HID Retrofit Info & Background

2009 Ford Focus FX-R Bi-Xenon Retrofit w/Custom Paint (courtesy of BlackFlameCustoms.com)

HIDRetrofits.com was created to provide a useful information resource open to anyone interested in high performance headlights. Lighting that truly illuminates the road in front of you in a crisp and clear manner, without blinding oncoming drivers or creating obnoxious glare, is priceless.

Here you'll find a large database of information regarding nearly every aspect of what goes into an HID Retrofit. The most common components and industry terms are all laid out with explanations & example images. Please feel free to contact us should you feel any information is incorrect, missing or if you have questions.

Philips 85122+ HID Bulb

H. I. D. stands for High Intensity Discharge. An HID Retrofit, projector Retrofit or Retrofitting is the fabrication & installation of high performance HID components into a halogen headlight. Special care is taken during the component's installation to ensure proper beam pattern & rotational alignment. This is where paying for a professional retrofit is well worth it.

An HID Retrofit is an absolutely great upgrade for nearly any vehicle; even ones that already come with an OEM HID setup.

Please note: An HID Retrofit is NOT a "Plug-and-Play" HID Kit as often sold on the market today.

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HID Plug-n-Play Kits use halogen style bulb bases (H13, H7, 9007...etc.) that utilize your stock halogen unit for light control. This is NOT the correct way to achieve high performance lighting. This in fact creates excessive glare, un-desirable light patterns & can be dangerous!

Halogen Reflector

A factory halogen reflector housing uses a specific focal point & reflector design to control light output. This design is based around a halogen bulb's 360 degrees of light output or illumination. A halogen bulb creates 360 degrees of light due to it's use of a filament.

HID bulbs have no filament for their light output. Light is created by an arc igniting gases inside the bulb capsule. When an HID bulb is lit or on, it also doesn't emit light in a 360 degree pattern such as a halogen bulb. The light output is more of a controlled pattern with the brightest light (off-white/ slight yellow) being emitted downward & center, and the slightly less bright light (whitish/blueish) being emitted at the ends of the arc.

Generic Plug-n-Play HID Kits Output

Essentially a Plug-n-Play Kit takes an HID capsule and fits it onto a halogen style bulb base (H11, H7, 9004...etc.). When these kits are used in a halogen headlight setup, the control over light output is severely diminished. "Hot-Spots", glare & an un-desirable beam pattern are usually the end results.

Generic Plug-n-Play HID Kit

A Plug-n-Play kit's HID components are typically not high quality. The ballasts, a very important component of any HID system, are usually not reliable, burn out due to moisture damage and/or draw an excessive amount of amperage from your wiring upon start up.

A Plug-n-Play Kit will certainly put more light on the road, assuming you use the proper Kelvin color temperature. However, it's not the correct kind of light. As stated above it creates "Hot-Spots", glare & an uncontrolled/undesirable beam pattern that are all un-safe and end up giving HID's in general a bad name.

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An HID Projector is what actually emits the light in a retrofit setup. It projects the light created from the HID bulb in a controlled pattern. HID Projectors are the heart of any Retrofit project.

An HID projector is an awesome little contraption. How often do you actually see one apart though ?

FX-35 Projector Cut-away

An HID Projector usually consists of a Back-Bowl, Bulb Holder, Front-Bowl, Lens and Cutoff shield. Bi-Xenon projectors have an additional component called a solenoid that moves the Cut-Off shield when required, to activate the high beam function.

The bulb holder does just that - keeps the HID bulb held Firmly in place/position. This is important as a mis-seated bulb can cause for an improper level of light output.

The back-bowl is what actually reflects the Xenon HID Bulb's Arc Light towards the front lens. The wider your back bowl is, generally, the wider & deeper your output beam can be. A good quality back-bowl is made from a cast metal. This allows for better strength, durability & reliability from the internal chrome finish.

The front-bowl is what holds & positions the lens in place. The projector lens is a critical piece for optimum light output. It's positioned in the front bowl for an optimum focusing so that the light output is clear, crisp and aimed properly.

A cutoff shield is what limits or shields the light output so it doesn't blind oncoming drivers or create excessive glare. This is what creates the light steps.

A bi-xenon solenoid is directly connected to the cutoff shield. This simply drops or lowers the cutoff shield with a 12 volt power supply to create a high beam light pattern.

S2000, TSX, TFX, TL, E46, LS460, FX-R, Bi-Xenon's, Mini-Morimoto, E55's...what does it all mean ?

The different projectors:

Low-Beam Projectors:

LS430 Projector

LS430: Comes on the Lexus LS430 model luxury vehicle. This projector has the widest beam pattern available as it uses light directed out of the projector body and into a reflector bowl or auxiliary reflector. These are expensive, BIG projectors to retrofit & more rare to find.

