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HID Passing & 4 1/2

Case Study on HID 4.5" Passing Lamps and Dual 4 1/2" Headlamps

Safety and lighting issues have becoming increasingly interesting subject matter in our quest to avoid being hit by other drivers, seeing and recognizing dangers at increased distances than possible a few years ago, and having an enjoyable and confident riding experience either in daylight or at night.  Here are some options for you to consider:
Understanding hardware currently available:

  • Sealed Beam
    • Modern sealed beams have an additional envelope around the filament, whereas
      older types do not. The inner envelope contains halogen to improve the life of
      the filament and enable more light for the same power in comparison to the
      older sealed beams.  These are incandescent light bulbs (filament, gas
      under vacuum, high power consumption ratio to light output). Sylvania does not publish the Lumens
      value.  This type of lighting is being phased out.
  • Halogen lighting
    • Your stock HD bulb (non HID).  The function of the halogen is to set up a
      reversible chemical reaction with the tungsten evaporating from the
      filament.  Halogen lamps are manufactured with enough halogen to match the
      rate of tungsten evaporation at their design voltage.
    • Increasing the applied voltage increases the rate of
      evaporation, so at some point there may be insufficient halogen and the lamp
      goes black.  The life span on dimming depends on lamp construction, the
      halogen additive used and whether dimming is normally expected for this type.
      Example: H4 Headlight SilverStarĀ® Halogens: Lumens: Low 910 +/- 10%; High 1500
      +/-10%, Rated life: (low 55 watt): 150 hrs, (hi 60 watt): 50 hrs.
  • LED Lighting
    • The LED headlamp supplied by Hella for the 2009 Escalade Platinum is the first U.S. market
      headlamp with both a LED low and high beam. Present designs give performance
      between halogen and HID headlamps, with system power consumption slightly
      higher than halogen headlamps. These lamps currently require large packaging
      and a large number of the most powerful LED emitters available.
    • As LED technology continues to evolve, the performance of
      LED headlamps is predicted to improve to approach, meet, and perhaps one day
      surpass that of HID headlamps.  Currently LED's requires a large heat sink
      to dissipate the heat from them.  Currently this heat sink and power
      requirements make it unacceptable for use as a headlight.  I am sure as
      this technology evolves LED will be the lighting of the future.
  • HID Lighting
    • HID stands for high-intensity discharge, a technical term
      for the electric arc that produces the light. The high intensity of the arc
      comes from metallic salts that are vaporized within the arc chamber (Pill).
      These lamps are formally known as gas-discharge burners, and produce more light
      for a given level of power consumption than ordinary tungsten and
      tungsten-halogen bulbs. Because of the increased amounts of light available
      from HID burners relative to halogen bulbs, HID headlamps producing a given
      beam pattern can be made smaller than halogen headlamps producing a comparable
      beam pattern. Alternatively, the larger size can be retained, in which case the
      xenon headlamp can produce a more robust beam pattern.  The power
      consumption is lower than Halogen (35 watt example) vs 55/60 watt, and the
      light produced is much greater Halogen (Hi/Lo): 910/1500 lumens vs HID (Hi/Lo)
      3200/3200 lumens.
  • Headlight Lamp
    • A lamp is a reflector and a protective lens.  The shape of the reflector determines the pattern.  Low beam (dipped beam,
      passing beam, meeting beam) headlamps provide a distribution of light designed
      to provide adequate forward and lateral illumination with limits on light
      directed towards the eyes of other road users, to control glare. This beam is intended for use whenever other vehicles are present ahead. High beam (main beam, driving beam, full beam) headlamps provide a bright, center-weighted distribution of light with no particular control of light directed towards other road users' eyes. As such, they are only suitable for use when alone on the road, as the glare they produce will dazzle other driver Passing lamps A pair of lamps commonly found on each side of some HD
      models such as an Electra GlideĀ®.
  • Passing Lamp
    • Passing lamps can be used as marker lights to increase your visibility to
      on-coming traffic.
    • A motorcycle with a headlight and a pair of driving lights
      mounted horizontally give a line of lights increasing both your day and night
      time frontal signature.  At distance the 3 lights looks like one. 
      There is no confusion to oncoming motorists
    • A motorcycle with a headlight and a pair of driving lights
      mounted high or low makes an unusual triangle of light that disorients a driver
      with depth perception and utilizes thought processes and makes a oncoming
      unsure of what they are seeing.
    • Passing lamps are designed much like very wide-angle lights
      with sharp light cut-offs.

I have provided a case study of Halogen and HID bulbs in 4 1/2" passing lamps and 4 1/2" headlamps

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HID 4.5 in passing lamps
35 watt HID 4 1/2" passing lamps/pair (no headlight)
35 watt HID in 4.5" headlamps
35 watt HID 4 1/2" head lamps/pair (no headlight)
35 watt Halogen in passing lamps
35 watt Halogen 4 1/2" head lamps/pair (no headlight)

35 watt HID 5.75" headlamp (high beam)