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Thread: Replacing OEM H7s with 55 watt HID H7s question 2012 R1200RT

  1. #16
    Registered User chewbacca's Avatar
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    As I mentioned in my first post, my first HID was DDM. Unless something has changed, DDM never has claimed a CanBus ballast capability. In numerous conversations with their tech support the only CanBus related item they had was an Error Killer which plugs on the end of the ballast. Those tech support guys, although friendly were of no help in this situation and would state flat out they do not have CanBus ballasts. If you dig into this, and I did, the problem is not the ballasts. Why? How can I say that? Because I would switch the ballast from left to right and vice versa and the low beam problem did not change. My current $35 per pair 35W setup works great ALL THE TIME. Again, my 55W DDM has worked without a flaw on high beam for two years.
    Old But Not Dead
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  2. #17
    Registered User CaptRehkopf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chewbacca View Post
    As I mentioned in my first post, my first HID was DDM. Unless something has changed, DDM never has claimed a CanBus ballast capability. In numerous conversations with their tech support the only CanBus related item they had was an Error Killer which plugs on the end of the ballast. Those tech support guys, although friendly were of no help in this situation and would state flat out they do not have CanBus ballasts. If you dig into this, and I did, the problem is not the ballasts. Why? How can I say that? Because I would switch the ballast from left to right and vice versa and the low beam problem did not change. My current $35 per pair 35W setup works great ALL THE TIME. Again, my 55W DDM has worked without a flaw on high beam for two years.
    Thanks. I did not see a Canbus option either. I just hope I can see well enough with their 35w ballast. I agree something else is in play here because my left low beam turns on even after swapping ballasts regardless of which ballast I use.
    Never a problem with the high beam which my dealer says is on a seperate circuit.
    Thanks again,
    Robert
    Ride Safe,
    Robert Rehkopf

  3. #18
    Registered User CaptRehkopf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chewbacca View Post
    As I mentioned in my first post, my first HID was DDM. Unless something has changed, DDM never has claimed a CanBus ballast capability. In numerous conversations with their tech support the only CanBus related item they had was an Error Killer which plugs on the end of the ballast. Those tech support guys, although friendly were of no help in this situation and would state flat out they do not have CanBus ballasts. If you dig into this, and I did, the problem is not the ballasts. Why? How can I say that? Because I would switch the ballast from left to right and vice versa and the low beam problem did not change. My current $35 per pair 35W setup works great ALL THE TIME. Again, my 55W DDM has worked without a flaw on high beam for two years.
    I just ordered their 'error killer' and for the umpteenth time changed my mind. I will try these error killers with their 55 watt ballast and see if it works ALL THE TIME!
    I will be doing the BIG MONEY RALLY (BMR) but have until the Cape Fear Rally to test and get it right. If it gets too night during the BMR I'll just stop for the night.
    Wish me luck!
    Again I very very much appreciate all the advice and help.
    Robert
    Ride Safe,
    Robert Rehkopf

  4. #19
    Registered User CaptRehkopf's Avatar
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    I have been assuming incorrectly that the error eliminator in whatever form it comes in will allow my right bulb and left low beams to come on!!! Not just eliminate the 'fault' icon on my dashboard. I could live with the 'fault' icon, but I want both low beams on. Have I been assuming wrong in that the error eliminator will
    FIX the problem of only one low beam turning on? My goal is 55 watt HID low beams and high beam. Like I said I will settle for 35 watts if I have to.
    I think I may have confused myself about the function or my assumed functioning of the error eliminator. I want it to make both my low beams turn ON, not just get rid of the fault icon.
    Ride Safe,
    Robert Rehkopf

  5. #20
    A bozo on the bus deilenberger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chewbacca View Post
    unlike what Delenberger stated, I believe the problem is the ZFE. Can-Bus is just a signaling protocol. The high and low have separate connections directly to the ZFE and it determines if there is an error.
    Chewbacca,

    Please REREAD what I actually said. I suggested swapping the ballasts from side to side to see if the problem follows the ballast. If it follows the ballast (which it didn't) - then it would be a bad ballast, not the ZFE.

    That's considerably different from what you stated I said.
    Don Eilenberger http://www.eilenberger.net
    Spring Lk Heights NJ NJ Shore BMW Riders New Sweden BMW Riders
    '07 R1200R (current ride) and some bimmers.. and a Porsche

  6. #21
    A bozo on the bus deilenberger's Avatar
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    Robert -

    As has been suggested - likely the best way to do that is to switch to 35W ballasts (the bulbs probably don't need to be changed..)

    I don't have a ZFE power output diagram handy - but for the dual low beams on the RT, it would make sense for BMW to have a separate output circuit (and solid-state switch) for EACH bulb, so if one fails (say by something ugly like shorting out) the other bulb could remain operational.

