Advice needed for spotlight HID conversion.

I was checking out a yard sale the other day and came across an old discontinued Coleman spotlight. Its still new in the box so I picked it up for $5. Model 5362D718. I remember seeing an article where someone converted one of these to HID and was more than pleased with the results, but I couldnt find the article again. The spotlight sports a high quality 7" reflector and what appears to be a H4 55 watt bulb, although I havent pulled it apart yet. The build quality and materials far surpass the junk we find in todays cheap spotlights and Im very impressed with the sturdy construction.

I couldnt find a pic so I'll shoot a few later. Here's a schematic.

2100 suggested I go with the 100 watt automotive HID conversion:

It looks great but Im also interested in other options that can deliver more watts. Id also like to stay around $100 or less if possible and retain use of the lighter plug.

Anyone have any suggestions?

I think 2100 pointed you in the right direction. I have that very kit on the way for my spotlight. (thanks to 2100's suggestion) I personally couldnt find anything at that price point that was better. Im not sure I would want anything much bigger using a cig lighter plug.

Unfortunately there are no > 100W auto HIDs. You can tweak the resistors or stuff like that, but nowadays all the ballasts are potted with some stuff that makes everything inaccessible, they do not want people to mess. Some do 150W-200W this way, close to 200W you need to heatsink some MOSFETs. You get a low cost Maxabeam, same throw but with 8X the lumens from a $100 budget light, how cool is that?

If you get a pair of 55W bulbs together with the order (cheap, think $13 shipped) then you will pretty good throw, the arc length of those bulbs is like 3mm while the 75-100W is like 5mm. Keep it below 1 min for those fun sessions, do it 10 mins and probably the arc chamber gets deformed. LOL!

Seriously 100W will get too hot for > 15 mins usage even if you use the 75-100W bulbs....probably smoke or something. You can do 1.5 million candlepower (that's what i measured with my SM5200) with the 55W bulb 100W ballast and just a normal/semi-decent 6" reflector. Ain't VSS-3 tank light even if extrapolate to 1000W and times 4 the lux due to double sized reflector (15 million CP times 4 = 60 million CP) but we'll make do....just to give you an idea of the setup. LOL!

Throw is always welcome in my book, but seriously in real-world practicality and enjoyment, i find more fun in doing a big fat %!@#!@# bright beam than a thin thrower beam. Something like a triple XM-L 26k CP beam vs a 50k CP from the Solarforce MPP-1. You don't hit as far, but keep it within the triple XM-L's reach and OMG the MPP-1 looks anemic.

Thanks 2100, I new I could count on you for a well thought out detailed synopsis. I did Google for automotive stock HID replacements rated above 100W and came up with nothing. Through my involvement with deep scuba diving, marine and aircraft certified electronics, Im not about to try to dremel through hardened acrylic or epoxy potting compounds to squeeze a few extra lumens from a high powered ballast. On the flip side, heat sinking is easily accomplished in most cases by anyone with access to aluminum sheet, snips or a jig saw & belt sander.

The coleman host provides a large flat back side to mount the ballast externally where it can exchange heat with ambient air. I want to keep it reliable while being able to run for several hours continuously if necessary... just as it should if mounted in an automotive light housing (which the item you linked to is supposedly designed for). Another interesting thing about the coleman host is that it contains a metallic helacoil in the plastic housing to accommodate threading into a standard camera tripod. Oh the possibilities!

I didnt realize that there is a difference in arc lengths for automotive related HID gear. Thanks for that info. I'll go with the big fat beam every time, although I suspect a 35W 3mm arc will be far out gunned in range and width than a 100W with 5mm arc. There are dozens of 35W versus 55W HID comparisons on youtube. The 55's kick some serious ass over the 35's. I think I'll avoid pushing 100W through the 35W bulbs that you mentioned for now. I read that the standard DS family of bulbs can handle about 90W before possible catastrophic failure of the xenon envelope (and what a cute small explosion it would probably be). Hah!

The AN-VSS3A's success was completely attributable to the housing and advanced variable geometry warping parabolic reflector design. The engineers went to extraordinary lengths to maximize the efficiency of every available lumen, and while in any reflector configuration. I still havent seen anything like it in any lighting device to this date. At only 14" in reflector diameter, it provided more functionality and range than its much larger and heavier AN-VSS1 2.2kW predecessor.

As far as triple XML setups are concerned, my hydra triple XML mag looked rather anemic when operated at 2.5W as compared to 3W (per emitter). Yeah... the difference was - as they say, "like night and day". Thats why I have absolutely no desire to purchase the chinese triple XML's. They are way underpowered in my opinion, although they may be adequate for close to mid range. But if you've never seen 3 XML's driven to capacity, you probably wouldnt know what you were missing. Yeah, i know you own a TK70... so that doesnt count.

This is all great discussion and I'll go ahead and purchase the 100W HID setup that you recommended. Thanks for all your advice!

