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Lighting Forum
Angel Eyes, DDEs, lighted rings, Clear Turn Signals, LEDs, Xenon, HID, or Bi-Xenon. If it lights up and you want to discuss it, post here!

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Old 12-17-2013, 05:59 PM   #41
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I was asking because I didn't know. People modify their cutoff shields, and I wasn't sure if that's what you were referring to. Do you have a picture of rebased bulb output in stock E46 halogen projectors? This is something I haven't seen.
No I don't have any info on it and it's part of the reason I'm not going to put HIDs in my halogen projectors.
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Old 12-17-2013, 06:04 PM   #42
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Pretty sure I can handle some basic light refraction stuff. It's pretty straight forward. What sites offer good insights on this matter?

I know you've brought up filament locations once, but that's covered by using H7 HID bulbs. Maybe the HID is hotter and will damage the halogen bowls? Halogen is extremely hot, so is Xenon actually hotter? I'm missing auto leveling of course. What else is there?
The topic is so deep because of the mountain of aftermarket stuff available out there. Mostly crap. And people a lot of times combine crap with good stuff or sometimes use all crap.

The bottom line is keep the system stock w/ refreshed OE-level/OE-quality/OEM parts OR do a complete proper retrofit like Nick did. The key word here is: QUALITY. And sorry to say but DDM isn't it. I did DDM in the old days I'll admit and regret it. That's why I always say I have a drawer full of DDM junk I want to throw off a cliff. It may *look* cool to you and your friends to see a big ball of blue light on your car and you'll feel great about spending so little but at the end of the day it's junk on the one of the most highly engineered parts of a BMW. Move forward not backwards!!!
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Old 12-17-2013, 06:17 PM   #43
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I'm not questioning design choices of people much smarter than me, but don't feed me that DOT legality. Morimoto ballasts aren't either but they don't receive the same crap on here.
I'm not "feeding" you anything. You asked what was illegal about it, I answered. Personally, I don't need the DOT to tell me what's safe and what isn't. I did enough research to figure that out for myself. I run retrofitted TSX projectors in my E36 M3, which is illegal and no aspect of that setup has been DOT approved. But the light output is safe, doesn't blind oncoming drivers, and the electrical demands of the ballasts are well within the design specs of the wiring in my car. Still, it's illegal. But, not to sound like an ass...but not everyone researches things to the level I did before deviating from stock. This was something that took weeks to do.

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The HID in a projector housing with hot spots is interesting. I don't think i ever had any problems with it from memory but I can completely sympathize with that point.
Again, i'm generalizing here. There are clearly different types of halogen projectors, and different types of HID capsules. Some hotspot worse than others. Some combinations throw so much stray light that people around you can barely see where they're going. Some, although not optimal, are acceptable. But this variation is the reason why I bring it into the discussion. Things that are DOT legal have been tested and perform as designed. When you deviate from that, you're on your own. And let's be honest, a lot of people have no idea what they're doing when they play engineer.

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That being said.... Just because it's not designed for it doesn't mean it won't work fine. here's the cut off for an e34 with HID's.

That output may or may not be acceptable. It's tough to tell with it shining on a wall in the garage a few feet away. As a comparison, here's my TSX retrofit shining a good few hundred feet out (I don't know of any PNP kit that retains this level of uniformity)...



And zoomed in...



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We're talking about simple things.... an HID system. If you hate the quality then that's one thing, but don't hate on DDM because they're not as good as Morimoto or the other ballasts and then tell people not to reengineer things. On that note... He's putting it into a housing designed for an HID capsule. Why is there a problem with that?
I don't recall mentioning anything at all about quality, about DDM, or about Morimoto. The goal of my post was to explain why you can't just throw an HID capsule into any old projector, and what the differences are between halogen and HID optics (to a degree).

I'm not telling people not to reengineer things. The entire enthusiast community is based on things like that. However, I am saying that people should understand things before they attempt to reengineer them. The vast majority of the people that buy PNP Kits don't understand what it is they're actually buying and don't understand the difference between that, and something with proper optics. The vendors do not explain that you can (not always, but CAN) yield output that's bad for other drivers and in some cases actually *worse* than their stock halogen output. Again, the key here is understanding what you're doing.
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Old 12-17-2013, 06:30 PM   #44
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No I don't have any info on it and it's part of the reason I'm not going to put HIDs in my halogen projectors.
Gotcha. When you deemed it safe, I figured you had some sort of experience with it.

