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What is a HID kit?

An HID conversion kit is a product designed to upgrade halogen headlights to High Intensity Discharge lighting, greatly improving lighting performance. HID's are sometimes referred to as Xenon bulbs, although this is a misnomer. While xenon gas is present in the light producing gas capsule of an HID bulb, it is only a small portion of all the gases used to start the arc. HID's can be more accurately referred to as a type of HPS arc-based lighting. An HID conversion kit includes HID bulbs, HID ballasts (used to step up the 12V DC power coming from your vehicles alternator to the 85V AC power an HID kit uses), all associated wiring, and mounting hardware.

Do HID lights need a conversion kit?

If your vehicle originally had halogen bulbs, Yes. HID's cannot function using the stock 12V DC current coming from your vehicles alternator. A ballast steps this up to 85V AC. Also HID's require considerably more power to start than a traditional halogen bulb, so the ballasts' capacitors handle this function. HID kits also have features like CANBUS and Smart PWM which ensures they are plug and play. You may read about these functions below.

What is better, LED or HID?

This is a common question without a simple answer. In a projector housing, LED's will not work correctly. Projectors require omnidirectional light sources to be energized correctly and have a good beam pattern, so in these housings, always use an HID kit. In traditional reflector housings, LED's and HID's generally have identical beam patterns. LED's are also usually only available in one colour, while HID's are available in all Kelvin ratings. The two biggest advantages of LED's is that they do not require periodic bulb replacement, they do not require ballasts which simplifies installation, and they offer instant-on performance (no warm-up time.) To find out what works best on your vehicle, speak to a technician today.

What is Kelvin (K)?

Like household bulbs, HID's come in a variety of different colours, ranging from soft white (4300K), cool white (5000K), light blue (6000K), etc. HID colour is measured in Kelvin scientific measurement of colour, frequently abbreviated as K. A Kelvin chart allows us to compare the different K ratings.

Factory HID's range between 4100-4500K, most being rated at 4300K. All HID's produce pure white light, unless they are altered to add either cooler (bluer) colours or warmer (yellower) colours. Adding colour to HID's always decreases their light output, which makes 4300K the brightest HID colour available. Not only does 4300K ensure you get maximum light output from your HID's, it also minimizes glare and distractions to other drivers. The actual appearance of HID's once installed varies from vehicle to vehicle, as headlights will focus light differently. Projector housings will typically make a headlight appear more blue than its Kelvin rating. Customers who like a cooler white colour may choose 5000K (very light blue) or 6000K (light blue). Yellow light cuts through moisture better than blue light does, so if you frequently drive foggy conditions, yellow light is will cut through fog, condensation, and reduce the white-out effect caused by very snowy conditions. We carry 3000K (yellow) bulbs for these applications. Finally, we do carry 8000K, 10000K, 12000K, 15000K and lots of other colours (please e-mail for availability) for showcars, promotional vehicles, specific industrial uses, and people who just don't like taking our advice.

absolutehid kelvin chart

What is Wattage (W) and how does this affect an HID kit?

A  Watt (W) is a measurement current flow defined as a draw of one ampere at one volt. HID's are measured based on their power consumption in Watts. Much like standard household bulbs, the greater the wattage, the more light they produce. Most HID kits, including all factory-installed HID systems, are 35w. AbsoluteHID also offers 55w HID kits which produce over 33% more light than comparable 35w HID kits. 55w kits can be used on vehiles originally equipped with halogen bulbs, because halogen headlights are 55w. 55w HID kits still produce less heat than traditional halogen headlight bulbs making them safe replacements for all vehicles, and a good choice for drivers who are looking for maximum output light output. If you read the previous section on Kelvin, you'll understand why for almost all applications, we recommend a 55W 4300K HID Kit. Most stock halogen bulbs (h1,h4,h7,h13,9005,9006,) are 55w. Some foglight bulbs (880, 5202) can be 35w or less, so higher wattage kits should be used with care. Our lighting professionals can help you determine the best wattage for your vehicle.

The wattage of an HID kit is determined by its ballast. The bulb will run at whatever wattage the ballast outputs to it. HID bulb wattages are their maximum rated power. A 55w hid bulb can be ran safely at 55w or any wattage below this. Running higher than rated wattage to an HID bulb will drastically reduce its bulb life. This means if we're replacing a bulb in a system of known wattage, we should always choose the highest wattage available to us. 

