & LED. A better understanding
 

HID Lighting
HID (High Intensity Discharge) light bulbs produce light by creating an electrical arc across two electrodes, resulting in a much greater light output than traditional halogen bulbs. Each HID bulb receives power from a ballast unit which provides the high voltage required by the bulb to create the initial electrical arc. Once operational, the power requirements drop and the bulb maintains its electrical arc with only a fraction of power a halogen uses

HID bulbs are filled with Xenon gas so they are usually referred to as "Xenon Lights". Xenon lights produce more natural, daylight-like, light compared to halogen lights which tend to have a yellow hue to them. HID Bulbs increase peripheral visibility up to 70% more than halogen bulbs and provide over minimum 3x more illuminated coverage than stock lighting. The onus is on the purchaser to check with their relevant state laws in regards to after market HID replacements as each state is different

Here are some little known facts about HID lighting Kits
90% of all HID aftermarket kits are manufactured in China.
They range from really cheap and bad, to quite excellent in quality.
All HID kits these days are described and sold in Watts eg) 35W kit, 50W kit and such. And whilst this is the industry standard, it does not represent their true output.
Q.What does 50w mean?
Q.How much brighter is it than the 35w kit?
Q.Will it warrant the extra expense to upgrade?

It is far more accurate to measure these kits in Lumens output.
*Lumen is a unit of measurement of light output or brightness and watt is a measurement of power being used. Traditional 100w halogen light produces around 1700 lumens at the source, while HID outfitted lights can output up to and beyond 6000 lumens each at less power. The key to this is Lumen per watt efficiency (Lm/w). Some of the cheaper HID kits around have a very low efficiency rating, and though they draw 50watts of power, they may only produce enough light to match a highly efficient 35w kit in output lumens. Its like arguing over who's car uses the most petrol but has less Horsepower.

Halogen lamps are very inefficient, with a 100W bulb producing 1700 lumens at only 17% efficiency, 17 lumens per watt. That’s 83% inefficient and converting the wasted output into heat. These HID kits produce around 87% efficiency, 87 lumens per watt. eg) 35w x 87 = 3045 Lumens with only 13% inefficiency converting to heat, which is why HID lights run cooler than halogens of the same Lumen output even though they run at many times less their power.

Digital Vs Analogue ballasts
We use mostly digital ballasts with our kits as they use high tech circuitry to regulate and chop the current waveform and are faster to warm up as well as being able to regulate the current a lot closer making them more efficient in terms of power used vs light output. You will notice a digital ballast will ramp up the HID lamp in rougher stages. Analogue ballasts use a choke/capacitor method to regulate their current and a longer warm up time is dependent on choke saturation. You will notice a Analogue ballast will ramp up the HID lamp in a more smooth fading motion.

Canbus Ballasts
Some high end newer vehicles post 2012 will have what is called Canbus monitoring. What this means is the vehicles intelligent computer sends out a frequency pulse down all light supply circuits, and since halogen bulbs are a filament it should continue through the bulb and receive the same frequency back on the return line. This will tell the driver if there is a broken bulb somewhere as it will flash an error code if the circuit is broken and it  does not receive the pulse back. HID kits are open circuit relying on an arc between the electrodes and therefore the code will be interrupted. Special Canbus ballasts are made for this type of vehicle in which they have a specified resistance built in that they send back on the input return line to mimic and trick the vehicle into thinking it still has halogen bulbs so no error codes should appear.

HID and heat
There is a misconception here and many would like you to believe that HID's run cooler than their Halogen counterparts. This is not entirely true and we have run independent tests of our own to show that HID lights will produce the same amount of radiant heat as the same wattage Halogen they are replacing. The difference is for example: a 70W HID lamp outputs around the same amount of light as a 600W halogen but it will run much cooler than the 600W halogen, it will not run cooler than the 70W halogen bulb it is replacing.
Click HERE  to view our video testing on various powered HID kits in relation to heat as well as current draw.



