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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I have a few cars at home (Volvo, BMW E39, Honda) and all use standard halogen bulb (such as H7 or 9006).

I understand that HID Xenon gives you more coverage than standard Halogen bulb.
Pic below was taken from another website.

My questions are:

1. For you as a Xenon driver, do you notice a big difference when converting from halogen to HID Xenon. Do see see farther at night?

2. Now for opposite direction drivers...I have always been annoyed by opposite traffic with HID Xenon cars. They seem to "blind" me a bit. Do you guys agree with this?




 

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I haven't had a chance to do a direct A/B comparison on the same vehicle, but I've driven enough cars with xenon HID's that I strongly prefer them to the halogens. In addition to the longer reach, they illuminate more brightly the area that they cover. As for being an oncoming vehicle, maybe I've just gotten used to them, or maybe they've refined the dispersal pattern to make it less objectionable, but these days I'm rarely troubled by the brightness of the xenon HID's.
 

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Xenon is far superior.
My car has the stock halogens, however, I installed some aftermarket HID's.
There is a huge difference, and is very much preferred when I drive on country roads, in case any deer decide to run out...
However, the headlight adjusters are very much needed to see out, or else you only see 3 feet in-front of the car...
 

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I don't see much of a difference on my Hid fogs but I adjusted the beams so they aimed down a bit. There is an adjustment screw on my 7 on each fog housing that allows me to aim them flat, up or down.

On my low and high beams though I see a big difference over halogens I had on a Mercedes I had before the 7. Brighter, whiter light and farther reach.
 

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yes, there is a big difference. i have tried halogen, "hid like", and actual hid's. by far the hid's are the best. they allow you to see a much greater distance ahead of you. it really is a moot point if your always driving on well lit roads but if your driving on dark roads it helps a lot.
 

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Used to have the "regular" halogen setup with projectors.
Changed the Osram bulb with the Philips X-treme Power. The difference between the 2 bulbs, albeit they had the same wattage was considerable - almost like fitting a 100w bulb.

Then, I retrofitted with HID 35w. The light output wasn't much different (compared to the Philips). I was disappointed. Then, I changed the 35w ballasts with 55w ballasts. The difference in light output was considerable - again the same perceptive difference as when I changed the bulbs from Osram to Philips X-treme Power.

The light output I am talking is strictly from the driver's perspective, not from the incoming.... or bystander.
I checked my lights and they are adjusted correctly, they do not bother in traffic due to the projector and the way they are aimed.

I can say I am bothered by the pick-up trucks that are retrofitted with HID and without projectors. Those lights are high and also scattered. Those guys don't deserve to drive.
 

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The pre-facelift optional xenon headlights (low beam is a Hella xenon projector surrounded by a reflector bowl) like you see on older M5s are not that significantly brighter than a pre-facelift halogen with a good, bright bulb (4100-4300k Osrams). Those xenon units were optional on pre-facelift 528s. Upgrade from 35w to 50w ballasts and then they are significantly brighter.

The facelift xenons apparently have a better, sharper beam pattern with less glare (no reflector bowl behind them). Bi-xenon projectors in facelift housings are the current rage. If I were going to upgrade my headlights (again), I'd go straight to the facelifts with quality clear-lens bi-xenons and 50w ballasts burning 4300K or 5000K bulbs.

Ballast quality matters -- cheap stuff can't be expected to give bright output.
Bulb color temp matters -- 4100-4300K has the most light; 5000K is considered to be the whitest light, and past that (6000K and up) the spectrum shifts further blue and looks cool to some but actually puts less light on the road. Projector lenses matter. Some of the better ones are equipped with clear lenses while the stock projector lenses on BMWs and other German makes tend to have Fresnel surfaces that diffuse the beam.

If you want to be completely "stock BMW" with your future xenon headlights, you'd need to install all the self-leveling hardware, but my guess is hardly anyone has ever done that.

Although some drivers with facelift halogen-projector units eventually install xenon bulbs in their projector housings, I've read that the halogen optics are not optimal for xenons (but I have no firsthand experience).

I meet lots of those jacked-up trucks with HID kits in their old reflector housings. Annoying and dangerous but I think that's what some of the truck drivers want. They're even worse when behind; I really appreciate the auto-dimming rearview mirror in my e39 for exactly this reason, and wish my Subaru was similarly equipped. Early Priuses also had xenons in reflector housings and they too tend to be annoying (the newer models use projectors and are not a problem at all). I am not annoyed by cars with xenon projector lights unless they've been poorly aimed (can say the same for cars with badly aimed halogens, for that matter).
 

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Agree with pleiades, if you are planning on upgrading your headlights to xenon, upgrade to the correct projector housing from one of the vendors (Umnitza) and opt for the upgraded TSX/RSX projector for the best light output. I can't speak on the difference between 35 watt system and the 50 watt system as some say stay with stock which is the 35 watt system.

As for what I have, which is the stock xenon angel eye, the light output is not as great as the newer HID system from current models cars, but the light output is still better than my wifes SUV (2009 GMC Acadia) that's running stock halogen system. Also my stock Hella housing has a very wide beam pattern that seem to light about three car lanes wide which I've come to like espeically when driving on curvy roads at night. As for me blinding on-coming traffic, I haven't been high beam flashed by anyone since getting the car so I suppose my lights and cut off are adjusted properly.
 

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My questions are:

1. For you as a Xenon driver, do you notice a big difference when converting from halogen to HID Xenon. Do see see farther at night?