The good thing about our cars is the HID option. They're not *that* pricey, though if you don't know how to code, it can be a pain without resorting to the dealer.

And, truth be told, the E46 OE HID's aren't all that great. Better than halogens, but not that nice in the realm of OE HID setups. And it's not the age, TSX, FX, S2K, and TL are all far better and are from the same era.
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Old 12-17-2013, 06:39 PM   #45
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Gotcha. When you deemed it safe, I figured you had some sort of experience with it.

The good thing about our cars is the HID option. They're not *that* pricey, though if you don't know how to code, it can be a pain without resorting to the dealer.

And, truth be told, the E46 OE HID's aren't all that great. Better than halogens, but not that nice in the realm of OE HID setups. And it's not the age, TSX, FX, S2K, and TL are all far better and are from the same era.
Actually that's along the lines what I was thinking but things are swinging the other way for the E46 OE HID projectors. Turns out they're geared for long-range high speed driving whereas all the projectors you mention are really showy for immediate foreground lighting but not good for long range. This is just what I've heard. I've also been told this by TerraPhantm, our resident lighting platinum wizard. Some people in the community are actually favoring OE e46 units (even on other cars/retrofits) over TSX, replica etc.

I love my OE units on a pitch black road at high speed... especially with all the new parts (both OEM and aftermarket) and coding I threw at it.

At the end of the day though it all comes down to projector size and tuning. Long range or foreground. (ideally both)
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Old 12-17-2013, 07:08 PM   #46
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quick HID question

2 things I regret about my car

Halogen lights
Automatic


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Old 12-17-2013, 11:20 PM   #47
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2 things I regret about my car

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At least with your halogens you can do a clean retrofit. i'd spend the money in a heartbeat. i'd like to try new projectors myself but dont want to hack my stockers. i want a used set of ZKWs i can hack apart.
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Old 12-18-2013, 12:42 AM   #48
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wtf lol. they were going in projector housing.
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Old 12-18-2013, 12:46 AM   #49
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I'm not "feeding" you anything. You asked what was illegal about it, I answered. Personally, I don't need the DOT to tell me what's safe and what isn't. I did enough research to figure that out for myself. I run retrofitted TSX projectors in my E36 M3, which is illegal and no aspect of that setup has been DOT approved. But the light output is safe, doesn't blind oncoming drivers, and the electrical demands of the ballasts are well within the design specs of the wiring in my car. Still, it's illegal. But, not to sound like an ass...but not everyone researches things to the level I did before deviating from stock. This was something that took weeks to do.


Again, i'm generalizing here. There are clearly different types of halogen projectors, and different types of HID capsules. Some hotspot worse than others. Some combinations throw so much stray light that people around you can barely see where they're going. Some, although not optimal, are acceptable. But this variation is the reason why I bring it into the discussion. Things that are DOT legal have been tested and perform as designed. When you deviate from that, you're on your own. And let's be honest, a lot of people have no idea what they're doing when they play engineer.


That output may or may not be acceptable. It's tough to tell with it shining on a wall in the garage a few feet away. As a comparison, here's my TSX retrofit shining a good few hundred feet out (I don't know of any PNP kit that retains this level of uniformity)...


And zoomed in...

I don't recall mentioning anything at all about quality, about DDM, or about Morimoto. The goal of my post was to explain why you can't just throw an HID capsule into any old projector, and what the differences are between halogen and HID optics (to a degree).

I'm not telling people not to reengineer things. The entire enthusiast community is based on things like that. However, I am saying that people should understand things before they attempt to reengineer them. The vast majority of the people that buy PNP Kits don't understand what it is they're actually buying and don't understand the difference between that, and something with proper optics. The vendors do not explain that you can (not always, but CAN) yield output that's bad for other drivers and in some cases actually *worse* than their stock halogen output. Again, the key here is understanding what you're doing.
Apologies for the bluntness of the "feeding me the DOT" stuff. I just view the DOT legality the same as you.

Beyond that, highly informative post. your bringing it into the discussion is valid in this instance. But are hotspots or flare really that bad compared to putting them in a halogen housing? Maybe I'm just severely underestimating the effects of flare? So if he's putting his DDM ballast onto a stock xenon there's no issue, correct?

