Getting away from the software theme for this post… I’ve been giving some serious thought into adding HID (High Intensity Discharge) lights to my 2006 Scion TC. 

What is HID exactly? 

HID is a newer technology for illumination, which uses xenon gas discharge, rather than the typical halogen found in most cars.  This produces a crisper, more natural light deployment unlike the yellow associated with halogen, and enables motorists to see much more distance without the dazzling glare to oncoming vehicles.

For the non-techies (and non-car enthusiasts) you may be asking “what’s the point?” As a friend of mine said, after driving a car with stock HID – “it’s like night and day, with HID you see so much more.”

So, I figured that since Scion’s are easily customized it won’t be hard to install aftermarket HID – right?….. wrong!  After digging around on the Internet in the wee small hours this morning I found out some info about what goes into HID and why it is so expensive.

It’s no secret that HID is typically installed stock in more up market vehicles – BMW first introduced it in 1997, and since then Acura have added the technology to their TL and TSX, Honda added HID to their S2000, it’s pretty much a given on all Mercedes Benz, and Audi also come fitted with HID stock.  Those of us with cheaper vehicles (ahem, me) have to settle for OEM and after market installation.  So what’s involved?

After market HID installation comes in two flavors – drop in replacement units and retro fit.  Like most proud car owners I’m loath to take a wrench and screw driver to my car unless the job is easy and involves little to no custom modification work, so the idea of drop in unit to replace the existing head lamp fitting sounded great to me.  However, after reading up a little I understand that this is a half baked solution.  First off, HID fitting is not just the fitting of a bulb and ballast (device that provides high voltage arc across the xenon gas) – sure this will work but without a projection unit the result is mediocre at best.  To obtain 3x distance illumination a projection device, using optics, is required – this is where the cost comes in.  Most non-HID lamp mounting units are not designed for projector mounting, and a bad installation can sometimes leading to case melting and a variety of other problems.  So, custom retro fitting is the next best approach.

So how to go about retro fitting HID to a Scion TC?

http://hidretro.com is a site, which advertises a service that does all the work for you (not just for Scion vehicles), however the work “ain’t cheap.”  Don’t expect much change out of $2000 (give or take, depending on the projector type, and bulb type).  Of course, one can do a DIY job (instructions here http://www.scionlife.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=75144), which involves tools, spray paint, balls, and an oven (say what?).  Like most things in life, if you want a good job for a cheap price then you need to do it yourself.  Personally, I am not put off by the idea, but depending on whether I need to purchase expensive tools (blow torch), and if I can obtain some spare Scion TC head lamp fittings (incase I botch the job), is whether I go down that road.

A few particulars I found out whilst reading about HID -:

– HID bulbs come in a variety of sizes and color temperatures (specified in Kelvin) – this is not the temperature that the bulb operates, but the color output of the source determined by spectral output curve (whoosh).

– Higher color temperatures are not necessarily better, the lower the color temperature the more natural the light output appears.  Higher color temperatures will give a more defined color, so if purple light is your thing then a 10000K or 12000K bulb will give you the desired result. 

– The Department of Transport (DOT) defines laws on what constitutes as legal HID. 6000K or above is NOT LEGAL in the US and any is not available in any factory fitted HID.  If you fit OEM at 6000K or above you run the risk of penalty, but that’s assuming that a beady eyed cop can spot the difference.  

– Various OEM projection units exist – most of the ready available units in the US are similar or the same as those found in factory fitted HID vehicles.

– In projection mounted solutions try to use D2S size bulbs, and use D2R in reflection systems.

Conclusion – unless I fork out a lot of green, installation of HID in my TC is going to involve some open heart surgery.  From the instructions (link above) it looks like I can get away withy most of the up front work – custom fitting HID parts to a stock lamp fixture – without taking my car apart, as long as I can acquire some extra lamp fittings on the cheap.  So I may try that and see how well I do.  Anyone out there who has done a similar job, and wants to offer some insight would be most welcome to do so.

11 thoughts on “H.I.D

  1. Shenia

    Hi, sir and madam,

    Thank you your time for considering my email .


    Our company , Established in 2002, is the first company professional engaged in HID Xenon lamp manufacturing, importing and exporting sales operations in China. It is one of China’s largest HID Xenon lamp products suppliers; and it is also the leading HID Xenon lamp products design company

    First of all , let me do simple introduction of our factorywhich is different from the welldone : Our factory has past ISO (TUV). We have very strict IQC materials examining, all the important material have been complete examined even our purchase quantity will have tens of thousands.Every step finished, there are QC and QE to test them, if quality is good, past them to the next step. After all the steps are finish, the products are finished. But we will still do a lots of tests on the finished products:
    1. Open circuit protect
    2. short circuit protect
    3. short voltage protect
    4. over voltage protect
    5. shock proof test
    6. warm start-up test
    7. waterproof test
    8. dustproof test
    9. Polarity protect test
    10. EMC anti-jamming test

    Then , I wanna you have a visit of our website to see our ballasts , We have more than 10 ballast in variety shape . Here i special recommend the most hot ballast , have a look:

    And we have all the bulbs , have a look :

    Please kindly send me your comments about our products ,We had develop the LED business ourselves , if you wanna further info , pls feel free let me know .

    Thanks and all the best regards,


    Thank you and nice day ^&*

  2. http://

    HID plug and play harness including bulbs..found on scionlife.com

    Every Single Xenon kit comes with:
    2 Xenon bulbs
    2 HID Ballast
    Plug and Play Wiring Harness
    Installation Guide
    Mounting Hardware


    The price is now $140 shipped!