Factory HID bulbs, identified by a bulb type starting with D and then a number have a defined wattage. They must be ran at thier intended wattage. All our factory replacement bulbs and ballast run at the wattage defined by the organization which standardizes automotive ratings, the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE). All of AbsoluteHID products Wattage ratings are measured as RMS (Root Mean Square, essentially meaning their average output.) Low quality HID kits are rated for their peak power, and frequently fluctuate below this rating (losing output) or above it (causing premature bulb wear.)

LED bulbs are not typically marketed by their Wattage, but by their rated Lumens output. This is done by convention, as LED kits do also have Wattage ratings. (Our 4800 Lumen LED kit uses 40W per bulb.) We've never been sure as to what the reasoning behind this is, however, in order to make our products easier to compare with other LED kits on the market, we do the same.

Which HID kit is the best?

Some of our customers will come out and directly as us, "why should i buy your HID kit instead of a 30$ one from amazon or aliexpress?" We appreciate this type of question, as it is the reason we are in buisness.

The technology in aftermarket lighting products and the needs of consumers are constantly evolving. Features we have implemented since our creation in 2008 include CANBUS integrated products, which prevent flickering or bulb our warnings. This is an alternative to low quality kits which use resistors, which can get very hot, causing damage and premature failure, as well relays to bypass this problem. This is not the correct way to install HID's. SMART PWM allows our kits to work plug and play on vehicles such as Jeep, Dodge, Ram and Ford which use pulse width modulation to prolong bulb life. Our ballasts feature the latest ASIC integrated circuits, which allow the fastest voltage ramp up and thereby achieve full brightness up to 70% faster than other kits on the market. Our bulbs use xenon gas capsules that are manufactured for OEM applications and are of the highest quality. Our bulbs feature UV quarts glass, and are laser aligned to ensure perfect focal points.

The most important part of any lighting upgrade is the support you'll receive when installing the product, and after care provided should something go wrong down the road. Our team prides itself on being knowledgeable about our products, and available to you by phone, email and chat should you need any help. We only sell automotive lighting, and only in Canada, as we have always believed in doing only one thing, really, really well.

What is CANBUS?  

CANBUS, CAN BUS or a Controller Area Network is a multiplexing scheme where a vehicles ECU can get information from its attached accessories using the same copper wires that provide it power. This is used by the ECU to determine if a bulb is burned out, is using too much power, and on some higher end late model vehicles estimate remaining bulb life. All of our products integrate plug and play into your vehicle's CANBUS system.

What do i need to know about Daytime Running Lights?

All vehicles imported into Canada since 1998 have required to have full time Daytime Running Lights. These safety lights run during the day when the headlights are off to increase visibility. DRL's usually are found either on the lowbeams or highbeams of modern vehicles, using the bulb at half power. More and more vehicles use the highbeam bulb, as highbeams are used less frequently than lows, thereby extending their replacement period. If your vehicle has  Daytime Running Lights (DRL) on the lowbeams, our Smart PWM CANBUS HID Kit will automatically upconvert the half wattage (older vehicles) or PWM controlled (newer vehicles) half power signal to full power, enabling you to retain your DRL's on your lowbeams at full power. Highbeam DRL's are a little more compalicated. Our SMART PWM system will also upconvert highbeam DRL's to full power, and this is why they cannot be used. We can't have our customers driving around with their highbeams on at full power all the time as DRL. An additional nuance of this type of lighting system are dual filament bulbs, where a single bulb has two filaments and operate as lowbeam and highbeam. We offer two types of dual filament bulb conversions. H13, 9004, 9007, 9008, H13 and H4 bulbs all do both lowbeam and highbeam.  No kit sold at AbsoluteHID disables highbeam operation, as this would be entirely unsafe.  If you purchase a lowbeam kit of any of the above bulb types, you’ll receive a kit with lowbeam HID and highbeam halogens. If you purchase both a lowbeam and a highbeam kit, you will receive a bi-xenon HID kit with all required wiring. As with separate lowbeam and highbeam housings, bixenon HID kits are NOT compatible with vehicles that have highbeam DRL's. Our 4800 Lumen CANBUS LED KITs, however, can be dimmed, and operate plug and play on nearly all DRL systems. Ask our sales team about your vehicle today.

What is Smart PWM?

