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MG TD TF 1500 - HID headlights for Ts, superbright/low amps

Here's an upgrade to maximum headlight performance for old cars with headlight buckets. It is relatively cheap and reduces current draw (only 35 watts each). They use an electric arc instead of a filament. The only real drawback is, unlike dual filament headlamps, there's only one light source, and so there's no switching "bright/dim" (the HID is brighter than conventional brights anyway). I'm going to wire the driving lights up to the dimmer switch, so the HID will always be on and the driving lights can flip on for the brights. The HID bulb or ballast life may be shortened by flipping on and off, since these require 23,000 volts to fire on, so it is better they stay on. Please note, the SLIM ballasts are compact enough to hide in the bucket, but surely the conventional size ballasts would be too large.

HID H4 bulbs and SLIM ballast, $39.99 with free shipping , 5000k white with 3200lm

Since 7" headlamps are not available as HID, new hosts were required to house the slick bulbs. 6024 7" Round Headlight Conversion Kit, $10 plus $25 shipping.
These Autopal (India) have the older, slim fluted appearance, so they were selected. My wife is the "owner" and she approves of their appearance. They stick out beyond the rim by about a half inch, which may be an improvement in side illumination, but it looks like a 3/16" or 1/4" O-rings would back them up for a more natural look. These lenses look like they do a good job of generating a pretty flat light so as not to be offensive to oncoming traffic.

I was not only relieved when the hardware tucked into the bucket, but pleasantly surprised to find the SLIM! ballasts screw right to the original wire restraint. The heat in an unventilated bucket was a concern, so after blazing for 20 minutes, the ballast registered 130F, and after an hour 150F. Doesn't appear to be an issue. The glass got up to 190F, but this was in the garage, stationary with no air circulation.

The camera did not catch the true appearances of the old yellow Lucas 700s and the new HID. No comparison.

jrn Northrup

You might want to get a heavy duty dimmer switch? The one in there is pretty lightweight...?

Just use the dip switch to fire a relay, that would do it.

Dave Braun

Why not leave the driving lights on the fog light switch?
Evan Ford TD27621 EXL/NA

Boy, 7 Amps for a pair of these beauties. That's pretty impressive. Only thing is the lack of hi/lo beam. Jim has figured out a solution but I will have to think about it a while before I go that route.
R. K. Jeffers

The dimmer is actually a pretty stout switch and my wife insisted on keeping the original horn/dimmer and ignition switches, ...loves smacking that horn switch. She knows where the lights and dimmer switches are, so their functions will stay the same. Also, she'd curse me out if she intends to flip on the brights and grabs the backup light switch instead. She nevers uses brights anyway, now she won't really need to. It looks like I could reach in and scrape the contact surfaces if it ever acted up anyways.

Now that you mention it, maybe I'll add a condenser to minimize any arcing on the dimmer switch- would help extend bulb life, too, in theory. Thanks for raising the subject.

The new instrument cluster is VERY crowded with 6 gauges, and this will leave room for one more switch function. I hate seeing holes drilled in the dash for switches and instruments!

There are some BI-Xenon light assemblies that provide high/low beam but they're a bit more expensive and I believe they just cut down the light for low, not increase it for brights.

Please note when selecting color range, the higher temp bulbs actually have lower lumens, and shift the spectrum up into the blue/violet range (they only look more impressive facing into the light). The 5000k is the brightest and closest to visible white light spectrum.

I thought about installing HIDs in the driving lights, but figure the incandescent filaments would work better if she's flashing her brights at an oncoming vehicle.

I'm starting to look around at our other cars wondering which ones are next.
jrn Northrup

You can purchase hi.lo xenon bulbs, there are a wide range of them. Some have halogen for one circuit (which defeats the purpose of energy efficiency, I would think) but there are many they call bi-xenon where a mechanical/magnetic action moves the position of the xexon bulb.

I purchased a very nice H4 conversion for my motorcycle which worked very well, from xenon depot.

Some xenon bulbs have a long ballast built into the rear of the bulb, which may pose a problem for some installations, but the xenon depot worked extremely well.

For the record, no xenon installation kits are DOT legal. There are some specialty headlight units that comprise both bucket housing and bulb which are legal, but xenon retrofits typically don't produce a light output pattern which is DOT acceptable.

I would suggest you be very careful with the cheaper model xenon kits, they are generally not well enough shielded and when you are generating 25000 volts with a lot of additional electronics in the ignitor and ballast boxes, the result is electrical interference. I started with a cheap Chinese kit and it played havoc with every part of my motorcycle, passing electromagnetic fields to any nearby bit of metal, causing random sparking ...

The more you spend the happier you will be with xenon retrofits.
Geoff Baker

I couldn't let this one go by, without commentimg. I'm a freak when it comes to road lighting and I drive my TF regularly at night, espcially here in the Adirondacs; and with deer and other critters, good lighting is a must.

