Updated: June 2018
What is a ballast?
A ballast is the power controller of your HID system, it is an essential part to the kit. It's a small box that connects to your HID bulb as it ensures your bulbs get the right kind of current. The ballast also helps to turn the lights on initially and regulates the current after the light has started and keeps the light output steady.
In short, the ballast is crucial to get your HID headlights working and make sure they continue to work properly. An HID bulb will not work without a ballast and a bulb marketed as HID but does not include a ballast, is not an HID kit. An HID system is not complete without a ballast.
"55w Power Ballasts"
Here at HID-Power, we have both 35w and 55w ballasts, in both CANBUS and non-CANBUS versions. We recommend CANBUS ballasts across the board as they are more durable, and smooth out the power input and provide resistance. While most vehicles do not need this at all, it can still help provide a more reliable operation. CANBUS ballasts are more expensive however, so luckily they aren't a requirement for most vehicles on the road. But if you drive a European car, a Ford, a Jeep, or a Dodge, you will more than likely need CANBUS ballasts. We do not recommend 55w ballasts for the fog lights.
HID bulbs are designed for 35w, just like all factory-installed HID's. There are no HID bulbs specifically designed for 55w of power. So running an HID bulb with a 55w ballast is going to overdrive them. This means that the HID bulb will have a shorter life, and that the color is corrected for that much power level. So an 8000k color (ice blue) with 55w ballasts will look more like a 6000k color (cool white).
Are 55w ballasts worth it then? We think that if you live in a rural area or perhaps do a lot of night time driving, or travel on the road a lot, 55w ballasts can be of benefit to you. The bulbs aren't just going to give out on you in a few weeks because of the additional power, but they will experience a shorter life, that is for certain. It said to be about half the life. However, HID Bulbs do eventually burn out and at rare times sooner than expected due to defects in electronics manufacturing. All of our products include a 1 year warranty for these reasons.
Are CANBUS ballasts worth it? To truly understand the functions of a CANBUS ballast for use in HID lighting, you must first understand the role of the CANBUS network in an automotive electrical system and how it operates. CAN stands for “Controller Area Network” and BUS meaning pathway or data transfer channel. Can-bus systems allow different components to communicate with one another without requiring a central computer. Basically, a vehicle that comes with a CANBUS system helps to notify the driver when something is wrong, it also monitors that a particular bulb is working. This can cause a problem when replacing a traditional light bulb with an LED or an HID system because they will not read the same to the CANBUS controller (as they use less power) and will assume the light bulb is burnt out resulting in an error message being displayed to the driver, a flickering problem, or no power being delivered at all.
"35w Canbus Ballasts"
A CANBUS ballast corrects this providing additional resistance to overcome the vehicle's sensors so that the lights can work properly. However, this does not necessarily mean it will have enough resistance to overcome the vehicle's sensors as some vehicles require just a little bit of resistance, but others require exactly the same resistance as factory. If this is the case, a HID relay harness can then be used which powers the bulbs directly from the battery.
We recommend CANBUS HID kits to European cars, Ford, Dodge, Chrysler, and Jeep.. If your vehicle has a CANBUS system and is constantly warning you that your headlights are out with your current HID kit, Installing a CANBUS ballast is optional as you can simply ignore the warning light. But, if your vehicle has a mechanism that turns the headlights off when the system senses there is no bulb, it is necessary to use a CANBUS ballast.
Our CANBUS ballasts will last you longer than any other ballast, additionally they will smooth out the power input and provide resistance. As mentioned already, there are some rare cases (mostly dodge) where CANBUS ballasts will not work on their own and you will be required to use a relay harness, and in super rare cases, resistors.
Resistors help the HID lights consume more power and replicate factory power consumption. In other words, full voltage will be supplied and you will be able to run your lights without any issues. Resistors are a popular and universal fix to add more power to the circuit. Resistors do get hot during operation, since they covert power to heat, but this is not a concern if they are properly mounted away from plastic, and only hanging freely or touching metal surfaces. We currently do not sell resistors. But as stated above, it is very rare when they are required and usually only is the case with Ram trucks, but not always.
We hope this helps clear up any confusion regarding our ballast options.