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HID "Ballast" on bikes

Discussion in 'Modifications and Projects' started by Gumzy, Jul 26, 2015.

  1. Hi all,

    I want put in a LED HID kit on my 2011 speed triple and have heard that the ballasts don't last on bikes because of the constant vibrations from riding. As I ride this thing to work I'd' hate for them to go while riding (although it wouldn't be so bad as speeds run a twin H4 system).

    Any past or current experiences with them would be great even if they are the xenon types.

  2. Have high and low HID lights on my bike previous owner fitted them. Not sure how long they have been on there but the bike is 5 years and 73000k old headlights touch wood are fine and no issues with them. Sorry i can't give you more info as I've only done 10000k on the bike since i bought it 8 months ago
  3. I am thinking on HID for my current ride too. However, I am worried about it because I don't know any trustable brand being selled in Australia and I am not sure about the magnitude of its risk on to face issues regarding this mod with Vic police.
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  4. There is a difference between High Intensity Discharge (HID) lamps and LED lamps. Is the kit HID high beam and LED low beam? HIDS operate at a higher voltage which is the job of the ballast to create.

    If they are designed for automotive use then vibration shouldn't bother them. Of course if they are cheap manufacture then you get what you pay for,
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  5. Any recomendation on kit brands?
  6. Can't really comment I have never done this with a bike. GregglesGreggles seems to have good life maybe see what brand they are. It may be easier to try some of the superbright globes. The globe is a standard H4 55/60W so a Philips X-Treme Vision +130% may be a simple upgrade as a first step.
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  7. TRS aka The Retrofit Source over in the US have a strong following, they have an aussie distributor vikom.com.au From what I understand the cops don't care as long as they aren't pointed in at peoples's eyes or absurdly blue. Keep it under 6000k and you should be ok. I'm using a phillips +130 it's much better than standard but not enough to stop me fitting a HID, pain in the arse on a gs500 so it's not finished quite yet.
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  8. #8 cjvfr, Jul 26, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2015
    Yes well the GS500 robust and lovable bike that it is also has a reputation as having some of the worst headlights. Considering it is also a H4 55/60W it must be poor reflector design coupled with being a single globe rather than a twin structure.

    Edited to Add: It appears the early GS500s were 35/35watt lights so if you have one of those models it will be even worse.
  9. They are a an LED system with a ballast (I'm not sure if they considered HID) Sounds from all reports are fine though,

    Thanks all!
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  10. #10 Bam Bam, Jul 27, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2015
    The following is just my opinion, make of it what you will...

    When i had the vstar 650, i put HID in the standard headlight using the H4 HID kit.
    It worked awesome and was MUCH brighter. However, i took the system back out and went with a +130% halogen globe.

    The reason is the HID is so much brighter that through the standard headlight reflector, i found it created far to much scattered light that was bright enough to be a serious distraction to on coming traffic. especially on dark roads without street lights.
    Yes i tried re adjusting the headlight in all sorts of ways.

    I believe if you really want to install HID's, you need to change the whole headlight not just the globe. This is why all HID's that are standard fitment are in the projector type lens or have lens designed specifically to use HID.

    You will also find that on most cars that use HID's, they usually have a lens wiper or water jet aimed at the lens as they are so sensitive to scattered light.
    Most even have self levelling lens to keep the light pointing at the road and not at drivers.

    When i had the HID's in my Vstar, i could not even glance towards the front of my bike without getting a few seconds of blindness!
    I'm not sure about you guys, but i don't want oncoming traffic crashing into me because i blinded them!
    I don't even want to pis s off someone coming towards me when I'm on my bike on a dark Wellington road at 10pm with no one to see the ass that just drove off after clipping me to teach me a lesson about headlights!

    Get a proper HID projector headlight kit or don't do it at all. just my opinion!
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  11. I think as Bam Bam said, reflector is important. On Blackbirds for example, their stacked headlight design works well with both high and low beam as HID.
    On my R1150 I took one out because it caused distracting scattered stray light all over the place. It wasn't a big issue riding round town, but out on the dark country roads it was distracting.

    My K1600GT has a factory projector type HID for low beam, and as per ADR it is self levelling. It produces daylight temp light and works exceptionally well.

    When used in conjunction with the two Halogen high beam lights, it is almost as good as a car that has great lights, it really lights up the road ahead.
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  12. Ok I understand, Strictly speaking they are not HID, High Intensity Discharge lamps are a particular technology but I have heard people refer to LEDS as HID. LEDs should be fine, that technology is advancing at a fast rate. They will generally have a heatsink on the back to dissipate heat, make sure it is not near anything that may melt.

    Take some comparison shots before and after, it would be interesting to see.
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  13. Thats right, LED's can be classed as lasers sometimes too depending on how they put out there light, though from a technology standpoint they are very different.
    As others have said, the ballast on the HID's is to ramp up the voltage, which is not needed for LED.
  14. Hardleys are heavy enough as it is. Don't add ballast.
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  15. From what I understand talking to people who have got a good beam from many different style bikes: It's a simple matter of shimming the bulb to manipulate the position of the arc.
  16. That's not quite what i meant about the scattered light.
    You are referring to getting the beam in the correct spot to make up the difference in the depth the globe sits in the lens/housing.
    But this still does not do away with scattered light that you get above the beam line on the wall.
    When you shine your beam up on the wall with halogen globes, you see a neat line where the beam sits with the area below lit up and you adjust this to meet the specs.
    When you use HID in a standard lens housing, you will fine you can get the beam line where you need it, and below the line will be lit brilliantly, but you'll also fine beams of line scattered above the line too. you will find it's bright enough to be a serious distraction.

    I wish i took some photo's when i done this!

    With the correct HID lens, you will have a perfect line on the wall without the scattered light around it.
    I found shimming the globe to make no difference.

    These are just my finding though! Others may have a different experience!
    I found the plus 130% halogen globe to be almost as good anyway.
  17. As mentioned, the plug-n-play HID bulb conversions are hit and miss depending on the original reflector. They are never as good as a proper projector based system as you a mixing different technologies designed decades apart. This is an example of a very bad reflector (scatter) compared to good projectors, note the sharp cutoff line of the projector system.


    The ballast is used to take the 12v up to the 20,000v to ignite the bulb and then the 85v to maintain this ignition.

    Most ballasts today should be okay, I've used a mixture of cheap direct-from-China, DDM and TRS ballasts and bulbs and had no failures. Just ensure the mounting is sturdy, splash-proof, and that your wiring is up to the task. I always use new heavy gauge wiring, relays and fuses, I only use the existing wiring to trigger the relays.
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  18. That photo shows exactly the type of scatter I am talking about.
    Thanks for posting that!
  19. #19 Alex Dors Hoffmeister, Jul 27, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2015
    I just bought the Vikom Kit - paid $195. I will take pictures against the wall after receive and install it. Cheers, Alex

    Thanks for the tip Nihilil
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