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Who wants a Volvo P1 specific, WMM safe, HID Retrofit?

60574 Views 362 Replies 43 Participants Last post by  Bernie (NoVA)
SwedeSpeed P1 (C30, S40, V50, C70) HID Retrofit Index
  1. SKBOWE Plug-and-Play harness for P1 HID conversion (you are here)
  2. Background info, general questions, and share your HID setup <- Non-SKBOWE HID install issues/discussion/WMM kills
  3. KBOWE How-To (Original 2009 Version) build your own PWM filter <- if you want to build your own
  4. Original 2009 investigation and technical discussion on S40 HID issues <- Technical/Engineering discussion on the CEM, PWM, WMM, and alternate designs
  5. ForceFed's E46 D2S Bi-Xenon Projector Retrofit guide
  6. Rewire OEM Bi-Xenon headlights to work on the halogen harness
  7. DRL Disable Alone not enough for safe Aftermarket HID retrofits
  8. LizardOfBodom's EU/RHD Bosch ("E46") Bi-Xenon replica retrofitting writeup + angle eyes + running lights

This thread is for discussion of the SKBOWE PWM filter, a plug-and-play error harness that I developed to help the P1 community with HID retrofits. If you have a question that's not related to the SKBOWE, please see if it fits in one of the other HID threads (above) before posting here or starting a new one.

Lets face it, the OEM halogen headlights in our cars suck. We should all know by now the issues with HID retrofits, and that the DIY solution is not trivial since it takes some soldering and hacks up the CEM harness. I have been PMed dozens of times over the years asking for a better way...

So... I found something really sweet ;) If you are interested in a commercial, plug-and-play (no cut wires!) solution that was designed specifically for Volvo P1 cars (S40, V50, C30, C70) check out:

https://www.skbowe.com/ - Shipping Now! Limited Quantity Remaining

Orders as of October 2017 (82 total): boulderc30, V50toS40, thefisch33, rhags138, persianelf, nhiggins, S40R-by-design, walky_talky20, taskmule, viggen, Puddlepirate56, chrisasdf, Noswal, beachnut, stevien1, evy0311, MJC70, MCRDSM-S40, hq_, et al... *
  • Prototype: #001A (test) #002 (mine), #003 (display unit/open box)
  • Batch 1: #004-#028 CLOSED & SHIPPED (JUL 2017)
  • Batch 2: #029-#050 CLOSED & SHIPPED (DEC 2017)
  • Batch 3: #051-#075 CLOSED & SHIPPED (FEB 2018)
  • Batch 4: #075-#100 - Shipping Now (OCT 2018)
* Don't see your username here? PM me with your SN#

Click here to see SKBOWE Installs!!

rhags138 (007) - Install
mgm7890 (024) - Install + writeup
:thumbup: SirScarFace - Install
:thumbup: Saab - Install

SKBOWEs have shipped all over...


Useful Snip

For those of you looking for projectors, I put together a reference sheet to help you identify compatible Bosch AL 3-inch "E46" projectors in auctions or at salvage yards:

See the full resolution PDF here: https://www.theeshadow.com/files/volvo/e46/guide/al_projector_guide_v1_web.pdf

You want to look for "Gen 2" projectors, they have the best optics and the wiring is simple. Gen 1 requires a solenoid controller for bi-xenon functionality. All projectors with black plastic rings will fit D2S, the ones with octagon-shaped bulb holders might need a simple modification (bending a small tab) to allow them to take D2S bulbs.

If junkyard hunting and eBay stalking aren't your thing, Nick has been nice enough to hold a few for us:
matched sets of gen 2 projectors... PM if you're interested.
Here are some projector beam patterns:

<a href="https://www.skbowe.com/a/2017/08/01/al-projector-e46-identification-chart-selection-guide-pdf/" target="_blank"><img width="683" height="1024" src="https://www.skbowe.com/a/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/al_projectors_hid_cutoffs_sixup_montauge-683x1024.jpg" class="attachment-large size-large" alt="" srcset="https://www.skbowe.com/a/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/al_projectors_hid_cutoffs_sixup_montauge-683x1024.jpg 683w, https://www.skbowe.com/a/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/al_projectors_hid_cutoffs_sixup_montauge-200x300.jpg 200w, https://www.skbowe.com/a/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/al_projectors_hid_cutoffs_sixup_montauge-768x1152.jpg 768w, https://www.skbowe.com/a/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/al_projectors_hid_cutoffs_sixup_montauge-1200x1800.jpg 1200w" sizes="(max-width: 709px) 85vw, (max-width: 909px) 67vw, (max-width: 984px) 61vw, (max-width: 1362px) 45vw, 600px"></a>

SKBOWE install is plug-and-play:

Survey Stats as of May 2017: 87 responses, 82 on board.


