Before we go into the comparison between the two HID headlights, let us first see what HID lamps are how they are good for your cars. While there are three choices for your headlights – HID, Halogen or LED – we will talk only about the HID headlights in this article and compare two models of the lights.
How Do HID Lights Work?
HID stands for High-Intensity Discharge. The expansion will tell you something about the way light is produced in this kind of headlights. The light is produced by a discharge of electricity between two terminals through an ionized gas. These are comparable to neon lights where also gas is used for lighting up. But the HID lights are much brighter. They are traditionally used in stadiums and streets. But today you get many models which are used in cars.
Relevant Resources: How To Install Halogen Headlight?
An HID bulb has two electrodes sealed inside a glass tube along with a gas and metal salts. In automotive headlights, metal-halide salts are used. The gas that is used in this application is Xenon, which is why this light is often called Xenon light. The use of Xenon has a purpose. Usually, an HID light will require a few minutes to warm up and glow. With the use of Xenon, the time is reduced to around 10 seconds.
HID lights need a higher voltage to light up. Most cars run on 12 V DC power. To achieve a higher voltage, most of the HID lights come with a ballast, which is what is connected to the car’s electrical system. HID lights light up differently in different circumstances. They glow differently in the beginning, and after you have been driving for some time. To stabilize this, the ballast has to be connected with the lights.
When you are converting your car from Halogen to HID, you will have to bet the ballast and connect it to your car’s electrical circuit, and to this ballast, the lights are connected. For cars that are already fitted with HID headlights, the ballast is part of the car’s electronics.
Advantages Of HID Headlights
There are many advantages of HID lights over your normal halogen bulbs. The first one is that they give much brighter light for the power supplied and hence can be helpful in reducing the use of power. This will ultimately help in reducing your fuel consumption even if it is a small quantity. As there is no filament in an HID bulb unlike your halogen bulbs, the lifespan of the HID headlight is much more.
The main advantage which people find with installing HID headlights is the choice of color that you can get. The color of light is indicated by the temperature at which they operate. Halogen lights normally operate at 3000 to 3500 K which gives a yellowish light. The HID bulbs operate in many temperature ranges. People generally prefer the ones that have temperatures between 4500 to 6000 K, where the light color is bright white or bluish. This is much closer to the daylight that we get from the sun.
Efficiency Of HID Lights
HID headlights are not the best when it comes to efficiency in converting electrical power to light. There is a lot of loss of energy as they develop a lot of heat. Supposing a light is working at 50% efficiency it can be said that when you drive the bulb at 30 W, it is using only 15 W., But when you compare the HID headlights with Halogen lights, they are much more efficient. The efficiency of a bulb can be expressed in the number of lumens of light it produces per watt of electricity. While a 35W HID, the lamp produces 74 lumens per watt the standard halogen produces only 38 lumens per watt.
35 W or 55 W – Which One Should It Be?
When there is more power, the light will be more intense, and hence, the heat will also be more. More heat means more adverse effects on the headlight. HID bulbs work on the principle of diminishing returns. As you keep increasing the watts, there is no proportional increase in light. The increase of light decreases with each additional watt, and the heat increases. You will reach a point in time when there will be no increase in light even when you increase the power. There will only be an increase in heat.
If the ballast has to output 55 W, it has to intake 65 W of power. When it ignites, it will draw even more power. Your car wirings are only meant to work at 16-55 W, and if you are going to draw more than that, you are destroying the factory wiring and probably your car motherboard too. This can be an expensive replacement. What you must do is to use a relay with 55 W which most people don’t do.
Relevant Resources: Top 10 Best HID kits Reviews & Buying Guides2020
As we have seen, HID bulbs give out light by creating an arc between two electrodes. Over time these electrodes burn out. That is why there is a specific lifespan for every HID bulb. If you are going to run the lights hotter, you are burning out the electrodes faster, which will reduce the lifespan. A 35W HID headlight working with a 35 W ballast will give you enough light for night-time driving and is much double your factory-fitted halogen lamps. The 55 W HID headlights are a marketing gimmick to charge more for something that costs almost the same for the manufacturer.