The best HID Headlights for the H2 Hummer

Simply the best - Starr HID projector headlights!

Simply the best – Starr HID projector headlights!

If you have a Hummer H2 truck, chances are you’re looking to upgrade the beast. Many people put big wheels & tires on them and lift them and do big crazy sound systems inside them, but one of the most impressive upgrades you can do to the H2 Hummer is to install a set of Starr HID Projector Bi-Xenon headlights. These lights are a direct fit for the H2 or H1 Hummer, and they are easily the best quality and the brightest drop-in, plug and play true projector headlight on the market for these trucks!

SR Auto Group took full advantage of “Project Magnum” which is a build they did of an H2 Hummer, now this truck got the works, everything from a roof rack, to wild suspension components, no expense was spared, but you’ll notice that the crowning modification are the headlights. Without these headlights, this wild build would feel… incomplete:

This is project Magnum from SR and they finished this build with the coolest headlights available!

This is project Magnum from SR and they finished this build with the coolest headlights available from Starr HID!

The 7″ round bi-xenon projector headlights from Starr HID are available in both chrome and black versions and utilize real OEM grade (really large!) projectors inside the housings. Their large stature really looks great when fitted on such a vehicle as a Hummer an in terms of light output, you can’t really get any better than this!

This is one mean truck!

This is one mean truck! Starr HID Headlights!

Project Magnum from SR Auto Sports

When you’re trying to build the best truck around, you can’t use anything else than the best headlights.

The Starr HID Hummer H2 Projector Headlights come as a complete kit including 2 housings, 2 HID bulbs, 2 HID ballasts, 2 relay wire harnesses, and install instructions, and yes you can choose between black and chrome too! Did I say that these are the best yet? Not sure – I just don’t want you to miss the point! Please do yourself a favor and don’t buy a silly looking, cheap, set of headlights from eBay for your big awesome truck – do it right and do it once! Trust me, you won’t regret it!

7" Round Projector headlights from Starr HID: Black Version

7″ Round Projector headlights from Starr HID: Black Version

7" Round Projector headlights from Starr HID: Chrome Version

7″ Round Projector headlights from Starr HID: Chrome Version

Camaro HID Headlights found in northern Minnesota!

1984 Chevy H4666 Conversion

This Camaro mixes ’80s style with new technology using HID Headlights!

I had the pleasure of attending the Cars & Coffee event in Bemidji, MN this past labor day weekend and there was a 1984 Chevy Camaro there with aftermarket housings and an HID kit. I’m not much of  a fan of the color used (8,000K) on this particular car, but the lighting upgrade was great! The way the owner of the car did it was to replace the original 4×6 sealed beam headlight housings with a pair of new 4×6″ composite headlight housings then added an H4 HID conversion kit. This headlight system was totally plug and play for this Camaro and the output of light from these headlights over stock was absolutely incredible! If you want better lights then you should look into a Camaro 4×6 Headlight kit for your car – you’ll never go back to regular lights again!

GTR Lighting Camaro Xenon

4×6 Headlight Housings and a GTR Lighting HID Kit fitted in this 1984 Chevy Camaro.

The Bemidji Cars and Coffee event was a lot of fun and it was cool to see other people from northern Minnesota and how they’ve been enjoying their cars and trucks this summer! At the event there was a Nissan 350z, Eagle Talon TSi, a new and an old Honda Civic as well as a new Jeep SRT8 and and a new Dodge Ram, about 18 vehicles total.

JW Speaker 5×7 LED Headlights, Model #8900

J.W. Speaker 5x7 LED Headlights

These LED headlights are the best of the best in the automotive lighting world, but they are not perfect, albeit close!

Recently we reviewed and tested a set of the J.W. Speaker #8900 7×6 LED headlights and I must admit that they are totally great! There are a couple small things about them that make them slightly less than perfect, but the pros majorly outweigh the cons! These headlights are great because they are beautiful, reliable and super bright. The problems that I had with these 200mm rectangular LED headlights is pretty minimal, but to some people it may be the difference between purchasing them or not. Granted they are the best on the market, but here’s a short list of the problems these headlights have:

1. Price: These things sell for a little less than $600 each! If you must have the best, then it’s no argument, but for most of us mere mortals this price tag may break the bank.

