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2003 Honda Element AWD EX 4AT "Galapagos Green Metallic"
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Discussion Starter · #21 ·
Automotive wiring confuses the heck out of me. o_O

With my HID kit, I plugged into the driver side headlight connector and wrapped the passenger side connection in a bunch of electrical tape. I removed all of that tape this morning so I could compare multimeter readings from both sides.
 

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Discussion Starter · #24 ·
Are you able to plug your HID harness into the PS headlight socket? Although I assume there will be similar results.
I could but not without a little work. Will have to unbolt the relay harness and swap the connections to each ballast. It's difficult to get much work done before or after work because it's both night and really cold.
 

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Understood. I was thinking if it performs differently it may lead to a clue where the issue it. Can you easily measure the voltages at the other H4 connection?
 

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Discussion Starter · #27 · (Edited)
I measured resistance between the low beam slot of the connector and the fuse. I couldn't get a solid reading. Even with the probes still, the numbers were bouncing everywhere.

Just to see what happens, I may try swapping the relay harness over to the passenger side connector (the one that hasn't been used since I installed the HIDs).

UPDATE: I quickly swapped the relay harness around so that it connects to the formerly unused passenger side headlight connector. I didn't bother connection the high beams since 1) it really just controls the shutter inside the projectors and 2) it doesn't work unless the bulbs work and right now they don't.

Anyway, I got the same results.
 

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this is what I think your Voltage measurement should look like. Sorry, I’m too lazy to go to my car to test it out.
Battery negative to red/yellow wire should give you 12v when either low or high beam is on
battery negative to red/white when in low beam should give you 0v
battery negative to red/white when in high beam should not give you a meaningful reading
battery negative to red/blue when in high beam should give you 0v
battery negative to red/blue when in low beam should not give you a meaningful reading
battery positive to red/white when in low beam should give you 12v
battery positive to red/white when in high beam should not give you a meaningful reading
battery positive to red/blue when in high beam should give you 12v
battery positive to red/blue when in low beam should not give you a meaningful reading

Hopefully there are no typos in the above, that could get confusing.

When I say “not a meaningful reading”, I think this might be a situation where ghost voltage may be present. When the particular wire is not connected to a ground or power, it is called a “floating conductor” and is thus prone to getting ghost voltage through capacitative coupling from an adjacent live wire when you use a high impedance multimeter.
 

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OK, I'm two drinks in at this point, so everything is suspect. I think the wonky resistance readings are because there is the "multiplex control unit" (whatever that is) and the combo switch between that H4 connector and the fuse. So you need to measure it in shorter increments. You will need to measure with an open circuit - so at a plug you can disconnect. It may be worthwhile to measure right before the combo switch (on the steering stalk). I can't recall what it looks like in there, but you can probably just take off that cover and hopefully there is a plug for the combo switch. If you get good voltage at that plug (i.e. combo switch out), it is likely a bad combo switch. If you can find the "multiplex control unit" under the dash near the fuse box (or it is the fuse box - I can't tell), you should be able to find the same wires there and test resistance. If resistance or voltage is good before that, it may be bad.

TL:DR Try to break up the wire run between the H4 harness and the fuse and measure resistance between the plug and any connector you can open.
 

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I measured resistance between the low beam slot of the connector and the fuse. I couldn't get a solid reading. Even with the probes still, the numbers were bouncing everywhere.

FWIW, I think one way to confirm that your vehicle wiring is working correctly is to buy two halogen bulbs that were originally made for your car. Plug them in and see if both high beams and low beams are working at the same left/right brightness in low and high beams. If everything works, then it’s your HID kit that went bad. Obviously, if something isn’t lighting up properly then youre doing more troubleshooting.

right now, I see someone randomly putting multimeter probes all over the place, not yet understanding what is normal and what is abnormal.
 

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Discussion Starter · #31 ·
this is what I think your Voltage measurement should look like. Sorry, I’m too lazy to go to my car to test it out.
Battery negative to red/yellow wire should give you 12v when either low or high beam is on
battery negative to red/white when in low beam should give you 0v
battery negative to red/white when in high beam should not give you a meaningful reading
battery negative to red/blue when in high beam should give you 0v
battery negative to red/blue when in low beam should not give you a meaningful reading
battery positive to red/white when in low beam should give you 12v
battery positive to red/white when in high beam should not give you a meaningful reading
battery positive to red/blue when in high beam should give you 12v
battery positive to red/blue when in low beam should not give you a meaningful reading

Hopefully there are no typos in the above, that could get confusing.

When I say “not a meaningful reading”, I think this might be a situation where ghost voltage may be present. When the particular wire is not connected to a ground or power, it is called a “floating conductor” and is thus prone to getting ghost voltage through capacitative coupling from an adjacent live wire when you use a high impedance multimeter.
Battery voltage (+ and - posts): 12.52 V
Batt (-) to R/Y: 12.57 V
Batt (-) to R/W (low beam): 12.40 V
Batt (-) to R/W (hi beam): 12.42 V
Batt (-) to R/B (low beam): 11.90 V
Batt (-) to R/B (hi beam): 43.5 mV
Batt (+) to R/W (nothing on): -11.90 V
Batt (+) to R/W (low beam): 11.88 V
Batt (+) to R/W (hi beam): 17.0 mV
Batt (+) to R/B (nothing on): -12.55 V
Batt (+) to R/B (low beam): 0.50 V
Batt (+) to R/B (hi beam): 12.36 V
 

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Discussion Starter · #32 ·
Right now, I see someone randomly putting multimeter probes all over the place, not yet understanding what is normal and what is abnormal.
Are you here watching me?
Because that's how I feel. 😂
FWIW, I think the one way to confirm that your vehicle wiring is working correctly is to buy two halogen bulbs that were originally made for your car. Plug them in and see if both high beams and low beams are working at the same left/right brightness in low and high beams. If everything works, then it’s your HID kit that went bad. Obviously, if something isn’t lighting up properly then youre doing more troubleshooting.
You know... I didn't even think of that. I could drop in Walmart, get a cheapo halogen, pop it in this connector I keep probing, and if it works then, as you said, it's not the car.
 

