HID headlamps

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Brianmoooore
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Sat Oct 21, 2017 2:45 pm

Had my first failure this week - a failed ballast.
43,000 miles after fitting them.
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SAP1
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Sat Oct 21, 2017 4:59 pm

Wow that's a long time, what brand ballast did you use?

I'm assuming you used H1 35w type.
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Brianmoooore
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Sat Oct 21, 2017 5:13 pm

SAP1 wrote:what brand ballast did you use?
The usual cheap Chinese fake "Bosch" ones that were all over ebay at the time . Been replaced with one of the slimline versions I had lying around
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SAP1
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Sat Oct 21, 2017 5:18 pm

Where did you mount the ballasts? I know water/moisture usually kills these.
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Brianmoooore
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Sat Oct 21, 2017 5:42 pm

They're mounted by double sided tape to the inner wings, and I've also fitted them to the rear of the plastic covers behind the headlamps on other E30s.
No sign of water ingress into the one I've removed. The electronics inside is protected by potting compound, so they're reasonably water resistant.
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HartgeH27
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Sat Oct 21, 2017 9:46 pm

Looking to upgrade my headlights Brian, would you be kind enough to give a recommendation please ?
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Brianmoooore
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Sat Oct 21, 2017 10:08 pm

The failed ballast was the type in this link: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/XENON-HID-CON ... SwBadTqt8c
The type I used as a replacement was like the ones in this link: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/35W-55W-HID-X ... TVa8UyXoeg simply because there were a spare pair on the shelf.
Both come with various brand names on them - some you've never heard of, and the rest, fake.
H1 burners and 4300K are the one's you need. 35W is adequate.
The burners should fit straight into facelift E30 dipped beams, although a couple have needed slight attention with a file on the slot that the bulbs slide through. The retain g spring will have a bit more tension on it than BMW intended, but it doesn't cause a problem.
I'd recommend removing the 12 volt input cable to the ballasts from the grommet on the burner base and making the connection to the E30 OE wiring away from the base of the headlamp, rather than the bodge up suggested in the instructions.
I can't really 'recommend' any particular type, as they've all served me well, and make a massive difference to a correctly aimed E30 headlamp. Beam pattern is as good as with the original H1 halogen bulb.
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Sat Oct 21, 2017 10:23 pm

Thanks Brian.
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Brianmoooore
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Sun Oct 22, 2017 10:31 pm

While we're on the subject of headlamps, anyone out there tried LED bulbs? - ones aimed at performance rather than 'show'.
Beam pattern might be a problem with dipped beams, but these can be used for main beams, where the non point source of the light shouldn't be such a problem.
The output of a H1 halogen bulb is around 1500 lumens, and a quick look at ebay shows listings for LED bulbs claiming from 500 lumens from 7.5W to 10000 lumens from 100W
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SAP1
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Sun Oct 22, 2017 10:45 pm

I'll give the HIDs a try, standard bulbs aren't great at all.

I've looked at LED options the only problem is that you don't get a 360 degrees of light from the chip
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Brianmoooore
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Sun Oct 22, 2017 10:50 pm

SAP1 wrote:I'll give the HIDs a try, standard bulbs aren't great at all.

I've looked at LED options the only problem is that you don't get a 360 degrees of light from the chip
True, but you don't need a 360 degree cone of light from a main beam either. Flattened off into a horizontal ellipse would be OK.
36W LEDs look about right for a useful increase in light, and they're cheap enough.
Maybe time for some experimenting.
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Cloggy Saint
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Sun Oct 22, 2017 11:44 pm

I've always found main beam to be very good on standard halogens, unlike dipped beam which I find even on 4300 HIDs to be very poor.
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Brianmoooore
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Sun Oct 22, 2017 11:56 pm

I agree that E30 main beams are quite good, but with correctly aligned HID dipped beams, they become almost superfluous , and in the lanes, you can always use more light.
Had a thought since my last post - 18 year old son has a '03 Corsa, and the main beams on that are bordering on dangerous. Dipped are OK, but there's very little improvement when he switches to mains.
He was asking about brighter bulbs a couple a weeks ago, so perhaps I've found a guinea pig. H7s, I think.
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Stefan on probation
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Mon Oct 23, 2017 10:26 am

Potting compound, haven't heard that term used since my days terminating MICC/PYRO cable.
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TriggerFish
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Mon Oct 23, 2017 8:16 pm

Just a quick note on this (I've not tried HIDs in an E30), but it's worth noting that not all ballasts/burners are created equal - there's a huge disparity in output depending on price/quality.