UV Radiation
All HID lamps produce UV radiation, its part of the make up of  HID Xenon gas. The outer glass shield of the lamp is made of quartz glass which is a natural UV suppressant , however it will not eliminate it all together. This is the reason why we have specific kits for vehicles and driving lights. Better made lights that have double chromium coated steel reflectors like the Hella 4000 will handle the aggressive 100W HID kits with their UV, but the paper thin plastic reflector of the Lightforce products will not and they can suffer from bleaching over time. We completely rendered 4 x Lightforce Striker 170 lights useless in 6 weeks of normal driving with 100W HID fitted. There was not one shiny spot of silver left on the reflector. The same goes for cars. The older style headlights with thicker chromed reflectors and glass lenses will handle up to 70W HID but the new cars on the market with thinner reflectors and lexan lenses will show up with bleach marks over time.

There are 2 ways to coat a reflector with chrome
1. Electro plating: depositing a physical deposition of Chromium onto the surface of the reflector material. This process can be repeated resulting in a thicker coating which is more hardier in protecting against harmful UV radiation. Lights like Hella 4000 and IPF and some of the older vehicle headlights use this type of process
2. Chromium Oxide wash: This is a 2 part chemical reaction taken place on the surface of the reflector. It is microns thin and cannot be built up easily. It is not thick enough to handle larger aggressive amounts of UV which the higher powered HID kits produce. LF and most OEM vehicle manufacturers use this type of process as it is cheaper and faster to produce. We have tested these vehicles or driving lights with our highest power kits till they fail and then we step it down a notch for reliability. Duty cycle comes also into play. EG) The Toyota 200 series we have kits up to 70W for the high beam but only 35W or 55W for the low beam. This is because the amount of times the highbeam is used over the low beam is much less. If we had a 70W low beam where most of the driving is done then we would expect some reflector damage over time.

I have researched these kits over the years to find the right supplier who produces the best value per output kits on the market today. All my kits have been personally tested by me for output Lm/W as well as longevity and vibration resistance. All the kits I sell have been tested in a calibrated sphere for lumens output, so you will know what you are buying. These kits are ECU and MOTEC friendly and are output protected, unlike some of the cheaper units which can send back EMF and produce a high voltage spike into the cars electrical system with disastrous results.

As with any modification to a vehicles electrical system, the onus is on the owner/installer in regards to interfacing or voiding any vehicle warranties and is done at the owner’s risk. It is also the purchasers obligation to check with their state laws in regards to legal fitment of HID lighting into their vehicle.

RF Interference
These kits may induce some noise in some vehicle AM radio channels dependent on signal strength, as they operate on the Kilo Hertz range, though it is dependent on Vehicle design, radio quality and grounding characteristics. FM bands are largely unaffected so far. 99% of pre 2011 vehicles won't experience this as they are in the Mega Hertz band, though we have lately heard from customers which have experienced this on FM bands. This seems to be governed on vehicle types which leads us to believe this is more to do with the individual car build itself and poor SNR (signal to noise ratio) We were running up to 9 x HID ballasts on our 1999 Patrol and did not experience any noise on our FM radio until our signal strength diminished due to extended country driving. Vehicles experiencing uncomfortable radio noise may be better suited to older analogue ballasts or fittment of low pass filters on the radio input side. Also with newer vehicles 2011 onwards we have noticed that standard OEM radios are much less equiped to handle static noise of HID installations. This is primarily due to much newer and EMC quieter diode pack ignition coils fitted to new vehicles these days. New vehicles fitted with OEM HID lighting will have low pass filters fitted to filter out inducted noise, where as vehicles with after market HID kits fitted will not have these filters and can result in noisy AM and FM radio stations. This is also directly proportional to the power of the HID kit as well. A 35W may give a slight hiss on a radio channel, where as a 100W ballast may cause significantly more static due to its more powerfull agressive power factor curve. We have had kits that were noisy in customers cars but when placed in other vehicles no noise was experienced
due to better quality radio build.

