8000 lumen 100 watt HID handheld spotlight conversion.

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FlashPilot
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8000 lumen 100 watt HID handheld spotlight conversion.

Life for this searchlight started out as a modest (but well constructed) Coleman searchlight. It used a 100 watt quarts halogen H1 bulb that put out a clean tight beam pattern. A Google search revealed that many people in several different forums reported that this model was one of the best for the price.

It features a high density heat resistant plastic housing, high quality 7" polished aluminum reflector, glass lens, 14 gauge cord and wiring. The overall build and quality of the components are far better than what is sold in stores today for a comparable price.

This light was made about 15 years ago. I found it locally on the internet and snatched it up for $10. The condition is nearly new and it came in the original box.

After reading 2100's threads about HID lights and after a lot of his advise, I purchased the 100 watt automotive HID kit. After shipping to the US, the total came to about $100US for the complete kit. I was surprised at the high quality and completeness of the kit. It even included a high quality (and properly rated) wiring harness with relay for an automotive installation. I wound up saving the harness and didnt need to chop any connectors from it during my searchlight conversion.

Readying the test bed:

I use one of the best SLA cells available, which is made by Odyssey. The PC680 (about $100) is in all my cars, motorcycles, aircraft and also used in my > 100W searchlights. It weights 15 lbs and has a 16,000 mah capacity and can be recharged with a 6 amp car battery charger. It would take about 23 x 18680 cells (along with the associated tangle of wires, 18650 cell carriers, balance circuit and hobby charger) to provide that type of reserve to fulfill the same voltage and reserve amp requirements.

Out of the box, I tested the HID's for a few hours to make sure they wouldnt fail prematurely. I opted for the 4300 degree kelvin light temperature for a warmer color rendition and maximum light output. No "rice" for me thank you. I hate blue tint in high powered lights because it hurts my eyes. The vendor can provide the usual full spectrum of bulb temperatures and mounting types upon request and was very communicative in answering all of my questions. After the purchase through the link, I asked for a paypal transaction invoice, which they were more than happy to provide.

Lights on the test bed:

The blue tint is from the camera. In actuality the bulbs have an almost incandescent tint... very easy on the eyes and renders color well. Blue light blots out color and makes everything look blue. Can you say "rice"? LOL! Not me.

Everything checked out and performed much better than expected. Each ballast requires about 13A to ignite the bulb. That amount of current draw lasts only about 1-2 seconds, then settles down to around 7.5A continuous. Bulbs reach their full brightness in about 30 seconds. The aluminum ballast housings are very large and well heat sinked to exchange the heat from 100W of power (not the usual 35W seen in most automobiles with HID). Remaining static and without any air circulating past them, the ballasts take about 25 minutes to warm up to the point where I can no longer keep my hands on them. Because of that and their size, they would definitely need to be externally mounted so they can exchange heat with the air. With a slight amount of air moving past them (as in using them outdoors) the temperatures become much more manageable. More commentary on the initial test here: http://budgetlightforum.com/node/4803

I didnt take any pics during the mod but I will detail a few highlights. I first removed the reflector, lens and bulb from the searchlight and taped the lens to the reflector to prevent any foreign debris from entering and messing up the nice mirror surface. I then test fitted the HID bulb to the reflector and energized the system. Through a lot of trial and error, I finally discovered that the bulb's optimum focus is about 1mm inboard (toward) the reflector... not away from it (as had been mentioned several times in many other HID searchlight mods).  Luckily, the contact surface between the reflector and bulb was dimpled on the reflector side. The dimples were 1mm tall, so all that was required was a quick removal of the dimples with my dremel tool. The bulb now sits flat on the reflector. Some reshaping of the spring steel wire that retains the bulb was in order but wasnt that difficult... again thanks to the high quality of the coleman light.

After initial mockup, i discovered that the bulb runs very hot - and accordingly makes the reflector very hot. So hot that I could smell the plastic housing beginning to overheat. I took it apart and drilled several nicely spaced holes with a hole saw. That immediate took care of the overheating issue. I fabricated a ballast mounting plate out of some hardened tempered aircraft aluminum and mounted it to the back of the searchlight. I used a spacer between the mounting plate and ballast to allow more air to circulate and better assist in cooling.

