With an estimated 40 million HID bulbs fitted to vehicles from new in 2016, you can see why Xenon bulbs are leading the way in automotive lighting at the moment. LED and Laser headlights are on the horizon, however they are still very much super premium pieces of kit, and to the average Joe; pretty hard to come by.
HID Xenon bulbs were introduced in the 1990’s and became popular in luxury cars, they lit up our roads with daytime like colours and improved overall visibility on the road. However no bulb is immune to failure, and with the first HID bulbs that went into circulation beginning to fail, consumer’s are looking for quality replacements. A common way to spot a failing HID bulb is the discolouration of the emitted light which is known as cycling, a shift towards a very blue/purple colour can be emitted due to the higher temperature and increased voltage required to maintain the arc inside the bulb.
The OSRAM Trust Program
OSRAM has stepped up their game to put a marker against product pirates To help protect consumers from the vast stream of fake OSRAM HID (Xenon) bulbs, they’ve developed a simple two-step online check system which can be carried out to see whether the bulbs you’ve received are original genuine products or fakes.
As an official OSRAM Approved Partner, we welcome this new verification tool with open arms. The new system helps protect our customers’ pockets and their vehicles, but it also helps protect the public against general fraud in the lighting sector, increasing safety on our roads and helping fight against illegal blinding headlights.
Click here to verify your OSRAM <abbr class='c2c-text-hover' title='High-intensity discharge lamps (HID or xenon) are a type of electrical gas-discharge lamp which produces light by means of an electric arc between tungsten electrodes housed inside a translucent or transparent fused quartz or fused alumina arc tube. This tube is filled with noble gas and often contains also suitable metal or metal salts. The noble gas enables the arc's initial strike. Once the arc is started, it heats and evaporates the metallic admixture. Its presence in the arc plasma greatly increases the intensity of visible light produced by the arc for a given power input, as the metals have many emission spectral lines in the visible part of the spectrum. High-intensity discharge lamps are a type of arc lamp.'>HID</abbr> Bulbs
The Dangers of Counterfeit HID Bulbs
Fake HID bulbs can pose a serious risk to you, your car and others on the road. Fake bulbs may look very similar, but you’d have to look pretty closely to spot the differences. We are pleased OSRAM have listened to the distributors and took this step in the right direction.
A few of the big potential problems with fake bulbs include:
- Damage to the vehicle’s electronic system and light housing
Poor insulation and low quality materials used in manufacturing can cause a meltdown of the headlight bulb housing, bulb base itself and ballast connector, creating a risk of fire and major damage to other parts of your vehicle!
- Dazzling oncoming drivers
Most drivers have experienced being blinded by HID headlights at least once before, and although modern vehicles are fitted with automatic headlight aim adjusters, these can make no difference whatsoever with fake bulbs (even when they’ve been fitted into an Xenon designed headlight).
Light projection from the bulb is a crucial factor for beam projection, that’s why D1R and D2R bulbs etc have beam shields on them. So apart from being a clear MOT failure, this can cause a serious risk to oncoming cars potentially having an accident. The Department for Transport (>DfT) figures show the number of incidents influenced by headlamp dazzle rose by 11 per cent in 2014, compared to 2010.
- Fluctuating light colour
A common problem people have been having after finding out their bulbs were fake were that the colour temperature rating (Kelvin) is not the same as advertised. Inconsistency between each bulb that’s manufactured is a clear indication that they’re not up to the quality of a major bulb brand.
- Short lifespan
Especially annoying when you’ve had to remove the whole front bumper and headlights just to replace two headlight bulbs! Flickering on and off is only the start of possible problems, counterfeit bulbs generally last around 400 hours but most of the time far less. Compare this figure to genuine HID bulbs that have been installed for 10 years is pretty self-explanatory.
- No anti-UV coating
Fake bulbs have poor ultraviolet filtration on the outer tube of glass on the bulb, this can cause damage to plastic headlight reflectors and lenses which can turn them a yellow like colour.
These kind of topics can easily be looked over, but when people have possibly died due incorrect beam projections in collisions, you realise why there are stringent OE tests.
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