Symptoms of a bad hid bulb

Written by isaac mckinney
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Symptoms of a bad hid bulb
HID lamps provide high output lighting (bmw dynamic hid xenon headlight image by Jorge Moro from

HID lamps provide high output lighting over wide areas. HID is an acronym for high intensity discharge. HID lamps consist of a high output bulb, a ballast and lamp starter. HID lamps are used in various occasions and products. You may find HID lighting used in ballpark stadiums, in electronics, on cars and in connections with hobbies such as building a salt water aquarium. Types of HID lights include metal halide, mercury, and high pressure sodium lamps.

Metal Halide Lamps

Sodium loss form the tube may cause the life of the bulb to end. The signs of deterioration on a metal halide lamp may vary. The lamp may display a pink or blue hue at the end of life. Starting the lamp will also become increasingly difficult.

Mercury Lamps

You can find signs of mercury lamps going bad by looking into the arc tube and checking for any blackening at the ends. Also there may be some deterioration at the tips of the electrodes.

High Pressure Sodium Lamps

At the end of life a high pressure sodium lamp goes through a process called on-cycling. The lamp will begin to draw up more energy to operate than what the ballast can provide. Once the ballast reaches its maximum output the lamp will extinguish. After a cool down period the lamp will restart and continue the cycle.

The Ballast

The Ballast is the part of the lamp system that regulates the power source. The Ballast houses the capacitors that condition the power flow the lamp starter. The ballast is designed to operate at specific energy outputs. Using bulbs outside of the ballast specifications can shorten the life of the bulb.

Lamp troubleshooting

An HID lamp may show signs of going bad when in fact there might be an installation error or ballast problems. To troubleshoot the lamp, be sure that the bulb is completely screwed in and is in contact with the socket. Replace suspect bulb with known good bulb. If known good bulb doesn't work then replace the starter. Make sure you are using the correct lamp that matches the specifications of the ballets. Check for signs of wear and tear in the ballets. The ballast may have chard or damaged capacitors at end of life.

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