Everything you need to know about HID / Xenon - ZX6R Forum
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post #1 of 63 Old 01-18-2012, 06:43 AM Thread Starter
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Everything you need to know about HID / Xenon

Hey guys,

I'm posting this thread purely for information for everyone.
This is all 100% but whether you choose to follow it or not is your choice.


HID (High Intensity Discharge) or also know as Xenon (as its one of the gases used inside the bulb)

Like everything in the world out there, there is the real deal (OEM spec) and cheap nasty stuff that does the trick for some people.

I'm going to start with bulbs...

A xenon bulb looks like this:




These are OEM spec, the real deal so to speak.

Typically you will see the D2S bulbs, but manufacturers like BMW use D1S bulbs.

They all work in the same way just different fitments.

Now since HID / Xenon is the new thing that has stormed the world of automotive design, people are looking for cheaper alternatives..

This is where ebay comes in.
Ebay has many trader who sell the cheap versions

for instance the base of a HID bulb is round:

this will not fit in a standard reflector, which i may add HID/XENON BULBS SHOULD NOT BE PLACED IN A HALOGEN REFLECTOR ONLY A PROJECTOR.

this is why the bulbs have difference bases.

now look at a standard H7 halogen bulb:

notice the flat shape plus the little knob sticking it to keep it in line.
these have been mastered and designed by experts to give the best light output from relfectors and have been used for decades.

now these companies have managed to make a base on the bottom of a HID bulb that fits these reflectors...:

notice how its a xenon bulb with the same base as a H7 bulb... yes, this is a cheap nasty way to get xenon bulbs in your car/bike.

why is this so wrong..

The HID are HIGH INTENSITY DISCHARGE, they output a hell of a lot more light than a standard halogen.

If you put this in a reflector... you will get whats called GLARE

Glare is that light that escapes the normal direction of light on the road to all over the place and which causes other drivers/riders to be temporary blinded!

I'm sure as all bikers here you know that is not an ideal situation to be in!.

here is a standard OEM set up on a car:

notice how you can actually see the round lens on the projector

and here is HID installed on a standard headlight... GLARE!

Yo should be able to get close to a HID projector from above without being blinded by light if you cant do this, then you have got it wrong.

here is what it looks like on a wall.

OEM standard:

cheap aftermarket:

and another one just for comparison:

The above picture show what a standard reflector does to the light and what a projector does.

So now you know what bulbs are be used... you go onto to egay and you find another bulb

a D2R blub, (designed for reflectors!)

I know what you thinking, YES! finally I dont need to spend money on a projector after all..... NO!

here is a D2R bulb:

Notice the big black bit on the glass... thats there to reduce glare from the bulb...REDUCE... does not eliminate, and 9/10 doesnt work very well.

And another thing that is crazy about this is, the HID is so popular for being so bright... so why would you cover it up? and make it less bright?? i'll tell you companies will do anything to sell stuff..

anyways moving on.


now this bit is really easy, most of you guys will have a projector on your bike or more so the newer ones.

right so you have saved yourself a lot of hassle straight away when it comes to installing HIDs...Yes ..... NO!

Those projectors are Halogen ones.

Believe it or not there is halogen and Xenon projectors, and the difference matters.

In the picture above you will see that the Halogen projector is more round and the xenon projector is more oval shaped.

This is because there is more light intensity from the xenon bulb so it gets pushed out wide so you can make the most of the excellent bulb.

the halogen on the other hand is more round as the light isn't as intense therefore they have to concentrate the light more.

if you stick a xenon bulb in one of these projectors (which you shouldn't if your using proper xenon bulbs as the base wont fit) then the light generated form the xenon is getting placed in all sorts of places and you will have some glare as well as hotspots (hotspots is where you see a definitive dot where the light is most concentrated and the rest is just faint like a torch light)

thats what i mean by hot spotting not really spreading the light.

when you put a xenon bulb inthe correct projector you make the use of all the light.

look at these next 2 pictures

1st on show a kit bought off egay and the light is missing from the road..

2nd picture shows a proper OEM projector ensuring the ground and the sides are well light:

Right, grab a coffee or herbal tea... sip sip... ok moving on.

now colour!

lets all be honest here, we have seen cars in the distance and seen that little flicker of blue coming from the lights and thinking, wow thats some neat lights you have got there... I want those.

So you do, you buy yourself a kit say 6000K yeah thats a nice blue tint to it... I'll just be like that other guy.

No you wont, you are buying blue lights... simple, not good for light output..

the intensity of light changes dependant on the colour temperature.

its like an arc, the more blue/purple the less intensity and the more orange/yellow the less intensity, but in the middle is just perfect:

look at the following diagram:

Now as you can see there is a little white patch which is perfect for intensity and a perfect 'white' colour.

this is 4300K (infact perfectly its about 4570K but they dont make a bulb like that)

Now if you go more than 4300K you will get more of a blue light
if you go less than 4300K then you will get more of a orange light

just to put it in perspective for you a standard H7 bulb is about 3200K.

