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Thread: Has anyone put an H3 HID kit in Hella 500/500FF lamps?

  1. #1

    Default Has anyone put an H3 HID kit in Hella 500/500FF lamps?

    I'm currently running Osram 100W bulbs, and they perform well, but I'd like to increase the output and reduce power consumption if I can. DDM has a kit that's very cheap, and I'm using one of their setups in a searchlight, so I know they work.

    My questions are whether the bulb will fit inside of the housing, since it's very thin and doesn't seem to have much clearance between the halogen bulb and the glass lens. Also what it will do to the beam pattern. They're obviously designed for halogen, and the 100W bulbs produce a nice wide beam with their longer filaments. Is the HID going to absolutely ruin the beam?

    Thanks!

  2. #2

    Buttrock Re: Has anyone put an H3 HID kit in Hella 500/500FF lamps?

    Yeah...the emitter source will be a different shape, the depth/position relative to the reflector will be off, etc....it will pump out lumens that glare all over the place.

    You might be better off going with new driving lights that put out what you're looking for...and that has parts that are designed to work together.

    Have you already done the "Big Three" type wire upgrades to get the headlights up to snuff at least too?


  3. #3

    Default Re: Has anyone put an H3 HID kit in Hella 500/500FF lamps?

    Well as I said, I like the beam, I've got good low-beams (Hella ECE w 65/55w +50s), and fog lights too (FF75). If it'll just screw up the 500s I'm not going to bother with an HID upgrade. I'll just keep them as is and add an LED bar for more light.

    I'm not sure what the "big three" are, but all of my lighting circuits are routed through an aux fuse panel, which is tied directly to my main battery with a 6 AWG cable, and controlled by a bank of 30A relays. The 500s are fused at 20A, and the set-up (with the exception of marker lights/low-beams) is controlled by an overhead panel. The lights themselves are all wired with 14AWG Tefzel wire, and weather-tight connectors. I'm not sure I could get much more out of them.

    Quote Originally Posted by TEEJ View Post
    Yeah...the emitter source will be a different shape, the depth/position relative to the reflector will be off, etc....it will pump out lumens that glare all over the place.

    You might be better off going with new driving lights that put out what you're looking for...and that has parts that are designed to work together.

    Have you already done the "Big Three" type wire upgrades to get the headlights up to snuff at least too?


  4. #4
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    Default Re: Has anyone put an H3 HID kit in Hella 500/500FF lamps?

    The bottom line is, more light but much less useful light because the different light source is all wrong for the reflector.
    Changing the type of light source virtually always degrades the beam.

    And it most definitely will be both illegal and dangerous for use on public roads.

    The only exception I've ever seen was a terrible Dick Cepek C200 Super Off Roader that had a weird bulb Cepek described as "210 watt H4." It used the same base as the H4, but had a single high wattage transverse filament. Tried them in an old gravel pit one night. That Super Off Roader has the worst light pattern I've ever seen. Not just a "black hole" in the middle, but a huge ring of light with darkness inside. Swapping to the high beam filament of a standard H4 actually improved it, though I'd still not call it a good light, and it would not be legal on public roads.

    In general, don't change the type of light source in a given lamp/reflector. Just look for the highest quality bulbs of the correct type.
    There are two kinds of light - the glow that illumines, and the glare that obscures. ~James Thurber

  5. #5
    Flashaholic* Alaric Darconville's Avatar
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    Default Re: Has anyone put an H3 HID kit in Hella 500/500FF lamps?

    H3 HID kits are illegal per se.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Has anyone put an H3 HID kit in Hella 500/500FF lamps?

    Quote Originally Posted by Alaric Darconville View Post
    H3 HID kits are illegal per se.
    No, H3 HID kits are not illegal. Installing them in halogen headlamps and using them on the road is illegal, but I'm asking about off-road lights. They are only used off-road, it would be illegal to use them on the road in stock condition.