2. Branding: The word “SPEAKER” is embossed on the inner face of the light in big bold letters, symbolizing that it is a product of the J.W. Speaker Corporation, but it confuses most people. I hear the question all the time, “This is a speaker? I thought it was a headlight…” with a funny and confused look on their face. JW Speaker needs to redesign the housing to incorporate some type of “JWS” logo inside, instead of simply the word speaker.

3. City Light: These headlights have a small single-LED city light built in for use as an indicator or just a unique looking style when you are cruising. The idea is cool, but when you turn on your city light it also lights up one half of the entire housing, dimly, so it really just looks like your headlight is on and broken.

Please take a few moments to watch the entire video, and watch the night time driving demonstration near the end too!

Unusual Headlights Found at Bemidji, MN Cars and Coffee

Excited for the event!

If there’s anything I love more than working cars and selling car parts, it’s enjoying the fruits of the hobby and attending events. This past weekend was a beautiful time for outdoor events and I had the pleasure to attend the small Cars & Coffee event in Bemidji, MN. This is their first event so there were only 14 vehicles in attendance, but much fun was had by all! You can view the entire photo album from this event at the C&C Bemidji Facebook Page here.

Something that I saw that was really cool that I want to touch on were a couple vehicles in attendance with some very unique and special headlights. First is a 2005 Nissan 350z with 3,000K HID projector headlights and white LED city lights. Second is a 1985 Pontiac Fiero with 5×7″ LED headlights from JW Speaker:

1) This 2005 Nissan 350z came from the factory with stock D2S style HID bulbs and the owner swapped them out with a set of 3,000K (JDM Gold) bulbs. Instead of doing what most people do by going to a more white or blue color, this car went to the opposite side of the spectrum for a golden look. The cool part about it though was the contrast between the bright golden (not dingy yellow like stock lights) and the bright white LED city light in the corner. It makes it look very original and creates a dual-headlight illusion from further away. The LED bulbs (5-LED 194 Style bulbs by GTR Lighting) are very bright and reflect off the inside of the housing nicely.

GTR Lighting 3K D2S

Custom 350z HID Headlights featuring 3,000K HID bulbs and white city lights.

Bemidji Cars and Coffee

Nissan 350z with custom HID headlights.

2) A surprise at the show was this 1985 Pontiac Fiero, which originally came fitted with H6054 sealed beam headlights, was now sporting a pair of JW Speaker #8900 LED headlights. These 5×7″ housings are a direct plug and play for the original lamps and are both high tech and stylish. The top/center projector focuses one high power LED for the low beam function and the lower two projectors focus another set of high power LED chips for the high beam function.

Fiero LED Headlight housings

1985 Fiero with LED Headlamps from JW Speaker

Bemidji Cars and Coffee

Pontiac Fiero with LED Headlights

Bemidji Cars and Coffee

Pontiac Fiero with LED Headlights and Daytime Running Lights.

All in all it was a great day for the event and it was even more fun to see the creative lighting products displayed by the attendees! Can’t wait until next time!

What’s the difference between HID and Halogen lights?

Halogen vs Xenon Bulbs

Just because the bulbs are shaped similarly, doesn’t mean they share many traits.

The original automobiles literally used lamps (glass housing with a candle burning inside) to light the way on the roads, similar to how people would light the way on horseback. And I’m sure you’ve heard of Thomas Edison, who invented the first long-lasting incandescent light bulb in 1879, what most vehicles use in their modern day headlamps are based off of his original designs. A standard light bulb has a filament, and it gets electricity applied to each side of the filament and when this happens the filament gets very hot and reaches a state of incandescence. This is why we call light bulbs with filaments, incandescent light bulbs. High-power incandescent light bulbs used in car headlights are filled with a gas called Halogen, and it reacts to the brightly glowing filament and creates a massive amount of light, up to 1,200 Lumen of light output. This is why we call standard automotive headlights “halogen bulbs”.

