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So I had picked up the Diode Dynamics HID 9012 bulbs/ballast kit. In this thread, I won't get into the two major issues I've had with DD in the last week.

I went into this expecting reasonable beam quality, which I did get. The beam is identical, with a little bit more of a blue color band at the cutoff. I was also expecting an output improvement, which I didn't get. The white tint looks nicer, and in person the beam may appear slightly brighter due to the harshness of a colder color temperature, but the low beam is NOT brighter than stock. High beam, with the cutoff shield moved out of the way, has some more intensity immediately above the cutoff, but the low beam is not actually any brighter.

I'm having issues getting ImageMagick's mogrify executable working in Lightroom, so excuse the lack of camera-exposure watermarks in these photos.

Can you tell which bulb is in the driver and passenger side? ;)

Volt_Hid_1.jpg
Volt_Hid_2.jpg
Volt_Hid_3.jpg

(direct image linking removed due to forum restriction on post-count)
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Here's a better hint on which side contains which bulb. Note the slight color temperature differences.

Volt_Hid_Color.jpg


Ballast consumes 44-Watts - expected for a 35W system.

Volt_HID_Power.jpg


My conclusion is simple - the Diode Dynamics "HID" swap changes the color temperature, but it doesn't improve the headlamp output for the low-beams. Anyone that thinks otherwise is having their eyes fooled by the higher color temperature.

I didn't grab high-beam photos, but my observation is increased output immediately above the step in the cutoff shield. This additional high-beam light will only hit the road if coming up to an incline, but otherwise will be "wasted" upward into the sky, vegetation, and road signs.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
That's why I did a projector retrofit.
That isn't "why" (I'm sure you didn't compare beforehand), but I know the reasons for retrofits - typically a controlled beam, which the Volt projectors do provide. I did my first retrofit in 2007 using TL projectors into a classic car.

Now days, I wouldn't retrofit HID projectors - I have some 10+ pairs of unused projectors sitting in a storage tub. The CRI on HID is terrible. Custom high-CRI LED optics are more more appealing, but more work than most people want to put in. The easiest (single-emitter) LED optics to make don't have the beam width of HID though - about the same as stock Volt width. I love working with XHP-70 emitters - even upgraded my lawntractor with them, because I can.
 

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I installed the Xenon Depot "Xtreme HID" kit's! Night and Day difference in our 2013 Volt's. The light is very clean and twice as bright! I bought the Kit's with the genuine Phillips bulb! Easy instillation. It literally only took me 5 minutes on the drivers side and about 15 minutes on the passenger side. My wife and I are extremely pleased.

https://www.xenondepot.com/9012-HID-Kit-Xtreme-HID-p/xt-9012.htm
 

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No, I did NOT get the can bus. I purchased the genuine Phillips bulb option... 4300k. It's very clean White light with a hint of blue. It took about 8 hours for the bulbs to burn into it's true color and brightness...not sure why. VERY happy!
 

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...well not quite 8 hours, probably around 4 hours of driving (about a week for me) to burn in completely to it's true color and brightens. The kit comes with two extra long harness that you won't use. I tossed them into the junk drawer.
 

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I should add that at some point, very soon... I will need to slot the dust covers on the back of the headlight to accommodate the wires and still be able to use the dust covers. No big deal. Right now i don't have the dust covers installed.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
I installed the Xenon Depot "Xtreme HID" kit's! Night and Day difference in our 2013 Volt's. The light is very clean and twice as bright! I bought the Kit's with the genuine Phillips bulb! Easy instillation. It literally only took me 5 minutes on the drivers side and about 15 minutes on the passenger side. My wife and I are extremely pleased.
Any locked-exposure side-by-side comparison photos? Perception is easily deceived, which is why cameras are a useful tool for comparing actual beam characteristics. Various photos, at least 2-stops apart from one another, tell the truth.

Bluer hues will cause more glare, potentially tricking you into thinking it's brighter, when in fact it illuminates more poorly than a warm color temperature, especially for contrast. Its main advantage is illuminating white-paint and silver-reflective material better due to the shift away from a warmer-white, and this is the likely reason people think that HID "is brighter" on the Volt.

The photos speak for themselves. The output, and beam quality, is near identical on the Volt. I haven't measured Voltage, but one may be better off boosting bulb Voltage on the stock bulbs through relays or MOSFETs. Half a (electrical) Volt can be good for 15% more output, when applied to incandescent/blackbody bulbs, and the additional output will increase the color temperature a bit.
 

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...well, "twice" as bright might be overstating it a bit, but, the HID's I installed are CONSIDERABLY brighter. I've had several people (3) as passengers confirm it! They were literally blown away with the quality and brightness of the Phillips Xenon system. They're buying their own kits as we speak! My wife has a bit of night blindness... she likes how this kit reached down the road further then the stock halogen and made her night driving so much better! I'ts no "Blue illusion" my friend. It's important to note that Philips bulbs are 4300k, which is true white light, not blue light! I truly believe there are different quality of HID systems out there! I think I found the best for my 2013 Volt. I highly recommend the system, you won't be disappointed...as you are now with your curent system!
 