I was thrilled that this all came together and performed as expected. As you can see, the 100W ballast is huge. The whole light probably weighs about 5 pounds so its still manageable. The pistol grip is very comfortable and you dont realize the weight because of it. Its also fairly well balanced.

I left the ignitor and connections outside of the body to assist in cooling and help facilitate any maintenance if needed.

Pics from my cheap cam dont do it justice and it looks much better in real life. AA battery on top of ballast for scale of size.

Im more than satisfied with the mod and wish I had done something like this years ago. The 100 watt HID's put out an astonishing amount of light with good range and a wide beam. I think even the 35 watt HID's would impress most people. Of the 4 vehicles Ive tried this light in so far, each of them had no trouble in providing enough current and voltage through their lighter plugs to ignite the light... thanks to the thick cord.

Thanks to BLF member "2100", I now have far more handheld candlepower than I will ever need.

Build list & costs:

1 x 100W HID ballast and bulb - $50

1 x searchlight - $10

Aircraft zip ties, fasteners and aluminum - $30

Total $90

I could have saved $20 if I hadn't used expensive aircraft fasteners, but its what I had on hand at the time. I still have a spare 100W HID for another project... hmm, what to do next?

Edited by: FlashPilot on 02/05/2016 - 23:58
FlashPilot
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Beamshots taken at the threshold of runway 30. (3000' x 40').

Contol shot

Car low beam

Car high beam

Searchlight with 100W halogen lamp - before mod. Useful range approx 1500' but dimly light.

Searchlight with 100W HID mod. Easily reaches 3000' and then some. Because the cheap camera doesnt have a manual shutter speed setting, it makes the incandescent beam shots look brighter than they actually are... and HID beam shots look less bright than they actually are. In person, the HID provided enough spill to clearly see the taxi ways and most of the homes that lined the runway. As 2100 had pointed out, the 100W's should provide some great spill... and that they do!

Wind sock before mod

Wind sock after mod. Not only does it blind the wind sock, it also lights up the bluff clear on the other side of the Snake River!

 

Again, if the camera didnt adjust automatically for the bright HID light, these pics would appear much, much brighter. I almost didnt post the beam shots because they do a lousy job of showing how bright this light really is. People have to squint if the light is shown inside of 100 yards.

_the_
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Nice mod! Thanks for sharing this!

Regarding the camera, it didn't actually adjust anything. At least both wind sock photos were 1s, f/3, ISO250. But the HID is still clearly brighter, see the mouse-over-trick below (mouse over for HID)

=the=

 

FlashPilot
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Thanks _the_. Looking at the properties of the raw files, I can see youre right. There must be something else in the camera that automatically balances the pics because these dont even come close to showing a good comparison. I guess I should start looking at better cameras again. Every time I buy a descent one, I wind up destroying it within a year. Same thing with expensive sunglasses. Buy the cheap stuff and they last for years... just my luck.

FlashPilot
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Move your mouse over the image...

2100
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H1, not very commonly found on nowadays hosts I guess.

I use H3 on my Sanmak SM5200.  H4 on the Amondotech.

FlashPilot
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Hella offroad lights use H1 in their top of the line lights while their midrange lights use H3. Its ridiculous that they dont share just one standard. At least HID bulbs are cheap and use simple plug-in connectors. I may convert a set of incandescent offroad lights for my pickup truck next. I wonder how HID's would tolerate being turned on and off several times to prevent blinding oncoming traffic? I wonder what would blow out first - the ballast or the bulb? I drive in the country a lot at night and could definitely use a lot more light. So far Ive been lucky not to hit any large animals but Ive had several close calls.

mitro
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Great work! Boy that's nice. I could see me getting myself in a lot of trouble with that thing. I had a Stanley HID3000 but it got stolen, so my truck is sadly underpowered in the light department.

FlashPilot
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Build your own. Its very easy, inexpensive and the output is amazing.

cd520
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Nicely done FlashPilot. I'm currently still going through the DHL/seller fiasco after DHL lost my HID package.

