What are high intensity discharge lamps

What are High-intensity discharge lamps

If you are an off roading expert then lights are important to say the least. When you are out on your adventure, particularly if it is dark then you want good visibility at all times. High-intensity discharge (HID) lamps are the very best in lights.  When compared to the normal fluorescent and incandescent lamps, HID lamps produce a much larger quantity of light in a relatively smaller package.

So here comes the technical part. HID lamps produce light by striking an electrical arc across tungsten electrodes which are housed inside a specially designed inner fused quartz or fused alumina tube. This tube is then filled with both gas and metals. The gas aids in the starting of the lamps. Then, the metals produce the light once they are heated to a point of evaporation.

HID lamps are available in different forms, including

  • Mercury vapour lamps(CRI range 15-55)
  • Metal halide lamps (CRI range 65-80, ceramic MH can go to 90’s)
  • Low-pressure sodium lamps (CRI 0 owing to their monochromatic light)
  • High-pressure sodium lamps (CRI range 22-75).

The first commercially available HID lamps were the mercury vapour lamps which produced bluish-green light. These lamps today produce colour corrected whiter light. More people are moving away from these lamps and opting to choose the newer more efficient high pressure sodium and metal halide lamps.

When off roading, particularly when it is dark or visibility is poor then HID lamps are ideal as they can produce high levels of light over large areas.  Recently, HID headlamps have become very popular vehicles. Many 4×4 owners prefer these when out on an off-road adventure as they produce a clearer, brighter and more natural type of light than light emitted from normal headlamps.

All off road drivers are aware that the conditions are not those of normal roads. The lifespan of an HID bulb can be as long as 2500 hours which exceed the normal life span of regular halogen bulbs. Halogen bulbs are heated by tungsten flament which can be damaged or can overheat. HID bulbs are lit by gas ionisation which means they will never produce high temperatures causing them to overheat. As long as the xenon gas in the lamps has not been exhausted the HID lamps will discharge excellent light.

If you are a regular 4×4 off road driver the High Intensity Discharge(HID) lamps should be fitted on your vehicle so if you do get lost out on your adventure you won’t have to sit in the dark.

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