HID stands for High Intensity Discharge

HID (high-intensity discharge) lamp is a type of electrical bulb which produces light by means of an electric arc between tungsten electrodes housed inside a translucent arc tube. This tube is filled with both gas and metal salts. The gas facilitates the arc’s initial strike via a high voltage pulse produced by the igniter. Once the arc is started, the ballast maintains a constant arc which evaporates the metal salts forming a plasma. This greatly increases the intensity of light produced by the arc and reduces its power consumption.

HID requires three components: a bulb, an igniter and a ballast.   Instead of a filament, HID is a xenon gas filled bulb with 2 electrodes.  Applying a high voltage 20,000 volt pulse (via the igniter) a plasma arc is formed across the two electrodes in the bulb. Once ignited, the ballast takes over, keeping the bulb running at a constant temperature.  HID lights take approximately 15 to 25 seconds to reach a stable brightness, a fact not all buyers know.

Halogen Versus HID

Advantages of HID over Halogen

  • Compared with incandescent bulbs, HID lamps have higher luminous efficiency since a greater proportion of their radiation is in visible light as opposed to heat. Their overall luminous efficiency is also much higher: they give a greater amount of light output per watt of electricity input.
  • The 50W HID has approximately six times the output of a standard 100W Halogen globe
  • HID has a low amperage and very low current draw
  • A 12V 50W HID globe draws 4.16 amps compared to 8.33 amps drawn by a standard 100W halogen globe
  • This means a 50% reduction in power consumption
  • Cold to touch because the low wattage means the heat output is reduced significantly

HID light takes approximately 15-25 seconds to reach a stable brightness, time to “warm up”.

Xenon versus halogen headlights:

Xenon headlights produce a lovely beam of bright blue-tinged white light that looks, well, very cool indeed. But how much better are they (if at all) compared to regular halogen headlights?

High intensity discharge (HID) headlamps, to give xenon headlights their full and proper name, burn a mixture of gases that includes trace amounts of the noble gas xenon. This allows the HID headlights to reach close to their full brightness within 15 to 25 seconds of being switched on.

On the bright side, HID lights are a lot brighter than regular halogen headlights — generally between three to five times brighter. They also require less power (typically HID lights draw 35W compared to a halogen system’s 55W) and last longer (about 2000 hours of use, which translates to between two and four times the lifespan of halogen lights). Colour temperature is measured in Kelvin. Additionally the light emitted from HID lights is closer to that of natural sunlight — HID lights have a colour temperature of around 4200K, halogen lights are around 3300K and sunlight is pegged at 5800K.

What is Xenon Technology


How does it work?

HID also known as Xenon light is based on the gas discharge principle, where an arc of light is created between two electrodes in a glass tube filled with metal salts and inert gases (This is not to be confused with many manufacturers who call their halogen lamps Xenon see gas filling in a halogen lamp).

HID light offers :

  • Two to three times more light for half of the energy consumption.
  • Doubling or trebling of the headlight luminance enabling smaller or more variable headlight designs.
  • Low levels of infra-red and ultra-violet radiation enabling new materials in headlight construction.

HID System :



Can I swap it for halogen?

The xenon headlight burner, unlike halogen bulbs, needs electronic control gear to gain the maximum possible benefits. The electronics control both the initial strike of the lamp and also its burning behavior. Both have a significant impact on the life of the lamps. Also because the arc is totally different both in its position and construction compared to a filament you also need specially designed optics.

Which HID Headlight bulb and why?

The D2S is designed for optimum performance in a projection or ellipsoidal optical unit. It is the ideal solution for auxiliary lights, rally lights and working lights etc.



The D2R is produced with added optical shielding as is clearly seen by the pin striping on the outer envelope. This lamp has been especially designed for reflection optics or complex shape reflectors.


What is HID Light?

The HID bulb is a micro discharge bulb filled with a mixture of noble gases including Xenon. The bulb has no filament as is the case with a halogen lamp. The light is created by striking and arc between 2 electrodes. The xenon lamp needs a starter for quick ignition and an electronic ballast to function properly.

What are the advantages of HID/Xenon Headlights?

The HID/xenon headlight bulb, produces 2 to 3 times as much light as a halogen bulb, whilst only consuming half of the power. Therefore the driver can see more clearly and the car is more economical to run. The light produced by the HID/Xenon bulb is the same as daylight. Research has shown that this enhances driver concentration and thus safety. The life expectancy of the HID/xenon bulb is that of the life of the car and only needs replacing in exceptional cases.

Why was HID/Xenon Light developed?

Over the last decade the car has been made safer and more comfortable with the introduction of such technologies as ABS, Airbags and Air-conditioning. However 60% of all accidents take place in the dark. Therefore vehicle head lighting plays a very big role in road safety. It is a fact that a 60 year old requires 10-11 times the amount of light to perform the same functions as a 20 year old.  With the increase in the average age of the population more light is required to drive safely.

What is meant by active safety measures?

Better lighting leads to earlier and improved recognition of objects, cyclists, pedestrians and potential hazards ahead. it is also vital that you get as much notice as possible of traffic signs and road markings to be able to react in good time. Therefore better lighting delivers an active contribution to road safety and driver comfort and can save lives.

Can't we improve halogen headlight bulbs?

Yes indeed the latest extreme Vision,  100% brighter,  Halogen bulb uses technology improvements in both the construction and components to achieve higher luminance, with this, however, there is always a compromise in life but it does mean that this technology has probably now reached it’s limit?   HID lighting is brighter and more white and offered the answer to increasing light more efficiently. In future there will be a place for LED in Headlights and they are beginning to be introduced in new cars.

Light emitting diodes, commonly called LEDs, are real unsung heroes in the electronics world. They do dozens of different jobs and are found in all kinds of devices. Among other things, they form numbers on digital clocks, transmit information from remote controls, light up watches and tell you when your appliances are turned on. Collected together, they can form images on a jumbo television screen or illuminate a traffic light.

Basically, LEDs are just tiny light bulbs that fit easily into an electrical circuit. But unlike ordinary bulbs, they don’t have a filament that will burn out, and they don’t get especially hot. They are illuminated solely by the movement of electrons in a semiconductor material, and they last just as long as a standard transistor. The lifespan of an LED surpasses the short life of an incandescent bulb by thousands of hours. Tiny LEDs are already replacing the tubes that light up LCD HDTVs to make dramatically thinner televisions.


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