S2000 Projector

S2000: OEM Honda/Koita projector. Second widest beam available, Lots of light output & a fairly straight cutoff line. AP1 is the earlier clear lens model while the AP2 is for newer S2000's, it actually comes with a lesser quality fresnel lens.

S2K-R Projector Prototype

S2K-R: The RetrofitSource's high performance S2000 replica projector. This unit is expected to have a sharper cutoff line, brighter output & a more intense color pattern than the already powerful OEM S2000 projector. (pending release 2010)

TSX Projector

TSX: OEM Acura/Stanley projectors. Very wide beam output, pretty color at the cut-off line because of the double-step shield design. These projectors are a great bang-for-the-buck setup. Shield or color modding yields a little sharper cut-off and even prettier color output.

RX330 Projector

RX330: OEM Lexus projectors that feature a nice concentration of light output. The cut-off shield is flat however, so for wider output a custom curved shield is recommended.

FX Style Bi-Xenon Projector Shield In Action

Bi-Xenon Projectors:

Bi-Xenon projectors feature a solenoid that make the cutoff shield movable. When activated, the shield drops or lowers & removes the cutoff step. This disperses the HID light in a high beam pattern (bright and everywhere). These style projectors use the HID bulb as its only light source (one bulb for high & low beam).

Acura TL Bi-Xenon Projector

Acura TL: These are considered one of the widest and brightest bi-xenon projectors out there. They have a deep style back-bowl & a 3" lens. They are on the large side due to their big bottom solenoid design.

FX-35 Bi-Xenon Projector

FX-35: These are great projectors that come in a fairly compact package. They feature good width, lots of high beam output & really come alive with an upgraded set of clear FX-R lenses.

FX-R Bi-Xenon Projector

FX-R: These are the RetrofitSource's replica FX projector. These are modeled after the FX-35 projectors. These are a bit more compact and come pre-optimized with FX-R lenses & bulb spacers for top notch output.

Mini-Morimoto Bi-Xenon Projector

Mini-Morimoto: These are also the RetrofitSource's creation. These projectors were designed with super compact mounting spots in mind. They utilize an H1 AMP style HID bulb. While H1 bulbs are traditionally thought of as a "kit" bulb, this projector was designed with this style bulb to eliminate the hot spots & un-wanted output glare often associated with kits & halogen projectors.

Hella E55 Bi-Xenon Projector

Hella E-55's: These are the Mercedes E-55 projectors that feature a 3" lens & a flat movable cutoff shield. These have a good low beam output & a structured high beam that has a distinct tunnel light effect.

Choosing the right projectors can be a bit of a challenge. The ones listed above certainly don't cover every single unit out there. They are generally the most common or most well known. Feel free to contact us if you have questions.

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An HID bulb is similar to a fluorescent tube or bulb, that produces light by sending a current through a metal vapor or gas. The lit Xenon gas is what's actually being seen, not a metal filament like your traditional halogen bulb.

OEM Philips 85122+ D2S HID Bulb Closeup

HID bulbs have no metal in their center as shown in the picture (fig.1). The thin wire at each end ignites the Xenon (gases & salts) upon start-up.

As stated above in the Plug-n-Play Kits section:

When an HID bulb is lit or on, it also doesn't emit light in a 360 degree pattern such as a halogen bulb. The light output is more of a controlled pattern with the brightest light (off-white/ slight yellow) being emitted downward & center, and the slightly less bright light (whitish/blueish) being emitted at the ends of the arc.

OEM Philips 85122+ D2S HID Bulb

Igniting a gas and keeping it lit or on-fire allows for less current draw than a metal filament that actually connects the '+' & '-' lead of your input source. Arcing Xenon gas isn't something that can be done with a 12-volt battery or a simple connection though; HID ballasts(described below) that control HID bulbs produce over 20,000+ volts to start the light burn. High Quality HID bulbs are brighter, last longer and produce a more pure white light than halogen bulbs.

An HID Bulb's light output is measured in Lumens or Luminosity. The most common Luminosity rating is 3200-3400, which is directly related to OEM Philips 85122+ 4300K bulbs. A standard halogen bulb, depending on the exact model, puts out anywhere from 700-1900 lumens at 55 watts. The one HID bulb we know of that is a true 55 watt component is the Philips D2S DL50 bulb. This bulb has a Lumen rating of 5300-5500 per bulb (Standard D2S Philips 85122+ is rated at 3200-3400). Their Kelvin rating is 4100. These are super rare and expensive bulbs to find.

Broken HID Bulb

DO NOT use an HID bulb that is broken, or has any part that is damaged. A SEVERE electrical shock can occur.