CD5320 - What host are you using for your HID searchlight? Can you give us some details? The coiled power wires on the coleman appear to be 14ga and more than adequate to deliver the proper current. The weakness will probably be at the contact point where the positive plunger pin on the lighter plug contacts the lighter socket, or in the auto wiring itself. I have a small high powered gel cell aircraft starter battery (read: extremely expensive) that I plan on carrying in a small back pack to power this light when its not plugged into a vehicle. Battery weight is just over 15 lbs and delivers 24 reserve capacity minutes.

What is reserve capacity?
Reserve Capacity, (RC) is a battery industry rating, defining a battery's ability to power a vehicle with an inoperative alternator or fan belt. The rating is the number of minutes a battery at 80 degrees F can be discharged at 25 amps and maintain a voltage of 10.5 volts for a 12 volt battery. The higher the reserve rating, the longer your vehicle can operate should your alternator or fan belt fail.

Although hard to calculate exact figures - because specs arent available for the HID power consumption and discharge graphs at various amperage draws for the battery, I should probably get at least 1.25 hrs of run time if not closer to 1.75 hrs. If Im not satisfied, I'll seek the serviced of Reverend Jim and build a massive 18650 pack to power it.

I would recommend going with a 35w HID conversion kit for a motorcycle. You can get them dirt cheap. Something like this...

We used to sell kits like these. There are 3 main importers selling to all the sellers. The build quality is about the same on all of them. Most are fairly good kits but with the electronics on cars and trucks today not all of them will work with every make and model so a lot of the feedback is not as it may appear. I would stick with 4300k or 5000k since it will be the brightest.

Are you aware of any 100w (or higher) systems that you would recommend? I agree... the lower the k (for HID) the higher the lumens.

The only ones I know of are the the 35W and the 50-55W conversions. Have you ever seen a 50w HID in an open reflector? They look like the sun. I hate to think what a 100W hid would look like LOL

I agree, its hard to fathom what the 100W version will look like compared to a 35W, but I think Im about to find out.

Hmm...the 100W is bright, but not THAT bright in a 6-7" carry handle plastic spotlight. It is just bright enough to keep the more extreme flashaholics happy, and also just bright enough to blind yourself instantly within 5m. So do not do it and be careful of any accidents like pressing the power switch which could be quite soft, i had one really close range as in point blank but luckily only the corona hit from my 30 deg angle and not perpendicularly 90 deg down.

I mean if 150m CP can cause flash blindness @ 300m

37.5m CP cause FB @ 150m

9.375m CP @ 75m

2.34m CP @ 37.5m

This would be approx 1.5m CP.

Flashpilot, if you can mount it outside, it's good. The ballast can get pretty hot. Also other than 4300-5000K bulbs delivering the most lumens, you'd find that the higher powered HIDs are also capable of delivering more lumens per watt. For the nice branded GE/Philips bulb, they can do like 120 lumens per watt, way more than a cluster of XM-L/SST-90 gunning at full spec. Chinese bulbs probably 90-100lm/W is not unachievable. XM-Ls are really efficient only up to like 1.2A, and only if you keep them cool. With a HID bulb you just keep it away from the plastics and get it to heat up real hot, the hotter it goes the happier it is! :D (that's the BIG difference)

1.5m CP is correct. Last week we had a local meetup and we put a spot on a building 1.4km away, in bright city skyline conditions. 1500000 sq rt = 1224m throw @ 1 lux. It would be 2.4km ANSL/NEMA F1.

That pretty much hits the nail on the head 2100, "just bright enough to keep the more extreme flashaholics happy". I often camp in the Snake River Gorge and could use a lot more range than any LED could ever provide. Lighting up the canyon walls while having some real throw sounds rather appealing, even if it is only a small high intensity spot.

The runway I use is 3200 feet long with nearly no ambient light during the night. None of my flashlights even come close to projecting a beam 1/8th that range. Black tarmac also seems to gobble up photons as quickly as water so the HID should prove to be an interesting comparison. Its nice to know that HID is so efficient for being such an old technology. Thanks for the comparative calculations.

In thinking about my VS3, the most used setting was usually in full flood mode because of the sheer overwhelming amount of output. I will experiment with different bulb mounting depths in the handheld, but I doubt that there will be a usable setting other than full culmination because the reflector is optimized for it. If I find that it produces a range of good light quality at various mounting depths, I'll try to find a way of mounting the bulb on a sliding telescopic tube system and manipulate it with a push-rod through a hole from the back of the housing. No worries about blinding others with it. I dont plan on letting others play with it without the proper dissertation, or especially after a few beers. Its always safety first with the group I hang with. Ive worked several times on the bow of my boat in front of the VS3 light source. As long as you dont look directly into the beam (even at full culmination), its a non-issue. Ive also watched carbon rods burning while peering in through the side of a sky searcher from 3 feet away. From the sides, they arent that bright at all.

