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Retro-Solutions 55W 5000k HID Kit

21197 Views 19 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  TimeBandit
After a bit of reading on and learning about HID systems I know that a retrofit using an HID projector is the best way to go, but I wasn't ready to plunge into such a large and expensive project yet.

35W HID's give about 3X more lumen output than regular halogen automotive bulbs. 55W HID's are about 40% brighter than 35W systems.

I got the Retro-Solutions 55W kit at the 5000K color temperature which is as close to neutral white as you can find. Email Todd and he can price you a single bulb kit. Although the ballast isn't a slim version it only uses 7.5A of power on startup which means I can use the stock wiring and don't need to put in a relay harness. It has a hot-restrike feature so the bulbs don't take as much wear if you turn them off then back on quickly. In general blows away the cheap crap DDM and slim kits you find on ebay.

Now the biggest concern with a HID kit in a halogen reflector is godawful glare that can blind oncoming drivers and make things unsafe for you. After doing as much research as I could I decided to play guinea pig and test a kit for my low-beam reflector to see how the fill and cutoff were.

Here is the kit, and a comparison of the halogen and HID bulbs:


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Pics of my stock halogen low, low+high, and HID low and HID low + halogen high.

You will also note that I replaced the 194 running light bulb with a matching white LED from 194 168 W5W 2825 Map Led Parking Signal Marker Bulbs I got the Supernova which according to the spec sheet LED LEDS Bulb Specifications is the brightest single led bulb. However, looking at the space available in the running light housing I could also try a 5 or 9 LED SMT.

The bottom pic is my reflector housing. Though tough to see, the heat from the HID melted the edge just around one side of the bulb hole. Even now, after hours of running the bulb, it hasn't progressed, nor do I feel it has any adverse effect on light output to the ground.


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HID ballast mounted under the left ram air intake. The plastic chin fairing gets pushed down a bit and come winter time I may do a project to melt or modify the ram air snorkel to accommodate the ballast better.

The stock bulb and HID bulb base are H7 - make sure to get an H7 bulb adapter (extra) for it to mount properly, below is just the packing foam under the bulb clip.


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Now, HID bulbs don't like to be flashed on and off and back on quickly as the striking of the arc while the bulb is warm can damage the bulb over time.

I initially used a 10A SPST switch which I affixed to the left ram air snorkel so that I could start the bike with the light off, crank the engine, then turn the light on. The problem with this was operating the tiny switch with gloves was a pain. Every time you shut the bike off you needed to remember to switch the light off as there was no indication of the switch position once everything was turned off, then remember to press the tiny switch back on again when you started back up. This proved to be a pain when doing such routine things as getting fuel as it would be easy to forget to switch it off, and easy to forget to turn it back on again.

Then along in another HID post our local genious TimeBandit posted a relay that he made so the low bulb would be off normally, but when you turned on, or flash-to-pass your high beam, it would tr***** a relay to turn on the low beam. You could also use the high beam anytime without affecting the low beam. I saw the beauty of this setup and proceeded on a mission to make the relay myself.

TimeBandit said:
The blue wires represent the bike’s wires. The red is the wire that causes the latching effect to occur. The Green wire is the tr***** source. Diode 1 (D1) prevents voltage spikes from the relay coil. D2 is required to prevent the low beam’s hot wire from inadvertently powering the high’s hot wire.
So it works like this:
Turn the bike on and start it. Both High and low should still be off. Flick the high beam switch on or just tap the passing switch to flash the high. This causes 12 volts from the high to travel thru the green and energize the relay coil. Thus the relay contacts close and cause the low to come on, in addition the latching wire is now energized by the low’s 12v thus keeping the coil energized. This mean the green tr***** wire can now go off (high beam off) and the relay still stays on (self latching). Turning the ignition off kill power to the low's 12v wire, thus resetting the whole system.
Being a novice to soldering, you can see my 1st setup and how tiny that damned relay is. In the final version all of the diodes have been trimmed down to fit close and neatly, the latching wire is simply some bare wire twisted around the base of the two posts, and the relay was taped around with painters tape and the delicate solderings were sealed in epoxy, with 14 gauge (yes overkill, but it worked and it was all Home Depot had) wire leads to connect it all up.


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Normal lighting in my parking garage.
Halogen low beam
Halogen low + high beam
HID low beam
HID low + halogen high beam

Although the pics come out dim with the camera, you can tell how much relatively brighter the HID bulb is.

I consider it a success. While the fill and and cutoff leave room for desire of an HID projector retrofit, it does an excellent job lighting the road at night while providing a much more conspicuous profile for other drivers without blinding them.


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I was fine till the wiring diagram, then you lost me.


cool project you have more ambition than I do.
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Excellent writeup "sqchram". Good job on all the research!
I added an HID light to my 250 this past summer, and even though I did it with the stock reflectors in the light housing, I have to say that I've been really impressed with the light.