This is not to be confused with Xenon or HID bulbs – they don’t necessarily mean the same thing. An HID light bulb (stands for High Intensity Discharge) is filled with Xenon gas which reacts to the spark created inside the HID bulb. This xenon gas is ignited and creates a vast and powerful amount of light output that can be measured in thousands of Lumen, depending on the power consumption (normally 35w, 55w or 75w). Today, a vehicle that comes factory-equipped with xenon lighting uses a 35w lighting system.

A Xenon HID bulb does not have a filament, instead it has two electrodes that meet inside the xenon-glass filled bulb. A ballast is used to send up to 24,000 volts of AC electricity that creates a powerful spark and ignites the xenon gas mixture. This process is sustained and produces the exuberant amount of light output:

HID Bulb Explained

A true HID bulb uses a ballast to ignite the chemical mixture inside. It does not use a filament.

  • Xenon is 300 times brighter than halogen
  • Xenon can last 10 times longer than halogen
  • Xenon produces cleaner, whiter, brighter and safer light
  • A 35W Xenon bulb consumes less power than a 55W Halogen bulb
  • Halogen bulbs burn hotter than the same wattage Xenon bulbs

Upgrading your headlights from halogen bulbs to HID technology will make a huge difference in visibility at night by projecting a further beam of light and broadening your road coverage. You will see further, see more and be more visible to other drivers. The sooner you can see hazards on the road, the more time you have to react.

Halogen bulbs operate at 12V and use old lighting technology by heating a wire filament to emit light. Over a short period of time that wire filament becomes brittle, and small vibrations caused by everyday driving causes damage to the halogen filament affecting it’s light output and the bulb’s reliability.

xenon versus halogen

Difference between incandescent halogen light bulbs and HID xenon light bulbs.

HID Lighting 101: Just The Basics

D2S bulb dimensions

This is a High Intensity Discharge xenon gas-filled light bulb.

 

  • Xenon, or High-Intensity Discharge (HID), lighting provides more light and increases visibility of many peripheral objects (e.g., street signs and pedestrians) left in the shadows produced by standard halogen lighting.
  • HID light sources provide the brightest illumination available and are considered the benchmark against which other forward lighting technologies are measured.
  • HID light sources provide three to four times the light output of standard halogen light sources and promote better driving visibility by providing enhanced peripheral vision and improved down-road illumination. HID lighting can produce a crisp white light that stimulates reflective paint in road markers and signs.
  • HID lights do not have a filament which makes them more reliable and exhibit a longer lifespan than regular halogen “incandescent” light bulbs. Because they do not have a filament to break or degrade,  a xenon bulb may last up to 10 times longer than standard halogen lights.
  • HID light sources are very energy efficient. Bi-Xenon (dual beam) lighting uses up to 65 percent less energy than conventional lighting, reducing the CO2 emission of a vehicle considerably.
  • There are many examples of vendors trying to sell incandescent light bulbs with a filament as HID bulbs. This is a lie, because even though they may use a mixture of both halogen and xenon gases, they are still not HID. HID stands for “High Intensity Discharge” and is characterized by the power output and usage of an HID ballast. If the blue-tinted light bulb that is being sold as an “HID Bulb” does not have an accompanying ballast, then it is falsely advertised. To make sure you are always buying the right products, and the best HID products, check out TLG-Auto.

10 Things You Didn’t Know About HID Lighting

GTR Lighting ceramic base

Not all HID bulbs are created equally!

