AUTO INDUSTRY NEWS

Light up the road with Xenon Bulbs

Light up the road with Xenon Bulbs image

Text: / Photos: | posted February 18, 2007 11:00

It is a given that when the sun goes down and there's absence of light, the probability of meeting someone by accident increases due to decreased visibility. Increasing one's alertness level at nightfall by any means is great, but if you feel that the beams coming from your stock headlights don't help you see much, then maybe the aftermarket auto segment can help you.

Enter Xenon Bulbs Philippines (XBP), located along 20 G. Araneta Avenue in Quezon City, the company is the exclusive distributor of high intensity discharge (HID) lighting kits (albeit of the xenon gas type) for automobiles.

For those not in the know about HID lighting, HIDs run on the electric power of the battery but are unlike the stock halogen lighting commonly used as OE (original equipment) on most production cars in the sense that they operate more like street lamps. Instead of heating a tungsten filament, an electrical arc is created between two electrodes. This excites the xenon gas inside the headlamp which in turn vaporizes metallic salts. These vaporized metallic salts sustain the arc and emit the light used for the headlamp's beam. Usually a xenon kit comes with a ballast system which acts as its igniter and control unit. And aside from its powerful white beam, xenon gas-ignited bulbs consume just 35 watts, which makes the headlights cooler to touch.

HID lamps provide more light than that produced by halogen lamps, but use only two-thirds the power. As a result, they are more efficient - and because there is no filament to burn out, these bulbs are claimed to last for as much as 161,000 kilometers of driving time. "HID light sources (bulbs) typically have about two to three times the available light flux (volume) of halogen light sources - but because of such an abundance of light, the HID optical design doesn't necessarily need to be as efficient at collecting and distributing light as a halogen system. The HID beam pattern is certainly more robust, providing more even and wider illumination and the potential for better visibility and comfort. This performance results in more light on the road surface and more of the roadway being illuminated," said Xenon Bulbs Philippines general manager Benedict Go.

But there is a caveat to HID usage. In the USA, a recent piece (entitled "Bright Lights, Big Controversy") by USA Today reporter James Healy claims that motorists complain about the bright lighting from HIDs, which causes glare that can be distracting. However the story also claims that subsequent studies by the University of Michigan and the strict National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) about HID glare showed that NHTSA knows of no injuries or deaths caused by HID glare, or that while it annoys oncoming drivers, it doesn't disable them. "Discomfort glare is not always related to disability glare," said Michael Flannagan, research scientist at the aforementioned university's Transportation Research Institute.

Xenon Bulbs recommends that one should test for themselves that in order to find out whether HID lighting is blinding to oncoming motorists, or beneficial to you during night driving by calling (632) 714-6500, (632) 713-1998, (632) 781-6688 or (632) 731-4433 for more details or going to the Xenon Bulbs showroom along 20 G. Araneta Avenue in Quezon City. Either way, these lights are a definite way to light up the road when darkness falls and the moon shine just doesn't cut it. - Jude Morte