de·bug (dēˈbəɡ/) | "the process of identifying and resolving problems with a system (esp relating to computers)." In short, I build stuff. Virtual and physical. For both business and pleasure. Join me in my development, design and electronics journey.
I previously bought 35w Xentec HID’s for my last truck, a 2004 F-150 about 8 years ago when they made a solid product. They were the large aluminum housings, felt very heavy and they were very, very bright (I had some of the brightest on the road at that time, they truly were incredible). Fast forward to 2015, they are a cheap product and a quick google search for reviews of the brand will yield you the same opinion.
I have a minor obsession with lighting and this time around I bought a 55w Xentec HID kit @ 6000k w/slim ballasts for $69.99 from Ebay and the output was extremely underwhelming, they were very similar to the stock halogen’s with regard to total lumens output. It didn’t stop there, my ballast ended up going out in less than 60 days with a total of around 25 hours of use on this vehicle I drive for recreation. “No problem,” I thought to myself, I’ll just request a warranty replacement since I’m well within the 2-year warranty (one of the reasons I went with this user; imonkeystore). Imonkeystore also has a high ebay score and is local to me here in Orange County, CA. So I messaged him on ebay and he didn’t respond. Turns out the ebay sellers can disable messages from users who made purchases after their 60 day period lapses…even if their warranty says otherwise (2 years in this case). So I dug up the email from his paypal account and contacted him, no response. It didn’t take much googling to figure out this guy has a very poor reputation, as does the Xentec brand. I threatened to report him to ebay’s customer protection department, nothing. So I contacted Chase bank and had the charge reversed for failure to honor warranty even though it was over 4 months ago.
So how do I avoid the cheap kits with low output?
Be careful with HID kits on ebay, there are a lot of fakes who simply label their products as their high-quality competitors. To avoid the uncertainty of authenticity with ebay products, I recommend using Amazon and sort kits by high review scores. You can leverage user reviews on these kits and spend your dollar with a little more confidence. I purchased this Kensun 55w kit @ 5000k for $69.99 and was very happy with the Kensun brand, as are many others. Further research reveals Kensun to be one of the top brands on the market, I highly recommend them as far as performance goes and I will update this post after 6 months to report on reliability. If you insist on taking your chances on ebay, this youtuber recommends you stick with the following brands; GP Thunder, Kaixen, Starc, KDG, interpower. These are Korean but if you insist on Chinese only go with Hylux ballasts, there are many fakes on ebay of this though too so do your research on the brand name and hope it’s authentic.
35w vs 55w?
Ballast and HID bulb both need to be 55w (do not mix 35w components with 55w components), the pole distance inside of a 55w HID bulb is a longer distance than a 35w bulb, so the arc has to strike across a larger distance, and in turn the ballast needs higher output to keep that arc lit so you will need a 55w ballast to match. A 35w ballast will struggle to strike the arc during startup causing flicker and will be hovering near it’s max output just to sustain the arc once lit. A good 35w brand is still extremely bright and I don’t notice a measurable improvement from how my previous 35w kits performed