2. Now for opposite direction drivers...I have always been annoyed by opposite traffic with HID Xenon cars. They seem to "blind" me a bit. Do you guys agree with this?
Cam:
My previous e39 had standard halogens (I had used Sylvania SilverStars, Philips VisionPlus bulbs, etc.). While I tried various "HID like" halogen bulbs, I found the actual light output to be reduced and the beam shape in cheaper bulbs to be terrible. I found the VisionPlus to offer the best blend of light output and durability. My current e39 has the OEM HID headlamp system. My observations are:

1. I do not see farther, but I do see better with HID. On the original low beam height setting, other drivers would flash me on occasion. My beams are now set a little lower and this no longer happens. I find the whiter HID beam gives much greater definition than the yellower halogen beam, improving overall visibility. For me, it's lighting quality, not distance. When I need distance, I fire up the high beams.

2. I would agree. Many probably have their headlamps set improperly since the vast majority of drivers have no clue as to how to adjust anything on their car. Also, the occasional driver may be running a 50W ballast with their HID or 100W halogens, which are not DOT street legal. What can you do about it? Not much. Too many drivers only think about what they see. Oh well...
 

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Once you got HID, it's hard to go back IMO. I've done it between a few cars that I've owned in the last few years, and when it's all said and done, it's almost painful to go away from an OEM HID headlight (the projector being the main different maker).

My buddy has a pre-facelift 528i with optional xenons and I have them startard in the same year 540: they're identical in performance. I drove a facelifted car and it was a marked improvement over ours.

I also owned an Integra with the Japanese front end, going back and forth between OEM halogen, aftermarket HID, and OEM HID. The halogen bulbs were comparatively useless when you consider the improvement brought on by HID.

My suggestion is to pick up a use set of pre-facelift OEM xenons and see what you think. Should be cheap enough with everyone wanting the 01+
 

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CNN
I did facelift XENON - Halogen retrofit on my 2001 525i and i am telling you , - i will not buy any BMW today w/o XENON option

http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/showthread.php?t=506773&highlight=

Whatever you do do NOT go with any aftermarket cr** , only OEM
GL
+1.
Agreed.
However, the FXr headlight bi-xenon projectors should be FAR superior to our old Hella units...

Did you use a Random Orbital polisher on your headlights, along with the 3M polishing kit?
 

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If these are truly drawing 100 watts, probably yes. Or you will blow a fuse. Usually the plug is the first to go. Remember, most energy disipated by a halogen bulb is heat. The lamp, plug and the wiring were not designed for that load.
 

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im not even reading this Thread, Let me Say Hids Win Hands Down
 

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I have a few cars at home (Volvo, BMW E39, Honda) and all use standard halogen bulb (such as H7 or 9006).

I understand that HID Xenon gives you more coverage than standard Halogen bulb.
Pic below was taken from another website.

My questions are:

1. For you as a Xenon driver, do you notice a big difference when converting from halogen to HID Xenon. Do see see farther at night?

2. Now for opposite direction drivers...I have always been annoyed by opposite traffic with HID Xenon cars. They seem to "blind" me a bit. Do you guys agree with this?
I have never gone in such detailed information. I have got HID lights and they are working perfect for me till now. So no serious thoughts at all:p:p
 

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HID definitely provide better visibity down the road than halogens. An H7 generates ~1,500 lumens; a D2S HID bulb ~3,200 lumens. So it's no surprise that HID wins the visibility race. And note that the the definition of a lumen includes correction for the eye's varying sensitivity by wavelength (colour temp). So arguments that halogen is a better colour temp, i.e. closer to the eye's maximum sensitivity, do not hold water.

The Hella HID low beams in my 530 are far better than any halogen set up I've ever driven or seen, which includes a 4 light set up with H4 90/100 Cibie Z-Beam lows in my Volvos in the 1980s. However high beam with 4 halogens at 100W each was better than BMW Hella high beam. Nobody ever played High Beam Chicken with those lights for more than a second :rofl:

I've been tempted to try 100W H7 high beams, but don't want to risk the LCM transistors or heat distortion in the headlight assy. Besides the stock set up is actually very good - if you're outdriving the lights you really are going too fast, IMHO.

Regards glare to on coming traffic.
People vary in their perception of brightness and glare with many factors affecting one's tolerance for a particular light. Glare sensitivity apparently increases with higher colour temperatures and the magnitude of the effect varies across the population. Which partially explains why people complain about HIDs at say 4,300K compared to halogens at ~3,200K.

I've read studies that a significant portion of folks can look at a particular HID healight and perceive it as glaring while others standing beside them won't; something like 20% are so affected. My wife for instance finds looking at my HID as "too bright, glaring & blinding" while it doesn't bother me at all. She does however like being of the other side of the lights, i.e. looking down the road and seeing much more. :D

The other BIG factor as mentioned above are mis-aimed headlight (a pet peeve, HID or halogen) &/or being below the cut off of a set of lights mounted high as in a truck or SUV. Anyone looking into the illuminated part of an HID pattern is going to perceive glare.
 

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Some thought regarding retrofitting HID bulbs into halogen headlight assemblies and why they often produce so much glare. Not an excuse, rather a reason. And not that it makes much difference if some Yahoo wants the HID look and doesn't care what other drivers have to suffer for his or her gratification.

There are two low beam patterns permitted in North American headlights: DOT VOL (similar to ECE or E-code) and DOT VOR. See this link
http://www.danielsternlighting.com/tech/aim/aim.html
for a description of the difference in aiming.

VOL pattern with sharp cut off.


Assuming the retrofit kit is good and the HID bulb is properly positioned in the reflector sub-assy, there will be no light directed upward into the oncoming drivers' eyes.

Compare the VOR pattern with a difuse cut off.


The lumens above the "cut off line" isn't enough to glare/blind oncoming drivers with a relatively weak 1,500 lumen halogen bulb but will be quite bright with a 3,200 lumen HID. And one hopes the retrofit kit positions the bulb properly and doesn't make the pattern worse.
 

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