A4 - B5, B6, B7, B8 DIY for A4 - B5, B6, B7, B8

Helix/Depo Headlight and VVME HID Installation DIY (tons of pics)

Old 10-27-2010, 10:46 PM
  #1  
Audi Forum - Posts like an A5
Thread Starter
 
mksu19's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Republic of B.C.!
Posts: 382
mksu19 will become famous soon enough
Wink Helix/Depo Headlight and VVME HID Installation DIY (tons of pics)

I have searched here and other forums but to no avail. I recently bought a pair of Helix Ecodes for my baby Dee and a set of 55W H7 HID kit from VVME. I wanted it to look somewhat factory (the installation) so I searched the net for ways to do so. I decided to employ my hubby to help me install and document the steps we took to achieve a near OEM (appearance) installation.

But first, let me express my opinion about the Helix/Depo Headlight. I have used the Depo brand in our BMW's. Depo is know for it's cost effective appearance upgrades but in the BMW, the materials used in their lighting system was known to be "brittle" and prone to cracking especially when taken off and re-installed for whatever purpose was needed. The Depos available for the BMW's are often equipped with a poor quality projector that is adequate enough to be used for HID applications. They were however far superior to the Halogen capsules but none the less, came nowhere close to having the correct cut-offs as OEM. The Helix "Ecodes" that I have purchased seems to have a more Maleable material when compared to the ones I have previously used in our other cars. The manufacturer and the retailer claims that they are true ecodes and guarantees a sharp cut-off. I guess we'll know after it is installed in the A4. More on that later! Click HERE to get the same deal I got!

I opted to go the 55W route instead of the 35W's for several reasons. I have always used 35W on our other cars except for my hubby's E46 M3. He swapped out his headlights after being involved in a hit and run with the Depo brand and we ordered them from DDM Tuning complete with a set of 55W DDM Tuning HID kit. We were so impressed with the lighting output that it persuaded us to order our next set of HID's in 55W instead of 35W. The second reason is a matter of perspective. We always notice the difference when we drive the E46 and my E36. The E36 seems to have a "dimmer" light output than the M3 (for obvious reasons!) and we do feel safer driving at night with the brighter HID. Third is the price, for a little more (roughly $5-$10 extra), you could have a better kit! But, due to DDM's unreliable reputation, we decided to go with another company that is more known to the Audi world. Don't get me wrong, DDM's HID kits are fantastic! It's their customer service that ruins it for me. Anyways, VVME is a company that my husband and I have used during our many years of residency in Asia. We have had them installed in our 4X4's and it's Fog lights to our Ducatis to our daughter's Aprilia SR50 scooter to our son's Moto X. Meaning to say, that this company has always been reliable to us. Click HERE to get the same deal I got!

Before I bore everyone else with my rambling, lets begin the process of retrofitting our Helix/Depo 2 piece Ecode Headlamps with the VVME 55W H7 HID kit!


So late today, DHL Came today and delivered me these:





As you can see, it is a neatly packaged kit. Even though it was delivered from China, it didn't have that cheap feel and the confusing Chinese/English version documents! Y'all know what I mean! Anyways, the kit comes with true 55W bulbs as well!


My Helix has been sitting on top of my dresser waiting for the HID's to arrive.


So, lets begin!
The first step is to remove the back cover of the headlamp.




Next we locate the little cover tucked inside the back cover. Remove it by turning over the cover and pinching the locks inwards (towards the middle of the cover) and wiggle the square shaped cover until it slides out freely.:



Test fit the ballast into the recessed area where they usually are located in Xenon equipped cars. Measure the brackets (included in the HID kit!) and break both sides of the winglet tabs off. You'll know why during the assembly process:





Next we focus on removing the bulbs out of the low beam side. We begin that by unlatching the connector off and simply unlocking the clips that holds the bulb in place. Then after the bulb is removed, take off the retaining clip by squeezing the part of it closest to the reflector bowl. This will make it easier to install the HID bulb later.





The reason for removing the retaining clip is due to the fact that the HID bulb is hard wired. Next we installed the H7 HID bulb and reinstalled the clip.