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4300 Kelvin Color Output (FX-R projector used)

HID Bulb Colors & Kelvin Temperatures. Often times people think "the higher the number, the better it must be". This is WRONG when talking about an HID bulb Kelvin Color temperature. A 4100-4300K HID bulb is the brightest Kelvin Temperature you can go before you start losing luminosity or lumens regarding output. Anything above that number is purely cosmetic or for show.
"Why does my friend's headlights look brighter than mine and he has xxxx-K temperature bulbs???"- The reason higher Kelvin bulbs may appear brighter is that they are actually glaring more off of the road surface. Glare is NOT how light output is measured. It's annoying, obnoxious and dangerous. Anything above a 6000K color rating is extremely ineffective & can be deemed practically useless. 6000K is generally the highest Kelvin rating you can go without losing too much luminosity or creating too much glare. The higher the Kelvin rating, the lower the lumen output is.

When the Kelvin rating is above 6000K, generally the lumen rating is around 2000 or below. This actually puts the HID output level back in the category of Halogen Output.

3000 Kelvin Color Output (FX-R projector used)

What about 3000K HID bulbs? A 3000K HID bulb is designed for foul-weather or fog situations. 3000K produces a yellow light that cuts through rain, snow & fog better than a white light.

Kelvin Ratings at a glance:

3000 Kelvin Color Output

3000K Has a strict yellow output. This is ideal for use in fog lights or foul weather. The yellow light cuts through rain, snow, sleet & fog more effectively than a white light.

OEM 4300 Kelvin Color Output

4300K OEM coloring. Has a slightly off-white output very close to that of natural sunlight. All cars with OEM Factory HID headlights use 4300K bulbs. This is the Kelvin color if you are after maximum light output.

5000 Kelvin Color Output

5000K A great compromise. Has a pure white output, no tinge of yellow and no tinge of blue. This is a great "middle-ground" Kelvin color as it's appealing and still very bright. Note the pure white light directly next to the bulb in the photo.

6000 Kelvin Color Output

6000K The highest Kelvin color you should go. Has a crisp white out with a more blue hue in the color spectrum. While these bulbs are bright and still rank high on the Lumen-output scale, this is the highest Kelvin rating anyone should use without sacrificing output quality.

8000 Kelvin Color Output

8000K This Kelvin color was included for display purposes only. Note the excessive glare & high amount of blue coloring. This bulb (and anything above it) are NOT recommended for any application.

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HID Bulb Fitment: The most common HID bulb fitment is D2S. Their exact definition can be found in the Glossary below. These are the most common used bulbs in an HID Retrofit project as they are the highest quality, best performing & longest lasting.

Common D2 Bulbs shown from top
D1S HID Bulb

There are also a variety of OEM HID bulb fitments in addition to D2S

H1 HID Bulb

Aftermarket HID bulbs generally have fitments associated with Halogen bulbs: such as H7, H11 or 9005. These bulbs are NOT OEM specification but do have similar characteristics. They are usually associated with kits with aftermarket ballasts & wiring. While these kits do not provide the same reliability as OEM they have improved in the past couple of years from what they used to be. Fitment of OEM HID bulbs into a halogen housing requires modifying the HID bulb or using an adapter.

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An HID Ballast's Startup Arc (test ballast used for photo)

HID Ballasts & Ignitors are the power plant of your HIDRetrofit system. A poor quality ballast will decrease the lifespan of your HID bulb. A ballast has two important functions. The first is to take the 12-volt input and turn it into a 20,000+ volt arc which ignites the HID bulb's Xenon gas & salts(this is also sometimes referred to as the headlight's "pretty startup". The second function is to stabilize that arc and maintain it throughout the duration of the bulb being on.

A good quality ballast uses LESS amperage than a standard 55/60 watt halogen bulb. Startup amperage is generally spiked at around 9-10 amps for less than a fraction of a second & once the arc is stabilized it uses around 3-4 amps @ 35watts. Your average halogen bulb uses nearly 6-7 amps @ 55/60 watts ALL the time. Less amperage means less strain on your alternator and electrical system.

OEM Matsushita Gen3 Ballast

There are a variety of different ballasts available, each with their own fitment & rating. OEM ballasts such as Mitsubishi & Matsushita have often been used in the world of HID Retrofits due to their long-term reliability, durability & fail-safe features.

Generic Style Ballast

Aftermarket ballasts have always been viewed as less reliable and more troublesome than anything. This is mostly true, especially with the cheap Plug-n-Play Kits seen advertised everywhere. There are certain aftermarket ballasts though, that are of high quality & very reliable in the HID world - Morimoto's.