    I was hoping someone might have some beamshots, but I guess I'll just have to try it eventually. Hamilton said it'll more than likely render them useless, which I agree with, but I'm still tempted to try. Maybe I can get some beamshots comparing the stock halogen to the 100W halogen, to HID. My friend has some Lightforce 240 HIDs and I have to say they're not very good, without filters they're a pencil spot, and with, they produce a very thin wide line that doesn't really light up the road.

    Also, if I try it and I don't like the beam, I can just mod a couple $9.99 pistol grip spotlights
    Last edited by electromage; 04-23-2012 at 12:55 AM.

  7. #7
    Flashaholic* Alaric Darconville's Avatar
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    Default Re: Has anyone put an H3 HID kit in Hella 500/500FF lamps?

    Quote Originally Posted by electromage View Post
    No, H3 HID kits are not illegal.
    You missed the Latin phrase "per se". Because they CAN fit in regulated automotive equipment, they are illegal. It's not their installation, or their use, it's that they are what they are.

    Additionally, the phrase "off-road" has no legal meaning.

    http://www.sema.org/federal-regulati...ermarket-parts
    Is “For Off-Road Use Only” a legal term?
    "Off-road" and "off-road vehicles" are not terms defined in NHTSA regulations and therefore have no legal meaning. Simply stated, the manufacturer cannot control or enforce how the product is used (for off-road use only). Any equipment which is subject to the FMVSS or manufactured to replace equipment covered by the FMVSS must be compliant.
    Also see http://fmvss108.tripod.com/interps/e...onk_062801.htm
    Last edited by Alaric Darconville; 04-23-2012 at 06:42 AM.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Has anyone put an H3 HID kit in Hella 500/500FF lamps?

    I don't know what your offroad application is, but since I'm sure the change in light source will make the beam worse, I'd say you're better off to pony up the $$ for some HID lamps. I bought some Soltek Fuego HID driving lights a while back, for an application involving limited space and very limited charging system. Sometimes O'Reilly Auto has sales on HID driving lights that might meet your needs.

    "Offroad" means different things to different people. For me, it's low speed, but a need to see around switchbacks and to the sides and rear at times. That sort of means switchable floodlights in every direction (though I've made do at times with high mounted Unity spotlights and different bulbs). For some, it's high speed, as in pencil beams or long range driving lights. I'm thinking any HID "conversion" would be illegal by simply being there (unused, I know) when you drive the vehicle on public highways to get to and from home, and while it might produce more total light it would produce less useful light. I would not be inclined to mess up perfectly good Hella 500 or 500FF lamps.

    If you're just curious to experiment, I'd say the mod on an inexpensive pistolgrip spotlight might be educational. Take it out in the woods to a dark gravel pit or something, try the original beam, maybe take a few pictures. Then make the modification and see what changes. You're only out a few bucks, and you'll learn something without making any illegal mods to a vehicle. Besides, you'll still have what is basically an occasional use work light, regardless of light source. Oh yes, see how well you can make out colors. Halogen light has good color rendition.
    There are two kinds of light - the glow that illumines, and the glare that obscures. ~James Thurber

  9. #9

    Default Re: Has anyone put an H3 HID kit in Hella 500/500FF lamps?

    I'm not trying to start a legal debate, I simply asked if it had been done (and YouTube answered, yes, many times). I didn't miss the Latin phrase. I know what you said, but I don't interpret Section 108 that way. I believe that there is too much precedence (H3s being popular in handheld spotlights for over a decade; Philips selling H4 bulbs as "spotlight use only" when Section 108 does not define "spotlight" and the H designation clearly means that it's intended for headlamp use; major parts retailers selling over-powered and colored/tinted bulbs; etc, etc.) for that to hold much water. Section 108 does not define "Off-road" and "off-road vehicles", because that's not it's purpose:

    S2. Purpose. The purpose of this standard is to reduce traffic
    accidents and deaths and injuries resulting from traffic accidents, by
    providing adequate illumination of the roadway, and by enhancing the
    conspicuity of motor vehicles on the public roads so that their presence
    is perceived and their signals understood, both in daylight and in
    darkness or other conditions of reduced visibility.
    What is the point of an automotive lighting sub-forum if we can't discuss automotive lighting? I don't get it. I don't believe that purchasing some light bulbs that happen to have the same base as light bulbs that came with my driving lights is illegal. If it is, there's a lot of illegal activity on the "Spotlights and HID Flashlights" sub-forum as well, because the Thor HID uses an H7 based HID, the O'Reilly Etek uses an H4 HID, this mod uses an H4 based lamp, but nobody brings up the legality of such mods there. It's here, every time someone wants to show off their work, or ask a question. The thread gets closed, questions don't get answered, and people keep breaking the law.

  10. #10
    Flashaholic* Alaric Darconville's Avatar
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    Default Re: Has anyone put an H3 HID kit in Hella 500/500FF lamps?

    Quote Originally Posted by electromage View Post
    I'm not trying to start a legal debate, I simply asked if it had been done (and YouTube answered, yes, many times). I didn't miss the Latin phrase. I know what you said, but I don't interpret Section 108 that way.
    Because there is regulated vehicle equipment that uses the H3 bulb, an HID kit that uses an HID capsule on base designed to fit that same regulated equipment, the HID it is illegal.

    It's not how YOU interpret Section 571.108, it is what Section 571.108 *says*. Again, they are illegal per se which means that they inherently are illegal the moment they come into existence.

    What is the point of an automotive lighting sub-forum if we can't discuss automotive lighting? I don't get it.
    This complaint is like saying "what's the point of a firearms forum if we can't discuss modifying 5-shot revolver to fire belt-fed ammo at 450 rounds per minute cyclic?".
    We can discuss automotive lighting. We discuss the legal upgrades possible; we discuss trends in technology and new developments.

    Please check out Rule 11

    I don't believe that purchasing some light bulbs that happen to have the same base as light bulbs that came with my driving lights is illegal.
    If the replaceable light source has the same base as another that complies with the standard, but results in a noncompliant lamp (such as an HID capsule designed to fit in an H3's socket), then it is illegal.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Has anyone put an H3 HID kit in Hella 500/500FF lamps?

    You raise some valid points. I understand that it's a public forum, and I stand by what I say, and take responsibility for how I operate my vehicle. I just don't understand the double-standard that seems to exist. My point is that so many people use these lamps in harmless applications, that the lamps themselves shouldn't be illegal. No, I'm not going to jump off a bridge just because someone else does, and I'm not sticking HID H4s in my low beams, because I rely on them daily, and I don't want to blind anyone.

    Also, I sometimes feel like I'm living in an alternate reality when others take such a hard-lined stance on illegal automotive lighting, because in Seattle, I can just about guarantee that nightly someone will pull up in a truck with their blue HID headlights shining right through my back window, and washing out my mirrors with searing light. I could walk out to the street and snap a photo of the road, and about 1 in 50 cars has cool blue/purple/green lights. I've seen people on the freeway with blue glow under their cars, green strobes in their headlights, and many people with red front turn signals. Sometimes I wonder if they even know how dangerous and stupid it is.

    I don't feel like I'm one of them. I use street legal, halogen low beams in the city and on the highway, but I've got driving lights, and rear white floods because when I'm on a dark trail, or a private farm, I need to see more than my headlights can show me to feel safe. Almost everyone I know has fog lights and/or driving lights on their trucks, but they know not to light them up when they're behind someone on the road.

    Please undenstand that I'm not attacking you or CPF's policies, sometimes I come across a bit strong when I'm debating, but I find it very educational.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Has anyone put an H3 HID kit in Hella 500/500FF lamps?