1) Standard low beams cease to provide enough visibility when driving above 35 to 40 mph. The best case scenario would be for all drivers to use high beams all the time and use technology to keep the light out of oncoming drivers’ eyes. (Osram-Sylvania)

2) ALL headlamps produce glare that can reduce the ability for oncoming drivers to see. (Osram-Sylvania)

3) According to the AAA Foundation’s report, called “Countermeasures for Reducing the Effects of Headlight Glare” (2002), as many as 50 percent of all headlamps on the road, or 110 million  vehicles, may have mis-aimed headlights! Shock, vibration and wear and tear are the greatest contributors to headlamp misalignment. (AAA Foundation)

4) Poorly manufactured, “knock-off” products can cause glare and imitate the blue hue associated with fully-compliant, street-legal HID products. In order to be a true HID product it must consist of one xenon bulb PLUS one xenon ballast.  (GTR Lighting)

5) When headlamps are aimed properly, there is no difference in the amount of light that reaches the eyes of oncoming drivers whether the vehicle has halogen or HID light sources. (HID Reviews)

6) All drivers are not equal. Glare affects each person differently, often depending on age and environment. (HID Reviews)

7) OSRAM-Sylvania is the only company worldwide manufacturing a completely mercury-free HID system solution, comprised of the light source and necessary electronics to optimally operate it. The OSRAM system allows customers to streamline the development and approval process for mercury-free systems. Mercury-free xenon technology is the future of lighting! (Osram-Sylvania)

8) Although 4,300K HID bulbs are thought of as being the “brightest”, they are not the most reflective. A 6,000K or 8,000K produces negligibly less light output, but has more reflective properties making it better for spotting animals at night, and seeing road signs from further distances away. (Top Line Group Automotive)

9) Unlike other colors in the HID “Kelvin” spectrum, 3,000K gets its golden hue from an iridescent coating on the bulb. This coating has a slight affect on the power of the light output, but a 3,000K HID bulb powered by a 35w ballast will still be significantly brighter than a regular halogen bulb. (Eagle Eye Lights)

10) Neither Philips nor Osram-Sylvania are in the business of manufacturing aftermarket HID conversion kits, non-OEM style HID ballasts (35w or 55w) and they do not produce xenon bulbs in different color ratings other than original equipment colors. It is very common to find copyright infringement in the aftermarket HID world, so if you see “Genuine Philips HID Kit” or “Real Sylvania HID Kit Bulbs” just know you are being lied to. If the company selling these products is willing to lie to you about who manufactured them, what else are they willing to lie to you about? If you want to know what you’re really buying, try one of these premium HID conversion kits. (Top Line Group Automotive) (Philips Electronics N.V.)

HID Relay Harnesses Explained

xenon wiring harness

A typical relay power harness for HID Conversion Systems.

The primary function of an automotive headlight wire harness is to provide power directly from the vehicle’s battery to the lighting system. This allows the bulb, or HID ballast, to operate independently of the vehicle’s original wiring system and can provide a power source that is more consistent.

A lighting relay harness is most commonly used in aftermarket HID conversion kits to bypass the factory wiring in order to get around complicated electronic control systems or to allow a higher rate of current to be delivered to the bulbs. A Relay Wiring Harness utilizes a 30amp fuse protected power wire that directly connects to your positive terminal on the battery.  An Automotive Relay is used to pull signal from a source (Headlight connector) that triggers power to be drawn from the battery.  There are two sets of cables meant to provide power to an HID ballast.  There are also two separate ground wire terminals that need to be connected to the chassis to complete the electrical circuit.

relay harnesses explained

The different components of the Accessory Wiring Harness.

As previously stated, this product is most commonly found used in aftermarket xenon retrofits but can also be beneficial when trying to get the most light output from aftermarket or OEM halogen/incandescent light bulbs. Any lighting system can benefit from increased current capacity in the wiring. GTR Lighting offers a wide array of Plug and Play Relay Wire harnesses for H7, H8, H9, H10, H11, H13, 9004, 9005, 9006, 9007 and more. Visit GTRLighting.com to learn more about the different wiring products available.

What does a Wiring Harness fix?

An Relay Wire Harness is capable of fixing a variety of power related HID lighting issues i.e. intermittent on/off, flickering, delayed start, HID low light output, and uneven brightness.

