CAN BUS HID Ballasts

CAN BUS 35w Ballast by GTR Lighting

This is the 2nd Generation 35w HID ballast by GTR Lighting: The “CAN BUS Pro”.

I’m sure you’ve heard the word CAN BUS used in all sorts of HID and LED marketing tactics. Having a CAN BUS ballast seems to sound more impressive than just a regular HID ballast. In this article I will explain what exactly CAN BUS is and how it pertains to HID systems:

To truly understand the functions of a CAN BUS ballast for use in HID lighting, you must first understand the role of the CAN BUS network in an automotive electrical system and how it operates.  CAN stands for “Controller Area Network” and BUS meaning pathway or data transfer channel, is a communication standard created by Bosch for automotive, industrial, and medical devices. CAN BUS networks are utilized where devices can all use the same pathway/channel to speak to one central CAN BUS controller.  CAN is one of the five supported standards of vehicle diagnostics in today’s OBD-II (On Board Diagnostics) system, which also is the system responsible for displaying the dreaded “Service Engine Soon” light on your dash.
In today’s vehicles, there are several Electronic Control Units used to control and monitor the many subsystems.  Your headlights, if monitored or controlled by a CAN BUS device, engine, A/C system, airbags, door locks, and Tire Pressure Monitoring System are all either independently operated with an ECU, or work together through a CAN BUS system. When a vehicle comes with a CAN BUS lighting system, what it does is monitor 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 CAN BUS controller and it will assume the light bulb is burnt out – this will either result in an error message being displayed to the driver, a flashing problem or no power being delivered at all.

Why do my HID headlights flash?

One of the ways that a CAN BUS system can affect the operation of an aftermarket HID conversion kit is this: First, the CAN BUS system will detect that whatever is plugged into the original wiring is probably a bad light bulb, it will start pulsating the electricity again and again in order to try to get the light bulb to start up. If it was indeed a broken factory light bulb, this would have no consequence because the electricity wouldn’t go anywhere, due to the broken filament. With an HID system, this rapid-fire electricity will cause the ballast to turn on and off like a strobe.

The way to solve this problem is to either install a CAN BUS HID Ballast or a warning canceller module. Both of these products will trick the computer in the car into thinking that a good working light bulb is plugged in, and not send pulsating electricity down the line!

49 responses to “CAN BUS HID Ballasts

    • Sorry Amgad, we do not have the Lacetti cars in the USA so I am unfamiliar with them. On older cars from around 2003 only SOME Mercedes, Audi, Volkswagen, and Chrysler vehicles need CANBUS ballasts. Most cars made around 2003 don’t need anything special to make HID lighting work.

  1. should i buy a canbus ballast for my 96 honda civic ex coupe ? its my first time purchasing any HID conversion kit for my car & im researching multiple HID conversion kits cause ive heard cheap ones aren’t good all the time .

    • Hi Carlos, thanks for your comment! For a ’96 Honda Civic you do not need a CANBUS style HID ballast. This is because nothing in your car uses CANBUS for anything. However, I will say that all of the best ballasts in the world ARE a CANBUS product. Therefore, you don’t need it, but it’s not a bad idea to get it because then you will automatically get a better product. The CANBUS ballasts are built with better components because they need to work well in more complex vehicles.

      I hope this answers your question!

    • Joe, for the 2007 GMC Sierra you don’t NEED the CANBUS ballasts, but as a general rule of thumb all CANBUS ballasts are built better than non-CANBUS ballasts. So even though you don’t need the extra CANBUS functionality it’s always a good idea to get the best product you can buy for the sake of reliability and ease of use if nothing else.

  2. my car was a flodd car and instead of buying the way over priced factory ballast i wanna just buy a kit, the way i understand what you are saying is that even if you dont have a can bus light system you can use a can bus ballast. i thought can bus only used like 6-8 volts as a regular used the 12-14?