CE Certificate
HID-Lightsdownunder have now been issued with a CE certificate for our HID  products which enables us to sell worldwide.
Q. What is a CE certificate?
A. CE stands for Conformité Européenne, the French phrase for European Conformity. It is a standard that applies to a wide range of objects created and sold throughout the world. The European standards are some of the stringent throughout the world and our kits have had to be tested by an independent 3rd party assessor to qualify. CE certification is also very important to companies outside the EU who wish to export goods into any of the applicable countries.

CE certification is designed to protect consumers by regulating products to reduce possible dangers to people and the environment. Products that pose toxic hazards to people, products that may have a hazardous effect on the environment or affect pollution levels, and products that may produce unwanted magnetic fields.


HID Lamp Colours
HID lamps come in different colours expressed in Kelvin Temperature or K rating ie) 4300K, 5000K.
The Kelvin Colour Temperature Chart below depicts the hues / colours that can be projected by your HID system. It provides measurements in Degrees Kelvin (K) and illustrates the different colours emitted at different levels of colour temperatures.  The colour is determined by what type and percentage of metallic salt gas is blended with the Xenon gas. Sulphur gasses will head towards the yellow spectrum and Mercury derirative (Argon) gasses towards blue. After the lamps are manufactured they are sorted into their Kelvin ratings via a spectrometer
and those which are out of spec ie) 4250K or 4700K are sold off to the cheaper sellers, which is why when some people buy a bargain cheap kit from China they find their lamps do not match in colour.



It is a common misconception that higher colour temperatures (K’s) produce brighter lights. This is not true. The colour temperature only determines the colour, not the brightness of the HID light. The Colour Temperature is simply a scale represented by the Kelvin Temperature Chart (hence the abbreviation “K” or “K’s”) as depicted above that measures the colour of the light output. Typically, the higher the colour temperature, the closer you get to achieving bluish to purplish light colours and the lower the lumens output. We only sell from 4300K to 6000K as anything above or below them is useless for performance lighting. A good guide to choosing colour is to determine what type of terrain and weather conditions you will mainly be driving in. Our eyes are perceptive to light reflection, thats how we see. Roads and trees that are wet absorb light and do not reflect the light back to you. 6000k is not a good choice then as the blue hue in that spectrum is the first colour to be absorbed and the roads will look dim. Stick with the 4300k or 5000k. Colours may vary slightly due to reflector material or lens quality.
If the area you are driving in is predominately dry then 5000k to 6000k is a good option. For those who just want good light without having to spend too much time nutting out driving conditions, stick in the middle with 5000k. Its like the chicken parma safety meal of all pub meals.



Why choose us
 
Why should we choose your HID kits when there are others that look the same but cheaper?

 Not all ballasts are the same though they may look it. All the HID manufacturers are electronic based companies, they do not have metal foundries in them. They buy the cast metal ballast cases from other companies and then design their boards and components to fit inside. Just because they look the same on the out side does not mean they have the same componetry inside. Electronic components have a tolerance rating ie) 5% or 10%. It means their capacitors and resistors and associated components are around 5% or 10% accurate to where they should be in terms of measured output. The wider the tolerence the cheaper the components and the sooner they will drift from their operating parrameters and cause faults. Our manufacturer uses the highest quality stringent components in their build process which means fewer headaches for you and us.


LED Lighting

LED (Light Emitting Diode) is the new benchmark in vehicle lighting. Manufacturers have come along way since the old Galium arsenide junction clear led. These newer based Phosphor die led's produce far more lumens per watt and have reached a higher light output making them suitable for auxilary lighting. Led lights are a short to medium range light, their beam wave length spectrum and reflector/lens size just will not carry them over longer distances like the HID's. This is why you need a number of them to reach the lumens output of a similar Hid
Eg) 1 x 35W HID lamp produces 3400 Lumens of light. You need 13 x 3W leds to reach the same amount of light.
Like HID's, not all Led's are the same. There are a few manufacturers making Led's, Cree Ltd being one of the better ones.
a Cree 3W led will emit  up to and over 200 lumens per led whilst a cheaper Chinese brand of led will only emit 150-180 lumens for the same wattage rated led.
We only use Cree Led's in our products.
When Led's are manufactured, their outputs can vary from Eg) 200 lumens - 250 lumens each led These are then batch tested and sorted into various groups in respect to chromaticity (color) and luminous flux (brightness).
200-210 lumens
215-220 lumens
225-250 lumens
This is called "Binning" and they are sold with a Bin code for manufacturers to use.