Problem: Delayed Start
An HID Ballast requires more power to ignite on start-up than during normal usage.  This initial power surge can sometimes be problematic for vehicles with weaker electrical systems that cannot provide the power needed.  The vehicles stock headlight connectors are not capable of providing 7-8 amps per headlight and as a result, only one HID turns on when the switch is turned on.  After about 20 seconds when the ballasts power consumption drops to 3.2 amps, you can quickly turn the lights off then back on and voila, both HID lights turn on.  This scenario happens all the time and is the direct result of insufficient power.

Solution:

An HID wiring harness with power supplied directly from the battery would eliminate this issue as it would be able to consume up to 30 amps through the batteries positive terminal to ignite both ballasts.

Problem: Flickering
An HID Ballast that is not getting sufficient power from a stock headlight connector will cycle on and off as it tries to ignite and power on.  This can also be a result of an inefficient ballast that is not able to convert the available power to properly ignite an HID system. I always recommend high quality HID components like the 35w CANBUS Pro ballast from GTR Lighting.

Solution: 
An HID wiring harness will provide the power necessary to ignite even an inefficient ballast for flicker free HID lighting.

Problem: Dim/Dark Light Output:
When a ballast is under-performing, light output can appear more blue and dimmer than it should be.  This is a result of the ballast not converting enough power to ignite the bulb at its optimal range.   A bulb that is 4300K connected to a ballast with a weak power source, can look like an 8000K blue color with substantially lower light output.

Solution:
An HID Wiring harness will be able to provide more power to the ballast allowing the system to operate at 100%.  This however is not a guaranteed solution as a poor quality ballast which will not output sufficient power no matter how much is being inputted.

Problem: Uneven Brightness
My passenger side is brighter than my driver side!  Power in not always delivered in equal amounts to each headlight, and depending on your vehicles wiring configuration, can have a negative impact on lighting performance when installing HIDs.  If one headlight has less resistance to the power source i.e. length of wiring, fuse panels bridging connections etc, it will receive power first leaving less for the second headlight to consume.  In this scenario, one headlight could end up being brighter than the other, or powering up to full brightness faster than the other.

Solution: An HID wiring relay harness will provide equal amounts of power to each HID Ballast allowing for even and consistent brightness between both headlights.

To Buy or Not to Buy?
An HID wiring harness for some vehicles is a safety and assurance item to prevent future problems, and for other vehicles is a necessary requirement to a successful HID installation.  My general recommendation is to always use a harness where possible to help extend the life of your HID system, avoid unnecessary headaches, or to boost the output of your halogen light bulbs.  Not only are you providing your HID ballasts with adequate power, you are protecting both your vehicle and HID system with the inline fuse that separates the systems.

High Intensity Discharge Lighting

Xenon Bulb

Xenon Technology in Automotive Headlights

HID stands for High Intensity Discharge which is a term used for many types of lighting systems. Before HID lighting became popular for use in automobiles it was used in industrial and commercial applications. Street lamps, ceiling lights inside large commercial buildings and even some strobe lights are considered high intensity discharge lighting.

The technology in high intensity discharge is in some ways similar to fluorescent technology: an arc is established between two electrodes in a gas-filled tube which causes a metallic vapor to produce radiant energy. In this case, however, a combination of factors shifts the wavelength of much of this energy to within the visible range, so light is produced without any phosphors. In addition, the electrodes are only a few inches apart (at opposite ends of a sealed “arc tube”) and the gases in the tube are highly pressurized. This allows the arc to generate extremely high temperatures, causing metallic elements within the gas atmosphere to vaporize and release large amounts of visible radiant energy. There are three main types of HID lamps: mercury vapor, metal halide and sodium. The names refer to the elements that are added to the gases in the arc stream which cause each type to have somewhat different color characteristics and overall lamp efficiency. 

Because of the ballast and arc technology employed by HID lighting it is more efficient than halogen automotive lighting bulbs. HID xenon lighting causes less heat, more light output and use less electricity to do it!

Today, HID xenon lighting has become a standard in automobile lighting. Aftermarket HID Conversion Kits are very popular and available in differing degrees of quality. Some vehicles even come with HID lighting from the manufacturer in both projector style housings and reflector style housings.