    • Richie, I don’t know where you heard that information from, but it is completely wrong. A CANBUS HID ballast runs on 12-14v just like a non-CANBUS ballast. The only thing in a lighting system that runs at 6-8v sometimes is the Daytime Running Light circuit, but that has nothing to do with the type of ballast you use.

      Also, yes you can use a CANBUS ballast on a vehicle that doesn’t need it. It doesn’t interfere with anything and they will be generally better quality than others.

  3. I have a Canadian Ford edge which has a DRL active, if I have to install HID system with Canbus Harness, would it not work absolutely fine? My ballast is however a non-canbus ballast, but i am using a Can bus separately within the ballasts and bulbs. Your reply will be much appreciated.


    • The only time a DRL function interferes with aftermarket HID lighting is when that DRL utilizes the same bulb that your HID kit replaces. Many times your DRL will either have it’s own separate light, or just run on high beams.

      If you are replacing the same bulb that the DRL function uses then you must do one of two things:
      1. Disable the DRL or never use it. If you always turn the headlights to the “ON” position the DRL will never activate.
      or 2. Install a relay harness that is not affected by the DRL function. The relay harness option is very popular for getting around DRL issues.

      Either way I think you misunderstand what CANBUS means. CANBUS is a technology that the car uses to monitor the original headlights, it has nothing to do with the DRL circuit.

  4. Hello I have a 2005 accord with 1 fog light that shut off periodically (no such problem with other fog) and will come back on once the light is switched off and turned back on. Will a Can Bus ballast fix this? thanks.

  5. Hello. I have c180 Mercedes 2009 model w204. I want to change the halogen with xenon lights. Can you please advice me what I have to buy?

  6. Hi, i have a 2014 jeep compass will this kit work fine on my car? Or will I also need relay harness on both sides. thank u!

  7. Hi I have a 2009 hyundai azera limited edition and I’ve tried searching to see if it has canbus and couldnt find anything. Would you happen to know? I know i need the H11b bulb so finding canbus makes it a bit harder. Thanks!

  8. I have a 97 explorer and got a can bus 9007 bi-xenon kit. My issue is that the new bulbs don’t fit into the stock lock down clips to hold the lights into the head light housing. Any ideas to make it work? I’ve got everything mounted and wired correctly. Just can’t get bulbs locked into place. Do you guys offer a bigger clip or any other suggestions? Thanks!

    • Hi Michael, there aren’t any other styles of 9007 HID bulbs normally… You could try a different brand, but I think they are all designed to fit largely the same. Where did you get yours from? My only advice is that you can take the round retaining ring/adapter plastic piece off the HID bulb, insert that first (and the factory clip that holds it in place) then put the large HID bulb assembly in on top of that.

  9. I have a Hyundai 2014 1.8 Sport. I intend to change my headlight to HID. Do I need a can bus ballads and what HID kit set would you recommend? Anything else I should know when come to choose a suitable HID?

  10. i bought a Philips Can-Bus 55Watts 6000 Kelvin is this alright to install it on my Chevrolet Colorado 2014 without burning the internal plastic/lens/components inside the headlights?

    • Hi Gilbert, first of all I’m worried that you bought a Philips branded HID conversion kit. If you call Philips they will tell you that they do not make or sell HID conversion kits. It’s a knock-off or an illegal copy of their product. You should not support vendors selling knock-off branded HID kits. I would recommend returning it to the place where you bought it, call Philips to report it and buy from a reputable company like GTR Lighting. However, to answer your question more directly, I don’t think you’ll have a problem. A 55w HID kit produces about the same amount of heat (or a tiny bit more) than the original halogen bulbs. The Colorado headlight housings are designed to withstand high heat so it’s not a real issue. I’d go for it!

  11. As in the above request, I have a new 2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo and think I need a Can Bus HID system on this car as well. In addition, I want to use 55 watt HID’ s on low beams, 35 watt on high beams and fogs. Is this the correct setup for the Veloster Turbo? Also, for the high beams, will there be a warm-up lag time…thus causing a delay If I need to flash the lights? Would a high beam LED be a better choice here?