We need a reliable manufacturer / distributor for high volume manufacturing of a specialized error canceling circuit designed specifically for the Volvo P1 series. A complete validated production ready design is available. If you are a vendor and are interested in taking on this project, please contact me!
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Good stuff, theshadow27 - happy to see your design going from "lightbulb" to actual product!. And kudos for the website - organised and informative, very professional! [clap clap clap] :)
The future of my unicorn is a bit uncertain now so I am holding on with any extra purchases, but I will make sure to direct anybody from my side of the pond to your website. Shipment rate is very resonable so I think it should gain interest.
avenger09123 - as said above, modding it is not advised! But it can give you some perspective on considering bi-xenon projector upgrade. On those, this shield is operated by electromagnet that lowers it down when high-beam is engaged, unleashing the full potential of reflector beam. Worthy upgrade if you drive a lot at night on unlit roads.
Lmao...ask 1 question get three responses telling you no...you guys must be serious ;) Don't worry the only reason I was asking is because my last set of projectors didn't have it so I was wondering what it was there fore and if it was necessary.

I do realistically want to upgrade to the bi-xenon housings one day when I can pick up a set for cheap.
That would actually be pretty weird if you had projectors for low-beam without any shield. Would you be referring to FF (free form) headlamps maybe, that are not actually projectors? What kind of car was it? (curious as always :p)
Actually, if you have time, I would love to have a E46 writeup that actually works (Kyle's photo bucket is broken). Seems like 50% or more of those who ordered one are trying to do this, and I know you said it wasn't trivial...
If my writeup helps anyone, you are welcome to use it/ direct anyone to it / whatever, althought its a bit "DYI" version of wiring. The E46 montage and connection though should be universal for most types.
Perfect - we may need to change up some of those wiring pics though lol. So the H7 lights come with HB3 high beams (not 9005)?
Heh, wiring was best possible for non-SKBOWe times :p You can photoshop them if needed :p but probably making new ones with dedicated wiring is better. H7 lights do come with HB3 bulbs indeed BUT from what I know HB3 = 9005 , just the different naming for various continents.
"...if you can’t figure out how to get your headlights out of a P1 car please return your SKBOWE..."

Bummer... :/
From what I know, only later versions of E46 (after FL) had bi-xenons. Earlier ones only had standard ones. Both version use THE SAME Bosch projector (technically Bosch AL "E46") but with fixed or movable flapper. Like an upgraded version. At least thats what was happening in EU markets. I guess the safest choice is to ask for pic of projector from the lamps maybe...
As for price-wise, not sure how much parts for beemers are in US, but in here it was much cheaper for me to get brand new aftermarket projectors (already with clear lenses) than trying to source used OEM ones and replacing the lenses. Maybe worth considering?

BTW on Kensun kits - Have been using their ballasts for 2 years now on 2 cars - had an issue on 1 ballast that died month after purchase and was replaced FOC no problem, all other still work as new. For the price you can get them, I think its a very good product comparing to other nonames sold for similar money on Ebay.
Sadly, sourcing Morimoto or anythng decent in EU is almost impossible :/
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Interesting and good to know. Yeah it looks like the 2006 coupes have bi-xenons, but others do not.
Well, just to add to confusion - E46 coupes in xenon version here only bixenons (as to my knowledge). The defining feature of those lamps were all-projector lenses (both for low beam and halogen-high beam). E46 4door from later production years had free form long beams reflector in either case (xenon or bixenon) so it was pretty hard to distinguish them.
Again - its from my observations from EU markets, cant speak for US.

theshadow27 said:
Nick looked at the replica vs OEM projectors (not sure if he posted here, but pics at ) and the replicas are inferior quality. Here if you wait on eBay you can find the (apparently wrong) older headlights for < $100, but it looks like the new ones are vastly more. Every now and then there is a loose projector but they are getting increasingly rare.
ohh, cool, havent seen this before. Interesting.
Never doubted that OEM Bosh will be higher quality, however as I said its much harder to find a set in good shape here, plus its more expensive if found. PLUS heard some stories on problems with rivetting out the originals and problems with fitment. I wonder if there are better and worse aftermarket kits, or all of them are from one chineese factory anyway :) Sadly didnt have anything to compare my aftermatket ones to...

theshadow27 said:
Have you had a look at HID50? They primarily sell for motorcycles (which have a much harder life than cars) but do sell car kits too. The owner (Les) commissions his own production runs and (like me) uses only top-notch components. They were one of the first 50W kits on the market, and they still have some of the best products out there. Pretty expensive and inconvenient to ship to the US, but if you are in the UK or IE it's worth checking out.
Hmm, I actually come across this website once (I bet , reading one of the archives of you trying various ballasts :p) but was scared by the price of 40GBP per 1 ballast + shipment... :/ I ended up getting Kensun for 20Eur for TWO including delivery (Amazon rox! ) using cheeky trick of ordering a cheapest kit with most retarded Kelvin output and bulbs not fitting my car (IIRC 8000K H9 bulbs :D) as it was cheaper than ordering just 2 ballasts alone! :)
Ballasts would come the same and I had bulbs already anyway so hell yea! :)
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+3exp. top my lighting knowledge factor :)
Thanks for above, interesting stuff :thumbup:

(btw - call me lazy but reading this I have even less guilt after going with hassle-free, plug&play option :)
Thanks! Took a while to put the links together since half of my bookmarks were broken...