Ok so i've put you off buying 6000K bulbs... i'm sorry, but i'm here to help not hinder.

"but what about that blue flicker" ok ok , right i'll let you in on a big secret...

the blue flicker you see coming from OEM lights... its actually from the SHIELD IN THE PROJECTOR not the BULB itself

What happens inside a reflector will explain this:

the shield in the projector blocks certain light hence why you get that sharp cut off line on the road.

another cool thing happens just at the very tip of the shield the bulb's light is refracted lightly.

so if you look at this picture you will see the cut off on the wall is very sharp but just at the top of it you see a little blue line?

this is what you see when someone passes you with HID's this blue is the flicker as you eyes meet the very top of the light being output on the road from afar.

Now last but by no means least.


Ok these are simple.

The HID / Xenon bulbs have crystals in them that react with electricity.
But they need to be warmed up first.

To do this they need a very high initial burst of electricity.

for instance your 12V (DC) battery on the bike is supplied to the ballast and when its turned on, it sends a 23,000V (AC) intial burst to the bulb to warm it up, this only happens for milliseconds, then the constant supply in changed as the bulb warms up.

This takes a few seconds and you have probably seen people turning ontheir lights and you see the bulb changing colour as it warms up.

now, remember I know everyone likes to show off now and again, but for the love of god, DO NOT FLASH YOUR HID/XENON bulbs.

they do not like to be flashed, imagine that 23,000V getting sent to the bulb over and over again even though its already warmed up... its not going to like it.

In fact the bulbs will tend to turn a orange/red colour when its about to die.

The benefit of bi xenon projectors is that the bulb stays on constantly and doesn't change the only thing that changes is the shield inside the projector to allow more light out so you can see in the distance like a high beam

There are 2 main types of ballast 35W and 55W, the one main advantage of the HID bulbs is they use less power than a standard bulb they run off 35W where as a normal halogen bulb works normally in the 55W range.

The difference between the ballasts is the 55W one works the bulb a little harder and shortens life for a little bit more light output.

So personally I would just stick to the 35W.

and just for you picture people the difference between OEM quality and cheap alternative:

OEM, notice the round connector for the D2S bulb

Cheap alternative... nice connectors...


As said at the start this is information for you, what you do with it is completely up to you.

If you ask for my advice it would be along the lines of this thread.

Dont be afraid to ask questions, i'm here to help and to be helped. Thats what a forum is for.

Hope this helps.

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post #2 of 63 Old 01-18-2012, 07:20 AM
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Excellent post. I just responded to a post in a thread about HIDs last week I think about true light output of HIDs. This should be a sticky for anyone who needs to learn about them.

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post #3 of 63 Old 01-18-2012, 08:20 AM
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Cheap alternative FTW!

Great bit of info though...
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post #4 of 63 Old 01-18-2012, 08:28 AM
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Good post steve!!

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post #5 of 63 Old 01-18-2012, 09:30 AM
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So where can you get the "good" ones? I can only seem to find the "cheap" ones for sale...

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post #6 of 63 Old 01-18-2012, 10:11 AM
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GREAT post - you really know your stuff, Steve!
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post #7 of 63 Old 01-18-2012, 10:14 AM Thread Starter
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I must note, the cheap ones work for many people, i\'m not taking that away from them.

A simple search on google or egay will sort you out.

If you looking for good ones, like OEM quality here is my recommendations.


Philips 85122 or 85122+ bulbs -> CLICKY
Osram bulbs -> CLICKY


Anything OEM like FX35 Bi-xenon projecotors


Again, anything OEM is guaranteed to be good as well as good replacement parts.

Most of this stuff you can grab from a very good site know as

The Retrofit Source


Lvl8Mtrsprts likes this.
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post #8 of 63 Old 01-18-2012, 02:03 PM
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DDM Tuning has great HID Lights ! Great quality

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post #9 of 63 Old 01-30-2012, 06:01 PM
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Beautifully written post! Thank you!
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post #10 of 63 Old 01-30-2012, 10:49 PM Thread Starter
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I'm doing my own retro fit on my Zx6r.

So if you want to follow it, you can see what's involved

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post #11 of 63 Old 01-31-2012, 12:38 AM
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this is awesome.
i do wanna get HID eventually

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post #12 of 63 Old 01-31-2012, 12:46 AM
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good post. pretty informative!
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post #13 of 63 Old 04-18-2012, 08:27 AM
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Great post and info. Thanks for making clearing up alot of the myths when it comes to HID's
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post #14 of 63 Old 04-18-2012, 08:54 AM
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Yeah good post, lots of info.

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post #15 of 63 Old 04-18-2012, 09:09 AM
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Nice one Steve but should you not be fixing up yer bike the noo?
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