The Hella FF50 lights were great for the money, but just no substitute for the HID and PHID lights available.
One week in August 2005 I watched an eBay auction and scored a set of Hella FF200 HID lights for $315 delivered. That's less than half price. These suckers throw out some serious lumens, but are a pain to install. The permanent cable between light and ballast/ignter is not the longest and there's only a couple spots to choose from for installation.
The reflectors on these look sort of scalloped. The FF in the model means Free Form and iemploy computer-aided design to deliver a precise beam pattern.
Mounting on the existing Top Gun brackets proved the existing hole make the lights hit the mirrors. No problem. I own a drill and am not afraid of lightening the ample brackets of a few grams. Here is drilled a little farther forward and to the right.
The first real challenge was where to put the igniter/ballasts. These single piece units compact the dual function into a single unit, but you cannot make the cables longer. The left side was actually the easy one because there's ......just enough room to slide the unit through the B panel area above the left headlight. And it sites low enough to not interfere with the windshield mechanism. Picture below is looking with the windshield off vertically down through the open service port.
The right side a total pain. First I tried the box on it's side rear of the battery and down where the upper and lower fairing meet, but the tupperware wouldn't close correctly
....and the cable just wasn't long enough.
so I ended up turning it flat and fitting just underneath the upper fair edge a little bit closer to the battery. I don't have a picture, but end the end the tupperware lifts up just a little bit. I'm hoping it might settle somehow as if magic HID elves will help.
The finished install of the left side as it enters the B panel. I had already drilled a hole for the old lights, but since the cables do not come unattached there was no set of physics or magic that was going to get ballast or connector through the tiny hole. So I notched out the plastic with a Dremel. Once I'm happy with the install I'll probably dab a little silicone in the spots.
You might notice the backs of the lights look a little different. There's a cover plate that you insert two o-rings into and then push in the connector to make a water resistant seal. I'll probably lube up the o-rings with some silicone grease from my scuba kit to improve the seals.
Also notice how I drilled the left bracket to close to the edge? Oops. There's just enough room to drill yet another hole though.
An early test of the HID lights on (crosseyed a little) with the low beams on. Notice how yellow the halogens look compared to the HID's. I think I'm also going to like the lighting pattern.
First pictures are in my neighborhood and fuzzy and I thin the reflective barricades wasn't a good background choice, but here are low beams only.
And low beams plus the HIDs
Perhaps these two shots. First low beams
And both high beams and HIDs. Wow!
Riding with them I notice that I quickly get used to the color change. What seems blue at first quickly switches to more daylight looking. It's way harder to go back to the yellow of the low beam than up to the blue of the HIDs.
The other thing I notice is that the lights do a very even job of filling in the world in front of you. They produce SO MANY more lumens, but they don't seem bright......they seem....ummmm......even. Everything is evenly well lit. And everything a long ways away is evenly lit.
I can't wait to try them out on my ride to Nevada this weekend. I'll be going down 395 through deer infested country.
Warchild warned me at lunch today, "HIDs will make you more scared of deer."
Perplexed I asked, "How's that? Everything is lit up way better."
WC replies, "Well yeah, but instead of those three deer you saw dimly before, you'll see her 30 other friends that you couldn't used to see, and you'll be scared of how many damn deer are out to get you."
.....maybe ignorance was bliss? Time will tell.
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