Pulse Width Modulation, or PWM, is a technology designed to prolong halogen bulb life. Instead of power up the bulb to full power, a PWM system pulses between high and no voltage, allowing the bulb to cool ever so slightly during its off cycle. A PWM system's voltage almost looks like AC current with no sine wave ¯_¯_¯_¯_

This flashing on and off is not visible to the naked eye. The amount of time the power is on vs off is referred to as a Duty Cycle. Dodge PWM uses a 60/40 Duty Cycle. Ballasts cannot be powered like this because HID bulbs cannot be turned on and off quickly. Our Smart PWM ballast use capacitors attached to an integrated circuit to smooth out PWM, while sending back the correct CANBUS data to the vehicles TIPM, ensuring it doesn't see a fault and turn your lights off after 10 or so minutes of driving.


What are the best LED headlights?

With so many options for LED conversions on the market, it is difficult to pick the best one for your application. In our many years of experience selling this type of products, here's our advice: The most important component of an LED kit are the actual Light Emitting Diodes used. These yellow square diodes account for 80% of the cost of the kit. AbsoluteHID uses only real CREE and Phillips diodes. Look careful at the manufacturer name, and model number of the diodes. NEVER buy an LED kit that does not have its diode specified. Recently the market has been flooded with fake CREE and Phillips Luxeon diodes. These are difficult to tell apart from the genuine ones. An easy first step is to look at colour. Both these OEM's produce only 6000K LED's. If someone is claiming selling a product using their chips in another colour, you can be sure they are not authentic. Next is the construction of the LED kit itself. High quality LED's like the 4800 Lumen CANBUS LED KIT we sell are made from metal. Cheap LED kits are made from plastic. Next look at the cooling system. There are many types of cooling methods used for LED's, which can broadly be broken down into two categories, active and passive. Active cooling involves the use of a fan to move air to cool the bulb. This is not an effective way to cool a kit, as fans will quickly clog up with dust, fail, and the kit will overheat and burn out. LED's are very susceptible to overheating failures. The second category of cooling is passive. This means that the heat is drawn away from the diodes using conductors. This is the method our kits use. A copper superconductor runs the length of the bulb, drawing heat away from the diodes. The other end of this superconductor is attached 3 thermal heat bands, which are malleable and can be spread out to increase the contact area of the heatsink to air. Passive has always been the best way of cooling LED kits, as it does not rely on a fan. Some of our competitors use large heatinks instead, and while these cool effectively they cause fitment issues and require modifications which deteriorate the watertightness and integrity of the headlight.

Can I Install my HID Kit or an LED kit myself?

Many of our customers choose to install their kits themselves. Installing our plug and play LED and HID kits is very simple, and professional installation is recommended more for confirming adherence to local laws, best installation practices and eliminating human error than actual installation difficulty: If you can see the back of the headlight, you can change the bulb yourself. HID bulbs are fragile, so be gentle. The oils on your hands can cause HID's to burn out prematurely so holding the bulb in a tissue or microfibre towel while installing is recommended to  prevent any oils from getting on the glass. This applies to both factory and aftermarket HID bulbs. LED bulbs are much more resilient, and are IP67 rated. We've dropped LED's on concrete floors with no ill effects. Oils from your hands will not affect LED bulbs. Both HID and LED bulbs can get quite hot, so if troubleshooting or replacing an existing bulb, verify that the bulb is cool before manipulating it. The replacement of a factory HID bulb is very similar to what is described below. Replacing a factory HID ballast with a universal replacement is far more technical and not covered in this FAQ.

Upgrading a headlight comprises of the following steps. Your HID or LED kit will come with a more detailled installation manual with additional diagrams. These documents are available here:

LED Installation Instructions                  HID Installation instructions

Perform each step on both left and right lights. Complete installation on one side before proceeding to the other.

1) Unplug and remove your existing headlight bulb.

(Step 2 is omitted for LED kits.)

2a) Attach one end of the wiring pigtail (attached to bottom of bulb) into ballast. (Plug and play, only one connector will fit, and it only fits one way, so trial and error will lead to success).

2b) Connect the two plugs on the wire protruding from the ballast to the two plugs on the bulb. These are the only two connectors left, and they are plug and play, so trial and error will yield success.

2c) Use provided mounting hardware to mount the ballast in a location away from heat sources (like a radaiator). Make sure the ballast is not going to bump into things while driving.

3) Insert HID or LED bulb into headlight housings, ensuring they are securely fastened.