    Please advise and thanks!

  12. I have a 2005 toyota matrix xrs. It has DRL. I tried using the wiring harness method but it still did not bypass the flickering issues. Would using my can-bus ballast and a cancellor side by side work?

    • Johnny, that depends on what CANBUS ballast you are using. If you had the GTR Lighting GEN 4 “Hylux” ballast, then yes it would probably work. Keep this in mind though: Vehicles that come with factory HIDs never use the headlight bulb as a DRL because DRL + HID does not mix!!! Your best bet when using HID lights on a vehicle with factory headlight DRLs is to disable the DRL circuit completely.

  13. man that makes so much sense!, I bout an aftermarket halo ring hid kit and they have been going off and on like crazy ever since, I drive a 2005 bmw 330xi… I did some research and several sources are saying that bmw, Mercedes, along with some other foreign models need the can bus deal instead of the cancellor, before I make my purchase assuming that this should fix my problem I have no clue which one my car would need, some feedback would be much appreciated!, also the beams aren’t shinning evenly and shine even at different levels and angles I have tried to twist the knobs behind the headlights but i’m not making much progress because I think that the electricity needs to be distributed evenly first with one of those products but i’m not sure yet! I need to know asap because I don’t want to cause an accident on the road, thanks!!

    • Sorry to hear that you are having so many problems, but I think you have 2 contributing factors as to why your lights aren’t performing the way you wish they would:
      #1: You need goo CANBUS style ballasts. I would recommend the 35w GEN 4 kit from GTR Lighting. Just select the bulb style you need and the color, and buy this kit. I know it’s expensive but it will be plug and play and just will work with no troubles:

      #2: 95% of aftermarket headlight housings (especially those with projectors and halos) have terrible fitment and almost zero adjustability. Unfortunately that’s just the nature of that type of product because nobody wants to pay for a good quality set. So, the issue with your lights aiming correctly can only be fixed by using a different brand of headlight housing, I would recommend either a customized set of stock housings, or get something from Anzo or Spyder.

      Good luck and let me know if you have any other questions!

  14. I bought the gtr can bus gen 4 Single Beam HID Conversion Kit for my 2010 toyota tundra and after getting everything connected I’m still not getting any light output. Need help. Any ideas what the issue could be? Thanks

    • The first thing that I think of is maybe your two power wires that plug into the truck wiring are backwards. Sometimes this can be the case because with the original halogen bulbs it doesn’t matter how the wires are set up in the connector for the original bulbs. But with HID, it’s important to have positive and negative in the right spots.
      Try just flipping around the connector where it plugs into the factory wiring. If you cannot, then try flipping it around where the connector plugs into the ballast. This should be a quick and easy way to troubleshoot, then you can go on to actually flip the wires inside the connector for a final step in your install. Contact the retailer that you bought them from if you still cannot figure it out.

      • I tried that and 1 side stays on and the other side comes on and flickers then goes out while the 1 side stays on. Any ideas other then contacting the company?

      • I’m thinking maybe low battery voltage? Try starting the engine (just make sure no wires are near any belts or other moving parts!). If having the engine running doesn’t solve it then my next guess is a loose connection where you were adjusting things.

  15. Hi will the can bus hid kit from ddm tuning 35watt 5500k kit work on my 2010 Chevy Malibu Lt I do have daytime running lights do I need a relay harness to make this kit work properly thank you

  16. Hi, I have a 2014 Jeep Grand cherokee. I want to install Hid’s in my fog lights. They are fog light projectors. I want to get the 55w 8000k. Someone told me that the fog light projector will melt if I put Hids, since they can’t withstand all that heat. I would like to know if that is true? If not can you please post a link to the correct size bulbs so I can purchase them. Thanks

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