What Makes a Great HID Ballast?

Posted by Justin L on 12th Sep 2017

Let's start off with this fact - All HID lights require a ballast, this is the most important piece of equipment if you want your fancy new HID bulbs to work properly.

What does a ballast do?

First, the ballast provides  the voltage needed to start the lamp then it regulates the current while the lamp is lit. The function of the ballast is to make sure the lamp is lit and does not burn out from too much electrical current. When the lamp is turned on, the ballast provides an electrical surge of higher voltage to the lamp. This helps establish an arc between two electrodes on the lamp, which is what causes HID bulbs to light up. Using the correct ballasts will make sure your HID lamps will last a long time without any issues. Too much power could burn out your bulbs but not enough will give you the flickering issue.

AC vs DC Ballasts and what it means to you.

This is all you need to know - AC ballasts are more efficient, extend the life of an HID system up to two times that of a DC ballast and are more reliable. But let us tell you why AC ballasts are better to get from HIDextra.

AC stands for Alternating Current which should give you an idea of how it works. It sends power through a circuit alternating between positive and negative voltages. By alternating power to the electrodes in the bulbs it will be even for both positive and negative voltages. In turn it will cause LESS wear and tear in the lamps.

DC (Direct Current) uses a constant steady positive voltage in a circuit. Meaning that the DC ballast will maintain one positive voltage on one electrode throughout and wears down one electrode more than the other. This will increase in overall temperature since one side is always hotter. DC ballast will wear down the lamp much quicker.

Should you buy AC or DC Ballasts?

Bottom line is that you should buy whatever the hell you want BUT if you want a long lasting set without the fear of burning out your headlights then you should probably go with AC ballasts. HIDextra carries AC ballasts ranging from 35 wattage up to 55 wattage for a universal fit for all vehicles.

What about CANBUS Ballasts?

A Controller Area Network (CAN bus) is a vehicle bus standard design to allow microcontrollers and devices to communicate with each other in application without a host computer. This is ideal in most new cars as the CANBUS system will notify the driver when there is an error in the system.

CANBUS systems are not perfect, however. Installing HID lights can confuse the system. HID bulbs don't require as much power as standard halogen bulbs. WIth a HID bulb using less power, the CANbus system will think that there's no working bulb installed, flashing you a warning. A CANBUS ballast will solve this problem , letting the car know that there is a working bulb.

Do I need a CANBUS Ballast?

Even if your car has a CANbus system, that doesn't mean that you have to use a CANbus ballast. If your car shows a warning light but otherwise continues to function normally, you can safely install a regular ballast. The warning light will appear, but you can simply ignore it.

We offer a wide selection of HID conversion kits with and without CANBUS ballasts to help you upgrade your headlights. If you still have questions then feel free to contact un directly online. Ou