HID Kits - What are they and what do they do?
HID – Hig Intensity Discharge – A lighting system consisting of 2 bulbs, 2 ballasts and 2 starters. HID kits are designed to last longer, shine brighter and out perform any other lighting equipment on the market. HID kits are a complete replacement to your existing headlight bulb, yet are extremely easy to install.
The HID kit has 3 pieces; a starter, a ballast and a bulb. That starter takes the signal from the vehicle (your headlight plug) and quickly sends it to the ballast. The ballast then amplifies the signal to a high current and sends it to the HID bulb. The plug in HID bulb receives the signal and creates the light.
The bulb of an HID kit does not have a filament. Instead is filled with a mixture of gases, including Xenon, and salts. When the bulb receives the amplified power from the ballast, it energizes the gases in the bulb creating a white / blue high charge light output. The color varies, depending on the Kelvin (K) / Color Temperature of the kit. More on this below.
Benefits of a HID Lighting System
HID kits dramatically change the way a driver can see. It is said some 60% of accidents are caused due to poor lighting conditions. HID kits illuminate the road ahead for hundreds of feet. It is useful in rainy or wet situations where the lines are usually hard to see. Back roads are a breeze when you can see the danger ahead. These kits are also designed to last up to 10 times longer than conventional halogen bulbs. Since there is no filament to break, road bumps and shock cannot damage the lamp. If the bulb does ever have its day, it is the same as replacing a regular halogen bulb; unplug and remove. Repeat.
What is K? Color Temperature and Kelvin
A basic unit of thermodynamic temperature (color temperature) used to measure the hue (color) of the light output. Hid lighting kits are generally offered in 6000K – 9000K color ranges. The higher the Kelvin (K) of the kit, they bluer the light output is. Ideal driving ranger from an HID kit would be between 6000K and 8000K. This will closely replicate sunlight, the best driving conditions. Kits in the higher Kelvin range, 1000K +, are so blue that the light tends to scatter before hitting the road, leaving some lighting lost in the air. Although this adds a great look to the vehicle, it is not the most effective in the way of lighting.
Installing a HID Lighting System
Installing a HID kit is extremely simple and to the point. First, layout the components and find a good mounting spot for both the ballast and starter. Be sure the wiring from the both of them, including the bulb, reach without being too snug. Once you find a mounting spot, mount them securely into place. Be sure to fasten them well to the vehicle. Now, remove the stock halogen bulb from the headlight housing and unplug the plug from it. Now take that plug and plug it into the starter you just mounted. Now plug the starter into the ballast. Next, carefully plug the new bulb into the headlight housing. It should go in the same way the old one came out. Once securely fastened into place, with all rubber garments reconnected, plug the ballast into the bulb. You may have to adjust the headlights to make the light shine evenly. When you change bulbs, sometimes the adjustment can get off. Check your manual for information. That should be it, enjoy!
Written By: Chris Glardon