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post #1 of 32 (permalink) Old Aug 15th, 2010, 7:42 pm Thread Starter
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Bulb Question

Hey folks
It's been a while since I've been around here but I recall a thread I had been following about PIAA bulbs in the stock K12RS headlight as being a whole bunch easier than HID. I know I'm supposed to use H3's on the high beam and H7's on the low beam but every bulb I look at on the PIAA website seems to have HID written on the package somewhere. Which ones are you guys running? Do they no longer make non-HID bulbs anymore?
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post #2 of 32 (permalink) Old Aug 15th, 2010, 8:28 pm
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Well, they ain't cheap, but Google "piaa h7 xtreme white plus"
They're not HID. Cost about as much, though.



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post #3 of 32 (permalink) Old Aug 15th, 2010, 9:38 pm Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Razel
Well, they ain't cheap, but Google "piaa h7 xtreme white plus"
They're not HID. Cost about as much, though.
Those are actually the ones I was looking at and they say HID on the package. I've included a link to them. It's for the H3's which I would use for my high beams which is what I am interested in. Check it out. Click on buy now and you'll see a bigger image of the package. There are some yellow and purple ovals. it's the top one.

http://www.piaa.com/Bulbs/Bulbs-H3.html

Last edited by Yoda; Aug 15th, 2010 at 9:44 pm.
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post #4 of 32 (permalink) Old Aug 16th, 2010, 8:33 am
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The only true HID lights have external power supplies. A simple "plug it in" lamp, no matter what it says on the bulb or box, or in an ad, is not an real HID light, just a wanna-be.

A real HID system uses an arc inside the lamp, and that takes high voltage (~20KV) to make it happen. Anything else is pushing 12V through a high resistance wire. There may be tweaks with different gases, and the lamps may be filtered to change the color, but, in the end, it's still not the real deal.

I just got through installing HID lamps in my KRS. Doing the low beam conversion is fairly simple. It's not quite "plug and play" because of having to drill out the headlight housing and tinkering with the HID's 12V connector to get it through the 7/8" hole, but it's still a 1-2 hour project if you're comfortable with the bike and with tools. The high bean installation is a bigger job, because the H3 mount and the lamp aren't at all the same size. Plan on some work with a Dremel tool to get things right.

In the end, I think the H7 low beam conversion gives more bang for the buck than the H3 high beam conversion. Unless you ride almost exclusively out in the sticks, most of the time it's the low beam that's doing the work. Put in a really good H3 halogen bulb in the high beam (I've used the Sylvania Silverstar bulbs and think they're about as good as halogen lights get), install a good driving light (not a fog light - I've used the Hella FF50 driving light with good success) to stretch the coverage, and call it a day.

Not all who wander are lost. Which still leaves room for more than a few lost wanderers...

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post #5 of 32 (permalink) Old Aug 16th, 2010, 10:02 am
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Just as a reminder, the wiring to that headlamp isn't the greatest. If you are going to change to a different bulb you might impact the wiring. I had mine changed out due to shorts.

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post #6 of 32 (permalink) Old Aug 16th, 2010, 11:09 am Thread Starter
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RBEmerson,

I understand what HID is. I installed HID lights on my Toyota. An error in judgement on my part, that. Nevertheless, when an HID bulb dies people are not forced to buy a module and bulb together as a package. HID bulbs are in fact sold separately from the HID modules so there are packages of bulbs sold that say HID on them and they are in fact HID. The question is, are the PIAA Extreme White Plus bulbs HID? It does say so on the package.

mrlajoie,

When you say the wiring is weak (isn't the greatest) are you referring to its ability to carry currents greater than 55 watts due to thin guage wiring or its ability to be physically handled due to sloppy connentions and brittle insulation? Or both, maybe?

Last edited by Yoda; Aug 16th, 2010 at 1:50 pm.
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post #7 of 32 (permalink) Old Aug 16th, 2010, 9:10 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yoda
Those are actually the ones I was looking at and they say HID on the package. I've included a link to them. It's for the H3's which I would use for my high beams which is what I am interested in. Check it out. Click on buy now and you'll see a bigger image of the package. There are some yellow and purple ovals. it's the top one.

http://www.piaa.com/Bulbs/Bulbs-H3.html
http://www.piaa.com/Bulbs/Bulbs-H7.html <--These are non-HID, which is what I was referring to. The link you have is for the non-HID H3 bulb. Can't offer any explanation on why the packaging would say HID. "Intense White", though, is there. But the connectors on both bulbs are directly connected to the wiring harness, no ballast, no igniter. The pictures of the bulbs are small, but distinct enough to see an element. Not the set-up you see in HID bulbs. I'd blame PIAA marketing on their attempt to make the bulbs "appear" to be HID in performance, though.



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post #8 of 32 (permalink) Old Aug 17th, 2010, 7:02 am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yoda
RBEmerson,

When you say the wiring is weak (isn't the greatest) are you referring to its ability to carry currents greater than 55 watts due to thin guage wiring or its ability to be physically handled due to sloppy connentions and brittle insulation? Or both, maybe?
Definitely the guage of the wiring. I put on some aftermarket bulbs that didn't pull much more than 55 watts and melted the insulation.

.....Mike
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post #9 of 32 (permalink) Old Aug 17th, 2010, 7:30 am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yoda
RBEmerson,

I understand what HID is. I installed HID lights on my Toyota. An error in judgement on my part, that. Nevertheless, when an HID bulb dies people are not forced to buy a module and bulb together as a package. HID bulbs are in fact sold separately from the HID modules so there are packages of bulbs sold that say HID on them and they are in fact HID. The question is, are the PIAA Extreme White Plus bulbs HID? It does say so on the package.
[...]
My apologies if I seemed to be knocking you on the HID's point. Hopefully, no hurt, no foul.

Not all who wander are lost. Which still leaves room for more than a few lost wanderers...

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post #10 of 32 (permalink) Old Aug 17th, 2010, 7:49 am
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On PIAA and HID bulbs...

This is purely my own personal bias and a subjective statement, but I think PIAA is highly over-rated. They've managed to develop a lot of brand recognition but most of their offerings, IMHO, are more sizzle than steak. They make lots of claims about how great the bulbs and lights are, that they have magic colors, and on and on. I've never seen a PIAA light installation that left me thinking it did something worth all the hoopla.

It's not hard to find bulbs being offered as "HID" or "xenon" lights when, in fact, they're simply not arc-lit HID systems. Maybe the PIAA HID bulbs mentioned above are spares for an HID-with-ballast system, but my inherent lack of faith in PIAA leaves me wondering if the claims are ...ah... a bit fanciful. Maybe not.

In any case, my criteria for "is it HID or not" comes down to "is there a high voltage power supply, and does the bulb produce illumination by striking an arc". When considering a replacement light source, if the answer to both questions isn't "yes", it ain't HID.

On wiring issues...
Agreed that the wiring harness, particularly the ground lead, for the headlights seems undersized for the job. The individual supply lines only supply about 3A when the lights are running, but the ground lead returns the full load, 6A. With HID's briefly drawing 6A each as the arc is struck, the worst case current in the return becomes 12A+. There's something to be said for looking into beefing up the wire and using relays to control power supplied from the battery instead of the existing wiring harness.

Not all who wander are lost. Which still leaves room for more than a few lost wanderers...

Red Flash - '03 K1200RS, lightly farkled
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