Lighting up with HID (High Intensity Discharge) Lamps

3rd Aug 11 10:00<< Go back to news

Lighting up with HID (High Intensity Discharge) Lamps

A High- intensity discharge or HID lamp is a type of electrical lamp which produces light by means of an electrical arc between electrodes housed inside a translucent or transparent fused quartz or fused alumina arc tube. HID lamps have a higher luminous efficacy since a greater proportion of their radiation is visible as opposed to heat compared with fluorescent and incandescent lamps. 

 At the beginning of the 1990’s, HID lamps started to appear in motor vehicle handlamps which improved night vision significantly, if the higher input HID lamps are well engineered, studies have shown that driver react faster and more accurately to roadway obstacles with the good HID headlamps rather than halogen ones.

The highest-intensity halogen headlamp bulbs, H9 and HIR1, produce 2100 to 2530 lumens from approximately 70 watts at 13.2 volts. A D2S HID burner produces 3200 lumens from approximately 42 watts during stable operation. The reduced power consumption means less fuel consumption, with resultant less CO2 emission per vehicle fitted with HID lighting (1.3 g/km assuming that 30% of engine running time is with the lights on).

Due to the voltages involved in the HID lamps, there are safety risks involved when coming into contact with humans’ bodies; high voltages can have an affect on the heart and respiratory system, and burns to the skin and damage to the eyes due to flashing; so safety precautions need to be put in place.

The main points are:

  • Don't change components with the system live
  • Don't turn on the bulb when it is out of the headlight (they can sometimes explode)
  • Wear safety glasses and insulated gloves
  • Get trained (on the safety issues/procedures and diagnosis of the system)Use the appropriate test equipment
  • Don't do voltage tests at all without the proper training!
  • Ensure that the headlamp leveling system works absolutely perfectly and is well adjusted
  • Dispose of the old bulbs appropriately
  • Use only approved replacement bulbs

If you are interested in this and you would like to find out more about HDI’s and other similar components then why not try the Bosch VSB10 Body Control Systems, CAN & Multiplex Networks.

This is a 2 day Bosch Master tech course costing £330 + VAT. If you would like to find out more or book a place on the course then please contact Selin on 0845 600 6048 or email

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