    The nice thing about this guy and his harness is that it literally plugs into the stock wiring harness for the lights. The hardest part is finding a spot to mount the ballasts inside the engine bay. I hope this was helpful. If you have any questions please e-mail me @ tcookie@gmail.com

  3. robgarrett

    Only problem with conversion kits is that they do not include the projectors – the vital peice in the puzzle that actually makes HID work correctly. Conversion kits use standard Halogen mountings and produce a dispersed light projection instead of the even light source from that of a factory installed HID.

  4. http://

    There is a advanced product called DSP HID in my company.Is the one of the most advanced products of the Ballast in China
    * Digital information processing (DSP) technology, integrated high-speed computing.
    * Fewer components (106) One-mechanized, stable low failure rate.
    * Rigorous selection, after two tests, high and low temperature (-50-110) test, 20 seconds automatically switches measuring five days five nights, ICT test.
    * Cross-Electric Company, the high-voltage light bulbs buffer the impact of extended life.
    * Smart power compensation, lamp aging brightness not weakened.
    * Non-interference, can be installed directly to the vast majority of models.
    * High-pressure, low pressure, open circuit, short circuit, plus or minus reverse protection, a high and low voltage points back, adapt to different environments.
    * Highly efficient (≥86%), low temperature work.
    * The only bar codes and laser Penma scientific management, worry-free service.
    * Weighing 240 g, nice to facilitate the transport and export.

    There is also a product-mini ballast…
    if you want know more,please connect me,my E-mail is ggk050406@hotmail.com

  5. hansen

    Hi friend,
    I’m Hansen from Popnow Electronic Technology Co.,Ltd.(Guangzhou,China).We are an enterprise specializd in the manufacture and export of HID,
    Product Name: POPNOW HID Xenon Conversion Kit.
    Certificates:E-mark, ISO9001,CE.
    Contain: Two HID lamps ,two matched ballasts and necessary wires.
    Lamp types: D2R,D2S,D2C,H1,H3,H4,H4(H/L,hi/lo,bi-xenon,bi xenon,flexible),H7,H11,9004,9005,9006,9007(H/L),etc.
    Waltage : 35W, 55W; Voltage : 12V, 24V DC;
    Ballast for choice: normal 12v or 24V ballast; widevoltage ballast: 9V to 32V; slim/mini ballast
    Color temperature: 3000K,4300K,6000k,8000k,10000k,12000K .
    Light colors for choice: Sun light color, Sky blue , Blue, Purple.
    Weight: 1.8KG.
    Package: Color box ,32cm*7cm*22cm
    Minimum: normally 30 kits
    Payment: T/T in preference, Bank,WESTER UNION ,Paypal (only for small money)
    Shipment term: By ship/air/express(TNT,UPS,DHL,FEDEX,EMS)
    Delivery time: T/T at sight.
    Warranty: One year exchange guarantee
    Perfect after-sale service.


    Sales manager


  6. Chris Mao

    We are very glad to see your message!
    We’d like to tell something about us, As a prefessional and reliable HID manufacturer with reputation In China, We had taken up large market share depending on high quality , good after-sales service and competitve price.Firstly , we had became a good partner with EPE , TC-Philips and GE and set a long-term cooperation plan. Secondly , many electonical componets are imported from Japan.To reach highest quality is our final goal all the time.

    As for all products , they must not only passed ten tests ,like Salt mist test , matching ,drop , hign temperature, and anti-shock test., polarity protection test, 24hours six special old testing , connection circuit protection testm ,cold/warm boot test.And we provide 14 months warranty for all products which also passed fully inspection before shipment.You will find more advantages in price and quallity.And all products had got the international ISO9001-2000 quality system certification , European E-mark,ROHS , E13,TUV and CE approval.Let’s have our business from trial order.

    Please let us have your email address and MSN, so that we can serve you better next . Should you have any questions ,please feel free to contact us. We will provide you required information by soonest.Thank you very much!

    Yours Truly
    Factory:Guangzhou FP Sci-Technology Co., Ltd.
    Branch: Guangzhou Jent Trade Co.; Ltd.( with the right to export and import)
    Thanks& Best Regards
    Chris Mao
    Tel: +86-020-61939888 ext.1066 cell phohp:008615989102414
    MSN: Chrismao2008@hotmail.com , Email: chris@phohp.com
    Company website: http://www.phohp.net or http://phohp.en.alibaba.com
    Address:NO#6 Zhufen West Street, Shiqi Village, Shiqi Town, Panyu District,Guangzhou Guangdong Province,P.R.C.511450

  7. Cecilia

    Dear sirs/Madam,
    It is great pleasure to know that you are in the market for HID lamp from Internet. We are a factory which specialized in HID xenon conversion kits in China.
    We produce all types of ballast and igniters, specially the digital type slim ballast, at the same time, we supply the high performance HID lamps. For the years of hard working and experience accumulating, we achieve the hight reputation in HID xenon lighting system.
    We express our desire to establish business relations with you. You may visit our online company introduction at http://www.gpusi.com which includes our latest product line. Should any of these items be of interest to you, please let us know. We will be happy to give you a quotation upon receipt of your detailed requirements.
    We look forward to receiving your enquires soon.
    With warm regards,
    Ms Chen

    Company Name : Guangzhou Gpusi Electronics Science & Technology Limited
    Haining Taichang Automotive Lighting Co., Ltd.
    Tel: 86-20-62211228
    MSN: chenqiuyan0644@163.com
    Company website: http://www.gpusi.com
    Address:8/F,BlackA,ZhenxingBuilding,NO.45YongfuRoad,Yuexiu District,Guangdong,China.

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