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PostPosted: Mon Jan 29, 2007 23:32 
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Apologies if this has been discussed before but following on from the LED rearlamps discussion am I the only one who thinks HID lights fitted to an increasing number of luxury vehicles are at best a nuisance and worst a potential danger?

I'm just nudging into middle age and wear glasses and they blind the heck out of me - occasionaly leaving that tell-tale blurry bit for a time after they have passed. They are often fitted to upmarket Wilmslow Panzers (posh 4x4s) and so sat in my hatchback the lamps are at my head height. In one recent encounter I genuinely thought the oncoming 4x4 had his mainbeam on and put mine back on - so he lit his up, if I though the dipped was bad sheesh....

If they are following you the auto-adjustment makes it seem like you are being constantly flashed on anything other than a smooth road and though I can dip my rear view mirror I can't do much with the door mirrors and it's very distracting.

I can only guess that they are legal because way back when it was stupidly decided to use watts as the method of determining a bulbs power - doh! So though I shouldn't run anything over 60/55 watt halogens, I can buy a vehicle with lamps that produce hundreds or thousands of times more lumens (the correct measure?) and be using less watts and blind everyone with impunity. Were there not tests done on real people? If I fitted 100/130 watt bulbs mine would be illegal but still not throwing out nearly as much light.

They are being touted as a safety feature, for whom exactly? Apparently it is very important with these lights that the lens it kept clean or the very intensive light scatters. Three things strike me; 1. As the majority of HID equipped cars blind me they mustn't wash there cars much round here or they blind regardless of cleanliness. 2. If it is that dependent on them being kept clean to work safely what are they doing on the front of a car? 3. Finally what happens when wiping all that muck off begins to scratch the lens - MOT failure?

If they haven't already caused a serious incident they surely will, and quite probably the owner will be oblivious, unless the car ploughs into him and its driver lives to tell the tale. I realise you can cause as much trouble by not dipping lights or having them badly adjusted but these are supposed to auto adjust for load, are on new vehicles with factory settings and using them infringes no law.

Last eyesight test I specifically asked about night vision and the optician checked and said it was a little above average for my age, so I'm thinking its not just me.

Barkstar

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2007 09:44 
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I have got HID lamps on both my cars. You are correct that the extremely sharp cut off can give the impression of "flashing" your headlamps particularly on undulating roads. Of course, correct adjustment is essential for all headlamps to prevent annoying other road users. I used to have an Audi which was badly adjusted out of the factory.

The even light, good colour rendering and long dip range are, in my opinion, safety benefits which outweigh the potential downsides.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2007 13:05 
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I have 'normal' headlights on my car and they are more than capable up to any speed I can cope with. 'Til I meet an HID monstrosity..................

I would never buy a car with them fitted. (I am old enough for there still be 'proper' lights until I hand in my licence.) I am in total agreement with Barkstar. The wattage regs are wayyyy out of date, and some other form of measurement should be introduced to bring us back to sensible levels of illumination. (With retro-application, too! :twisted: )

And if you have a longer dip range than mine, then yours must need adjusting........

BTW, I've just discovered a car can fail it's test if the lights are too high or too LOW!
WTF's that all about :?


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2007 16:08 
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I am very familiar with the problem you describe, and the squinting required as you come towards one in the otherwise pitch-black winter's night. Flashing is no use, unless you fancy topping up your suntan when they flash you back. I have found myself on occasions slowing to a near halt on an otherwise fast road, purely because I cannot see a thing past their blinding wall of light, and do not fancy ploughing into the unknown at a rate of knots!

There is another problem prevalent on the roads, however, that deserves equal mention. Is it me, or does there seems to be more and more cars with poorly adjusted headlamps, ofter the offside, that shine directly into your face on dipped beam? It's bad enough the number of cars impersonating motorcycles, with only one functioning headlap!

When are the SCPs going to get their act together and catch these culprits with 'unroadworthy' cars on their fancy cams? :roll:


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2007 16:43 
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RobinXe wrote:
Is it me, or does there seems to be more and more cars with poorly adjusted headlamps, ofter the offside, that shine directly into your face on dipped beam?


It's all the Poles and Romanians. :)

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2007 17:48 
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FWIW, the Road Vehicles Lighting Regulations 1989 forbid the use of any headlamp so as to cause undue dazzle or discomfort to other persons using the road. So there is potential at least to deal with anyone who has badly adjusted HIDs, or even potential to deal with headlights that are too bright even though the power consumption is within the permitted limit. However, whether there is any will to do something about it is another thing.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2007 18:08 
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could I point out that by law, HID are only allowed to be fitted to cars with automatic headlamp alignment (such as air suspension in range rovers, lexus saloon etc) to ensure that there can be no such thing as out of alignment on HID lights. It is this that's responsible for the flashing effect you see as the car attempts to keep the lights level. This means it is illegal to retro fit them to cars which do not have such body control devices.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2007 19:17 
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What do people think about the assymetric pattern with the nearside verge being lit further along? I find that, on left hand bends, the higher beam pattern often shines into cars coming the other way. Of course, this pattern is common on normal headlights also.

The auto-levelling system is built-in to the lighting units. The self levelling suspension aspect is not a part of this but may interact unfavourably in some circumstances. When I put my lights on they motor to their "level" position.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2007 19:31 
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cars with these lights will have either an auto-leveling system in the lights (as you say you have) or will level the whole body as my Range rover did.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 04, 2007 03:17 
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HID equipped headlamps should also be equipped with washers.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 08, 2007 01:15 
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I've driven a couple of cars with washers on, one had just jets and frankly IMO did little to clean the lens, the other a Volvo had the wiper blades and I found them to be much better.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 18, 2007 16:23 
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Barkstar wrote:
Apologies if this has been discussed before but following on from the LED rearlamps discussion am I the only one who thinks HID lights fitted to an increasing number of luxury vehicles are at best a nuisance and worst a potential danger?


