In this week’s In-depth technology paper, see next, Daniel Stern—one of North America’s great automotive lighting experts—explains the hazards that result from installation of “HID kits” in halogen headlamps.
Two kinds of risks result: improper headlamp performance with incorrect amounts of light at the various test points is fairly obvious to any lighting engineer or researcher. But with the increasing amount of electronic and wireless technology in today’s vehicles, there can be dangerous and unpredictable safety hazards caused by electromagnatic and/or radio-frequency interference (EMI/RFI) from “HID kits”.
Drivers must be educated that headlamps are engineered safety products, not just random lights, and that it is dangerous to tamper with any part of the system.
So it is important to educate the drivers on this point to avoid a proliferation of unauthorized HID kits but it is also important to prepare for the arrival of LEDs.
The preparation of LED headlamps arrival has to be a priority for lighting community. The first data we are receiving show the great expected growth of LED headlamps, but also foretell that the halogen lamp will be with us for quite some time, often in the same car models that offer optional LED lights.
I am not worried with LED headlamps of CLS or A7 because it is impossible to copy them, but I am worried with low-end LED headlamp for low/middle range or electric cars. In this case, copying will not be so complicated and we will face the big risks of bad lighting quality. Poor performance and dependability from any LED headlamp on the market could easily damage the reputation of even the good lamps; we must be on our guard to ensure that worthy products predominate. We must also anticipate the risks of LED headlamp copies and “conversion kits” from the same careless sources presently selling “HID kits”. If we can figure out how to be pro-active in a coordinated way on this, we can probably prevent a repeat of some of the main factors that have slowed the uptake and degraded the public perception of HID headlamps.
DVN General Editor