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How can I tell if I have HID lights?

Discussion in 'Roadster' started by TOBASH, Oct 22, 2014.

  1. TOBASH

    TOBASH Member

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    2011 2.5 Tesla Roadster.

    How can I tell if I have HID's?

    In NYC we have overhead lights almost everywhere, so night driving without lights is easy. When I go upstate I fear night blindness due to notorious Roadster low and poor lighting.

    My car has many options, so who the heck knows if the PO had them installed, (The PO had heated seats... but she lived and drove in Florida, yet she never ordered the hardtop.)

    How can I tell which lights I have? (Please refrain from the typical "You can't see at night if you don't have HID's").

    Best,

    T
     
  2. jbadger

    jbadger Roadster #506

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    Look for the ridges on the outer edge. Only the factory xenon enclosure have these ridges.

    P1020645.jpg
     
  3. wiztecy

    wiztecy Active Member

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    #3 wiztecy, Oct 22, 2014
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2014
    Seriously, if you don't have HIDs you really can't see at night. That's the ultimate test. You wouldn't even care if you had HIDs if you had HIDs. HIDs take time to fire up from cold, standard halogens don't.

    Also heated seats were standard for all Roadsters. If previous owner didn't drop the $3k for Hardtop I'm certain she wasn't going to drop $3.5k for the Tesla HIDs.

    Below is a standard comparison of Halogen vs. HID:

    Halogen_vs_HID_Xenon.jpg
     
  4. ecarfan

    ecarfan Well-Known Member

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    wiztecy' side by side photos should make it easy for you to tell: the factory halogen bulbs are yellowish, any HID bulb will be much whiter or even bluish.
     
  5. S-2000 Roadster

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    Hi T,

    I think you have the right question and qualification. Despite what others are saying here, I do not agree that it is obvious. I do not have HIDs on my Roadster (yet), but I've been able to drive just fine at night, in the mountains, and even with shades on (I have prescription shades, so if I forget my regular glasses, they're better than nothing when driving at night). I would have never noticed anything if people here on this forum hadn't made such a big deal about it.

    For comparison, my Honda CRX has remarkably bright non-HID headlights (due to well-designed reflectors), and my S-2000 has HID headlights. Even though I'm used to those, I haven't had the screaming complaints about my Roadster that others have. It must be a viral marketing ploy (just kidding) because I've wanted the HID upgrade ever since it came out, even though I don't have the same level of problem with the original headlights. But maybe I'm biased, because I bought the S-2000 after going to the Honda dealer looking for an HID upgrade for my CRX!

    Brian
     
  6. wiztecy

    wiztecy Active Member

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    The Roadster has the 2nd to worse non-hid lights I've ever had on a vehicle. The one that was worse was a 1974 VW Bug! Honestly I don't know how it even became certified by DOT, when it rains you can't see a darn thing! They're very small projectors in the lights for one reason, the second is that the car is so low I have a feeling the light does not project down but rather across the road and it just gets scattered.
     
  7. ecarfan

    ecarfan Well-Known Member

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    My 1959 Porsche 356A had worse stock headlights than the stock Roadster headlights . But then I upgraded my 356 to H4 halogen bulbs (had to add a relay that pulled power directly from the 12V battery) and that made them about the same as the Roadster halogens!
     
  8. wiztecy

    wiztecy Active Member

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    #8 wiztecy, Oct 23, 2014
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2014
    I can see if someone was running a low temp bulb in their HIDs that it would look like the yellow halogens on the Roadster:

    colors_57.png
     
  9. shrink

    shrink Member

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    Hmm - I had a 2007 Honda S2000 and loved the HID headlights. Nice, white color, crisp cutoff and great visibility - I was impressed they came stock on a $35K car.

    First time driving with the Roadster stock headlights I was downright scared. It is less of an issue in an urban area with lots of streetlights, but in a rural area I just didn't feel safe.

    Agree with what others wrote above, yellow vs. white seems to be the easiest way to tell.
     
  10. ecarfan

    ecarfan Well-Known Member

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    Good point, but I've never heard of anyone putting 3000K Xenons in a Roadster. That would be...odd.
     