    Something I was just reminded of when I went to get lunch is that it seems King County Metro Transit has been retrofitting their buses with HID lights, possibly to save power. I haven't inspected them to tell if they're legal, but they produce an astounding amount of glare.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Has anyone put an H3 HID kit in Hella 500/500FF lamps?

    Quote Originally Posted by electromage View Post
    I'm not trying to start a legal debate
    Yeah, you are.

    I don't interpret Section 108 that way
    What you are calling "Section 108" is in fact Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 108, and your interpretations of it are not correct.

    Philips selling H4 bulbs as "spotlight use only" when Section 108 does not define "spotlight" and the H designation clearly means that it's intended for headlamp use
    You've got just about everything wrong here. There are lots of bulbs with designations that start with "H" (which is for HALOGEN, not for "headlamp") that are not suitable, intended, safe, or legal for use in vehicle headlamps, and H4 is not regulated in the USA as an automotive headlamp replaceable light source (the official term for what most of us call "headlight bulbs").

    major parts retailers selling over-powered and colored/tinted bulbs; etc, etc.)
    It's easy to buy lots of illegal and dangerous products. That doesn't make them any less illegal or dangerous.

    What is the point of an automotive lighting sub-forum if we can't discuss automotive lighting? I don't get it.
    The lighting modifications/products you're asking about or recommending are illegal. Rule 11 of this board prohibits advocating illegal activity. It's really that simple.

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    Flashaholic* spc's Avatar
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    Default Re: Has anyone put an H3 HID kit in Hella 500/500FF lamps?

    I retro-fitted an older set of hella 500s. The beam was actually nice, sharp pencile beam.. But way to bright to use on the road. Even off road. I installed them for a night trail ride and they were to bright for the people in front of me. I took em off.. To much of a hassle (and dangerous)

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    Default Re: Has anyone put an H3 HID kit in Hella 500/500FF lamps?

    Well, that lays it out pretty well.

    FWIW, I have complete HID designed and equipped headlights on a Ford Crown Vic. With the 4200K bulbs, they give what appears to my human eyes as a nice white light, and they have a nice sharp "Z-beam style" low beam cutoff.

    Silly of me to spend all that money ($648 "on sale" at StarrHID) to put energy efficient HID lamps in an old cop car that has a great big 100 amp alternator. I'll probably eventually supplement them with halogen auxiliary lights. At this point in time, one can't really justify the extra cost of HID or LED over halogen unless one has other reasons - small charging system, very limited space or just plain being a lighting hobbyist/enthusiast.

    But times are changing. Each year, there are more affordable alternatives to halogen being produced. For most of us, most of the time, though, halogen is hard to beat.
    There are two kinds of light - the glow that illumines, and the glare that obscures. ~James Thurber

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    Default Re: Has anyone put an H3 HID kit in Hella 500/500FF lamps?

    Electromage , please understand that we do not talk illegal automotive lighting on CPF. There are certainly many folks out there that use illlegal setups on road or off road, but that does not make it ok here. You can get some good advise in this forum regarding improving you automotive lighting. Our Automotive moderator, Scheinwerfermann, can steer you right (LOL), as well as other regulars here. Please do not continue discussion re what CPF considers illegal automotive lighting, or as you have noted, this thread will be closed. I don't like to do that and would rather have you get some value here.

    Bill

  17. #17

    Default Re: Has anyone put an H3 HID kit in Hella 500/500FF lamps?

    Heh, a simple "no, it's illegal and will ruin your beam" would have sufficed

    Scheinwerfermann, I wasn't trying to start a legal debate, I was just asking a technical question and it turned in to a debate when I tried to defend my position. My argument was based on my understanding/assumption that the standards governing highway vehicles did not apply to Off-Road Vehicles (ORV), for instance, they don't require turn signals, seat belts, etc. I'm not saying that FMVSS is wrong.