Next we ran the ballast's "power supply (output)" cable through the opening in going into the headlight (see pic). And then we ran the"power supply cable (input) through the opening but this time we ran it from the inside going out of the hole (see pic).:





This is what the above step should look like if you weren't confused with my instructions!:


Now we plug the Input side of the power supply from the bulb to the ballast. Then we connected the smaller power supply connectors to the output side (cable from ballast), just remember to connect the red wire to the red wire and so forth. Then we finally connected the remaining (flat male connecting pins) to the halogen lamps socket.:




Then we return our focus on the brackets that we prepared earlier. We carefully bent the bracket to form the shape we intend to use it as. We basically guesstimated at this point. No need to get super detailed with this step but we certainly encourage you to take the time and map out the basic shape that you need to form to get a more cleaner look. The brackets will then be bolted onto the back cover.:




Double check your connection and inspect for damaged wires!:


Make sure to leave a fair amount of slack to the wires now exposed to the outside portion of the cover. Make sure to secure the wires with zip ties as to avoid them rubbing onto anything that could potentially damage them. We secured it on the same bracket that holds the ballast in place.:


Zip tie the loose wiring that would go into the headlight housing. Make sure that none of the wires will make contact with the projector bowls or reflector backing as these items seem to get hot. We tucked them in the bottom portion of the headlamp where they are out of harms way. Then we replace the cover onto the headlight housing and snap the lock to ensure proper seal.:





The process took us about 45mins to perform (including taking the photos). I can't wait to install them into baby Dee. The hubby also plans to seal the opening for the HID cables better with rubberized type foam and silicone to prevent any moisture from entering the headlamps. Hopefully tomorrow cause we are scheduled to attend the kids' PTA meeting tonight! I certainly hope that this will help other Audi A4 B5 owners out there. I will update this thread later on and give a complete review about both products involved. Thanks for being patient and happy motoring!
mksu19 is offline  
Old 10-28-2010, 07:15 AM
  #2  

 
PhinX404's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Southern Ontario
Posts: 1,403
PhinX404 is on a distinguished road
Default Re: Helix/Depo Headlight and VVME HID Installation DIY (tons of p

WOW! next time a few more pics! lol that's awesome and ya did a really solid job.
I'm going to move this to the DIY section. will be a nice addiction and a good job and nice quality pics post.
PhinX404 is offline  
Old 10-28-2010, 11:29 PM
  #3  
Audi Forum - Posts like an A5
Thread Starter
 
mksu19's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Republic of B.C.!
Posts: 382
mksu19 will become famous soon enough
Default Re: Helix/Depo Headlight and VVME HID Installation DIY (tons of p

Originally Posted by PhinX404 View Post
WOW! next time a few more pics! lol that's awesome and ya did a really solid job.
I'm going to move this to the DIY section. will be a nice addiction and a good job and nice quality pics post.
Oh don't worry, there'll be more photos to be added soon! Just have to wait for a nicer (and hopefully warmer) day to install them onto the car. Rained here most of the day.
mksu19 is offline  
Old 10-31-2010, 12:01 AM
  #4  
Audi Forum - Posts like an A5
Thread Starter
 
mksu19's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Republic of B.C.!
Posts: 382
mksu19 will become famous soon enough
Default Re: Helix/Depo Headlight and VVME HID Installation DIY (tons of p

!!! UPDATE !!!

Just installed the lights on this afternoon. After a few minutes of adjusting and re-adjusting, the hubby and I finally have the beam pattern set. First impressions are, "Oh my! These are bright!". The VVME HID kit is so bright that even with a sharp cutoff from the Helix, we decided to focus them lower than stock!

The Helix went on faster than anticipated. Everything lined up perfectly and the headlight harness plugged in without drama. It took the hubby a few minutes (15 to be exact) to figure out where the 3rd tork screw were. But after that, it was smooth sailing.

We actually waited till the sun was completely gone before even attempting to focus the beams. Drove around the darkest streets and parked behind several cars to confirm that the beam pattern wasn't obstructive. We even went as far as replicating a two way traffic scenario (where we stopped in the middle of a side street about a few metres away from a parked car) just to confirm that the beam wasn't hitting where the oncoming driver would be.

