If you want to enjoy better vision on the roads and looking to improve the look of your car, you may consider upgrading halogen bulbs with improved HID (High Intensity Discharge) technology. HID headlights also known as xenon headlights have made it even easier and safer to operate a vehicle on the road. HID light casts a cool, intense blue beam of light instead of the traditional dull yellow throb of standard halogen headlight bulbs and being used more and more in new and old model vehicles. Applications include Audi, BMW, Cadillac, DaimlerChrysler, Ford, GMC, Honda, Jaguar, Lexus, Lincoln, Mercedes, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Porsche, Toyota and Volkswagen, Volvo.
Why should I consider HID bulbs?
HID lights offer numerous benefits to the drivers such as:
Better visibility – when you are using a vehicle with HID lights, it is substantially easier to see the road and the cool blue tone of light flattens shadow making it easier to perceive distances and shapes.
Long life – HID lights may seem expensive but they last much longer and offer a consistent light output so they may actually save you money in the longer run. HID lights may last up to 10 times as long as traditional halogen bulbs.
Reduced energy use – HID lights draw 30% less electricity from the car’s electrical system as compared to traditional bulbs and improve the performance of vehicle’s battery, alternator and wiring.
More attractive – It adds a style to the look of your car and makes it attractive to the others on the road. Also it makes it easier for other drivers to see your car on the road.
Considering these benefits, if you decide to invest in HID technology, you will have to buy HID light bulbs with HID ballasts. If you ignore to buy ballast, you may save money but you will not get the lighting for which you took all this pain and changed the bulbs.
What is HID Ballast and why it is necessary?
HID ballast as known as Xenon ballast is a control unit for headlight to power up HID bulbs.
A HID ballast is basically a smart piece of technology or you can say; a device required by a xenon headlight to regulate voltage and current supplied to the lamp/bulb during start as well as throughout the operation it helps to emit more steady luminous flux.
If you opt to not use the ballast, there will be nothing to regulate the electrical power so the bulb may draw less energy and too little power isn’t good for a HID lamp, you might be stuck with the uneven lighting on the road. Or in some cases, bulb may use more energy and burn out quickly. Simply speaking, ballast is essential if you want to enjoy the real strengths of HID bulbs.
How does HID Ballast work?
A HID ballast works in much the same way as any other ballast used in a fluorescent lighting system but there are a few differences. HIDs also need to be able to turn off and on quickly without overheating, which makes the ballast's job even more difficult.
HID ballasts act as DC to AC converters. HID lamps cannot run on a DC current, as it can damage the bulb. Most available power sources for your headlights will be DC, so the ballast must convert this to an AC current.
The first function of the HID ballast is to help your lamp start up quickly. When the lamp is turned on, the ballast provides a surge of higher voltage to the lamp and establishes an arc between two electrodes on the lamp, after this establishment, bulbs lighten up and the ballast reduces the voltage and regulates the current to ensure that the light produces is steady and even without flickering or fading.
It takes only a flicker to set in the panic for you to check if your bulb is about to go out? But in the case of bulbs with external HID ballasts, it could mean this external hardware is to be blamed. It’s always good to check ballast at the first possible opportunity for the failure before throwing out the bulb into the trash.
Symptoms of faulty HID ballast
If you lightings are dim, flickering, buzzing or changing colors then:
- Check the ballast for any burn marks, bad smell or electronics
- HID bulbs turn off randomly
- HID bulbs flicker and not turn on or not turn on at all
Causes of HID ballast failure
In most cases, xenon HID ballast failure occurs as a result of surrounding environment. HID ballasts can suffer from heat and moisture or similar to all electronic components, simply due to the lifetime of a component.
A combination of heat and condensation can cause severe corrosion over time and fails the ballast.
Or if your car has met an accident then a resultant short circuit can also root the OEM original Xenon HID ballast of your car.
The most Diagnostic Trouble Codes DTC for faulty ballast:
B1D02:15 Left high beam circuit short to battery or Open This DTC sets when the BCM detects an open from the LH high beam output circuit
B1D03:15 right high beam circuit short to battery or Open This DTC sets when the BCM detects an open from the LH high beam output circuit
B1D02:11 Left High Beam Circuit Short To Ground
B1D02:15 Left High Beam Circuit Short To Battery or Open
B1D03:11 Right High Beam Circuit Short To Ground
B1D03:15 Right High Beam Circuit Short To Battery or Open
Above mentioned DTC faults are the mostly common on various Land Rover Evoque Range Rover Discovery Ford Jaguar XE XJ XK cars.
However, if you have come across of any of the situations of the ballast failure then you must look for new HID ballast but be certain to thoroughly research your choice for Xenon ballast before deciding on and investing in a given ballast/bulb combination.
How to fix these Diagnostic Trouble Codes?
All of these codes pin point to the faulty Low or High (Main or Dipped) beam’s xenon control unit, a simple replacement of part will solve it.
This is the cheapest and easiest way to fix it as ballast units aren’t serviceable.
If you didn’t do OBD-2 check for faults, it is always recommended to change HID bulb sides from not working to working side, in that case you’ll be 100% sure that control unit has failed.
Need help with HID ballast Replacement?
Does your car have factory-fitted HID bulbs? If your answer is yes, the car already has HID ballast and you do not need to change unless there is a problem with it. Ask an expert mechanic to check and replace the ballast if you have a doubt. Xenons4u also supplies quality HID ballasts and much more. When you are looking to upgrade from halogen bulbs to HID bulbs, ballasts become a must. Without HID ballasts, the bulbs won’t function to its optimum. It is essential that you buy a HID conversion kit that includes HID bulbs, ballasts, mounting elements, wiring, etc. so that the conversion is 100% successful.