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HID installation with photos - 1150RT


NoHeat

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Here are some photos of a low-beam HID installation on an 1150 RT. I thought it's worth posting, even if my photos aren't great, just because I haven't found anybody else with detailed photos of an 1150RT HID installation. This installation will work okay even if your have the radio and speakers. It would be almost the same for a high-beam conversion.

 

I bought the cqlights H7 HID conversion kit

http://www.cqlight.ca/product_info.php?products_id=73

At $90, it was the cheapest kit I could find. One reason I went for the cheapest product is that I wasn't sure I could make it fit. In the end, I made it fit and the light works (brighter than my PIAA1100x driving lights, which were previously brighter than my Sylvania Silverstar H7 low-beam bulb).

 

There are some disadvantages with the cqlights product:

* none of the parts have a recognizable brand name.

* the connectors are flimsy (one fell apart easily), and one was not waterproof (hopefully my electrical tape fix will hold up)

* my package came with glossy instructions written in Spanish only (I emailed them and they sent an abbreviated instruction pdf page in English, which was barely good enough)

* instructions didn't mention that I would have to drill holes and shop for a grommet

* I have no idea if replacement bulbs are available

* I'm skeptical about the company because they don't provide a physical address and despite shipping from someplace in California (according to the postal-meter zip code) they use a Canadian domain name. So overall I don't feel confident about dealing with the company -- but the product worked when I installed it.

 

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Procedure:

 

To start, I took off the side fairings and the cowling under the windshield. Then I removed all the fasteners holding the nosepiece in place so that I could tilt the nosepiece back and get good access to all the lights. While I was doing all this, I also removed my radio and speakers which I intend to sell, although it turned out that the radio and speakers would have posed no problem for my installation.

 

There are two aspects to the conversion, electrical and mechanical.

 

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The electric aspect is easiest. The kit doesn't require any splicing or cutting of wires. You swap bulbs and then insert the inverter & ballast between the OEM bulb connector and the bulb. The inverter and ballast come with push-on connectors, which are easy to use, but low-quality and flimsy (one of them fell apart when I plugged and then unplugged it -- I pushed the pieces back together easily, but I'm just not real sure that they'll last forever.)

 

Here's the English-language instructions I received by email -- they fail to indicate the inverter, fuse, and other details, and no instructions are provided for mounting. The 'waterproof device' mentioned is what I'll call the OEM cover, and the 'waterproof washer' is the grommet they provide that requires a 7/8" hole. Lousy instructions.

914267-mfg-instructions.gif

 

 

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The mechanical part is the trickiest. There are three steps: 1. modifying an OEM cover 2. mounting the inverter , 3. mounting the ballast. The bulb and its connector are mounted, as always, inside the OEM cover. In an electrical sense, between the bulb and this connector you will hook up the ballast and inverter, but the ballast and inverter are too big to fit inside the OEM cover so you must mount them elsewhere and run wires in and out of the OEM cover through holes that you must drill.

 

1. modifying the OEM cover

The cover I'm referring to is the one that you remove to change your low-beam bulb. It's held in place by a clip. This cover keeps the bulbs and their connectors dry. You must run wires in and out of this cover, and you must do it in a way that is watertight. One of the two grommets required was provided -- I had to figure out on my own that a second was needed, which I bought at Ace Hardware for $0.40. The grommet that was provided requires a 7/8 inch hole, and the one from Ace required a 3/8 hole. At home I've got only a 1/4" hand-held drill. After drilling small starter holes, I used a 7/8" boring bit (the flat kind that looks kind of like a spade - it's intended only for wood according to the packaging at Ace but it worked fine drilling a hole in the plastic cover) and a 3/8" drill that had a 1/4" shank. The result looks like this (the 3/8 inch hole is already filled with one of the wiring harnesses provided by cqlights. Oh, the fuse in the harness is not watertight -- so I wrapped it with lots of electrical tape -- not an elegant solution.

914263-OEM-cover-modified.jpg

 

 

2. mounting the inverter

This item produces high voltage at a high frequency, to make the plasma discharge in the bulb. Luckily it was easy to mount because it is small and light. It has no mounting holes, so I used adhesive velcro, cut to the size shown in the photo below. There are lots of places this could be mounted -- I ended up putting it on the back of the white panel behind all the lights. You might be able to get away with not mounting it, and just letting it dangle with the wires.

914263-inverter.jpg

 

 

3. mounting the ballast

This was harder, because it was a little bigger and heavier than the inverter. It does have a pair of threaded mounting holes, which helps. Ideally, it would like to sit on a large flat surface, and BMW provides nothing like that around the lights. You might be able to mount it well enough on the curved surfaces of the white panel behind the lights, but luckily I had another option. I have the PIAA-brand mount for PIAA 1100x lights, and its bracket had a nice flat surface where I could mount the ballast. The ballast shouldn't be exposed to hot air, according to its label, so I mounted it on the underside of the bracket so that it doesn't face the oil cooler. I drilled two small holes in the bracket, and used a screw in one and a tie-wrap on the other. The photo below shows my first attempt, which didn't work because it interferes with the forks:

914263-ballast-mount.jpg

 

 

After I discovered this orientation didn't work, I rotated the ballast 90 degrees and centered it between the forks. It barely clears the forks that way. So I drilled new holes in the PIAA bracket and remounted the ballast -- sorry that I don't have a photo of this final orientation.

 

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The overall installation. This photo is viewed from above with the nosepiece (visible at the bottom in the foreground) tilted back. The photo shows the ballast rotated the way that doesn't work -- sorry that I don't have a photo with the ballast rotated 90 degrees).

 

914263-overview.jpg

 

After I was done, I re-aimed the headlight as shown here.

 

914263-headlight-aim.jpg

 

The low beam has pretty much the same shape as before, but the upper cut-off edge isn't as sharp as it was. So far it seems to be okay, because I haven't been flashed by oncoming drivers yet. It is really bright - from the viewpoint of an oncoming driver it gets more attention than my PIAA 1100x lights, which previously got much more attention than my standard headlight low beam. So far I haven't driven it at night time.

 

Hope all that helps somebody.

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Good job on the instructions. I have bought HID kits from CQLights and also fixed a few for people. Loose connections, soldering fuse holders etc. So far the balasts and bulbs have not failed and at least their mechanical integrity is there! I personally pay more $$ and buy mine from Alex over at http://www.xenonfactory.com/

 

Thanks for sharing!

 

Tomas thumbsup.gif

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Any car audio shop should have waterproof blade fuse holders (water resistant actually) w/ rubber covers if you're worried about the non waterproof one you've got there.

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