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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 07-05-2013, 01:50 AM   #1
TerraPhantm
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Strange flickering problem

I've been having some issues with my factory HIDs, and I'm starting to run out of ideas. The bulbs are Osram 66240CBIs, and this particular set is about a year old.

Lately my driver side light flickers semi-randomly (I can trigge it with a hard bump or sometimes really sudden acceleration). I've tried 3 ballasts and two igniters -- all have the same issue. I also have a set of Hella gen 3s, and when I rig those in, there are no issues whatsoever -- that leads me to believe the bulb is okay. While the Hella Gen3s are fantastic ballasts, I'm trying to keep the wiring looking factory, so I'd like to figure this out.

It seems like the issue is related to shock, but the ballasts are mounted in factory positions, and I would think any automotive ballast should be able to tolerate vibrations.

My other thought is that perhaps the ballasts are just too old; my newest AL ballast is still pushing 9 years old. New ones are quite expensive though -- are there perhaps any components I can replace inside to "refurbish" or improve them?

Last edited by TerraPhantm; 07-05-2013 at 01:50 AM.
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Old 07-05-2013, 04:07 AM   #2
CortinaD
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I get the same issues with my left hand side head light. Similar symptoms so keen to also know the solution.
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Old 07-06-2013, 12:58 AM   #3
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This might be a coincidence, but the lights seem to function correctly if I remove the plastic cover over the ballast bracket (m3 only). This makes me think that the problem could be heat. Or even the connector for the light
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Old 07-15-2013, 03:30 PM   #4
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it sounds like a connection problem to me. like it's loose. since you pretty much ruled everything else out.
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Old 07-17-2013, 02:59 AM   #5
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^ It seems tight enough, and the plastic cover thing doesn't appear to interfere... but just in case I bought a bunch of new connectors, and will probably crimp on new connections this weekend.
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Old 07-17-2013, 01:11 PM   #6
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well since you used the gen 3s to test (which bypasses the wiring in the headlight completely). it could be the connection from the ballast to the headlight itself rather than the connector from the car.

as for refurbishing the ballast, there's nothing you can do really except get new ones.
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Old 07-21-2013, 12:54 AM   #7
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I'm still not understanding why the e46 M3 ballast cover would exasperate the issue if the internal wiring is a problem.

Just to be clear, this black cover is what I'm referring to



I used the hella gen 3s before I discovered simply removing that cover apparently fixes it (headlights haven't flickered once since removing it). It just clips onto the metal bracket the ballast sits on; doesn't physically touch the ballast.
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Old 07-21-2013, 01:13 AM   #8
CortinaD
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Strange flickering problem

My setup is 100% factory bulbs and ballasts untouched since I bought it in 06. 2004 m3 70k kms. All I have done in the past was take those 2 plugs off and clean the connectors but it never made a difference.

I'll do the same next time by removing the cover and report back next time I fire the car up but it may not be for a few months. I wonder if that cover is knocking the connectors under gear changes as its pretty flimsy.




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Old 07-21-2013, 01:51 AM   #9
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yeah i know what the cover is. iono, maybe it just causes more heat retention and it's either affecting the wires, or your old ballast. only thing i can think of that would be remotely related to the cover.

for other flickering problems, it's more likely that it's a connection issue, which is what i went off of rather than the cover.
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Old 07-21-2013, 02:09 AM   #10
TerraPhantm
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I might just try replacing the connector for the hell of it. Maybe I should get gold-plated junior power timer contacts just to minimize resistance

The cover is definitely exasperating something. Without fail, if I hit a bump or accelerate hard, the lights flicker with the cover on. If I pull over and remove the cover, the same behavior doesn't trigger flickering.

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Old 08-03-2013, 02:12 AM   #11
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Okay it seems like the ballast cover was a red herring. I mean it did make a difference in the frequency, but then the problem came back. I also found that by simply hitting bumping the headlight with my fist would cause it to flicker -- so it was definitely something mechanical.

I took the bulb out and looked at the ignitor connector. Nothing was obviously wrong, but I decided to bend the pins inward. So far so good; no flickering with hard bumps, acceleration, fists, etc... I guess all of my ignitors were a bit out of shape? My passenger side has yet to exhibit any similar problems, but if it starts to at some point, I'll do the same fix.

And if the problem comes back, I'm just going to convert to D1S.
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