Ford Prefect
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I have been tempted to make a similar cigarette lighter socket powered lamp to keep in the car for a while. Nice job! I will keep an eye out for that host.
FlashPilot
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cd520 wrote:

Nicely done FlashPilot. I'm currently still going through the DHL/seller fiasco after DHL lost my HID package.

Thanks. They still havent coughed up your refund yet? Give DHL CS a call and explain to them that you need an immediate refund and cant wait any longer. Maybe they'll cut you a break. If you used paypal, I think they have the primary responsibility for insuring the delivery of your package.

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Ford Prefect wrote:
I have been tempted to make a similar cigarette lighter socket powered lamp to keep in the car for a while. Nice job! I will keep an eye out for that host.

If I find another host, I'll PM you. I like this one because its not a pure spot beam. It provides a descent amount of controlled flood with the 100W HID bulbs. Browsing the completed bids on ebay, they seem to be going for around $50... not bad considering the quality of the host. There were a few similar coleman variants and they all appear to use the same reflector and lens.

cd520
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DHL needs to refund the seller since they were the shipper. Once that happens he will reship the order.

fishmaniac
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Very very nice mod Flash. Those beams look like they're coming from space! Do you have a Jeep Wrangler?

Looks like you could have lit up the top of that ridge as well. 

fonzeka
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Nice work!

I thought a 100W HID should keep cooler than a 100W halogen since it's more efficient?

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fishmaniac wrote:

Very very nice mod Flash. Those beams look like they're coming from space! Do you have a Jeep Wrangler?

Looks like you could have lit up the top of that ridge as well. 

It reaches the top of the ridge with ease. Its only 350' high and 3000' away. If the reflector were more focused, it would put a massive spot out there. I much prefer this reflector since it still gives a good hotspot with descent spill... you see everything, not just what the hotspot is illuminating.

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fonzeka wrote:

Nice work!

I thought a 100W HID should keep cooler than a 100W halogen since it's more efficient?

Good catch! I thought so too, but then there was that funny hot plastic smell I detected before I drilled the holes in the host. In the dark, I did note that when I turned off the 100W incandescent bulb, it dimmed quickly as the filament cooled. With the HID at turn-off, the entire quarts tube & envelope were glowing bright orange-hot for several seconds. Thats some pretty darn hot glass. I would guess that the surface temperatures (for at least this particular model HID) far exceed the 100W halogen it replaced. If the host were mounted on a car bumper moving through the air, I wouldnt be concerned because it takes a while to reach full operating temperature. I built this light with the intent that it could remain on as long as desired without worrying about a melt down. As a bonus, the host is threaded from the factory for a standard camera tripod, so I'll be using that option as well.

sontakke
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Not only you have your own plane, you also have your own airport Smile

FlashPilot
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Well not quite, but Im very lucky to have private access to such a great beautiful place.

I showed the searchlight to a police man last night. He was so impressed with it that he almost wouldnt give it back to me. LOL!

Southern Aurora
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Quote:
That amount of current draw lasts only about 1-2 seconds, then settles down to around 5A continuous. Bulbs reach their full brightness in about 30 seconds. The aluminum ballast housings are very large and well heat sinked to exchange the heat from 100W of power (not the usual 35W seen in most automobiles with HID).
5Amp draw @ 12Volts = 60Watts consumed less losses your output to the globe will be around 50Watts unless it breaks the laws of physics there is no way your light is feeding a 100Watts to the globe, but still probably as bright as a 400 Watt incandescent globe.

A 35Watt HID consumes around 42Watts and output is about 3500 Lumens just guessing you may be seeing 5000 Lumens.

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.

Budget Ain't Always Budget!

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No bad news at all.... only good. Its at least 3 times brighter (spill, range and apparent brightness) than the 2 x 35W HID's with 5" reflectors in my friends aircraft landing lights... everyone agrees its probably even more than that. Amperage draw are manufacturer claims. My DMM only goes up to 10 amps so I have no way of verifying what is actual.

Southern Aurora
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FlashPilot wrote:

Amperage draw are manufacturer claims. My DMM only goes up to 10 amps so I have no way of verifying what is actual.