All Digital Morimoto Ballast

Morimoto ballasts are The RetroFit Source's creation & are truly great units. They are all digital which means proper current draw on startup & throughout the bulb's on cycle, fully potted for waterproof protection and feature configurations in both AMP style connectors (to replace those shotty no-name brand ballasts) and D2S connectors for all common retrofits & OEM applications.

Bulb connection is another very important part of the ballast. AMP & D2S are the most common style connections between your ballasts & the HID bulb.

AMP Style Connectors

AMP connections are generally associated with aftermarket components. Their connection features two clip-style hookups that interlock and provide a simple plug-in setup.

D2S/D2R Style Connectors

D2S/D2R connections are generally associated with OEM components. This style connection plugs into the ballast then clicks or clips onto the D2S/D2R style HID bulb itself. It's generally a twist & lock motion to connect D2S/D2R sockets.

Common High Voltage Warning Label

35 watt vs. 55 watt ballasts & setups. The one HID bulb we know of that is a true 55 watt component is the Philips D2S DL50 bulb & they are super rare to find. Using a 55 watt ballast on a standard 35 watt HID bulb can decrease the bulb's lifespan & reliability. It will however give a boost in light output. This method is only recommended for high quality OEM bulbs such as the Philips D2S. It's always recommended to use a properly matched ballast & bulb setup.

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Wiring an HID retrofit setup can seem daunting. There are a lot of aspects to controlling the HID system and ensuring your car's wiring is safe.

A wiring harness is designed to draw power directly from the vehicle's battery. This is done through the use of an inline fused relay box. A bi-xenon wiring harness also has built-in diodes to keep power supplied to the HID ballast at all times during high & low beam operation.

Bi-Xenon Wiring Harness

A common issue is whether or not to use a wiring harness. It's always recommended that a wiring harness be used when upgrading to an HID retrofit setup, but is it really required? The answer depends on your system components & setup.

If, for example, you are utilizing generic no-name brand ballasts, a wiring harness is a must. The reason behind this is that generic ballasts have unreliable voltage requirements. More often than not they draw too much current upon startup & while the bulb is on, and can damage your factory halogen wiring.

Let's say you're using higher quality OEM ballasts. A wiring harness is ultimately up to your discretion (or your retrofitter's). A variety of vehicles come with HIDs from the factory and they are already setup to meet the electrical requirements of an HID ballast. If you are upgrading to a projector retrofit on one of these vehicles, a wiring harness is not needed.

The same could be said for a non-HID equipped vehicle as long as high quality ballasts are being used (such as OEM spec ballasts or an All Digital Morimoto ballast).

A good quality ballast (such as an OEM spec or an All Digital Morimoto) will very briefly use a higher current draw during startup (nominal at around 9-10 amps for about 1/5th of a second) and settle at 3-4 amps during the bulb's on cycle. This situation generally doesn't require a wiring harness setup.

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HID colorshift is the actual Kelvin color rating of your HID Bulb shifting higher during the lifespan of the bulb. Initial colorshift happens at around 200 hours of use. At this point the bulb is actually broken in and producing the most output it ever will. The Kelvin color temperature continues to rise as the bulb ages with use, and once it's 1500-2000 hour mark is hit its more towards 4400-4600K (just out of optimal range on a 4100-4300K bulb). At around 2500 hours the bulb can reach as high as 5000K (4300K original coloring); Just about time for a replacement. Fun fact: OEM HID bulbs never burn out (unless handled improperly, are damaged or experience severe vibration). Instead, an HID bulb colorshifts until it's light output is no longer optimal.

OEM Philips Bulb at less than 100 hours of use OEM Philips 85122 Bulb at nearly 2500 hours of use

It's always recommended to replace HID bulbs in pairs to keep a uniform light output. This is also important as having one bulb appear brighter or more colorful than the other can be distracting to oncoming drivers.

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A projector lens is what magnifies & intensifies the light created inside the projector.

Clear vs Fresnel Lens

A lot of factory equipped HID cars come with a fresnel or ribbed lens that diffuses light output for better foreground and bad-weather lighting. What this means for you is less than stellar light output & a non-crisp cutoff line.

Fresnel Lens
Clear Lens (TSX-R)

Clear lenses always sharpen the cutoff line & help intensify the light output. Choosing a clear lens is also an important decision. Today there are a variety of replica & OEM clear lenses. The replica lenses, such as TSX-R for example, actually produce better light output than the OEM TSX ones & are less expensive. FX-R lenses are great for upgrading the OEM FX-35 projectors for crisper clearer light output.

Clear vs Fresnel Lens

A clear lens simply has better optics than a fresnel or 'fuzzy' lens. As mentioned above though, not all are the same nor are they all directly interchangeable. Some projectors (like the Acura TL for example) take a 3" lens. A 2.5" TSX-R clear lens won't fit or work on this projector as it will improperly focus the light output and actually decrease performance. A clear 3" lens must be used (the ZKW-R lens is a great replacement).