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there is the "multiplex control unit" (whatever that is)
The multiplex control unit is a rudimentary “body control module” in the 03. It is basically a set of computer chips built into the under dash fuse box. It’s the thing that turns on the cabin lights when you open the door, the thing that beeps the horn and flashes lights when you use the key fob to lock the car, it’s the thing that knows your seatbelt isn’t on to light up the seatbelt light on the instrument cluster … and does a host of other functions.
 

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Discussion Starter · #34 ·
FWIW, I think the one way to confirm that your vehicle wiring is working correctly is to buy two halogen bulbs that were originally made for your car. Plug them in and see if both high beams and low beams are working at the same left/right brightness in low and high beams. If everything works, then it’s your HID kit that went bad. Obviously, if something isn’t lighting up properly then youre doing more troubleshooting.
Went to Walmart real quick before they close at 11:00. Bought one halogen (Sylvania Basic @ $9) as a tester bulb. Lo and behold, it works.
 

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I‘m re-arranging your data. Basically the batt (-) and batt (+) reading should be 12.52v opposite of each other.

Battery voltage (+ and - posts): 12.52 V

Batt (-) to R/Y: 12.57 V

***Batt (-) to R/W (low beam): 12.40 V
***Batt (+) to R/W (low beam): 11.88 V

Batt (-) to R/W (hi beam): 12.42 V
Batt (+) to R/W (hi beam): 17.0 mV

Batt (-) to R/B (low beam): 11.90 V
Batt (+) to R/B (low beam): 0.50 V

Batt (-) to R/B (hi beam): 43.5 mV
Batt (+) to R/B (hi beam): 12.36 V

Batt (+) to R/W (nothing on): -11.90 V
Batt (+) to R/B (nothing on): -12.55 V
***So there is a measurement discrepancy in your battery +/- to R/W (low beam) measurement that is not plausible. One of those two readings can’t happen. I would double check that again Because it has to be a measurement error.
 
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Went to Walmart real quick before they close at 11:00. Bought one halogen (Sylvania Basic @ $9) as a tester bulb. Lo and behold, it works.
I now wish I hadn’t given you that idea. It was much more fun watching you struggle with a multimeter. 🤣
 
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Discussion Starter · #37 ·
...the batt (-) and batt (+) reading should be 12.52v opposite of each other.
You're right. I noticed that, too, as I was writing the figures down. I'll re-check it in the morning.
I now wish I hadn’t given you that idea. It was much more fun watching you struggle with a multimeter. 🤣
If nothing else, I'm glad this thread is amusing. 😜
 

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You're right. I noticed that, too, as I was writing the figures down. I'll re-check it in the morning.
If nothing else, I'm glad this thread is amusing. 😜
The thread was a good learning experience with lots of lessons.… Since the “substitute headlight test” worked correctly, your recheck of the voltages should turn out fine too.
 

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The only problem I see, which you alluded to about bulb brightness, is that 8V will likely still power the halogen bulb. It will obviously be lit at a dimmer level than it should be. Whether that difference is visible may depend on when/where it is checked. It also could be that the HID ballast won't run on 8v, but is otherwise working fine. I was/am assuming the HID system was out of the circuit once he unplugged the H4 to check voltages.
 

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Discussion Starter · #40 ·
The only problem I see, which you alluded to about bulb brightness, is that 8V will likely still power the halogen bulb. It will obviously be lit at a dimmer level than it should be. Whether that difference is visible may depend on when/where it is checked. It also could be that the HID ballast won't run on 8v, but is otherwise working fine. I was/am assuming the HID system was out of the circuit once he unplugged the H4 to check voltages.
I thought about that, too, since I know incandescents are not simply ON or OFF with no in between. If I had some cable clamps, alligator clips, etc., I would try bypassing the relay harness and connect a ballast directly to the battery so that it's simply BATTERY > BALLAST > BULB.

Good point about removing the HID system entirely prior to testing. In my initial voltage measurements, I unplugged the HID system from the H4 connector. Last night, I swapped the relay harness around so it plugged into the passenger side connector rather than the driver side. Interestingly, at some point in all of this swapping and probing, I stopped getting that low voltage reading even though I'm taking measurements at the driver side H4 connector, which is where I was getting that 8-9V reading to begin with.

To entertain @ajchien some more, I took more readings this morning:

Battery voltage: 12.38 V

Batt (-) to R/B (lights off): 5.0 mV
Batt (+) to R/B (lights off): 11.74 V

Batt (-) to R/B (low beams): 11.60 V
Batt (+) to R/B (low beams): 0.534 V

Batt (-) to R/B (high beams): 46.5 mV
Batt (+) to R/B (high beams): 12.16 V

Batt (-) to R/W (lights off): 12.0 mV
Batt (+) to R/W (lights off): 11.66 V

Batt (-) to R/W (low beams): 12.24 V
Batt (+) to R/W (low beams): 11.1 mV

Batt (-) to R/W (high beams): 12.19 V
Batt (+) to R/W (high beams): 15.8 mV

Batt (-) to R/Y (lights off): 2.3 mV
Batt (+) to R/Y (lights off): 12.31 V

Batt (-) to R/Y (low beams): 17.0 mV
Batt (+) to R/Y (low beams): 12.25 V

Batt (-) to R/Y (high beams): 0.746 V
Batt (+) to R/Y (high beams): 0.669 V
 
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