HID Guide

TechASSIST: Complete Guide to Xenon HID Headlamps

A Complete Guide to Stocking, Selling, Identifying and Fitting Xenon HID Lamps

Sales of Xenon HID Lamps throughout the aftermarket are certainly on the rise. Although Xenon Lamp lifespans are much larger than halogen bulbs, they do eventually fail and many vehicles are now requiring replacements. Here we look at some of the key facts and misconceptions surrounding this lighting technology to help your business to benefit from the significant rise in demand.

HID Labelled Diagram

What are HID Bulbs?

Xenon HID systems (also known as Gas Discharge Lamps) provide 200% more light on the road than a standard Halogen bulb. Unlike a standard Halogen bulb a HID system uses Xenon gas, which is ignited by creating an electric arc between two electrodes.

HID headlamp burners produce between 2,800 and 3,500 lumens (the measure of light output), from between 35 and 85 watts at 12.8 volts compared to between 700 and 2,100 lumens using 40 to 72 watts on a standard halogen.

HID bulbs are designated an “S” burner or “R” burner. An “S” burner has a plain glass shield and are used in projector type optics where as “R” burners are designed for reflective type optics and have an opaque mask on certain parts of the shield to create the cut off boundary near the top of the low beam.

Why stock HID bulbs?

ELTA Automotive are asking motor factors and garages to consider how much they are paying when purchasing HID/Gas Discharge bulbs on demand. Whilst O.E bulb prices remain high, ELTA product development teams have been successful in reducing costs without compromising quality and performance across their HID range. So is it now time to put HID into stock?

HID bulbs have an average life of 2000 hours compared to the standard bulb, which is between 450 and 1000 hours. This equates to around 90,000 miles for the average driver and so HID bulbs are generally considered a ‘lifetime’ bulb. Because of this, many motor factors decided against holding stock of expensive HID bulbs preferring to order on demand. Whilst this made good sense a few years ago, ELTA believe now is the time to consider stocking a small range.

HID bulbs first appeared in automotive applications in the early 1990’s as an option on the BMW 7 Series, but it was not until the end of the 1990’s however, that the first Bi-Xenon headlights as we know them today appeared on the Mercedes-Benz CL-Class. Since then HIDs have risen in popularity and an increasing number of vehicles fitted with them are entering the realm of the independent aftermarket. After all, 90,000 miles is by no means ‘end of life’ for a vehicle today, especially the high-end and prestige marques that commonly feature HID systems. ELTA has seen a significant increase in demand for replacement HID bulbs in recent years and expect the trend in growth to continue. ELTA believe motor factors can capitalise on the growth within the aftermarket by choosing to stock a range of lower cost, high quality aftermarket HID bulbs in favour of ordering O.E on demand.

Just like O.E counterparts, ELTA VisionPRO HID bulbs provide 200% more light on the road than standard Halogen bulbs, producing between 2,800 and 3,500 lumens. They also boast the same average life of around 2000 hours and replace both projector (S) and reflective (R) type optics including D1R, DS, DR, D2S, D3R, D3S, D4R, D4S, D5S and D8S.

Xenon HID upgrade bulb Blue

Xenon HID Upgrade Bulbs

The ELTA VisionPRO range now also boasts upgrade HID lamps offering a rise in Kelvin temperature up to 6000k or 7000k for a modern blue tint.

ELTA VisionPRO Blue upgrade bulbs are E marked, offering a simple road legal replacement that increases colour temperature to 6000k.

For an extreme 7000k boost, ELTA VisionPRO Sport upgrades deliver ultimate performance for off road applications such as rally and racing.

Xenon HID upgrades not only delivery real benefits to the driver, they can also help to boost sales for the business. Is it time you upgraded your sales?

Xenon HID Identification

85v 35w
PK32d-2
Clear Glass
For Reflector Lamps
With Starter

42v 35w
PK32d-5
Clear Glass
For Reflector Lamps
With Starter

85v 35w
PK32d-3
Masked Glass
For Projector Lamps
With Starter

42v 35w
PK32d-6
Masked Glass
For Projector Lamps
With Starter

85v 35w
P32d-2
Clear Glass
For Reflector Lamps
No Starter

42v 35w
P32d-5
Clear Glass
For Reflector Lamps
No Starter

85v 35w
P32d-3
Masked Glass
For Projector Lamps
No Starter

42v 35w
P32d-6
Masked Glass
For Projector Lamps
No Starter

New 25w D5S and D8S HID Lamps

The latest development in HID technology are the D5S and D8S lamps. Both are growing in popularity.

25w HID Lamps only output 2000 Lumen (rather than the traditional HID output of 3200 Lumen) so do not require automatic headlight range control or headlight washer systems under ECE Regulation 48.

This makes 25w HID lamps a less expensive option for vehicle manufacturers and driver alike.

D5S HID

TECHASSIST: Tips For Diagnosing Xenon HID Faults

Before replacing the Xenon HID Lamp, it is important to rule out other factors that may be causing the lighting issues.

Flickering or failed lights can be caused by several other components within the HID lighting system.

1. Check the Ballast First

This component is often the part at fault.

HID bulbs require a ballast and starter/igniter to generate the 18,000 to 30,000 volts required for ignition. D1 and D3 bulbs include the starter in the base but the ballast is always separate.

Therefore, the first component to check is the ballast. A clicking / switching noise when operating the lights indicates that the ballast is functioning. So, if there is no noise, the ballast may need replacing.

2. Check Wiring and Connections

If the ballast is functioning, the next component to check is the ‘ballast to starter’ cabling. Check for damage and loose connections.

3. Check Starter (D2 & D4)

If replacing a HID with separate starter (D2S, D2R, D4S or D4R), this should be checked next. It is the block which the

HID base fits directly into.

4. Replace the HID

Once satisfied that all other components are OK, the D2S can be replaced. Using the following guide.

 Replace HID as easy as 123

Since first appearing in 1991 on the BMW 7 Series, Xenon headlamps (also known as HID) have become a common feature on many vehicles and most garages and workshops are now more than accustomed to working with the lamps and replacing them. However, for some, the early misconceptions that xenon lamps are a ‘dealer only’ replacement remains.

Most of the fear surrounding replacing xenon lamps stems from the very high voltage generated by the units. It is true that xenon bulbs require a voltage of between 18,000 and 30,000 volts to ignite. This staggering voltage is generated from the vehicle’s much lower voltage battery by using an electronic ballast and starter. Some technicians are understandably put off replacing xenon bulbs due to this voltage but by following a few simple steps replacement can be both safe and simple.

 1. Safety First

Don’t be put off by fears over high voltage, just ensure you follow these three simple safety procedures before you start work.

 Turn off ignition and remove key 

 Turn off the lights at the switch

 Remove fuse(s) for lighting to isolate the HID circuit 

 2. Unplug / Disconnect 

Access the bulb as per the manufacturers guidelines. Usually either from the back of the headlight, removing the headlight or via the front wheel arch. 

D1 & D3 
Pull out power connector 
Release clasp and replace bulb

 D2 & D4 
Twist connector 45° to remove 
Release clasp and replace bulb

 3. Reverse

Always replace HID bulbs in pairs to ensure even colour temperature and brightness. Once both sides are replaced reverse the process to complete the procedure. Check the headlights for function, leveling and alignment.