Whilst the big boys like Philips and Osram have the pick of the Binning bunch due to their massive buying power, our manufacturer pretty much gets second choice, so our led's have a higher Bin rate than most led light bars out there
Led's are a very efficient light source up to over 90% lumens per watt output. They have extremely small radiant heat though their junction point (at the source) can get up to hundreds of degrees, which is why they need large aluminium heatsinks to run reliably and efficiently

Life expectency
Most light manufacturers that make Led bars and worklights will advertise 50,000 hrs life on their Led product. This is pure BullShit.
50,000Hrs is a claim that the led manufacturer itself (Cree) makes when the Led is thermally mated to a heatsink of their nominated size and in a temperature controlled room and thats still with a 20% certainty of error margin. This means when you have for Eg) 100 leds on a test bench thermally mated to their own big heatsink and over time 20% of them fail. This is the life time frame they are given.
When you start mounting them side by side on a thin aluminium LED off road bar this 50,000hrs diminishes. 50,000Hrs equates to 5.7 years of constant on, and led light bars have not been out for that long, so i doubt that any led light bar has been tested continuously for 1 year let alone 5.7 years. Besides its not ususally the led that fails anyway but rather the driver circuit that runs them. So the theoretical fact is, We cant tell you how long our Led's will last. We have been selling our Led based lights for over 3 years and have had no warranty returns as yet, so i'm forecasting they're fairly reliable.

RF interference
Most high performance Offroad LED light bar products may cause some static on radio frequencies. This is because they are powered by a circuit known as PWM (Pulse Width Modulation). What this means is they overdrive the led for as fraction of a second in pulses. This lets the led cool down between strikes so they wont burn out but it lets the manufacturer squeeze out every bit of lumens from the led's. This happens many times a second and it is way too fast for your eyes to see this. This is why some of the better led bar manufacturers of high end light bars and ours have some of the brightest led bars available. Our led bars will also have this circuit which may cause interference on some FM radios as this is in the Mhz range. This is really only present in weak radio signal areas like rural or mountainous areas

UV Radiation
Led's do not produce UV radiation of any significant level

Light colour
All our high performance Led bars are around the +6000K colour, we are working on clip on colour filters for them at the moment which may lend them towards fog and snow driving.

Use of and benefits
Due to their limited spectrum in regards to range and depth, for road use we suggest using them in a ballanced lighting system to maximise their efficiency. Eg: Combo beam pattern which blends an extreme short range spread with a medium range projection. This should provide excellent lighting out to 100 meters where coupled with a good set of HID driving lights can take over from there. Our Led light products, when properly set up together will provide a well balanced seamless light output which smoothly blends into each other without hotspots or beam artifacts. Our led bars will provide a huge ball of light where the outer edges of the beam spectrum are the same brightness as the centre thus creating a more comfortable driving style where you are not trying to squint in the hot spots or try to see through the beam shadows. The most complaints we hear from 4WD drivers at shows is that most of the consumer based led bars that are produced today seem to emphasise too much on distance rather than close range spread. We can custom tailor any led light bar for whatever range and spread the customer requires. Nothing worse then not being able to see the drop off at night when your wheels are contouring it.


One of our Led light bars custom made for a customer with Led's in yellow squares wearing full spread beam lenses for close vehicle edge lighting



* See our Testimonial / demonstration page for Led lightbar output photos.




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HID - LightsdownunderHID & LED. A better understandingProductsWarranty details & Return policyTestimonials / Photo GalleryAbout UsContact Us & Links