The quality part was more directed at Mango.

Although, Mango, why are halogens capable of a cleaner retrofit?
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Old 12-18-2013, 12:47 AM   #50
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wtf lol. they were going in projector housing.
Beyond Mango's original post, did anyone else actually answer your original question?
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Old 12-18-2013, 12:53 AM   #51
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Actually that's along the lines what I was thinking but things are swinging the other way for the E46 OE HID projectors. Turns out they're geared for long-range high speed driving whereas all the projectors you mention are really showy for immediate foreground lighting but not good for long range. This is just what I've heard. I've also been told this by TerraPhantm, our resident lighting platinum wizard. Some people in the community are actually favoring OE e46 units (even on other cars/retrofits) over TSX, replica etc.

I love my OE units on a pitch black road at high speed... especially with all the new parts (both OEM and aftermarket) and coding I threw at it.

At the end of the day though it all comes down to projector size and tuning. Long range or foreground. (ideally both)
I can't say i've noticed them being better at long range visibility. The TSX in my E36, at least from my experience, are better at everything. Though, admittedly, my E46 headlight lenses are original 136K mile pieces of plastic. It's probably time to replace those.

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2 things I regret about my car

Halogen lights
Automatic

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I was very close to pulling the trigger on an auto, with plans to swap. Most guys around here have a manual. But out in the real world, they're not as common.

I searched for about 6 weeks before I found a sport package coupe in nice shape in a color I wanted (red, blue, white, or black) with a manual. And I drove across 4 states to get it.

Swap the MT in when reverse decides to go.
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Old 12-18-2013, 12:54 AM   #52
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No but its okay. The harness he got from DDM was messed up anyway so hes going OE. Which ironically was why it wasn't working. The ballasts both went bad recently and that's why he was redoing the whole kit. Not that it matters. lol.
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Old 12-18-2013, 01:17 AM   #53
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Apologies for the bluntness of the "feeding me the DOT" stuff. I just view the DOT legality the same as you.

Beyond that, highly informative post. your bringing it into the discussion is valid in this instance. But are hotspots or flare really that bad compared to putting them in a halogen housing? Maybe I'm just severely underestimating the effects of flare? So if he's putting his DDM ballast onto a stock xenon there's no issue, correct?

The quality part was more directed at Mango.

Although, Mango, why are halogens capable of a cleaner retrofit?
I'm not sure what you mean by "compared to putting them in a halogen housing". The thing about it is, there's not a ton of consistency. The setups aren't DOT legal, and they're not OEM, so there's no reference standard to adhere to.

As a for instance, years ago when I daily drove an Integra GS-R, I had a plug and play kit in it. In the Integra community, it was known that certain brand re-based bulbs yielded nice output when shoved in our halogen housings. Others did not. We had a list of places to buy from, and places to avoid. They don't all have the same construction, so the focal point of the output wasn't all the same. Add to that, the options with color temperature, and you have a recipe to potentially have issues with the output.

These setups have gotten better, and it's honestly not likely that you're going to have bad hot spotting and glare when using a rebased bulb in a halogen projector housing these days (reflectors are a totally different story). But, IMO, the important thing is to understand the engineering without just buying frankenstien parts and throwing them in there, devoid of thought. If you're after the best light output for your halogen projectors, the answer is usually to get a good set of bulbs (night breakers or silverstars), and new plastic outer lenses. However, the vendors would have you think that you'll get more usable light by throwing 8000K rebased bulbs in there with an HID PNP kit.

Some of the functionality argument is lost on people, as some just want the look of the bluish light (which is NOT what you get from OE HID's, BTW). But anyways, no, there's no issue using DDM ballasts with the stock HID system in terms of light output. The bulb determines the color temperature, and as long as you're using a D2S bulb with OE color temp, the ballast will yield proper functionality. Connectors may or may not mate up, I haven't looked at what their current options are.

It's worth noting that OE bulbs put out the most useable light, which is pure white and at a color temp of around 4400 or 4500K. The farther you deviate from white, the less useable light output you have. The bluish 8000K or so kits have less intense output. They do, however, mimic the look people think OE HID systems put out.