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Acura TSX Projector Cutoff Shield

The cutoff shield is what controls the light output from inside your projector. This is what creates the "step", how that step looks and where the light goes. USDM vehicles have a "step-up" to the right-hand side of the road so the lights wont blind oncoming drivers on the left. (LHD) JDM vehicles have a "step-up" to the left-hand side of the road as oncoming drivers are on the right. (RHD)

Acura TSX Projector Cutoff Shield Position

What's a "shield mod" or "color mod" and why does everyone always talk about it? A shield mod is just that- modifying your stock cutoff shield's position to affect light output. This is generally done by spacing either the cutoff shield or projector lens to reach the desired light output characteristics. This can be done with thin washers from your local hardware store, as a spacing difference of as little as .5mm can have a big impact on output.

A shield or color mod is done to intensify the pretty color seen along the step line and maximize the clarity of the projector's output. This is done before the projector is installed. However, too much modification and you can decrease light output & clarity. Modifying shields isn't something to jump into lightly. If the projectors are "off" or done differently from one another they can have varying light output. They may never line up correctly, which can be difficult in an already wide output projector such as the S2000.

OEM Subaru STI Flat Cutoff Shield
S2000 Projector Cutoff Shield

A curved cutoff shield ALWAYS produces a wider & sharper output than a flat shield. For example: OEM 06+ Subaru STI projectors have a flat internal cutoff shield. Their output is fuzzy or hazy & disperses towards the edges. OEM Honda S2000 projectors have a curved cutoff shield which helps to give them their wide beam & sharp cutoff. Instead of the light being "stopped" internally by a flat shield's edges, a curved shield allows the light to be emitted & controlled from the sides.

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Shrouds are less critical for light output and are really used for making the HID retrofit look pretty. A shroud helps blend everything together making your newly retrofitted lights look streamlined & if desired factory.

While nearly any object can be defined as a shroud or bezel (PVC piping, aluminum flashing or other rounded covering objects), there are a variety of popular shrouds that are pre-made and provide excellent coverage. A few are listed below.

E46 / E46-R Shrouds

E46 & E46-R shrouds are very popular due to their clean classic design, easy trimming & fitment and excellent projector coverage capabilities.

Ocular Shrouds

Ocular shrouds are a great choice. These provide good projector coverage with a sleek ocular eye appeal.

Gatling Gun Shrouds

Gatling Gun shrouds are a tough look design. These are large shrouds and recommended for headlights with medium to large space inside. They feature louvers on their outside edge that allow light from your projector to emit for a unique effect. Their projector coverage is excellent.

Apollo Shrouds

Apollo shrouds are a clean design with a muscular feel to them. They feature smooth curves with double louver blocks on each side that allow light from your projector to emit for a unique effect. Their projector coverage is excellent.

E55 / E55-R Shrouds

E55 & E55-R shrouds are specifically related to the Mercedes E-55 series models. These shrouds feature smooth flowing curves & a clean chrome design. These shrouds have decent projector coverage.

GTI-R Shrouds

GTI-R shrouds are modeled after the VW GTI. They feature clean chrome all around with tiny dimples all the way around. These provide decent projector coverage.

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Correctly Retrofitted & Aligned Modified S2000 Setup

Aiming & Aligning the Output of your lights is a very important step. An HID retrofit that's done on your headlights doesn't mean you won't blind or annoy oncoming drivers - lights need to be installed & aligned properly.

There are three dimensions to consider when adjusting headlights: Horizontal, Vertical & Rotational. The first two apply to all headlights (retrofitted or not), while the third aspect primarily relates to retrofits.

Horizontal Alignment

Horizontal alignment is the side-to-side adjustment when considering the output beam pattern. On an HID retrofit, this is very clearly defined as the cutoff step. If your headlights are adjusted too far to the left you will blind oncoming drivers.

Vertical Alignment

Vertical alignment is the up-and-down adjustment when considering the output beam pattern. This is also referred to simply as the height adjustment. This is a critical adjustment as All drivers on the road can be blinded if done incorrectly.

Rotational Alignment

Rotational alignment is the measurement in degrees (often done visually) of the projectors cutoff lines in a circular field of range. This is particularly important to vehicles equipped with HID projectors; especially an HID retrofit setup. A difference of just 1-2 degrees can mean inches at the cutoff lines.

Correct Output & Cutoff Pattern

Properly retrofitted headlights should have a clean cutoff line with no hot spots, excessive glare or mis-aligned light. Their color flicker should also appear sharp & crisp when viewed at the proper height.