  11. wiztecy

    wiztecy Active Member

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    This was for if someone was comparing 3k temp HIDs in another car with the Roadster's halogens. That the HIDs in this case would look close to the Roadster's lights but a bit brighter.
     
  12. jbadger

    jbadger Roadster #506

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    3k HIDs are generally only used in fog lights. They are not meant for headlights.
     
  13. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    This!
     
  14. JohnGarziglia

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    #14 JohnGarziglia, Oct 24, 2014
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2014
    Yes! I felt like I was driving blind the every time I was in a nighttime rainstorm on a road with no street lamps. This is not my post but this is a good depiction of the difference I saw with HIDs: Xenon HID upgrade - Page 3

    I got the 4300K DDM HIDs which is a color that is not too blue and not too yellow. The other thing I did was to use the instructions for aligning headlights which someone posted on this forum a year or two ago (it was a link to a third-party site). The gist of the instructions were that if the center of automobile headlights were below a certain number of inches from the ground, which the Roadster's headlamps are, then the proper alignment method is to have the top of the beams at exactly the same height some 30 to 40 feet from the car as they are coming out of the headlamps from the car (so they neither point down nor up since the headlights are so close to the ground already). So, to align, on a level surface I measured the top of the beam of light coming from the headlamps about one foot from the car on a large piece of white paper, covered up one headlight and then the other, and went out on the level ground about 40 feet from the car, and adjusted each headlight to put the top of the beam at exactly that same height. So when I drive, I my headlights illuminate right below every license plate in front of me, but do not shine in the eyes of any oncoming drivers which is how it should be (unlike every SUV which glares at me from above into my side mirrors being so low in the Roadster).

    I would say the way to determine if there are HIDs in the car is to watch if they start out with maybe a flash of bright light, then go a little dimmer than normal for a second or two, and then brighten up. Different HID bulbs and ballasts could react in different ways but if the headlights do that, then they are almost certainly HIDs.
     
  15. hcsharp

    hcsharp Active Member

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    Apparently I'm in the minority because my experience was more like Brian's (S-2000 Roadster). I've had cars with worse headlights than the stock halogens. Maybe it's because I usually have high beams on, or mine were just better than average to start with. I did notice a big difference however when I upgraded to HID. But I don't think the OP would easily notice under streetlights. I also agree with JohnGarziglia's comment that the easiest way to tell if you have HIDs is the flash when they turn on. His description is perfect for my HID behavior.
     
  16. Mr X

    Mr X Future Owner

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    6000k is perfection
     
  17. wiztecy

    wiztecy Active Member

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    #17 wiztecy, Oct 24, 2014
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2014
    Just letting you know this is a Roadster thread :)

    I went with 5k, I wanted the road to be as white as possible, but sacrificing some white brightness for some contrast. (4300k is actually the whitest). I didn't want to go anymore above that since it really starts bringing blues into the picture (which appear to be only for looks and too much contrast) nor lower to bring the piss yellow (stock halogen crap) back into it. You can see in my pic I attached with the temps of how white that the 5k is the whitest you can go with the widest spread of coverage and contrast.

    I wouldn't say 6k is perfection (at least in the Roadster [Smaller housing/projectors than S]), you can see in the pic 6k starts to get dark. So you're not illuminating the Road as much.

    When spec'ing out my HID I stated I wanted the most visibility on the Road with a little bit of contrast. I wanted a slight contrast to grab my vision when things like deer or objects cross to catch my attention, but priority set to objects clearly in front of me and seeing them well.

    - - - Updated - - -


    That can be a big contributor. High beam Halogens are decent on the Roadster but you can't drive into traffic with them. I suspect its because the high beam floods the front of the Roadster like a flood beam on a spotlight. But the low beams don't have enough punch and they can't aim down since the Roadster is low and basically scatter but lose their illumination due to being spread across the roadway. But there is only so much can be done with an H1 bulb placed in a small projector on a rather flat plane.
     
  18. wycolo

    wycolo Active Member

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    Yellow eye glasses increase driver's depth of focus under white or blue beams as well as protection from oncoming high beams. Recommended!
    --
     

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