Then we drove into a parkade where we knew that the level and flatness of the ground was near 0*. Parked about 4 metres away from a dark wall to sharpen the cutoff pattern more by honing in the setting of the levels. Now the system is near perfect. Just have to figure out how to mesh the uptick together to unify the beam pattern as one.

I will be taking photos of the finish product and the beam pattern to show those that might be interested in purchasing these items. I will also try to replicate the actual brightness and hue of the HID kit. Just have to figure out how to set my DSLR to achieve what I want. Anyways, no installation DIY was created as I was able to locate a thread over the net on how to disassemble and install the headlights from an A4 B5 chassis. The Helix's structure is basically the same as that of the original Hellas that once resided in my headlight bay.

To all those who were wondering, yes the lights are (at the moment) flickering. But only when you turn them on AFTER starting the car. I also noticed that on two separate occasions, only one side of the lights triggered even after turning them on before starting the car. The only cure for this (I guess) is to install a BOW3 to regulate the system. I decided to keep the DRLs so installing the BOW3 will have to be done.

The only other issue we had on the Helix was one of the "locks" on the corner light tab broke. Only because I over twisted the lock and since that was made of a cheap, brittle plastic typical of the Depo units I have had in the past. No big deal as I could always use the OEM corner lights if this one decides to bugger off. The headlights housing itself felt much like the Hellas. In my opinion, they are probably made of the same plastic materials. Quite happy with them and for less than $200 for the pair, I highly recommend these to everyone thinking of upgrading or replacing their clouded, pitted and/or damaged headlights.

The 55W VVME's, I'm still reserving my judgement(s) as I feel that it's too early to form an opinion about them. Also, I will be installing a few more components to the system in order for it to initialize properly. But so far, after driving a couple of hours with them on, I and the hubby agreed that none of the headlight wirings appear to be in distress. We felt the connectors and none of them are hotter than what they should be. No softening of the materials at all.

As stated, I will be posting both daytime and night time photos of the kit installed. I will probably do it after dinner or something. My kids and the hubby are staring at me right now and they appear to be getting ready to cut me up and have me for dinner! Till next time, happy motoring!!!

Last edited by mksu19; 10-31-2010 at 12:09 AM.
mksu19 is offline  
Old 10-31-2010, 04:33 PM
  #5  
Audi Forum - Posts like an A5
Thread Starter
 
mksu19's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Republic of B.C.!
Posts: 382
mksu19 will become famous soon enough
Cool Re: Helix/Depo Headlight and VVME HID Installation DIY (tons of p

As promised, here are some daytime photos of the 55W VVME HID kit installed in a Helix Projector Headlight:









And the cutoffs:



And ofcourse the brightness and reflection shots (in a lighted parkade):



Night time shots will also be posted soon. Just have to wait till it gets dark! As always, comments, inputs and suggestions are highly welcomed. Happy motoring!!!

Last edited by mksu19; 10-31-2010 at 04:35 PM.
mksu19 is offline  
Old 11-01-2010, 12:44 AM
  #6  
Audi Forum - Posts like an A5
Thread Starter
 
mksu19's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Republic of B.C.!
Posts: 382
mksu19 will become famous soon enough
Default Re: Helix/Depo Headlight and VVME HID Installation DIY (tons of p

!!! UPDATE !!!



So today I started the car this morning to go to church. I had the hubby inspect to see if the lights would flicker or one would not ignite or something. Well, no flickering, no "dead side" and certainly no issues at all!!!

I called my tech friend and asked if this was normal and he says that maybe the HID system finally "settled". He says that very seldom do the 55W kits flicker in the A4 B5's. When they do, it's usually because the ballast was mounted in the wrong place or that they were "hardwired" directly to a power source such as the battery itself or that they installed relays (really?).

He also explained that the ballast just needed to completely "cycle" in order to break-in and that it usually occurs in a ballast that had been stored for a long time (new, old stock). Not sure if this is 100% accurate but I have not experienced any of the symptoms that I explained in my review yesterday. If it is the case, I am glad that the kit had finally "cycled" and that they are now igniting properly.