    I was not aware that simply making/buying/importing a light bulb was illegal just because it happens to have a base that fits in automotive equipment. This question hasn't really been answered, but does this also make it illegal to purchase an H4 or H7 HID bulb for use in a handheld spotlight? There are many mods, and factory lights employing these bulbs, including one sold currently by BatteryJunction. It would not be possible for many people to build these if not for the influx of cheap imported re-based bulbs.

    Thanks for clarifying the "H" for me. When you say H4 is not regulated in the USA, does that mean that it is illegal to use as a light source in US highway vehicles?

  18. #18
    Flashaholic* Alaric Darconville's Avatar
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    Default Re: Has anyone put an H3 HID kit in Hella 500/500FF lamps?

    Quote Originally Posted by electromage View Post
    Heh, a simple "no, it's illegal and will ruin your beam" would have sufficed
    But "it's illegal" (without "and ruin your beam") would not have sufficed?

    I wasn't trying to start a legal debate, I was just asking a technical question and it turned in to a debate when I tried to defend my position. My argument was based on my understanding/assumption that the standards governing highway vehicles did not apply to Off-Road Vehicles (ORV), for instance, they don't require turn signals, seat belts, etc. I'm not saying that FMVSS is wrong.
    Your argument was based on a false premise. The logic was valid, but because your apprehension of what FMVSS 108 applies to was incorrect, the argument was easily refuted. Essentially, because FMVSS 108 applies to vehicles built after January 1, 1968 that can be used legally on public roads (pretty much anything with a 17-digit VIN meeting the manufacture date criterion), "off-road" has no real meaning. Even so, whether the HID kits were "designed for this off-road lamp" or not, because they can fit in regulated lighting equipment, they're illegal.

    I was not aware that simply making/buying/importing a light bulb was illegal just because it happens to have a base that fits in automotive equipment.
    If that "light bulb" is an HID capsule on a base used by halogen bulbs that fit in regulated vehicle equipment, yes, the item is illegal.

    Thanks for clarifying the "H" for me. When you say H4 is not regulated in the USA, does that mean that it is illegal to use as a light source in US highway vehicles?
    The H4 looks like the HB2 (or 9003), but because the filament placement is not as precise as the HB2, and because it has a higher maximum output than the HB2, it's not acceptable. There are bulbs that have BOTH the H4 and HB2 markings; those bulbs meet both specifications. If the bulb is marked ONLY H4, then no, it's not acceptable.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Has anyone put an H3 HID kit in Hella 500/500FF lamps?

    Quote Originally Posted by Alaric Darconville View Post
    But "it's illegal" (without "and ruin your beam") would not have sufficed?
    I'm having a hard time putting how I feel in to words, without stepping on toes I'm glad that we've been able to discuss this a bit, most threads get closed without explanation, since Rule 11 doesn't go in to detail about the laws and regulations involved in automotive lighting. Hopefully this will serve useful to others with similar questions.

    I still don't understand why this doesn't get brought up in other subforums if the issue is that it's illegal to import/purchase/use these bulbs. Is that sort of thing up to the specific moderators of those subforums? It seems like the forum rules should apply the same everywhere.

    Are D1/D2 type HID bulbs the only ones that are legal?

  20. #20
    Flashaholic* Alaric Darconville's Avatar
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    Default Re: Has anyone put an H3 HID kit in Hella 500/500FF lamps?

    Please reread this post.

    It seems from your response to "it's illegal" without the presence of "it'll ruin your beam"
    I'm having a hard time putting how I feel in to words, without stepping on toes
    that you are intent on soliciting this forum for advice on using illegal equipment on a motor vehicle. Pointing out inconsistencies in law enforcement in particular States or in the enforcement of the rules here are attempts to derail the issue.

    If you have an issue with the enforcement of the CPF rules, you should PM a moderator.

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    Default Re: Has anyone put an H3 HID kit in Hella 500/500FF lamps?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bullzeyebill View Post
    Electromage, please do not continue discussion re what CPF considers illegal automotive lighting, or as you have noted, this thread will be closed.
    Bill
    Bill

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