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...I'll try to get some pictures in the next night or two. I hope we find a difference. I assume that there is plenty of information out on the interweb that gives the brightness differences between Phillips HID and 55w halogen bulbs. There should be a difference I would think. Message me, let's figure this out together my friend!
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
It's important to note that Philips bulbs are 4300k, which is true white light, not blue light! I truly believe there are different quality of HID systems out there! I think I found the best for my 2013 Volt. I highly recommend the system, you won't be disappointed...as you are now with your curent system!
Yes, it is "bluer" than stock HIR bulb. It may not be "blue", but it is is bluer (colder) than the glowing-filament. The bulb output doesn't matter if the light doesn't escape the projector housing (otherwise it just turns to heat). You need out-the-front lumens, not simply lumens-emitted. In these gen1 Volt projectors, a 1800 lumen bulb with 1400 lumens otf will perform the same as a 3200 lumen bulb with 1400 lumens otf (due to incorrect location of the electric arc/light source inside of the projector).

I would buy to try if you have a compelling side-by-side wall photo of your specific HID bulb next to the 9012 HIR filament bulb. In my photos, the HID is on the left (driver side), HIR is on the right (passenger side). I had a followup post with closer photo that showed the color-temperature differences a little better, but that posts appears to have not yet been approved by the moderators.

Photos from the cabin will provide the best comparison, unless the headlight housings are removed from the vehicle. Off-angle photos will always make one headlight appear bright than the other. 1/250 f/4 ISO 200 and 1/1000 f/4 ISO 200 are good exposure settings that any camera can use for headlight beam wallshots, handheld. The first exposure set is good for comparing overall output and white balance, second for studying beam quality and glare. Stopping down further to 1/1000 f/8 ISO 200 more isn't generally needed, but can further assist in pinpointing hotspots.

As for power consumption, the Diode Dynamics 35W ballasts consume 44-Watts at 13.8V. They're being driven similarly to other OEM projector headlights I've used over the years, so I'm not overly concerned about ballast performance, other than mediocre warmup time.
 

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Any locked-exposure side-by-side comparison photos? Perception is easily deceived, which is why cameras are a useful tool for comparing actual beam characteristics. Various photos, at least 2-stops apart from one another, tell the truth.

Bluer hues will cause more glare, potentially tricking you into thinking it's brighter, when in fact it illuminates more poorly than a warm color temperature, especially for contrast. Its main advantage is illuminating white-paint and silver-reflective material better due to the shift away from a warmer-white, and this is the likely reason people think that HID "is brighter" on the Volt.

The photos speak for themselves. The output, and beam quality, is near identical on the Volt. I haven't measured Voltage, but one may be better off boosting bulb Voltage on the stock bulbs through relays or MOSFETs. Half a (electrical) Volt can be good for 15% more output, when applied to incandescent/blackbody bulbs, and the additional output will increase the color temperature a bit.
And that's why people think bulb swap LEDs are brighter when in actuality they aren't.
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
And that's why people think bulb swap LEDs are brighter when in actuality they aren't.
I also have no clue why people hate on the Volt's stock light output. Width, it could improve a little there. In general they perform very well for halogen. I don't know of another 55W halogen headlamp that is any more usable than the Volt's. I think people want more foreground illumination (harmful), vertically-higher illumination (glare), and higher color temperature (glare/scatter). Just look at all the people driving around with their "fog"/auxiliary lights powered on. The least safe are those that aim their headlights down at the ground to prevent the "glare" to other drivers, so then they're stuck with 60-feet of light immediately in front of the bumper, and nothing beyond that.

Bad headlights are old 9004-bulb monstrosities. It didn't help back then that stock electrical systems also sagged some 2-Volts by the time the power got through the 45W low beam filaments.
 

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...I realy had no problem with the stock headlight system. But like I said, my wife has a touch of night blindness. So we decided to try LED bulbs (three different brands)... FAIL! Next we decided to try HID. So I researched all the brands and decided on Xenondepot.com. It was a great decision. She was through the roof, extremely happy. Since then I decided to put a set in my Volt. Loooove them! I agree, the focal location isn't designed for the HID element location... but the light seems much brighter still. Test's coming.
 

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...I realy had no problem with the stock headlight system. But like I said, my wife has a touch of night blindness. So we decided to try LED bulbs (three different brands)... FAIL! Next we decided to try HID. So I researched all the brands and decided on Xenondepot.com. It was a great decision. She was through the roof, extremely happy. Since then I decided to put a set in my Volt. Loooove them! I agree, the focal location isn't designed for the HID element location... but the light seems much brighter still. Test's coming.
I'm not sure there's a reason that the arc placement couldn't be closer to where the halogen filament is - I don't know enough about the functionality of the bulbs, and how dimensional changes may affect performance, and ballast compatibility . There's some limitations, but I think design is simply laziness on custom bulb vs simply making a new plastic mounting base.
 
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