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King of Smart Gadgetry
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Discussion Starter #1
Last night I was driving to Walmart and there is a place on the road that is a real sharp "S" shape. I went to hit my high beams by pushing on the turn signal stalk. Well in my panic I didn't get it pushed forward far enough and all my headlights went totally out. Then I hit the stalk again and they came back on with high beams. But the quickness of them being off for literally a second or two and then back on caused my driver HID to burnout, or I am assuming it is burned out. It doesn't work, so the old adage of HID's not surviving in the high beam side because of flashing is correct. My question is when an HID burns out does the bulb look black? There's no filament to check for continuity. Does anyone know what the voltage to the bulb is supposed to be? I just want to check the ballast to be sure it is operating but not even sure if the voltage output of the ballast is AC or DC. I also have the added antiflicker Can Bus error protector thingy, so it could be that. But anyay does anyone have any experience of troubleshooting aan HID ballast and bulb? DCO
 

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Quickest convention is to swap bulbs left right. I was just reading and output from ballast is very high at startup and levels off to 8000V, or something like that. Will probably blow any average Joe multimeter to smitherines...

I think up to 23kV on startup if I recall seeing somewhere correctly....
 

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King of Smart Gadgetry
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Discussion Starter #5
JZ....Just swap the bulbs ! Why didn't I think of that? (cause I'm a dummy). Thanks Jesse.
And Chieftmc, I just ordered another set of ballasts and bulbs that are identical and from the same ebay seller as the ones I have installed now. On top of that I ordered 2 more extra HID bulbs.

55W HID Xenon Bulbs Headlight Conversion Kit H1 H3 H4 H7 H10 9005 9006 880 9004 | eBay


Now I do remember someone on the forum saying don't buy the cheap HID systems, but in it's defense if I hadn't fumbled with the high beam switch it would have never happened. And on top of that driving after night with only the passenger side headlight, it lights up the road almost as good as having two, so there must be alot of overlap in the 2 beams.
JZ if those little digital ballasts run at 8000 volts I'm gonna connect some welding leads to them and use the Fortwo as a gigantic arc welder!.....Not really, I know it's all voltage and only milliamps in the current department.
I installed the ballasts and the anti-flicker Can-Bus error canceller right over the top of the headlight assembly with the provided doubled sided sticky tape. And I have a blurry picture to prove it. lol

 

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I'm not sure if you know, but I think the bi-xenon lights use a mechanical "eyelid" that opens wider to function as a flasher/high beam....

I tried to bench test a window roll up module once with a multimeter. I could not get a voltage reading on it. When I put it in it worked. Must have some resistance sensor to measure whether to give output or not. (Just some foresight into your electric window future....). I believe this tells the unit/switch to stop giving power once the widow is either completely closed or open lest you burn out the motor or break something....

You're not a dummy. You just want to know how exactly things work. But I guess in this case it is like a spark plug, except the electrodes are inside a special gas mix which gives the electrons jump some unique properties. Hard at first but real easy once flowing from what I understand. Non-linear resistance is beyond me..... I suspect you already knew to swap but was curious if someone knew a way to test them. You could try testing the resistance difference (Ohms) between the working side and the non-working side to see what you can see.....
 

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I had a strange thought. Why did switching, or moving the switch, on the way, to high beams cause every light to turn off? Seems like a safety hazard that should't be happening. (If I wasn't scared there might be a coyote outside I might just grab my key and go out and check mine...). Is this normal, that transient switching between modes causes the lights to go out?
 

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In my smart the low beams stay on all the time, including while the high beams are on (stalk forward) or being flashed (stalk pulled back).
If yours turned off there is something else wrong...
 

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I think DCO had it turn off in the middle of switching, the transient state while he was moving the stalk from low to high beam mode. I tried this Saturday morning in the parking garage at Kaiser and it did no such thing on mine....
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I was driving with my low beams on and I very quickly reached up and haphazardly pushed the stalk forward to engage the high beams. It felt as though I didn't get it pushed all the way forward as though it was "in between" low and high beam and the headlights went completely out, but the parking lights were still on. In a split second I grabbed the stalk again and pushed it forward and the low and high beam came back on. It all happened very quickly in just a second or two. Then after I rounded the "s" turn I pulled the stalk to me to return to low beam because a car was coming towards me. That's when I noticed the low beams seemed dimmer. When I got to Walmart I got out and looked and sure enough I had the driver side out.
Been too busy to check it out. I took on a job doing some house remodeling for a lady friend and I have had no time to check out the problem, just drive it right now. I need to switch out bulbs to see of it is the ballast. I hope driving it with the headlamp out doesn't ruin the ballast. Guess I should unplug the ballast until the new bilbs come in. I don't know if the ballast continues to fire at high voltage to try and start the lamp. Seeing how a HID lamp is a glass cylinder with 2 electrodes in it and filled with gas, I don't see how it could just burn out all of a sudden even from the a quick shot of "startup voltage" after it's heated up and working. There's no filament to break. It seems as one would die it would get dimmer as the bulb uses up the gas in it. And they tout that HID's last alot longer than halogens. I even have the anti flicker modules which I presume is some sort of a capacitor that smooths out the voltage spikes to keep the bulb from flickering. It seems that those should have protected the bulb a little. Gonna have to read up on it when I get a chance.
I'm afraid to try and duplicate what I did with the stalk for fear that I would blow out the remaining headlight. Using the top adjuster that raises or lowers both hi and lo beams, I have the low beams right where they need to be, but now the high beams are almost in the trees. I need to adjust that 5 sided stud on the bottom back side of the assembly, but need to cut a slot in it to use a screwdriver on it. The driver side 5 sided adjuster I have already replaced with a threaded rid and wing nut, so adjustment on that side will be easy.
Ordered extra ballast and bulbs kit just like I installed and even bought a couple more extra HID bulbs but they won't be here for a couple of weeks. I'm afraid of getting pulled over for a dead headlight. Driving with my green LED DRL's and green LED's glowing through the grille is bad enough. DCO
 