    If so - it sounds as if these ballasts draw too much current - and the current shutdown threshold on the two outputs may be very slightly different - so one output thinks there is a short of some type and shuts down the circuit. The problem is likely the startup current - the circuit may be quite happy with a "running" draw of 55W, but with the additional current drawn as the bulb is "ignited" (perhaps an additional 15-20W based on car ones I've used) - it might be pushed over the shutdown threshold. The 35W rated one (drawing 35W after ignition is complete) - even if it draws 55W on startup/ignition - won't be over the high-current shutdown threshold.
    Don Eilenberger http://www.eilenberger.net
    Spring Lk Heights NJ NJ Shore BMW Riders New Sweden BMW Riders
    '07 R1200R (current ride) and some bimmers.. and a Porsche

  7. #22
    Registered User CaptRehkopf's Avatar
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    Thanks again,
    I believe I have bought everything that we all can think of! I am going to try it every way I can think of.
    Keeping the high beam on the 55 watt system. I plan on:
    1) keeping the existing 55 watt ballasts and add the DDM Tuning 'error eliminator',
    2) swap the 55s for 35 watt ballasts, which I believe will end the only one low beam on problem, and hopefully have enough light throw, if not enough light, then
    3) replace the existing 55 watt ballasts with the 55 watt Canbus ballast.

    I also have an additional set of eliminators ordered and may try them.

    I am not sure of the ZFE you're talking about but I did talk to my dealer and he said he did swap the ballasts and the right light was still off.

    I will let everybody know the results in a couple of weeks - mail from China timeframe.

    I have now ordered TWO of everything to try everything. So if anybody needs some experimenting let me know and I could/may have to try it.

    Robert
    Ride Safe,
    Robert Rehkopf

  8. #23
    Registered User lkraus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptRehkopf View Post
    I am not sure of the ZFE you're talking about but I did talk to my dealer and he said he did swap the ballasts and the right light was still off.
    Robert
    The ZFE is the computer that controls everything electrical on your bike. CANBUS is just the signalling method that the ZFE uses to get information. It is common (but incorrect) for folks to use the terms interchangeably, which can create confusion for all and angst for those of us with OCD tendencies.
    Larry
    2006 R1200RT

  9. #24
    Registered User chewbacca's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lkraus View Post
    The ZFE is the computer that controls everything electrical on your bike. CANBUS is just the signalling method that the ZFE uses to get information. It is common (but incorrect) for folks to use the terms interchangeably, which can create confusion for all and angst for those of us with OCD tendencies.
    You are absolutely correct. There are three computer modules that control all electrics, the ZFE being the one that does control the lights.

    If you do look at the schematic you will see a line going directly to the ZFE from the low and a separate line from the high. If you read over several forums with treads on the is subject, it is obvious to me that some but not all ZFE's have an issue sensing the initial "current" being drawn by the HID's connected on the low beam. The major trend that can NOT be disputed is that the 35W low beam guys have statistically very few problems with this issue as compared to the 55w guys. You can believe that or not, but that is my story and I'm sticking by it.
    Old But Not Dead
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  10. #25
    Registered User CaptRehkopf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chewbacca View Post
    You are absolutely correct. There are three computer modules that control all electrics, the ZFE being the one that does control the lights.

    If you do look at the schematic you will see a line going directly to the ZFE from the low and a separate line from the high. If you read over several forums with treads on the is subject, it is obvious to me that some but not all ZFE's have an issue sensing the initial "current" being drawn by the HID's connected on the low beam. The major trend that can NOT be disputed is that the 35W low beam guys have statistically very few problems with this issue as compared to the 55w guys. You can believe that or not, but that is my story and I'm sticking by it.
    Before we start on this trek I will ask my dealer to check the ZFE module! I might have done something to it with the 55w ballasts, never know.

    Thanks again for the advice and help, Like I said I will post my results as soon as all the China shipments arrive and are tested.

    Robert
    Ride Safe,
    Robert Rehkopf

  11. #26
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    Robert,
    Those who have used these things for years are giving you correct and clear advice about using dual 55W ballasts on the RT for reliability. Don't...
    On these inexpensive Asian systems, ballast variability or outright failure is pretty common (though I've not had it happen to me, yet).
    Having a spare ballast on hand isn't a bad idea, they're cheap.

    Another thing to remember is that the HID connections at the stock bulb connector are actually a sort of workaround- most makers provide a spade that is fairly decent fit but it can be loose in some circumstances. You might want to personally inspect the connections at the bulb and maybe wrap them with some rescue tape (stretcy silicone tape) to ensure they don't get loose in use (that has happened to me).

    A personal observation- relying on dealers for modification of your bike is not a great idea. Dealer techs work with stock stuff and most aftermarket suuf including HID kits is below OEM stds for reliabability. I've found that when playing in that arena, which I do a whole lot, its best to be my own wrench.