I searched for GE and Phillips brand 100W HID bulbs that would fit the socket mount without modification but came up empty. Do you have any links or part numbers? I suspect the chinese bulbs probably wont last that long.

Which HID produced a range of 1.4km? Id like to hear all about it (host, mods, wattage, etc.) Did the police come to your apartment and confiscate it? LOL!

If none of this works, I can always mount them in my convertible. Luckily, its one of the very few cars with stock incan housings that work amazingly well with HID retrofitting, and without any additional mods. Most other cars put out a horrible dangerous beam pattern with HID and require projector housing retrofits to prevent blinding oncoming traffic.

I just took apart the spotlight. Inside are a high quality aluminum mirror polished reflector and glass lens. It takes an osram H1. The bulb specs shown nominal at 12V:

Luminous flux 2600 lm
Color temperature 3200 K

This by far will be the easiest mod Ive ever done.

Playing around with the searchlight last night, it produced a long smooth beam with considerable range for an incan (at least +1200 feet). Its been a while since Ive owned one of these so Ive forgotten just how useful they can be. Not bad from a 100W specialty halogen bulb that can be replaced for about $10 every 50 hours.

Another source for cheap 100W HID replacement bulbs advertises Luminous flux: 6500lm, so it seems that a 100W HID isnt that bright after all.

Sorry for the delay in my response to your question FlashPilot. I am going to put the 100W HID kit into a SLA spotlight I picked up on clearance at my local "Tractor Supply" store for $20. It has a huge 8" reflector. The spotlight does not appear to be on their website but if you have one local you may go check it out. For the $20 pricetag you cant beat it for a big HID host. The spotlight itself in stock form is utter garbage so I see why it was on clearance. My LED lights blow it away. However being as low lumen output that it is I notice the beam is extremely tight.

Just looked at my DHL tracking and it looks like my kit should be here monday. I also picked up a pair of 55W 5000k bulbs to play with as suggested by 2100. The SLA that came with the spotlight will need upgrading(2x6V 2000mah). I was going to order one this week but kept forgetting to. I'm hoping something around a 12V 9-10Ah will fit and leave room for the ballast. I may end up mounting the ballast externally IF I have to.

Thanks CD520. Just to clarify, can you please answer a few questions?

The store you purchased your spotlight from is called "Tractor Supply"?

Is this their web site?

Could you please post the SKU (under the bar code on the box), model number and make of your light?

Is the reflector aluminum or plastic? Does it appear perfect to the eye or can you see imperfections?

Is the lense glass of plastic?

Cabelas is having a large sale on SLA searchlights, but they are so heavy and large that I decided to pass at this time. I was playing with the 35W HID and it reminded me of the cooler I bring with me when fishing... stuffed with a 6-pack of bottles, sandwiches, bait and ice.

Yes that is the correct website. The spotlight does not appear to be in the online system. Ive searched for it there myself. It is a discontinued item on clearance on what seems to be a per store basis. I would post a pic of it however I took it to work with me friday because my HID kit will be delivered there monday. I usually have some downtime during the day and will get it put together there.

The reflector is metal of some sorts. It is not mirror finish but just a very light orange peel. The lense is also glass.

Here is a pic I found searching google images.;jsessionid=I8CfgB9XTqEEYXLZ69HXLg**.app2-i?id=136270968

Thanks for the link. Im looking forward to hearing about your results and how things work out with the LOP reflector.

DARNIT!! I just realized that I forget to opt for DHL shipping for the few extra dollars. It could be a while before my HID kit shows up. 1015374 Is this the light you guys are talking about?

Sorry wrong light. Maybe this one?

Look at my last post. The link is exactly the same spotlight that I purchased.

My hosts are the YAO/Mule 35/80W OEM hosts. The YAO or MULE are just modded from these plastic OEM put in a LiPo pack, key slots, battery charge LEDs, don't know what dah.... hehe.

Mine is just a pure and simple host that i got one for usd89 and the other usd60 shipped, in fact one of them the relay broke, so i just hardwired the ballasts to the host +ve and -ve terminals. I recharge the removable SLA housing with my hobby charger, the built in one sucks. LOL! These are operated in true budegt lights prototol, if it does not work, just clobber it to work!

Flashpilot, if you need the most lumens and can suffer a bit of throw, just use the 100W bulbs. Don't have to muck with the focus. Just put in some metal washer, or coil round some 12awg solid core copper wire to push the bulb back.


55W and 100W or 75W I can't remember. The 100W bulb would have less throw but pretty much more lumens with the bigger gap. Never measured the lumens diff, but definitely i could see more throw with the 55W. That white colour holder is ceramic for the 75/100W, and some ABS plastic or something for the 35 and 55W bulbs. So definitely can withstand longer runs. But be careful, i have not pushed over 100hrs, in which the reflector could become whitish blur due to UV bleaching. These bulbs don't have a lot of UV-A (I used my transition lenses to get a feel), but you will never know.