PDA

View Full Version : Embarrassingly dim HID's



Xerophile
02-16-2005, 05:18 PM
So, my car (2000 A4, stock HID's) has a ton of miles on it and I've had it for almost exactly 5 years.

Recently, I've noticed that my lights are really, really dim, well, at least for HID's. I've been sitting at a stop light and seen new cars with halogens that are way brighter than my lights are, both in terms of range and intensity. My first thought was that it was simply the bulbs. So, I borrowed some from a friend with a newer car, (still D2S bulbs obviously) and they were a little better, but not hugely better and not as bright as they were in his car.

So, what I am wondering, do ballasts go bad? Is my wiring developing an issue? They still light and fire up just fine, but they are just dim. My housings are pretty dinged up after 5 years in New England, would that have that much effect on the light output?

A4 in SC
02-16-2005, 05:44 PM
You'd be very surprised at how much 'dinged' up housings can hinder the performance of your lights.

I bought a set of the X Pel covers for my E-Codes and S4 fogs. I don't want to replace any of them, any time soon.

I could be very wrong, but I don't think that bulbs or ballasts 'wear out'. They're either good or bad. I don't think there's an 'in-between'.

Mike

Daft
02-16-2005, 06:21 PM
Actually, bulbs wear out.

The standard D2S bulbs is only designed to last for a total of 3000hrs of operation but it's light output will ddrop by 25% after 1500hrs of operation. A bulb that produces 3200lm of light would only produce 2400lm at that point.

With ballasts, you mostly encounter failure as a whole when they wear out. Often times the ballast will shut down as part of a protection feature to prevent a high voltage arc. There are a small percentage of instances where the ballast can become worn just enough to effect light output after warmup, the only problem here is that this doesn't happen in pairs.

I'd be most likely to assume that either the headlight lenses are clouded with stone chips or the reflective coating on the projectors has turned black and now is absorbing more light than reflecting it.

The blackened reflector problem occurs alot on the valeo projectors after a few years of use.

If you tried newer bulbs and there was no change, (hopefully you changed one bulb and checked it against the other original one) then you can easily rule that out.

Xerophile
02-16-2005, 06:43 PM
Originally posted by Daft
Actually, bulbs wear out.

The standard D2S bulbs is only designed to last for a total of 3000hrs of operation but it's light output will drop by 25% after 1500hrs of operation. A bulb that produces 3200lm of light would only produce 2400lm at that point.

With ballasts, you mostly encounter failure as a whole when they wear out. Often times the ballast will shut down as part of a protection feature to prevent a high voltage arc. There are a small percentage of instances where the ballast can become worn just enough to effect light output after warmup, the only problem here is that this doesn't happen in pairs.

I'd be most likely to assume that either the headlight lenses are clouded with stone chips or the reflective coating on the projectors has turned black and now is absorbing more light than reflecting it.

The blackened reflector problem occurs alot on the valeo projectors after a few years of use.

If you tried newer bulbs and there was no change, (hopefully you changed one bulb and checked it against the other original one) then you can easily rule that out.

Ahh, I had not heard of the blackened reflector/projector issue. That would make sense. I guess now is as good a time as any to invest in some ecodes. [:D] I really didn't think that it was very likely that it would be a ballast issue, that was my last guess. Bulbs, yeah, I could see that being the case, even just seriously chipped/clouded housing, but I guess even in that case, I'd still be looking at new enclosures anyway. Thanks Daft, as well as A4 in SC, appreciate the feedback/suggestions.

A4 in SC
02-16-2005, 08:09 PM
Cool. Me neither. Like I said, I didn't know if the bulbs would wear or not. I was pretty sure the ballasts were either good or bad though.

I didn't know about the reflectors turning black either.

Again, Daft, thanks!!!

Kyhai
02-16-2005, 09:55 PM
if that's the case, does OEM HIDs also dim as you use it past 3k hours?

drlandry00
02-16-2005, 10:09 PM
hey i have a 2000 a4, are HID's the same as xenon?? i have read almost every post on this and I cant seem to connect the two... i have the xenon in my 2000, kinda blueish lights with the projector.. thanks boys

organasised
02-17-2005, 03:00 AM
Originally posted by drlandry00
, are HID's the same as xenon??

Yup same thing

Daft
02-17-2005, 07:49 AM
HID stands for High Intensity Discharge. All HID bulbs for automotive use currently contain xenon gas as a medium for the electrical arc in the bulb.

Xenon gas light and HID light are one in the same.


All OEM HID bulbs pretty much fall into the 3000hr category for life span, regardless of whether they are made by Philips or Osram.

Non-OEM bulbs have a shorter life than that dues to several variables (xenon gas quantity, capsule build quality, manufacturing processes, etc..). This is why I always stick with OEM made bulbs and ballasts. Any bulb that is NOT made by Philips or Osram is a aftermarket part and is not made to the same build quality of an OEM bulb.

The only kit that I would ever buy is one that uses OEM bulbs and ballasts but, has some aftermarket harnesses to connect the 12V electrical connections. Obviously, wiring isn't as prone to lousy quality.

Xerophile
03-02-2005, 08:31 PM
Originally posted by Daft

I'd be most likely to assume that either the headlight lenses are clouded with stone chips or the reflective coating on the projectors has turned black and now is absorbing more light than reflecting it.

The blackened reflector problem occurs alot on the valeo projectors after a few years of use.


Well, it was either the stone chips, or the projector, I'm going to say projector, but I got some new headlight assemblies and WOW! back to normal. What a weird issue, who would have known? Besides you. [hail]

Anyway, so as a general FYI for anyone who thinks that their HID's are dim, don't rule out needing new projectors/assemblies.

Thanks again Daft.

quickglx
03-02-2005, 09:33 PM
I remember reading almost the exact same thread a few days ago...

You could have just gotten new projectors for your old housings, but then again you'd still want to polish the nicks out of the lens. I think all that work is worth the extra cheese of just buying new housings. I'd like to put some s2k projectors in as these tiny valeos just don't have the output I'd like to see. Maybe something bixenon would be nice too, but right now I just don't have the time.

SoloSpeed101
03-02-2005, 09:50 PM
i have a set of hella d2s/r ballasts if you need them...

Xerophile
03-03-2005, 06:56 AM
Originally posted by quickglx
I remember reading almost the exact same thread a few days ago...

You could have just gotten new projectors for your old housings, but then again you'd still want to polish the nicks out of the lens. I think all that work is worth the extra cheese of just buying new housings. I'd like to put some s2k projectors in as these tiny valeos just don't have the output I'd like to see. Maybe something bixenon would be nice too, but right now I just don't have the time.

Yeah, I was really hoping that this would work as my old housings were trashed. The tabs up top were broken and the bottom mount by the quarter panel was broken as well(old accident). Also, the front plastic was really chipped and scratched. So, I was going to need new housings anyway and I got some 2000 S4 housings for about half the cost of E-Codes, which I really wanted, and cheaper is still cheaper. As far as I can tell,t he ballasts (Valeo's) are still good and the less I need to replace, the better in my book.