I'm interested in the LEDs too - they do an amazing job on my bike with just 3-5v. The colour is very stark though (7k?), which I'm not sure I'd like when driving. (I've gone down from 6k, to 5k, and settled on Osram Nightbreaker Unlimiteds, which are about 4.3k IIRC)
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Brianmoooore
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Mon Oct 23, 2017 8:17 pm

SexyLady wrote:Potting compound, haven't heard that term used since my days terminating MICC/PYRO cable.
Probably just showing my/our age, Mr. SWD. It's actually a rubbery compound that can be peeled off, rather than the old stuff that sets rock hard, never to be removed.
Anyway, these: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/H7-CREE-110W- ... 2749.l2649 have been ordered for the Corsa main beams, so we'll soon see how they perform.
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Mon Oct 23, 2017 8:43 pm

H1 let's are cheap enough to try them out.

Had full led bulb front lights (dipped, side, main & fog) on my old pug 406.
By christ they were good, a lot better than standard bulbs.
if it's got t*ts or wheels it's bound to be trouble...............prove me wrong.
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manse73
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Tue Oct 24, 2017 8:28 am

SexyLady wrote:Potting compound, haven't heard that term used since my days terminating MICC/PYRO cable.
Stefan how are you
bruv chariots rule
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Stefan on probation
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Tue Oct 24, 2017 9:55 am

manse73 wrote:
SexyLady wrote:Potting compound, haven't heard that term used since my days terminating MICC/PYRO cable.
Stefan how are you

Shush, I am trying to keep a low profile........


:D :mad:
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TriggerFish
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Wed Nov 22, 2017 8:15 pm

Brianmoooore wrote: Probably just showing my/our age, Mr. SWD. It's actually a rubbery compound that can be peeled off, rather than the old stuff that sets rock hard, never to be removed.
Anyway, these: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/H7-CREE-110W- ... 2749.l2649 have been ordered for the Corsa main beams, so we'll soon see how they perform.
Hi Brian - have these arrived/been tested yet? If so, what are your thoughts?

I'm tempted for my E30, but I've got (and wish to keep) the dim/dip feature: do you know if they work with that? (Not sure if you tested in your e30?) I'd guess they would as they're not using a ballast or anything, unlike a xenon unit (and they report 8v-48v as working voltage).
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Brianmoooore
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Wed Nov 22, 2017 8:58 pm

They are up and running in the Corsa as the main beams, and have absolutely transformed night vision.
The ones in my link claim to be 55W each (110W for the pair), and, if they are, the 100,000 lumens each needs to be taken with a large pinch of salt - I buy and fit LED lamps all the time, as part of the day job, and the very best out there have only reached about 130 lumens/watt so far.
The impression so far, from the passenger seat, is that visibility overall is greatly improved, and terror slightly reduced, compared to the very poor original main beams, but the light spread appears to far from even.
As far as E30 use is concerned, I don't think they will be suitable for use in the dipped beam position, because the light source isn't close to a point, like the short filament of a H1 halogen bulb or a xenon burner, and beam pattern may well be MOT test failing poor. There might well be a place for them as main beam bulbs though - if nothing else, they eliminate most of the colour difference between xenon dipped beam burners and halogen headlamps.
I'm considering getting a set for my E39 main beams, but I want the Corsa in the workshop first, so that I can disable the dipped beams and check the main beam pattern out against my beam setting wall.
The light sources on the LEDs are in two rows; one along each side, so some experimenting with rotating the LED unit, and sliding it back might be in order.
The E30 dim dip function won't work with xenon or LED lamps. Both need a much more sophisticated dimming control than a simple resistor.
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TriggerFish
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Thu Nov 23, 2017 8:54 am

Great reply, thanks.

I might pick a set up for high beam use anyway as they're cheap enough to gamble on. I can trial them in the dipped beams (just out of interest), as it's not hard to check the beam pattern against a wall, but won't keep them there if the dim/dip won't work.

It's a shame the dim/dip wouldn't work as my E46 runs with the full beams at 50% brightness as DRLs, and I thought they'd work nicely in there instead of the rubbishy £2 eBay LED H7s I've got in there at the moment (bi-xenons do the full beam). Then again, I'm not sure how it achieves that - if it reduces voltage (I don't see how it could) or if it does some funky PWM stuff.
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