Bulbs Info

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. Another way of describing an HID bulb is that of a static electricity arc. If a static electricity arc is seen in the dark, it produces light.

An HID bulb houses that arc of light. HID Bulb Capsule Fig1

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.

When an HID bulb is lit or on, it 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 depending on Kelvin color) being emitted downward & center, and the slightly less bright light (whitish/blueish depending on Kelvin color) being emitted at the ends of the arc.HID Bulbs

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 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.
HID Bulbs AMP Style

Light output is measured in Lumens or Luminosity. The most common Luminosity rating of an HID bulb is 3200-3400, which is directly related to the OEM Philips 85122+ 4300K bulbs (tested at 35 watts/12 volts). These are very common in factory HID applications as well as the aftermarket world of HID projector retrofitting. (Not to say there aren’t other high quality make bulbs such as Osram or Morimoto).

A standard halogen bulb, depending on the exact model, puts out anywhere from 700-1400 lumens at 55 watts (at 12 volts).This is your traditional style filament centered bulb.

The comparison of just one HID bulb (3400 Lumens) to even two of the most powerful halogen bulbs (2800 Lumens combined) comes out with a more Luminous output nearly every time.

Genuine Philips DL50 Fig2

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. We have a set for testing and demo purposes, see fig.2 for DL50 photo.


DO NOT use an HID bulb that is broken, or has any part that is damaged. A SEVERE electrical shock can occur. Broken HID Bulb
Broken Bulb Wire
Special care should be taken when handling an HID bulb (or any bulb for that matter as they all contain glass). HID bulbs contain chemicals and compounds that can cause bodily harm.

Before installing or working with an HID bulb inspect the glass for any cracks or marks. Check the base and metal prongs for signs of wear. It’s especially important to check the return wire on an HID bulb because this can be broken without knowing. A broken return wire can cause an electrical arc to occur outside of the bulbs center glass capsule and shock or injure anyone holding it.

ALWAYS wipe down an HID bulbs glass section with an alcohol wipe prior to installation. This ensures it’s free of oils or contaminants.

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D1S Bulb

Fitment & Identification

HID bulbs come in a variety of fitments and applications. Every bulb style or fitment has identification characteristics built in. D2S, a very common OEM bulb fitment, stands for Discharge 2nd-Generation Shielded. To further break that down, Discharge means High Intensity Discharge, 2nd Generation means it’s the 2nd version and shielded means it’s for a …

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Closeup DL50 Capsule

HID Bulb Capsules

HID bulb capsules are the actual glass tubes where the xenon gas is ignited, the arc is created/lit and the light is created & maintained. (see Fig1) An HID capsule is essentially the heart of the HID bulb. When examined closely there are actually a few glass units within the capsule. There’s the main outer …

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3000k Cutoff

HID Kelvin Color

We often get the question: “Doesn’t a higher number mean it’s brighter or better ?”. The short answer – NO. When talking about an HID bulb Kelvin Color temperature, a 4100-4300K HID bulb is the brightest Kelvin Temperature you can get. This is the OEM coloring specification on most vehicles with factory HID headlights for …

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D2S Philips 85122 Pre Colorshift

HID Bulb Color Shift

HID bulb colorshift is the actual Kelvin color temperature 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 …

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