Like you, I found a kit that had the light arc at relatively the same location as the stock lights. I find that my light projects very similar to the pictures you have above comparing the stock to the HID bulb. It's definitely brighter...and whiter...but I don't feel that it throws light all over the place like some people have said it would.

I lucked out with the kit that I got. I got a motorcycle specific kit that actually had a setup where an electro magnet is on the bulb. What this electro magnet does is physically move the bulb just slightly when you switch from low to high beams. That makes it so that the bulb isn't getting turned off when you switch from low to highs, because like you I found that the bulb turning off and back on again isn't very good for it.

Good write up. I hope that others will see that putting an HID light into a stock housing doesn't necessarily have to be the worst thing imaginable.
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I have a 90 ZX7. It does not have reflectors in the housing. the housings are like the old head lights but with removable bulbs. Will I be able to use the HID in these housings?

^you can get a 'kit' for practically any of these common bulb types - H1/H3/H4/H7/H8/H9/H10/H11/9004/9005(HB3)/9006(HB4)/9007/880/881/H3C/D2R/D2S/D2C.

Now if your bulb just shines straight out, up and down without a shield blocking certain parts of the bulb, simply throwing an HID in there might throw a dangerous amount of glare to oncoming drivers.

Do a little research as to your bulb type and housing, and read some on

You can of course, simply try it out, or go whole hog and get a retrofit projector housing and all.
i have the old housings, the ones without deflectors. I guess I will have to stay with my original bulbs
Here are the direct links for the parts credits to TimeBandit



I'd recommend ordering 2 relays and 4 diodes at $1.17 and $.05 each respectively, its better to have a backup in case you botch the soldering than have to re-order and wait a week, plus pay the $6.75 USPS shipping again.

It is the crown piece of this setup, and not having to fuss around and remember to switch a tiny little button on and off with clumsy gloves is great. The fact that its utilizing the stock controls is wonderful, and not having the battery draw before cranking the engine is just extra cool.
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See, I got lucky with my HID installation in that for whatever reason the Ninja 250 is designed to not turn the headlight on until AFTER the bike has been turned over. Seeing as my bike starts first try every time, I don't have to worry about the light turning on and then off and then on when I'm starting the bike.

But that's a pretty good setup you've got there sqchram. I like it!!
What makes this kit better than DDM?
Like motor oils, it is a subject that can be heavily debated.

After reading up at the low failure rates of the Retro-solutions units and exchanging a few inquiry emails back and forth with the owner I felt confident with my purchase.

The DDMs may work just fine in actuality too.

I did a fair bit of searching in forums and reviews, I believe, just like retro solutions, if a DDM unit were to ever fail you could simply get an exchange for a new one, no questions.

If you talk to other riders who talk about kits they got that failed, ask what brand and try to avoid them. A quality kit should last longer than your vehicle. Its an important piece of safety equipment and I want the most reliable the industry has to offer.

The difference was that this retro solutions unit had a hot restrike capability, and a 7 or so amp draw when igniting - much lower than others. That gave me greater reassurance when running with the stock bulb wiring instead of wiring in a dedicated relay directly to the battery.
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Any ideas of an acceptable substitute for the relay? The ones you have listed are on backorder on Mouser's and DigiKey till like August
I'm not having any luck finding any place with that relay in stock. I too would like to know if there are acceptable substitute?

What are the requirements for the relay and the diode?
Any ideas of an acceptable substitute for the relay? The ones you have listed are on backorder on Mouser's and DigiKey till like August
Yes, there are plenty of alternate relays one can use. What you need in a relay is the following:

- 12 Volts coil. (Contacts can be rated either 12v or 115v)
- Contacts rated 6 amps or higher if 115v, or 20 amps and higher if 12v rated.
- DPDT, DPST, SPST = if you go SPST, I'd choose a higher rated contact amps, DPDT you'd want to use both contact sets to even the load.
- Sealed - preferred, but one could just add a bead of silicon around the relay later.

Given that said, any of these from RadioShack should do:

12VDC/30A SPST Automotive Relay Catalog#: 275-226
12VDC/40A SPST Automotive Relay Catalog#: 275-001
12VDC/10A DPDT Plug-in Relay Catalog#: 275-218

Could also try Auto-Zone, Advanced Auto, or NAPA Auto parts for the "generic fog lights" 12V relay.

If you go with a DPDT relay, you can add an LED indicator to the oposite contacts (the one that's closed when the relay is not energized). I did this as an added mod and mounted a bright RED LED on my dash panel so I can tell if I've forgotten to fire off (Latch the relay) the HID's before heading out. Once the HIDs are on, the LED goes out. Nice reminder!
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