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I haven't had to change a lot of headlight bulbs, even the incandescent types. Possibly because there are many cars in the household and they get low usage. (I was just about to PM you to see how you are doing.) I don't suppose you misplaced the original bulbs. I am assuming at least one was still working and you could just put it back in for now. I did see that the eBay seller you bought from has listed some kind of warranty, IIRC for 3 years?

Glad to see you are busy, and not not busy!
 

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"in between" low and high beam and the headlights went completely out
What I was trying to say: This is the part that's not normal: The low beams are not controlled by the forward-backward motion of the stalk. No matter if you push forward or back, all the way or part way, low beams are always on. At least as long as the twist control is turned to on (or Auto and it's dark out).

Some other cars turn their low beams off when high beams are turned on and/or flashed. This is mostly the case in cars with combination low/high beam bulbs like H4 to prevent overheating. Not the case in the 451. Or does your HID wiring modify the function of the stalk?

Maybe you twisted the low beams off while trying to flash the high beams?
 

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I'm not sure if you know, but I think the bi-xenon lights use a mechanical "eyelid" that opens wider to function as a flasher/high beam....
This is true, though you shouldn't need a bi-zenon bulb in a Fortwo with seperate high and low beams. But a lot of the bi-zenon bulbs do use a solenoid to either change the position of a shield, or the bulb itself. I'm sure there is also a switch used to ensure that both do not come on at the same time, to avoid overheating.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Super Smartie you've got me second guessing on what I could have done to blink the low beams out for a second. I made no wiring mods to install the HID's. You order the HID kit based on your existing headlight bulb type. The Fortwo uses H7 halogen bulbs in low and high beam. The low beam uses the projectors with the lense, and the high beams use the same type of bulb with a reflector. So with the kit you uplug the wires to the existing H7 bulb and they plug into the input side of the ballast and the output leads of the ballast goes to the new HID bulb after you make a hole in your rubber grommet for the wires to feed through. There is an appreciable amount of space on the twist part of the stalk between off/parking lights/low beams on. So I don't think I accidently would have caused a twist in the stalk as I grabbed it to push the whole thing forward for high beam. I'll try to investigate this weekend by unplugging the low beam stock wires from the ballast and plugging in the old H7 bulbs to see if there is indeed a dead spot between low and high beam. But Super Smartie says the low beams are on all the time and flipping the stalk adds the high beams or subtracts the high beams. I think that the only way the lights could have blinked out on me is if the blinker fluid was low. This makes since since when this happened I was starting around a sharp turn and I distinctly remember that the light rays did NOT bend around the turn as they were supposed to. Now isn't the blinker fluid resovoir on a Fortwo behind the rear seats?
 

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This is true, though you shouldn't need a bi-zenon bulb in a Fortwo with seperate high and low beams. But a lot of the bi-zenon bulbs do use a solenoid to either change the position of a shield, or the bulb itself. I'm sure there is also a switch used to ensure that both do not come on at the same time, to avoid overheating.
I thought it was the same output, just the optics change for the added light. Like opening your eyes wider for high beam output....
 

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I thought it was the same output, just the optics change for the added light. Like opening your eyes wider for high beam output....
There are systems like that out there, but they are usually of OEM manufacture, with the optics and mechanisms in the headlamp housing itself. "Retrofit" Bi-Zenon bulbs usually try to mimic this effect, or try to mimic a high/low filament placement by various means on the bulb itself.
 

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The blinker fluid is in the front. But relocating to the back might be good as sometimes it breaks and is a pain to replace!

I have no idea how they blinked out. Maybe one just so happen to burn out at that moment causing some kind of glitch with the CANBUS cancellers. (Actually the aliens just confessed that they took you and didn't quite get you back in time correctly, causing a momentary darkness and a bulb to go out in protest of the abduction)!
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I played the Amvets club tonight, so I was driving home at 2:00 am and there was no traffic on the road. I got to thinking about the headlight problem and so I began playing around with the stalk, switching to from low beam to high beam and back. I was able to duplicate what I did that night. There is a spot between low and high beam that all the headlights go out. I was able to do that several times just to be certain I wasn't totally crazy. I'm surprised I didn't blow out the remaining light bulb. I don't know if it is a defect or not, but it does happen on mine. I push forward on the stalk to engage the high beams. After that I can pull the stalk back towards me and the lights go out. DCO
 

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I tried this the other day and mine does not have a dead zone that you mention no matter how slow I move the stalk. I do have the halogen lights and not the HID lights so that may make a difference.
 
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