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redpoint5 03-17-2018 02:05 PM

Cheapo HID Headlight Efficiency
I've only ever bought cheapo HID ballast/igniter combos. My last pair were only $30 shipped. I expected them to be fairly poor quality at that price. I'll usually lose a ballast after about 6 years of use. The HIDs were rated at 35 watts, 4500k color, and purchased from DDM Tuning.

I measured the current consumption last night and was shocked to find that 1 light pulled 47 watts! It didn't matter much what voltage I ran it. I measured current and voltage 3 different ways, and on 2 different power sources, and they all showed about 47 watts consumption after 5 minutes runtime. This is the same wattage as a halogen while barely outputting more light.

I'm willing to pay a bit more for lights that last longer and are more efficient. If they last a long time, I think it justifies the extra expense since I could even put them in a different vehicle if I sold the car.

My Prius came with H11 projector halogens, so I'm looking to replace the lights with something compatible with H11 and projectors. Is now the time to go LED rather than HID? Any recommendations for either LED or HIDs that are reasonably priced, long lasting, efficient, and put out more light than standard halogens?

ksa8907 03-17-2018 02:51 PM

I don't think I would ever use aftermarket headlights, that said, i do greatly prefer HID over halogen.

redpoint5 03-17-2018 03:09 PM

The cheapo $30 HIDs I'm running are an improvement over the nearly worthless halogen that came stock. They work well in the projector housing with excellent beam pattern and cuttoff. I'm currently running 1 halogen and 1 HID since a ballast just died, and the beam patterns are identical, with more light output coming from the HID.

That said, I went to the "expert" candlepowerforums, but the mods censor discussion so much that there is no useful info. They only allow discussions that support their belief that HIDs are an inferior intermediate technology between halogen and LED. While HID likely is an intermediate technology, it would be good to learn what makes a good vs bad ballast, and who makes good kits.

twj347 03-17-2018 03:37 PM

Have you considered HIR lamps (Halogen Infrared)? They're a relatively new type of halogen that produce about 50% more light per watt than regular halogens, and they have a good hour rating. I used some 9006 HIR replacements in an Acura Integra for about 6 years before I sold the car. I think they were the same wattage as stock (55W?), but quite a bit brighter. I don't know if you'll be able to find some that are lower wattage than stock.

redpoint5 03-17-2018 04:55 PM

I hadn't heard of HIR until you mentioned it. Seems they aren't made in the H7 size, otherwise I'd look into that.

I'll probably just throw a spare ballast back into the Prius and keep running these cheapo HIDs till I run out of spares. Hopefully in 6 years good LED replacements will be available.

I'm wondering if the 35 watt rating of the HIDs means to the bulb, with 12 watts lost to the ballast? Now I'm curious if even expensive HID units draw less power. Perhaps I can measure the stock HIDs in the Acura to answer this.

RedDevil 03-17-2018 05:16 PM

My H11 cheapo HIDs in my 2nd gen Insight hold up fairly well for over 5 year now.
One lamp failed quickly, but I had a replacement. The ballasts are original.
They are easily 4 or 5 times as bright as the halogens they replaced. If I have to replace them I'll most likely go for HID again.

Then user Natalya has just installed LEDs in her G2 Insight and they look the deal:

Some more on that on InsightCentral (but the photo's won't show if you're not a member):
What did you do to your G2 Insight today? - Insight Central: Honda Insight Forum

Not as cheap, but affordable nonetheless. The heatsinks on them are wide but not deep.

ksa8907 03-17-2018 06:08 PM

I've got a question. Are you supposed to use a capacitor in series with the LED light so they don't generate so much heat?

OEM LED's flash on and off quickly, you sometimes see it on video.


redpoint5 03-17-2018 07:53 PM

I tested the assumed bad ballast today with a known good bulb, and it works just fine. Looks like either the bulb died, which I haven't experienced yet, or there was a loose connection. My test bulb is the wrong size, so I'll have to order a new H11 set.

Are there major differences in quality or efficiency in bulb brands? I'll stick to the 4,500k range. Any recommendations on a replacement bulb?


Originally Posted by ksa8907 (Post 564081)
I've got a question. Are you supposed to use a capacitor in series with the LED light so they don't generate so much heat?

OEM LED's flash on and off quickly, you sometimes see it on video.


I thought the capacitor was to reduce interfering noise that can mess with the computers.

Vman455 03-17-2018 10:46 PM

If you don't mind getting your hands dirty, these are the best you can get right now. $100, and they'll last the life of the car and then some, with known OEM quality.

hayden55 03-21-2018 04:26 PM

I use these:
Bought these in 2016 and they still work. They literally just plug in. Only weird part is the do have fan noise at park after running around (bc they are hot).

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