  12. #27
    Registered User CaptRehkopf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by racer7 View Post
    Robert,
    Those who have used these things for years are giving you correct and clear advice about using dual 55W ballasts on the RT for reliability. Don't...
    On these inexpensive Asian systems, ballast variability or outright failure is pretty common (though I've not had it happen to me, yet).
    Having a spare ballast on hand isn't a bad idea, they're cheap.

    Another thing to remember is that the HID connections at the stock bulb connector are actually a sort of workaround- most makers provide a spade that is fairly decent fit but it can be loose in some circumstances. You might want to personally inspect the connections at the bulb and maybe wrap them with some rescue tape (stretcy silicone tape) to ensure they don't get loose in use (that has happened to me).

    A personal observation- relying on dealers for modification of your bike is not a great idea. Dealer techs work with stock stuff and most aftermarket stuf including HID kits is below OEM stds for reliability. I've found that when playing in that arena, which I do a whole lot, its best to be my own wrench.
    I believe you're on target with the 35w ballasts, but I'll have to see the physical light throw differences first. Tire treads on the x-ways scare the, you know what out of me, and I don't want to out drive my headlights at 10 mph over. If the physical differences are as has been said, then I for the reliability the 35w ballast are what I will end with.

    My dealer and I have a very special working relationship, actually the service manage who is part owner does all my work. AND I am a terrible mechanic BUT a GREAT Civil Engineer!

    I want to again, thank everybody for the advice and help. I should have asked before I did the mods,

    Ride Safe,
    Robert
    Ride Safe,
    Robert Rehkopf

  13. #28
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    I have had about 5 years experience with DDM 55W HID systems. Good and not so much. I installed the 55W kit on the high and low beams on my F800ST over 5 years ago and they have worked flawlessly. I did the same with my 09 RT and had similar success for 2 years. Then, one light on the RT went out. Rather than replacing the failed bulb, i just ordered a new 55W dual kit from DDM because they were cheap and decided to move the other, still working light to the high beam. After getting and installing the new dual kit on the RT, i have been through no less than 6 failed ballasts, while my 5+ year old kit on the F800 continues to work perfectly. The older ballasts were silver and metal, the newer ones are black composite material and clearly seem to be inferior to the older ones. I will give DDM credit for replacing each failed ballast but how many times do you want to install these guys? Enough was enough for me. I changed to a Phillips H7 Extreme. The HIDs may increase your visibility, but I'm now unconvinced that they provide enhanced road illumination. They are not designed for our headlight reflectors and they are illegal. The Phillips lights are significantly whiter than OEM H7s, give great illumination and are actually legal. http://www.powerbulbs.com/us/product...eadlight-bulbs
    The research i did led me to conclude that the newer DDM ballasts will not work over the long term. I found some references on auto sites cautioning that daylight driving lights should be disabled before installing the HID as the startup voltage is too low and eventually will lead to the ballast failure. That is consistent with my experience.
    '08 F800 ST, '09 R1200 RT

  14. #29
    Registered User CaptRehkopf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by redhededgreg View Post
    I have had about 5 years experience with DDM 55W HID systems. Good and not so much. I installed the 55W kit on the high and low beams on my F800ST over 5 years ago and they have worked flawlessly. I did the same with my 09 RT and had similar success for 2 years. Then, one light on the RT went out. Rather than replacing the failed bulb, i just ordered a new 55W dual kit from DDM because they were cheap and decided to move the other, still working light to the high beam. After getting and installing the new dual kit on the RT, i have been through no less than 6 failed ballasts, while my 5+ year old kit on the F800 continues to work perfectly. The older ballasts were silver and metal, the newer ones are black composite material and clearly seem to be inferior to the older ones. I will give DDM credit for replacing each failed ballast but how many times do you want to install these guys? Enough was enough for me. I changed to a Phillips H7 Extreme. The HIDs may increase your visibility, but I'm now unconvinced that they provide enhanced road illumination. They are not designed for our headlight reflectors and they are illegal. The Phillips lights are significantly whiter than OEM H7s, give great illumination and are actually legal. http://www.powerbulbs.com/us/product...eadlight-bulbs
    The research i did led me to conclude that the newer DDM ballasts will not work over the long term. I found some references on auto sites cautioning that daylight driving lights should be disabled before installing the HID as the startup voltage is too low and eventually will lead to the ballast failure. That is consistent with my experience.
    I am not as long time DDM user as you are, but I'm beginning to think you're right. I've have already had one 55 watt ballast go out. I have bought the DDM 35 watt ballasts and if I continue to have problems after I install the DDM canbus error canceler then I will switch to the 35 watt system, and see if that works.
    You raise important points regarding quality, I had thought all my problems were canbus 'systemic' not quality. I will keep this thread informed as to my experiences.
    Ride Safe and thanks for the help.
    Robert
    Ride Safe,
    Robert Rehkopf

  15. #30
    Riding where it's hot! AZ-J's Avatar
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    I have the out-of-business 1offmotorsports HID kit and it works flawlessly.
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    Jordan M, MOA #24434
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