How Hella Driving Lights and other Halogen Light Bulbs Actually Work

Shaun Stille

Some car owners are into using halogen light bulbs like the popular and flashy Hella driving lights. While they may sound a bit fancier than the common incandescent bulbs, halogen lights have been around for a while now, says contributor Justine Gazzara.

Light Bulb

“Unlike LED lights and HID (High Intensity Discharge), or Xenon lights, Halogen light bulbs are not a “new” technology, but rather a refinement of an existing technology. Halogen bulbs are a variant of the traditional incandescent bulbs that have been used since the early days of the electric light.”

Halogen lights are recognized as direct “descendants” of the Granddaddy of electric lights, the light bulb. They work basically the same way with a few modifications. Here’s a quick rundown of how the traditional incandescent bulb works.

An incandescent bulb lights up by passing electric current through a tungsten filament, which is contained inside a glass enclosure. As the current passes through, the filament is heated enough to produce visible light. These bulbs usually contain a vacuum or an inert gas (a kind of gas that do not take part in combustion processes and doesn’t react with other materials). The gas prevents the tungsten from evaporating because of the heat.

On the other hand, a halogen lamp like the popular Hella 500 Black Magic still retains the standard tungsten filament, but doesn’t contain an inert gas – instead, it contains halogen, which slows the thinning of the tungsten filament despite the extreme heat, and prevents blackening. This process significantly lengthens the lifespan of the bulb by allowing the tungsten to safely reach higher temperatures (therefore, producing a much brighter light). To further enable the filament to withstand extreme heat, materials like fused quartz are often used instead of normal silica glass.

These improvements to the standard incandescent bulb assembly has enabled halogen lights to be 10 to 20 percent more energy-efficient. These lights also burn brighter longer (halogen bulbs last twice as long), and can still crank out 94 percent of its original brightness near the end of its life compared to a measly 82 percent for their incandescent counterparts.

Halogen lights are great choices for automobile lighting, especially if you like going off-road. Get the best deals on them only from reputable companies like Global Parts, Inc. and enjoy your cross-country night drives longer.

(Source: How Does a Halogen Light Bulb Work?, May 13, 2012)

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