 

Just goes to show how silly the manufacturer is, he obviously missed Electronics 101 Smile

If you meter goes up to 10 Amps you should have no problem verifying the manufacturers claims.

Budget Ain't Always Budget!

FlashPilot
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I tried and it blew an expensive proprietary fuse on my fluke DMM. The amperage far exceeds 10A during startup.

Southern Aurora
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FlashPilot wrote:

I tried and it blew an expensive proprietary fuse on my fluke DMM. The amperage far exceeds 10A during startup.

That's encouraging. Have a look at some of the 4 cell lipo hobby packs far lighter to carry around and most of the ballast I've seen have no problem with the higher Voltage.

Budget Ain't Always Budget!

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That is just soo impressive! I love the way you make the whole build sound soo straightforward!

( wiping drool from face) 

I have noo real use for that, none whatsoever, but dang man I like it. 

3000 foot equals 960 meters ! Hot d***! Love it Smile

~ Ledsmoke ~

Dutch humor:

[quote=djozz]

 I do not think that the BLF-community ben

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Southern Aurora wrote:
FlashPilot wrote:

I tried and it blew an expensive proprietary fuse on my fluke DMM. The amperage far exceeds 10A during startup.

That's encouraging. Have a look at some of the 4 cell lipo hobby packs far lighter to carry around and most of the ballast I've seen have no problem with the higher Voltage.

The DMM fuse is rated @11A fast blow and cost a 2 week wait plus $17 to replace. The light was running and thoroughly warmed up when I quickly swapped the DMM inline for a reading. I figured that it wouldnt exceed 10A to restrike while it was still warmed up. It did start to reignite the glowing hot bulb for a second and then followed by a pop. I thought I had destroyed my DMM. I'll be using one of my cheaper DMM's (with cheap fuses) for now on when in doubt of actual current load. I should have known better with this setup.

The light will be ran mostly from a vehicle lighter plug, or a small portable genset with a longer power cord and the light mounted on a tripod. IMO, its actually too bright to walk around with while trying to spotlight things. Shine it at something lightly colored close by and you see a brilliant blue spot burned into your retinas for several minutes every time you blink. It probably does best at illuminating wide open areas, or distant targets. The SLA I have is super heavy duty, top rated, hard to kill and it was free. Its also far safer than a huge multi-celled lipo pack. I'll leave the human bomb testing to the more adventurous for now.

I keep forgetting to barrow a clamp meter for true amperage readings. If I can get one, I'll update the post.

Do you own any HID conversions you can share with us?

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Ledsmoke wrote:

That is just soo impressive! I love the way you make the whole build sound soo straightforward!

( wiping drool from face) 

I have noo real use for that, none whatsoever, but dang man I like it. 

3000 foot equals 960 meters ! Hot d***! Love it Smile

I would encourage anyone that is interested in this to have a go at it. The mod itself is very simple and mostly involves time in considering wire management, bulb mounting depth and ballast mounting. You can get the 2 x 55W HID kit for about half as much as the 2 x 100W kit, and the 55 watt might be more practical in most situations. If you have a friend to split the cost, you'll each wind up with your own searchlight cannon for nearly half price.

Did I really need something like this? Oh hell no... but it is fun to play with and others certainly enjoy it.

Again, all credit goes to 2100 (for teasing me for ages with his HID beam shots and links).

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I´m not going to build one of those. My wife would shit MY pants if I start waving that thing around. Besides I´m already way over my light budget for the last 3 months and 3 months to come.

~ Ledsmoke ~

Dutch humor:

[quote=djozz]

 I do not think that the BLF-community ben

tbgallant
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Just a curious question here.. if one were to buy the 2 x 55W kit, and install in some H1 housings (Hella or the like) could this be used for regular automotive highbeams?  (say in a truck or car with smaller circular headlights)?  

Anybody have any thoughts on modding this to ramp up/down the brightness (instead of trying to rig up separate low beams)?

Thanks 

Edzar12
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I must say this was very interesting to read. Also thanks for posting pictures...pics always makes things better. Smile 

Has anyone tried using these 100W HID's in a Automobile low beams, whether it be Projector or Reflector Housing? 

Man always want better... Smile 

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