Converting HID Headlights to LED. Good or Bad?

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Accessories & Modifications' started by FreddieVee, Dec 10, 2019.

  1. FreddieVee

    FreddieVee Junior Member

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    My 2009 Prius Touring model is driving me crazy with intermittent HID headlights. Has anyone converted from HID to LED headlights? Is the lighting better? Are there headlight aiming problems? Is the HID ballast removed during the conversion? Any reasonably priced kits that you can recommend?
     
  2. jzchen

    jzchen Senior Member

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    Both sides? I think fixing is the best solution...

    moto g(7) power ?
     
  3. Leadfoot J. McCoalroller

    Leadfoot J. McCoalroller Senior Member

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    Converting from HID to LED you are essentially in the wild; a pioneer figuring it out from scratch.

    All the kits I know of are intended for conversion from halogen lighting.
     
  4. FreddieVee

    FreddieVee Junior Member

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    Thanks for your reply. Sometimes one light will come on and sometimes the other one and sometimes neither, or they will both come on and then one will stop working. Sometimes both lights wind up out. Plus, I have heard from many people who have replaced both bulbs and then both ballasts, and still had the same problem.

    I spoke to the Mr. Goodwrench at Toyota and he said that neither ballasts nor bulbs would be covered by my extended warranty. He claims they are "wear items", but they would replace the headlight switch under the warranty because that is not a "wear item".
     
  5. jzchen

    jzchen Senior Member

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  6. FreddieVee

    FreddieVee Junior Member

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    Possible Prius HeadLight Fix.png Thanks. Very interesting reading. The selection at Ebay (suggested by ingyaningya) for new headlight assemblies was daunting. I don't know which are good brands and which are cheap knockoffs. I'll try to do some research.

    Anyone have any experience with brand names?

    I'm debating if I should replace the bulbs. I read that wiring in the headlight assemblies is often the problem (see above).
     
    #6 FreddieVee, Dec 12, 2019
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2019
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  7. Leadfoot J. McCoalroller

    Leadfoot J. McCoalroller Senior Member

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    @FreddieVee Good find re: wiring. I'd try that immediately.
     
  8. Salamander_King

    Salamander_King Senior Member

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    I have never had a car with HID headlight. Is HID light bulb socket and electrical wiring any different than regular halogen bulb? I just changed halogen bulb headlights on my wife's Nissan and my son's Honda with those new LED lights. For both cars, the high beam was HB3, low beam was H11. LED replacements were essentially "plug-and-play". The process was just as changing a halogen bulb, but using LED lights instead which are more expensive and bulkier cord and a base with fan, but much much brighter (10000 lm).
     
    #8 Salamander_King, Dec 12, 2019
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2019
  9. Leadfoot J. McCoalroller

    Leadfoot J. McCoalroller Senior Member

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    Considerably. HIDs run on high voltage alternating current. Each lamp has its own small inverter (aka ballast) to provide the AC from the car's 12V. The ballast also houses some electronics for self-test, monitoring & communication with the rest of the car. This becomes important later.

    HIDs are different from regular bulbs. They are fundamentally too bright to look at. So why do we have them on cars that could be pointed at people's eyes? Part of the deal for getting them legalized as headlights was to build in extra control mechanisms to make certain they never actually get pointed at people. The headlight assembly includes a motorized aim compensation system, and the car's suspension is equipped with sensors. The headlights must continuously track the suspension to keep the beams aimed properly. If the electronics in the headlight detect that the beam is not being controlled properly, the ballast is supposed to cut the power to the lamp and light up the maintenance indicator lamp on the dash.

    Meanwhile, the burners themselves have a very different mounting base than any halogen headlight. This was specifically done to prevent anyone from installing HID burners in cars with halogen headlights. Guess what happened 15 minutes later? Yep, you guessed it. Somebody started re-packaging HID burners with bases meant for halogen bulbs so they would fit in old headlights.

    But back to this situation: a Prius born with HIDs really ought to keep HIDs. If you were to intercept the 12v line feeding the ballasts and wire up some 3-pin sockets, you'd be able to physically install halogen headlight assemblies in place of the HID assemblies and then install halogen bulbs. But you'll be looking at that $#%# check-engine lamp 24/7 because the HID ballasts aren't there or aren't able to report normal operating conditions. You can find a few threads regarding this type of conversion right here on priuschat.

    TL;DR: you won't have an easy time converting a Prius with native HIDs to anything else, because the headlights are tapped into the computer diagnostics.
     
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  10. SFO

    SFO Senior Member

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    There is at least one thread in the correct sub forum that covers most of what you're asking about : HID to LED conversion | PriusChat

    Please continue to use the 'advanced search' function (when it works), and post in the appropriate sub.
     
    #10 SFO, Dec 12, 2019
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2019
  11. Salamander_King

    Salamander_King Senior Member

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    Thanks for the explanation. Yeah, I must have read halogen to HID conversion stories somewhere and had an impression that the conversion of the halogen lights to brighter headlights are not an easy DIY task. That's why I have not attempted changing good old halogen bulb to anything else for all of my and my families cars until just recently. But after driving PRIME with Quad-LED projector headlights for two years, I found normal halogen lights are way too dim and somewhat dangerous in our local without much street lights. After doing some reading, I went ahead and ordered LED lights, and changed my wife's SUV. I was surprised to find out that it was so easy. Then I did the same for my son's car. They are super happy with brighter lights now.
     
  12. RobertK

    RobertK Member

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    Intermittent HID headlights is a common indicator that the HID bulbs are failing. Your best bet is to replace them with genuine HID bulbs from a reliable supplier. I bought a Philips bulb on amazon.com, but I verified that amazon was supplying the bulb rather than acting as the marketing arm of a third party vendor.
     
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