4) Attach the bulb connector into vehicles stock wiring connector (we unplugged the old halogen bulb from this in step #1). There are 18 varieties of connectors, most of which have a socketed connector that only fits one way. 

Many of our customers choose to install their own HID kits because of the ease of the steps described above. An unskilled person can generally install an HID kit in about 30 minutes on a vehicle where headlight removal is not required for a stock bulb change. However, HID installations must be done carefully so as to ensure that the bulb is correctly mounted. An incorrectly mounted bulb can damage the headlight or other components of your vehicle, and will not allow the headlight to focus the light correctly. A licensed mechanic in your area will be able to tell you if there are laws regulating the colour, brightness or installation of HID's in your area. In many areas, blue lights are reserved for snow removal vehicles, and for these reasons we strongly recommend professional installation. Most shops charge between 30 minutes to one hour labour to perform a complete HID install. 

Are HID lights legal? Are LED headlights legal in Canada?

AbsoluteHID is a Canadian company and operates almost exclusively in Canada. Customers from other jurisdictions will need to find details elsewhere. This section is to be treated as a resource of information, not legal advice. We are not lawyers, and we accept no liability whatsoever for customers who chose to use any conversion product on public roads. All of our OEM replacement products come with DOT marking.  Aftermarket parts are often a legal grey area, and a licensed mechanic in your area can help you interpret local laws. Here's what we've been told:

HID lighting has been legal in Canada since Transport Canada approved the first car with HID's, the BMW 7 Series, for import into Canada in the 1990's. LED lights were approved as accessory lights in the early 2000's and as primary driving lights in the early 2010's. The laws governing upgrading vehicles originally equipped with halogen headlights to HID or LED are considerably more complicated. These laws are divided into federal Transport Canada rules, codified in the CMVSS, and provincial rules, which vary by province and territory. The federal rules which most directly relate to HID's are the SAE Standard J578, which sets restrictions on the colour of lights. Although no Kelvin ratings are specified in the standard, our 4300K bulb meet all these requirements. Other colours have not been tested to comply with this standard. The CMVSS also states that all headlight housings used on public roads in Canada must have SAE, E1, E4, E11 or DOT. AbsoluteHID does not sell headlight housings, and strongly recommends the use of OEM housings. If looking to change your headlight to a projector, we recommend using a OEM manufactured projector housing. CMVSS regulations also state that there can be a maximum of four (4) lights exceeding 150 lux on at the same time. This is why vehicles with foglights will automatically turn them off when you activate your highbeams. Our products do not alter this functionality on any vehicle. 

Other important legal considerations for lighting upgrades are provincial Highway Traffic Act regulations which vary by province or territory.  This is not an exhaustive list of provincial regulations. Most relevant to our interests are British Columbia's limit on total light output (225,000 CD), which all of our products do not exceed. Other provinces such as Ontario, limit blue lights to snow removal vehicles. No kelvin rating is specified in the Ontario HTA. 

ALL provinces and territories have clauses in their respective Highway Traffic Acts that prohibit the use of any light that is distracting to other drivers. In order to help our customers meet these requirements, all of our products have focal points matched to the bulb they are replacing. This allows them to have an identical beam pattern to their original halogen light. The use of any colour other than 4300K OEM colored HID's may not be legal in your area. Do your research. Equally important considerations include  ensuring  headlights are correctly aimed following their owners manual, and being extremely judicious with their use of highbeams, upgraded or not.

AbsoluteHID has always enjoyed a strong relationship with law enforcement, both as our customers for their personal and official vehicles', and as advisers for how we can help our customers meet all provincial and federal rules and regulations. The advice that we consistently get from law enforcement is to get as close to OEM HID performance and colour as possible. If you are getting flashed by other drivers while you are on the road, something is wrong with your lighting system. Discontinue use immediately. Check that your headlights are aimed, and if this does not ameliorate the situation, reach out to our staff for additional solutions. Since our creation as a company in 2008, we have never  received a report of a customer receiving a ticket, warning or other infraction for installing a kit as outlined in the advice of this section. 

I'm not sure what I need. Can you help?

Of course! If you need any additional help beyond  this FAQ, please click the chat window at the lower left of your screen and ask for help!

We sell a variety of products to suit different purposes. If you have a vehicle with traditional halogen headlights, and you'd like to upgrade to a brighter HID system, you will need to purchase an hid kit. If you have an vehicle with existing HID's, and are looking to replace a broken component or change the appearance of your lights, talk to us today.