Originnaly, I had tripods with halogen bulbs, but I replaced those with the Sylvania SilverStar lamps - a great improvement.

Now I'm planning to replace those with LED headlamps - see:-

Its looks like these are winners. They use half the current of the SilverStar lamps and are permanently white, and that's what really interestes me. They will operate in a voltage range from 11.2 to 14.8, with overvoltage protection. They cost abt. $33 ea.

... will be interesting to see if they really are as bright.

Gord Clark
Rockburn, Qué.
Gordon A Clark

Might be good, but typical gobbledygook - no light output/distribution diagrams. I've requested same.
Note the export restrictions - might be Gord is a dangerous subversive international black market criminal!

FR Millmore


There are several features I was drawn to a) as much as 50x longer life (10,000 hrs vs 400 hrs), b) constant temperature (colour) of 5000°K, c)Designed at 12.8v -4.5a (High Beam)
-2.5a (Low Beam). This is VERY low. This means with both high beams on, draw will be 9 amps which will even work with the low current of my PA generator.

There is one down-side, and that is that the lens is polycarbonate. Despite what most manufactuers will tell you, even the best polycarbonate or hardened acrylic, will pit (from sand) scratch or crack and have to be polished on a regular basis

However I have just seen what is a more probable price of $290 each, plus taxes and shipping ... think I'll stick with my SilverStars for now!

As for exporting, I don't have to worry about this, as I live a stone's throw (5 minutes) from the NY state border, where I maintain a civic address as well as a P.O. Box.

Gord Clark
Rockburn, Qué.
Gordon A Clark

Gordon, I'm very suspicious. I'll bet money they are very low output, probably just wiring 10 low power LEDs into a housing, not much more powerful than your average LED flashlight.

Hella and Audi have just come out with the first functional LED car headlamps, and I think it will be a couple more years before this technology gets retrofitted back to H4 7" round mounts ...

I'm not saying they won't work, I'm just guessing they are going to be maybe in the 10W range. Otherwise, they would state their power output in lumens.

Problem with really bright LEDs like lumileds and crees etc is they generate LOTS of heat and they also require a constant current - without electronic filtering, small fans, and well engineered housings, they'd blow in minutes on an MG.

When they show up, they will be VERY expensive.

Just my 2c.
Geoff Baker

Was a bit surprised by the price you gave, the new one is more like it but I can buy Cibies & a bunch of H4 bulbs for that! Seems to me last time I looked the LED stop/tail light units were like $50 each. None of it matters if the pattern sucks, which is almost if not quite a requirement for meeting DOT specs. They are not listed as EC compliant, which they would (probably) be if they were any good, given that Truck-lite lists their EC compliant lamps.

Geoff - Trucklite is a major manufacturer of ... Truck lights! They have to meet DOT requirements, and since they draw 4.5A/2.5A they are clearly more than 10W. And they claim 10,000 hrs life. It sounds like they are using a regulated supply, since the operating V while still meeting spec is pretty wide.

Will let all know if they respond to my request for real data.

Fletcher R Millmore

Well, I asked Trucklite for real info...

"Is there an available photometric diagram of light output/distribution
pattern for the
7" Round, 12v LED Headlamp 27250C

Thank you,
Fletcher R Millmore

And got:
Sorry but no. The 27250C is intended to replace any existing 7" round headlamp.

Karen Loizeaux (DeRemer)"

I sent this and the HID link to Daniel Stern:
"> Daniel -
> Anything to say about the following items?
Yes, this:
"HID kits" in halogen-bulb headlamps (any kit, any headlamp, any vehicle) do not work safely or effectively, which is why they are illegal. See . And that garbage he talks about from eBay doesn't even work safely with proper bulbs.

> Anything ever happen with the proposed 7" CSR H13 units?
Dead project, I'm afraid, though there are some interesting LED 7" headlamps entering the market (no, not the junk from Truck-Lite)."

So, buy some real lights, fit relays, and upgrade your charging system if necessary.


Fletcher R Millmore

What I find so revolting is Department Of Transportation and other "experts" getting supercritical on lighting patterns for cars and then letting manufactures mount headlights 5 feet up on SUVs and pickup trucks that blind you with their LOW beams either coming at you or blind you from your mirrors. Not a lick of common sense. Styling takes priority.

Light Emitting Diodes are the wave of the future. I use them wherever possible and just bought some "superbright" 110V 20-LED lightbulbs; they are VERY DIM NIGHTLIGHTS! I'd really like to see 10 LEDs furnish the illumination for headlights, but doubt we're anywhere close to that yet. If legislators were serious about saving energy, we'd be pushing LED technology and not the CFL bulbs.

I'll bet Union Carbide lobbied Congress to outlaw incandescent lights. Anyone still use a carbide lamp?

Time will tell on the HID. My wife is a lousy night driver and now will not only be better able to see the road in her TD, but she will be seen much more conspicuously.
Jim Northrup

This thread was discussed between 19/02/2010 and 24/02/2010

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