2014 low beam Halogen to HID retrofit worked out great

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Accessories and Modifications' started by limmerguy, Mar 25, 2022.

  1. limmerguy

    limmerguy New Member

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    Hi all,

    TL:DR; a 35-Watt HID retrofit improves brightness and has a very similar beam pattern to stock.

    About a year ago, I bought a used 2014 Prius Plug-in and always felt that the low beams were extremely dim (actually, dangerously so). I was second-guessing myself and double checking that my low beams were on every single time I drove at night. I even restored my lenses (twice) until they became impossibly crystal clear, but this effort had no noticeable improvement. I tried a couple different brands of Halogen bulbs, but still I wasn't satisfied.

    My main concern going retrofit was not the legality of it--Yes, I know H11 HID lamps in a housing designed for H11 Halogen are not SAE approved and therefore not road legal. Instead, my considerations for myself and others were 1) retain a warm-ish white color temperature, 2) maintain a controlled beam and similar glare for oncoming drivers, 3) avoid the "ground shadow" caused by the return electrode 4) don't go overboard with the extra brightness. I'm happy to report that my little $40 gamble paid off. I'm super stoked with the results.


    For comparison, here is the beam pattern for H11 halogen bulbs. I had 1 month old Philips Halogen H11 X-tremeVision ("up to 100% More Vision") installed before the retrofit:
    halogen.JPEG

    Here is the beam pattern for the 4300K 35-Watt HID kit off of amazon:
    HID.JPEG

    As you can see, both patterns are very similar. The small, partially-illuminated area on top of the cutoff is not as uniform with the HIDs, but they are more than acceptable in my opinion (I've seen more glare and random streaks from other OEM headlights to be honest). Not so clear in the comparison is that the lower left and right corners have a touch more light which helps immensely with cornering visibility (speaking of which, I wish the Prius had cornering lights). This was one of my main gripes with all of the H11 Halogen bulbs I tried. Also, there's no ground shadow from the return electrode (win!). I was surprised how similar the beam pattern looked with the retrofit--even the leveling was retained.


    InkedIMG_2120_LI.jpg
    This last picture shows a comparison of the HID's 4300K color temperature compared to Halogen. The driver's side low beam has the HID installed. It's just a tiny bit whiter, still warm and not blue at all which is what I wanted. While not obvious in pictures, I'd say the HID lamps are about 1.5x to 2x brighter. 35-Watt HIDs is definitely enough for me (they have a 55-watt kit which I passed on).

    Some departing notes: the HIDs take about 30 seconds to fully warm up to their warm white color. The initial 10 seconds starting from cold are super blue and dim. I don't know the reliability of these bulbs and ballasts, so I plan to carry my used halogen bulbs in the glove compartment in case one of them goes out.
     
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  2. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    welcome, and well done! thank you
     
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  3. xliderider

    xliderider Senior Member

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    Looks good, I did pretty much the same about 5 years ago on our 2011. Also went with 4300K 35w, but made sure the ballasts and bulbs were DC vs AC so the bulbs last longer.

    Also modified/eliminated the squirrel finder cutouts on the cutoff shields inside the headlight projectors. The squirrel finder cutouts allow light above the cutoff, causing the rectangles of light above the cutoffs in your picture. With halogen bulbs, they allow some light to illuminate road signs, etc. But with the much brighter HID lights, they can allow excessive glare to bother other drivers.

    Posted via the PriusChat mobile app.
     
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  4. limmerguy

    limmerguy New Member

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    This is the first time hearing about squirrel finders. That's cool!

    I'm thinking the glare without modding the SFs is acceptable. But just to make sure, I want to measure the brightest area above the cutoff (somehow. I don't have a real light meter) and compare it with a much brighter headlight setup like in our Tesla Model 3. My subjective feeling is that the Prius is still dimmer than other cars since road signs feel like they're blinding me in the Model 3.
     
  5. WolfpackBill

    WolfpackBill Senior Member

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    I did the same with the Morimoto bulbs and ballasts. Very good upgrade! Good job!
     
  6. PriusHead05

    PriusHead05 Member

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    I read the reviews on the Xentec and Innovative brand hids on Amazon and sounds like hit or miss. I know Morimoto is a good brand, but for the price (which I believe last time I checked was around $190) is it worth it for the more expensive brand?
     
  7. xliderider

    xliderider Senior Member

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    I installed Innovited 35w AC HIDs/ballasts for our Prius, but hated their bulbs. Purchased bulbs from China from CN-Light that were premium quality but much less than the Morimotos.

    Unfortunately, I can't find the seller on ebay anymore, and can't find comparable bulbs either. Currently offered bubs all look cheap and low quality.

    Posted via the PriusChat mobile app.
     
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