HIDs have been around for a long while now, and available on just about anything from VW Polo upwards, not just luxury cars.

My previous car (a Vauxhall Omega MV6) had them back in 1998 when they were really new, and it was interesting to note the changing in other drivers' reactions during the four years I had the car - initially, people would move out of the way in awe, later on they would pull out in front of me just to spite me!

From a driver's perspective they were superb - the even blue-white light being closer to daylight and with the ability to throw a dip-beam further up the road without dazzling oncoming traffic.

There was one time the auto-levelling packed up one evening on the M3 - I came up behind someone and he went berserk, hooting and flashing me with everything he had. With no manual override there was nothing I could do about it - I turned them off and drove on the front fogs until I could get them fixed.

They can be a distraction if you should catch a beam smack in the eye, for example when an oncoming car comes over a humpback bridge, but it is usually only for a brief moment.

I think in general I'm with MalcolmW in thinking that the pros outweigh the cons. My present car does not have them, and I miss them - the next one will!


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 20, 2007 11:06 
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JohnF wrote:
HIDs have been around for a long while now, and available on just about anything from VW Polo upwards, not just luxury cars.

My present car does not have them, and I miss them - the next one will


I doubt that future purchasers will have much choice.

JohnF wrote:
My previous car (a Vauxhall Omega MV6) had them back in 1998 when they were really new, and it was interesting to note the changing in other drivers' reactions during the four years I had the car - initially, people would move out of the way in awe


No, they probably either saw the blue fringe/light spill as strobes, or (like in the Thames Valley) knew that the traffic dept. were some of the first users of Vaxhaulls with HID.

JohnF wrote:
later on they would pull out in front of me just to spite me!


Possibly jealousy; what do you think, had you upset them in some way?

JohnF wrote:
There was one time the auto-levelling packed up one evening on the M3


And there's a major problem building: what'll happen when all these cars get to the s/h market - esp. if the plans to reduce MOTs tp 2 year intervals go through.

JohnF wrote:
They can be a distraction if you should catch a beam smack in the eye, for example when an oncoming car comes over a humpback bridge, but it is usually only for a brief moment.


A brief moment when a driver's night vision is taken away, and could take several minutes to rebuild . . .


You may have gathered, I'm not a fan of them . . . :)


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 20, 2007 14:01 
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I'm not a fan at all. Asside from the projected light issues, I've noticed that they don't illuminate the car itself as much as 'normal' lights.

Take the new Warrior for example. It has tiny headlights and whilst they may light the road perfectly adequately, they don't make the vehicle half as visible to other motorists as a naffing great block of off-white from a conventional lensed light.

I hope that makes sense.... :roll:

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 20, 2007 21:51 
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overfinch 630R wrote:
could I point out that by law, HID are only allowed to be fitted to cars with automatic headlamp alignment (such as air suspension in range rovers, lexus saloon etc) to ensure that there can be no such thing as out of alignment on HID lights. It is this that's responsible for the flashing effect you see as the car attempts to keep the lights level. This means it is illegal to retro fit them to cars which do not have such body control devices.


My car is fitted with HIDs and does not have auto alignment, nor does it have headlight washers. It does have a little wheel so you can adjust the alignment manually after loading the boot up with bricks though.

The previous owner bypassed the HID system when the bulbs blew and fitted standard halogens. The car failed it's MOT on this and the dealer had to go back to HIDs, at £80 per bulb!

Oh and the guy who fitted my immobiliser 2 weeks forgot to put one of the headlight screws back, causing the light to flop about, it passed the MOT in this condition, I only noticed the other day, so apologies to anyone who may have been dazzled by a floppy HID headlight.

I remain neutral on the issue. Some HID equipped cars are worse than others. If anything a maximum height for the things should be introduced (as anyone who has been tailgated by an SUV whilst driving a small sports car can likely attest to). Perhaps restrictions on lumens and colour temperature as well. (though I think there is already a restriction on colour temperature)


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 11, 2007 18:39 
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I have found myself that since I got my new car (56 reg), HID headlights do not seem as bright as they did in my old one (R reg). My even older one (F reg) didn't have HIDs but did have very bright headlights, so much so that I would often put them down to sidelights when in traffic or having approaching traffic at night. I think (though I'm not sure) that my new car has HIDs, but the only difference I see is when approaching signs there is a blue edge to the light.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 21, 2007 15:37 
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Sorry I find them a darn nuisance. When driving, particularly on the motorway when flanked by BMWs. Without dipping side mirrors, the glare IS enough to cause an accident.

If you think they make it difficult to see when your using a car with 50 watt halogen headlamps, have a think about how hard it is to see past a car on an otherwise unlit road with HID lights when riding a bicycle - at best I have 10 watts of Halogen but that's only if I have sufficient charge left in my battery.

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 Post subject: HID Lights
PostPosted: Fri Mar 23, 2007 11:36 
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I think HID lights are great on cars that are designed well - the Lexus 4x4's are a good example, I've never been dazzled by one behind me... I don't know what it is about them, but they seem to turn when the driver goes round a bend too, but I could be imagining it.

As for the old Thames Valley Police fleet, you wouldn't believe how many Omegas I slowed down for and moved over on the M40 for in the late 90's - don't flatter yourselves, it's not because I was in awe of the car (it's a Vauxhall - it'll still rust quicker than a rusty thing) - simply because at the time, they were the only fleet using these lights.

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