I dumped the TRS replicas within a few months of buying them. They may be hassle free but the Chinese clones are almost all garbage. Bad beam pattern, poorly aligned hotspot, and bad bowl geometry and reflector quality. All they had going for them was "clear lens!!1!" My experience with OEM projectors has been worth the digging, and I'm buying a few sets to hold onto and resell to make this a little easier for others.
Yep, I hear you! Cant say I am dissapointed in my clones (200% improvement over stock OEM), but on the other hand there is a lot of room to improve, I am aware of this. Was never able to fully eliminate the rainbow effect,

...plus I have feeling that beam pattern is not as wide as it may be on Bosch ones, but back then I only had a choice of driving on OEM with fresnel lenses or on those clones.

I am actually tempted now to obtain OEM AL projector in good shape and compare the beam pattern with my clones. May actually do that just for the sake of trying, when I come across one.
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The ones with octagon-shaped bulb holders might need a simple modification to allow them to take D2S bulbs. All of them with black plastic rings will fit D2S. Pics comparing beam patterns and cutoffs to come...
Nice one, well done! :thumbup: But I must say, my aftermarket projectors looked MUCH better than this cr** on your last pic, wow!... I guess there is such thing as "better" Chineese copy :)
Enjoy :beer:
I love light comparison pics! :partywave:

From what I see, it actually show how much wider the beam from OEM AL projectors is comparing to replicas. I have always noticed how wide the beam spread is on Audi A4's etc versus my replicas and now its side-by-side proof. I guess there is a lot to gain by going OEM projectors vs replicas.
Also - can you confirm that OEM AL1 and 2 are also bixenon? how come the opened shutter on replica creates razor sharp cutoff shape while the other just release a flood of light?
Not necessarily, it's the same amount of light just a different distribution. I would actually think that the replicas would be better for highway/high-speed driving because more of the light is focused in front. JDM (Acura, etc) type projectors are exactly the opposite, as wide a beam as possible (like 170 degrees or something) which leaves relatively little light directly in front.

But without ABL, I agree that the OEM AL Gen 2 is probably the best compromise between side and front visibility, along with the prettiest cutoff (especially w/clear lenses)
Yep, thats what I meant for "wider pattern". From comparisons I know that AL replicas have highest lumen output of similar replicas (like mini1 or that Acura type one) but the narrowest beam pattern. Personally - I wish it was wider, as driving o country roads as I often do you really miss that side-margin light. It is clearly visible on my test pics from year ago (upper = projectors only, lower = projectors + standard foglamps). Our foglamps are far from decent and dont really serve much purpose except of "foglamping" (I mean they are not great as for lighting optic) but they do improve the spread of light, where on OEM xenons you probably would never need them

Road Darkness Sky Infrastructure Asphalt

theshadow27 said:
you like it, one can be added pretty easily to any projector, the trick is getting the shape right so that it is in focus. IIRC Nick said that there are similar shields sometimes mounted to the top of the bowl, called a foreground limiter, to cut down on the light immediately in front of the car (which helps with night vision). All of these reduce the light down-range, so I am not sure why you'd want it other than that it looks cool against a wall.
Well, I actually have the exact same one on my retros thats why I was wondering how come none of OEM have it.TBH I didnt realise it is not the "common" way and thought such shape is normal for all bixenons, but obviously not. I am wondering why its done like that - to my understanding highbeams would work better without it right?
as for foreground limiter - nah, really dont see the point of it. I understand the concept but with 35W and the pattern of my projectors it is not needed for me.

theshadow27 said:
Correct, and correct. Like I've said before, I've been using the stock projectors for 8 years and do not get flashed at, nor have I gotten pulled over (both happened in my S40 1.9T w/reflectors and HIDs). Sitting behind a car the cutoff is always below the rear window. In practice, using the stock projector is a fully functional option. The beam spread, pattern, and cutoff aren't perfect, but 50W bulbs make up for a lot of it. The only issue I've had (in NoVA) is the state safety inspector isn't always thrilled w/them because the housing says "H11" on it which is a halogen bulb. So I keep a spare set of halogens in the glove box, and change them out once per year.
+1 to above, was driving with stock projector with fresnel lenses for half a year on HIDs and after proper adjustments - those are perfectly useable. You need to keep them lower because of not-so-clear cutoff line but this is far far better than mounting any HID kit to reflector lights...