If anyone could verify this info, please feel free to chime in! As always, any and all suggestions, comments and input are welcome! Thanks and happy motoring!

EDIT: Night time photos to be uploaded soon!
mksu19 is offline  
Old 11-04-2010, 12:32 PM
  #7  
Audi Forum - Posts like an A1
 
Sie Sezs's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: K-Dub
Posts: 47
Sie Sezs is on a distinguished road
Default Re: Helix/Depo Headlight and VVME HID Installation DIY (tons of p

Great thread, thanks for posting!
Sie Sezs is offline  
Old 11-10-2010, 10:27 PM
  #8  
Audi Forum - Posts like an A5
Thread Starter
 
mksu19's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Republic of B.C.!
Posts: 382
mksu19 will become famous soon enough
Default Re: Helix/Depo Headlight and VVME HID Installation DIY (tons of p

As promised, here are the nightime shots! So sorry for the delays. It's been cold and rainy here the past couple of nights and I'm just a big ninny when it comes to the cold. Anyways, please do not hesitate to ask, post comments, inputs and/or special photo requests. Thanks and happy motoring!





From the hood:


From within the cockpit:




mksu19 is offline  
Old 11-17-2010, 10:07 AM
  #9  
Audi Forum - Posts like an A1
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 1
UNCfan23 is on a distinguished road
Default Re: Helix/Depo Headlight and VVME HID Installation DIY (tons of p

I have a DDM 55W system in my A4 B5 with Depo projectors and my conversion kit has been great. I've had it installed for about 2 years now and no issues. I'm looking at your pictures (nighttime particularly) and the beam pattern seems much tighter/better than mine. Mine tends to have "hot spots" and "cold spots" in the beam. I'm thinking because the projectors are pretty cheap, i'm not getting all of the lumens possible with my conversion kit through them. In your experience, would this be because the lights are Depo and not Helix? I'm sure they don't have the proper E-Code as you referred to, but I didn't think it would affect it that much. If I upgraded my projectors to the Helix projectors, do you think this would fix my issue?
UNCfan23 is offline  
Old 11-17-2010, 01:47 PM
  #10  
Audi Forum - Posts like an A5
Thread Starter
 
mksu19's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Republic of B.C.!
Posts: 382
mksu19 will become famous soon enough
Default Re: Helix/Depo Headlight and VVME HID Installation DIY (tons of p

Originally Posted by UNCfan23 View Post
I have a DDM 55W system in my A4 B5 with Depo projectors and my conversion kit has been great. I've had it installed for about 2 years now and no issues. I'm looking at your pictures (nighttime particularly) and the beam pattern seems much tighter/better than mine. Mine tends to have "hot spots" and "cold spots" in the beam. I'm thinking because the projectors are pretty cheap, i'm not getting all of the lumens possible with my conversion kit through them. In your experience, would this be because the lights are Depo and not Helix? I'm sure they don't have the proper E-Code as you referred to, but I didn't think it would affect it that much. If I upgraded my projectors to the Helix projectors, do you think this would fix my issue?
Have you tried re-aligning your bulbs first? I have read in other forums that a misaligned bulb could greatly affect the beam pattern of a projector housing. Might try that first before considering buying another set of headlight housing. By the way, Helix is actually manufactured by Depo.

In our personal experience, the one installed in my Audi does not present any "hotspots". But in my hubby's M3, his P46 (Depo branded projectors) does have a pronounced hotspot and does not have a sharp cutoff like my Helix. We tried contacting DDM and Depo in the past about this but to no avail. I did however got an e-mail from someone who claims that Depo has different generations of projectors that they have used. I wish I could find the e-mail and as soon as I do, Ill post it up here.

Worse comes to worse, you could always just go ahead and purchase the Helix E-codes (newer version/generation Depos?) from the place I bought it from just to make sure you get the same exact ones that I did. Click HERE for the same deal I got. Hope this helps!
mksu19 is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:
You have already rated this thread Rating: Thread Rating: 1 votes, 5.00 average.

Quick Reply: Helix/Depo Headlight and VVME HID Installation DIY (tons of pics)


Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service

© 2019 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.