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There is no doubting the popularity and ever growing demand for HID xenon lights. Where they were once an expensive option on new prestige vehicles, they are now being offered as standard fitment on many mainstream cars, and it is easy to see why.The intense and powerful white light produced by HID xenon bulbs really illuminates the darkness like never before, and cars fitted with HID xenon lights are more visible and look more distinctive to other road users.Although HID xenon lights have been in use for over 10 years now, there is still a lot of confusion about exactly what they are, how they work and most importantly how to get the HID xenon effect on your own car.What Are HID Xenon Lights? HID xenon lights are the latest generation in automotive lighting technology. They first appeared several years ago on prestige cars like Audi, BMW and Mercedes. It is easy to spot a car at night fitted with HID xenon lights as they produce the crisp powerful white xenon light, which seem to have a blue hue around them. HID xenon bulbs seem to flicker slightly when they are first illuminated and extinguish immediately when they are turned off, unlike ordinary halogen bulbs, which take a few seconds for the light to burn out when switched off. How Do HID Xenon Lights Work?Unlike standard Halogen headlight bulbs, which work by passing an electrical current through a metal filament to heat up the halogen gas within the bulb, HID xenon headlight bulbs work by using a high voltage spark to ignite xenon gas. A ballast unit is used to generate a high voltage current, around 20,000 volts, which arcs between two electrodes, this spark activates the xenon gas, which in turn activates the metal halide within the xenon bulb.Once the gas has been activated the power output from the ballast unit stabilises at 85 volts. This method creates a xenon bulb that lasts up to ten times longer and draws considerably less power, around 35W, than a standard halogen headlight bulb.What Are The Benefits Of Xenon Lights?Quite simply once you have driven at night with HID xenon lights you will not want to go back. HID xenon lights provide 300% more light than a standard halogen headlight bulbs, producing a beam of white xenon light that closely resembles natural daylight, allowing the driver to see the road and potential hazards earlier and more clearly. Can I Upgrade My Standard Headlight Bulbs To Xenon Lights?There are two ways to upgrade your headlights to xenon lights, either by installing an HID xenon conversion kit or by replacing your halogen headlight bulbs with the latest upgrade xenon bulbs.Fitting an HID kit involves installing a pair of high voltage ballast units and two HID xenon bulbs in place of your standard headlight bulbs. These HID kits operate on exactly the same principle as factory fitted HID xenon lights, however because they are an aftermarket item they are not road legal, and fitting them could invalidate your insurance.Alternatively you could replace your halogen headlight bulbs with upgrade xenon bulbs. These high performance xenon bulbs look identical to standard headlight bulbs, however by improving the quality of the filament and using pressurised xenon gas instead of halogen, they can produce a xenon light output up to 90% brighter than standard headlight bulbs. Whilst these xenon bulbs will never match the full light output of a Xenon HID kits they are very quick and easy to install, and will cost considerably less than full HID Xenon Conversion kits and most importantly, are completely road legal.
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