Cool thing about your light simulation, it proves that the beam spread is also very dependant on the lens type, again - another thing I somehow didnt think of. Made me immediately thinking "what if I get ZKW lenses" but then I read some comments from trw link posted by beachnut and realised it may not work.

"I tried swapping my authentic ZKW lenses in place of the replica lenses and it totally messed up the output regardless of any adjustments. I then tried swapping the replica bowl with the stock bowl and output was again messed up. Thus, I concluded that this replica projector was tuned in a way that any adjustments or swapping parts will only degrade its output. "

I guess its either "go with replica and dont mess with it" or "get OEMs and upgrade the living s**t out of them :)"
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My left side projector has a horrible corona effect going on. I am referring to that concentrated outer ring area of the projector light. I have tried swapping lens, and the result is the same. I am thinking it is due to a poorly manufactured replica projector. I'm hoping to further troubleshoot the issue and solve the beam defect.
If I can maybe add my 2 eurocents - I spent fair amount of evenings fiddling with those retro projectors on my test bench as I had some issues originally aswell (corona, rainbow effect and hotspot misalligned). As you noticed adjusting the screws of shutter can help nivelate some issues, but you may also have a go with bulb saddle itself. In my case (H7 burners) using pliers on base of the bulb to twist the metal a bit allowed me to center the hotspot perfectly and nivelate most of "escaping light" artifacts. As you cant do the same with DS bulbs, you can use the "juice carton" fix, where you just cut a small piece from thick and heat resistant material (juice carton :p) and use it around the bulb base to extend the distance between bulb and its saddle, if needed. Also allows you to center the hotspot if you place more material on one side and less on another (imagine placing some on 3o'clock position and notice how hotspot and artifacts move).

In general, if you are able to take whole headlamp out and connect it while working on test bench (all you need is PC power supply, 1 paperclip and ofcourse yours or spare ballast) you have good way of testing various positioning of bulb and help with all unwanted artifact, also nivelating all possible flaws of replicas. By trial of error you will get to the point where its as best as it gets, and then you can sigh loudly and open a beer :)

thanks for the photostory btw! Always interested to see "how others do it" :) How is the light now, even with current issues. Happy when driving at night?
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The light is amazing, obviously haha the stock halogens suck on these cars. I've done the H9 conversion, re sanded the lens, and even cleaned the stock projector glass, and nothing really helped. The HID conversion is very beneficial to all parties on the road; if done properly, and aimed correctly.
Yep, 100%! I can tell you that even with brand new replicas, polished plexi shield and very good H7 halogen bulbs (so almost "brand new headlamp" setup) light output is terrible, comparing to free-form reflectors of my previous gen S40. Tested on myself.
Projectors + halogen light emitter = fail.
good luck with alignments, hope you get it right!
Aluminum furnace ("duct") tape for sure. Not sure what juice box is in UK but I would keep waxed cardboard away from headlight components ;)
hehe, just to clarify - original "design" of this mod was done using actual juice box (the one that has aluminium insert and thick cardboard outside) hence the name, but obviously something more to-the-purpose will be better :) The idea remains the same ;)
BTW - if you cant fix the issue, maybe its worth writing to TRS and asking for replacement projector?
I thought of this, but they are closeout items. Do you think they'd care at that point? I guess maybe if I contact them, they may at least be aware of the issue and have a possible solution! Thanks for the idea!
TRS seem to be reputable enough so its no harm to give it a shot. If you send them a pic from good one and compare to bad one, and explain you tried the bulb swap and you are confident its the actual projector issue, I would expect them to exchange them without a word. Plus you should have statutory right to return/exchange the item if bought online, atleast thats what we have in EU .

theshadow27 - I agree that it is not a full term solution, its probably worth to highlight that for everybody reading it - it is possible the original "inventor" of this method used it only to test the allignment and for R&D purpose only, using a proper material afterwards - no clue. But yep - kids! - dont put carton juice in your headlamps unless you just test the bulb allignment :p
TRS was great! They sent me a complete new projector. This fixed the corona and now the output is nice and even!
Good stuff! :thumbup: :}
Cost: $0

Time: 5 minutes

Seeing at night: Priceless!
Can you hear this sound?....

... thats the "AAawwwww" sound of all dealerships that from today are loosing portion of their extortion money for people NOT ordering DRL disable software anymore :)

u sir deserve a beer! :) :beer:
Also did a quick writeup on an alternate more advanced way to connect up the bi-xenon flapper wires without using a 9005 extension:

Cheers for that! Was planning to do more straight wiring on my current retro project and it looks much nicer than using extra extensions.
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