Correct Color Flicker at 15 feetCorrect Color Flicker at 40 feet

The example pictures shown here are of a vehicle retrofitted with S2000 projectors. They've had shield/color mods done to them and are using 4100K bulbs. Lots of exotic color flicker, very bright light output and no un-wanted glare or hot spots.

The best way to align your headlights is to first start off with a large open area that contains a broad sided building & flat level parking ground. The less visual interruptions (cars, trees, signs etc.), the better. This will allow you to measure, adjust & properly aim your lights before a test drive.

The left (driver's side) headlight is always used for measurements & aiming. This is the side that has the most capability to blind oncoming drivers.

The initial step is to pull the vehicle approximately 25 feet away from the side of your building.

Left Side Height Measurement

Next, measure the height from the center of your Left projector to the ground & the height of the left side of the beam. Compare the two measurements. The end result you're after is to have the beam on the wall be 2 inches lower than the height measurement of the projector.

So for example if your left (driver's side) projector is 40 inches from the ground, you want the left side of the beam to measure up at 38 inches. The right (passenger side) headlight is very simple to align next as it simply needs to be adjusted to the same height as the left (driver's side) side.

Bad Rotational Retrofit

As you pull farther back from the wall the two steps should "merge" into one step. If they overlap too much or don't cover the gap in the center a slight horizontal adjustment may be needed.

Next up is a road test. On the road you want to be aware of how the new lights are performing. Take note of the cars in front of you at around 30 to 40 feet on a fairly level road surface. On a typical automobile your lights should illuminate the back bumper and license plate area. If you are lighting up their rear & side view mirrors, your lights are aimed too high. If you are lighting up below their bumper & undercarriage, your lights are aimed too low.

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Glossary of Terms

Adaptive Front lighting System. The projectors turn with the steering wheel to help visibility around corners.

Aiming Adjusters
The knobs on the backside of a headlight housing that allow for adjustment of the beam pattern up/down & side-to-side.

AMP/AMP Connections
AMP is a universal type of connection between HID ballasts & their bulbs. They are a clip-style positive & negative connector. These are generally associated with an 'Aftermarket PnP HID Kit'.

Autoleveling System
When the headlight's beam automatically levels itself as the vehicle is driven up or down a sloping road. Inputs from the vehicle's ECU signal electric motors to push in or out, adjusting the aim of the projector/reflector up or down.

Auxiliary reflector
A secondary reflector used to intensify the outer edges of a beam pattern. For Example: Lexus LS430 projectors are known for their extra width because of their Auxiliary reflectors.

The electrical power plant that ignites & maintains an HID bulbs light arc.

Beam Pattern
The defined light output emitted from an HID projector. Generally has a defined backwards "Z" shape, a stepped upper light cutoff line, visible width limits and a foreground cutoff.

Bezel (see also Shroud)
The decorative trim cover that goes over a projector to enhance the aesthetics of an HID Retrofit. This item is purely aesthetic in an overall project.

Bulb Clip
The clips that hold an HID bulb in place/position in the projector bowl.

Butyl Rubber
The most common type of sealant that binds/seals the two halves of headlights together. This type of sealant becomes pliable when heated.

A projector that has both high beam and low beam capability, that is switchable between the two.

Bixenon Control Box
Similar to a typical relay system, however, this unit also compensates for the lack of a low beam signal (when the high beam is engaged) keeping the ballasts powered. The heart of a bi-xenon relay wiring harnesses.

Bi-Xenon Solenoid
A solenoid that when power is applied, pulls or pushes the projector low beam cutoff shield out of the way. This activates the projector's high beam output pattern.

Bulb Spacer
A thin spacer inserted in between the base of a D2S bulb and the reflector bowl/bulb holder to enhance light distribution and the size of the hotspot. (works well on only certain projectors)

The small glass bubble inside the actual HID bulb itself, that houses the halide salts. (the actual 'Arc' light area)

Cold Cathode Flourescent Lamp - Commonly known & used as "Halos" or "Angel Eyes".

Clear Lens
An optically clear glass projector lens that enhances the performance & aesthetic characteristics of a projector's light output.

Color Band
A band of colorful light spread across the beam pattern's cutoff line.

Color Flicker
The effect HID projector headlights give off when their color band flashes in & out of the field of view of an onlooker.

Cutoff Line
The line that separates light below from darkness above in an HID projectors beam pattern.

Color Mod (see also Shield Mod)
A modification to a projector that creates more color/color flicker. This can also affect a projector's cutoff line sharpness & clarity.

Color Shift
As HID bulbs age, they shift from their original Kelvin color to become more of a pure white/bluish color.

Cutoff Shield
A plate (fixed or hinged) inside the projector that defines the shape of the beam pattern & cutoff line.