When you're driving towards a car with OE HID's, you'll see them as having a bluish hue. This is because your eyes are above the cutoff line of the light output. You're seeing mostly refracted light that is an artifact of the projector and is "color shifted" to the blue end of the spectrum. The driver sees white, and you would too, if your eyes were under his cutoff line (you'd also be upset at how intense the light was). I think these PNP Kits with blue tinted light output came from the days when people wanted the "look" of cars with HIDs. But, regardless. The optimal lighting is a pure white bulb with an optimal focal point for the projector its in. Light intensity does come into play, but there are other aspects to consider, that's all.

Hope that answers a few questions without opening up any more.
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Old 12-18-2013, 12:21 PM   #54
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I can't say i've noticed them being better at long range visibility. The TSX in my E36, at least from my experience, are better at everything. Though, admittedly, my E46 headlight lenses are original 136K mile pieces of plastic. It's probably time to replace those.

Also don't forget the bulbs fade rather quickly over time. My entire front end lighting wise is refreshed. new bulbs (both high and low), exterior lenses, projector lenses (ZKW-Rs), seals, tuned cutoff shields, coding, etc. So it helps over an older stock lighting system
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Old 12-18-2013, 12:32 PM   #55
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Although, Mango, why are halogens capable of a cleaner retrofit?
He was referring to my facelift coupe halogen projectors. They're already a projector setup, so an HID retrofit should be relatively clean.

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I was very close to pulling the trigger on an auto, with plans to swap. Most guys around here have a manual. But out in the real world, they're not as common.

I searched for about 6 weeks before I found a sport package coupe in nice shape in a color I wanted (red, blue, white, or black) with a manual. And I drove across 4 states to get it.

Swap the MT in when reverse decides to go.
I couldn't find anything within reasonable distance and with reasonable mileage that had a manual. I only searched a few months, but I really wanted to get rid of my Jeep haha.


In terms of retrofitting my facelift halogen projectors with some nice xenon bulbs (and maybe lenses) do you have any websites I should start looking at. Obviously there's our Lighting forum and theretrofit source, but that's about all I know of.
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Old 12-18-2013, 01:53 PM   #56
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quick HID question

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Also don't forget the bulbs fade rather quickly over time. My entire front end lighting wise is refreshed. new bulbs (both high and low), exterior lenses, projector lenses (ZKW-Rs), seals, tuned cutoff shields, coding, etc. So it helps over an older stock lighting system
The bulbs in my E46 are recent (replaced this past spring). I've had the same bulbs in my E36 since 2008 or so. They're the same bulbs in both cars. I'll definitely be putting new lenses on in the spring. They're not blasted too bad. But they're definitely not like new anymore. I'm sure that will help the E46.

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I couldn't find anything within reasonable distance and with reasonable mileage that had a manual. I only searched a few months, but I really wanted to get rid of my Jeep haha.


In terms of retrofitting my facelift halogen projectors with some nice xenon bulbs (and maybe lenses) do you have any websites I should start looking at. Obviously there's our Lighting forum and theretrofit source, but that's about all I know of.
Manuals are indeed surprisingly hard to find sometimes. The numbers vary from year to year. But in the US, is basically always under 5% of new cars every year that are sold with a manual transmission.

For current retrofit parts, I'm kind of out of the game, since my E46 has factory Xenons and my E36 has been retrofitted since 2007. But in the past, I've gotten parts and resources from HIDPlanet and Theretrofitsource.




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Old 12-18-2013, 02:56 PM   #57
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What size lenses do facelift coupes come with in the halogen projectors?
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Old 12-18-2013, 03:07 PM   #58
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Re: quick HID question

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What size lenses do facelift coupes come with in the halogen projectors?
3" they are the same as the AL bi-xenon dimensionally. Just don't have a moveable shutter.
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Old 12-18-2013, 03:17 PM   #59
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Just to make sure, you are talking about the facelift COUPE right? The F/L coupe is kind of unique in the lighting department. If they are 3", then I'm probably going to buy E55 projectors.

Also, I'm going with the strategy of finding a shitty used light, opening it up, taking measurements, and making an adapter of some sort. My office just got a 3D printer :-) and I'm a whiz with SolidWorks.
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Old 12-18-2013, 03:33 PM   #60
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Re: quick HID question

Yea. My roommate has a facelift coupe. I got a smashed headlight from him when he got in an accident, and curiosity took it's course. I am still trying to talk him into letting me retrofit AL projectors with zkw-r lenses into them.
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