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Old 03-18-2012, 09:27 PM
samadkins29's Avatar
samadkins29 samadkins29 is offline
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Location: Seattle, WA
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 2,723
Mein Auto: 2011 535i
How to upgrade to HID

Ok, so this question gets asked at least once a week on this forum. What do I need to upgrade to HID?

What is HID and what is Halogen? HID stands for High Intensity Discharge. Instead of a regular filament bulb it "burns" gas to produce a light. HID bulbs last longer and burn brighter. Here are the two bulbs: (HID on bottom)
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What are lumens and why does it matter? Lumens is simply the amount of usable light. For example blue light produces huge glare but not much usable light. Glare will make it look bright, but its a false positive. Meaning white headlights will light up the road more than blue light, but the blue lights will "look" brighter. You need usable light, otherwise you cant see where your going! Keep this in mind when picking your (K) - (covered later)

What color to get? Halogen most commonly comes in standard (yellow white), pure white, or "blue" although I have yet to see any "blue" halogen bulb impress me. HID "color" is rated by its Kelvin (K). Kelvin doesn't = color but the temperature in which the gas burns. When the gas is burning at different temps it produces a different color. 3k(yellow) 4k(stock halogen color) 5k(white) 6k(white with faint blue) 8k (light blue) 10(aqua blue) and 12k (pure blue) 15K(pink/purple) 30k(green).
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Its pretty much stated that the higher the K the less the lumens. HOWEVER - any HID bulb will produce more lumen's than a stock Halogen bulb. So don't be afraid to change over! Just remember that 5k will give you more light on the road than say 12k HID bulbs.

Still undecided? Well, HID will last longer(less bulb changes), HID has more color options, HID costs the same as colored halogen(unless you plan to get stock halogen color), HID is brighter, and HID is a very easy DIY upgrade!!!!!! If you still want to stick with halogen thats fine. HERE is a fitment guide. Please note your bulbs watts(W) before going online to order. I wont be supplying a order link for halogen since ALL auto parts stores carry them.

Ok, so now your convinced you want to upgrade. Where do you start? Well first you need to figure out your bulb type. The bulb type is actually the base it fits into(pic below). To start you need to figure out the bulb type your replacing:
GO HERE for a fitment guide
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So you have figured out what bulb type you have/want to replace and are ready to order. Please go to DDM Tuning They make the best ballast and use Apexcone bulbs. Or you can order from eBay or any of our site sponsors I guess.

But wait, whats this 35w and 55w??? 55w is brighter than 35w and produces more lumens. But will wash out some of the color. IE - 55w 12k will be less blue than 35w 12k. Our cars usually have 55w fog light bulbs. But 55w HID's get very hot. A little too hot for our small little fog light housings. I recommend 35w. Now since your bulb is only using 35w, this may trip and error because your car will think the bulb is broken. Thus the invention of the ERROR eliminators. Dont forget to add those to the order. However if your brave and want to stick with the 55w, you will not need the error eliminators. EE's can be purchased from eBay or our site sponsors.

Ok, you have everything in hand yet? Good. Here is the hookup guide (with EE, if you don't have EE then simply skip that part)
- Remove original bulb from socket
- Hook cars power line to the error eliminator
- Hook the outgoing EE line to the ballast
- Hook the outgoing ballast line to the bulb
- Install bulb into socket
*Don't touch the HID bulb with your fingers!!!! Why? because the oil from your fingers will overheat the bulb and cause it to explode, thats why....
*Some modification may be needed

THATS IT GUYS (Sorry for any typos)
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Last edited by samadkins29; 03-24-2012 at 08:03 PM.