Cutoff Step (see also LHD/RHD)
The step in the middle of a beam pattern's cutoff line. This is also generally the brightest spot of a projector's output.

D1R stands for Discharge 1st Generation Reflector. Discharge meaning it's an HID bulb, 1st Generation meaning it's a first generation style bulb and reflector meaning it's for a reflector or reflex style housing (non-projector). These bulbs generally have a band around their glass capsule area to help control light output. This is a less common bulb style.

D1S stands for Discharge 1st Generation Shielded. Discharge meaning it's an HID bulb, 1st Generation meaning it's a first generation style bulb and shielded meaning it's for a projector or shield-controlled-output style housing (HID-projector). This is a less common bulb style.

D2R stands for Discharge 2nd Generation Reflector. Discharge meaning it's an HID bulb, 2nd Generation meaning it's a second generation style bulb and reflector meaning it's for a reflector or refle' style housing (non-projector). These bulbs generally have a band around their glass capsule area to help control light output. This is a more common bulb style.

D2S stands for Discharge 2nd Generation Shielded. Discharge meaning it's an HID bulb, 2nd Generation meaning it's a second generation style bulb and shielded meaning it's for a projector or shield-controlled-output style housing (HID-projector). This is a very common bulb style.

D4S stands for Discharge 4th Generation Shielded. Discharge meaning it's an HID bulb, 4th Generation meaning it's a fourth generation style bulb and shielded meaning it's for a projector or shield-controlled-output style housing (HID-projector). This is a common bulb style. This bulb is used on newer vehicles and is a mercury-free environmentally friendly bulb. This bulb is marginally brighter than a standard D2S style bulb, but also requires a sepcial ballast to use.

Popular for their aftermarket 55w HID kit ballasts.

Diffused Lens (see also Fluted lens)
The front lens on a headlight that has refractive lines cast into it to control the light into a proper beam pattern. Retrofits can NOT be done on headlights with lenses like this.

Digital ballast
A smart ballast that will shut itself off before self-destructing. This can be from failed startup attempts at hot-striking a bulb, moisture intrusion or other possible harm factors.

An important electrical component for a bi-xenon wirring harnesses that doesn't use a bixenon control box. This allows the ballast power relay to remain active when the high beams are engaged.

High end 50/55w D2S HID bulb produced by Philips Germany. This bulb has a high lumen rating of 5500-5800 per bulb when used with a 55watt ballast and a Kelvin rating of 4100K. A nice bulb, but expensive and rare to find.

A problem in the beam pattern where the upper cutoff line has a yellowish shadow under it. This can usually be corrected by simply pushing lightly on the cutoff shield forward towards the lens.

Department Of Transportation. They determine the acceptable standards for automotive lighting here in the USA.

DOT Step (see also LHD/RHD)
The step in the middle of the light cutoff line is more vertical as opposed to slanted.

Dremel tool
The most popular an invaluable rotary tool used in the retrofitting process. Can be fitted with a variety of bits to cut, shape and smooth all retrofit components.

Daytime Running Lights

Economic Commission of Europe. They determine the acceptable standards for automotive lighting in Europe.

ECE Step
The step in the middle of the light cutoff line is more slanted as opposed to vertical.

Two thin metal contacts on both sides of the inner bulb capsule inside the HID bulb itself. These arc with electricity upon ignition from the ballast to create a light reaction.

Fluted Lens (see also Diffused lens)
The front lens on a headlight that has refractive lines cast into it to control the light into a proper beam pattern. Retrofits can NOT be done on headlights with lenses like this.

Focus Height
The distance between the flat bottom on a projector lens and the top of the rounded crest on the face. Crucial for creating a focused beam pattern.

Foreground Cutoff
The beam pattern projected on the ground directly in front of a car. Determined by the foreground cutoff shield if applicable. The shape can be modified.

Foreground Limiter
A secondary cutoff shield inside the projector that creates a defined beam pattern on the ground directly in front of the car.

Fresnel Lens
Glass projector lens with concentric rings molded into it to soften and distribute the output.

Halide Salts
The alkaline salts used inside of an HID bulb's capsule. When electricity arcs across the electrodes it creates a reaction with the salts that makes light.

Heat Gun Method
Method for opening headlights using a heat gun to warm the perimeter of the headlight housing to soften the glue and ultimately pry the two halves apart.

High Intensity Discharge

Hot Spots
Un-wanted light output areas or spots created when using a Plug-and-Play HID kit with halogen projectors or reflectors.

An attempt (successful or not) to re-ignite an HID bulb immediately after it was just turned off.

Housing Cap
The rubber cap that seals the rear side of a headlight housing.

The component that ramps up the voltage using a series of capacitors to ignite the HID bulb. Generally integrated with the ballast, however, in the case of D1S/R bulbs it is integrated into the base of the actual light bulb.

Igniter Cord
The igniter is built into the socket that twists/clips onto the back of the HID bulb and is connected to the wiring that plugs into the ballast control box.

Inline Fuse
Part of a wiring harness that protects the wiring & ballasts should something go wrong.

Integrated Igniter
Igniter that is built into the ballast.

The power supply for a CCFL Halo/Angel Eye Ring.

Japanese Domestic Market : Vehicles or Parts sold in Japan

The color measurement of an HID bulb. Lower is a more yellow spectrum & Higher is more blue/purple spectrum

Light Emitting Diode

Lens Retainer
The metal ring that holds the glass lens on the projector. Pressed, screwed or clipped on.

Lens Spacers
Used to fine tune the focus of a projector's beam pattern by raising the projector lens. Commonly made of metal rings.

Left hand drive - Projectors designated as LHD are for use in places like North America, where oncoming traffic drives on the left side of us. Relates to the shape of the beam pattern & controlling light output.

The unit of measure for the intensity of an HID bulb. Higher lumens makes for brighter output

Original Equipment Manufacture; Components that you would find factory-installed on a production car.

Branch of physics that studies properties and behaviors of light.

Oven Method
Method for opening headlights using an oven to warm the entire headlight housing evenly to soften the glue and ultimately pry the two halves apart. Recommended settings are 225-250 degrees for 10 minutes per light.

Any kind of component input with a socket on one end and wires coming out the other. Most commonly used for ballasts & bi-xenon solenoids.

The order of the metal contacts/pins in an input socket for a relay wiring harness.

Plug n Play or Plug and Play

Protection for electrical components inside a ballast achieved by surrounding them with a "goop" like substance that prevents them from moisture damage.

The assembly that captures and focuses light from an HID bulb and projects it out onto the road in a controlled & defined beam pattern.

Quad setup
A projector retrofit using two projectors in each headlight housing. An intricate retrofit designed for maximum intensity, width & aesthetic appeal.

The precision measurement of light rays & the direction they are emitted from a light source. An important factor in designing optical systems such as HID projectors.

An electrical switch that has an input pin, an output pin, a switch pin, and a ground. The heart of a proper headlight wire harness.

HID bulbs that have been modified for use in housings not designed to originally accept them. The shape of the plastic base has been changed to fit.

Reflector bowl
The back half of a projector that holds the bulb. Chromed inside to reflect light forward past the cutoff shield & through the projector lens.

The process of fabricating modern high performance lighting components into a common/basic halogen reflector style headlight housing.

Return wire
The metal wire that comes out of the top of an HID bulb, bends 180 degrees & goes down into the base to meet a contact which goes to a ground on the ballast. It's an extension of the 2nd electrode on the bulb & is usually covered with a ceramic sleeve to protect from arc'ing.

Projectors designated as RHD are for use in places like the UK or Australia, where oncoming traffic drives on the right side. Relates to the shape of the beam pattern & controlling light output.

Rotational Alignment
A crucial step in retrofitting projectors to ensure the final beam patterns are horizontally level as well as aligned to eachother (left & right).

Sealed beam
A one piece headlight housing/light bulb commonly used in older automotive applications.

Shield Mod (see also Color Mod)
A modification to a projector that creates more color/color flicker. This can also affect a projector's cutoff line sharpness & clarity.

Shroud (see also Bezel)
The decorative trim cover that goes over a projector to enhance the aesthetics of an HID Retrofit. This item is purely aesthetic in an overall project.

Shroud Extension
An custom fabricated extension that allows one to cover more inside their headlight than a typical shroud would allow for.

United States Domestic Market : Vehicles or Parts sold in the USA

Noble gas used in High Intensity Discharge Bulbs

Warm Up
The initial time it takes an HID bulb to reach full luminosity.

The standard designation for a D2 (D2S/D2R) bulb base shape and its corresponding ballast socket type.

The original Philips D2S bulb. 35w, 4300K.

The newer generation Philips D2S bulb. 35w, 4300K. Higher lumen rating, less resistant to color shifting (stays 4300K for longer) & resists lumen loss over time.

Kelvin rating for an HID bulb that's generally white/off white in color. (OEM Color Spec)

Kelvin rating for an HID bulb that's generally pure white in color. (slightly lower lumen rating)

Kelvin rating for an HID bulb that's generally white with a tinge of blue in color. (slightly lower lumen rating)

A common halogen low beam projector bulb type. The most similar halogen bulb to a D2S xenon bulb.

Standard 3 pin halogen headlight bulb setup. One bulb for low/high beam purposes.

Standard 3 pin halogen headlight bulb setup. One bulb for low/high beam purposes.

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